Chapter 1: GreedEdit
Avarice, Envy, Pride,
Three fatal sparks, have set the hearts of all
I walked through the door of my tent, ready to pack up.
The great, white sun shone in my eyes, and I quickly looked away from the sky. My eyes hurt from the sudden change, but my pupils quickly dilated to grow accustomed to the new light. Inside, the tent, it was musty, dark, and smelled terrible, but outside, there was plenty of fresh air to fill my lungs.
I surveyed the surroundings, quickly spotting the dirt trail which I drove on a few days ago. My camping trip was over, and it was time to go home. I thought of my grand, white house which I resided in, and thought of my compainions there. I sighed with kudos to the good of the universe.
Rolling my tent and other necessities into my bag, I made sure that everything was clean. Heavy littering laws were in place on the reserve, so I didn't want to leave anything behind, even if nobody was watching. I crumpled up some food bags which were spent, and threw them into a trash can which was set up on the campside, for efficiency.
So my trek began. The road wound this way and that, like a great serpent. The evening sun glittered on the crystal-rich sand as I placed my feet in it.
I looked behind me, to check that everything was still on my back. It was, so I boarded my buggy.
Plumes of dust were kicked up behind my vehicle, and I breathed in the cool air of the temperate world I was on. I soon saw a sign, indicating that I needed to go to the left, I turned, easily complying with the guidance of the roads. I saw another buggy, a bit like mine, at the side, and depressed the brake to stop the vehicle. Getting out, I noticed that someone was in a tree.
I called out, "Do you need help?" He looked like he was stuck. I saw that he had a cloth binding him by the waist to the branch of the tree.
"Don't come near me!" he yelled, but I kept on walking. "No, seriously!" He yelled again. I looked up, and saw that there were numerous cuts and bruises on his sides.
I got worried. "What happened?" I took a step forwards, only to have an aptly placed knot snatch my foot, and drag me up to the same branch.
"I told you. Now we're both stuck up here, you idiot!" The guy yelled. I wasn't sure what was going on, until I felt a cold barrel pressed against my head.
"Give us the keys." The aggressor said. I didn't know what his intentions are, but I doubted he had the maliciousness to kill me.
"No, why should I?" I easily slid back. I kept a cool attitude, but I felt my heart thumping as it tried to cirulate blood away from my head.
Too my horror, the man switched his aim to the other man in the tree. "No, please don't! I already gave you everything!!" The other man said. The bandit pulled the safety on the gun, putting the sights on the man. "Please! I have a family and-"
The man made a series of choking noises as the bandit shot a round of rapid-fire bullets into the man. I screamed, tore at the rope, and cursed at the man with anger after I saw the man was already dead.
The bandit calmly placed the gun on my head again, saying, "Give me the kragging keys. Or I'll blow your kragging brains out." My hands shaking, I managed to put my hand in my pocket. I noticed the flow of blood from the arteries in the man's legs, and trembled in disgust. I tossed the man the keys, not wanting to make contact with the infernal beast in front of me.
He hurried to my car, quickly starting it up. However, he rolled down the window, closed his eyes, and shot a single bullet at me. It easily traversed through my leg, and I screamed in pain. He laughed and skidded away, probably to wreak havoc in other places. Maybe even the previous directions might guide him.
They were to my house.
I widened my eyes, tearing at the rope binding me to the tree. I easily broke loose with my fit of rage, and fell a few feet to the ground. I think I heard something crack, but I managed to limp towards the other man's car. A trickle of blood was forming on my leg, and I cringed when I saw it. It was definetly going to get infected.
Come on, come on! Work, you kragging car! I thought, as I tried to hotwire it. Suddenly, the car turned on, and I sat back in the seat. It was slightly cramped, but anything could do in that situation.
I slammed down on the accelerator, driving to my house. The maximum speed was nowhere near my car's, but I hoped I could get there in time.
Many blockades stopped my approach, and my car was halted by soldiers.
"Sir, this is an unsafe area. The entire place has been evacuated, and we need to destroy the entire area. There's a strain of viruses which are extremely deadly in that region, so we need to nuke it." The soldier looked down. "I'm sorry, but there's nothing you can do."
I gritted my teeth in anger, and said, "You people are horrible! You can just fly in and decide to destroy a bunch of property! Isn't that arson? Why can't you even find a non-violent way to treat it??"
"Sir, I don't know what you mean. We have total permission to-"
His speech was cut off by a firm punch to the jaw. Luckily, there was only one other soldier at the checkpoint, and he was at least thirty meters away. Not wanting to do any more harm, I looked around and spotted a small spaceship which would get me to my house in time.
I ran towards the spaceship. With only a few meters left, a few bullets bounced off the hull of the ship and almost hit me. Luckily, I managed to enter it. The spaceship was a simple shuttle, but it could get me where I wanted to. I turned it on, when I noticed a timer on the ship. It was at 1:30, and counting. I knew it was futile to try to save the place, but I would at least make sure my friends were safe.
I activated the shuttle, the gleaming hull flying up into the sky. I noticed a blip on the radar. It was the other ship from the checkpoint!
