Here Thar Be Monsters!

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21.6.11

In The Beginning...

"What the hell was THAT?"

The leader was a very tall, willowy man with shocking blue eyes and a complexion so smooth and white, that it was nearly self-luminescent.  He was still wearing his flight gear, and the helmet made his head look much wider than it was.

"We're still scanning, sir, but it looks like they pulled the trigger," answered another man, very similar looking, but wearing brown instead of white.

"What do we know so far?" Enlil spoke with authority and the force of many centuries as a Supreme One.

Enke responded slowly, trying to grasp the scale of what he was learning from his station.  "It appears that Tiamat is gone, sir."

"Gone?"

"Yes sir.  Long-range scans show a lot of rubble where it should be.  There's a large HD signature in the region.  It looks like Cronus went through with it," his voice cracking with stress, as he struggled to maintain composure.  "From what I can see, Maret is still there, but it's in an erratic orbit, and there appears to be a large gash on one side."

"Is there any communications?"  There was an edge to Enlil's voice, something the others were unaccustomed to hearing.

Ishtar responded, "No, sir.  All channels are completely silent."

There was a long pause.  Everyone kept their eyes on their stations, while Enlil stared at the tactical schematic that was up on the main panel.  Where Tiamat should be, there was a rapidly expanding cloud of thousands of objects.  Even more alarming was a sphere around that, which showed as water ice.  It was already past Maret and moving fast.  It would probably arrive at Terra within a few sidereal months.

"Navagation, what are we looking at here?" Enlil's voice seemed on the verge of panic, which was deeply disturbing to the rest of the crew.

Oshirus paused before speaking, to make sure of what he was about to say.  "Tiamat has been destroyed, sir.  Those objects are fragments.  There is a sphere of water ice from the oceans that is expanding rapidly.  I estimate that it will arrive at Terra in approximately five of the local months.  Maret appears to be intact, but it's orbit is erratic.  I estimate that the entire opposing hemisphere has been buried in rubble approximately 20 kliks deep.  According to calculations, when the ice sphere reaches Terra, it will likely cause a flood of planetary proportions."

Silence again as everyone stared at the display in disbelief.  Cronus and Tiamat had been at war for centuries, but no one every thought it would come to this.  The Cronusites had created a weapon of of such massive destructive power everyone had assumed it would provide sufficient deterrent to open war.

The weapon was capable of drawing unimaginable power from the sub-space aether and was capable of pulverizing entire planets.  The only draw-back is that it would draw every ounce of energy from their entire system to fire it one time.  Everyone assumed that the threat of mutual destruction would be enough to stop them from actually activating it.

Enlil snapped out of his trance.  "Inventory!"

Oshirus spoke first, "We ejected the HD drive before entering the atmosphere.  All systems are online and functioning, except we can't go anywhere."

Ishtar was next, "Communications are fully functional, but we are not receiving any signals from any of the colonies.  None of the automatic nav systems are online anywhere in the helios.  All of the pulsar beacons are still functioning, so long-range navigation is possible."

"If we can get off this world," Enlil said half to himself.  "Oshirus, what is the status of Terra?"

"The Cronus project was nearly completed.  The atmosphere was nearly complete, though the CO2 levels are a bit low compared to Maret.  The gravity roughly six times our normal.  There are multiple species divided into five super classes.  There's a secret species that Tiamat had been developing, sir," he trailed off.

"A what?  What do we know about it?"

The display shifted and a window popped up on the right-hand side.  Two creatures appeared, along with various read-outs on their genetics and abilities.

"They look like us," Enlil said in a hoarse whisper.

"Yes, sir.  That was the reason Cronus attacked.  Tiamat wanted to take over Terra and create a...pleasure world.  The project was called Edun.  Cronus wanted to kill them off because they were an abomination."  Oshirus was uncertain of his own feelings on the matter, as well.  "From the intel we've been able to intercept, Tiamat was engineering a hybrid species as a slave class to mine strategic metals and minerals, as well as for...er...entertainment."

"What?  My cousin!  You're accusing MY family of genetic crime.  Watch your step, mister," Enlil said with genuine anger in his voice.

Oshirus was silent.  Enke and Ishtar turned quickly to their stations, so as not to incur the legendary wrath of Enlil.

Enlil collapsed into his chair and continued to stare at the display.  The entire group appeared to be deep in shock and thought.  Enlil wanted to retch his lungs out at what he was looking at, but he had to maintain composure or EVERYTHING was lost.

After a very long while, Enlil stirred and looked around at the small group that appeared to be the last survivors of Helios.

"We need to survive," he said, as if trying to convince himself.  "Can we breed with those creatures?"

Enke spoke up when no one else did, "According to what I'm seeing here, Tiamatians were already doing that.  Apparently, their city was a massive brothel, to put it mildly."

Rage appeared in Enlil's eyes, but he choked it back painfully.  "Get a team together and get as many breeding pairs as you can find.  Collect DNA from every land species you can.  Don't worry about the water creatures.  What's the story on the water ice?"

Oshirus cleared his throat, "According to calculations, it will reach Terra in roughly five months, eleven days, by local reckoning.  The amount I estimate to reach the surface will inundate all dry land.  It'll be a holocaust by any measure."

"We need help.  Save as many of the chimera species as you can.  We'll re-engineer the land animals after the flooding receeds.  We'll need seed from all the food-bearing plants, as well.  We don't have much time, so hop to it," Enlil said robotically.  He was running on pure instinct at the moment.  "Start designing a power plant using only local .materials.  I don't want to scavenge the ship, if we can possibly help it.  Did we lose anyone in the crash?"

"No, sir.  We have full compliment of 600," Enke reported automatically.

"Step to it, then."
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To be continued...

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