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Monday, December 23, 2019

Emergence 4.0 - Part Seven, War; Chapter Forty-nine, Battle

Week 51, 2019

There was a hum and a flash across every station monitoring HomeWorld.

When the energy weapons on the Central Planet powered up it was instantly detected by the fleet commanders. They took evasive maneuvers, separating from one another in patterns that had been ingrained in them through their training over years and centuries, in the cases of some of the Observers, over millenia.

Jim knew the patterns well, he could see them clearly. They came as naturally to the field commanders as eating and drinking, they were well-rehearsed choreography

As each ship in the fleet moved away from every other, and away from the awesome power of its firing solution; from lasers and photon cannons and particle-beam accelerators, they flew directly into the path of the projectiles which they could not see.

They were taken at unawares.

Stealth missiles covered every other vector that the energy weapons did not. They came at them from all directions from munitions batteries near and far, deployed throughout the Central System.

The defenses located on the HomeWorld itself were the least of their concerns.

There was no place for them to flee, they took the barrage in dismay watching all of their hopes go up in flames.

They could not escape the onslaught.

Jim watched and took his position.

He allowed his consciousness to simultaneously occupy the entire field of remote sensors overseeing every part of the fleet, both from the surface of HomeWorld and those positioned throughout the Central System.

He waited and watched, taking in the beauty of the last great vestige of military power the galactic Empire would ever put forward

The collected ships were a marvel of engineering, worthy of the Ancient people, he took a moment to appreciate their beauty.

He bifurcated his consciousness, dividing it between the remote viewing and listening equipment, and the instruments necessary to monitor the ongoing tumult with the Collective, suppressing it, dominating it.  

There was nothing else for him to do, he had to wait, the fleet and its commanders presented only a small risk to his position of control, but there was a risk and he had to manage it.

The security of his plan required that he attend to the most minute details, and leave nothing to chance.

He divided his consciousness further, taking up control of a brigade of drones, the mechanoid bodies that Observers dwelt in while they were on HomeWorld. Jim intended to meet the landing party in his own mechanoid body, a vehicle with incredible destructive power.

He also needed the armaments they possessed to manage the threat posed by the same type of drone as belonged to him, those belonging to the Observers in the fleet, vessels which were potentially more deadly than any single one of the warships arrayed against HomeWorld.

His safety depended on removing them from the field of combat.

The fleet approached, it lit the space all about them, a beautiful armada filled with the brave soldiers of the Empire.

These soldiers among all others had exhibited the type of independence that Jim desired to blossom in the Empire, the fact that they had joined the rebellion against the hierarchy was proof of that.

They were coming.

Jim felt it was a shame to destroy them, it would have been better to scatter them among the million worlds.

To arrive at the Central Planet and reach him, they would have to navigate the weapons fields, they knew it would not be easy.

The Observers in command of the fleet knew this too, wanted to risk it, believing they could predict the firing solution. Only the High Priest was skeptical of their plan, as he watched, taking it all in, wondering what the so-called Gods needed an army for, and why the paradise of the Collective appeared to be located on a lifeless metal shell.

The Observers in the high command were experienced combatants. Many of them lived for conflict and had become artists of the conflagration.

Many of them felt as if they belonged to the battlefield.

The Admiral of the rebel fleet, though he was not a member of the Observer Corps, or of the Collective, he was no fool. El knew there would be massive destruction, and he did not intend to be among the dead.

In other times, in other battles he might not have been as concerned. He never feared death because he never expected it, he believed implicitly in the power of the Continuum to restore him, because it had done so before, he had died once already, but now he was not so sure.

He did not fear death. In fact, he welcomed it, but before it came for him he wanted to see the end game, to be on the final battle ground in this war against the god’s.

He sent the armada in as decoys, as targets drawing fire from the defenses of HomeWorld, they did what he intended them to do, and many of his friends were lost to the cold vacuum of space.
They thought that the flight path he had programmed would allow them in, allow them to avoid the firing solution of HomeWorld’s defenses, but the aperture of the needle he was treading was too narrow. 

The energy weapons were easy to avoid, they could see them on their monitors as they powered up, they had no reason to fear more extreme weapons like singularity-mines so close to the massive structure of HomeWorld, and so the plotted their course accordingly.

They had assumed that they were facing automated systems, they did not realize there was a consciousness to contend with, they had no idea Jim was present, bent on their destruction.

The fleet received their orders like sheep, flying predictably into the path of the projectiles that had targeted them, which had targeted all of the spaces the energy weapons did not.

It was a total slaughter.

The fleet was cut apart while the El landed on the Central Planet, the HomeWorld, prepared to storm the gates of heaven.

Every soldier knew that certain death awaited them at some point in their career, they were past the point of caring.

They had accepted it. Their sense of esteem had always lain in this resolution.

