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Ch 1: The Crowning Day Massacre
Above planet Alcrenos, a king stood at his new throne. His new power had just been granted and now he was the supreme ruler of the Horizon Federation. Although his crown was only a few onces in weight, it felt as if an entire battle cruiser had been set on his head now that the fate of an entire race lay in his hands.
He readied slowly to go out onto the stage, into a crowd of glaring critics who knew not what to think of him yet. They were still skeptical that an 18 year old boy could lead their nation and keep the peace inside a federation that had lasted nearly 4,000 years with the brilliant minded kings of the past. Hassan decided on what to wear. He would have the typical black pants and overcoat, with a red undershirt and brown dress shoes with his crown and scepter. But he wondered whether he should have the marking of the Kortith race on his cheek. It showed his family weakness, the weakness of being Korith. A race conquered by the Horizon federation nearly 1,500 years ago and still thought of as inferior to all others.
The marking was a simple one, consisting of a large orange circle about 12 cm across with three smaller ones orbiting it, linked together by a circular line with a dark blue triangle under the rest of the marking. He decided to keep it. What kind of king would he be if he did not show his true being?
Hassan combed his black hair to the side and put down the collar of his shirt, then stared into the mirror at his face. A mostly average face with no special features except a scar from the right side of his nose across to the right side of his neck. The scar remained from a wound he received five years earlier, when a knife fell down from the top of a building and struck his face.
Hassan took a few more deep breaths and then looked out into space from the large window inside his quarters aboard the space station Atemi Horizon, then turned to the large black steel doors to his left that led to the meeting hall. With a loud thump and screech the doors slid open, revealing a stage and countless rows of seating completely filled by citizens and councilmen. A loud roar of applause and cheering begun and Hassan took his place upon the stage nervously, waiting for silence to fill the room, practicing his speech inside his head and trying to contemplate what kind of reactions he would get from the people. Hoping that they would approve of him and accept him as new king. Finally, the hall grew silent and Hassan began.
“My people, my brothers and sisters, for many years we have been a unified nation. Kept together by the many decisions of the past kings and the brilliant display of command by our many generals and commanders. I have accepted the crown and responsibility of keeping the peace and keeping our great and ancient federation together. I know what many of you are thinking as I say my words, and I know what many of you think of an ideal king. Let me assure you that I will be the best leader to come for a long while and will lead our federation to growth, not plunder. Please accept me and my leadership and I will return the favor with my leadership and the eventual route to salvation.”
A loud roar of applause filled the hall again as many people cheered and accepted his speech, but he could tell there were still many people who did not agree. Silence filled the hall again and a man with glasses, gray hair, and a moustache wearing a tan color suit with matching shoes and tie.
“What could you possibly do that other past kings and queens have not? How could you be the best king to come in a long line? I need proof before I change my mind.”
“Then you will get it sooner or later. Spy on me if you like, but I am your new king and if there is a more worthy person in this entire federation I would like you to point him out. Please take your seat now.”
The crowed remained silent for a few minutes and Hassan said many things. Suddenly the silence was broken by the slamming open of the main door to the hall. Admiral Termoloff, commander of the fleet stationed here to guard the planet entered. “Your majesty, a large group of ships just came out of hyperspace about 10,000 kilometers away from the station. What should we do?”
“Deploy the fleet and stand by for an assault. We can’t take any chances with a fleet this large.”
“Yes your majesty.”
The door opened behind Hassan and a squad of security guards came out. “Hassan we need to get you out of here. Come with us please,” said lieutenant Arlon.
Hassan walked toward the team and they left through a secret door inside of Hassan's quarters to one of the passageways that led to the hanger. As Hassan walked he could not help but think, “why did this fleet come here? And what were they planning to do?” Suddenly his line of thought was interrupted by a large shaking of the station as a missile hit the bulkhead.
