Rough Draft: “Pandora-A”

Pandora-A

All accounts and events of this book are entirely fictional and do not reflect the opinions of the author.”

  1. Battle in Space

There was once an Empire of the Sun, one of unrivalled power, that dominated the galaxy in the Early Pleistocene Epoch, about 130,000 years ago, and all current galactic society descended from that…blah, blah, blah. All I care about is ending this argument, somehow, some way. The MSI Pharmaceutical Trade Conglomerate and the allied Southern Cross Confederation have made my life miserable for the past 6 months, and it appears that diplomacy isn’t working at all. The fleets in my charge are waiting for orders, and it appears that a massive galactic coalition is going to be necessary to stop the colossal fleets of the Conglomerate. Lyn Mellern took control of the Conglomerate after the former CEO, Pyotr Zaporokov, stepped down in response to a collapsing corporate profit. Lyn, a very determined, yet soft-spoken girl, quickly decided that, in order to preserve company holdings and maintain investments from traders, the Conglomerate needed to defend itself by force. Lyn, and her Viceroy, Count Anton Zandt, who had strange sorcerer powers, began exploring military options; they converted their security robots into infantry units, and clandestinely designed various robotic starfighters, called “Buzzards.” These things are wicked fast, merciless and mass-produced in such numbers that for every one you destroy, 10 more are built on the Conglomerate assembly lines. They’re also lethal as hell, and can easily outmaneuver any manned craft. Also, there are the “Screamin’ Mimis,” these are the heavy fighters, armed with concussion missiles, they can also launch “Scrappers,” or small robots that, when released by missiles, will literally rip an enemy fighter apart in flight. These fighters also have incredibly powerful laser cannons for a fighter. On the ground, the Conglomerate has huge, anti-gravity tanks as well. Many are shielded too. However, if war comes tomorrow, I’m ready for the crusade. The Republic and its allies, the Orion Consortium, the Ozark Order and the Confederation of the Roan, shall emerge victorious. My name is Wallace Kearny, and I am prepared to fight to victory…or death…FOR THE FIRST COALITION!!!

No sooner had I penned those words in my journal that the ship’s klaxon blared very loudly throughout the huge warship, in high orbit around the planet Athelemare, a peaceful, green world on the Outer Rim of the Milky Way Galaxy. “That’s interesting…maybe the Conglomerate is getting a little jumpy…” I thought as I grabbed my sword and blaster rifle, preparing for any battle that might occur. I was still dressed in my Admiral’s uniform, a white uniform with a red cape, epaulets and medals, and I stepped out into the hallway, with other crewmembers yelling “Man the guns!! Get the starfighters ready to launch!! This is not a drill!!” “Admiral Kearny, sir, you’d best get to the bridge, they’re going to need you guidance!” “I’m way ahead of you, crewman.” I said, on my way up to the bridge of the United Human Republic assault carrier Arrestor, shaped like a gigantic flying squid; it flew backwards, just like a squid’s jet propulsion, and had its ion and laser batteries on the bow, the “tail” of the squid, as well as a proton-torpedo launcher and mass driver cannon underneath it. As I climbed onto the bridge, the crew saluted as I took my seat in the commander’s chair, and then I saw the adversary. Two Conglomerate Scythe-class destroyers and a huge Lucrative-class battleship, which was an improved, combat-purposed version of the colossal freighters used by the Conglomerate, before Lyn truly militarized the company. “Well, if she wants war…All ships fire at will! Burn their flesh from their bones!!!” I yelled, as the ion and laser cannons opened fire on the Lucrative-class ship, as did the mass-drivers, capable of punching through energy shielding. Just then, the swarm of Buzzard fighters, as well as boarding craft, were making their way over to the ship. “Boarding craft!! Prepare the Republic Marines for defense of the ship!” I ordered; the Republic Marines, in their red and black uniforms, charged up to the docking ports, as our fighters streaked into the black, triggering a colossal maelstrom of laser blasts, calls of “BUZZARDS!!” and “SCRATCH ONE!! FOR THE REPUBLIC!!!” It was a truly cataclysmic battle and it between just 6 capital ships. I sat in the chair and watched my pilots and gunners smash through the mechanized Conglomerate fighters; I thought…’Silly woman, you can’t fight a war with just robots…’ “The battleship’s shields are down!!” “HIT IT WITH ALL YOU’VE GOT!!!” I screamed, as the ships shuddered: the boarding party had arrived. “CLOSE THOSE BLAST DOORS!!!” I yelled, as the doors slid shut, unless they had satchel charges, they weren’t blowing through that. The security cameras aboard the Arrestor captured the battle on E-deck, with the heavily-armed and white-armored Pharmacy Conglomerate troops and the equally-well armored Republic