After the Burial-Part III of The Contortionist Quadrilogy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
On a ship desperately fleeing extermination, a young girl bridges the gap between the past and prophecy.

Submitted: May 24, 2013

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Submitted: May 24, 2013

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She distinctly remembered dying, and that was the hardest piece to fit. And not just the dying, the hair and nail growth, the maggots, weeds, growing right through her body, lichen on her bones, everything. She could remember it but she couldn’t remember experiencing it, and that was the hardest piece to fit.

 

Made harder even because she couldn’t quite remember living either. Certainly there had been a life before that searing pain, and the decomposing. Whoever she was, was born in death, or whatever it was since she was alive now. And clearly not in Heaven, and certainly not in Hell, neither word rang true. She distinctly remembered dying though…

 

Her master wouldn’t answer her questions even if she’d asked, and she had the distinct impression that asking the question would make her permanently dead.

 

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Her translucent gown glowed softly under the orange-blue lights of the ship’s central hall, and the recuperation tanks, where row upon row of Ta’Ari warriors lay in states of deep fugue, their numbers severely diminished by the series of Yy’Thrraan attacks on their satellite worlds.

 

The tanks would help them regrow some of their organs back, more than they could naturally at any rate, and give them another battle’s worth of life and strength. If they survived that, it would be yet another tank, and another battle, endlessly, until the Yy’Thrraan completed their purge.

 

She did not know how she knew this information, but she did. Come to think of it, she also had the sense that the memory of her death was not as recent as it felt, that although it felt like yesterday, and very well may have been, it was in fact older, ancient.

 

She caught her reflection in one of the tanks, a young blond human of no more than twenty-five, but the eyes reflecting back at her had a quality they shouldn’t. Where they should have been green, or blue, or brown, they held a purplish tinge, and gazed back at her from eternity through hundreds of species.

 

Her master, the ship commander, strode down the hall a flurry of radiation glowing about his body, talking to a non-human, non-Ta’Ari aid, a scaled biped, with clawed feet and an exoskeleton which seemed to burn with its master’s radiation. Its grey eyes could not hide the pain from the information communicated through atomic particles by the Ta’Ari commander. It would die within a few days. It did not know it yet, but it would, very few species could communicate intelligibly with the Ta’Ari, and few wanted to, the price was uniformly the same, and there were no gains to silver line the inevitable end.

 

She knew it for a Thrall, a pre-human, intelligent species that once populated Earth.

 

Earth.

 

The word had appeared behind her eyelids, and she almost dropped the drinks she carried toward the meeting room. Again, the information had sprung from nowhere, it just built in her mind and she knew it for true. She was certain that if there had been a lifetime before being born in death, she had never met a Thrall, and neither should she know so much about the dangers of Ta’Ari communication.

 

Her master, Raymeyn (Raa’Yy’Maa’Yyn), cupped her chin in the palm of one of his lower hands, catching the plate in another, his upper arms locked behind its back.

 

“See Thrall? You were wrong.”

 

The Thrall, whose name was an unpronounceable series of hisses, writhed as a radioactive discharge went straight from the ship commander to its brain.

 

“Yes, Master.” It hissed meekly.

 

He lifted her from the ground by the chin, turning her around, inspecting her.

 

She felt gentle radiation probes into her system. She felt them, but felt no pain. Instead her strength seemed to grow back, and parts of her body reacted in a strange way, she felt cells lying dormant tingling with life, and again the sense of an abyss separating memory and death.  

 

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“…Yes, I understand what Raymeyn wants but…”

 

She walked into the meeting hall her master had stepped out of tailed by the Thrall, strangely reinvigorated by the dose of radiation flowing through her body, how and why she could sustain it without pain was a mystery to her yet, but just as all the knowledge she seemed to carry, she was confident that she would recover it sooner than later.

 

In the post radioactive giddiness, she almost, but could not shake off the look of satisfaction in her master’s eyes, and the strangeness of his words as he tortured the Thrall for some apparent error he had made.

 

The hall was a mess of maps of the galaxy, different access, exit, and entry points to Ta’Ae those that had been destroyed, or were otherwise under Yy’Thraan control. Several bodies lay on the floor, their heads cut off, blue-green blood flowing towards a drain, ignored by the two Ta’Ari scientists whispering in a far corner.

