Erwin Schmidt stared out of the window of the secondary bridge of the KSS Nova
, a mighty Khan-class dreadnought like the Genghis
. He was the captain of the ship, however, all propulsion systems were offline. Somehow, these cylinders had turned off all of the fleet's propulsion systems. Captain Schmidt had already contacted several other ships, but they were all having the same problem as the Nova
. He had also heard reports of disappearing officers from those ships, but due to the size of the Khan-class dreadnought it would be very hard to find if an officer had gone missing on his ship as well, since he knew that no one of the bridge crew was gone. The captain could still see the cylinders near the fleet, but because their propulsion was gone there was nothing they could do about it. Then, for some reason, Erwin felt the floor of the ship beneath him shake violently, almost knocking him off his feet. When he recovered from the sudden shaking, the captain saw that everything outside of the ship, including the stars and galaxies he could see with the naked eye, had changed.
"Status report!" He ordered.
A woman who was in charge of the scanning and communication systems on the secondary bridge replied. "Contact with main fleet lost. Twenty of the largest and most powerful Khaganate military ships, except the Genghis
, have all been transported here by, what my scanners indicate, was a Quantum Delocalisation Event. Nine of the civilian ships have also been transported here. I can't pinpoint the main fleet's location, so it is likely that we've been transported too far to contact them. From my scanners, I can see that eleven of the GEF's dreadnoughts, including this one, and nine of the battleships are near us. Our propulsion systems are online as well. Whatever had shut them off is gone now."
"So we've got a lot of firepower. That's good. What about the civilian vessels?"
"I can see several purely civilian transport ships, mostly Ger-class. There's also a few industrial and agricultural vessels, so at least we won't starve to death while we're lost in space," The communications officer laughed a bit at her own joke, but seeing that the captain did not find it funny, she continued, "It would also appear that, since both the admiral and the vice-admiral aren't here, as well as the fact that the Nova
is designated as the second command ship of the fleet, you are now in command of the fleet, or at least what's left of it here. Congratulations, sir."
"Run a scan, I want to know what's around us."
The scan took some time to be completed. Meanwhile, the captain could see that even the solar system they were in had changed. The small blue star of the planet with the cylinders had changed, and all of the structures he could see without scanners were gone.
"Scan complete. In this system, there's a formation of ten large, heavily armed spaceships, in orbit around a planet several Astronomical Units from here. Around the same planet another, smaller vessel is present. Both are made of an unusual alloy, but I am not sure if its stronger than the material this ship's hull is made out of. Another vessel is also orbiting around the same planet, but the normal scanners detect a slight interference, possibly due to some kind of sensor damping technology. Near that ship there's some sort of vessel generating temporal distortions. Near the outer planet of this system, there's a fleet of thirty-three ships shaped like centipedes. These ships are all a few miles long, and seem to be of entirely different origin than the ships that are more to the center of the system. There's also thirteen lifepods scattered around the system, one of which is dangerously close to the KSS Num
. It seems that there's also a killer whale that just appeared above one of the planets."
"Thank you, Lieutenant. Can you contact the rest of our small fleet? I need to tell them something."
Before the communications officer could do so, however, the killer whale had already disappeared from the ship's sensors, and she could see a teleporter signal that was suspiciously similar to that of the KSS Aqua
, a scientific vessel, on the terminal in front of her.
"Sir, I have received a audio message from one of the heavily armed ships on several general frequencies. I am playing the message now."
The captain listened to the message from First Gamma Palin, and told the communications officer to reply.
The flagship of the Quatis fleet would then receive the following reply:
"I am captain Erwin Schmidt of the KSS Nova, admiral of the Lanist Khaganate Second Fleet. We were transported here through unknown means, and as such, we are new to this region of space as well. Please state your intentions like we have done."
The captain of the KSS Num
had also received the information that there was a lifepod floating dangerously close to his ship, and had given the order to retrieve it. The massive battleship slowly moved until the lifepod was floating near the entrance of the small hangar bay, where it was pulled in by a tractor beam. Several soldiers were already waiting for it, in case something dangerous emerged from the pod.