Marines, who were shooting at each other ferociously, with men on both sides dropping from blaster fire left and right. Just as the security camera shorted out from a blaster shot, the enemy battleship could take no more. The side of the ship completely exploded from a mass-driver impact, and began to break apart, crumbling into a huge space wreck. “That’s one! Focus fire on those destroyers, have the fighter squadrons destroy them with proton torpedo strikes! They shouldn’t last long!” “All right, you heard the Admiral!! Alpha Echelon, you’re with me, blanket those destroyers with torpedoes if you’ve got any left!! Beta Echelon, keep those Buzzards busy!!” the commander said, relaying my orders to the pilots. “Good news sir! The Conglomerate troops are falling back!!” “Don’t let any escape; prepare to pursue the boarding craft!” As I gave that order, the other destroyer, one that hadn’t been bombed, suddenly detonated in a colossal explosion. “What the hell?! Who shot that charge!?” “I DON’T KNOW SIR!!! WE DIDN’T SHOOT THAT THING!” “Then who did?!” Suddenly, I saw a very eerie-looking ship, almost as black as the space around it; it zoomed right past the bridge viewports. “Weird, that ship didn’t look like one of ours…” one of my crewmen said. “Agreed…it’s unidentified.” I grumbled, however, that grumble was turned into a sigh of relief as the final destroyer exploded, and the remaining Buzzard fighters dispersed. “That’s one in the left column. Great work, gentlemen.” I said, watching the space wrecks of the Conglomerate ships break apart into smaller and smaller bits. I realized, however, that this was just the beginning. The war had just begun, and as soon as Republic High Command on Earth found out about this, they would attempt to make contact with the Conglomerate in an attempt to make some sort of concession, but the efficacy of that would be as successful as teaching a cat to get up and dance the tango. Lyn was very determined and focused on her own goals, and she would not stop until they were achieved. I knew that for a fact. I actually wondered how this was going to work out…probably in a very cataclysmic manner. I knew we were going to be in for a tough slog, to say the least. However, the Republic was ready, I was ready, and the fleet was ready. “Do your worst…” is all I could think. As the ship prepared to depart for Earth again, I looked at a war propaganda poster from the Conglomerate, as well as several items found within that military’s forces. The poster showed a picture of Lyn standing as a towering figure, her hand extended in a forward motion with hundreds of soldiers sanding at her feet, each one holding a flag with the insignia of the Conglomerate on it, a winged staff with a snake coiled around it, with a Polish cross underneath it, the symbol of the Winged Hussars. Underneath the picture, there was a huge rallying cry written in Russian. Also, some of my soldiers had procured several weapons used by the Conglomerate, including the AK-779 blaster rifle, as well as a ceremonial knife, awarded to the Medical Youth Corps cadets upon graduation, usually by Count Anton, who was one hell of a commander; he was a genius and had single-handedly crushed 3 armies at once, not done since Napoleon at Austerlitz. If anyone was going to stop the Republic, it was going to be him. That’s why the Republic needed to eliminate him before he could smash the Republic fleet silly. He was also in charge of the Military and Defense Ministry, and had been researching such ships as the Imperatorial-class battle cruiser, more than 3 miles long, the hangar-less Praetorian-class cruiser, just as large as the Imperatorial-class, but with insanely thick armor and supremely powerful shields, as well as the massive Caesar-class super-cruiser, more than 6 miles long and armed with colossal laser and ion batteries; the Count also was in charge of the development of super weapons, which was very, very bad news. If even one of these projects was successful, the Republic wouldn’t stand a chance. Also, there was the matter of the Southern Cross Federation, and their allegiance to the Conglomerate. The Southern Cross was originally a pseudo-Christian group of Southern U.S. radicals, leaving Earth in an attempt to reach Heavenly afterlives; over the centuries, their culture evolved into a socially-liberal, laissez-faire society that let science and technology develop at a blistering, unchecked pace, but with pious morality always in mind, even though the technology was completely unchecked…God wanted humanity to use their brains as much as possible; there were no rules to what experiments could be performed and on what subject. They believed that this technology would bring them closer to God, and assure their position in Heaven. Perhaps the most controversial policy adopted by the Southern Cross Federation, however, was the concept of “societal eugenics.” Through magnetism, biological and neuro-chemical engineering and splicing, the Southern Cross Federation had linked each other’s minds, turning their society into one