 

The atomic energy had indeed awaken her senses, and although she was too far to decipher the radioactive signals bouncing back and forth from the whisperers, she felt the certainty that she would be able to understand them if she were close enough, and do so without pain. She placed the plate on the central table, carrying more cups than were now needed as many of the attendees were dead on the ground.

 

“…He knows what he wants….”

 

“Yes but if Anpu…”

 

The name Anpu triggered her memory cells once again. Some time ago, billions of years in the past, an early Ta’Ari emperor had seen the future, foreseen the destruction of both Ta’Ari and Yy’Thrraan races, and set the Earth’s solar system on a collision course with its Sun. There was nothing left of that system anymore. Even the planetary nebula that once engulfed it had snapped into a black hole, left conspicuously unexplored by either Ta’Ari or Yy’Thrraan.

 

“…Anpu’s nightmare…”

 

The other scientist frowned.

 

“…Anpu’s vision,” he corrected, “may save us yet.”

 

“How so?”

 

Engrossed in their conversation, completely absorbed as their minds were, they did not notice her getting closer, nor did they notice a small crack in the door opening on the far side of the room.

 

She stopped when she noticed, feeling a dangerous glow emanating from the slit. It wasn’t energy per se, but rather a sense of death lurking, of expectation, mad fervor, and determination.

 

The scientists went on.

 

“It could be the salvation of our race.”

 

“Certainly, it certainly could, but if Anpu saw fit to…”

 

“Anpu tried, but failed. We must prevail” Something had changed in his attitude that hadn’t in the more skeptical of the two. He too had sensed the dangerous glow across the room from them, and whatever his thoughts, he measured his words.

 

“Even if we could control them, these experiments…”

 

“These experiments will succeed.” He wanted to sound confident, but there was nervousness in his voice now, the atomic field around him wavered, unsure and afraid.

 

Oblivious, the other went on.

 

“Our salvation, or our death just as well. And after all you know well as I do that Ta’Ari and Yy’Thrraan races are one, if one survives, both have a chance at…”

 

Before he could finish his sentence, Raymeyn appeared at his side lunging from the his silent observation point, sending both of his upper arms in a circle ending in two powerful fists, which connected on either side of the talker’s head, and meeting in the middle, smashing it flat, splattering blood and bone in every direction, effectively crushing his head through the middle.

 

Raymeyn looked at the second scientist, cowering back, its radioactive field aglow with fear and anxiousness. Raymeyn shook his hands, and more fluids and flesh hit the scientist in the face.

 

Raymeyn stared straight into him.

 

“I have brought you something.”

 

“Master?” The look on his face told her all that she needed to know. Raymeyn had killed all the others attending the meeting. She understood the dangerous glow about him, not anger at all, but madness, brought about by too many times in fugue, too many battles. Raymeyn had a plan, but there was no doubt his plan was insane. When your master is mad, following him could mean death as surely as it meant to disobey him. The Ta’Ari scientist looked as if thinking he had bargained wrong, and realized that death was more pleasant, and quicker for those who dissented.

 

Raymeyn extend a hand in her direction. She felt an invisible net draw her forward, and a surge of radioactive energy knocked her out of consciousness.

 

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She distinctly remembered dying, and that was the hardest piece to fit. And not just the dying, the hair and nail growth, the maggots, weeds, growing right through her body, lichen on her bones, everything. She could remember it but she couldn’t remember experiencing it, and that was the hardest piece to fit.

 

She turned her eyes to the factory line, where a myriad species were grown in tanks. She had the impression that somehow, the death she felt was not her first but she could not quite place the feeling.

 

Directly across from her, she saw herself, but not yet fully recomposed. A head floated, connected to fully-fledged feet by a spinal cord, and legs where flesh and muscle filaments were weaving around each other, recomposing the body from scratch.

 

A Ta’Ari doctor, she knew him as Ta’Ari, how she knew was a mystery, but there it was, injected a greenish liquid into the tank, accelerating the process, metabolizing flesh, bone and muscle, but the face shifted from hers to a Thrall, to a fish, to an ape, and back to hers.

 

She tried to rise, but she was tied down to the moving ramp, passing rows of tanks containing animals and humans, all the dead species of earth and many other worlds, resurrected in the tanks. She received an innumerable amount of shots, each altering her DNA little by little, and she remembered dying again over and over, through thousands of species. Many had died peacefully, as many as had not.

