Approx. 2300 words
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
written by SJ
As soon as the Federal Yacht landed at Zion spaceport, Lana and Jennifer were rushed into a meeting with a number of Thanatos-4's political and military leaders; Captain Falconer was currently in charge.
The General appeared on the largest video screen and began speaking right away. “Lieutenant LaFong, I’m glad you’re here on time, 2.4 days right on the nose. So far, the only answer we’ve been able to get from the Eldar is a busy signal. If you’re feeling up to it, I’d like to fly you to the south pole planetary gun base as soon as your ready.” He addressed, Jennifer. “Officer Dakota, I believe you’re going there on a mission for Marcellus.”
“Yes.” She nodded.
Lana sighed, then glanced at the Librarian. “Well, if it’s okay with Jennifer, then, I guess, we can leave right away.” She thought of something. “Has anything new happened in the last 2.4 days?”
Captain Falconer answered. “So far, the Hive on the island has not developed any bio-structures that would overtly denote they are going to war. All their Mycetic spores remain ON the island, where their Hive continues to maintain itself normally, with no attempt to spread to the mainland. When one of our far western Mobile Mines spotted a Lictor, we evacuated them. As of two days ago, they’ve returned, and even though they seem to know they’re being watched, they’ve resumed their mining operations without any aggression in any way from the Lictor.” He smiled and almost chuckled. “In fact, they no longer feel threatened by it at all and have named it, Lictor Larry.” He shrugged. “So, I no longer know what to think.” He pointed at a middle-aged man seated next to him. “Our head mining executive here has even sent a survey team out to a western coastal area located a couple thousand kilometers to the south of the aforementioned Mobile Mine.”
The mining executive nodded, then mentioned something about the possibility of finding Titanium.
“So, they don’t have any attack broods or defensive structures on the island at all?” Lana asked, wanting as much information as possible for when, or if, she was able to speak to Ar’sharel.
“Well, I wouldn’t say that.” Falconer responded clearly. “We’ve spotted a couple Zoanthropes on the island. Then, we spotted what seemed to be Biovores; however, a little later, they seemed to evolve into a...” He searched for the word. “Triovores.”
Lana had a curious look on her face.
He nodded as if to answer her assumed question. “Yeah, a Triovores. One of our bio-scientists think they might be more of an anti-aircraft weapon than artillery.”
“Or both,” she suggested.
He agreed, then continued. “There’s also a very large Exocrine creature there. At first it seemed like they were trying to evolve some kind of artillery weapon that could fire to the mainland..” He looked at the video screen. “But, General Parker gave us a much better possibility.”
The General smiled modestly, then began. “Well, it wasn’t me personally. When my team analyzed it, they seemed to think the Tyranids were trying to build a planetary gun, or in their case, grow one. After all, they had to have seen us firing our guns at those Chaos warships. Maybe, they’re simply doing something to protect themselves from the same thing.”
Captain Falconer smiled. “Yes...I like that possibility much better. The thing does seemed to keep growing...albeit, slowly.” Then he frowned. “The only thing that has us worried is a large winged creature...sort of like the Tyranid version of a combat, transport, shuttle. We’ve named it a Terridan, even though we’re not sure, at this time, if it has any weapon-symbiotes.”
When it didn’t look as though there were anymore questions, Lana and Jennifer were given permission to leave and head directly for the spaceship that would take them to the south pole, the General mentioning that he would send several more messages to the Eldar, attempting to contact Ar’sharel directly, let her know Lana would be waiting to be picked up in the exact same spot she was before.
Lana recognized it as soon as she arrived, the same place the Cheyenne Rangers had had their platoon HQ when they were here, where she and Sergeant Reynolds had prepared their teams to assault the pole gun, where the Eldar Jetbike pilot had dropped her off after she had visited the Eldar Alaitoc Home World. All the buildings seemed to be in the same places, but now, were much more permanent structures.
There were only about a dozen Thanatos-4 personnel at the base, six of them Guardsmen with lasguns, plus a couple railgun emplacements. Before Lana and Jennifer could put on their cold-weather gear, they were offered genuine Thanatos parkas, something they were assured would keep them warm even in the coldest weather, and would be less bulky than their Space Marine gear. A man and a women escorted Jennifer to the elevator that would take her down inside the pole gun, while another man had Lana get into a small airsled to be taken to the exact spot where she had met the Eldar the last time.
Again, Lana recognized the place where she stumbled out of the cave and met the Eldar, only now there was a little more snow. Next to the collapsed cave, there was a table, a chair, and a small tent, places where she could sit down and/or rest and warm up if needed. As for sleeping, at night, she was told she would be picked up and taken back to the base.
Lana wasn’t wearing any Scout armor this time, just fatigues, thermal underwear, and the parka. And, of course, she wasn’t armed.
As she walked around the area, she could still remember the last time: the Possessed Chaos Marines chasing her, the fall into the cave, running, the starcannon, then the cave in...then seeing three Eldar vehicles, then collapsing, being picked up and placed inside the Vyper and taken to meet Ar’sharel...someone she wouldn’t mind meeting again.
However, she hadn’t waited very long before she got a call from the General; he did NOT sound happy. “LaFong, I’ve got bad news. You know that survey team that was sent out?” He sighed. “We’ve just received word they were attacked by the Tyranids. That creature Falconer called a Terridan swooped in and let out some kind of Ravener brood. They tore the unarmed survey team to pieces, leaving them all half eaten. It was horrible.”
In the background she heard Falconer. “If we’re going to do something, we need to do it right away--before that Hive begins to evolve more attack broods.”