huge collective organism, and only those fit for life amongst the people were excluded from society. The Republic immediately pointed its guns at the Federation after this, and, because of that, the Federation had allied itself with the Conglomerate. I know this all too well…I was one of the exiled ones, not included in the collectivization of the Federation. After being exiled, I was hired and conscripted by the Republic; after being denied the opportunity to achieve “post-human” status, I fight against the Empires and Federations I once served. The Federation, led by two of Lyn’s best friends, Charlotte and Claire, command the fleets, and their goal is to bring all who are worthy into the collective mind, and destroy all unworthy individuals. We must stop that from happening. I would rather die by some Conglomerate ship’s guns than be brainwashed and absorbed into the collective mind. The Tempelritter knights, armed with swords capable of slashing through solid steel, were the elite front-line troops of the Federation, some of them used lethal assassin rifles; these were called the “Tempelritter Sentinels,” other knights were dual-wielding military machines; these were called “Tempelritter Weapon Masters.” They were so lethal that they didn’t use shielded armor, just their heavily customized and adorned armor, as well as the Legio, or helmets. As the Arrestor returned to regular duties, I looked at pictures of the planet Serenity, the headquarters of the Pharmacy Conglomerate. It was a paradise planet, with mild climate, warm, tropical breezes, minimal geological activity, green fields, lush rainforests, mighty conifer forests, and sun-kissed beaches along huge, shallow seas covering low-lying land, with the abyssal seas much further out. It was a very diverse planet, yet the Conglomerate factories, research labs, military assembly lines, and huge farmhouses, usually owned by oligarchs and the corporate elite, and totally wrecked the place. Lyn lived in a colossal plantation house, with 4 floors, a marble façade, and an interior made to look just like the interior of the Titanic. There was a huge picture of her hanging up on the outside wall, as well, with huge, terraced gardens full of flowers of many species, including some very rare ones. It looked somewhat like the Czar’s Winter Palace on Earth. That building aside, there were vast grain fields behind the mansion, with Cossacks harvesting it in the heat of the sun, singing songs such as “The Reapers are Reaping” and “Oh, we wipe the sweat from our Brows,” even though some of them drove huge tractors. The Cossacks, however, were paid above minimum wage and given kurin’, or long houses, to live in, and they still maintained much of their culture, However, Lyn could be quite the stickler with what the farmers grew. For example, she often gave exact numbers of how much grain needed to be harvested; requests such as “900.33224 lbs. were common. Also, there was one particular instance where she asked that the potatoes be harvested, the tulip bulbs planted, the flowers watered, the horses’ stables cleaned, the grain seeds be hand-picked from the plant itself, the reapers sharpen their scythes because they were too dull, and wanted it all done within 3 days. The Cossacks, as well as every other peasant on the planet Serenity, were getting sick of these almost Czarist abuses, but they dare not speak out, for fear of the Oprichinki, or the black-uniformed guard force that made sure everyone was doing their job, they served as Sam’s shock-troopers, led by none other than Lyn’s younger brother, Andrew. Despite the strict work code, there was always a colossal harvest festival come fall, where the Cossacks…and the elite, came to eat, drink and be merry. Lyn usually sang a song at these places, as well as received offerings of wheat from the Cossack employees. However, as I stood up from the command chair, I was handed a camera and sensor scan of the ship that blew up the other destroyer. What do you make of this?” I looked at the ship; it was a sleek, eerie gray ship with two solar-panel fins on the rear of the fuselage, with the cockpit being right in the center of the fins and fuselage, with red lights on the front of the cockpit, and no visible windows. The lights made the ship look like it had red, glaring eyes. I looked for the ship’s registration number; it said “FAB-C5117” “That’s not a Republic ship, and it certainly isn’t a Conglomerate or Federation one either.” I said. “Perhaps they’re rogues, just mercenaries or vigilantes, sir.” my navigator asked, rather apprehensive. “Well, if they can rip a Scythe-class in half with one shot, then their assistance is very welcome indeed. Whoever can fly that thing and dodge 35 Buzzards and Screamin’ Mimis on their tail is one crack pilot.” That curiosity would have to wait. I just received a message from Earth. “Move all fleets into position. The Conglomerate had declared war. God speed and good luck to you, and do not rest until Lyn has dug her own grave and shot into it.” We were shipping out. Serenity or bust!!

