They were created by the Terran Dominion, secret weapons forged from Zerg flesh and Terran steel. They were the ultimate war machines, unstoppable on the battlefield. They were incapable of questio...
Gregory P. Wong
Chapter 13: Anomaly
Traenid/Esralath picked himself/herself off the floor. The Phantasm had seemed to flip for a second, then revert itself right back up.
"Deneras, report." He/she groaned.
"I am not sure what just happened, Executor," said the helmsman, rubbing his head. "It appears that the anomaly has just transported us to some unknown part of this galaxy. Sensors show that we are more than three times the distance ever traveled by Protoss ships!"
"Can we reenter the anomaly and get back to our previous location?" He/she inquired.
"No. We seem to have lost the anomaly on our sensors."
"Hmmm..." He/she muttered, "Are there any planetary bodies in the vicinity?"
"We do detect one planet, about the size of Shakuras, orbited by two moons. I... by Adun!" gasped Deneras.
"What is it?" Traenid/Esralath boomed out.
"It cannot be... We seem to have another electromagnetic anomaly on the surface of the planet."
"Elaborate," he/she told his second-in-command.
"I can make not judgment as of now, Executor," confessed Deneras. "I suggest we give the Khalais some time to analyze this phenomenon.
"Suggestion accepted, Deneras.
"Judging from data gathered by our sensors, some of our Khalais surmise that this magnetic disturbance can lead us to an area close to the Terran world of Waj Norhal!" finished the helmsman, psi-voice trembling.
"Hmm... Proceed towards the disturbance that will take us to Waj Norhal. Have all sensors to full range; I want to make sure no Thres'nalop..." he/she stopped, suddenly realizing. They could not go back, not without a possible Thres'nalop fleet following them into it... and emerging into human space.
"Executor," again rang our Deneras, "we are detecting one reading on the planet surface. It identifies itself as the Arbiter /Might of the Khala/. It reports the Thres'nalop pursued them into the same anomaly only days ago.
"Put the commander aboard on communications."
A holographic picture of a Protoss Judicator appeared in front of him/her. The Judicator looked haggard, as if he had been through too much
"Greetings, Judicator. I am the new Executor, Traenid/Esralath."
The Judicator's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What happened to Executor Tarthan/Jetok?"
"He was lost in the battle of Sawea. By virtue of my previous rank, I became the Executor."
The Judicator lost the suspicious look. It was replaced with a tired, withdrawn expression.
"I am sorry to hear of the great Executor's demise. But it seems we again have an... Archon Executor."
"I share similar sentiments. Report."
"Approximately thirty-six hours ago we encountered a huge fleet of Thres'nalop ships, consisting of at least four dozen cruiser-class warships and two dozen carriers. Escorting these ships were at least four hundred armed transports. I ordered Might of the Khala to stand down, and keep a low profile. However, even with our cloaking, the High Destiny was detected. Six cruisers and a carrier detached from the Thres'nalop flotilla to engage us.
"Carrier Commander Kivarel aboard the High Destiny ordered me to take the Arbiter away from battle, while he held them off. The High Destiny was overwhelmed and completely destroyed in less than seven minutes. The/ Might of the Khala/ had put a considerable margin between itself and the battle, but enemy single-ships closed in and damaged us severely. We only escaped by activating a stasis field and slipping away," finished the Judicator.
Executor Traenid/Esralath swore to himself/herself. The loss of one carrier would count in the upcoming battle.
"Judicator," he/she said, shaking himself/herself out of the his/her thoughts, "dock with the carrier Kelenir to initiate repairs. We will need everything we can throw at the Thres'nalop.
"It shall be done, Executor," said the Judicator of the Might of the Khala/. Traenid/Esralath turned to Deneras. "Order all carriers, except /Auir's Fist /and /Star Reaver to begin orbit around the world. Auir's Fist /and /Star Reaver will set up a perimeter. As soon as an area is secure, ground warriors will set up a defensive base around the anomaly. I want two dozen antimatter cannons up within eighteen hours!"