General Parker sighed again, knowing Lana had to have heard the Captain. “As you can hear, they’re already talking about an air strike on the Hive. I’m trying to convince them to wait until you can talk to the Eldar.”
Lana was just about to answer, when she spotted a distortion, which turned into an Eldar Jetbike, the pilot exiting the vehicle quickly. She spoke eagerly, “they just showed up, General! Try to make them wait until I get back.”
The Eldar pilot moved toward her quickly. She said only one “goodby”, then barely had time to set her com down on the table before she was rushed over to the Jetbike, entering in behind the main seat as the pilot held it back for her.
It seemed obvious the pilot was in a hurry; even after she greeted the pilot several times in Eldar, he gave no response, flying the Jetbike, what seemed like, faster than she remembered before, the landscape below her nothing but a white blur.
Even though it felt like it took longer this time, she was eventually deposited in the same Eldar building, the same room. She looked at the pilot and wondered if she should repeat her greeting. However, when the pilot removed his helmet, he looked at her, then curtly repeated the greeting, then said something she didn’t understand, afterwards, saying goodby as he left.
As Lana waited, she eventually took off her parka and found a soft chair to sit down in, her thoughts racing through her mind about what had just happened on Thanatos-4. Could the General stop Falconer from making an attack? And if he did stop an attack, would that allow the Tyranids to build more attack broods, a much larger force? She sat and waited nervously for what seemed like a long time, but what turned out to be only a little less than an hour.
Ar’sharel came into the room wearing much the same flowing robe she had on before; she seemed a little harried, but greeted Lana with just as much kindness. “I’m so glad to see you again, Lana.”
LaFong rose from her chair.
“I’ve been so busy lately,” the Farseer began apologizing, “I’m sorry you had to wait so long. I only just recently learned about you wanting to talk to me. The Jetbike pilot was supposed to be off duty, but I was able to talk him into picking you up.” All of a sudden, she looked at Lana, as if studying her, reading her mind. Then she spoke again, concerned. “You’re worried about something.”
Lana wished she could sit down and talk to Ar’sharel, relax, take her time; but, she was in a hurry. “I’m here about what’s happening on Thanatos-4. There are Tyranids there. I was sent here to ask if you could talk to them for us. We need to know what they want--”
“Oh, yes...the Tyranids.” Ar’sharel smiled. “Te’lyn has talked to them only just recently. Let me call her.”
Shortly after Lana had arrived, she became aware of the silent noise, but it didn’t her bother as much this time. The noise rose only slightly, then in a short while, Te’lyn showed up, a shy smile on her face as she greeted the Terran in Galactic Standard, much improved from the last time.
The two Farseers spoke for awhile, before Ar’sharel responded. “Te’lyn tells me that the ones you call the Tyranids are doing fine, however, they are still worried about the young Queen that had moved to the Thanatos system; but, the young Queen sent them a message that was passed along to Te’lyn, hoping it could be passed along to the Silent Ones.”
Lana’s jaw dropped. She didn’t know what to say as she waited for Ar’sharel to continue, almost ready to ask.
The Farseer smiled as if the news was good. “The message was that they have received your GIFT and are very grateful--”
“GIFT?” Lana didn’t understand.
“From what I could understand, it was a very great gift...for them, one of the greatest.”
Lana stood trying to think of the possibilities, still disturbed about a war that might already be starting.
Ar’sharel picked up on the Terran’s worry and had to ask, “what’s wrong, Lana?”
Lana sighed, thinking out loud. “What would the Tyranids think was a GREAT gift?”
“The Tyranids value genetics.” Ar’sharel informed. “Long ago, they asked us if we would share our genetics with them. But, they were not offended when we said, no. They understood completely, and even apologized for asking.”
Now Lana understood. Oh, my God–-she understood! The survey team! The Tyranids must’ve mistook them for the GIFT of genetics. She looked at Ar’sharel and tried to explain, telling her about what had happened, the Farseer almost horrified, turning to talk to Te’lyn.
After the two Farseers had conferred, Ar’sharel tried to explain: “Te’lyn told me that long ago, that’s how the Tyranids exchanged genetics with each other; they would set out a small group of workers to be consumed. But, they don’t do it that way anymore. Te’lyn said that what happened to your survey team was very strange. Maybe that was the only way they thought they could communicate with you.”
Te’lyn left the room, very worried.
However, the reason for the deaths of the survey team was no longer important as Lana began asking, begging, “please, you’ve got to send me back to Thanatos-4 right away. Captain Falconer was planning on attacking the Tyranids. I have to get back and tell them what happened.”
The Farseer now looked just as stressed as Lana, who immediately began hearing the silent noise rising loudly. It only took about a minute before Ar’sharel responded, “he’s coming...the Viper pilot will be here as soon as he can.”
“Tell him to take me back to the same place he picked me up.”
“Of course.” The Farseer looked sad and worried. “I do hope you can get back in time. I’m sorry, Lana...I’m very sorry.”
“It’s not your fault. It’s...it’s just a big misunderstanding.” Lana didn’t want Ar’sharel to blame herself, or ANY Eldar.
“I can’t help but think, if we hadn’t told them it was okay to go to there, this wouldn’t have happened. I keep trying to tell the other members of the Farseer Counsels we should talk with you more...but, I’m having trouble making them understand.”
“It’s not your fault.” Lana persisted, then tried to sound positive. “The General was trying to talk to Falconer when I left...tell him to wait until I get back before attacking. I just need to get back.”
It was almost ten minutes before the Jetbike pilot arrived; Lana was next to the Jetbike waiting, holding her parka, ready to go. When the Jetbike took off, it seemed to be going even faster than the last time...if that was possible.