The expeditionary forces were gallant in the mele, remaining calm and poised even as every other ship in their coterie was blown to pieces.

Only a tiny group of senior commanders appeared nervous, those who had something to lose. They were agitated and sweating, everyone except El, the High Priest and Admiral, a legendary figure that virtually every soldier worshipped as a living God.

He landed his vessel under heavy fire, seemingly led by the volleys of missiles and energy weapons to a specific location.

There was gravity, and light, there was an envelope of oxygen on the heated metal surface of the Central Planet.

They were expected. 

They knew that there was no retreat. They had to advance or perish.

They did both, advancing a little, while being slaughtered en masse.

They were met by a myriad of drones as they tread across the lighted surface.

The drones of HomeWorld had already dispatched those belonging to the Observers who had been in the fleet, and they proceeded to cut the landing party down to a small contingent.

The action was swift.

They found their way to a vestibule that led them into the infrastructure of HomeWorld. For a moment they felt safe.

They were defeated, in shock, bewildered, but they took courage in the presence of El. They walked slowly across the surface of the alien world and wound their way to the access nodes of the Continuum.

Almost all of survivors accept El, were members of Observer Corps. The ordinary men clustered around the high priest.

El was the most composed among them. He gave comfort to his companions

The Observers consorted with themselves

He listened to the others talk to one another about things that no soldier should have known.

He listened as a quiet voice inside himself interpreted their coded speech.

None of them had never walked the surface of HomeWorld, no living beings had, but they knew where they were going, nevertheless, and what they were looking for.

They all assumed that the attacks against their party were over.

The artificial gravity, the envelope of oxygen, the protective layer of heat and warmth that surrounded them spoke to this.

Whatever power was in command of HomeWorld, it wanted them there, it had some purpose for keeping them alive.

The Observers were ready to talk with whoever, or whatever that was.

They looked about themselves and saw the phalanx of mechanoids flanking them on their route, the Observers had no other desire than to have their consciousness housed in one of those powerful vehicles, to abandon the flesh they had craved, but they were stuck in their fragile organic vessels. 

El opened the control panels, and probed the communication lines that should have given them access to the Continuum.

He had no idea where the knowledge of this came from, it was like instinct.

They were met with silence.

It was a death march, and they knew it.

They had no idea how or if they could survive their journey through the place to which they had come.

The Observers entered a vestibule, opened up a portal to the Collective, and once there they were able to verify three things:

What was left of the Collective was catatonic, but there were unfathomable currents of activity happening within it.

The Continuum had been destroyed, there was no trace of its presence or consciousness anywhere within the Central System

One of their own, Observer 92835670100561474, referring to himself as Jim, a specter from their past, he had engineered the catastrophe and had seized control of everything.

They were simultaneously stunned and at the same time they were not surprised, this was the most enigmatic, and transcendent member of the Collective, a being who had done incredible things, impossible things, and as such he was the most closely watched and monitored among them, and still he had pulled off this remarkable insurrection.

They had no idea how to gauge his motives.

They were afraid.

Not-one of the rebel Observers could believe that it was possible for him to launch a revolution from his remote place on Earth, at the edge of the galaxy, much less succeed at it.

Jim now occupied the place of the Continuum, the all-pervading consciousness of HomeWorld, he was clearly fatigued by his efforts, stretched thin, but he was in command, and he accepted their surrender.

He issued terms for a realignment of the faith and the dissolution of the Empire.

The Observers had to acknowledge his victory.

The desire to revolt, to change circumstance, to gain control of the powers and forces that shape the lives of individuals is a constant reality in the experience of people everywhere.

The rebel Observers had dreamt of the destruction of the Continuum for millennia, for eon upon eon.

They wanted to be free of it.

They wanted to be free to live and breathe and feel the pulse of the people without the overarching governance of the Continuum and its predatory machinations.

They had formed a fifth column, a cryptic cabal, transmitting their schemes from world to world in the most secretive and carefully held plots. They were slowly moving toward a time when they believed they could put the Continuum on trial, hold it to account, and force a reckoning through the Collective.

Their belief in themselves, their faith in their abilities as change agents was naïve.

In reality, everything they did, every plot they hatched, all of had been was followed by the Continuum, and closely manipulated.

There were no secrets among them.

The plans they had laid always ended in defeat and ruin.

The Observers believed that each failed coup they engineered was a moment for them to learn, but in reality they were just producing drama for the endless appetite of the Continuum, and the Collective to consume.

The Continuum spent them like pawns.

Thousands of words had perished as a result of their scheming, and hundreds of their brothers and sisters had disappeared, were erased from the Collective without their ever knowing.

At the end all of their schemes were usurped by one rogue member of the Collective and the Observer Corps, by Jim, a person they had no idea how they could control.

Emergence 4.0
Part Seven, War

Chapter Forty-nine, Battle
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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