Shatterer of Worlds: A Novel

Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

Under Attack Part Nine

by on Apr.09, 2013, under Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

The next day, Dennethom began making the necessary plans to leave Skora. He made his excuses to Nyal, claiming that they had joined the Boentu monk order to get away from warrior life, and they needed to earn forgiveness for killing the crew of the raider ships.

When Dennethom returned from his meeting with Nyal, he found Arjuna holding Nerita in her arms. As she saw her brother approach, she handed her daughter to Yasana and requested they go out and talk privately. Dennethom noticed the grave expression on his sister’s face but said nothing until they were outside in the brisk evening air. He waited for her to speak which she did after taking several deep breaths.

“I don’t know where we plan to go next, but I need to make a stop, first.”

Dennethom tilted his head in curiosity. “Where?”

“The Gaian System.”

“You want to go to Delphin Prime?” he asked.

“Yes,” she confirmed.

“Of course,” he replied. “I don’t blame you for wanting to introduce Nerita to her father.”

Arjuna rubbed at her eye furiously and snarled in frustration. “I don’t just want to introduce them.”

“Then what?”

“I want him to raise Nerita,” she replied. Realising that what she had said was still confusing to Dennethom, she elaborated. “I want Nerita to live on Delphin Prime with her father.”

Dennethom was unsure how to respond. “Why?”

“Because this is no life for a child.”

“Because of the raiders?” he asked, incredulously. “We fought off the attack from the raiders.”

Arjuna threw up her hands in frustration and started to walk away but Dennethom stopped her.

“Explain it to me, Arjuna.”

“I want to send her away because of all of it. The raiders, Lossepharr, the living on-board ships for moons-”

“It won’t be moons. We’ll find another small outpost like this!” Dennethom interrupted.

“The running and hiding!”

Dennethom didn’t know what to say. “Arjuna, what about Arkaya? Arkaya’s going through the same things as Nerita. I would never put him in danger. And Arro’s about to have a child, too. We all understand your frustration.”

Arjuna shook her brother away. “Yes. But you don’t have a choice. I do. Nerita could be safe. Nobody knows about Markenn. Nobody’s looking for him. He could protect Nerita. I would know she was safe with him. I….” her voice faltered and for a moment Dennethom thought his sister would break down in tears. “I wouldn’t have that knowledge if she stayed with us.”

Dennethom encircled his sister in his arms, a gesture that was most unusual for him. He was always used to Arjuna being the tough one. He held her for several minutes before saying, “I’ll tell Jora to plot a course for Delphin Prime,” he promised.

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Under Attack Part Eight

by on Apr.01, 2013, under Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

That night the township celebrated. The siblings had never been to any town events, deeming it safer to keep to themselves. But after what happened, they could hardly say no.

Arronanto watched the towns people drink and dance and laugh. Normally, after a battle like this, he would join in. He would want to embrace life again. But not today. During a lull in the celebrations he took Drapaudi out to get some air.

She gazed up at the deep, black sky studded with millions of stars, and sighed, leaning her head against his shoulder. “I actually thought this place might be home for us,” she whispered mournfully.

Arronanto held his wife close to him. She shivered in the cool breeze. “It was home,” he replied. “For a time.”

For a while they just sat there enjoying the cool breeze and fresh air. Finally, Drapaudi spoke again. “How soon does Dennethom wish to leave?”

“As soon as Xien’s repaired the Aluen’s shields,” Arronanto replied.

Drapaudi turned to her husband. “Must it be so soon?”

Arronanto nodded his head. “It’ll only be a few weeks before word of this victory spreads around the galaxy. If we’re lucky, it will be a moon after that when Lossepharr hears about everything that happened here and decides to investigate. By that time, we need to be far away.”

“Wouldn’t it look more suspicious if we fled?”

Arronanto lifted his wife’s chin with a finger and looked into her eyes. “We can’t stay here Drapaudi.”

Drapaudi’s downcast brown eyes met his own yellow ones and she sighed. “I know.”

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Hacked By Shade

by on Mar.29, 2013, under Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

Hacked By Shade

Hacked By Shade

 

GreetZ : Prosox & Sxtz

Hacked By Shade <3

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Under Attack Part Six

by on Mar.27, 2013, under Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

“Power up the engines, Jora. We have contact,” Arjuna said as she sat down in the co-pilot seat.

She could suddenly feel a flood of adrenaline run through her, and something different, something feral, a need to protect her child from the evil ravaging raiders that would scorch this planet if they got the chance.

