Gall Force: Project Exodermus

By Jason King

Based on the Gall Force Series by Movic

Part I

Commander Dawn sat in his ready room as he poured over the datapad handed to him by his adjutant. The old Paranoid Commander's alien face changed from generally expressionless to something of genuine concern. He turned to his adjutant. "All six of them died?" He asked him quizzically.

The adjutant shuffled his mechanical exoskeleton slightly as his yellow eyes darted about, "Y-yes sir. At the moment our intelligence probes have yet to get any useful information from the Solnoid medical team that examined them. It seems that the Solnoids are even more in the dark with what we are doing than we suspected they would be. What's even more disturbing is that it seems they know even less about their own anatomy than we do."

"So there is nothing useful we can get from them that would allow us to correct any mistakes?" Dawn asked as he stood to stare out of the room's observation windows. The Paranoid Homeworld hung serenely in space, the great fleets of its children protecting it from their Solnoid enemies. If there was anyplace more comforting to look upon, Dawn could not think of it.

"No sir, unfortunately there is little chance for us to get anything at all without the Solnoid Central Guard finding out about it."

Dawn sighed as he sat back down. He looked upon his desk, in a moment of quiet contemplation. "What of the reports of the Solnoid System Destroyer?"

"Its confirmed sir, they've just completed one and they claim to be prepared to use it."

"Leader Journey talking like she has the advantage again, huh?"

The Adjutant chuckled slightly, "Yes, sir. Leader Born was very quick to reminder her that we have two though."

Dawn's expression went from humorous to very grave, at least for a Paranoid, "Both of them are going to doom us all to extinction if they keep this up."

"Excuse me sir?" The adjutant asked him, rather perplexed.

"No, its nothing. Good work, Dran."

The adjutant's gill-like mouth began to tremble as if he were about to say something then he paused for a moment and then bowed. "Yes sir." He turned to the door leading to the ship's bridge and left.

Dawn leaned back in his commander's chair, unsure of where to take the project next. It seemed to have already run into a dead-end, and so early in its trial phase. He looked about his ready room. On one wall were all of his awards and decorations for many years of distinctive service to his people. The wall curved inwards towards the ceiling and down to the opposite wall, where he kept his souvenirs from previous campaigns. So many long years of service, so many years of fighting, and yet, just as all of the previous Paranoid Central Intelligence Commanders, he felt trapped in a nightmare he would never escape. Only this time, with the threat of the Planet Destroyers, and now the System Destroyers, it seemed as though the nightmare was coming closer and closer to its horrifying conclusion.

Mutually Assured Destruction, it was a term created by the Solnoids. To add an even greater irony to their new term, they further shortened it to MAD. It seemed so fitting even to the old Paranoid Commander. Madness was the only thing that could have brought the two galactic super powers to this point.

There had to be an escape. Even the crazed Paranoid Leader Born had recognized the severity of the threat that MAD posed. It was this very realization that lead to Project Exodermus in the first place. And it was Commander Dawn's Experience in intelligence gathering and research that landed him smack in the middle of the whole project.

Two years it took them to get to the point they were at now. All of the experimentation, all of the wasted resources, and the wasted lives. Dawn could still remember the shrill deafening screams made by the Solnoid captives as they tried to learn as much about their anatomy as they could. It was out of those torturous six months that Dawn finally discovered what he had been looking for; the secret to the old form of Solnoid reproduction. A strange cavernous organ that produced a number of inert cells once a month. It was this that clued Dawn in as to how he would merge the Paranoid race and the Solnoid race into one, and hopefully end this costly war.

Of course, there would be complications. As Dawn suspected, the two races were so completely different that a simple "Cross-Breed" would be impossible. And to further complicate things, the paranoid possessed no such ability to create the cell necessary for a proper reproductive reaction. And on top of it all, the Solnoids that he and his personnel tried questioning about the cavernous organ, knew nothing of it or about it.

Dawn couldn't blame them though, the war had been raging for over one thousand years, there hadn't been a "Male" Solnoid in nearly as much time, of course they would forget.

It was times like these that he wished he could simply revert back to his gelatinous state and simply ooze in one place. The overload of misinformation and sudden news of initial failure was starting to grain down upon the old commander. Either they would have to find a new solution or he would have to report directly to Born on their failure. Such an action would almost certainly be catastrophic.

He stood up from his chair and was about to walk out of the room when his adjutant stormed back inside. "Sir!" He bowed hastily, "forgive my intrusion, but our bug in the Solnoid medical facility has been discovered."

Dawn could feel all of his fears coming down upon him at that very moment. He reached up and braced himself against the wall with his left arm as he prevented himself from falling to the floor. He righted himself and looked directly at the adjutant, "How? What happened?"

"We haven't been told yet sir, but the Solnoid reaction is nothing less than we would have expected. They are of course enraged."

We can all most certainly imagine that you moron, Dawn thought to himself. "Have all links cut off; I don't want them tracing the transmissions back to our ship."

"The link was already severed sir." Dran handed Dawn the report.

Dawn took it and threw it to his desk. "We can't tell high command about this Dran, do you hear me?"

"Sir?"

"Have all personnel involved with the intelligence gathering mission put in lockdown, I don't want this leaking out in any way shape or form."

"But sir, Leader Born will surely want to know the progress of the project."

"Tell him it has been scrapped, for logistical reasons." Dawn knew it would be a poor excuse, but with any luck the Leader would be preoccupied with plans of countering the new Solnoid System Destroyer.

"So am I safe in assuming that we will be canceling further contact-point missions?"

"No. The project will continue in secret. From now on, we operate under our own discretion; the High Command no longer needs to know about this project."

"Sir I don't understand. What you are saying is treasonous."

Dawn dwelled on his adjutant's words for only a moment, "No, Dran, this is for our survival. If the Solnoid Intelligence traces that bug back to us, I want to make sure that it doesn't get all the way back to High Command, this project cannot be abandoned at any cost."

"Then sir, if you don't mind my asking. What will we do next?"

"Continue with the project, we have to have at least one successful contact out of this." Dawn turned to his desk, stopped and turned back to his adjutant, "Make sure that our next batches of contact-points are thoroughly screened for genetic incompatibility this time. I don't want any failures on our next run."

"Yes sir." Dran left the room in earnest as Dawn returned to his desk.

He lifted the datapad which contained the latest intelligence report, then crushed with all the strength his metallic exoskeleton could provide. No one outside of his immediate command would know of this project. The crushed glass and plastic fell to the floor in scattered bits. Dawn breathed deeply as he looked down upon the floor. There was not turning back from this path he had chosen. History would remember him as either a hero, or a villain; nothing more, nothing less. He knew deep inside that what he was doing would be the best hope for his people's survival, the only thing that bothered him now was the Solnoid equation, and it was the Solnoids who would either make or break the entire project.

He turned his chair around, and looked outside at his Homeworld. He gleaned over the many ridges and craters of his battle scarred planet. Strangely, the Paranoids were able to continue their civilization on the battered world, cities and military installations littered and filled every crater. He lay back in his chair and drifted further into thought. "If only it were possible to get the Solnoids involved cooperatively."