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Vyz Ejstu

Dusk at Dawn. The Aether Backstory: Part 3

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Dusk at Dawn

 

"A new promise, a brand new hope.

Another chance, another life.

Beyond the skies, fly and elope.

Your path is yours, prospects are rife.

All will follow, and tug the rope.

Vive la difference! Views, thoughts and strife.

Friends will be made, build your own tope.

Foes will strike, play the fife.

The occasions, new life is borne,

The pale terrors, a dusk at dawn."

 

2 Ronhel Chapter 4, verses 57- 59. The Kalnian Books.  

 

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Despite my efforts to secure a safe landing for everyone, three Sections plunged from the atmosphere at breakneck speed. Two of those housed equipment and supplies—not much we couldn’t do without. The third one, however, held two hundred and fifty thousand people and there were no survivors. As I stood on the hill overlooking the blackened pile of bodies that didn’t make it, I felt ashamed. Just hours ago, we were rejoicing as the Cocoons warmed up their human cargo before waking them. In groups of fives and tens, they came out, shaking, scared, some were excited. As they realised they’d made it, they cried, shouted, laughed, danced or just stared in the distance out of utter amazement. The weather was windy and bright, the fields of green seemed to agree with our presence.

Eidolon reported that a few Sections had missed the correct entry angle and burnt up in the atmosphere, others floated off to deep space, but three, he warned, had gone dark—possibly as a result of the battering Terra Ulterior had taken from space debris. More than half a million people waited for the last set while laughing and talking. That was until they fell from the sky and hit the ground with a terrifying sound. It was the sound of death.

Here I stood, joy turned into sorrow as the wind conveyed the thick, repulsive stench of charred human corpses. Their remains were scattered over a radius of two miles. My eyes caught sight of a half-burnt piece of cloth, just beside a broken skull. I turned away. There was work to be done. We had to find a way to bury all these people, before diseases reared their heads on this planet as well. But, getting the people who had just anointed me as their saviour to do the task of undertakers was proving as difficult as raising the dead back to life.

 

“I don’t envy your job.” Jonathan said behind me as I moved to help a few people with the grim task.

 

Giving him a weak smile, I threw him the access card to the Section containing the heavy-duty vehicles.

 

“But, I will envy yours in a moment.”

 

As dusk set upon the planet, camps were being set up well away from the macabre scene. In a couple of days, the corpses would be well hidden and we could move on. In the meantime, I set about socialising and encouraging the survivors. Eidolon said the humans from the Ark ship had been on Alioth for three months. Gaining access to the Ark Ship’s records was proving a bit of a hurdle, even for Eidolon. He kept complaining about the schizophrenic and slightly mad AI of the Ark Ship: Aphelia, being too advanced for his liking. I could only listen to his complaints for so long before I set off to look for this famous Ark Ship and the humans that came in it.

There’s something about exploring at night that makes you feel unnecessarily alert. We hadn’t come across any animals, although we could hear them (which in its own right was strange), there were no humans around, but the people we came with for scores of miles around, and we had nothing to fear from supernatural incursions. Yet as I and my newly selected team of former diplomats and veterans crammed ourselves in three aircrafts, we were silent, almost paranoiac as the silent crafts glided through the darkness of night and under a spectacular scenery of stars and constellations.

The bays were mostly silent except for the occasional remark or short-lived humorous attempt to lighten our hearts. As we got closer to the majestic structure that stood out from the landscape, we began to see the first signs of human settlement. Small towns, villages and distinct enclaves lit up by lights and crafts. The skies were mostly clear, except for a few daring crafts that flew close to us and darted away all of a sudden.  It happened the first time, then the second and the third.

 

“They are warning us.” I told Meera—a good friend of mine and the best pilot I’d ever seen.

 

“I know, Hisashi. I can feel the tension in the air.”

 

I raised an eyebrow at her and returned to bay. Whatever it was, we had best be ready.