Above the station two fleets of equal size clashed in what seemed like an endless chaotic struggle. On board the ship The Horizon Sword, the flagship of the federation, Admiral Termoloff struggled to keep the ship in one piece. “Target the battle cruiser directly below us and fire a nuke at it. Decimate it without mercy.” A brilliant display of guns and missiles flew toward the enemy ship as The Horizon Sword unloaded all it had on the enemy cruiser. The nuke struck it and ripped the ship into thousands of scattered pieces now bound to be new moons of the planet.
“Sir, the ship has been destroyed,” said Sergeant Saren. ”What should our next target be?!”
“Tell the gunners to pick their targets and fire at will. For every gunner that kills 3 or more enemy capital ships tell them they will receive a promotion and 8 times the pay they had before. I will not lose this fight.”
Thirty seconds after Admiral Termiloff gave the order, the roar and light of hundreds of shells and lasers streamed out of The Horizon Sword as nearly 1500 guns all fired at once. The lights flickered inside the bridge as the massive amount of power needed to fire the guns was drained from all sources throughout the ship. Admiral Termoloff stared out the windows of the bridge and watched ship after ship explode under the might of The Horizon Sword. But he also noticed the pieces of armor flying off his ship as torpedoes and shells struck its hull. "Sir, hull breach on decks 15, 13 and 12. There is also a breach in the starboard fusion chamber," the primary pilot reported.
"Jettison the fusion chamber and seal off those decks. You know the drill."
"We have punched a hole in their line, the enemy mother ship is dead ahead and moving forward toward us with the rest of the enemy fleet," said Sergeant Saren.
"Light them up, fire all nuclear missiles at the mother ship. Target the central rift drive. Then get the hell out of there, we don't want to get caught in the black hole created after the explosion."
Down on the planet fighting was hot and dense. Mid summer on this planet was harsh, 130 degrees by noon. Soldiers were dropping left and right due to just the heat exhaustion and thirst. Alexandria stood with her back to a steel wall as bullets pinged off the walls. She checked to see if she had a full clip, and made sure her helmet was secure, then took a mirror and looked at what was shooting at her. Three soldiers up in a building and two on the ground behind a fallen pillar -- all guns blazing shooting at her.
Alex pulled a grenade and pulled the pin. She held it momentarily to cook it, then swiftly swung around the corner, catapulting it through the air toward the window the enemy soldiers stood in. The grenade exploded right outside the window, showering the soldiers with shrapnel, killing them near instantaneously. Once that was done she quickly dove behind a concrete wall next to the door she came out of and pulled out her rifle. Carefully, she adjusted the scope and turned on the dot laser sight. Bullets flew past the wall and over her head so close she could hear their small wisp as they parted the air. A gap in the firing came as the soldiers reloaded. Alex took advantage of this and leaned around the corner. She squeezed the trigger and one of the soldiers head jerked back and flung blood into the air. Alex re-aimed and did the same thing with the other soldier who went down with a hideously low grown.
Alex looked around for more hostiles -- fortunately there were none. She then proceeded to throw her back against a wall and sit down to regain her bearings. She could hardly breathe so she took off her helmet and let her long black hair fall down her shoulders and dry off. By now it had been soaked in sweat and virtually burning her head. But now it waved in a hot wind as she took a short rest after long fighting. She dared not let her guard down though, she did not want to end up like the five soldiers she had just killed. So to stay focused she observed the fleet battle above the planet. Most ships where just bright dots that moved, the only two clearly visible ships where the Horizon Sword and the enemy mother ship. Alex now remembered how large the Horizon Sword really was. Seven miles long and one mile high, it looked like a slender dart from the planar view. Off in the distance Alex also noticed the occasional stray shell as it struck the planet.
Alex looked around. Until now she had not known what to compare the look of the cities on planet Alcrenos to, but now she compared it to the area of Earth known as Iraq. Just with more skyscrapers. The Earth Empire had been the Horizon Federation's ally for 300 years. But as thought connected to thought inside Alex's mind, she realized that was who was attacking them. The long slender boxy shapes of the Earth Empire were all to similar looking to the mother ship above the planet. Just as she realized this, gunshots no more than 75 yards away on the opposite side of the street began, and Alex saw three soldiers running faster than any thing she had seen before fire backwards at something. Then she saw a red, man-sized thing fly through the air and take down the soldier. "It" then proceeded to rip out the man's throat as he was screaming and feasted on the inside of his neck. Alex, without another thought stood up and took aim at the thing while squeezing the trigger, nailing the creature right through the temple. The creature rolled off the man, made a loud high pitched noise and died.
