I’ll skip the part about the splitting of the factions aboard the Unity read Centauri Arrival for all that. Just one change, there are 11 landing pods and Roze and Aki have their own pods and so does Svensgaard. Not only that, I’ve decided to change Chiron’s biodiversity a bit. Mind Worms, IoDs, Locusts, Fungal Towers and spore launchers stay but I’ve added many new ‘additions’ in the story.
THE EARLY DAYS
Yang stared out of the viewing port of his landing pod. Where the hell have we landed, he thought. The Unity landing had been a disaster. That ineffectual fool of a captain had disappeared towards the conclusion of the landing. Several developments had caused the mission to fail. Firstly the renegade leader of the mutinous Spartans, Santiago, had forced Captain Garland to hand them over a landing pod and promise them a certain amount of land on Chiron. Then Zakharov went against Garland’s orders and armed his engineers as they worked to repair the Unity after the ship’s main structure took damage after a collision with an unknown object. The ship’s structural integrity was at risk. Shortly thereafter Yang being the security officer decided to impose martial law in the ship but many so-called faction leaders, the other Head Officers, opposed the move and everyone scrambled to take control of one of the 11 landing pods. Yang and several security personnel and some scientists and workers and Yang’s trusted aides took control of pod # 5 and landed on Chiron.
But the landing pods were unable to detach from the ship. Someone would have to stay back on the ship to manually release the pods. That was when Garland suddenly reappeared and released them but in the resulting explosion and disintegration of the ship obviously died.
Yang’s pod seemed to have landed on a barren desert. “What is this?” Yang demanded. His personal assistant Zho came forward and said “We seemed to have landed on a vast barren wasteland. The scouts report there is no viable source of food or water anywhere in sight.” “Accursed planet” fumed Yang. He calmed down and collected his thoughts. “Where can we find water?” he thought. The winds were howling outside. “Is there a dust storm?” asked Yang. Zho nodded. Just then the onboard computer embedded in Zho’s clothes began beeping. He checked the incoming message and said excitedly “We seem to have encountered our first sighting of native life”. “What is it?” asked Yang. “The scout says that it is some sort of four legged beast with large spines or scales on its back and it seems to be digging for something”. “Zho, I’ve got an idea” said Yang. “What is it my Chairman?” asked Zho. “Tell the workers to get the drills. Our first base will be underground. A subterranean empire ruled by me. All workers are now to be given special codes of numbers rather than names. Names promote individualism and the benefit of the state is before the benefit of the individual. From now on I control all the proceedings within this colony pod. Inform the security personnel of that. Revolutionary thinking must be stabbed out to create the perfect human society” said Yang. Zho quietly noted this down in his e-pad and nodded and left. “So this was Yang’s social agenda, a totalitarian, atheist, police state” thought Zho.
“2101” said Captain Svensgaard. “Never thought I’d live to see this year” he said. Captain Ulrik Svensgaard had not become the leader of this out of his own will. But the situation in which this pod had landed forced him to take up this position. Their pod had landed on a small island in the middle of the ocean. The camera disc launched by the pod just after landing showed them that they were perpetually stranded on a small island. Their island was still bigger than most of the others in their island archipelago. Some of the other islands were smaller than the landing pod itself. The sea water was warm and surprisingly shallow. It led to some of the geologists to say that maybe the entire archipelago had once been part of a single large island but somehow the sea levels must have risen and most of the old island was now underwater. Svensgaard had the most experience of any sailor onboard the pod. He was the chief naval advisor to Yang onboard the Unity. Originally from Gloucester, USA, he left home after the city became part of the separatist CSA or Christian States of America which waged war against the remaining part of the USA. Captain Svensgaard was a popular leader then and remained so even now. “Our faction seems to be the only one which survived the Unity landing” said Alistair, Svensgaard’s deputy. “How can you say that? If we survived the crash landing then even others might be able to have survived as well” said Svensgaard. “From now on we will be called the Nautilus Pirates” said Svensgaard. “We will commence building our first base on this small atoll. I know for one that this pod was supposed to be specialized for sea colonization. There must be foil base sea colony pod aboard. Furthermore I want any and every available researcher to salvage the data on Doctrine Flexibility from the pod’s core data storage unit. It will allow us start building sea-worthy foils and boats as soon as we have the resources” said Svensgaard. His crew snapped off a salute and immediately set to work.
Pravin Lal looked through the viewing port of his landing pod and his heart sank. “How did our pod land in the frozen polar regions of Chiron?” he asked his son Jahn who was standing behind him. “I do not know father” he said solemnly. “Our future here is very bleak in the least” wailed Lal. “Without any possible hope of beginning farming we will soon run out of food and die. Even if that doesn’t kill us all this beastly cold and the blizzards will” said Sam, one of Lal’s medics from the Unity. “We do not have any proper clothing or equipment to withstand such harsh, cold weather” he said. “We must equip our scout patrols to find a way to escape from here” said Jahn. “But they will be doomed to a horrid death from frost-bite, hypothermia and exposure” said Lal. “We must ask for volunteers and we must inform them of the hazards of this mission” said Lal. “Father, we can’t afford to be idealistic now. We need someone to risk their lives to find a way to escape from here for the betterment of the entire faction” said Jahn impatiently. “But the human rights say” stuttered Lal. Jahn interrupted him and said “We have no time for the Human Rights now.” Suddenly the communicator on Lal’s work desk began beeping. “One of the colonist’s voices was heard in it. “Sir I think we’ve found a solution to our survival problems here. Just take a look out the viewing port” he said excitedly. Lal and the other two huddled around the window and checked. There out in the blizzard they could make out the figures of what seemed like a herd of these great big shaggy rodents moving effortlessly through the thick snow. “Natives” whispered Sam.
