Solar Wars (original fiction. Mike's Writing Challenge - Week 3)
This is a submission for @mikepm74's Week 3 writing contest, inspired by the artwork from @creativesoul as our prompt. Check out her original artwork here.
(The photo above is a mock-up cover I did for fun and the original photo belongs to photographer Larry Rostant. )
They brought in the Commander of the Beryllium Army, struggling between the two men-at-arms and thrashing about like a savage animal. The fallen leader was anything but dignified while bound in graphene chains and being dragged through the piles of the dead, even going as far as digging an armored boot in a corpse to slow them down.
“Khayeh!” The men holding him up grunted as they once again struggled to get the Commander back on his feet. Being a sturdy species, the Beryllium people were able to carry twice their weight, which made them prize captives to sell off as worker slaves; but when the war broke out, they made their weapons and armor from materials that were double the density so their enemies could not wield them.
As a result, carrying both the weight of the Commander and his armor made for an exhausting excursion, even for the two Shaigan Warriors who were by no means weak. They were a volcanic culture, and they’ve learned to endure even the harshest of trials, and yet their breaths labored from transporting Enyo off the field to their General’s awaiting airship.
The warrior on the left wheezed, “He’s not so tough without that starstone powering his suit, is he?”
The one on the right remained silent, concentrating on keeping his grip, but he gave a nervous glance at Enyo’s armor to make sure it was indeed dead. The suit itself was near indestructible, a protective shell encasing the Commander’s entire body and once activated could deploy a blast of energy that violently crushed the atoms of a target, effectively blinking entire troops out of existence.
Had the starstone powering the suit not died out when it did, Enyo would have destroyed their entire infantry. It’d been pure luck they’d managed to capture him at all.
oTaking prisoners was critical for a Shaigan warrior to rise in the ranks, but bringing in Enyo, the Waster Of Cities would immortalize their names in history. They’d be celebrated as the heroes who brought an end to the Solar Wars.
“Wriggling bastard,” The warrior clenched his teeth.
In an attempt to escape Enyo slipped in some blood, and the men struggled with all their strength to hold him up.
“Keep a hold of him, damn it!” The veins stood out on his thick neck.
Enyo fought them the entire way, breathing heavily and cursing under the confines of the helmet, but the chains were too strong to break, and the sentries were relentless as they dragged Enyo up the platform. Hope for liberation dwindled once Enyo saw General Cas Fairdoon seated upon the raised dais. There was no doubt to whom he was; death shrouded the man like a second skin.
General Fairdoon leaned on his heavy war maul, a brutal weapon marred with many scars from battle and grinned upon seeing his prize. He was a big man, Fairdoon, and he looked bigger still in his magma armor. There was blood on his hard slab of a face and his skin Enyo thought, held the color of mottled lava, speckled with volcanic ash. Pieces of his forehead jutted out like a carapace, covering the sides and top of his skull and allowing tendrils of hair to fall freely down the length of his back.
Not all of the Shaigan males had hair, and the length of his symbolized how long he’s reined undefeated.
A closer look and the Commander could see that Fairdoon decorated his tendrils in the vertebrae’s of his fallen victims and Enyo didn’t plan on adding to it.
“Bow before our General.” The sentinel on the left kicked the back of Enyo’s leg, and the Commander fell forward in a kneel before Fairdoon.
Enyo’s curse echoed from under the helmet, voice hoarse with rancor.
“Welcome, Destroyer.” The tribal markings on Fairdoon’s face twisted as he grinned down at Beryl’s fallen leader.
He had dreamed of this moment, to finally challenge the one responsible for so many of his people's deaths and to utterly crush him in hand to hand combat. Now he would see justice and enjoy every moment ensuring Enyo suffered for his crimes.
“Crack open his shell,” Fairdoon commanded. “I’ll finally see the face belonging to the Scourge of the Galaxy.” He sat back with a grin. “Then I'll cut off his head and strap to my airship so others will know it as well.”
Enyo’s struggles were too fierce, even with bound arms and kneeled as he was and neither of the sentinels could release their hold to do as the General ordered.
A third guard finally approached with his Obsidian Blade drawn and he stabbed it in the crown of Enyo’s armored head. With a violent tremor, the blade began to heat up to a broiling degree, and there was a sharp ‘hiss’ as the dagger lanced its way through the protective headgear.
There was a shout of protest as Enyo wriggled fruitlessly, and then a crack as the head of the armor split open and the helmet rolled loudly across the floor.