  1. Snow way out!!

On the planet Glacia, Lyn and Viceroy Count Anton were poised in thought, with Lyn wearing her ridiculously thick winter coat; it looked more like a Halloween costume, with just her face peeping out of it, you could barely see her. The Viceroy was dressed in a Russian outfit, with a very warm uniform, cape and a fuzzy Uchanka hat with the symbol of the Conglomerate, and pacing back and forth in front of a huge machine in a snowy cave on the far side of the planet; in one of the most isolated, inhospitable places in the galaxy, they had made the discovery of the ages. “So, go on, open that thing!” Lyn said in her tiny, high-pitched voice. Viceroy Anton placed his hand on the handprint shape on the machine. Suddenly, a huge beam of light blasted from the top of the egg-shaped vessel, and it started to open, slowly but surely revealing a huge map of the galaxy. “Wow…that’s really something…” the Viceroy said, looking at the map of every planet in the galaxy; simply by touching it, one could see a precise readout of the planet’s surface, climate, and more. “What exactly are we looking for?” the Viceroy asked, rather curious as to why Lyn had dragged him and the rest of HIGHCOM out to this frozen hellhole to read some kind of map. “This map shows the location of something called the “Foundry,” which is an orbital factory that can manufacture anything its controller desires, by unknown means…however, just think if we would find it and get control of it, we’d have an unlimited supply of ships…but not troops. I think that Charlotte’s got the right idea by committing her fleet to ours. The Republic’s treatment of the Southern Cross confederation is not forgivable. That’s why the Republic just needs to…well; buzz off, to say the least. “Well, the Expeditionary Fleet sent into Republic space was obliterated by an Admiral named Wallace Kearny, and apparently a rogue ship called “Dark Horse,” as well. Lyn was rather stunned at both of those names. “I thought Wallace was dead…and what ship did you say destroyed the fleet?” “The Dark Horse.” The Viceroy explained. “Those stupid backstabbers, they steal from the fleet and use our ultimate fighter prototype against us? People like them disgust me; they knew me and valued me as a friend for our entire lives, until they decided to defect…they need to be killed. No one steals from me!” Lyn squealed in a cute but somewhat screechy way. “Calm down, Lyn, there’s no reason to squeal. We have to focus on getting to that Foundry, because if the Republic finds it first, we’re dead.” “You know what? You’re right. We really need to focus on what really matters, not some group of traitors that went rogue.” “When am I ever wrong?” the Viceroy said. Just then, two young women walked up behind the Viceroy and Lyn. They were dressed in imperial regalia, with their long, blonde hair covered by traditional Greco-Byzantine headdresses and hats, long white dresses and the words “PACEM-BELLUM” emblazoned boldly on their dresses. “Oh, Annie and Krista, so nice of you to join us.” Viceroy Anton said, rather perplexed. “Why the hell is everyone standing around this map like it’s some kind of holy idol?” “Because that’s what it is, Viceroy. This map was built by the Myuut’suu, an ancient society of supreme beings that lived here more than 130,000 years ago; they built a supreme civilization, which spanned a far greater distance than anything humanity has ever done. This supreme race was unimaginably advanced, and was a master of all technologies, it is said that they disappeared because of a great war with a ghoulish, nightmarish enemy. This Foundry is just one of their mind-boggling creations; I’ve got no idea how the heck it works, but it will produce anything that anyone tells it to. It’s a huge weapon, and it definitely scares me a little bit.” Krista and her twin sister Annie said, expressing their concerns. “Like I was saying earlier, if the Foundry is a weapon, and we gain control of it, we can use it to completely crush the Republic, and