Yang watched the sun set in the horizon of his new world. As dusk rolled in the temperature began to plummet. Yang gave a slight shiver but then controlled his reflexes. Just then Zho walked out of the steel enforced blast doors leading to Yang’s Human Hive faction’s first base on Chiron-Hive Prime. The city was mainly underground. Only the large blast doors and the identification center were above ground. The identification center would ensure only Hive citizens entered and exited the base. Zho came up to Yang and stopped the necessary five feet away otherwise he would be viewed as a threat by Yang’s personal body guards and would be eliminated. “Chairman, we have received reports that the drones just uncovered a large subterranean lake. The soil around the lake is fertile enough to begin farming activities once we run out of our stored nutrient stalks in a few years. Some researchers also salvaged the files on Doctrine Loyalty from the landing pod. It has enabled our workers to build our base’s perimeter defense. And your earlier order was successfully carried out” said Zho. Yang had ordered that all of the unproductive population be eliminated, in other words the old and sick. The old people could survive only if they proved they could be useful researchers. Now Yang moved back into the premises of Hive Prime into his underground empire much of which was still under construction.
The two Peacekeeper riders rode their steeds across the ice shelf. Their steeds were a pair of shagrats. These creatures were the first natives encountered by the Peacekeeping Forces faction led by Commissioner Pravin Lal. They were tamed and used for several purposes. Resembling oversized rats with thick woolly coats, they were used as a rich source of nutritious meat. They also provided Peacekeeper citizens with warm furry coats which helped them survive the cold. A decade had passed since the human’s arrival on Chiron and Peacekeeper researchers back at the capital city of the UN Headquarters had salvaged information on Biogenetics which helped them build Recycling Tanks in their bases and helped in recycling many resources for them. They had established only two bases, UN Headquarters and UN Amnesty Town. One of the riders, Jared, reached their designated site first. It was just as the geographers had expected, it was long, frigid, and barren coastline. Jared gave a long whistle and said “Looks like we reached where we had to.” “Yeah” replied his comrade Poskonov. “What do you think?” asked Jared. “Pretty uninviting huh?” he said. Poskonov nodded. “I hate this planet” he muttered. “Ah, there is nothing to hate about our rotten situation” said Jared. “It’s just tough luck” he said. “Think about the tropics, now won’t that be a feast?” he asked. “Maybe” Poskonov shrugged. They rode their shagrats down the sloping ice to the rocky coast. Suddenly a large figure lurched out of the water and banked on the coast. It was at least eight feet in length and was yellow in color. It looked a lot like old Earth’s seals only that it had a large triangular head and a long beak which had rows of sharp teeth. This creature was just as bewildered to encounter the two scouts as they were to encounter it.
Pravin Lal studied the report with interest. “A Gannet Whale?” he asked. “That’s what the biologists tend to call this thing” said Jahn. “Very interesting” said Lal. “It says here we might be able to tame this thing just the way we tamed them shagrats” said Lal. “A possible navy?” asked Jahn. “Yes” replied Lal. “Anyway, how’s the research on Centauri Ecology coming?” asked Lal. “Frankly I don’t see why we are researching it since we do not have any cultivable land” said Jahn. Some other council members also nodded. “Foresight my people” said Lal gently. “My able researchers inform me that with this tech we will be able to build terraforming modules” said Lal. “But the terraformers will have no viable land to terraform in this frozen wasteland” said one Councilman Jackson. “Yes but we can build the Secret Project, the Weather Paradigm to enable our terraformers to raise the land right out of the sea and then terraform it and we all know the sea is a store house of resources” said Lal. Councilman Leonov said “But what of the mineral cost to build the project in the first place?” “For that I’ve issued orders to the engineers and workers to begin building our third colony pod to build a coastal base near the recently discovered coast and then tame the Gannet Whales to act as boats to start harvesting resources from the sea and once in a few years, when we have enough resources, we will start work on the Weather Paradigm” said Lal. “If no one has anything to say then I’ll call for a vote” said Lal. Lal’s decision won unanimously.