Fairdoon’s yellow eyes rounded and a startled oath reverberated through the cabin. Enyo, the devastating weapon of Beryl, the Waster of Cities, the warrior who brought eternal darkness to entire planets- was a woman.
Fairdoon stared as she struggled between her two captors, violaceous hair in a tangled mess around smooth rufescent skin, her wild lilac eyes set ablaze.
“Gravity curse you!” Enyo snarled. “May a thousand asteroids crush your entire lineage!”
Fairdoon scarcely heard her. He was still staring like the rest of his men were doing. She was as tall as most Shaigan males and as savage as the wildest of them. The color of her skin reminded him of the red sands of his home planet, her purple hair so dark it rivaled that of ultraviolet radiation he’s seen bursting from a burning star.
She had the features that were common to those in the Crystal Star System, the obvious being a rare gem that grew in the center of her unprotected forehead; her soul-stone.
This intelligent, destructive force, this creature whose name was only whispered in battle, could easily be obliterated if Fairdoon were to reach over and pluck out that gem from her skull.He's gifted so many of these priceless baubles to the females of his tribe and knew first hand how violent and quick Enyo’s death would be once ripped away from her soul-stone. A sentence far too lenient for the crimes she’s committed and he had to stroke the small horns on the sides of his chin to keep from taking it.
His shock slowly melted away into a menacing glare.
How many times had he imagined what fearsome face lay hidden behind the mask, how he’d longed to meet the soldier who defeated worlds, a man legend to be invincible even towards death. It seemed now the universe was laughing at him, for the truth was far less gripping than the myth.
After waiting a millennium for retribution, here was his greatest threat brought down on her knees before him. Not a Goliath, but a woman, and his wish for vengeance felt diminished due to her sex. This was a creature that would bring him no glory to fight unarmed and who could be snuffed out of existence by simply plucking a jewel from her head. There was no reward in that. No satisfaction to be gained.
Enyo was spitting curses up at him, and a light suddenly kindled behind his eyes and a slow smile curled on his lips. He would have justice for his people, and the fall of Beryl will be glorious still. Once they stripped Commander Enyo from the rest of her armor and paraded her in the streets of Agate, her accomplishments will mean nothing; her name will strike fear in no one. She will no longer be of any importance, becoming just another Beryllium slave among so many.
Her spirit will be destroyed along with the resistance, for once the Beryl army learns of her defeat, they will lose hope and surrender to his will. She shall live forever with that shame and victory will be his.
Fairdoon’s smile broadened showing the points of his back teeth, and suddenly he burst into a deep-throated laughter that was joined by the rest of his crew.
“Commander," he roared with much gaiety. "The Universe is against you this day. What forfeit do you offer for your life?”
“I will not be defeated by you,” She vowed. “Your armies will be shattered; your world will burn. I swear upon the stars, your infestation is at its end!”
“You were defeated the moment you were born female.” He jeered. “I’ll not deny you put up a gallant battle, but your fight in this war is over.” He waved his hand to the men about his ship. “You are outgunned, you are massively outnumbered." He shrugged. "Without your suit, you are little more than a nuisance.”
She shook her head at his misogynistic view, voice shaking. “I could have won this war single-handedly had it all been fought by fools like you.”
"Enough," He clicked his tongue. “You’ve taken up enough of our time; I will not waste another breath on a female slave. Now, strip your armor and forfeit yourself to me.”
Enyo relaxed her struggles, and her head fell in a submissive bow. It seemed to all that she had excepted her fate, and Fairdoon gestured for the guard with the knife to finish what he had started.
They meant to tear the suit from off her body, and she allowed the man with the Obsidian Blade to hunch over her, feeling his fingers on the back of her neck to clear away her hair. The two holding her arms relaxed their grip, and once she was certain their defense was down, Enyo shot up on her feet with explosive force.
There was a crunch as the top of her head made contact with the guard's nose and blood sprayed through the air in long streaks. The bodyguard fell back on the floor with a shriek, the knife he was holding temporarily in mid-air and Enyo jumped high.
Knees tucked against her chest, she brought both arms underneath her legs, so they were now in front of her rather than behind. She landed with skilled grace and managed to grab the handle of the blade before it clattered to the ground. In one swift motion, she twisted hard to the left, stabbing at the sentinel nearest her.
The blade slid under his bottom rib, and he gasped, teetering back from the blow. Enyo growled, her grip slipping on the handle in the attempt to pull it out, but the warrior managed to trip over his own feet and crashed down, taking the blade with him.