then create the grand dream of Charlotte and Claire and their desire to create a United Human Collective, linking everyone’s brains and minds together like a human Internet, where we control everything with a few buttons, switches and levers, and there will be no more anger, sorrow or envy. All will be peaceful.” “I bet the Republic’s thinking the exact same thing about the Foundry, if they even know.” Lyn added. “Well, then we’d better beat them to it. Prepare to depart for the planet Zaporozhe II, according to this map, we’ll find the next idol there.” “Agreed.” Lyn responded. The entire HIGHCOM staff, Lyn, the twins and the Viceroy departed on their shuttle craft, back up to the main fleet, led by the Arrow-class super-dreadnaught Seraphim Storm.” As the Viceroy flew into the blackness of space on the shuttle, he looked on at the colossal ship looming out of the darkness in front of him. This was Lyn’s flagship, and, as such, it was given a totally different paint job than the rest of the fleet. The ship, as per its name, was an arrowhead-shaped vessel with huge, forward-mounted canards to allow it to fly in atmospheric conditions, with huge, crimson streaks of paint along its 3-mile long hull, and an added weapon: a huge, blazing Proton Beam cannon, rumored to be the prototype of a weapon even more terrifying. As the transport shuttles landed back in the main hangar bay, a huge army of robotic infantry greeted their arrival, as did the ship’s human bridge crew, dressed in their black robes and capes. “Ten-HUT!!” the guard brigade said as Viceroy Anton Zandt and Grand Leader Lyn Mellern walked past, followed by more than 30 BX-1 Infantry Units, these were the basic form of mechanized infantry used by the Conglomerate; they were bipedal, human-like bots, that had a mechanical voice that spoke English, but could be programmed to speak other languages if need be. There were many more, including units such as the BX-2, an improved, more heavily-armored infantry unit, the “Reaper” unit, or DK-77, a bizarre, floating ball which uncoiled to become a crab-like instrument of blistering doom to any Republic trooper foolish enough to get in its way and even projected its own shield generators, the QR-9 “jump-jet” unit, basically a BX-2 with a jet pack and a shotgun as well as an integrated blaster rifle, to correct the design flaw of the BX-1 dropping their weapon in case of damage, the GD-III, a huge tank unit that looked somewhat similar to a whelk snail and advanced slowly, it was a huge weapons platform, with laser cannons, rockets and concussion missile launchers, and the FF-90, a faster and even more bizarre looking unit that rolled across the battlefield on enormous hoop wheels, similar to an inverted bicycle, but armed with huge batteries of anti-tank missiles and heavy laser cannons capable of smashing a Republic or even an Orion Halcyon tank in one shot. They were easy to destroy, however…if you could hit them. As Lyn and the Viceroy walked into the main hallway on E-deck, Anton heard a rather noisy ruckus in the main dining hall. “What the heck?” he said as he opened the door and saw hundreds of crewmen drinking beer and singing in German; most of the Conglomerate spoke German, Russian, Polish and English, with a few exceptions. “What in death’s name is going on here?!” “Ah! Comrade Anton, it’s Oktoberfest!” “Who authorized this?” the Viceroy said, rather aggravated. “That sign!” the drunken crewman yelled, slurring his words and pointing at an old sign handing on the bulletin board.” The sign was falling off the board and was nearly 6 months old, but still looked relatively new, however, the loud German music was incessant, and the Viceroy was always a big fan of alcohol and Oktoberfest in particular. “Well, if you can’t beat them…Hoch Sieg!!!” The Viceroy took a stein of beer and drank it, as the song Regimentsgruss Marsch began playing loudly. However, the Viceroy wasn’t finished yet. He walked through the crowd and jumped onto one of the tables, and gave a speech.

