Legacy of the Guardians
by AJ Marks
The shuttles descended down towards the planet. The pilots relaying back to the fleet what they saw, craters of destruction all over the surface of the planet. Entire cities had been destroyed, leveled by a power that the only thing the pilots could imagine was a nuclear blast. Scanning for any signs of radioactivity before the air was determined to be breathable.
Three groups walked out of the shuttles, looking around at the utter devastation. Mounds of rubble now lay where buildings once stood. Smoke still lingered in the air and plumes of fire could be seen in the distance. The groups send back reports and pictures of what they saw back up to the fleet.
The group spread out looking for signs of the Skartians. So far they found no signs of life except for smaller plants, and insects, but no larger life forms. The devastation was complete and they could not help but wonder how many were killed in the bombardment. They ran across a few dead Skartians in the street, many appeared to have been shot in the back running from something.
They knew they might be able to go through the rubble and they might find someone, but picking the right pile would consume a lot of personnel and time. The group fanned out trying to cover as much territory as possible.
“Over here, I thought I heard something,” one of the Yttipians said, focusing their attention on a spot. The group listened as they got closer, and could make out intelligent sounds in the silence of the devastation.
The group set up a perimeter and started to dig through the rubble. A short time later they uncovered a small body of a child which was crying. The arm of an adult held onto the child and they continued to dig, uncovering a female Skartian. Both were transported back to the Seydlitz, the child was given over to the Skartian they had rescued earlier for his care and the doctors worked on the female.
She came to, frightened and look for her child. With the help of the rescued Skartian from earlier they calmed the female down and asked her what happened. She did not know either, only that they were attacked without warning, and felt sure the aliens she saw were not human.
More groups had descended down to the planet to find survivors. Ahmed had come down with the latest group, and looked around, taking in his experiences back on Earth and his past looking for spots that people might hide in. He noticed a small hole, and moved closer, staying in sight and hoping no one as pointing a laser gun at him. He hoped the fact they were calling out for any survivors might help.
He peeked inside, seeing a tunnel. “Sergeant, I’m going in, wait outside for a second,” he told the man. Ahmed had to crawl on his belly, but made it inside, and looked around. He noticed light coming from further down the tunnel and motioned for the sergeant to come in and follow.
Together they made their way down the tunnel towards the light. The light came from several small fires, along with several groups of Skartians huddle around each one with a lost look in their eyes. They flinched upon seeing the humans in the group, and Ahmed heard the whispers of human go through the group. He prepared himself for a confrontation.
“Help us, they attacked without warning, said they were our allies,” one said. It took Ahmed a few puzzled seconds to understand what the Skartians said before he could even reply.
“Whoever they were, they’re gone now,” Ahmed said, watching the disbelief in their eyes.
“They left?” the Skartian said, confused. “We heard shooting all night long, then, not long ago, it stopped.”
Ahmed had no idea about the time here, but decided to call out to the others that whoever did this, might still be here. They got the group out of the tunnel, and Ahmed found there were about two dozen, a few wounded and motioned the doctors over to help. He did have one bit of information for the admiral, and made his way over to the communicator.
Jack read the report in total disbelief. The decoy part of Operation R had gone from battle ready to defense of the planet Sartar, and helping out those survivors they found. The unexpected twist he had not foreseen.
Intelligence only came up with a token outline of what happened thanks to the survivors testimonies. The Skiartians had been approached before the war against the humans, and told if they destroyed the human race they would get a huge reward. So the first war started almost a hundred years ago. They devised the Hitler plan, and when that failed they went to war.
Jack knew how that war went, the humans managed to fight back and sue for peace. The Skartian allies helped them out once more, giving them a final chance. When the Skartians failed to destroy humanity in the last attack it seemed that the allies turned on them. They were to wipe out the Skartians, which was what they were doing when Operation R came up.
