The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Chapter 11 The Spread of an Empire
War takes time. It takes a lot of other things, too, but mostly, it takes time. Seven long years have passed since last we spoke.
Jatan, our eastern fleet commander, methodically routed the Klackons in the northeast quadrant of the galaxy, moving through Paradise and then on through seven additional systems that “dead-ended”. An excellent occurrence, as, once completed, Jatan will be able to be re-deployed elsewhere. While not trying to make it sound like it was an easy victory, it had become brutally clear that the Klackon fleets were no match for our Titan class vessels. As had become the case, it was ground combat and the capture of the individual planet intact that was the most difficult issue.
In addition to Nu Bootis VI, the Rhean worlds of Selia V, Ibis II and Sham II and III were now solely dedicated to the production of our mechanized Battleoids. Additionally, many other Evon and Rhean worlds had made the request to the High Council to be given permission to provide biological fighting units to our armies, changing their planets’ focus from ship-building to troop training. This request also held ramifications for worlds that we had conquered over the past years. Our Unification government, once experienced by our conquered citizens, proved to be exceptionally well lended to winning over the populace at large. All new citizens, be they humanoid, silicoid, machine, bug or fish found that all were treated with equal respect and dignity. In our decades of war and expansion not once had a solitary conquered planet revolted, let alone experience even the slightest form of political unrest. The Evon Empire was truly a well-oiled machine with well over three hundred planets now fully capable o
f contributing to our robust economic and military might. This sequence of events had, in turn, brought many adept Nommo, Trilarian and Psilon scientists willingly into the halls of our laboratories, greatly increasing output in this area. It also brought requests from Meklar worlds, in the area of military inclusion.
Kaytapa was called to an informal meeting to discuss the issue with Hektar, Coilis and Lebak. Due to the sheer size of our Empire and the vastness of our current military operations, Lebak had recommended and the High Council had approved the institution of a second Vice Admiral position in the military. Coilis was the obvious choice. His military record and experience practically mirrored Hektar’s. Hektar was grateful for the assistance, as he had slowly started to lose track of which day of the week it was, such was his workload. On a personal note, it also allowed him to spend more time with his good friend, and the divided workload allowed them both to share ideas and moments of levity. “All work and no play” as they say, is definitely a formula for missteps and mistakes.
Kaytapa was old, even for a Rhean. While our life span was approximately ninety years, Rheans lived about fifty per cent longer on average. Kaytapa was one hundred and twelve years old and was going to retire shortly. Already, his protégé, Betakamp, was taking over more and more of the functions of his office. Betakamp was currently running the campaign with Tovam against the Klackons in the south, but was becoming more and more involved with all of our military fronts.
“Don’t forget to order at least four jugs,” laughed Coilis. “Four!” exclaimed Lebak. “You plan on getting hammered fast?” he asked. “We’re drinking with a Rhean, remember?” needled Hektar. “He may be close to retirement, but he could put us all under the table in a heartbeat, if he wanted to.” “Crap, we’re all close to retirement, when you really think about it,” said Lebak. “Right you are, old friend! So why don’t we get business over with as quickly as possible and make this into a pre-retirement binge?” said Coilis, continuing to laugh. “Sounds like a plan to me, hey, there’s Kaytapa now,” said Hektar.
Kaytapa strode into the pub. Strode was the only way to define it. Standing well in excess of eight feet tall and weighing in at close to four hundred pounds of pure muscle, describing it in any other way would have been insulting. But one shouldn’t get the impression that his entrance was in any way menacing. Of course, on the battlefield, looking menacing was easy, but here, amongst friends, Rheans were always jovial and good-natured. “My friends!” he bellowed, and promptly pulled up a stool. “Where’s the ale?” he asked easily. “Coming as we speak,” smiled Lebak. “It’s good to see you again, old friend. Coilis has suggested that we get business out of the way as quickly as possible, so that we can concentrate on more enjoyable pursuits. Do you agree?” “Agreed. We’ll empty the tankards, tonight, old friends!”
