- This story describe an encounter between the Yr'thali, Virnos (created by Holbenilord) , and Thesserex.
- Warning: This story contains strong language. Reader discretion is advised.
The following voice recording was retrieved by the Yr'thali Fleet aboard the Camazotz, a derelict Yr'thali research vessel orbiting Charon.
Chapter 1: Something Wicked This Way ComesEdit
"Terasan protect me, Terasan guide me; Terasan, god of blades; Terasan, god of shields; I beseech you now, in my hour of need, in the hour of what I fear to be my death...I beg you, help me...
My...my name is Reeshan Pa'atun. I am...was...the Communications Officer aboard a research vessel, the Camazotz. We were part of an expeditionary force enroute to the Umbra System, sent to investigate a planet that was somehow able to maintain orbit around a black hole. There were two other ships sent with us; the Aerelus, another research vessel, and the Athena, our military escort. We don't know what happened to the Aerelus, but the Athena is destroyed. All hands went down with the ship, gods rest their souls. It's been...about three days, I think...since this whole thing started.
Everything was routine as we left Zeiklos. We were approaching a Rift Station in deep orbit around the sun when the Navigation Officer spoke.
'Captain, there's something unusual here', she said.
'What is it?', replied the captain.
'A large meteoroid cluster just entered sensor range, but...they're moving.'
'That's not very unusual', said the Captain.
'Yes, but when I first detected it, it was heading directly towards the sun. It just changed trajectory.'
'Changed trajectory? To where?', asked the Captain, concerned.
The bridge was silent. Everyone was thinking the same thing. Was this is it? Was this to be our first contact with another race?
'Yes Captain?', I asked, nervous; I hadn't been Comm Officer for very long, and I was still apprehensive around the Captain.
'Contact the Athena. Link me up with Captain Oros.'
I quickly activated the wireless network that linked each ship with the others and contacted the Athena.
'Camazotz here. Our Captain needs to speak with yours.'
'One moment', replied Athena's Comm Officer.
'This is Oros Kaz'aak, Captain of the Athena. What can I do for you, Captain Gezza?'
'We've detected a swarm of objects heading toward Zeiklos', said Captain Gezzen.
'We've detected it too. It's not responding to our hails, whatever it is. We're about to fire a warning shot and see if it responds to that. Hold for sitrep.'
I watched on the view screen as the Athena charged its' main cannon. Lightening gathered at the front of the ship, and it launched a thin stream of bright green plasma off into the distance.
'Captain!', shouted the Nav Officer.
'What is it?'
'It's changing trajectory again. It's coming straight at us.'
'Captain, we're recieving a message from the Athena', I said.
'Patch it through the speakers.'
The voice of the Captain Oros echoed through the bridge. 'Bad news, Captain Gezzen. It's not a meteoroid cluster. My Science Officer just received a complete scan of the objects, and whatever they are, they're partially biological in nature.'
Everyone on the bridge was silent. We had just made contact with an extraterrestrial species; I saw looks of equal parts awe and fear.
'What are our orders?', asked Captain Gezzen.
'Fall back; we'll engage the targets and see if we can't resolve this misunderstanding peacefully. Hold for further instruction.'
'Roger. May the gods be with you, Captain Oros."
'And you, Captain Gezzen', she replied. After that, the transmission cut out.
We jerked forward as the ship stopped and the pilots moved backwards, away from the swarm, whatever they were. We all muttered a few prayers for the crew of the Athena. None of us had any idea what to expect. I don't think any of us would have guessed what would happen next.
'Put it up on the viewscreen', ordered the captain.
We all watched as the Athena approached the swarm. We could see distant, golden glimmers making their way towards the warship; there were thousands of them.
'How many are there?', asked the Captain.
'At least 3,000, sir', replied the Nav Officer.
The Captain sighed. 'It's times like these that I wish research vessels were armed.'
The swarm descended on the warship. We all expected the creatures to be fried by the electromagnetic shields, but if they had any effect it wasn't noticeable. We tried to hail them, but there was no response. The Captain ordered us to stay put and wait until the Athena hailed us, afraid that if we left for home, the creatures would follow. For the next half hour, we watched in horror as they chewed through the outer hull, watched as air and Yr'thali corpses vented into open space. Finally, the Athena sent a message.
'Captain, we have a text response from the Athena!', I exclaimed.
'Read it to me.'
As I read the message, the words caught in my throat. 'Message reads: Athena boarded. Aggressive hostiles engaged; massive casualties incurred. Ragnarok protocol to be enacted in 10 minutes. Lead hostiles away from Zeiklos; proceed to Rift Station.'
A palpable feeling of despair swept over the bridge. Ragnarok protocol was only ever to be used as a last resort; they were going to detonante the Athena's nuclear reactor engines, destroying it and everyone on board.
'We have our orders then; contact the Aerelus. Make sure they know what's happened. After that, prepare to make our way to the Rift Station', said the Captain.
'But we can't just leave them to d--', objected one of the crew before he was interrupted by the Captain.
'This ship has no weapons; you know that. They're already dead; you know that too. Don't dishonor their sacrifice. We cannot let those things get to Zeiklos.'
Moments later, everyone was thrown back into their seats as the ship rocketed towards the Rift Station."