Khan Yuri Lanist sat in his chair in the back of the bridge, thinking what had to be done. The propulsion of the ships of the fleet was still not working, and several military officers had disappeared without a trace, presumably taken by the cylinders. The Khan knew that they were not leaving until they got their people back, since they couldn't just abandon them to a strange alien species. All of a sudden, the mighty Genghis
, flagship of the Khaganate fleet, was shaking, but it only took a few seconds for it to stop. Immediately, the Khan and the bridge crew noticed that something was very wrong, as a man dressed in armour and holding a gun had mysteriously appeared in the bridge, waddling about for a few seconds, before noticing the officers and the Khan in the bridge. Immediately, several of the Kheshig, or Khan's Guard, that were always present to protect the Khan, his family, and important military and civilian personnel of the Khaganate, were on the man, a few pointing their weapons at him, yelling at him to drop the gun.
The Khan then stood up from his chair and said:
"Who are you, and what are you doing in my ship?"
The Khan, however, barely registered the man's reply, as in the front of the bridge one of the smaller screens was activated as it was relaying a message from the Director of the Omega Order.
"Yuri, this is the Director. We have translated a message that all of our ships had received in the form of random clicking noises. The message's translation is: Not harm. Must understand. Crew be return. Not pain. Fight you die. We believe this pertains to the officers that have vanished earlier. I recommend that we wait it out, to see if these xenos really return our crewmembers. Also, twenty-nine ships have been transported to an unknown location by what the Omega Order scientists believe is QDE, or Quantum Dislocation Event. It seems that, due to this event, flocks of ravens have appeared in many of the ships. We've already done some research on these ravens, and we found that they were neither anomalous or dangerous, so getting rid of them would be easy."
The screen then cut out, and Yuri asked the officer in charge of the sensors to confirm what the director said. It was true, as eleven dreadnoughts, nine battleships and 9 civilian ships had all vanished. Chaos had erupted in several Khaganate ships as flocks of ravens had appeared in many hallways and rooms of the Khaganate ships, but in most ships they were put down as swiftly as they had appeared by military personnel and automated turrets.
"Alright," Yuri said to the bridge crew, as well as the captains of the other vessels after a communications officer had opened a channel to the other ships, "As some of you might know, 29 of our ships have disappeared, and are too far away to communicate with. The Omega Order theorizes that it has something to do with the shaking you must have all experienced a bit earlier. The officers that have disappeared will return, we just don't know how long it will take, so we will wait for it. I want that all the ravens that have appeared throughout the fleet will be either put down or captured, preferably the latter."
James could see the hangar bay doors open as the dropship sped towards the KSS Yurt
. The pilot started the cloaking device, more because of routine, since the cloaking was neither needed in that situation, and the Yurt
would still be able to detect them anyway.
James, as the commander of Phalanx Alpha, was supposed to give a briefing on the mission, so he stood up, and began speaking. "TF PA, AE-1769, also known as "Fanny May", has been sighted in Canteen six-three of the KSS Yurt
by a surveillance camera in the canteen. As you undoubtedly know, this entity's class is Delta. This means that, due to its incredible powers, the entity could be incredibly dangerous to the civilians of the Ger-class vessel, so proceed with extreme caution. Fortunately for us, the entity is relatively close to the entrance, as well as near a wall. Since it is no longer time to eat for the civilians at the moment, most of the civilians in the canteen have gone back to their cabins. We will approach through the entrance closest to the entity, and spread out immediately upon entering. We'll surround the entity, and if possible, recontain it. If it becomes hostile against any of the civilians we will eliminate it."
After several minutes, the dropship had entered and landed in the Yurt
's hangar bay, and the twelve members of the Phalanx Alpha task force rushed out, heading towards the nearest hallway. They all had a small version of the Yurt's layout on the display inside their helmets, and could see where their target was.