On his small escort craft, Arronanto found himself having similar feelings as he lifted off. He thought of Drapaudi and his mother, sitting at home with his niece and nephew and his unborn child. No, he would make certain the raiders failed.

First contact with the raiders occurred 50 kilometres north of the township. Four escort ships greeted the raiders, their volt cannon ports open. Dennethom had wanted to save the escort ships as a second line of defence, however Arronanto suggested they wait to reveal the Aluen. Let the raiders think they were only dealing with a few colony ships and use up precious fuel and ammunition.

It was a game of tag and the raider ships were “it”. The escort ships took carefully aimed pot shots before darting away. The smaller crafts whizzed between the larger, though equally agile, raider ships. Arronanto had been a little worried about the piloting skills of the local escort pilots, but seeing them in action he knew he needn’t have worried.

“We’ve warmed them up. Now they’re all yours,” Arronanto said into his comms link.

With that he pulled away, and the other escort ships followed him. Silently, almost invisible, the Aluen appeared. With a powerful, thundering boom, the Boentu ship fired its heavy volt cannons at one of the raiders knocking out the ship’s shields in one blow.

The startled raider ships turned to swarm on the Aluen, but Arjuna wasn’t worried. The Aluen swooped up and out of reach of the raider crafts just as she fired a volt cluster, destroying an already damaged raider ship.

“One down,” she murmured and ordered Jora to pull back out of the fray.

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Under Attack Part Five

by on Mar.25, 2013, under Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

“I don’t like this,” Drapaudi said, her lips pressed tightly together as Dennethom nuzzled his son.

“You’ll be safer here with Xien,” he replied, patiently.

Xien stood stiffly in the corner watching as the future leader of Boentu said goodbye to his family. Xien didn’t want to stay. His place was with the Aluen. But Dennethom needed to know someone he trusted watched over his kin.

“You’re certain it’s better we stay here and not evacuate with the colonists?” Yasana asked as she gave her son a hug.

“Yes. Like I said, we’re away from town. This compound puts out a tiny heat signature. They won’t give us a second thought.”

“That must be why you left Xien with a couple of volt cannons,” Drapaudi said dryly.

“Just in case a raider ship makes it through. Which they won’t.” He kissed her. “I also made sure that part of the defence grid will be covering this region.”

Drapaudi smiled, and gave her husband a hug. “Keep Arro, Jora and Arjuna safe,” she whispered.

The waiting was the hard part. Sitting in the control room of the defence grid with the mayor, and a crew of skilled workers Dennethom was antsy. He knew his brother and sister would be feeling the same way, sitting in their respective crafts on the ground, waiting for word that the raiders had been sighted.

The radiers didn’t arrive immediately. A full-day after they expected them Dennethom finally received word that the raiders were in-system. They must have had a tough time navigating the asteroid belt. Good, Dennethom thought. Maybe it would help even the odds.

Sure enough the raiders were on a course for their township. It was no surprise. The colony had grown out of the small township, and it was still the centre of commerce.

Dennethom tapped his comms link.

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Under Attack Part Four

by on Mar.22, 2013, under Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

“Wow,” Nyal said, as he walked up the ramp of the Aluen.

The ship had been hidden away beneath a large rocky over-hang. Jora normally kept the overhang covered, but this time he left it clear so that Nyal could find his way to the ship. When Dennethom had asked to meet Nyal at those coordinates, he had no idea he would be seeing such an advanced craft.

“What kind of fire power is this capable of?” Nyal asked, gazing all about him.

“Standard ship-mounted volt cannons. Also volt cluster bombs.”

“You came on a battleship?” Nyal asked, his eyebrows raised.

Dennethom shifted uncomfortably. “The ship would need volt torpedoes to make that classification.”

“Oh,” Nyal replied. “Wow. I didn’t realise Boentu monks travel with such fire power.”

They didn’t, but Dennethom wasn’t about to make that known. “We are Boentu,” he replied with a shrug.

“Are you leading the defence on this ship?” Nyal asked.

Dennethom shook his head. “No. Sister Arjuna is captaining this ship. She and Brother Jora will provide the main battery of fire. My,” he hesitated. He had almost said ‘my brother’ but caught himself in time. “Brother Arronanto will be with the escort ships providing a secondary line of defence. I will be down on the ground at the defence grid, working to pick off any ships that made it through.”

Nyal was impressed. “It sounds like you’ve done this before.”