“Black Lagoon” asked George. “Yes” replied his co-pilot Mary. They were steering their ship towards the sea base Black Lagoon. It was situated in the in the backwaters of another tiny isle. The Nautilus Pirates had flourished pretty well in their environment. Captain Svensgaard during the past decade had proven time and again that he had an innate knowledge of the sea. They had established four bases by now. Their capital city Safe Haven and bases Ocean Paradise, Current of Blood, Black Lagoon and the recently established Shark Reef. Except the capital all were sea bases. George checked the compass on the dashboard of the foil. They were to go one more sector due north before they came in sight of Black Lagoon base. They were carrying a Unity supply pod salvaged from the bottom of the ocean back to the base. Suddenly the water ahead of the foil began churning. A vast seemingly organic platform rose out of the sea. It had several organic sails sprouting from its back. The two sailors knew very well what it was. It was an Isle of the Deep. The scourge of Chiron’s seas, the Isles of the Deep were known to paralyze their victims with psi induced terror and then unleash the mindworms. The mindworms were dreaded 10-cm long mottled worms which after paralyzing their prey would burrow into their brains through the ears and lay their eggs in there. The larvae would spawn rapidly and mercifully kill the victim before crawling out through their nostrils, ears, mouths and eye sockets. These creatures had only been encountered once till now by an unfortunate colony ship. The ship had since then had gone missing presumably sunk by the Isle of the Deep. Now this one attacked George’s ship. Immediately his head was filled with this unusual screeching sound. His co-pilot was already babbling incomprehensibly and the mindworms began crawling into her ear. Just then the ship capsized by a mighty push by the Isle and its occupants, cargo and all were sunk
“What!” shouted Captain Svensgaard. “Another ship lost?” he asked, evidently infuriated. “How?” he snarled. “The same, Isle of the Deep attacks and sinks the poor thing” said Bissirov indifferently. Svensgaard slammed his fist on the desk. “That’s it!” he shouted. “That’s the last time one of my ships gets sunk by some weird floating alien colony!” “Can our military take out these creatures?” asked the Captain. “If our entire navy starts attacking even half that number of Isles of the Deep, we will lose. Even if our three best ships fight one Isle, we will defeat it after considerable losses and maybe even a sunk ship” said Bissirov. “Fine, then capture and tame these things” yelled Svensgaard. “But Captain, catching an Isle? That is almost insane!” exclaimed Bissirov. “Tell Peter and his crew to depart immediately and capture a child or juvenile isle” commanded Svensgaard.
Life on Chiron went on like this. The twelve factions rose and prospered in their own right. Each landed in a different type of area with vastly varying climes. The faction leaders met for the first time face to face after the formation of the Planetary Council where they passed the resolution on territorial integrity to prevent expansionist conflict amongst the factions. The factions and their leaders who attended the meeting were- CEO Nwabudike Morgan whose faction the Morgan Industries landed in a rather dry area in the continent south of the vast Believing salt pans. There were several unusual and bewildering creatures living there. The Morganite’s main agenda was implementing free market economics and amassing wealth and ‘using’ Chiron’s resources. Lady Deidre Skye led the faction Gaia’s Stepdaughters had an ideology opposite that of the Morgans in that they wanted to preserve the planet’s ecology and promote a ‘green’ economic model. They landed in tropical swamp region inhabited by massive tortoise like creatures called Taurotons. Commissioner Pravin Lal led the Peacekeeping Forces whose aim was to establish a democratic society and reinforce the UN Charter. Chairman Sheng-ji Yang led the Human Hive who wanted to build a totalitarian, atheist, police state. Colonel Corazon Santiago led the militaristic Spartan Federation who were totally war-like and had a survivalist attitude similar to the military junta of the Nautilus Pirates led by Captain Ulrik Svensgaard who wanted to rule the seas of Chiron. Prophet Cha-Dawn led the fanatical Cult of Planet whose aim was to wipe out industry off Chiron and worshipped a sentient ‘Planet-God’ called The Voice of Planet whose messenger was Cha. The Lord’s Believers faction was similar to the Cult in religious fanaticism but had a disregard for Chiron and worshipped their ‘Lord God’. They were led by Sister Miriam Godwinson. The University of Planet was totally opposite to the Beleivers’ ideology and did not believe in God. They were more interested in the pursuit of knowledge and considered science and mathematics their God. They were led by Unity’s old Chief Science Officer Academician Prokhor Zakharov. The Cybernetic Consciousness was the faction led by Aki-Zeta 5. Their ideology was similar to that of the University’s and they wanted to have equal rights for cyborgs since their entire faction was populated by cyborgs. Datajack Sinder Roze led the anarchist Data Angels faction who literally lived for espionage and had the best spies and probe teams on Chiron. Forman Domai led a splinter faction which had revolted from the Hive called the Free Drone Republic whose aim was the upliftment of Chiron’s lowly and discriminated working class or the ‘drones’.
A century passed as life went on in Chiron. People prospered, new techs were discovered and the first cruisers took to the sea and the first needle jets took to the sky. No one remembered Jack Leopard and his ‘plan’ and no one realized that change was on its way to drastically change the lives’ of the people on Chiron. It started that day when yet another Unity supply pod was found in secluded area near the Amoebic Sea, a sea made of living amoeba. The pod was not even noticed by the other factions until the Morganites hauled it to their base Morgan Mines. And then the disaster struck
For the next story in this series check out my next thread Alpha Centauri Winds of Change
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