A communications screen opened, and I saw the soldier's face glaring at me. "Land the kragging ship, or I'll have to shoot you down." He primed the weapons.
"I just need to make sure everyone's safe from my city!" I replied. He looked at me and threatened me again. "I'm not going to land."
He rolled his eyes at me, and opened fire with a series of laser shots. I turned to face him, rising through the atmosphere all the while. I let auto-targeting do the work, and a graceful, but deadly dance occurred between the two ships. I looked at all of the controls, looking for something that would give me the upper hand. I saw a rather large, clicheed, red button which said 'FIRE COILGUN' on it.
I slammed my fist down onto the button, and a series of projectiles smashed into the opponent. He obviously didn't have his shields up, so the ship was instantly vaporised, along with its pilot.
When I realised what I had done, I slammed my head onto the screen in front of me. The timer beeped, and a white light flashed in my eyes, signaling that the city was destroyed. There was no sign of evacuation.
Going mad with rage, I fired my weapons at the frigate which destroyed the city. It responded with a series of flak shots, many of which hit my shield, but had no effect.
Coming to my senses, I activated the FTL and managed to escape. I slowly lost conciousness as the numbers on the accelerometer increased, and I eventually collapsed to the floor, and blacked out.
Well, at least the bandit must have died.
The devil is not as black
as he is painted.
I awoke in FTL, several options were presented in front of me. I picked Repmundo. I'm developing some sort of problem with authority, so I'm going to have a little chat with an Auctor.
I gazed at the blueshifted stars in my path, zipping past each one without enough time to look. Luckily, there was food, but the ship said the journey would take roughly a month. I got some food cooked, and sat down in the pilot chair.
When I arrived, I was small enough to slip past the Auctors defenses. Ot wasn't like I had much to live for anymore.
The constructs were ugly war machines, ships were constantly launching to war. I slowly made my way into the atmosphere, "Atmosphre noxious, use gas mask when exiting!" The ship beeped.
When I entered, I decided to head for the one with an observation balcony, so I could step off. It shifted to hover mode and I delicately stepped onto the platform, taking a gas mask and translator.
"Hello, who is it?" I said, trying to sound optimistic. An Auctor turned around, and I gazed at the disgusting creature, its folds of fat hanging below it like large tentacles.
"Who are you? How did you get here?" It screeched.
"Just a visitor... and congratulations!"
"You are a catalyst of change in a the world, while you yourself just become more and more corrupted. You were so close to perfection, but then you let yourself become corrupted,"
"Leave before I eat you!"
"Just like you do to everything - consume! What do you create?" I shouted. I felt something tug at me, and I made a run for the exit. The auctor, for some reason, decided to let me go, since it probably knew i couldn't cause any harm. The guards just stood there, they were terrifying. Their eyes were absolutely souless.
I went all the way to the bottom of the place, and found something. The reactor was massive. It had the brightness of 10 suns, making me cover my eyes even through the dark mask lenses. I walked over to the operator and tapped it's shoulder.
If the present world go astray,
The cause is in you,
It is to be sought.
I don't know what came over me with that Auctor. But they're interesting creatures.
My pupils managed to contract fully underneath the thick goggles, and I saw the glowing balls of plasma flying around the deep pit, creating massive amounts of energy.
An odd humanoid operated the controls. Servus, I believe. Auctors have quite a few slave species, so I can't be fully sure. As I walked up to it, I noticed the bruises and wounds inflicted on its body. I clenched my hands with sympathy.
"Hello there?" I managed to say to the being. It whipped around, and I saw its frightened face. Its eyes had been removed, so it must have thought that I was an Auctor.
It covered its head with its hands, saying, "Please don't beat me! I've been operating the reactor all day! No errors!"
"I'm not an Auctor, don't worry." I extended my hand, and lightly clenched his. "See? I have hands."
He, as I believe he was male, slumped back into a normal stance. However, he quickly noticed that I wasn't supposed to be there. "How the heck did you get in?"
"Oh, just a bit of slippy sloppy FTL entrances, nothing much. Auctors are too used to big ships."
He righted himself, and asked, "What are the stars like? You know, like off of this planet?"
I was a bit confused, but I found a way to explain, even though he was blind. "They look smooth like polished metal, but really they're hotter than anything you've felt." I began pacing. "The planets around them can be cold or hot, and some are just right. Those ones have life, like us.
"The life grows and grows, evolves, and becomes intelligent. They build societies and gain emotions. Those emotions can destroy society or help it.
"Eventually, they go into space, and find other lifeforms, and depending on their mindset, they can destroy or help other develop. It's all really based on those emotions, now that I think about it."
He seemed interested, and asked, "Could you explain how the emotions work?"
My eyes widened at the question, so I asked back, "Don't you know what emotions are? Feeling, empathy?"
"I know a bit, I feel pain and hatred, but not much else. The Auctors are superior to us, so they must know."
I felt my pulse increase with confusion, so I began to empty out emotion to him. I explained love and hope, which could build societies, and hate and wrath, which could destroy it. I told him about how other emotions, more subtle, decide everyday life.