To the Khalais' praise, /threeÂ-/dozen antimatter cannons were built and operational within twenty hours. The robotic probes had also worked admirably, having set up dozens of command nexuses, which were being used to transmit useful minerals into space, which the carriers refined into a workable material. The resulting alloys were then used by the carriers to build structures and robotic units, which were then beamed back down upon request. All ships, even the Arbiters, were being used as factory ships to construct. As the Khalais finished up their work on the antimatter cannons, over 500 new "Strikers" had been built. Looking vaguely like a scantid, the flying machines had two forward facing pulse cannons and an overhead "tail", which contained the sensor packages and cloaking generators. The little craft flew much faster then a scout, but it was lightly armored. Nevertheless, the combination of speed, cloaking, and advanced sensors made the Striker a good attack craft. Along with this, a large number of Thres'nalop hardware had been captured for study.
As it turned out, the sparking weapons used by the noblades and daggers were really an energy-encased piece metal shaped like a five-pointed star. The claw-like spark rifles loaded the star on a track between the two claws. Then magnetic pulses accelerated the stars to high speeds, while the tracks of the spark rifle encased the projectile in a sheath of energy. Combined together, the mass of the star and the heat of the energy casing proved devastating. However, the spark weapons required a lot of energy to function, therefore keeping relative power-to-weight ratios low.
The nuclear cannons utilized by the Thres'nalop sickles were another story. Beginning with a hydrogen-based explosion, the plasma of the miniature nuclear weapon was held in place by powerful magnets inside the barrel of the cannon. Not able to go anywhere except up the barrel, the atomic energy would fire from the bore of the cannon, resulting in severely damaging blasts. The only drawback was that sickles seemed to have an extremely low ammunition capacity; at most, only twelve "nuclear shells" could be carried on the sickle.
Lastly, the thick, spear-like weapons used by Thres'nalop darkblades that fired powerful beams of invisible, rippling energy, were classified as gluon cannons. Gluons, which held the quarks and leptons of subatomic particles together, were in part responsible for the Big Bang. When enough gluons were ripped from electrons and protons, they built up inside the cannons breech, and were released in a devastating ripple of atomic force. The powerful gluon cannons were much more devastating than the sickles' nuclear cannons, weight for weight. But they had an extremely long recharge time, and only a Thres'nalop as massive and strong as a darkblade could wield it. For this he/she was grateful.
Executor Traenid/Esralath remembered the moment at hand and waited for the Thres'nalop fleet to show up. The Protoss warriors were ready for them, hundreds of newly built Reavers and assault shuttles stood on standby. He/she looked to the sky, and to the darkness that would soon emerge.
It began when the observer farthest out detected a ship coming out of warp space. Then it was followed by another.
Thirty minutes later, the Thres'nalop armada of over three hundred capital ships was on its way towards them. Another twenty-four hours until the entire Thres'nalop fleet reached them. Aboard the /Phantasm/, Traenid/Esralath spoke:
"This is the final test, warriors. Hold strong, knowing that we defend Auir and all life in the galaxy!"
Szcraa looked up vainly into the sky as the alarm signaling Thres'nalop sounded. She initiated all her systems, and felt herself slip into battle mode. Plasma cannons fully charged/... /Magna Needles at optimum load/... Energy output at one hundred percent/.../ all sensors active/... Organic parts at full strength/... Goliath-III legs fully operational/. She finished her diagnostic just as her mate did.
Straas looked at her, his expression unreadable. She walked up to Straas, and grasped his hands with hers. She looked up into his face, a face which she cared very much about. She again thought about his own internal pains and sorrows. Protoss souls talked to him, he possessed power beyond imagination, and had died. She leaned into him, and put her head on his beige chest. They just held each other for a while, not speaking. They separated and kissed.
"Take care love," he said to her.
"Keep well," she answered Straas.
The two of them moved to their assigned position. ETA of the Thres'nalop fleet was thirty minutes.