Three more came around the corner the first one had appeared from and began to run toward Alex at high speed. She aimed without hesitation and fired here rifle into the creatures, felling two of them . Alex took aim at the third, but her clip was empty. The creature jumped at her, while out of complete instinct Alex dropped her rifle and pulled her knife from her belt, swinging at the creature with every muscle in her body. The blade made contact with thin neck of the creature, severing the creature's head, its body spraying Alex with a purplish substance she assumed was blood. The lifeless body toppled over Alex, one of it's razor sharp claws sinking into her arm. She kicked the skeletally thin creature off of her and held her arm in pain. She knew she would not get out of this fight with out some sort of injury.
After a long time lying on her back, clenching her arm, she decided to force herself to stand. Blood trickled down her arm. She knelt down to grab her rifle, then she went on her way. Someone had to fight this conflict.
Several miles away on the opposite side of the city, a squad of soldiers stood ready to breach a building taken by the insurgents. Isa stood ready to kick open the door and let his team through it. Slam! Isa kicked it opened with a swift and powerful kick, then proceeded through. As soon as he went through the door he saw two enemy soldiers. He took aim and squeezed the trigger without prejudice. Both of them yelled and fell to the ground face first. "John, David, go right and clear the downstairs area. Isabel come with me, we will clear the second floor."
"Sir yes Sir," Isa ran up the stairs as fast as he could. Isabel followed closely behind. There were two bends in the stairs and the they came to a small hallway with two doors on either side. Isa looked at Isabel and pointed to the door on the right side, she went and he took the door to the left. Isa made sure his plasma rifle was at a full charge, and then gave the order for the two of them to breach the door. Isa kicked the door as he did before and looked around the room. It was empty, but he heard gunshots from Isabel's side. "Clear," he heard Isabel yell. He heard three more clears from downstairs.
"Regroup on me," said Isa.
"Wait a second sir. I can hear something just outside the door, let me check it out," stated David
Isa heard a door open and a few gunshots, but what he did not expect was the screaming. Gunshots continued to fire in a panic like pattern and then came the unmistakable sound of flesh being ripped apart. Then more screaming occurred and then a strange sound started, a high pitched sound. The gunshots stopped and Isa headed down the staircase slowly and cautiously. At the bottom stair case, there was a body completely torn in half. David was leaning down beside it, in shock at what just happened. The walls were repainted with the stain of blood. David stood up and looked Isa in the eye. He then turned and faced Isa. Isa had not noticed until now, but David's left arm was gone and he was holding only a pistol with his right hand. "My arm is over there, and so is the body of this...thing, that jumped out of the bathroom. It killed joh.....john." He passed out right in the middle of the floor. Isabel fallowed closely behind Isa, and Isa could see the sheer horror in her eyes even through the thickly tinted face plate of her helmet.
"Isabel, I will stay here, go find a medic. Fell free to puck along the way." Isabel made her way to the door. She made it only ten feet before she threw up. After she was done, she continued out the door and Isa saw her look into the sky just before the door closed. Then suddenly a huge flash followed by an orange glare lit the sky.
"Isabel, what was that?"
"Get out here Isa, the King's space station just exploded." Isa stood there for a few more seconds, looking at all the carnage. Then decided to pick up David and carry him outside, resolved that no man be left behind. He opened the door and almost immediately noticed the explosion in the sky. It was as if a new sun had appeared. Thousands of dots flew away from a large central explosion. The enemy fleet also began to pull back as hundreds of dots disappeared. The mother ship disappeared with a purple flash, entering into slip space. The fight was over for now. But every one could tell, a long and harsh war had begun.