sidebar image
Story by Mizor (aka krasshkart and squid 109) and Tarantulas
Graphics by Almathea
Table of Contents Chapter 1


Time: CY 9784 AD 4861
Location: the Hephaistos solar system.

chapter illustration The starship shuddered as another enemy missile penetrated her defenses. Acrid smoke, a sign of fires burning uncontrolled in other parts of the vessel, drifted through the command deck. The command deck itself was a shambles, deserted except for a single man wearing the uniform of a High Guard Argosy captain. The man was facing an intraship communication screen speaking to a young woman also wearing a High Guard uniform.

"All escape pods and fighters have been launched. Captain, " said the woman on the screen. "Some of the fighters will escape, but I fear that the majority of the crew have been, or soon will be, captured by our enemies."

"I know," said the man to the woman on the screen. "But it will be better for them to be prisoners than to be crushed by the black hole. You know what we have to do. We can't let you be captured, and Andromeda, it's been a pleasure serving with you."

"Likewise, Captain"

"In that case we had better get busy," said a voice from the pilot's chair behind him.

The man whirled around drawing his side arm as he did so, only to relax as he saw who had come in behind him. "Dawn? I thought I ordered you to abandon ship with the rest of the crew."

The vaguely insectoid looking being sitting in the pilot's chair gave him her species' equivalent of a grin. "Let the record show that First Lieutenant Refractions of Dawn respectfully disregarded her orders to..." The lights flickered briefly, went out, and the red emergency lights came on. "Captain, we've lost all power."

"Go to reserves."

"Captain!" the woman on the communication screen announced in an almost frantic voice., " Sabotage!"


"Captain!" exclaimed Dawn, "the starboard engines are off-plane."

"Rotate ship to compens...."

"Commander? ..." asked Dawn. Whatever else she was going to say was lost as a plasma bolt struck her in the chest.

"Rhade?!" the captain exclaimed to the figure standing just inside the entrance to the command deck.

"I tried to warn you."

"What are you doing?"

" Ensuring the survival of my people. The Commonwealth is weak. It bargains with its enemies, it compromises. My people are engineered to be perfect! And the Commonwealth is no place for the strong." As he spoke he raised his weapon. The captain of the starship threw himself to one side, leveling his own weapon at his opponent as he landed on the deck . Both weapons fired simultaneously.

  Chapter 1