Humans, Vasari and Xil, Oh My

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Jagtai
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Humans, Vasari and Xil, Oh My

Post by Jagtai » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:52 am

Planet Gorgon
Cyrus Sector


Aleksandr Mishkin, Alex among friends, stepped out of the shuttle and surveyed the terrain. In front of him were the ready-to-use housing, still being put into place. In the horizon, he could see a crystalline obelisk, one of the alien constructs he was here to examine.

Alex was a xenoarcheologist, graduated from Sorbonne a year earlier. It had taken him almost a year to reach Gorgon, going from Earth to the Inner Colonies through the Outer Colonies and to the Frontier where he was now.

Alex's attention was disturbed as Miranda Barnes, a xenobiologist and his assistant, and Colonel Richard Kerrigan, commander of this expedition, stepped out of the shuttle and stopped on either side of him.

"This place is fascinating," Miranda exclaimed, "look at those trees." A pair of strange-looking growths moved in the warm breeze permeating the air.

The Colonel rolled his eyes.
"House number three is yours, and you have number four as your laboratory. We'll listen to your recommendations, but keep in mind that our primary task is to set up a new colony here."

Alex nodded. He knew that the presence of Miranda and himself was a courtesy, nothing more. He didn't care. He had longed to use his education, and finally he would be able to.

* * * * *

Two weeks had passed. Miranda and Alex had both taken numerous samples, but had come up with little evidence of intelligent life, something the Colonel garnered much amusement from.

"Your search here," he had said one morning to Alex, "is futile. There are no intelligent beings in the universe apart from Mankind." Alex had rebuffed:
"What about the Xil?"

Mankind had encountered the alien species known as the Xil five years earlier. They were arachnoids but with arms instead of front legs, and three additional pairs of legs. They were roughly the size of a human. AstroTech, a large commercial conglomerate, had managed to manufacture an English-Xil-English translator module, and many Xil had become part of the colonies of the Frontier and the Outer Colonies. Few considered them sentient, however. Colonel Kerrigan had revealed himself to be one of them:

"The Xil?" he had exclaimed, "the Xil are barely sentient, and certainly not intelligent. They are no threat to us."

* * * * *

A month later, the Xil had proved Kerrigan, and all who believed what he did, wrong. A fleet of alien ships had assaulted one of the Outer Colonies. Footage from the world, sent shortly before contact was lost, revealed that the assault craft plummeting to the ground contained Xil warriors. Among the Xil in the other Outer Colonies, some had gone on rampages, killing as many as they could. Most, however, had gone into hiding.

In the ensuing conflict, the Xil proved themselves technologically and numerically superior to Mankind, and defeat followed upon defeat as the Xil moved towards Earth and what many believed would be the final hour of Mankind.

Alex was as distraught as any other, and stopped working for several days. One morning, Miranda managed to convince him to go back to work. "Maybe the obelisk contains something that can help us," she told him.

As they were moving towards the obelisk, Miranda asked:

"Why does that thing fascinate you anyway?" Alex smiled, sadness evident in his smile:
"You know Necropolis?"

Necropolis was a planet two lightyears from Gorgon. It had been cordoned off 300 years earlier, presumably after an incident involving aliens.

"I do."
"Well, we called it Cyrene when we first found it. Something happened there. According to what sources I have been able to gather, the colonists were wiped out by an alien species called the Vasari."
"I've heard the story. No evidence have ever been uncovered to support it. Why is that story significant?" Alex paused for a moment before answering.
"Cyrene contained the same obelisks as Gorgon."

Miranda considered it.

"You think the Vasari built the obelisk?"
"Yes. I think it's some kind of early warning system."
"Can you activate it?"
"No. I've found a patch on the obelisk that could be a switch, but I dare not try it out."

They continued in silence. Little did Alex know that Miranda would attempt something desperate...

They reached the obelisk, and Alex pointed out the patch. Before he could stop her, Miranda touched the patch. A purple light shot out in four directions, lighting up other, unseen obelisks. Suddenly, a burst of purple light shot out into space and the obelisks went dormant.

"What happened?" Miranda asked. Alex looked up at the rapidly disappearing burst of light.
"I think you just sent some kind of signal."

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Re: Humans, Vasari and Xil, Oh My

Post by Jagtai » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:08 am

Several days passed, and news of the Xil invasion moving closer to Earth kept coming in. A desperate counter-attack in the Sirius system had managed to slow the Xil down, but nothing more. The end was coming, and everyone knew it. Already, refugee ships in the hundreds were fleeing Earth, attempting to escape the inevitable.

After the signal had been sent, Alex and Miranda had tried to touch the patch again every day since, but the obelisks remained dormant. Alex surmised that they had been exhausted, and would need time to recharge - time Mankind did not have.

Then, eight days after Miranda had pushed the patch and activated the signal, something happened. A brief flash of blinding light appeared on the sky. When it disappeared, a single crystalline construct was sitting in space above the planet.