“Gah!” She yelled as she was suddenly grabbed by the waist. Her captor’s shouts ‘to close the hanger doors’ ringing loudly in her ear.
Enyo stomped down on the man's foot with all her strength, bringing her elbow up sharply under his chin. The bodyguard cursed, releasing her at once and she rammed her shoulder into his chest knocking him over.
Another body rushed at her from the front, and she kicked an armored boot into his gut sending him hurling into a crate of dry storage.
In the chaos Enyo turned from the scene and made for an escape. She ran towards the retractable ramp and managed to get three strides before Fairdoon caught her. She felt large arms wrap around her from behind, his great body warm against her back, and his stubby horns rubbing against her cheek. He lifted her off the ground and started pulling her away from the retractable doors, away from her freedom.
Rasping from lack of breath, Enyo lashed out with both heels in a futile assault upon his armored legs, fighting him with her feet and elbows, every muscle trembling as she struggled hopelessly with the chains binding her wrists.
Fairdoon grunted with the effort to keep her still but nothing helped her break free from his hold, and she watched the hanger doors close in front of her. It was only then that she heard screaming coming from the floor and saw the bodyguard with the knife in his gut writing on the ground. The blade had heated up, and it burst into flame, cooking him from the inside.
The ship was panicked as his comrades tried to help pull out the weapon, but his body was quickly consumed by fire, and there was nothing left to do except stomp out the cinders of his charred flesh.
Enyo let out a bellowing laugh, and she swept her amethyst gaze over the men in the room. “Fear me!” She shouted, “For I am strong, I am equal, and I shall devour you whole!”
Fairdoon spun her around, yellow eyes ablaze, and with a massive blow to her face, he knocked her half-way across the room. The floor cracked against her skull, and she laid still on the titanium floor. Cal Fairdoon puffed out his chest in dominating fury and ordered the men to clean up the mess she'd made.
This woman evoked ambivalent emotions in him, several of which were: awe, fear, loathing... and desire. The latter made him furious for she has proven to be an adversary worthy of his respect. She has succeeded where many men in his tribe have failed. She was a fighter, and that triggered something inside him he had not anticipated.
His species thrived on the primal urge to have children fit enough to survive and conquer the world, and during this war, him and others have spread their seed across the galaxy in hopes of making a genetically enhanced offspring who’ll achieve that evolutionary birthright.
Now when he looked down upon this effeminate villain before him, he could see clearly that her superior fitness made her a potential mate and Fairdoon had to have her.
Enyo stirred, spat blood, and clawed the smooth surface with her nails. Fairdoon smiled and took several strides to reach her crawling form. His great fist came down and dragged Enyo up by her throat. She tried to grab at him, but the chains on her wrist blocked her from doing any formidable damage. Her fingertips were only managing to smear red streaks of blood across his face. Eventually, she gave up and tried easing the pressure from off her throat instead.
He indulged himself in the noises she was making. Her mad screams guttering into long drawn out croaks, but when her face started losing its color, he relaxed his grip and allowed her to slurp up some air and stand on her own.
“Commander Enyo of Beryl,” He met the fire in her eyes with some of his own. “You are now stripped of your title and will be sold into slavery as a Breeder for the Shaigan Race.”
He smirked as her eyes rounded with panic.
“What is this?” He said pleased. “Has the fearless found something she fears?”
He swept a well-practiced glance over the smooth curves of her face and spoke in a voice meant to sooth. “Don’t worry, pretty one. Swear yourself to me now before all here, and I shall be the only male who rules you.”
“You are beneath me,” Enyo gnarled between clenched teeth, “I’d sooner throw myself in the jaws of Sand Crawlers than copulate with a vile reptile like you!”
He gawked at her impudence. “You have a venomous tongue, woman.”
“I hope it poisons your black heart!” She said and spat in his face.
Fairdoon grimaced. “Defiant to the end,” he said and wiped the spit off his cheek. “But it’s a long journey to Agate; you may change your mind by then.” He threw her back into the arms of awaiting guards, and this time she was surrounded by Gravity Phasers pointed at her from all sides.
“Enjoy your cell room, Enyo,” Fairdoon called. “It will be the last time you share your bed alone.”
“I’ll escape, Fairdoon!” She cried out as they dragged her off. “I’ll find you when you’re most vulnerable and strike! I swear by the stars, you will meet your death at my hands!”
He laughed as her mad screams echoed down the hallway and his guards dragged her out of his sight. But her threat still lingered in the air and Fairdoon couldnt help but be chilled by it.