The discussion was based, as mentioned earlier; around incorporating more life form based units in our planetary assault teams and the ever-increasing requests from member planets to join the war effort in a ground force capacity. Kaytapa had already read the report issued by his second-in-command, Betakamp, regarding the successful Marfak system liberation and was in complete agreement with his officers’ assessment. “There is no question that the Battleoid is the most powerful and obviously most expendable unit we can deploy. It still must remain as the number one tool. However, especially on planets where liberation versus conquer is the issue, a “face” is always comforting to those in need,” stated Kaytapa. “In addition, I must admit, since the introduction of the Battleoid unit, my people have yearned to be able to fulfill, what we still feel to be, our true calling in service of the Empire, that being military service.” “I agree,” stated Coilis. Al
so, diversity in attack protocols, which would be possible with additional Armor, Mobile and Marine units, would potentially greatly increase our success rate and actually reduce our number of lost Battleoid units, which are currently being destroyed at a somewhat alarming rate. More strategic options, means a greater chance at success.” “What of the Meklar proposal?” asked Hektar. “Based on the current political climate, if Kaytapa is willing, I see no reason to deny them full access,” said Lebak. “I would imagine, actually, that mechanical, fully sentient beings might actually be advantageous in certain situations.” “I have never had problems with Evon soldiers under my command, and if the Meklar perform with the same dedication and loyalty, then I shall have no qualms in welcoming them into our legions,” stated Kaytapa proudly. “Then it is agreed, is it not? I will issue the recommendation to the High Council, who will approve it immediately, I&rs
quo;m sure,” said Lebak.
“Now, before we proceed to get totally whacked, we all have to discuss our future. I’m sixty-seven years old, and you two buggers are both older than me,” Lebak pointed at Hektar and Coilis. “Any ideas on your replacements, or are you both going to kick it in your command consoles?” “No, we’ve already got that figured out, I believe,” said Hektar. “Keetal is just finishing up with the Silicoids in the northern quadrant. In fact, I expect to hear that the last of the second rock empire will be completely vanquished within weeks. He’s rock solid, if you pardon the pun, and still got a long career ahead of him. He’s our first choice. Because he is only in his late forties, he can probably handle the job on his own, maybe even better than we two old farts can together,” smirked Coilis. “Regardless, if he needs help he can pick his own, we would leave that up to him, obviously with the High Council’s blessing,” said Hektar
, deferring graciously to Lebak. “What about you, Lebak? Who will replace you?” asked Kaytapa. “I don’t know if you have met him yet, but his name is Fedral. Simply put, he’s a bloody genius. Next time we’re out, I’ll invite him along. He’ll have to learn that this setting and location are key components of the job,” laughed Lebak. “It’s fairly obvious that Betakamp is going to try to fill your shoes, Kaytapa, but are you even considering a subordinate officer to fill Betakamp’s old role?” asked Hektar. “Yes, Tsandran will become the number two. I will send you his file tomorrow for your review. I am certain you will approve,” stated Kaytapa.
“That’s it, then! Official business is over for today! Bartender! Bring us four more jugs!
Actually, the official business portion of the conversation was much longer, as a complete review of all political and military situations took place. I will summarize.
Keetal, indeed, had almost completely vanquished the second Silicoid race from the northern quadrant. Upon the collapse and capture of the Kaht system (the first system accessible via the wormhole in Eta Serpentis) the path branched out in two different directions, one west and another southeast. Keetal called up Retal from Eta Serpentis with the intent of delivering a two-pronged attack. Keetal would take the southeast route while Retal would venture west.
As Keetal and Retal advanced, the High Council’s warning of other races came to pass. To the west, Retal encountered a reptilian race called the Sakkra. To the southeast Keetal met another reptilian race called the Grendarl. They reminded our commanders of snakes and alligators, respectively, yet both were bipedal and extremely aggressive. The Sakkra’s domain was extremely small, consisting of only three systems and thirteen planets immediately north of the Yekub and Nu Piscum systems, the last of the Silicoid systems in their western arm. The Grendarl Dominion was considerably larger, consisting of well over fifty planets in a multitude of systems lying south of Iman, the second last of the Silicoid Empire in their southeastern arm.
We immediately attempted to make peaceful overtures, guaranteeing no invasion and offering multiple trade and economic agreements with our newfound neighbours. We were rebuffed by both races, with declarations of war issued by their surly ambassadors. The Sakkra attacked our war fleets in Yekub the moment official war was declared. It seemed that the planets we were capturing from the Silicoid in this system, along with those in the Nu Piscum system, had previously been part of the Sakkra Kingdom, only recently captured by the Silicoids themselves.