He interrupted me with a single sentence. "I envy you." With that, he walked away. I noticed that he smashed a bit of machinery, and the gas mask translated it as 'BRAIN IMPLANT CONTROL.' He then jumped into the reactor without a word.
Alarms went off, and I heard multiple assault vehicles overhead, and the wails of Auctors in pain. A loudspeaker went off, saying, "THE LIBERUS WILL SAVE YOU! COME ABOARD!" I ran towards the sound, glancing at the writhing Auctors. I then left in pursuit of the Liberus.
In the middle of the journey of our life,
I came to myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost.
The Liberus were kind, and dropped me off on the Hox capital, I had a passport their, so i could stay for a while, i was put in a shuttle and launched to the nearest spaceport. their was a parade going on. Probabbly becasue the war had ended, as I could tell from the signs. I Realized this might be the influence of my actions.
The Parliment was passing me, a mother held out her baby, something wasnt quite right though, something tied around the babie's waist...
"Prime minsiter wait!" I shouted, the prime minister was leaning down to kiss the baby when I Tackled the assassin. It was a bomb, The prime minister looked confused. I Thought he would shout, instead, he looked at the bomb. He pulled out a gun, and shot the assassin, then the child., "What the krag did you do that for!"
"The Child was obviously a co-conspirator," The Minister snarled, Hox were beginning to run away screaming.
"How can it do that! Its barely a child, it only has clothes!" The minister shot at my hand, missing, "Your a psychopath!"
"Please step away from the bomb," the Minister said walking away, slowly going to a run. I followed suit as the bomb squad came in to disable it.
I walked away to my shuttle, shaking, I bought food and supplies with the little money the liberus gave me and was flying anywhere.
I was in FTL, Suddenly a Warning came up, low on fuel. I Was Automatically redirected to the nearest planet, i think i made the wrong stop...
All ye who enter here.
A huge ship loomed over the planet, razing the world.
Multiple mass driver shots loomed in the distance, their fireballs destroying unshielded cities. Luckily, I was far away from the ship's range, but it still must have been over a thousand kilometrons long! You couldn't call that orbital bombardment, it wasn't even in orbit!
I requested contact with the ship, since they were obviously the only ones there who could accept it. The the comms system happily complied, and gave a beeping noise to show that it was transmitting.
A deep voice emenated through the ship. "We are the Yuharon. Are you agressive?" The form was unlike I had ever seen, centauriforme, but with more arms and legs that most.
My voice cracked as I answered him. "I-I'm just a passerby... I need some fuel..."
"At last! Someone friendly!" He laughed. "Sure, just come aboard! We've got tons of fuel here!"
I redirected my ship towards the immense ship, and as I entered, I noticed that there were hundreds of ships surrounding this one, and probably more.
The ship I was in entered a huge hangar, with several ships hundreds of times larger than mine. As I exited the ship, I was greeted by all sorts of festivities, and the Yuharon had prepared a feast for me.
A larger Yuharon pointed a bit of meat at me, and asked, "So, what species do you represent?" He began munching on the meat again as I answered.
"I've abandoned my species now. I don't represent any species." I reached for what looked like an exotic fruit, because it seemed to be more my type. I spat it out when I saw that it was actually a head of some sort.
A Yuharon laughed. "Don't like meat, eh? Too bad we're carnivorous."
I quickly asked to leave, and one of the Yuharon guided me through multiple halls towards an elevator. "This'll take you straight to our captain. You can probably get a ship from him. The elevator travels at around twenty kilometrons per minute, so you're going to experience some radical g-forces. It'll get you in maybe ten minutes, if you're lucky."
Thanking him, I made my way into the large elevator. It was huge, at least ten metrons tall and twenty-five metrons wide. The Yuharon are so large!
After around ten minutes, the elevator doors opened. I guess I must have been lucky.
I emerged into a huge room, adorned with all sorts of jewels and rare metals. The captain, heavily adorned with medals, turned to me. "Hey, little guy, need something?"
"Yeah, um, my ship is out of fuel, and I've got a few questions as well." I fidgeted with unease at the immense creature.
"About your ship, we can just give you a new one. What are your questions?"
I scratched my head as I listed them. "Why are there only around ten of you here?"
"Ah yes, our numbers. We were attacked by the Laoine, who sent a retrovirus to us. We lost almost all ability to reproduce, so now our galactic populus remains at only around a few hundred million, while other empires here can have tens of trillions. We're forced to fight with drones."
"Who are the Laoine?"
"They're our major opressors. Six arms, aquatic. Hundreds of races work for them as well."
"One final question. Why are you razing this world?" You don't see many random razes.
"Ah yes, we didn't like them."
I sighed. No wonder they didn't have any allies. "I'll be going now."
I took the long ride on the elevator again, emerging in the hangar. A Yuharon guided me to a large ship, over a kilometron long.
Activating FTL, I set course for what seemed to be a siege location for the Yuharon: Daomhaen. As it turns out, it wasn't a siege location...
All quotations are from Dante Algheri's Divine Comedy.