The End of an Era
Space was calm. Quiet. Because of the vacuum, no sound travels, no vibrations felt. An explosion the size of a world won't be felt in the next system over. So it was no surprise that the billions of inhabitants of Apex City, the planet-wide sprawl covering most of the planet Haven, were entirely obvlivious to the danger--the manifestaion of death that hung in the sky abvoe them. Hector Plan, bootlegger and smuggler extrordinare surveyed the space around the enourmous urban sprawl of a planet. There were ships, coming and going, obvlivious to what was instore for them. At the corner of his eye, Plan saw a distortion. The tell-tale bulge of reality that denotes a ship reverting to normal space. But this one was enourmous. It had a diameter a total of 12000 meters, covering an area large enough to dump a small armada into Haven space. Plan would've been worried if it hadn't been coming from the direction of the galactic edge. Mraxis, to be precise. It was undoubted that the formerly peacful world of Mraxis, entrypoint to this galaxy from the Milky Way, was now the Master Base of Operations for the Martian invasion forces.
But still, nothing in all of Plan's forty-four years of experience as a starfarer, as a criminal, or as a traitor to his people could have prepared him for the spectacle exiting hyperspace before his eyes. So this was Battlestar. The ship Mars boasted--no, promised--could destroy all the forces of this galaxy in a single shot. "It was enourmous" would be an understatment the magnitued of half the universe. The ship must have been over 20000 meters long and at least 4000 wide. The entire thing was covered in enourmous sharp poiints that jutted out into space, and the whole of the deadly package resembled a cycloptic metal sea urchin. Hector's stomach sank.
"Daucht," Plan swore out loud. The Martian's had no intention of subduing Haven. They were going to annihalate it. And for the first time in his adult life, Hector Plan felt a strong, deep regret.
Down on the planet, in a relatively small building, there was a single woman. Kiva Andur stood, letting the water fall, run down her well toned body. She was still trying to shower off the night before. She had been sent to assassinate a member of the Criminal Alliance, but when she got there, he was gone, but left a group of about twenty assassination robots to deter any one who might show up at his house. Kiva had fought them off with her typical grace and deadly efficiency. Killing was her business, and it made it easier to be effecient when her targets were mindless drones.
To tell the deepest and most honest of the truths she knew, she was tired of all the killing. From watching her father killed at 12, to wathcing her mother die five years later, to becoming the choice mercenary for all manner of unscroupulous pirates, Andur had seen her fair share of violence. It wasn't just her own jobs that wearied her, though. The Galaxy had been engulfed in almost a continual war since 2400--that was almost 20 years. Indeed, though now refferred to as seperate "Galactic Wars" history would likely remember the period as a blur of conflict. If history was still there to remember. The martian invasion had been going on for months with no end in sight. It seemed as if the invaders from the Milky Way would have this galaxy as their own. Planet by planet was falling to the savage, yet advanced, race of musclebugs.
A sudden surge of ki energy in the system, felt by Kiva's own Veijan sixth sense, alerted her that a very very large group of ships had entered this system. Didn't feel like humans, but space and distance could distort ki signatures. And maybe they weren't humans. Perhaps a Nodian fleet had entered Haven space to declare martial protectorate status. Despite Apex's astronomical crime-rate and corrupt government, Haven was considered a valuable international resource for it's factories and potential wokers. And of course, to some, there was always basic compassion.
But not all was right.The water coming from the faucet in Kiva's shower began to cool, and the primary light switch flickkered off. The secondary light fixture came on, dimly lighting the bathroom. Kiva turned off the shower and stepped out, grabbing a towel and drying herself. Kiva stepped over to the mirror and took an introspective look. After the entire episode involving Taurim Ueiva and the Eyes of Vengeance cult ten years ago, Kiva had finally broken down and gotten her scars repaired. She still kept two, however, ironically the most distinct. The one across her left cheek, obtained during her torture at the hand of magistrate Tol'Sor during the Tol'gil'fa masacre, she left to remind her of her failure, the number of civilians who died, the nuber of Cortez's men that died, all because of her failure. The other, a short-but deep gash on her forehead, reminded her of the failure at Texas those ten years ago, and how she should have been faster, shoud have been stronger. The scars of her failures pushed her to attempted perfection--the only way she could survive in a galaxy falling to pieces. She left the bathroom, not bothering to dress, knowing her apartment was empty. As she expected, all primary power was out, but her modified holocomputer seemed to be on, if not working. This bothered her. Power outages were common in such a disrepaired section of the city, But Kiva sensed more than low electricity.
She felt panic
Hector, above the doomed world in the Zeven H-33 frigate Pride of Neptune, looked on with horror at the spectacle unfolding. He stood in the aft observation deck, looking at the ship and the planet it condemned with a resolute horror, wishing he was in a nightmare, or drunk, or both. The officer nearest him stepped over and nuged him from his stupor with an elbow.
"This is going to be a great show," said helmsman Sarsil Best, appearantly unfased by the scourging of a world.
"Great? Billions of people are about to die! And you just want to watch?" said Plan. Hector thought of his wife Eiva and their kids, thankful beyond words that they were safe at the far side of the galaxy on Bristol.
"Hey. As long as it isn't me," replied Best, with half the certainty of his first statement."Besides, Haven is Yee's turf. If it's gone, then maybe when this war is over, we'll be able to compete with him. Maybe even topple him."
"Don't you get it?" came Plan's reply. "After this war--if the Martians win--there will be no 'turf'!!! They aren't going to conquer this galaxy! They are going to destroy it. They didn't warn us to get off Haven because they care for us! They just keep us alive because we're useful. That thing can't be everywhere--but when this war is over, we'll be just as dead as this galaxy..."
A sudden look of interest from Best caused Plan to turn his head back from the recipient of his rage to the viewport, and Hector's jaw dropped. Incalcuable amounts of energy flowed to the enourmous sharp protrusions from Battlestar's hull, growing to encompass the massive vessel in a see of charged particles. And then, the huge "eye" of the ship, focused the flow of destructive force into into a massive ball of light in the cusp of the forwardmost extensions on the Battlestar, which were curved in like a four-talonned claw.
Then, an equally massive shaft of light lanced out from the cusp, and the focus in the cusp grew smaller. And Sarsil Best just sat there and smirked the hole time, awed and pleased by the burning of his rival's planet.
If Hector had had a weapon, he would hav