20 | TO THE STARS WE SAIL
TDF IZURA, NEW TALIA SYSTEM| 1200 HOURS ZULU
It had been quiet for six rotations of the moon around the new home world and Nurvala had grown impatient. Within another ten rotations, it would be her life day and the entire Empire would overflow with celebration in honor of the occasion. Such mundane things had long lost their appeal after her two hundredth life day. Now that her five hundredth life day was close at hand, the whole thing felt like just a waste of time.
With a light step, she walked over to the window of her sleeping chamber and took in the view of the violet world just beyond the horizon. She had declared the world to be named New Talia in honor of the homeworld that was taken from them so long ago. Only three million of her people managed to flee the destruction of their homeworld while billions were killed.
She had been one of the lucky ones and was conducting a royal tour of the Imperial Fleet when the attack came. The Drazic of the fleet had proven himself during the crisis by quickly jumping the fleet into aether space before the storm caught them in open space. For many solar rotations that had drifted through space, lost in the white blinding light of the aether until they finally happened upon New Talia.
The planet suited their needs to survive and enough exotic wildlife to train new generations to one day venture from the depths of the galactic core to remove the plague that had forced their relocation. Patience was not a common virtue among her people, but Nurvala kept them firmly in line and busy with the task of preparing for war.
The biggest problem that had weighed heavily on her mind was the fact that after two hundred solar years, her best astrologers still could not tell her where they were in the galaxy. The unfamiliar quadrant of the universe held unfamiliar stars and nebulas that thwarted their efforts to determine the location of their new home in the sea of stars.
Her people were ready; they had been for two generations now. Their fleet, once less than a hundred ships, was now a thousand ships manned by the finest crew. All they needed was just a single signal to point them in the direction they needed to go.
“My Queen.” a voice said behind her. She turned her head around to see her alpha male retainer bowing low. He was undressed as was custom in her presence, his scales of black and ocean blue marked him as one of the servant caste.
“What is it Meerzaer?” she asked.
“Your Highness, we have received a coded aether transmission bearing the mark of Othimnym.” he said, head still bowed low.
“Othimnym? Are you sure?” she asked Nurvala, clearly surprised by the news. The Othimnym were a house of assassins that were fanatically loyal to the Imperial Throne. The House of Othimnym was lost during the Great Loss of their home planet.
“Yes your Highness. There is no mistake.” Meerzaer responded.
Nurvala swept up her jewel encrusted dress and made her way from the window to her personal terminal. “Show me.” she demanded.
Meerzaer stood up, made his way over to the terminal, and entered a security code that was requested to pull up the transmission.
The holoprojector came to life and projected a red holoimage of a naked talishar male with green and black scales marking him as one of the warrior caste.
“Your Highness, I have transmitted this message in the last known direction of the fleet in hopes that you can respond. I have been capture by humans while in hypersleep. I appear to be located on one of their science stations. My coordinates have been included with this message. I request extraction at the soonest opportunity.” the talishar’s image winked out of existence and a stream of code and coordinates scrolled across the main computer screen.
“The transmission came from what we called the Vilia system. It was four jumps from Mesar Taag.” Meerzaer said as he punched in a few sequences into the computer and pulled out a galactic map, “From this transmission, our astrologers were able to determine that we are located here, ten thousand light years from the galactic core and therefore, twelve hundred light years from Talia.” he said.
Nurvala blinked quietly as she ingested the data presented to her. Her people had traveled much farther than she had thought, a side effect of the aether storm that had destroyed their original home world. The storm must have acted like a propellant in aether space, pushing them much farther than expected. Still, twelve hundred light years was possible, especially with the new Aether Genesis Drives that had been developed with this possibility in mind.
“Meerzaer, inform Drazic Baneantha that I wish to speak with her at once.” Nurvala ordered.
“At once my Queen.” Meerzaer said and bowed deeply, never once making eye contact with her. He then backed away before quickly making his way out of her chamber.
Nurvala watched the transmission from Othimnym another time to try to find any more clues as to what was happening back in her home sector. The assassin clear was disturbed by something that he experienced with the humans, but did not allude to what that was. The battle scars on his body suggested that he had seen recent battle and the battleground suggested that he was on the human science station when he made the transmission.
What was most curious about the transmission was that it was made at all. The Othimnym was request an extraction while on a hostile station. Such a transmission would only have been made if the talishar assumed that help would arrive within a reasonable amount of time. Such a thing was impossible. Such a distance would take months to reach, even with their new Aether Genesis Drives.
Nurvala concluded that the assassin was not aware of the aether storm that had destroyed Talia and drive the People into the far reaches of space. Though he would die at the hands of humans, he unknowingly gave his Queen the ability to find her way back home and for that, she would ever be thankful.
The question now became, could the new Aether Genesis Drives be installed on the fleet to launch an assault on the human Confederation to retake their home world. The new drives had to live up to the promise of greater speed in aether space if they were to get the fleet back home within a reasonable timeframe.
Aether travel had been discovered by her great great grandfather nearly two millennia ago as a realm of space between what her people saw as the material place of existence and the astral realm of spirits and gods. As aether space existed within both realms and in between, it was were light traveled free of cosmic particles. With the Genesis Drive, it was possible to breach the barrier between the Material Space and Aether Space and move at or faster than light. Such a device had allowed the talishar to reach the stars and conquer them in the name of the Empire.
The door to the Queen’s chamber opened as Meerzaer announced the presence of Drazic Baneantha. A talishar of gold and black scales entered the room in royal military attire or golden battle armor. The articulated plates with ruby inlays marked her as the highest ranking officer in the Imperial Fleet. She was also Nurvala’s younger sister and one of the royal family who walked the path of the warrior since she was not able to take the immortal throne.
“My Queen.” Baneantha bowed deeply to her sister.
“Arise Baneantha.” Nurvala said and walked over to her sister put her hand to the gold plated shoulder.
“This is about the transmission?” she asked.
Nurvala nodded, “Yes. You have seen it already?”
“I have sister. It was intercepted by my ship first and then transmitted to you once it passed security protocol.” Baneantha said.
“What is the progress of installing the new Genesis Drives?” Nurvala asked.
“It is on schedule and due to be completed by the end of the rotation.” Baneantha said.
The Queen shook her head dissatisfied, “Not good enough, not now. It must be done in four cycles.”
“Four cycles? Nurvala, such a thing would require nearly the entire Empire to be involved!” Baneantha said.
“Then the whole of the Empire you shall have sister,” Nurvala said firmly, “I will not allow this opportunity to slip us by. Our people have waited too long for this day to come.”
Baneantha bowed her head, “Of course.”
“I will make the announcement at the celebration that the gods have gifted me with vision of our home. The entirety of the Empire will united by the desire to return home and you will have all of the workers you need to get the job done.” Nurvala said.
“A masterful plan sister.”
Nurvala turned from her sister and walked back over to her customary spot by the window overlooking New Talia, “The time has finally come Baneantha. We are finally going home.”
Baneantha moved to stand by her sister, “And then at last we will have our revenge.”
“The human race will be hunted down to the last child my dear sister. Now go, bring honor and glory to the Empire.” Nurvala said.
“At once your Majesty.” Baneantha said with a bow.