Joined: 09 May 2019
|Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:43 am Post subject: "A Tiny War"
|My uncle was the one who told me about the war in the Far System. A planetside war greater than any that had been fought within living history. Where the skies darkened with missiles and laser fire was so intense it could be seen from low orbit. Thirteen airless, sun-scorched orbs in the void whose names he knew by heart.
When I asked him why the first armies ever came to those lifeless planets he always had a different answer. Would-be warlords out to make their own little armies. Simple miners with dreams of a mountain of gleaming ore. Professional mercenaries and rogue officers and everyone else who had a gun or a tank for hire. Even mechanics who saw a fortune to be had in their trades came by the score. And always the whispers of powerful nameless men lurking in the shadows.
And he told me of the most terrible threat they would encounter. Aliens with technology far beyond our own. Men called them many things, but their 'true name' was "Sha'kahr". That word was spoken in whispers as though a deadly curse. The bravest turned white with fear and old soldiers muttered of terrible things whenever it was said aloud. Only the few and the mighty dared to challenge them. Fewer still came away with a mere handful of their technology that was paid for in a river of blood. But the hope of that handful was so great that armies fought for the privilege of smashing themselves against a terrible foe.
I often wondered what treasure was worth provoking such an opponent, in the innocence of a child who'd never left his home planet. He only told me it was "greater than all the platinum in all the vaults of the Republic."
As I grew from boy to man my parents tried ever more to steer me away from the tales of the "madman" who lead "an army of fools and thugs". But the fire he lit in my heart burned too bright for all their scolding to extinguish. For every video or picture of his they deleted I begged for ten more. He was a sage whose wisdom could not be questioned, a Colossus in my eyes that nothing would topple.
Whatever his actual might was, the only foe who proved his equal was Father Time. As I neared two decades of age his communications with me suddenly dwindled to a few incoherent typed letters. Then nothing at all. When I heard nothing for months on any of our comm-channels, the package I received by private courier with his name only served to confirm my worst fears. I couldn't read a word of the rambling letter written by the greatest tell-tale I would ever know. Only to weep silently against the worn plasteel wall of the refitted shipping container I called home.
Besides the handwritten letter there was only a single slender card whose design I didn't recognize, stuck firmly to the inside with a few words scribbled on it with an old-fashioned pencil.
"Time to write your own tales."
I nearly threw it out in my grief until I noticed the card looked suspiciously like a flight ticket.
FRIZZ COME BACK WE NEED YOU!