ES08 - Eternal Sunder (part 08): The War of the Fallen
Posted By: Wado<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 29 November 2004, 9:12 AM
Note from Author: Since I haven't posted a new installment of this story in a long time, I'm writing this chapter as sort of a prologue to bring people back up to speed. As some may recall, the setting of this story is more than 900,000 years in time before the events of Halo. The party consisting of John 117 (a cyborg human, needs no introduction), Cortana (sexy and ever calculating human AI), The Lady (a powerful, elder Nomdian in a youthful body), Eternal Sunder (an Archonian Starship Core), 343 Guilty Spark (Quirky Praetorian AI), Max Relius (an Imperial Elite, warrior king), and Croaker (a Sauran, decendents of the Old Ones), have traveled back in time and now find themselves smack dab in the middle of the largest war this galaxy has ever seen the light of.
The War of the Fallen
Aboard the commandeered Nomdian cruiser, now renamed Eternal Sunder II.
"Utter gibberish," muttered a frustrated Guilty Spark as it sputtered about. Its blue light scanned the Nomdian control panel, first very slowly and methodically, and then sporadically about as if trying to swat flies.
"Having difficulties, Sparky?" came a soothing voice from the shadows.
The little AI turned to see a half-sized Nomdian, youthful tentacles for lips, slim and shrouded in veils, yet with the stern look of age, experience, and power in the eyes. Stuttering at first, Guilty Spark replied saying, "Mmmmy Lady, I did not expect you to be here. I have been appointed the task of edifying the others to current events while you and Cortana interface Eternal Sunder to the systems of this vessel. Are you already done interfacing?"
The Lady did not answer immediately, an uncomfortable silence followed. "No, repairs are not complete," stated the Lady. "One does not just interface an Archonian ship's core from our time with nine-hundred thousand year old Nomdian technology."
"Then to what do I owe the honor of your visit?" inquired Guilty Spark.
"We found your constant prodding into the ship's systems to be childish and a bit annoying," replied the Lady.
"We...?" muttered Guilty Spark.
"Yes, Cortana and I," interjected the Lady, "and don't interrupt Sparky. Your usefulness in our endeavors is much clouded in incompetence. Perhaps your role will be reduced to comic sidekick."
Guilty Spark slowly sputtered backwards at half tilt, avoiding the gaze of the Lady, blue lights scanning the floor below instead.
The Lady paused for a moment, as if reconsidering something before continuing. "Nomdian systems are run on pure logic, something your limited Praetorian programming can not possibly comprehend as evidenced in your erratic and ineffective probing. There is only one concept that supercedes logic and that is power. The most powerful rules in Nomdia."
With her words, the Lady's eyes became glowing purple orbs and electric bolts shot between her tentacled lips. The ship's control panel responded in like, as if locked in a psychic battle of wills. Actual time less than a hundredth second, perceived time, eons.
"It is done," stated the Lady. "Sparky, you shall have access to the information you desire. But be weary of where you stick your probe, this Nomdian system just might bite it off."
"Yes, my Lady, thank you," said Guilty Spark. "John, Max, Croaker, I have access to the system, please let me know when ready to receive."
"Hey that was quick," replied John over the Com. "I knew you could do it. Go ahead, ready to receive."
Moments pass. John spoke again saying, "Ready Sparky, anytime now. Is everything okay? You don't seem your regular perky self."
"I didn't do it myself, John, the Lady did it," said Guilty Spark. "Only she didn't seem very happy about it, I would say she was a bit annoyed. John... Do you believe I am a comic sidekick?"
"What Sparky?" said John. "Of course not, you are my friend."
"Transmitting," replied Guilty Spark with a new found vigor.
Current events as downloaded from the Nomdian systems
The current situations have become unbearable. The High Council has concluded it necessary to deploy the Deathstalkers. It would be the first official use of our secret society since the Great Portal Wars. Nomdian Deathstalkers shall be deployed on both sides of this conflict, neither the Praetorian or Kronos will know of our two-faced politics. Our objectives will be to disrupt their infrastructures through assassinations, sabotage, and misinformation. When we are finished, neither side will be a threat to this galaxy anymore.
...Praetorians... Your request for more information on the Praetorians has been granted... The Praetorians are the fallen. They were the first of the Kronos to come from their galaxy to our galaxy. They came with plans to prepare this galaxy for colonization by their race. The Praetorians found many sentient and developing races here. Due to our more advanced technology, we and our long time enemies the Archons were able to stay hidden at first, but the Praetorians were numerous. They enslaved races, and one enslaved race in particular, a race nothing more than cattle to us, has become quite tenacious. The Praetorians have classified this race as Reclaimers, and use these Reclaimers as expendable shock troops to invade more worlds. Those Reclaimers not fit for combat were used to colonize worlds and prepare the way for the arrival of the Kronos. But there is more to the story of these Reclaimers. The Praetorians, once pure bred Kronos have taken to the liking of procreation with the Reclaimers. The new Praetorians are half-breeds of Kronos and Reclaimer.
...Kronos... Your request for more information on the Kronos has been granted... The Kronos were once a peaceful race, but greed and corruption led to a disease that consumed their galaxy. They sent the Praetorians to our galaxy to prepare the way for colonization. However, the Kronos that arrived here to our galaxy were not what the Praetorians expected. The Kronos that arrived were transformed by the Flood. Part Kronos and part Flood, they claim to be gods and demand all worship them. Thus started this great war, The war between the fallen Praetorians and the false gods, Kronos.
...Archons... Your request for more information on the Archons has been granted... The Archons are creatures of light and nature, taking the form of flesh and blood. Their illogical methods are unfitting of a sentient race. Nevertheless, their technology rivals ours and they have eluded eradication despite our best efforts. Their meddling is unacceptable and they may prove to under mind even our best made plans. For now they have taken to role of Watchers over certain Reclaimer worlds. For what purpose they protect and isolate the Reclaimers is still a mystery. The Archons call it the Great Experiment, and insist that the Praetorian interference with the development of Reclaimer culture is in jeopardy of compromising this Great Experiment. How such an illogical race could even perform an experiment is beyond reason. It most probably is just a whim of their leader, the Princess Kira.
...Princess Kira... Your request for more information on Princess Kira has been deferred. You have an incoming communication, patching through now.
"Chief?" came a question over the ship's Com.
"Yes Cortana, go ahead," replied John.
"The nature of this ship does not allow us to use our personal communication systems," explained Cortana, "we must conduct communications through the ship's systems. Listen Chief, we need you and Max suited up, there could be trouble. Eternal Sunder has detected a slip-space signature, a very large one, it could be Kronos."
"Affirmative, give us three minutes," said John as he and Max headed towards the changing chambers. "Max, Cortana said there could be trouble, we know what that means."
"Yes, it means we are buried to our necks in it already," replied Max. Both John and Max nodded in agreement before heading off.