On this day, the New Order had dawned. No more will the Republic’s laws crawl within our skulls. No longer will we suffer beneath the oppressive, weak influence of democracy. ‘Die Gedanken sind Frei:” All thoughts are free, and we are free to choose alternatives to democracy if we need to. You see, democracy, in itself, is a form of dictatorship, as is all government. Even the ‘fair and just’ policies of the Republic hold us chained to an ideal that we are all expected to support by the establishment. This ‘status quo’ is not only unnecessary, but, in forcing people to believe in democracy, democracy has become the very thing it tries to avoid becoming: a one-philosophy government. In order to truly grasp the scope of the universe, one must embrace…a larger view of the way politics and humanity function, and the fact that war is sometimes an absolute necessity to free our ideas from the prison of petty morality, democracy and piety. That is the Conglomerate’s purpose, to educate the galaxy that democracy is a rather ineffective policy and that, sometimes, men grow tired of liberty and justice, and seek a strong leader, a rallying figurehead. In those scenarios, dictatorships do better than democracies, and such governments always lead their people to victory, no matter how many lives are lost. It’s high time that the Congress learn that democracy fails. We are the new masters!!”

The Viceroy was met by a cheer and a simultaneous rising of steins and the chanting of “SIEG!! SEIG!!! SEIG!!!” The Conglomerate could only move upward from there on out, as their plan to unite humanity under one collective brain was progressing well. However, at that point, the spacers just wanted to enjoy their festivities aboard the Seraphim Storm, the Iron Fist of the Conglomerate, motto: “To err is human…to forgive is not.” The ship was crewed by 150,000 men and hundreds of thousands of robotic units of all types; possessed 1200 laser batteries, 1100 ion cannons and the massive proton beam cannon, as well as huge torpedo bays. Just then, the ship started moving, bound for the Republic-held planet of Zaporozhe II, where there was a considerable Republic presence, thanks to a military base near the equator. The Viceroy secretly longed to be home, however, back on Serenity, where his 800-foot super yacht, the Lordly Iron Hand, and its sister ship, the Lucid Siren, which was Lyn’s boat, would sail the deep seas of the peaceful paradise world. When the two yachts sailed in formation, their luxurious hulls slicing through the waves, it was a true symbol of power and prestige. Each yacht was perhaps the most luxurious in the galaxy, it gave the ocean liners of the early 20th century a run for their money, with a huge pipe organ at the base of the sweeping Glorious Stairwell, which topped off the Main Anteroom, with the hallways leading to a stage theater, a world-class dining room, lit with chandeliers and with spiral staircases leading to the upper deck of the 2-deck dining room; where the rarified elite parties, cotillions and dinner celebrations, usually with the corporate elite and the oligarchs from Serenity were held; they were celebrating being rich and powerful; the fact that the elite dining room was above the commoner hall was no coincidence. The common peoples’ “natural superiors,” that is, the wealthy elites, ruled all aspects of the Conglomerate. It was a true “elite-class” society, where the fate of the many depended on the whims of the few. However, his duty to the Conglomerate came first. “The reapers are reaping…” the Viceroy hummed as he looked out over the infinite abyss of stars in space. The stars began to wink out as the fleet jumped to Quantum Space. “I am a sovereign Viceroy of the Conglomerate…and I will shed the enemy’s blood.” Anton said, before taking his seat in the commander’s chair. The fleet disappeared into the blackness of space.

