Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Vampire Hunter D or to Firefly.
A/N: You don't have to have read the VHD novel Pale Fallen Angels to understand this story completely, but the information on Outer Space Beings (OSBs) comes from that particular story, if you're interested. You'll understand what I'm talking about later in this story, so don't panic at the prologue. Basically, the Nobles (vampires) who were ruling over the Earth at the time were involved in a war with the OSBs. The battle lasted for over a thousand years. Though most are unaware of why the OSBs finally withdrew from Earth, some know that it was due to a weapon formed by the Sacred Ancestor.
The battlefield was a graveyard of twisted metal, the smoldering remains of ships and towers that once housed sworn enemies and allies, soldiers and servants. What appeared to be a fence of lightning along the valley's boarders began to dissipate, leaving behind the occasional strike of light between heaven and Earth. The flashes looked like electrical guardians in the distance, and their quick bursts of light made the night air glow; the pink hue of radiation clouds would be apparent to even human eyes.
Though no so such eyes would ever see this sight. Not for a very long time. And when the humans and the other lower creatures returned, this place of war would be transformed by the erosion of generations.
Above the clouds, there was movement. Ships with great machine legs folded into themselves, their shapes changing as they prepared for take-off into the dark unknown. Their movements were slow, deliberate, and their metal appendages curled like a dying spider's useless limbs. It was as if they waited for a final farewell from the planet they had nearly destroyed.
Continents sunken, cities leveled, mountain ranges flattened into deserts: their legacy remained, but it was theirs to share. These Outer Space Beings could not take all the credit. The ruling species, the Nobility, had done its fair share of damage in trying to save the world they had conquered several millennia ago. Earth had taken over a thousand years of abuse from both parties.
And now the war was over. As was civilization, it seemed, for the fading race of Nobility.
"We have gone too far," a voice whispered.
Darkness in the dark, he wore the night as a cloak. His pale face was undistinguishable, but his form was huge, a giant rising out of the rubble, clothed in his weapon of choice. His head was cocked toward the sky.
The OSB ships seemed to feel his eyes. They, prepared at last, disappeared in the length of a heartbeat, moving at speeds faster than any Earth ship.
He, the Sacred Ancestor as his race knew him, nodded slightly at their retreat. It was as he expected. Finally, he had created something they feared, something that Earth feared as well. Something he hoped he would never have to release to its full extent.
The Sacred Ancestor glided through the field like death's shadow and approached the nearly unscathed airship terminal. He stepped within its wide foyer and to its elevator. So many floors passed by, but he did not stop until he was at the central command level.
"Is my request ready?" he asked the shadows.
"Yes, my lord. The ship is ready for launch," a feminine voice answered. It belonged to the terminal's intelligent computer. "It awaits orders for its return, your honor."
"When it has gathering the data I requested. . ." The dark figure paused, as if rethinking his statement. "It may return when the OSBs are again a threat."
"As you wish."
"Launch," the Sacred Ancestor commanded.
The Noble's hands curled at his sides, as if in anticipation. A slight tremble ran through the terminal's steel structure, and his tension seemed to fade.
"It is done," the voice said, at last. "Is there anything else you may require?"
With a swift turn, the Sacred Ancestor stepped into the elevator again. He didn't bother to answer the computer. Her sensory hardware knew that he was prepared to leave, but her need to serve was greater than any living or undead creature's. He didn't bother to ask her the question plaguing his mind: what did they want the humans for?
The Nobility took them as servants, as food. And for experiments, of course. But the OSBs were leaving. Why did they need this species?
The elevator came to a stop on the ground floor, and the Noble stepped out onto the smooth, reflective floor of the terminal. He could see outside again. The sky was empty of ships, and the Earth was quiet. It had been robbed of thousands of living humans. The Sacred Ancestor felt no grief for these numbers—many more of these lesser creatures had been killed during that fateful millennia now passed. But what did the OSB need with so many living subjects if they were not coming back with new warriors to face the Nobility?
"Will they return?" he asked the night. She held no answers.