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Taker of Life, Giver of Death - Part VII - VIII
Posted By: Ian Barnes<panzerschreck15@netscape.net>
Date: 16 August 2002, 11:20 pm

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Part VII

    'In light of these atrocities which I had commited,I decided I could no longer preserve my integrity. Instead, I pass it ontoyou, so that you may use it for the benefit of all races.'

Coregrenaac's Lost Journal, Volume 2- 9070 E.H

    After my expellment from the Elder Council, there was nothing I could do to prevent them from setting off the device the second time. Procuring a ship, I fled the galaxy, out of the range of the device. From the galaxy that I had temporarily stationed myself in, the target galaxy was visible. For months, the blue glow from the detonation filled the night sky. I knew nothing could have survived, except for the Elders and their people, closed away in their sanctuary. From then on, I vowed to ensure that the Device would never again be used. There were several dozen of them spread throughout the home galaxy. There was even one that only I knew about. But it had already been destroyed many hundreds of years ago. Device 04. It had been my pride and joy until I realized the error of my ways, and instructed my resident AI to evacuate the facility, and leave it empty.
    I never suspected that someone would discover it and find my nightmares. But that is another story that ended quickly. After the useage of the Device, I waited several hundred years before re-entering the home galaxy. The residual heat from the weapon remains for many years, burning away anything which attempts to pass through the galaxy, ensuring total annihilation. I traveled to every single Device, and using a different method each time, I sabotaged every one of my creations. It would be several thousand years before the Elders learned of such treachery, and many million more before they could understand the complexities of my design. I ensured that the galaxy would remain safe from the perverse minds of the Elders.
    Those who had once been my friends had turned sour with power greed. Before they discovered me, I found a sanctuary on the moon which had orginally been the neighbor to Device 04. There I stayed, writing my journal for the one who would come. There I stayed for many years, experimenting and writing. I later discovered that there was a large vault below my base. There lies the resting place of the Device. And there it will stay until someone with the proper genius to understand my design can unearth it, wrench power from the Elders, and restore order to the galaxy.

Part VIII - Charge!

    It had been almost a year since Warlord Zerr's successful attack on his tenth planetary conquest. The world of Irinani had fallen with almost no resistance. So far, Zerr's forces had only encountered a small number of Patriots. Zerr's war master had concluded the bulk of their forces must be garrisoned at larger, better defended and more populated planets.
    It had been several years since the attack on Radan Six, and the virus in their HomeNet had brought any sort of electronic actions to a standstill. All attempts to destroy the virus had failed. Actions only seemed to function at select times. Zerr had noticed a pattern, however. It seemed as though any important commands were processed, but mundane and pointless actions were halted, scrambled, unscrambled and returned to the sending terminal as a usually offensive, and rather insane message.
    Zerr and any specialists who had observed this phenomenon were at complete losses for explanations. Long ago had Zerr stopped keeping track of how many technological specialists he had killed for ignorance or their inability to fix the problem.
    One morning as Zerr arose and marched to his private terminal, the resident virus took action.
    Staring at the holo-screen, Zerr witnessed the entire screen filled with thousands of digits. But immediately Zerr saw something. Hidden among thousands of random numbers was a single strand that stood out: 181122111444. Zerr quickly began thinking the number over, trying to deduce some sort of meaning. But while he was thinking, the extra numbers slowly faded away, and the number in question faded one number at a time into letters. First the eighteen, then the one, then twelve. Zerr didn't notice until it had completely finished: Raluandd.
    Zerr stared at the word for several seconds before the holo-panel shorted out, and a menacing AI rose from the console. The construct took the shape of an elderly woman, back crooked and skin wrinkled.
    The Warlord was astonished. No Covenant AI he had ever seen had ever had a body. He immediately deduced it had to be something sent by the Devils.
    Two Elites ran into the room, and gasped as the image of an elderly woman transformed into a lavish knight, clad in shimmering armor. He sat atop a steed whose skin rippled with binary code.
    The guards dropped their weapons just before lightning lanced from the construct's fingertips, launching the two guards backwards twenty meters into a wall, before collapsing onto the ground in a smoldering heap.
    The AI's steed reared back, and the construct broke into a loud, thundering laugh.

'Raluandd has come
I have been here long ago.
And I will return again.'

'You are the Eclipse.
With your Darkness comes the Light
And with Light comes Dark.'