  1. Invasion!

“This is Count Anton; all mechanics prep the fighters for launch! Get moving you bunch of bums!!” “Roger that, Squadrons A-G are prepared and on-line.” “Good, launch on my mark…3…2…1…GO!!” Hundreds of Buzzards, Screamin’ Mimis and gunships, crewed by actual BX-1 units, zoomed towards the small Republic fleet around the green planet, with “Iron-Jaw” space-bombers, once again crewed by BX-1 units, following them. The Republic forces were seriously outgunned and the battle in space was not going to last very long. Immediately, the bombers began pounding the Republic frigates, cracking their shields open with proton bombs and concussion missiles, and completely destroying the missile cruisers, capable of firing missiles at ranges of 440,000 kilometers. With that threat eliminated, the capital ships moved in for the kill. Anton had his ships lined up like a squad of Redcoats during the Revolutionary War, so that the ships could “fire for effect” with a method called “crossing the T;” that is, fire in a broad spectrum, pummeling the downrange area with torpedoes, laser blasts and missiles. It was a lethal tactic, provided the missile cruisers were eliminated, as a missile barrage would rip the formation apart. One by one, the enemy capital ships blew apart from the incessant laser, ion and missile barrage, the shields vaporized and the hulls were shredded, with the pitiful escape pods struggling to escape, but the Buzzard fighters chased them to the bitter end; it was because of these tactics that the Viceroy was so feared. “The Republic fleet lies in ruins. Prepare the invasion force; I need to see this planet burn…” As the Unit fighters mopped up the rest of the Republic fighters, the honorable human pilots of the Conglomerate Starfighter Legion jumped into the F-5 “Griffon” fighters to escort the enormous landing barges, loaded down with tanks, both Unit and Human infantry, and Lance-class solar-powered aircraft, these were wicked fast but extremely delicate, but packed a truly lethal proton beam cannon, like the one on the Seraphim Storm, these were crewed by only the best pilots. The human infantry soldiers typically wore white, full-body armor with many variants, such as the basic Infantry kit, the Engineer kit, the Commander kit, the Jump-Jet kit, the Sniper kit and the CQB kit, not to mention the Advanced Supercommando Troopers, and the Wolf Pack troopers. Their armor was often shielded, and the ASTs were so well disciplined that they could accomplish a mission by themselves. They were trained with any weapon at all, and the armor was often customized for various tasks. The starfighters launched into the blackness of space, and swooped into action behind the legions of Unit fighters. “Knock out all those orbital elevators!” Count Anton barked into the starfighters’ command consoles. “Will do! For the Conglomerate!!” the F-5 fighter pilots yelled through their full-head helmets. The manned fighters, as well as the Buzzards and Screamin’ Mimis, fired barrages of lasers and concussion missiles at the orbital stabilizers, keeping the huge, tethered space elevators from falling out of orbit; within just 15 seconds, the elevators started to teeter, and slowly fall into the planet’s atmosphere. “Yes…continue bombardment of those space stations! I want every single one destroyed, especially those uplink towers!” Count Zandt sat in his chair, held his head low; his eyes started to glow an eerie red, as the room he sat in became charged with an evil energy. “Keen a fot mii ier mony dorre…Kast inna lamunno KASHKA!!!” Count Zandt began chanting in a very disturbing, chilling language, one that simply made your skin crawl. As the battle raged outside the spaceship, he contacted a dark presence, on the other side. “My lords of Darkness…please hear my cry. May I, the Dark Lord of the Naga, in the names of the 300 other Lords before me and the glorious Naga Empire, gain strength to control the fates of my enemies, and the actions of my allies.” “It is all done…no lies…it is all done…no lies.” a voice hissed, in a very demonic tone. Just then, two sickly, spectral, ghostly hands emerged from the wall, “Take a large dog, and a small one, and with their blood, mix it in a vessel of copper, with a Hickory Horned Devil caterpillar and a dust of saffron, and you shall have your wish…” the eerie voice hissed. “Thank you, My Lords.” The eerie aura disappeared and the room returned to normal. “This is Commander of Wrath Squadron; we’ve destroyed the elevators and are preparing to invade. “Commence invasion. Make them quake in fear.” Anton said, rather haughtily. He needed to kill a small dog and a large one; however, the definition of “dog” was open to interpretation. He had one particular family in mind, one of very deep religious faith. The Hagen family, as they were called, was very well-educated, but their faith completely irked Count Anton to the end. Faith was completely irrelevant, and, as a sorcerer, believed that the entire Hagen family deserved and would, by the sweat and blood of his existence, die a painful, agonizing death. The “dogs” would be slaughtered, and their blood spilled into the cauldron of contagion, along with a caterpillar and saffron dust. They lived on the planet below, but the family was very wealthy, and had many guards. Anton would deal with that later, however. He needed to focus on the initial invasion

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