The More Things Change...
In space, no one can hear you scream. That was the last thought of the captain of the Open Arms as his ship exploded. For over fifty years this race of fugitives has been on the run from the Pandonians, a brutal race seeking only destruction. In these years the fugitives have retraced the steps of their ancestors back to the galaxy of their origin.
Five thousand years ago the fugitives left the world of their birth to start anew. They wanted to branch out from their cousins so that more of the universe could benefit from their knowledge. After hundreds of years they found their new home. A small system the middle of a new galaxy; what a perfect place to begin. They found three planets capable of supporting life yet bare of intelligence. They named the planets Fronfer, Lakends, and Grewsda. Translated into English they were Peace, Love, and Understanding.
They lived in harmony with the races that populated this galaxy for five thousand years, until a race of wandering predators entered their sphere of influence. The boarder races fell almost instantly under the Pandonians savage might. They shamelessly executed the populations and ravaged their worlds for the supplies they needed.
Lan-Har, the military leader of the fugitives, gathered a armada of all the surrounding races to go and confront the Pandonians while still weeks away from the galaxys core. They had heard that the fleet the Pandonians had was immense, but had no idea of its true scale. Lan-Har and the Righteousness led the armada of five hundred ships to where the Pandonians had set up camp for the time being. The world they had just conquered was huge, and would take some time to completely drain.
Once they were within range they sent out a standard welcoming and "we come in peace" signal. From six hundred light years away Pandonian ships lay in wait, but let the armada pass. All attempts to hail the ships were ignored by them. The ships were slightly smaller than the armadas, but were much different in design. The armada had white ships with flowing lines and graceful curves. Standard running lights and the name of the vessel were boldly on display. The Pandonian ships were black, triangular, and savage looking. They had large weapons on the end of each of the three forward swept wings and resembled shrapnel.
The fear was tangible in the bridge of the Righteousness as they passed through the defenses of the Pandonians. Lan-Har could only watch the ships close in behind them as they got closer to the center of the fleet. In orbit around the planet was the command ship, there could be no mistaking it. It was about seven miles across and in a saucer shape. All around the equator of the ship were spikes that resembled the guns on the wings of the regular ships.
Finally a hail was let out from the command ship. Lan-Har was almost reluctant to answer the signal. He was unsure what to expect, but was confident this was his last day among the living. The computer estimates came back, it appeared that the ships numbered in the millions.
"Greetings, my name is Lan-Har. I represent the beings living in this galaxy and have come to ask of your purposes here. Is there anything we can do for you?" When the picture came back Lan-Har nearly gasped in fear. These Pandonians were animalistic in nature. They appeared to be a cross between a panther and a wolf. They had black and gray fur, small triangular ears on top of their heads, and long jaws filled with razor sharp teeth. They wore armor from the neck down covered with robes and each of them had side arms on them.
"I am Huntrrro, firrrst of this prrride. Why do you botherrr us?"
"I apologize if we are a bother, that is not out intention. We always welcome a new race to our galaxy and you are no different." Huntro seemed to laugh at that.
"Welcome orrr not, we take what we want. You arrre a fool to have come herrre. Make peace with yourrr gods furrrless one, you die today." With that Huntro shut down the signal.
"All ships, prepare for combat!!" Lan-Har called out. "Ignore the smaller ships and concentrate all fire on the command ship." All hell proceeded to break loose. The armada as one went full bore towards the command ship, all fire directed at it. One by one the Pandonian ships cut them down like they were nothing. Of the five hundred only the Righteousness and two others made it to the command ship. One was gunned down by the lasers on the side of the command ship, and the other made it to the underbelly of it. It tried a kamikaze run at the center of the ship, but missed by half a mile. The damage was too great to properly maneuver it, although it did do considerate damage to the command ship. The Righteousness was able to make it into a hanger and breach its engine core. Roughly ten percent of the command ship was damaged from the attack.
During the battle the Righteousness recorded the goings on and sent them to the homeworlds. The council watched in horror as their fleet was gunned down so easily. There was no other choice, they had to leave this galaxy. To stay would be certain death. They sent word to the other races, who were already beginning to formulate evacuation plans.
They had maybe two weeks before death showed up at their door step. This home was lost, it was time to leave. Luckily, the colonization ships were still in working order. They were kept more for floating museums than anything. Within a week all ships were space worthy and ready to move out. They had about one million ships ready for deep space transport. Eighty percent of the population was able to squeeze themselves aboard one of the ships. About four million people were going to be left behind.
There was enough short range and half built or half destroyed ships left that some of them would be able to at least make a dent in the advancing armada. The remainder of the population would go into hiding, hoping to escape the Pandonians notice. The fugitives left orbit ten days after the incident with the Pandonians, they arrived three days after that.
The reports from the one hundred and fifty or so ships left behind were horrendous. The fight, if you could call it that, lasted twenty three minutes. They were able to take out about ten percent of their ships, not a bad showing from near derelicts, small fighters, and shuttles. If any of the population survived is unknown, there were enough shelters and bunkers for them spread out among the planets, so hopefully some did. If the fleet tried to contact the colony it would compromise their locations. After the last of the fugitive ships were destroyed, a message came through. It was only two words "No escape".
For the last fifty years the fugitives have been fighting off the cat and mouse style attacks from the Pandonians. They would launch an offensive, destroy some of the fugitives ships, then retreat back to the command ship. The fugitives have lost over half their ships and with them, half the population. Their ships are tired and mostly held together with tape and glue. It is lucky they are nearing the galaxy of their birth. Once they can get hold of their long lost cousins they will have a chance of survival.
Continued in Chapter 2: Put Up Your Dukes
Return to The More Things Change... Homepage