Shatterer of Worlds: A Novel

Tag: Nyal

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 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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Skora Part Eleven

by on Mar.08, 2013, under Chapter Twelve: Skora

He knelt down next to Nyal. The Arthemian was conscious, but in pain. Dennethom wasn’t sure, he didn’t know much about Arthemian physiology, but he suspected a broken bone.

“Dennethom to Base. I’ve found Nyal. We will be returning shortly.”

He didn’t bother to listen for a reply. It would be lost to the wind anyway. Nyal had a scarf, which Dennethom took and wrapped about his own face. The sand was actually beginning to hurt. If he wasn’t careful, his face would end up like Nyal’s. Sighing, he braced himself and lifted the Arthemian’s heavy body up and over his shoulder.

Returning to the transport, he pulled the ignition key out of Nyal’s pocket and tried the engine. It started. Dennethom silently thanked the old gods as he gently laid Nyal down in the passenger seat and climbed up next to him in the pilot seat.

The return journey seemed longer than the walk up. Because of the wind, he went slowly. He didn’t want to get blown off course. The transport itself had only a small sun shade for a roof, so he was still being blasted by the sand. Dennethom felt delirious. He almost envied Nyal, bundled in the passenger seat, able to slip into unconsciousness. If he could have stopped, he would, but there was no place safe to stop.

His protective suit was supposed to take care of the sweat that poured off his aching body, but Dennethom still felt sticky and uncomfortable. He resisted the impulse to peel everything off. It was like being back on Hadad. The universe was testing him. He smiled. It was funny to think of Hadad. He hadn’t thought of the proving grounds in so long. Everything he had gone through since the proving ground had seemed so much more difficult than the tests on that small rock.

On Hadad his only thought was trying to beat Lossepharr. Now all he thought about was his family. Should he have left them? Had he stayed, his behaviour would have worsened. But he was ready to go home now. He longed to see Arkaya. His place was with his family. As for Arro and Drapaudi, he would need to control himself. If he could only keep her for a time, so be it. A strong sense of purpose seeped through him,

And then, as though to test him once more, the engine on the transport began to sputter and Dennethom was forced to land. He pulled out the tracker. It wasn’t far to the housing camp, although carrying Nyal, it would take a lot longer. Once more he heaved Nyal up on his shoulders. He just had to put one foot in front of the other.

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Skora Part Ten

by on Mar.06, 2013, under Chapter Twelve: Skora

Dennethom bent down to check on Nyal. The Arthemian was barely conscious. He could hardly open his eyes. Nyal’s face was slightly bloodied, the skin raw from exposure to the blasting sand. Luckily, the rest of him was well covered up.

“It’s okay. I’m going to get you out,” Dennethom reassured him, removing his own protective head gear and giving it to Nyal. The Boentu at least had fur to provide a layer of protection.

Dennethom heaved at the large metal roof that pinned his companion down. It didn’t budge. He tried again. Still nothing. He cursed at himself when he realised the roof wasn’t going anywhere while it was partially buried in the sand.

Kneeling down, Dennethom began to dig away at the roof, trying to free it enough so he could rescue Nyal. It was difficult work. The sand was already beginning to sting, but he was determined to keep going. Eventually he tried to lift the roof once more. It finally gave way. Just barely. Dennethom panted at the exertion, sweat streaming beneath his protective clothing. He called out to Nyal, to see if he was able to get out by himself, but the Arthemian could barely speak.

What he needed was something to prop up the portion of roof he was holding. He found a large boulder nearby and managed to maneuver so that it stood next to a corner of the roof. Taking a slow, meditative breath, he lifted the roof once more and heaved the boulder underneath, pushing with his powerful legs. It worked, barely. The one corner of roof that pinned Nyal down was now held up by a boulder.

Exhausted, Dennethom grabbed Nyal under his arms and heaved him away. Dennethom nudged the roof with his arm and it clattered back to the ground. It was all Dennethom could do to get out of the way.

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Skora Part Nine

by on Mar.04, 2013, under Chapter Twelve: Skora

At first he thought the beep was his imagination. He could hardly hear it over the howling wind. He held up the tracker inches from his face. To his disappointment, the device hadn’t registered any biological life forms. Instead it told him that he had arrived at the work site. Dennethom breathed a sigh of relief. If not for the tracker, he would have kept walking. He quickened his pace. There was no sign of Nyal. As he got closer, he spotted one of the partially completed buildings. The roof had blown away in the storm. Just the supports stuck up, exposed to the elements.

This was precisely why he knew Nyal wouldn’t be foolish enough to take refuge in these half-finished buildings. Nyal knew what kind of damage a bad sandstorm might do. Dennethom checked the tracker. Nothing.

Surveying the work site he spotted a lone two-person transport. It belonged to Nyal. Dennethom trudged over to the transport, and looked about to see if Nyal had taken refuge nearby, but he didn’t see anything. The transport was covered in sand.

“Denne to base.”

“We read you Denne,” somebody said. Dennethom couldn’t identify the voice, the wind was too loud.

“I’ve found Nyal’s transport. He didn’t leave the work site. No sign of Nyal.”

He continued to walk, circling further and further away from the transport. He needed to make a decision soon. There was no good shelter here. At some point he would have to return to base. Without Nyal. Worse. He would probably need to take the transport, though he wasn’t certain it would make it all the way back.

He cursed to himself. Why did he decide to go out here by himself? Because of his honour? Because of the warrior code? His conscience? Back home he had a wife and son, and now he put himself at great risk. For one person….

Just then, the tracker came to life beeping insistently. Dennethom squinted. There was something alive a few metres away. He hurried forward. The ground looked odd. A strange, warped metallic shape stuck out of the ground. It was the roof of the building. The one that had blown away.

Pinned beneath the roof was Nyal.

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