“Red Alert – Proximity Warning.” This was going to be interesting. Four of the seven planets in the Yekub system had already fallen to Retal and his accompanying ground forces, and the fifth was dead in his sights. But now, along with another ten TF Silicoid defense fleet and the now so-familiar multiple Orbital batteries to contend with, a second, seven TF Sakkra attack fleet had entered the system through a distant jump lane and were advancing on his fleet. “Status report, Ensign. Give me a location and time to intercept on the Sakkra,” ordered Retal. “Aye Captain. The Sakkra fleet will enter our Ultra Spinal Mount range within twelve minutes sir, based on their current speed. Sensors are unable to determine if the Sakkra have the same weapons capability as we do, Sir. It’s highly unlikely that they have anything better, though. If they have Heavy Mount capability, they won’t be able to get a firing solution for at least twenty minutes,” came the repl
y. “Excellent. With a little luck, we can be practically finished with the Silicoid before we have to exterminate these snakes. Tactical officer, standard defensive attack pattern. Form up the fleet around our two Transport TF’s. Engage Point Defense targeting computers. Weapons officer, lock missiles on enemy Orbitals and fire at will. Launch all fighters at inbound enemy TF’s, now. Lock and load, gentlemen,” came the smooth orders from a now extremely experienced Evon commander.
The Silicoids had always been a worthy opponent in the area of space battle. They had always been well advanced in the area of long-range beam weaponry and had fortified their planets with massive quantities of Orbital batteries, sometimes exceeding fifteen in total. This high quantity of Orbitals allowed them to inevitably be able to get off at least two salvos from these same batteries before our own missiles could extinguish them all. While our Point Defense system was impressive, utilizing a multiple array of Disintegration, Phaser and Lightning Generator weaponry with various ranges alongside our impressive level VIII shielding and Neutronium Very Heavy Armor, stopping multiple salvos of literally thousands of inbound missiles and fighters was practically impossible. A battle had not been lost to the rocks, but casualties were a forgone conclusion.
As anticipated, our PD firewall lit the sky upon acquisition of the first inbound Silicoid missile wave. Practically none made it through, and those that did were unable to penetrate our armor. But the Silicoid had learned from us, and now immediately followed up the missile wave with their own fighters. As anticipated, our own missiles were unable to destroy all the defending Orbitals before they launched their second wave of death. The Silicoid fighters targeted a Carrier armada and while our Light Mounts blazed in a concert of coordinated fire, the targeted armada fell, smashed to shards of metal, forever to drift in the Yekub night. The second missile wave targeted a second Carrier armada and it, too, fell, our PD weapons unable to cope with the plethora of inbound.
Our fighters were having the expected positive result. Accompanied by our Long Range Ultra Spinal Mounted Disintegration Beams that were now standard issue on all mission ships, the Silicoid task force was vanquished by a combination of Plasma, Phaser and Ion Cannon fighter weaponry.
“Status report, Ensign,” asked Retal. This was one cool commander. He had just lost thirty-six ships and one would think he was ordering a drink at a pub. “The Silicoid threat has been completely eliminated, Captain. All planetary Orbital batteries destroyed. All Silicoid task forces destroyed. Two Carrier armadas of our own destroyed, both on the port side of the formation. Reconfiguring of task force underway, shifting one of the starboard Carrier armadas to the port, Sir. Missile ships report two remaining salvos available, ready to fire on your command. Remaining Carrier armadas currently refueling our fighters, they will be ready for re-launch in one minute, Sir. Inbound Sakkra fleet within Ultra Spinal Mount range in two minutes, Captain,” came the equally cool reply. “I like this kid,” thought Retal. “He keeps this up and he’s going to be promoted soon. Can’t say I won’t miss him, though.”
“Weapons officer, lock missiles on the Sakkra and fire. Launch all fighters as soon as you are able. Target their lead armada with our Ultra Spinal Mount Disintegration Beams and fire as soon as they enter range. Let’s see what these lizards got,” ordered Retal.
The lizards had nothing. Our Disintegration Beams anilihated the lead Sakkra armada before our missiles even got close. Our fighters barely had time to get off a shot. It was over very, very quickly.