“We’ve trained for it,” Dennethom replied. “I wish we could weaponize a few more ships.”

“Me too,” Nyal agreed. “But there’s no time. Those ships are better off being used to evacuate the colony. “

“And how is that coming?”

“We’re sending families off as fast as we can to the southern hemisphere.” Nyal sighed. “I never thought when we were beginning construction on the new settlement site that it would be used for something like this.”

“It’s for the best,” Dennethom said. “This ship is powerful, but from the looks of it, so is the fire power on those raider ships.”

“Do you think we’ll come through this okay?” Nyal asked.

Dennethom shrugged. “It’s difficult to say. There’s seven raider ships. We’re out-numbered.”

“If we do survive this,” Nyal began. “You’ll have to tell me more about your religion and why a Boentu monk needs to own a such heavy fire power.”

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Under Attack Part Three

by on Mar.20, 2013, under Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

So this is it,” Arronanto remarked. “Even as monks we can’t seem to escape doing battle.”

“Some of us will,” Dennethom said, looking pointedly at his sister.

Arjuna glared defiantly at her older brother, the hackles on the back of her neck starting to rise. “I’m going with you. You know I am.”

Dennethom snarled and stood up. Frustrated, he stalked around the room. “You have a daughter to think about Arjuna. You can’t just take off with us to go fight raiders. What will will become of Nerita if something happens to you?”

Arjuna snorted in disgust. “What about you? Both of you! Dennethom, you have a son” she said. “And you,” she added turning to Arronanto who was doing his best impression of a statue, “you have a child on the way. Why do you two get to go into battle but I don’t?”

Dennethom snarled again, impatiently. “It’s our job Arjuna. It is our job to protect this family.”

“And my job also, in case you forgot,” Arjuna responded quietly. The finality in her tone told Dennethom there was no use arguing with her.

“Fine,” Dennethom replied, taking a deep breath. “Then we need to prepare for battle.”

“So this is what we know,” Dennethom began, as he paced around the ward room of the Aluen. “Skora has some planetary defences already in place, but not much.”

“But there is a planetary defence grid, correct?” Arjuna interrupted.

Dennethom grimaced. The pair were still acting cool with each other, ever since Dennethom had tried to keep her from the fight.

“Yes there is. However, it’s never been used in combat. It’s designed to stop stray asteroids from hitting the planet.” Skora was located next to a large asteroid belt.

“Didn’t Sarno also have a defence grid?” Jora asked. He and Xien were also sitting in on the meeting.

“From what Nyal tells me, the colony was taken by surprise. They didn’t have time to activate the grid. Luckily, that won’t be the case with us. Unfortunately, the grid can’t protect the entire planet, which, depending on the strength of the raiders, still leaves us wide open for an attack.

“The last thing we want to do is let the raiders land.” Dennethom paused. “The mayor of Skora sent scouts to Sarno. Nyal showed me the pictures they sent back. These raiders are vicious. They’re not just trying to survive. They enjoy killing.”

“So we need to fight them from the air,” Xien surmised.

“Precisely. Unfortunately, most of the ships on Skora are cargo ships. There are a handful of escort ships used on the supply routes. These are the only ones with weapons. Which is why we’re here, on the Aluen.” Dennethom sighed. “This is the most advanced ship, probably in the outer rim. I don’t see that we have any choice but to reveal the Aluen.”

Arjuna and Arronanto nodded their head in quiet agreement but Jora felt forced to speak up. “Forgive me Tsalu Dennethom, but my priority is to keep you and your family safe. To that end, the best option would be to depart on the Aluen before the raiders arrive.”

“I understand what you’re saying Jora. But we cannot leave the colonists here to fend for themselves. It’s simply not the honourable thing to do.” Dennethom wasn’t disappointed in Jora. He knew Jora would never run away from a fight. It’s just he was sworn to protect the line of Boentu leaders at all costs.

Jora nodded his head. “We’ll make sure the Aluen is ready for combat.”

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Under Attack Part Two

by on Mar.18, 2013, under Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

Puzzled Dennethom ushered Nyal inside. After their guest was seated and Arronanto had given Nyal some water, he began to explain himself.

“Please understand, I’m only here as a representative of the company. However, I spoke to the mayor and he agrees with my ideas.”

“What ideas?” Dennethom asked, puzzled.

“I saw you out in the market today,” he said, addressing Dennethom. “I was wondering if perhaps you heard the rumours about the raider attack.”

