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Part of USS Galileo: Home Sweet Home and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Prologue

The Planet Kimuramin XII
Oct. 18th, 2400
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Atop a large plateau overlooking the valley below, Trunzan smiled as he looked out. He had always been impressed with the beauty of his home. Sure, some in the village hated their life on Kimuramin XII, but he couldn’t bring himself to see anything but Kimuramin’s beauty. The planet was hot, arid, and almost entirely made up of one large desert; but she was home. He reached up, pulling the dust shields from his eyes as he squinted; in the distance, he could almost make out his farm, the village Borath, and if he tried hard enough, he could see Lake Tomith.  Or at least what was left of the lake. He paused as a pack of Zucsish followed him up the plateau.  

“Now, you are a ways from home,” the man took a piece of bread from his pocket and broke it into pieces, sharing it with his animal friends. He knew it was an instant mistake. The lead Zucsish bellowed loudly, and soon what was a small herd grew into something much more massive. Trunzan laughed, “ok, ok, I only have so much pela bread,”  he could feel the animal pushing his hand as they begged for more food.

The Zucsish were peaceful animals, albeit rather forceful when food was involved. Ever since Tomith had started to dry up, the animal population had grown scarce. Sighting a pack of Zucsish was rare; sighting several packs was terrific. He made his way over to a nearby rock and sat down. One of the Zucsish bravely rested his head on Trunzan’s shoulder. The beast extended his long tongue, attempting to take the bread from Trunzan’s hand. “Easy, my friend, there are many of you and only a little bread. Had I known, I would have brought more.”

The beast bellowed as if he understood Tomith.

The man turned and looked out over his valley. The horizon was brown mixed with various hues of red and orange, and the horizon was only broken up by the occasional kasu tree or pikti plant. In the distance, he could hear the wild dogs baying; no doubt they had cornered a lone Zucsish for a mighty meal. He took a deep breath and placed his dust shields over his eyes again—the howling winds whistling in the distance meant another sandstorm was due to hit the village. 

“That is my cue to leave, my friends,” he tossed the last pieces of bread on the ground. “I’ve got to water my kasu trees,” which meant he had to pack water from the well and attempt to keep his disintegrating harvest alive. Well, as alive as possible. His people depended on the fruit from the trees.

The walk back to the village had been uneventful. He’d almost run into the pack of dogs, but they were too focused on their kill to notice him. As he made his way into the village, he couldn’t help but feel that something wasn’t right. Today was different. The central courtyard of the village was still filled with the village’s wisest people. Ever since the red glowing rocks appeared, everyone had been focused on them. Some saw them as a sign that the gods were bringing water back to their valley; others saw them as an omen. Some even went so far as to leave the village entirely. They wanted to put as much distance between the god’s retribution and themselves. 

Trunzan just shook his head, “you know, if you spent this much time looking at ways to bring water to our village…” the man started to laugh, but he was interrupted by a loud noise. It was as if a flock of carrion birds screamed through the village. Trunzan bent over, covering his ears as the noise was almost deafening. Growing louder and louder, the screeching noise grew more intense as a violent wild blew through the courtyard.  

Trunzan looked up as an enormous beast floated down from the skies. The man tried to take a step forward but was paralyzed in fear. As the beast’s mouth opened and something stepped out of the beast, Trunzan instinctively knew something wasn’t right. He looked to a nearby youth, “run,” he spoke barely above a whisper.

As more figures left the beast’s belly, they began shouting in a language Trunzan couldn’t understand; he fell to the ground, paralyzed and unable to move. These were not gods or people sent to bring water to their village. At that moment, Trunzan almost envied the people who had left; perhaps they were correct. The gods were bringing their retribution for his people’s defiance. 

Trunzan stood up, willing his body with every fiber to move. He approached one of the figures, “why are you here?” he asked.

The confused look on the visitor’s face told Trunzan everything he needed to know. These figures were not gods. Trunzan bravely took another step but was met with the blunt end of the object in the figure’s hand. Falling to the ground below, Trunzan felt a warm liquid pooling under him. Trunzan looked up just in time to see the figure and slam his weapon into his head.

Looking around, Trunzan could see the figures gathering up the people in his village. They were relentless, grabbing men, women, and children; his entire village was being led to the main building. He stood up, “you are not gods,” he hissed. “What do what with us?”

In that instant, Trunzan was confident that whoever these people were, they were not there to help. And the people in his village would never be the same. He approached the larger one. He was different than the others. His green skin stood out from the rest. Trunzan didn’t care that he had a weapon; hell, he didn’t even know what the weapon was.  

“Leave our village,” he ordered to the shock of the village elders. He could hear their disapproving comments; one of the elders even appeared to apologize for his behavior. Trunzan just shrugged it off as he stood toe to toe with the green-skinned figure.

He looked up for a second, but a second blow to the head rendered him unconscious. The last thing Trunzan heard was the sound of laughter and the taste of his blood as it began to pool in his mouth. No, something told him that the village of Borath would never be the same after this.

Comments

  • Loved this! Some great world-building at the beginning. Your vivid descriptions of the Kimuramin XII fauna really placed me there. I got the impression of a thriving place, despite ecological challenges, and a real sense of culture. Of course, all that has been disrupted now and that in itself has depicted exactly how the Blood Dilithium has cursed pre-warp worlds of the Delta Quadrant. It was great to see such a scenario brought to life. I felt a real sense of injustice, particularly Trunzan's initial conception of what must have been a landing craft as a "beast". This really brought the power imbalance here home, and now I'm rooting for some interstellar retribution on behalf of Trunzan's people. Fascinated to see whether that's what the Galileo crew will deliver, or perhaps the story takes a darker turn?

    November 1, 2022
  • You've impressed me well with this one. The pacing in this story was a thing of beauty to experience. You've layered in such a subtle and creeeeeeping sense of: oh no, something's changed. It escalates into dread of what's to come without ever hitting the reader over the head with it. You painted the picture of this alien world so well, I assumed it was simply a duck blind mission the Galileo crew was enjoying. This new world and civilization was realized so thoroughly. Even though it had to happen eventually, you surprised me when the sense of dread was the coming of dilithium. It was a really really effective choice to introduce the Chekov's gun of this campaign in such a dramatic fashion -- even more so with the invaders at the end. You've got me shaking in my boots, worried about the fate of Borath!

    November 1, 2022
  • Oh no, meant to say: the coming of BLOOD DILITHIUM

    November 1, 2022
  • I had to do some backreading as I saw what had happened after this. But I do have to agree with both Mek and Kohl. This is a wonderful start to a very interesting mission that lays ahead! The detailed description of Kirmuramin XII gives you an good idea what setting you are in and what will be the playground for the coming mission! What shall happen (I secretly already know) but still look forwrad to it!

    November 12, 2022