Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Daaneen … a thriving world close to the heart of the Empire.  It was once part of a proud and ancient protectorate that could trace its history back before the rise of the Amengalish.  In that far away time the area was known as the Harvarian Protectorate, named for the sentients who founded it.  Now, it was known as the Harvarian sector, simply a small part of the Empire.  Still, many still referred to it as the Protectorate.

The Harvarian were humanoid in appearance, and quite tall.  They were as diverse as any sentient species, being any number of hues, shapes, and sizes, overweight, normal weight, underweight, tall, or short, in accordance with their species.  Their dominant features were long lean eyes, small mouths, and oblong heads.  Their entire bodies were covered with a downy fur, a recessive trait they retained from the climate on their birthworld of Havari. 

The Protectorate was comprised of twenty star systems.  The Harvarian species were the only sentients to occupy these systems at the time.  They were a strong and proud people.  When the Amengalish onslaught crashed through their stellar borders they fought fiercely, earning the respect of their enemy, just before falling to the mighty war machine.  Their bravery earned them an honored place among their conquerors.  During the Great War they remained loyal, until the rise of the Zradgen.  Having fought side-by-side with the Zradgen against the Majestic Rebellion, when the winds of war changed they knew enough to stand aside, and observe as the Zradgen brought genocide down upon the Amengalish. 

During the reformation of the Empire they acknowledged the Zradgen as their new lords, but not their masters.  This suited the Zradgen, for they wanted nothing more of war, and sought peace.  The Harvarian rediscovered their old ways and settled into a life of enlightenment.

Time passed, and the Empire changed. 

All became pawns of prophecy, beholden to the ravings of a sorcerer sentient, a sentient many considered to be mad.  However, his ravings were infectious, and moved the minds of the multitude.  Thousands were swayed.   The Empire made ready for war.  Power was consolidated, engines of destruction were awakened, and billions of sentients of various species under Zradgen rule began to feel the bite of their master’s teeth, as all were girded for conquest.

The Harvarian had remained strong during the time of peace.  They remained completely loyal until the day the Emperor believed the ravings of a sorcerer.  From that time until the present day they have continued to serve, appearing loyal, but secretly fomenting the fires of rebellion.  They could not outright separate themselves from the Zradgen.  Their homeworlds were surrounded by the Empire. 

They did what they could, spreading the light of reason to every corner of the Empire, while at the same time doing the Emperor’s bidding.  They became an entire species dedicated to the task of ending the war of conquest.  They met in secret.  They made alliances, and in their travails they came across a secret even larger then their own.

Not all Zradgen believed in the Emperor.  Not all Zradgen followed the Klaksory.  Not all Zradgen burned through and through for war, and the divine rite to wade in the blood of sentients.  Not all Zradgen yearned to evoke the memory of the long dead Amengalish.  They considered themselves to be True Zradgen, and they remained loyal to the Empire of old. 

There was a Fifth Column.

On the outer fringes of the Daaneen system hypserspace exit points opened, first one, then two, quickly followed by several.  Imperial Cruisers emerged from the gates into normal space.  The lead cruiser reconnoitered the area, and then transmitted a coded signal into hyperspace.  Suddenly, several more exit points opened, and the Fleet of the Imperial Guard emerged. 

The Imperial Guard Fleet, also known as the Emperor’s Own, was maintained apart from the vast Zradgen war fleet.  The Guard fleet was comprised of thirty of the most powerful vessels in the Majestic, able to lay waste to entire star systems.  Emperor Kdifoc’s personal cruiser was named the Kallhad.  It was a capital ship of immense size, bristling with weapons, enfolded in heavy armor plating, and protected by powerful energy shields. 

The fleet came to a stop just outside the orbit of the twelfth and outermost planet in the system, a small rock called Harfi.  The planet was the system’s defensive outpost, and primary checkpoint for gaining entry to the inner worlds.  It was armed with heavy plasma cannons, enough firepower to destroy a fleet of capital ships, if said ships were caught unawares with their shields down. 

On the bridge of the Khallad, none were unaware; all were prepared.  The Emperor’s Own did not fear plasma cannon, and recognized no checkpoint.

“Communications protocol and security parameters have been established,” said the Khallad’s comman.  “The Planetary Director of Harfi sends his personal greeting to the Imperial Guard, and the Emperor, and welcomes us to the Daaneen system.”

“Put him onscreen,” said Vardakos, the ship’s commander.

The Director’s image appeared on the bridge’s main screen. 

“The Emperor’s Own honors us with this visit,” said the Harvarian. “How may we be of service?”

Vardakos simply stared at him, saying nothing. 


“Stand by for the Emperor,” said Vardakos. 

“Standing by,” said a suddenly nervous Director.

Vardakos left the channel to the Director open, and turned to a small holoscreen floating at his side.   “Your Highness, we have the outpost Director onscreen.”  The Emperor was in the Khallad’s throne room, seated on his throne.

“Shall I put him through?”  Asked the Commander.

The Emperor laughed.  “Whatever for Vardakos?  Deliver my judgment immediately.”

“Understood your Highness.”

Vardakos had intentionally left the other line open, so the Director could hear.  Fear immediately took hold of him.  “Judgment?  What judgment?  Commander?”  

“Outpost Harfi targeted sir,” said the ship’s weaponsman.

“Excellent, weaponsman.  Destroy Harfi.”

The director looked incredulous.  “What?”  Behind him the room was full of activity.  Sentients were moving about at a mad pace.  The Director’s demeanor changed.  He sneered at Vardakos, and then cut the signal. 

“They are raising base shields and arming plasma cannon,” said the senseman. 

“It does not matter,” said Vardakos.  “They have no idea what we’ve brought with us.  Nothing they have will be enough.” 

The Imperial vessel Kallhad armed its weapons array.  Two long tusks, specialized weapons masts, were extended from holds in the fore of the vessel.  They glowed with tremendous amounts of deadly energy.  Suddenly, luminous spheres of plasma shot from each mast.  The plasma rounds struck Harfi in succession, one after another.  The planet shuddered, plumes of heat, soil, and rock rose from the surface.  Cracks formed.  A fleet of small vessels tried to flee the outpost.  They were doomed.  The planet exploded.    

The Commander turned to the holoscreen “Harfi destroyed, Your Highness.”         

“Now, send the first signal.  And we shall watch the dirt-eaters scurry.”

“Yes, Your Highness.  Comman, send the signal H1-Prime.”

The comman entered a command into his console, and a wideband signal was dispersed  through hyperspace. 

“Message sent sir,” said the comman.

“Your Highness, the message has been sent.”

The Emperor smiled.  “Excellent.”