“On Sarno?” Dennethom asked. “Yes. I heard something like that. But what does this have to do with-”

“-it’s a lot worse than just raiders,” Nyal interrupted. “They took out the entire colony. The only reason we know anything about it is because of the supply run. Company regional headquarters was on Sarno. It’s gone, and all the people with it.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Dennethom replied, trying not to sound callous.

“You don’t understand. Their next stop is Skora.”

Arronanto eyed his brother wearily. “Are you sure?” Dennethom asked.

Nyal nodded his head. “There’s no doubt about it. Skora’s the only other major planet out here. Our tracking system predicts they’ll be here within a day.”

Dennethom felt his heartbeat quicken. The raiders were coming here?

“What about local security forces?” Arronanto asked.

This far out into the outer rim of the Arcturus System, the nearest help was a local detachment of armed security.

“There’s not enough time. The raiders will already have swept through by the time they arrive.”

Dennethom’s eyes narrowed. “What do you need from me, Nyal?”

Nyal shrugged. “I understand you’re a monk and you’re committed to a life of peace. But what you did before, saving me, that took courage that only Boentu might have. That’s what we need right now, Boentu warriors. You monks are probably better trained in this type of situation than any of the colonists here.”

Arronanto watched Dennethom searching for a reaction. Nyal was right. Even Boentu monks are trained in combat. The room filled with silence as Dennethom frantically thought through his options. He didn’t want to commit to a conflict. But they had come to him for help. And no matter how important their cover was, they were warriors. They couldn’t stand back and allow the colonists to be slaughtered. If only the security forces could get here sooner. But he knew Nyal wouldn’t have come unless it was their only option. Besides, the raiders were a danger to his family. Really, there was no decision to make.

“I’ll do what I can to help.”

Nyal looked relieved.

“Just give us the coordinates for the raider ships so we can track them,” Arronanto advised. He too was relieved. He had been afraid his brother would want to turn and run.

“We’ll need accurate information about your own planetary defences so we can plan a counter-attack,” said Arjuna,entering from an adjacent room. Dennethom glared at his sister but she blithely ignored him. “We’ll also need to know everything we can about their attack on Sarno. It’ll give us an idea of how they like to operate,” she added.

Nyal’s head bobbed up and down on his shoulder, and he grinned nervously.

“The mayor will be grateful to learn of your assistance.”

He clasped hands with all three siblings, promising to return with all the information they requested.

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Under Attack Part One

by on Mar.15, 2013, under Chapter Thirteen: Under Attack

In the moons that passed Arjuna surprised even herself. It was an adventure. Everything Nerita did seemed new and exciting. Arkaya took to his cousin well, and was fiercely protective of her. Arronanto went through fits of excitement and dread as Drapaudi’s stomach grew bigger and more pronounced.

It was close to their one cycle anniversary of being on Skora when Dennehtom slipped away to the market. The generator at their housing structure had a worn power converter that he wanted to replace. He took any opportunity at the market to listen for news from the other systems.

He first went to a reliable seller who sold used and new parts, hoping to find the part he needed. The stand was shuttered. When he stopped at a fruit stand to buy some cool treats for the family he spotted a seller reading a local broadsheet.

“Anything interesting?” he asked. He never wanted to look as though he were fishing for information.

The seller tossed the broadsheet aside. “Rumours, that’s all. Supposedly we’ve lost contact with Sarno.”

Sarno was Skora’s twin planet. It had been colonised first as terraforming began on Skora.

“Who do they think is responsible?” Dennethom asked.

“Nobody knows anything at this point. Which of course means everyone is screaming raiders. You must have noticed there’s hardly anyone out here today.”

“That would explain why V’beck’s stand is closed. I had been hoping to pick up a power converter.”

The seller scoffed. “V’beck. What a coward. Don’t get me wrong. He sells good parts for a decent enough price, but he gets a whiff of news of raiders and he’s off scurrying. Makes you wonder why he came out here in the first place.

Dennethom said nothing, he merely nodded his head, ready to purchase his fruit and return home.

Later, that night, as Dennnethom sat playing with his son and Arjuna read to Nerita, the door buzzer chimed. The siblings were alarmed. They rarely had visitors, and never at night.

Arjuna took Arkaya and Nerita into another room. The children weren’t exactly a secret but it would be difficult to explain why children so young might live with Boentu monks

Dennethom and Arronanto threw on their monk robes and went to answer the door. It was Nyal.

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