 

Above her a Ta’Ari watched over the process, it’s eyes glowing with the light of desperation. Raymeyn, she knew again, Raymeyn trying to recreate Anpu’s nightmare.

 

Anpu had foreseen a race of sentient, intelligent beings a hundred times more powerful than the Yy’Thrraan and the Ta’Ari combined, had a destroyed a solar system billions of years early to deny it existence, and in his desperation Raymeyn was trying to recreate it…

 

The ramp ended over a giant cage and she feel to a bedding of soft, yet packed dirt, untied. She dusted herself off, remembering a thousand deaths, feeling millions of cells shifting unstably through her body, and her eyes focused on what was in the cage with her; two horribly mutated Thralls, hissing as they circled closer and closer to her, their dead eyes hungry for her, but not as food…

 

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She woke up on a strange planet, looking up at a blue sky, alive. She tried to rise, but her stomach bulged and writhed ahead of her. She pushed with all her might, the egg slipping through her legs ripping her muscles as it passed, leaving her on the floor, unable to move, her eyes facing the sky. She heard the shell crack, and a shrill shriek come from whatever she had laid. Anpu’s nightmare, she thought, and saw a clawed hand, scaled and powerful, multi-colored and alive with radioactive energy reach for the sky, blind her to the light, shift and multiply, as if choosing how to kill, finally settling for a human hand, reaching towards her face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of the Yy’Thrraan-Ta’Ari Wars

 

Ma’Aar Yy’Thrraa and Yy’Thraa’Ta’Ar have been locked in a low intensity conflict since Ta’Ar cut all ties with the Yy’Thrraan system, several billion years afore. The conflict was largely dominated by Yy’Thrraa, and except for several minor open space battles, often the result of chance encounters, or Ta’Ari attempts to break into the Yy’Thrraan dominated Milky Way, the war was fought by proxy, through other races dominated by Yy’Thrraa, and Ta’Ar.

 

It can otherwise be characterized as a protracted conflict, consisting of mostly minor skirmishes. The reasons being that both empires were attempting to consolidate their positions as well as gain ground against their enemy. However Ta’Ar’s location, unknown until recently, allowed it to avoid the brunt of the forces of the much more numerous, better equipped, and battle trained Yy’Thrraan.

 

In addition, Ta’Ari evolution baffled Yy’Thrraan war commanders and strategists. Ta’Ari ability to absorb and deflect energy at will rendered much of Yy’Thrraan ‘s traditional arsenal useless against their new enemy, and Ta’Ar, at least in the early millennia, as a sister race to Yy’Thrraa, was able to adapt and develop weaponry meant to counter Yy’Thrraan technology.  This forced Yy’Thrraa to devolve to more traditional weaponry, involving less sophisticated energy sources, and develop highly efficient containment shields to counter Ta’Ari capabilities. Cluster Ships are one of those developments.

 

This allowed Ta’Ar to expand its empire through three spiral arms of the Milky Way, but they were kept at bay by Yy’Thrraan fleets when they attempted to gain ground elsewhere in the galaxy.

 

These minor skirmishes emboldened Ta’Ar into believing that perseverance would prove a catalyst in victory, as eventually their numbers would grow to match Yy’Thrraa’s and allow them to rule eternal. In any event, retreat to Yy’Thrraa’Ta’Ar would allow them to regroup and solidify their defenses, while they could still inflict damage and colonize worlds further out of Yy’Thrraan reach through the network of wormholes that held their empire together.

 

The war took a major turn when Yy’Thrraa discovered a way to reverse the containment shields and use them against Ta’Ar as a weapon. A chance encounter with a defective Ta’Ari battleship allowed them to locate an access point to Ta’Ar, and launch a massive attack on their central planet.

 

At the cost of half their active battle fleet, Yy’Thrraa managed to penetrate their defenses, and launched a giant shield, initially meant to protect their own home planet. Their reasoning was that all defensive mechanisms would eventually prove futile if Ta’Ar was allowed to grow. The reversed field was designed to contain the planet, and allow energy to flow inward, but not out. Once in place they unleashed the energy of a thousand suns on Ta’Ar, which overcharged, and exploded within the containment field.

 

Yy’Thrraa, unrelenting, then pursued to destroy Ta’Ari satellite planets one by one, bouncing from wormhole to wormhole, and planet to planet, eradicating the remains of Ta’Ari civilization, forcing them on a flight through space.

 

 


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