Chapter 2: Through the Looking GlassEdit
"Had to stay quiet; something was trying to break the door down. Must have heard me talking...why am I doing this anyway? Talking on this recorder, as if someone will find it.
I guess...it's not really so someone will find it. It doesn't really matter if anyone knows what happened here; it doesn't matter if they rember those who died fighting, or those who died screaming.
It's to help me focus, make sense of everything thats happened. Something to keep me sane, while I wait to die...but you don't want to hear about my problems, do you recorder? No, you want a story...very well.
The ships' pilots pushed the Camazotz to its' limits, going as fast as they could to outrun the swarm following behind them. Many of the monstrosities had stayed behind with the Athena, but the majority had followed us and the Aerelus. Some had already latched onto the ship, and were no doubt destroying the hull.
The good news was that we were nearly to the Rift Station; we hoped to lose them in the Crossverse, where the Julth would take care of them. Yr'thali ships were nearly invulnerable to the Julth, thanks to electromagnetic shielding which effectively repulsed them.
As we approached the Rift Station, I sent them a message: Open Rift to Umbra System. Arrival of Camazotz and Aerelus imminent. We are pursued by unknown extraterrestrials. Athena will initiate Ragnarok in one minute.
The Rift opened just as we reached the circular Station. At that moment the Athena exploded in a massive ball of fire, taking out at least a third of the swarm. The blast engulfed the ships, and the streams of plasma pushed us into the Rift.
The viewscreen revealed a landscape of interconnected, sparkling purple lights. It was notoriously difficult to navigate the Crossverse; millions of Rifts leading to millions of universes made it almost impossible to know where one was truly going, but with the aid of advanced computers we were able to find the rift leading to the Umbra System. It was then that the Julth attacked.
The descended upon us instantly. The ship shook as we were rocked by particle beam after particle beam, but the Camazotz's shields held. On the viewscreen, we watched as the Aerelus was hit again and again by the Julth, but still their shields held. Then they surrounded the ship, hiding it from view.
'What in the gods' names are they doing? I've never seen them do that before', said Captain Gezzen.
The Sci Officer spoke up. 'The Aerelus' shields are failing! They're eating right through the shields!'
The Julth suddenly abandoned the Aerelus and formed a perimiter around it. They fired their particle beams in unison, and it exploded in a shower of radioactive plasma which they greedily began devouring in seconds. After that point, they were too busy feasting to bother us.
'Captain, the computers have succesfully navigated the Crossverse; arriving at the outskirts of the Umbra System in 5...4...3...2...1!', exclaimed the Nav Officer.
The viewscreen abruptly changed as we left the Crossverse, from luminescent violet to a darkness so black it weighed on my eye. The external cameras rotated, giving us a 360 degree view of our location on the viewscreen. Millions of stars filled the 'screen, and a dull, dead planet slowly orbited a massive, glowing Rift-Star.
We weren't in the Umbra System. Silently, we all wondered the same thought: were we going to die? For most...the answer was yes."
Chapter 3: The Center Cannot HoldEdit
"After we realized we weren't in the Umbra System like we were supposed to be --"
[Large thumping noise, followed by more thumping and an animalistic screech.]
"Hold on recorder, I've got to go take care of that. It's really pissing me off."
[The sound of someone running, then the sound of a door opening. Another animalistic shriek, much louder, quickly followed by the sound of gunfire.]
"You like that?!? I SAID DO YOU LIKE THAT, YOU FUCKING MONSTER?!?!? C'MON, BRING IT!!!"
[The gunfire stops, followed by a low, growling moan and a wet thump as something hits the floor.]
"By Terasan's sword...and I thought they smelled bad on the outside..."
[The sound of a door closing, followed by footsteps, slowly increasing in volume.]
"There, that's taken care of...until another comes to check out the noise, that is..."
"Well, where was I recorder? What's that? You say I just got to the part where we realized we weren't in the Umbra System? Ah, of course, how silly of me to forget...don't look at me like that, recorder. You know I'm very stressed out at the moment, and that kind of stress is bound to affect the mind...I SAID STOP LOOKING AT ME YOU FUCKING RECORDER OR I WILL SHOOT THE CRAP OUT OF YOU!
[Sound of throat clearing.]
So, to pick up where I left off the other day...
'Where in the Howling are we?', demanded the Captain.
The Nav Officer hesitantly spoke up. 'I...I have no idea. None of the stars are familiar; the computer's astronomical maps don't match any in the Materia Galaxy. Where we are...is lost.'
The Captain hesitated. 'And the swarm?'
I tuned out the following conversation. My computer screen was flashing, telling me I had a new incoming message. I opened it hesitantly, fearing what new horrors awaited us all. It was a video message from one of the engineers on the hangar deck. As if of its' own will, my hand reached out and pressed play.
The screen showed a group of three engineers, with another holding the camera. They were gathered around a hole in the ceiling, whispering amongst themselves.
'What do you think did it?', asked the tallest one.
'No idea. Couldn't have been Julth though, I'll tell ya that; see the way it's melted? Now, you only get that with some kind of acid', said the oldest.
'Maybe they were moving chemicals on the floor above us?', asked another.
The oldest engineer shook his head. 'Nah, you ask me it's them, those things that were fol--'
He never got a chance to finish his sentence as a pale, golden creature with deep blue stripes landed behind him with a resounding thud and bit his head clean off.