"PA-3, please check you..." James was suddenly cut off as the Ger-class vessel started shaking. The task force soldiers tried to find support so they would not fall over with their heavy and expensive gear, but the shaking stopped after a few seconds, and they could continue easily. They were already close to their goal, so a minute later all twelve soldiers entered the canteen at the entrance closest to Fanny. As was their plan, they spread out. Several civilians panicked, and ran away as soon as they saw the soldiers raising their weapons. The group of twelve approached Fanny, who yelled something to them. "Operation Command," James said into the recording system in his helmet, "We are approaching the target. AE-1769 is sitting where it sat earlier, at exactly the spot where the Vice-admiral said she would be."
James, however, got no response, and all he could hear on the other side was chaos, for an unknown reason.
"We will do no such thing," James replied to the entity, "AE-1769, we are here to recontain you. Please follow me, or we will have to use force."
"Pilot. Please set a course to the KSS Borealis
instead of the KSS Steppe
," General Nurzhan said to the pilot. He had been slightly devastated that after such a long time of travelling together with Katie, she had, without warning, disappeared. After he discovered that her room was empty, he had searched throughout the entire ship, but no trace of Anderson could be found. Due to Katie's disappearance, the general decided that it would be a good idea to go to the KSS Borealis
, the stratocruiser that he was technically still in command of, rather than the KSS Steppe
, the Ger-class vessel that Katie's parents were supposedly on. The ship continued on its way towards the Borealis
undisturbed, until for some strange reason, the vessel started shaking. General Arman nearly fell as he walked towards the cockpit, but he barely managed to stay on his feet. As he looked through the cockpit canopy, he could see something strange. He saw the ship they were heading towards with KSS BOREALIS
in bold letters on its dark grey hull, but several of the ships that he had seen flying around it earlier had disappeared.
The small ship approached the Borealis
. When they were about 5 kilometers away from the stratocruiser, the pilots got a message telling them to state what they were doing near the ship, or they would be destroyed. The general opened a channel, and said: "This is General Arman Nurzhan. As you know, I am in command of this ship, so I would advice you to open the hangar bay and let us dock." The hangar bay door opened, and the small transport craft entered the hangar, flew through its forcefield, and landed at the designated landing pad, where there was already a welcoming committee waiting for them.
Arman Nurzhan exited the cockpit, walked towards the exit of the transport craft, and stared at the shock on the faces of the people who saw that it was really General Arman Nurzhan who exited the vehicle.
The hot water of the shower turned into steam as it hit the floor. It rose up, being sucked into a vent where it would be converted back into liquid water. I needed this, I haven't bathed in months,
general Anderson thought. It was true. The civilization of the planet where Katie and Arman had crash-landed only had medieval technology, and no easy water heating, sewer systems, or showers were present, so its inhabitants had to make do with bathing in rivers and lakes. Katie, of course, had been a duchess of a small duchy that was part of the Wul Empire, so she had the luxury of having a bath with warm water every few months.
She thought back on the time that had passed ever since they had arrived on that medieval world. Somehow, the ship she was travelling on, the Tsol
, had travelled back in time three years, and made everyone, including her and Arman, forget their memories of it ever happening. Now, however, she had her memories back. She remembered how she had to take charge of the group of former crewmembers, and after a grueling trek to the north, she, and her, by that point, small army, had conquered a bit of land directly to the south of the Wul Empire. Because of the fact that many of the human crew of the Tsol that did not accept her leadership were now rampaging across the continent, she had thought it wise to become a vassal of the Wul. Three years had passed since then, although it was only a few days for the Khaganate fleet. Now, she was finally back, and she longed to take command of an army once again.
Her dreams of taking control of a military force were shattered once she opened her eyes, and found herself not in the shower, but strapped to a metal slab while nude, and stared right into a very bright light. She found, however, that she could still talk, and yelled: "Arman, this isn't funny. Where am I?"
There was however, no response, until she heard someone say, from relatively close by: "General Anderson, is that you? We thought you were dead after your ship crashed."
"Well, obviously I am not dead. Where are we?"
"I have no idea."