The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Chapter 14 The Dawn of a New Era
"Keetal, old friend, are you certain you will have the strength to raise your glass?" chided Fedral. "I may be pushing ninety, you insolent young bastard, but I can still drink you under the table. And remember, Betakamp is around here somewhere, and he'll whump your behind for me, if I ask him to," came the mocking reply from a grumpy but obviously pleased Grand Vice Admiral.
It was a fine day. One couldn't have ordered more beautiful weather for the day where, at long last, peace in the galaxy was to be marked, celebrated and commemorated. So many battles, so many tales of heroism and sacrifice, had finally led to this day. Keetal's mind was awash with a myriad of emotions. Pride, of course, was foremost in his mind. Pride in his colleagues, his officers and all of the military under his sole command. He had fought as one of them in his younger days, and had led them in his later life, and they had set a standard that may never be met by any force that he could ever imagine encountering. They were the pride of the Evon Empire and today was most especially for them, for no one wants peace more than a soldier of war.
There was sorrow in his heart as well. He missed friends who were no longer with us, men who had died in battle or had simply passed with age. Both Coilis and Hektar, his predecessors, had passed away some twenty years ago, both peacefully with the honour and respect paid that was expected for heroes of the Empire.
Lebak, too, had died, in an "accident" aboard a commuter ship on a return flight from the Tralaifan homeworld, where he had been working with our so-called allies after his formal retirement as Military Attaché to the High Council. It was never proven, but Keetal knew the Tralaifa were responsible. It was almost fifty years ago but Keetal remembered it like it had happened only yesterday. Lebak's ship had exploded; killing all aboard and only days later the Tralaifa broke all trade agreements with our Empire and declared a state of war.
If you recall, we had always had a difficult relationship with the Tralaifa. Keetal knew that this latest rift was because of our then, newly acquired status. In the bloodiest battle in the history of the known galaxy, Retal and Betakamp had finally extinguished the flame that had been the Orions. More than one thousand ships, hundreds of thousands of Battleoid ground units and countless men of the Empire had died, but the Orion system had finally fallen. Retal himself, now long-retired, had lost a leg in the final battle for Orion VIII. The "White Fleet", the pride of the Orions, threw everything they had in a last vain attempt to stave off destruction. When rescue and recovery ships finally reached his position, Retal's ship appeared to be being held together more with force fields that actual admantium. But it was over. The Orions were finished. "I have to try to remember to be polite to his wife when I see them today," thought Keetal. "Hopefully, I can just wheel him away from her so we can get drunk."
He smiled to himself at the thought of two old fools, one in a wheel chair, trying to slip away from anybody. "Better get Betakamp to run interference," he thought.
After the destruction of the Orions, the Tralaifa became more and more agitated. They feared everything, trusted no one and couldn't be made to understand that we would never break our alliance with them or the Eolodi. "Sometimes it's a good thing, when the military has such political power," mused Keetal. The High Council had gone into a tizzy, trying to decide what to do, all the time giving the Tralaifa time to build up their fleets and strategically relocate their forces. Keetal, with the aid of Fedral, had marched into the High Council Chambers one week later and bluntly informed the High Council that the situation had been resolved. "What do you mean, resolved," asked an official? "Just what it sounds like, Minister, resolved. Four planets previously held by the Tralaifa that were in close proximity to or within shared space of our Empire have been conquered. Two thousand Tralaifan warships have been destroyed. We have tried, and have been relatively successful in keeping Tralaifan civilian casualtie
s at a minimum. We have for you a formal request for mercy from the Tralaifan Embassy, as well as a declaration of their unconditional surrender," Keetal stated, motioning to Fedral who was extending some rather formal looking documents to the High Council's table. "I personally recommend that we accept their offer and their apologies and attempt to resume our former, peaceful ways of dealing with these beings. However, if you disagree, I can always order my commanders." "No, no" screeched the Minister! "We accept, we accept!" "Excellent! Then I will leave it to you, old friend," now looking at Fedral with a smile on his lips, " to take care of the political niceties. I still have real war to wage on our remaining enemies!" And with that, Keetal turned and strode out of the High Council Chambers, our short war with the Tralaifa over. In his own mind, Keetal had avenged the death of Lebak. But there was more work to do. There were still four real remaining enemies to deal with, after all.
Jatan would be at the celebrations as well, but Pedxing would not. Pedxing and his fleet had joined Jatan and had systematically eradicated the Grendarl from political existence. In fact, it was Kasis, Jatan's former tactical officer, now an experienced Fleet Admiral himself, who would become second in command for the entire military. Pedxing had always wanted a warriors' death. An Insectoid, his lifespan was nowhere near as long as we Evon, perhaps only thirty or forty years in total. In the final push to eliminate the Grendarl, an aging Pedxing had requested and been granted permission to engage in the final ground assault on the last remaining Grendarl world. Jatan found his body amongst a horde of slaughtered and disemboweled Grendarl. He was carried home and laid to rest on his home world of Grotius, where both there and here on Sente II, a statue of one of the finest warriors of our Empire stands for all to see.
Mostly though, there was happiness in his heart. As mentioned, Jatan would be at the celebration, as would Longspur. "Damn silly Darlok! He's going to scare the crap out of me I just know it. "He'll shift himself into some little hottie or something and then, bang, there he'll be, laughing his ass off at me. Ah well, good thing he can't hold his liquor very well, at least I can best him at that still."
Longspur was one of two men who would be taking over the reins of the military for the Evon Empire. He had crushed the remaining Meklar in the center of the galaxy and then had joined Zatish in the far north to finalize the eradication of the Cynoid. It was Zatish who would be joining Longspur in sharing the title of Grand Vice Admiral - Joint Chiefs.
All through these raging wars and battles, the Nommo continually begged for mercy. It was blatantly obvious that we could not destroy a people who did not want to fight. We had no qualms destroying the final two mechs, the Cynoid and Meklar, simply because they wanted to destroy us. Kill or be killed, it was as simple as that. But we would not attack a sentient civilization simply for the thrill of wanton bloodlust, regardless of the hatred held between the Nommo and our Eolodi and Tralaifan allies. We simply exercised our military might and told both our gasbag allies that the wars were over; that the Nommo would not bother them and that they, more implicitly, would not be allowed to bother the Nommo. We established Evon systems between all remaining Nommo worlds and our allies to act as a military buffer, with our finest warships standing guard for all to see. This truce has been in place now for the past two years, and all seems to be going well.
Yes, command now falls to our two finest heroes who still wear the uniform and serve, Longspur and Zatish. And although peace now reigns in our galaxy with no more enemies here to see, and where prosperity is the rule for all, there are new, bolder challenges for these two men. You see, our scientists believe they have found a way for us to leave our galaxy, cross the vast distances of space and time to Andromeda, our closest neighbouring galaxy. Longspur and Zatish have challenges ahead that no Evon has ever dreamt of before. A universe awaits.