    The AI let out another wild jolt of laughter before vanishing completely, the terminal turned off like a light.  Zerr stared blankly at the now powered down terminal for several seconds, wondering if he had been dreaming. Zerr was convinced he had imagined the incident until he spotted the two charred and wrecked corpses in the corner.
    Reaching into a bag attached to his waist, Zerr removed a handful of neron capsules, and devoured all of them. He had to see some way through his dark cloud that blocked his vision. He needed to see where he was headed, and where this AI had come from, and why. Zerr felt on the verge of losing his mind. He called upon his War master to comfort him.
    Several moments later, an Elite clad in gold armor came striding into the room.
    'Yes M'Lord, is there a problem?'
    'Isn't there always one?'
    Niuva chuckled, and followed Zerr as he retreated to his private chamber.
    'Have a seat, soldier.' Niuva complied and sat down in a hover-chair next to Zerr. Zerr continued. 'I feel like I am losing my mind. I must know the outcome of our war.'
    'M'Lord, we will be triumphant.'
    'How can you be so sure? I have not seen it. For a moment, Niuva, consider that for three hundred years, you knew the answer to anything. Any question, you simply needed to look into your mind and you would know. Now then, consider one day came where you went to find an answer, and nothing came to you. Would that not drive you mad?'
    'I see your point M'Lord, but I fear you concern yourself to much with fate. Instead, concern yourself with your men, your destiny.'
    Zerr chuckled for several moments. 'Niuva, fate is everything. Destiny and fate are forever intertwined. Your destiny determines your fate. Without destiny, you are nothing. Without fate, you are nothing. I cannot see my fate. I am afraid if I wait longer, I am going to destroy myself, we must move now.'
    'M'Lord, I don't under-.'
    'Move on Earth, my na-Grer. Earth must be destroyed now.'
    'The fleet is currently occupied on an attack, M'Lord.'
    'Recall them! Now!'
    Niuva stood for several seconds, then sprinted off, not wanting to experience firsthand Zerr's punishment for insolence. Now, Zerr slept to gather his thoughts.


    Zerr awoke hours later, refreshed and the oddities from hours earlier were completely forgotten. Zerr, for some reason, seemed to be seeing things in a new light. The powerful warlord gazed around the room. It truly was a magnificent place. The ceiling stretched thirty meters upward, and its walls were covered in beautiful, ornate tapestries. Many depicted ancient war heroes, or battles. But others simply carried complex designs which often fascinated Zerr. The warlord was almost in a trance when a light knock came at his huge, double doors. Walking to the door, Zerr examined the symmetrical carvings on the doors, which were made from the bones of a creature found on Zerr's original home planet.
    Throwing the doors open, Zerr's war master marched inside.
    'M'Lord. Our fleet has returned. They are currently holding orbit while troops are resting and the ships are being resupplied. They should be ready to leave within the hour.'
    'Then we must hurry.'
    'For what, M'Lord?'
    'We are accompanying my forces to Earth. I wish to see the downfall of humanity myself. Besides, you forget, I am the only one who knows its location. I have seen it. Here, and here.' Zerr pointed to his eyes, and then his skull.
    'Very well, M'Lord, we shall leave immediately.' Niuva turned and fled the massive bedchamber with Zerr in tow, while Niuva barked orders into his COM.
    Ten minutes later, Zerr and Niuva were aboard a shuttle headed toward their flagship, the Hro-Et-Hada. The Hand of God. Halfway between the planet and the ship, power cut out, and the ship began to drift.
    'What's happening?' Zerr shouted at the pilot. But he had no response. Seconds later, power returned, and Raluandd appeared once more from a terminal in front of Zerr. His knight's armor shimmered with binary numbers, only he was without his steed. A thundering laugh filled the cabin area.

Thou shalt not discard.
Thou shalt remember the light.
Your darkness brings light.

    And for the first time, Raluandd actually spoke. 'You didn't think I was going to let you forget me, did you? You forget, I know how you can win this battle.'
    Zerr was curious. 'How?'
    'Don't fight this battle. Remember, war is always fun until someone loses an eye.' Raluandd let out a loud chuckle before becoming silent.
    'Where do you come from, and why are you here?'
    'I come from nowhere, and I am here to prevent your deaths.'
    'And how would you prevent my death?'
    Raluandd sighed, and vanished from the terminal, leaving only a single message on the screen below where he had appeared: You need only to take a hop, skip and a jump to land in infinity. But what if you trip?
    Zerr turned slowly towards Niuva, and shook his head in confusion.
    'I cannot see anything about this AI, either. It is too much of a coincidence that all of a sudden, there are two things which I cannot see. They must be connected. But what does it mean?'
    Niuva shook his head in wonderment as Zerr rose and walked off.
    Several seconds later, the shuttle docked with the Hro-Et-Hada and its precious cargo disembarked, as well as the mysterious AI. The airlock hissed as Zerr, with Niuva at his right, stepped aboard their flagship for the first time in many years. Zerr felt a surge of power being aboard such a magnificent weapon.
    Zerr's flagship boasted five plasma torpedo launchers, and thousands of pulse lasers. At three kilometers long, it was twice as long as any other ship in Zerr's fleet. Its shields could withstand a barrage of MAC rounds and still hold. The ship also housed a backup shield generator which could be used once before burning out. In an emergency, the backup generator could be powered on to immediately bring up the ship's shields again. Afterwards it couldn't be used again, but the backup shields gave the ship time to recharge its primary shields.
    Warlord Zerr was not concerned about his own safety. He would not fall. He could not fall.