Chapter One

Birth Of An Empire

The birth and fall of empires, so great and powerful, seeming to be eternal states. All shall one day fall. Some fall harder, and some fall farther than others. A saying as old as our memory. A saying followed carefully for millennia to prevent our fall into chaos. This saying, however, has vanished over time to some.

An empire unlike any other, controlling the entire inner worlds came into being, and collapsed in a harsh clash that sent all remaining into eternal despair and mourning. The people driven by one man, a tyrant emperor. He was driven mad with power. Many died defying him, including his entire clan. He led to the downfall of his people, their fall from grace. However, he was also responsible for saving them from complete eradication.

In the First Time, this mighty state had been known by the title of the Hiigaran Empire.

In the desolate wastes of an ice planet at the edge of their solar system, a group of miners uncovered an artifact deep beneath the surface. None had seen anything like it. The extraction teams claimed it was a power plant of immense capabilities, the same as the one used by the Bentusi who seemed to be able to jump across the galaxy in minutes.

They had found the Second Core.

The discovery was brought before the Daiamid. They decided the core would be activated. Little did they know what horrors it would bring upon innocent eyes.

ADEN

At the time, I was only seven, thus none the brighter as to what was to come. Vela and I were on one of the spaceports above home. We looked for our city, but we couldn't see that well, we were too high up. I've known Vela since before I can remember, I still know her now, though we've grown apart and gone down our separate paths.

"This whole thing is our home. Isn't it wonderful?" Kiir said. He was paid to watch us most of the time, as our parents were always too busy. It was normal for the upper class kiith. He was only a teen, though we didn't know what age. He didn't seem to mind the pranks we played on him, or the trouble we'd get him in. All we knew was he was studying law and politics. He wanted to be a Sa eventually, so he could finally make a change in the world.

He told us to follow him and we did. He led us to another window down the hall and pointed down at something he thought peculiar. A silver cylinder shaped object. It couldn't be a ship, it was . . . well I didn't know what to call it.

"That is a Core." he said mysteriously. We didn't understand at the time exactly what he was saying, but it was a power source. Ancient, but powerful. "It is what gives the Bentusi their speed and power. It is why they are never challenged by any enemies. And now, we have one."

"The trader people in the big city ships?" Vela asked.

"Yeah."

"So now we can have big ships like that too?" I asked.

"Yes. We will be just as strong as they are, stronger than anyone can imagine." At the time, I, nor him, knew just how true he was. And now, I wish more than anything that he wasn't.

Double my lifetime later, seven years after the Second Core had been retrieved, our Republic, what used to be a small peaceful territory of ten star systems in the inner rim had become a darker place. We have waged wars with our nearest enemies, and are no longer under threat of invasion. We have allied the other largest empire to us, the Taiidan, and have set up our own trade routes to them.

Kiir had become the successor to the chancellor of our people, our political leader. He took the stage more often than not, since the chancellor himself was a feeble old man, and had far less of a grab on the audience. "Isn't it wonderful how powerful we've become?" he asked me once. I said it was great. Poverty ceased to exist, civil wars were no more, our allies profited as much as we did, the Bentusi have recognized us as equals which gained us tremendous honor and respect from the other races of the Galactic Council. But that was before I saw it coming. I think I was twelve when I began to actually take a good look at things. Our leaders, our way of life, our education system was even flawed. Then, our flagship was constructed. It was eight kilometers long and three tall. The hull was covered in weapons. No ship could stand up to it. What came after was horrible.

The Chancellor was overthrown by a collective led by none other than Kiir himself. They took control of the council, and claimed the government system was holding them back. Promises were made, and eventually kept. Not, however, without the longest, and bloodiest years of the era.

I stood in the city square with Taras and his cousin Cora. They were my friendsWe watched the screen above the city center with everyone else. I was astonished and a bit horrified at the sight. "They're holding us back, can't you see?" asked the maniac that I used to know. "We could be so much more. Our empire can grow, our territory could expand tenfold! Our flagship with the Core as its power source, could far jump to wherever we want! We can do whatever we please, and no one can stop us!" the thing that sickened me more, wasn't that he was saying these things, it's that everyone was going along with it. The Daiamid, and our own Sas were taking his side.

The Chancellor had no power, and was more of a figurehead to regulate the peace both locally within the Republic and internationally. Now, he was cuffed and taken away. This crazed man took his place, one who has seen darkness and embraced it.