“Communications officer, open a channel to HQ. Inform Vice Admiral Hektar that we have been attacked by and have obliterated a Sakkra attack force. Request permission to capture their entire puny Kingdom as soon as I have finished with the Silicoid portion of our mission,” ordered Retal.
A few moments later, permission was granted. The Sakkra fate had been sealed. The Grendarl, it appeared, had learned from their brethren’s mistake. While Keetal finished up with the Silicoids in the southeast, the Grendarl never left their own systems and challenged us not at all.
In the south, Tovam continued on his path of destruction, cutting a swathe through the remaining Klackon systems making a beeline for Diab, the remaining three-planet system held by the Psilons. It would require backtracking to destroy the remaining Klackons, but Tovam was intent on achieving his primary goal, which was the final and absolute destruction of the treacherous and backstabbing Psilon race. While reaching Diab was not an issue, nor was the pitiful defense fleets they managed to scramble together, the ground assaults were tumultuous, to say the least. Betakamp had to deploy six entire armies consisting of three Battleoid, and one each of Armor, Mobile and Marine to finally secure the Psilon homeworld. Betakamp himself was wounded in battle, but not mortally. His survival, along with his forthcoming promotion to Commander – Ground Forces, made him a hero demanding the respect and gratitude of the entire Evon Empire.
At the same time, Zatish had moved beyond the Trilarian system of Pyro and had also conquered the Cutcher and Zabil systems from the fish and was now heavily engaged in the Niru system, working his way further and further into the center of the galaxy. The fish fought well, but as before, could not stand before our overwhelming forces. Interestingly enough, much as was the case with the Psilons, the ground combat assaults always required multiple army battle groups to effect control. It was rare when there were less than four Trilarian armies defending each and every planet along Zatish’s path.
Meanwhile, in the Assallus system, harassment of a new kind began to surface. Assallus was one of the systems that Hektar had conquered long ago when we smashed the Meklar from the southeastern portion of the galaxy. Unfortunately, Assallus was the owner of a wormhole, which led to the center north of the galaxy and touched on multiple Cynoid, the other mechanical life form, worlds and systems.
Our first Darlok commander, Longspur, was ordered to assemble a strike force and traverse the wormhole to the Hasemi system at the other end. Hektar’s orders were simple enough. Take the system. Scan and determine best possible attack routes to further the mission, request reinforcements as required. There was such little fanfare to the order that Longspur was almost taken aback. Longspur was relieved when both Hektar and Coilis contacted him via personal communicator. “We are both extremely impressed with your service to the Empire. This is an extremely important mission. We just don’t want to single you out as being the first non-Evon task force commander to lead an invasion fleet. We felt you could do without the added public pressure. Remember, we don’t give command to incompetents. You’re the best for the job. Make us proud!”
Longspur made them proud. Cynoid-controlled Hasemi first, then Esra and then Potonoc all fell to Longspur’s “wolf pack”, as it came to be known. It might have had something to do with the fact that, at the moment of battle, Longspur would “shift” to the form of a giant wolf and open a video channel to his enemies command vessel, snarling and wrenching. I am not certain if cybernetic organisms can actually feel fear, but it was certainly great for our own troops morale.
So that is where our Empire now stands. The Psilons and the second Silicoid race have been politically eliminated, with Retal soon to exterminate the puny Sakkra from existence as well in the far north. Keetal will be assigning Jatan as the new fleet commander in Iman, our new border with the Grendarl Dominion, and returning to Sente II for victory celebrations, retirement parties and his own promotion to Vice Admiral. All this will occur within the next few months, once Tovam has finally secured the extinction of the Klackon Hive in the south. Tovam, too, will be retiring and joining in the festivities, receiving multiple awards and medals for his distinguished service to the Empire. Zatish will continue his noble efforts against the Trilarians, while Longspur will carry on against the Cynoid.
Hektar and Coilis have decided to leave the New Orions to Keetal. While our scientists were able to complete their research into Admantium Armor and the Behemoth class war ship, the Space Dock Extension required to physically build the actual ships still eludes us, as does the Energy Pulsar Warhead for our missiles. Both men have elected to wait until these insights finally become implementations before we attempt an assault on Orion.
We are now a race with control over more than four hundred planets and our power continues to grow. Can anyone stop us? Can anyone see the future?