 

“Gentlemen, strap up and strap in. Prepare for evasive manoeu—“

 

And it came. Our Nightelf blared a lock-on alarm before the droning alarm of incoming missiles. The craft swerved to the left and upside down, throwing whoever wasn’t secured at the padded ceiling and to the hard sides.

 

“Vortex Three! ECM is your call! Vortex Two S&D is up your alley! Meera, stick with the aggro.” I shouted, even as my head slammed against a soldier’s shoulder.

The pilots of the other Nightelves acknowledged the commands and set to work. Meera, on the other hand, kept us flying at the walls and ceiling.

 

“It’s the madmen.” Eidolon hinted through my sub-dermal communication device.

 

“So soon?” I asked, scrambling for a harness as the craft levelled for a second. I barely made it and strapped myself in before Meera banked the craft hard.

 

“They are humans; they hardly need anytime to cause chaos.” Jenz said and began firing at the missile batteries. While we made it safely out of the danger zone, Eidolon battled to keep Aphelia from gaining unauthorised access to our crafts.

 

“Is this her doing?” Meera asked, sweating and out of breath.

 

“Ask her when you see her.” Eidolon replied and highlighted a craft through the screen. I sat in the co-pilots seat and pointed at the building it was heading for.

 

“Head there instead. Vortex Two, offset half a mile south and land. Vortex Three, remain airborne.”

 

Our Nightelf hovered a few metres over the ground while our security dropped down. Naturally, I dropped down first and proceeded to the stranger that led us here. Another one came from the building, waving her hands frantically.

 

“Get them out! Get those jets away!”

 

Meera uttered a curse and flew to the skies. Eight of the security detail swept the premises, while four came with me. Two missiles streaked over the horizon, following Meera.

Once inside the house, the strangers introduced themselves.

“Petrovsky. Lieutenant in the resistance.” The pilot said in a gruff voice, shaking my hand with a steel grip.

 

“Hisashi Susumu.” I replied, trying to release his grip from my hand.

 

“You are not one of us. Where did you come from?” Aditi, the woman asked.

 

I gave her the summary of who we were and where we came from, making sure to leave out important details.

In return, they let me know that the “madmen” had seized control of the area surrounding the Ark Ship. The Resistance, had tried to hail us, but the Nightelves communicated on a different frequency than the common one. We promised to return to help them fight back against the oppressors, giving them a highly inaccurate estimate of how many we were. Scarcely had we gone halfway through details and logistic support that Eidolon sounded a warning.

 

“There are almost a two hundred hostile troops in bound to your position. The Vortices can’t help right now: we don’t know the extent of the enemy’s anti-cloaking capabilities.”

 

I grunted, deep in thought and he snapped at me.

 

“Grunt one more time, and I will aid them in killing you.”

 

Absent-mindedly, I turned to the security detail.

 

“We’ll have to fight our way out of here.”

 

Petrovsky held my shoulder in a big hand.

 

“We have thirty Resistance soldiers here. We will get you out. I will call for reinforcement.”

 

With that, he jogged out of the door.  Aditi pushed somethings into my hands.

 

“Take this.”

 

I looked at the strange devices. Something in my head told me they weren’t unfamiliar.

 

“It’s a kadpak and a nanoformer. I don’t think you have any in your ships.”

 

I stared at her, liking the Resistance more until an explosion jerked my attention.

 

“Stay together, guys. Let’s give them hell. For blood!”  

 

They raised their weapons and screamed into the night.

 

“For blood!”

 

 

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"Good day, Undaren. I appreciate the positive feedback I'm getting from you. Here's the link to fourth part : For Blood. 

Kindly let me know what you think once you're done reading it.

"

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Nice use of the nanoformer and kadpak to really bring the lore into the game.

 

About how many people in total didn't make it to Alioth, roughly +750k people?  So did Oethe lose over 50% of it's people?

 

Talk about a rough start for Hisashi... I wouldn't evny his job either!

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