It seemed illogical to Jack that a race so advanced, would want humanity killed off, yet fled when they showed up. One of the reports from a survivor said he was about to be killed when the alien looked up and fled. Intelligence concluded it was about the time that the Boston was approaching.
Jack drummed his fingers on the table at the inconsistencies in the story. It made no sense to him that any race would fear humanity. He needed to find out why this race feared them, and quickly.
“You appear deep in thought there Jack,” Steve said, walking into Jack’s room.
Jack looked away from the documents, reports and eye-witness accounts and over to his friend. “Yeah, I’m puzzled over this latest report. Reports state that whoever this race is that attacked the Skartians, they fled the moment we got near,” Jack said to him.
“Strange, maybe they don’t want other races to know about them,” Steve said.
“Possible, but I want all commands to know about this, and to keep an eye out for any strange ships. I don’t want to be caught flat-footed,” Jack said, watching Steve nod in agreement.
“I’ll get on it,” Steve said, starting to walk from the room.
“No, I’ll get Greg to do it,” Jack said, pushing a button and watching as Greg appeared in the doorway. Jack wrote down a few things and handed it to him. He took off towards the C-in-C to carry out the orders.
“So, why did you want me here?” Steve asked after Greg had left.
“I want you to read over these reports as well, perhaps I missed something. We still have trouble in the council, and I fear that they will use this against us, considering the Skartians have all but been wiped out for the short-term. They will blame us for this,” Jack said to him. It had only come to him when he saw a recent report from Randall. How powerful was this unknown race?
“All right, I’ll look over them as well,” Steve said, sitting down as Jack handed him a handful of reports.
It seemed like an eternity since the blackness overwhelmed him, surrounding him to the point it seemed to penetrate his skin. He could feel it under his skin, crawling around, inside his mouth, stinging his eyes yet had not heard anything. A painful silence which seemed louder than anything he ever heard.
If he concentrated he could force the darkness back and he could see flashes of images, of a fast slide show which merged together. He knew something important was out there, if only he could see it.
His struggle to increase his concentration grew each time, and he could feel himself getting stronger, pushing the darkness back a bit more each time. He still could not understand what he saw, or was being taught. He understood that much now, he had to learn, and the last time he managed to slow down the images, a feat but when he relaxed the darkness pushed back engulfing him again.
He paused a bit, gathering his strength again before pushing the darkness away once more. A piece of the puzzle still was missing. Then he heard it, a voice repeating over and over, like a whisper in the wind.
It’s time to act, learn who you are.
The statement confused him, but gave him a renewed strength to try one last time. He focused on two things, mentally pushing the darkness away and slowing down the images. The darkness scattered as if someone turned on a light and for the first time he could make out the images.
He saw races suppressed in slavery, others destroyed, and still others controlled by the shadows of the night. He then saw a mother give birth to a strange-looking child, to him it looked as if it was the head of a person and the body of an animal.
The controlled races went after the mother, killing her as the shadows ordered. Then they beat the child to death before burying it deep in the ground. After that they turned their attention back to destruction, enslavement or controlling of the other races. He continued to watch as things progressed before the spot where the child had been buried moved a bit.
He watched transfixed as the ground heaved and bulged. No one seemed to have noticed the movement, until the ground exploded in dust and rocks. The shadows screeched in horror and fear and the others looked on in wonder, terror and hope even as the dust settled and an outline of a figure appeared. It slowly took on more detail, until he could see a large beast-like figure with the head of a man.
The figure morphed into a full beast, and charged the stunned shadow. The battle lasted only a few blows as the shadows were scattered across the planet. The suppressed people looked up in shock as the beast morphed into a human. With a mighty strike the chains were broken, setting them free before morphing back into the hybrid animal. It settled down like a cat and watched the others as they rebuilt their lives.
The darkness again enveloped him, this time it did not threaten him. Again he heard the voice in the wind, but this time he understood.
“We guard,” he said.