Alex and Miranda rushed to the command centre to find out what was going on. When they entered, Kerrigan was frantically dishing out orders for the defence of the colony. Miranda tried to get a word in, but Alex's attention was drawn towards a screen showing the construct. His heart skipped a beat. He turned to Kerrigan.

"Colonel." Kerrigan ignored him. "Colonel!" Finally Kerrigan turned.
"What is it? I'm busy."
"Whatever you do, do not fire on the object." Silence ensued, as everyone turned to look at Alex. Kerrigan took a step forward.
"The Xil are about to attack, and you don't want me to fire on it?!" Alex shook his head.
"That's not the Xil."
"Then who is it?" Alex pointed at the window. Everyone looked out and saw the obelisks. They bore a remarkable resemblance to the object above Gorgon.
"I think it's the Vasari."

* * * * *

"The Vasari?" Kerrigan looked dumbfounded. "They're a myth, created to explain some alien ruins and the failure of a colony. There's no proof of their existence."

Alex pointed at the screen showing the object above Gorgon.

"The proof is right there." Kerrigan looked at the screen and then at Alex.
"All right, Mr. Mishkin, do your thing then."

Alex went over to the comm console and tapped several keys. Moments later, a series of strange symbols appeared on the screen. Alex repeated the symbols. The screen changed, showing a garbled picture of a blue-skinned, scaled humanoid. It had four golden eyes, sitting two-by-two, and a wide, toothed maw. Two holes replaced a nose.

The humanoid spoke, an alien language that hurt their ears. Mishkin shook his head and pointed at his ears. A bright blue light enveloped the command centre for a moment. Then the humanoid spoke again, this time in perfect English.

"I am Bringer-Of-Our-Retribution Memory-of-Fallen-Tears. We have been summoned." Alex nodded.
"Yes, we activated the obelisks."
"You activated them?"
"Yes"
"And you are?"
"Alexandr Mishkin, xeno-archeologist." Alex suddenly felt a shiver run down his spine. All he knew of the Vasari was the story of Necropolis. He was suddenly unsure whether activating the obelisks had been a good idea. A moment later, Memory-of-Fallen-Tears lay his fears to rest.
"Very well. We are here. What is the emergency?"
"An alien species is laying waste to our species. It is a matter of time before we cease to exist as a species."
"Who is your enemy?"
"The Xil."

The reaction of Memory-of-Fallen-Tears shocked everyone in the room. The creature's skin became purple and its eyes widened. When it spoke again, its voice had hardened.

"The Xil? The arachnids?"
"Yes."
"We are coming." The screen turned black, leaving the room in disarray. Miranda was the first to compose herself. She opened the door, just as a green light erupted on the plaza outside. When it disappeared a moment later, three blue-skinned creatures stood in the middle of the plaza. Miranda recognized Memory-of-Fallen-Tears. The creatures began walking towards her, and stopped a few feet away. They were over 7 feet tall, and sported four arms that ended in clawed, six-fingered hands. Memory-of-Fallen-Tears looked down upon Miranda.

"You are?"
"Miranda Barnes, Doctor Mishkin's assistant." Alex appeared in the door as she spoke.
"I am Mishkin."

The eyes of the aliens turned to Alex.

"You spoke of the Xil?"
"Yes."

Alex, aided by Miranda, explained the situation. When they were done, Memory-of-Fallen-Tears nodded.

"I am not surprised. The Xil are ancient enemies of the Get of Vas. We withdrew from this sector because of them."
"You feared them?" Miranda asked. Memory-of-Fallen-Tears shook his head.
"No. But the colonies here were young. We did not wish to fight a costly war over these worlds. We left the obelisks to warn off the Xil and retreated to sectors closer to The World."
"Warn off?"
"Yes." Memory-of-Fallen-Tears and his companions showed their fangs in what Alex realised was wicked smiles. "Before we left, we taught them a lesson in manners that they would not soon forget."

Neither Alex nor Miranda dared ask what the lesson had been - the smiles told their own story. Once again, Miranda broke the ice of another question that Alex wanted to ask but dared not.

"What about Necropolis?" Memory-of-Fallen-Tears looked at her.
"Necropolis?"
"The world, two light-years from here, that was destroyed some 300 years ago." Memory-of-Fallen-Tears nodded.
"Xil infestation. They destroyed the colony and massacred the colonists. The colonists activated the obelisks, but by the time we arrived, only a handful still survived."
"What happened to them?"
"We took them with us. Their minds were broken by the horrors they had witnessed."
"What did you do to them?" Miranda wasn't sure she wanted to hear the answer.
"We repaired their minds and bodies."

Miranda was about to ask for details, when Kerrigan appeared.

"So, Mishkin, are your aliens going to help us or not?" He took a step backwards, when the eyes of the aliens moved to him. Memory-of-Fallen-Tears then answered.

"Yes, we will help you. Assemble everyone here in two hours."

Then the aliens turned and returned to the centre of the square. Before anyone could ask them more, a green light erupted. When it disappeared, the aliens were gone as well...

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