HOMEWORLD2: INTERSTELLAR ODYSSEY
PROLOGUE: WRATH OF THE GODS – NEW ERA
Karan's passing shook the Hiigarans down to their very cores, for she had done so much for the people she loved, the place she called home.
It had all begun with an urgent situation regarding the Mothership's computers, whose woes were solved with Karan's brave volunteering to become its living core. Neither she nor her people had expected a tumultuous struggle for survival to follow. The destruction of Kharak forced her to unite the Exiles' spirits as she led them in a war across the galaxy, a war for Hiigara.
A war for their Homeworld.
Even after Hiigara was reclaimed, many troubles remained. Countless lives were lost in the subsequent Imperial invasions, a result of the galactic civil war that had fractured the old Empire. The Galaxy's very existence was then threatened by the techno-organic virus known as the Beast.
And then the End Time arrived.
The Vaygr put all previous wars to shame as they swept across the Galaxy, invincible and unstoppable with their Third Core. Once again, Karan took up the task of uniting the Hiigaran people in an epic voyage through the most ancient and unexplored regions of the Galaxy. Her courageous leadership allowed the Hiigaran Navy to triumph both at Balcora and the final battle over Hiigara.
Yet the Eye of Aaraan, thought to be a tool of peace, turned out to be the spark in a new war that would decimate much of the known Galaxy. Nevertheless, Karan persevered, unlocking the secrets of the Three Gods and giving her all to save both the Galaxy and her people.
Karan had passed away peacefully, her final wish fulfilled. After more than a century, she had finally returned to the place of her birth, the only other place she treasured more than even Hiigara.
Kiir Sjet, another hero in the Wrath of the Gods, decided to have Karan buried in a special location in the great desert – the location of the Khar Toba and the Guidestone. That place was no more though, having been completely erased by the Taiidan bombing save for a few scraps of cracked metal.
The funeral was observed with the heaviest of hearts, with delegations from the surviving Galactic cultures paying their last respects from Kharakian orbit. There were the T-MAT, the Nalthorans, the Tobari, the Taiidan, and many more.
With the ending of the funeral, the various cultures returned to the task of rebuilding all that they had lost. Comparatively, the Hiigarans were more fortunate – at least they still had a planet to return to. The other races could not, for their homeworlds had been irreversibly altered by the now-dead Neo-Beast virus.
Still, the rebuilding was harsh and difficult even for the Hiigarans. Cities were rebuilt painstakingly from scratch, infrastructure was restored, and native wildlife carried onboard the Legacy of Kharak were released in the hope of re-establishing the ecosystem.
But the Hiigarans remained undaunted by the uphill task they faced.
Karan had left them a new home.
Now they would rebuild it.
Onboard Grand Shipyard Sajuuk Khar, high orbit over Hiigara:
The Grand Shipyard was probably the greatest orbital superstructure ever built in Hiigaran history. Just five years ago, the Hiigaran people were struggling in what was deemed the darkest time since the Homeworld War. Now, this pinnacle of shipbuilding technology showed what Hiigarans could do when they stood united in crisis.
Sajuuk Khar, or the Chosen of Sajuuk, was far more massive than any Mothership ever built. It was larger than even the monolithic Tanis Base, which had been restored and now served as a military base in the Tanis Ruins. Now the Hiigarans would no longer face the difficulty of building vessels larger than a shipyard class.
The mighty construction facility had been completed with much fanfare just a week ago, and now it was about to birth its maiden vessel.
Admiral Eefrit watched the decorators scurry about hurriedly as they struggled to add the finishing touches to the ambience of the viewing hall. A very special ship was going to be launched today, and to tremendous fanfare as well.
"Feeling relaxed, Eefrit?" Yuno's voice came in as she shimmered into existence before him. "The smartly-attired admiral bowed deeply in welcome."
"Of course I am. The past few years have been just awful, with so much rebuilding work and the problems regarding security," Eefrit replied coolly, "We've really come a long way since then."
"I agree wholeheartedly," Yuno nodded, "A pity though that they still haven't figured out a way of downloading me back into a cloned and restored body."
"These things take time. Give them a few years, I'm sure they'll find a way in the end," Eefrit reassured, only to have Yuno roll her eyes sceptically.
"By the way, Eefrit, there's been a few updates from Hiigaran Intelligence," Yuno reported, "Remember the Plaz Nebula?"
