This is the Endlust War Chapter 2, which is called Failure. This short story will only be limited to 10 chapters, if I haven’t mentioned already. Read it. Enjoy it. Share it.
The Endlust War
Chapter 2: Failure
WE ARE DEFINITELY NOT ALONE. That was what I surmised as I stood leaning against the railing that surrounded the Tidal Basin of the ancient capital Washington D.C. of the former nation state named the United States of America. I had been living in this city for the last seven months now, two years after Starfall. Nothing reminded me more of the consequences of that event than the living thing that was moving inside my jacket’s pocket. Blubber was peacefully peeking out of the top of my shirt’s pocket. Sneaking it on to the airplane to come with me to this new city was easier than I had originally thought it would be. Because it was not metallic I had to just sneak it through security in one of my pockets. Amazingly enough, it showed no signs of distress at having to be forced into a small space. It was only a few months prior that I had started noticing Blubber slowly changing. That was around the same time that I had accidentally dripped some of my own blood onto it. The blood came from a bite wound from the mouse that I was feeding Blubber at the time.
Since then, I had started noticing small changes in its behavior. When I spoke out loud around the house, it seemed to tilt its head towards me, as if listening to what I was saying. It began to digest its food partially, as if saving it for later, which indeed, it would eat at a later time. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that Blub was getting more…intelligent. All of my prior pets had died under my hand. Cats, dogs, birds. None had survived. And yet, for some reason, I could not bring myself to dispose of my new green pet.
That was why I brought it to Tidal Basin, a circular body of water that gets its water from the nearby river. But of course, there was another reason as well. The sightings of new and strange creatures were becoming commonplace. Every day, more and more people were stumbling upon these new and unique creatures that seemed to be proliferating on Earth. Most government bodies tried to make out these new beings as violent and malevolent, and while indeed some were carnivorous, there were others that were more docile than the 20th century version of a fly.
As I stood leaning against the railing under the blue sky and bright yellow sun, on a beautiful April day, with the cherry blossom trees surrounding the basin blooming their brilliant different shades of pink flowers, I could only surmise that we were not alone. For in front of me was a being unlike any I had ever seen before. Tourists from around the world pushed up against me, almost crushing me against the waist-high railing as they tried to catch a glimpse of the beast that had taken up residence in the Tidal Basin for the last few months. Originally, they had thought the beast to be a predator, but it turned out to be as harmless as the air itself.
Scientists called it the lochan, probably named after the Loch Ness monster with which it shared similar attributes. It was a giant beast, towering over thirty six feet tall. Its body was the size of a 21st century yellow school bus, purple all over, with red dots covering its body up to the base of its long neck. At the top of its head it had a long black horn, which, after some consideration, appeared to be more of an ornament than something that it would use to fight or kill. Its eyes were a brilliant blue color, with an interior color of pure white. The strange thing about its head though was that there was no mouth or nose. But those were not its most unique characteristics. That title was claimed by its body and its tail. There was an indentation on its body, a concave of sort. Inside the concave was a pool of water. No one knew how it got the water into the concave but the really strange part was how the creature used the pool of water. At the end of its tail was, for a lack of a better phrase, a red jaw. This jaw, as the scientists theorized, was the mouth of the actual creature. Everything about the jaw would lead one to assume it was carnivorous, but instead, the jaw on the tail was used to eat tree leaves and scoop water out of the back of the creature.
The crowd around me began to coo in awe as the creature slowly made its way across the basin, as if relishing in its popularity. I forgot to mention that the creature had no way of moving in the water. Instead, it used what the scientists called helper creatures, which were named nemosas. These nemosas were about three feet in length and two feet in height and would swim behind the lochan using its four gigantic pure white fins as if they were pedals. The nemosas had green slippery skin, similar to Blubber’s, but had a rough white outline surrounding the green. They had eyes of deep red but even that was deceiving, as they appeared to have formed a symbiotic relationship with the lochan. The lochan’s jaw would sometimes drop plants and other types of food from its mouth into the water, which fed the ten nemosas. These nemosas in turn would push against the body of the lochan, helping to move the gentle giant around.
As I stood there, a strong gust of wind blew from the west, sending the pink cherry petals bursting into the air, swarming into a mass of what appeared to be pink flies. The petals flew everywhere in the sky, dashing and dancing their way across the water’s surface. Soon, all I could see was the giant violet lochan, slowly drifting around a tidal basin that was covered in pink petals. Seeing the gentle beast’s back then made me come to the conclusion that these new creatures were going to stay on Earth forever. Just as the green blob that was peering at the world with curiosity, the lochan and nemosas represented a new age on Earth. An age where our thought process questioned the idea of whether we were alone in the universe. If only our leaders had realized it sooner, they could have stopped the further invasion of the Earth. Instead, they failed to see what was happening. We all did. It was that failure in the first couple of years after Starfall to assess the situation that would eventually lead to the destruction of mankind…
800 years after Starfall.
THE END WAS COMING. The 7th fleet Armada was being methodically dismembered by the Order’s Alliance fleet. I saw it from my ship’s graphical interface. I saw it from the HUD. I saw it from the after-images of silent explosions on my eyes. I saw it and yet I could not believe it. We had underestimated the Order’s power and overestimated our own. And now we were paying the ultimate price.