"Take me and my advisory as your new leaders, and I assure you, no Kiith shall ever suffer. Peace will be restored among us. Under the will of the Daiamid, I will personally do as the people have chosen. Our flagship will be taken to our nearest enemy and we will display our power and make examples of them! No one will dare challenge us! Only a few days ago, we have lost contact with our scouts, messengers of peace, on their way to Gilead. We were asking for a cease-fire. We have assumed they have been killed." the silence was eerie. The wind was the only noise I could hear. The council room was silent as well. I looked around at some faces who were in a dead stare at the screen. "The Hiigaran Empire will be the most powerful nation in the galaxy!" he said and was answered with a cheer. He had previously won over the minds of the people as the chancellor's representative, and now he was using it to his advantage. He raised his arms, and proclaimed, "Henceforth, today and forever, I shall be known as the first Hiigaran Emperor of the people, chosen by them to serve them eternally." again, the crowd cheered.

I didn't. He was using them. I knew his agenda. He wanted, as he stated right up front but was buried beneath the cheering crowd, control and power. Both for his Empire, and for himself. He's secured his own power now, the coup had succeeded. The Second Core would be put inside Sajuuk's Wrath, and the galaxy would be sent into chaos.

"Give me the power and I will bring them to their knees!" there was an uproar among the hundred and eighty three Sas. I walked away. I couldn't take much more of this.

"Hey, Aden? What is it? Isn't this great?" Taras said enthusiastically.

"Are you a fool? This is the fall of our people. We've signed our liberties away to him!" I said.

"Yeah, but he's the leader of the people!"

"He's a tyrant, Taras!" I yelled at him and strode away.

Later that day, I was up on one of the broken wind turbines watching the sunset. It seemed to be the only certainty left in the world. I was still processing the events of today, this historic day, when Emperor Kiir had come into power. It ended the two thousand year Republic. Now he was going to unleash the power of the most destructive weapon ever created to a planet who had not even declared war. There were no scouts sent to the planet. I knew that much. He lied to get an excuse to destroy them. He sickened me. I knew him once, but the person I knew seems to have been killed.

I heard someone climbing up the ladder. "I thought I'd find you here." she said taking a seat beside me laying her head on my shoulder.

"What do you think of the whole thing?" I asked.

"You know me . . . this can only end horrifyingly. I'm sick to my gut about it, sickened that someone so . . . lawful and good could do something this extreme. He's gone, Aden. I saw no hint of the Kiir we used to know in his eyes." In other words, exactly the same as I felt.

There was a short silence while a short gust of wind blew past. "I haven't seen you in almost a year now. How are you?" I asked.

"I'm good. Eeren and I broke up last month and I've never felt better. Until now. Honestly I've missed you. You should change back to our school." she said. I left it because I felt out of place. I started school later than most because I was off the planet at the time I was supposed to start, and I just felt like an outcast. The only friends I had there knew me through her. And yeah, she knows quite a few guys. She seems to have a new boyfriend every season. I'm just glad I can still talk to her after all this time. I like to stay off that topic with her.

"I like it where I am." I said. "I feel like I belong there." I said. We said nothing until the sun was down and it was cold.

We climbed down the wind turbine and faced the sea. "You seem distant." she said.

"You know me . . ." I said. We walked back to the city together before heading our separate ways.

KIIR

The flagship dropped from hyperspace through the blue doorway. They were in low orbit of Gilead. They were to begin their first crusade. He picked up the transmitter and spoke, "This is Kiir Takaal, leader of the newly created Hiigaran Empire aboard our flagship, Sajuuk's Wrath. You have brought death to some of our people sent here, therefore these will be your last moments to plead for forgiveness to your gods, or we shall smite you down." he said. The arrogance struck some of the crew of the bridge, but none dared question him.

The response was delayed a few seconds, as they did not know how to respond to this. "What is this, some kind of joke? We haven't killed anyone, we've been on relatively good terms with the Republic for generations. You're the ones who sent a fleet of cruisers for an invasion! We had to protect ourselves! Of course we resisted!" the person on the other side yelled.

"How dare you speak up to me in that manner? I am the embodiment of Sajuuk himself and your god!"

"You're not a god you fool, we're Osyrian! We believe in no gods!"

"Then you shall burn for your heresy! Feel my wrath! For I am Sajuuk the creator and destroyer!" he said. "Fire the main cannon on their capital." he ordered. It was done. The front cannon fired, breaking a hole in the clouds below and melting the city to nothing. "Destroy their major cities and eradicate their puny defenses." he said and sat back down.

The planet was decimated. The population cut down from eight billion to the millions. No one would know the truth of the battle. The flagship crew were his own men, and they wouldn't dare defy him. He would return to Hiigara a hero.

And he did. Upon his arrival, he announced the victory, highly over exaggerating the Gileadian defenses saying it was an epic battle that was nearly lost. This was another lie, but he was now a war hero as well as their Emperor. He would see to it that the Hiigarans be the most powerful race in the galaxy. It was his one and only goal left unaccomplished.