"It's still very clear in my mind."
"Well, they've finally managed to cobble together enough resources for a proper expedition there," Yuno said, "The problem is, they found no wreckage belonging to the Mythra whatsoever."
"No wreckage? Who could have moved it?"
"That's the problem," Yuno sighed, "Their sensors picked up a trail of space time distortion linking both the Plaz Nebula and the Gate of Hara, which seems to have been repaired and reactivated as recently as last month."
"Last month?" Eefrit bellowed, "Now THAT'S too near for comfort."
Yuno nodded grimly before continuing.
"Given the circumstances, Intelligence has many reasons to believe that a scout Mythra fleet must have come in via the Gate of Hara, salvaged the wreckage, and warped back out."
"So we could be facing an invasion anytime soon?"
"An invasion is likely, though their initial experience with us will make them more careful the next time round," Yuno commented, "So we'll need to be ready when the time comes."
"That's why we're here, remember?" Eefrit grinned as the main doors swung open. Representatives from the various Kiith, as well as distinguished military personnel, strolled in smartly in anticipation of the launch.
"Eefrit!" Soban yelled as he walked up to the Admiral. Both friends shook hands warmly, having not met once since the end of the war. Rebuilding took up too much time.
"It's good to see you again," Eefrit gushed, "I guess you're enjoying your latest promotion, General Soban?"
"I always thought Captain suited me better," Soban replied, "General sounds less glam and heroic."
Both of them laughed heartily and went on to chat casually. Yuno's hologram walked off, smiling at the guests waving at her.
Then the lights dimmed in the hall as the main event beckoned. Spotlights flashed onto the massive ship before them, painted in the blue Hiigaran colours and sporting the beautiful emblem of the Angel Moon on its top.
"Fellow officers," Kiir greeted as he walked up to the main viewing panel, "I thank you all for coming to grace this event."
Applause reverberated through the viewing hall as the crowd gave Kiir Sjet their warmest welcomes. Kiir bowed before them and went on with his speech.
"Five years ago, we were embroiled in a terrible war, a war that took many things away from us," Kiir began, "The war took many brave Hiigarans, many ships, even our homeworld. It also took the life of our great Fleet Command, Karan Sjet, who gave her life so that we may continue to live in peace. I now implore you all to observe a minute's silence for Karan, and for the many lives lost in that war."
Kiir bowed down sadly, as did the rest of the crowd. Memories of the horrible war flashed before his eyes – the sacrifice of the Bentusi, the attack of the Progenitors, the rise of the Neo-Beast… All these moments, locked down for many years in the deepest recesses of his mind, rose once more to haunt him.
But then there was Karan, who braved so many dangers so that her people could live. He remembered her brave exploits with the Sajuuk, when she joined in the Alliance assault against the Qwaar Jet, her duel with the Mythra, and her graceful strikes in the Final Battle.
Kiir calmed himself, eclipsing the rest of the bad memories with the good ones, like the miracle of Hiigara's restoration. That was one event that still brought tears to his eyes even today, where Karan used her last strength to rebuild the whole of Hiigara.
Kiir looked up as the minute ended, the audience paying close attention to him once more.
"Now, peace is upon us and the restoration of Hiigara is almost complete. This is cause for celebration, but we must remain on our guard," Kiir emphasised, "Intelligence reports that the ancient Mythra, which we defeated in the war, may invade this Galaxy in the near future. As a sentient race of this Galaxy, we must be prepared for the worst, so that tragic sacrifices will be unnecessary."
At this moment, the might ship powered up its engines for the first time. Gasps went through the crowd as the Sajuuk Khar released its tractor beams, and the new ship drifted away on its own power.
"Today marks the beginning of a new era, of a new Hiigaran Navy," Kiir spoke, "Through this new Navy, we will avoid the mistakes of the past and protect this homeworld, this Galaxy, for now and forever."
The new warship soared away at high speed, its sustained hyperspace field letting it glide through space effortlessly. The crowd broke out in tremendous applause as the new Horizon II class battlecruiser moved off to join its predecessor in the distance, the original Horizon.
As the applause reached a maximum, Kiir gazed out at the Hiigaran Navy and the Koshiir Ra gathered around the Grand Shipyard, smiling as he looked father into the distance, where the distant Kharak and Karan's final resting place was.
And so begins another chapter, another page turned in the tome of the Hiigarans
The beginning of yetanother journey.