“Commander!” A distant voice called out to me. “Commander! What do we do?” Why does that voice sound so familiar? “TJ!” the sound of my name brought me back. I looked to my right. It was Blubber, covered in some type of violet goo.
“Blub!” I shouted, “What’s the damage report?” I blinked away the blood that was dripping down from my forehead.
“Sir! We lost Admiral Gallile’s ship a few minutes back and her whole fleet has been destroyed. Admiral Droae is in the process of trying to escape but the likelihood of him escaping…” Blub’s voice drifted away as if the conclusion was already foregone. “The rest of the admirals have all gone dark.”
I looked around at my crew. There were many injured. Many more were dead. Before this day was over, I believed I was to join them. “What’s the status report on the ship?”
“Shields down to twenty percent. We lost engine control and the Drift Drive. Steering’s gone, and our hull’s blaring alarms I didn’t even know we had,” Blubber said almost in a nonchalant way. “I’m trying to ping the nearest friendly, but all I’m getting is static back.”
“That damn Admiral Gideon!” I cursed. I knew this Vengeance War was a stupid idea. I had known it for the last hundred years since it had been declared. This was nothing more than a continuation of the Endlust War. Our leaders had thought to use Earth’s destruction as a way to gain more planets. What’s the harm of losing one livable planet if one was to gain three new ones? We were so wrong though. The Order did not mean to blow up the Earth, but they were ready for our rash human decision if that was the case. The 7th fleet Armada was supposed to be the jewel of the galaxy. How ironic is it then that we will all be destroyed by a single leader’s aspiration to make a name for herself? She took the bait, became the trap, and now we were all ensnared. I knew all this, and yet I still joined like the foolish soldier that I was. Regardless of how hard I tried, this internal habit of mine to kill could never go away. And now my crew was paying the consequences.
I snapped back to reality. “How are the lifeboats?” I said, projecting an image of resolve and confidence. Confidence in what, I had no idea.
“All gone sir. We barely have enough energy to run the ship’s life support.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened them again, a brilliant light show was taking place in front of me. Lasers, projectiles, missiles, and high energy beams burst and exploded on the ship’s display in a dazzling array of copious colors, ranging from subtle orange to vivacious light aquamarine blue. The enemy was doing a mop up job now. It couldn’t be helped. I moved my hand over to activate the self-detonation sequence. If we were to die anyway, I was going to make sure we took out an enemy ship. It was then that the ship’s communication system received a ping.
“What was that?” I said to my communication officer. It was not an alarming tone, but it wasn’t a command either. To my ears, it felt almost defeated.
“We’re getting some type of ping from an object located behind one of the nearby moons. Let me see if I can…” he used his five arms to quickly type at the console, “It’s a ship Commander!”
“Is it human?”
“Yes sir. Fully intact too. It appears to be one of the new Hermes class. That doesn’t make any sense, why was it…hold on, I’m getting a video signal from them. Putting it on screen now.”
The holographic HUD quickly beeped into existence as an old, female face appeared on screen. It was Admiral Gideon. “Hello Commander TJ. If you are receiving this ping from my Hermes, then the worst has happened. I’m recording this message to set the record straight. I knew this was a trap going in. But I went in anyway, because I wanted us to lose.” She had paused only a few seconds in real time, but my mind could swear that hours had passed before she spoke again. “You may think of me as a mass murderer, or however you wish, but I knew what was going to happen. This war, as our leaders call it, this Vengeance War, is nothing more but a continuation of the war that humanity has been waging against the galaxy for the past eight hundred years. How many species have we killed in the last centuries so that humanity could get its way? I could no longer be a part of it. That was why I had to trigger the trap. It was either humanity was going to win, and be the sole dominant specie of the galaxy, or we were going to fail, and be forced to change. If this message is playing, then I am glad we have failed.”
The camera panned back as it showed her walking to the glass pane and looking down below to some sort of cargo transport container. “Below me are five hundred thousand diverse humans in dormant sleep. They are the seeds you will need in order to restart mankind. Not from the beginning, as the Order would want it, but from where we can build a new path. This ping would only trigger once your ship has drifted close enough to the Hermes ship so that, even on your low power, you would still be able to transfer the surviving members of your crew to the Hermes and escape.” She turned to look at me with those cold, dark brown eyes, and caramel skin, “That’s right Commander. I planned ahead to have your ship be in a position where it would not be completely destroyed, but damaged enough so that the wolves would go feed on the other sheep. As your commanding officer, I give you one last mission: Run. Take these humans and run. Find the far depths of space and rebuild humanity from there. Only accept offers of negotiation if you find yourself being pursued too closely, and then use the new instantaneous DD to jump elsewhere once they’re in normal space with you. They will not be able to power up fast enough to pursue you directly after. It was you Commander who introduced the Order and their ways to us. In effect, it was you who started the Endlust War. The burden of humanity now rests on your shoulders. I am sorry.” The video cut out after that.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes again. The flashes of the battle filtered through my eyelids. When I opened them again, I turned to my vice-captain, and said in a commanding tone, “Blubber, prepare all personnel for the transfer to the Hermes-class ship.” I was the last one to leave the bridge. I turned around to look out at the space field as I moved my hand over my heart. The battle was still raging on.
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