Instantly he found himself in a room, full of light. He blinked a few times to get his eyes adjusted to the light, and finally looked around amazed at what he saw. Free energy pulsed around the room. It should have terrified him, yet found himself unafraid of it. The figure stood in front of him, a hologram of a red being.
“You are ready, the Darkness is close, you must defeat them,” it said, before disappearing and any questions could be asked.
He made his way over, watching the pulsing energy as it transformed into light and moved about the room. He paused, wondering if this could answer his questions. In an experiment he stepped into one of the pulsing energy beams, expecting to be tossed aside. Instead he found himself standing at a console of a highly advanced computer which tapped directly into this thoughts.
Images of both ancient and recent events between the humans and Skartians flashed by. He knew what happened to the Skartians, and why the shadows were afraid of the human race. The view switched to a new scene and knew he had to be there somehow before the damage became too great.
Even as he thought it, a doorway opened and he knew how to use it.
“Confess human, how did you finally destroy the Skartians, we know of the destruction of their homeworld,” the Dedian ambassador asked, looking right at Randall. He had spent the past couple of minutes ranting against the humans and their violent ways. The almost total destruction of the Skartian race was his new evidence against humanity. It seemed like no matter what Randall said, no one gave the evidence any real thought, and stayed with the accusations.
“We did not, the destruction had already occurred when the fleet made up of several races including humans arrived at the planet,’ Randall replied, for the hundredth time. The hostility against him was amazing, and he felt some of the ambassadors were almost ready to declare war against him.
Several other races had joined in on the Dedian’s side, now accusing humanity of mass murder. Randall had a hard time keeping up with the comments, and felt glad his allies had not come to the meeting. He had felt the pulsing energy the moment he entered the council, and knew it would have effected them.
In the middle of the pandemonium a single figure appeared, creating an unusual calm within the room. Randall could tell it was a human, and watched as he scanned the room. He tilted his head, listening to something no one else could hear. His eyes came to rest on a small bag.
People watched in horror as he brandished a gun, pointed and fired before anyone could react. Randall blinked for a second thinking the man had to be crazy, until he realized the weird feeling had vanished. Now he felt intrigued about what happened.
The ambassadors had been stunned, but when the mysterious figure started firing they ducked for cover believing a mad shooter had entered the council. Once the group realized he had finished firing, and started looking up he had put away his weapon, but the Dedian ambassador was furious about what happened.
“Why did you shot my stuff?” he shouted, demanding an answer in an obvious attempt to intimidate the stranger in front of him.
“Yours?” the stranger calmly answered, even though everyone else would have been anything but calm if the positions were reversed.
Randall watched with interest as the two began to talk. The man appeared human, but the fact he appeared out of nowhere meant he had a technology no one on Earth had. He also wondered about what the man had shot, and why.
“Of course it’s mine you idiot,” the Dedian yelled. “Do you have any idea what you’ve done?”
“Yes I do,” the human replied quite calmly, and in complete control of the situation.
“Then you know you’ve just killed us all,” the Dedian said, shocking many others with such words. They now looked towards the ambassador hoping for an explanation.
“No, I’ve saved you, but we must act quickly now,” the man said, turning towards Randall, who knew instinctively that he was talking to him.
“What’s going on?” Randall asked, as Kinser and the others now entered the council and walked up to him.
“This ambassador was using a device to control and manipulate the attitude of the other races against humanity,” the man said to Randall and the others before continuing. “Everyone should be back to themselves now, but the group that gave this race that device, they don’t tolerate failure well. They were the ones who attacked and destroyed the Skartians, a shadow race, they only wish to control and dominate the universe. If you are not under their control, they will destroy you.”
“Can your people withstand and attack from this group?” Randall asked the Dedian ambassador.
“No, the Skartians were the ones who militaristic, not us,” the Dedian ambassador said. “We have almost no military.”
“We can stand up to this race, and we will stand up,” the stranger said, much to Randall’s confusion. “Come, there is much to do.”
End part 28
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