As you know knightofthewr, T113, TauMan, Kakapo42, Kles'ro and myself have been writing the Into Silence chain of stories for... a while now and behalf of all of them I'd like to say thank you to the readers of our community here at ATT for the many comments, suggestions and support you've given us in that time.
As of now, our many heroes have breached the Zone of Silence, survived against impossible odds and lost companions. In my last post in the "Latchkey" storyline I eluded to the true threat that faces the recolonization fleet of the Path Resurgence; the Dark Eldar.
In the beginning I didn't think this would be the case. I had thought that the Silence would be riddled with 'reaver' type humans feeding off the scraps of a forgotten Empire would be who the Tau would face down- but after stories, ongoing as they are, like Kakapo42's Rosa Vitae http://www.advancedtautactica.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=20865 or knightofthewr's Crossroads http://www.advancedtautactica.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=23367 I quickly became bored with my own 'gue'la' threat and have, myself, become an avid reader of their stories. This is exactly why we wanted to try something new with forum style publishing- to evolve stories around new narratives.
I like to think of this as our own expression of a Greater Good.
And so, I'd like to introduce you to my own new chapter of Into Silence.
-Kor’O’Yama’nan: Fleetmaster of the Path Resurgence Coalition.
-Por'El'Noh'luun: Speaker for the Ta'ko'cha and Coalition Leader.
-Por'Ui Sol'n: Archivist and historian.
-Aun'Zran'al: Primary Ethereal of the Ta'ko'cha.
-Shas'Ui Jathat: Fo'tan Firewarrior
-In'o'la: A hololith entity, companion to Sol'n.
-Shas'El Tae'n: Security Cadre Leader.
The great arms of the galaxy turn, endlessly falling into the glowing orb of the galactic core. A timeless pattern of life and death erupt and collapse as ancient stars buckle under their own gravity but, in turn, expand outward to form the nebulous cradles for new suns are born. It is this truth of the universe that is imbedded in the sentience that crawls forth from the primordial and seeks fortune amongst the cosmos. Our beginnings and our end are as cyclical as eternity that we are wrought from.
~Analytics of Pilgrimage
Kor'O Yama'nan drifted a meter off the deck of the bridge, his eyes unfocused as they gazed out the viewscreen set in the sloping walls. The crimson haze of the Sol'ai Rift anomaly curled like a painter's stroke across the canvas of stars and darkness. Within it, gold dust sparkled, the remnants of some stellar event that had effected this part of the galaxy eons ago. For the centuries that the Empire had settled the stable systems around it it had been a foreboding place. The heavy elements masking pirates and danger from scans so that those Septs near it built orbital sentries, ready to push back any threat and broadcasting warning messages for any traveller that ventured to close.
Yet. Out here. Beyond the borders of the interdiction zone, there was a beauty to the Rift as its red slashed against the blue nebulas of the now distant Cluster that was home to the Tau and the species of the Commonwealth.
"We are explorers still, are we not, Fleetmaster?" Yama'nan twisted his body effortlessly to look down on the robed person of Por'Ui T'au Sol'n. The archivist had grown, Yama'nan reflected, reading the straight backed archivist and the lean muscle he had worked onto his frame. When Yama'nan had first met Sol'n the youth he had been a stripling, cowering behind his bodyguard. Not so now.
Yama'nan touched a dial on his chest and raised the sphere of anti-gravity around him, descending to the deck until his hooves indented into the Au'taalian style 'softdeck'. Yama'nan still towered over the por'faan who stood at his chest level but Sol'n simply took a respectful step back so as not to crane his neck and regarded the kor'faan.
"Your statement implies that we might have lost such a title." Yama'nan said, gesturing to a drone which quickly delivered a small transplastic cup with warmed water to him.
"I have spent time amongst the Gue'Vesa, Fleetmaster. They drill and train for war, as the shas'faan do. Indeed, I have remarked a great many similarities between the two."
"As is the mark of their Caste and the service to which the Gue'Vesa are obligated to. War is a seeming constant in these times."
Sol'n tilted his head, the pol hat's wide rim casting a shadow over his face. "And my time amongst the Bovul, the Jikita and your brethren of the kor'faan see their own drills and preparations for conflict in the cycle it has taken us to reach this far."
"All must be ready against the enemies of the Greater Good, Por'Ui. You yourself seem to have improved your physic to better survive dangers unknown." Sol'n chuckled, a deep throaty sound that was unlike those first nervous stammerings the Fleetmaster had seen.
"I have, Fleetmaster... And I, like our brothers and sisters and allies would be fools not to beyond the borders of the Septs, yet-" Sol'n looked up and indicated with one hand to the viewscreen. "When I look out unto the wilderness of undiscovered stars and unknown worlds, I remember that we were first explorers, driven by our curiosity to uncover the secrets laid before us. For a singular moment I do not feel the fear, the danger or the strife that is beset upon us."
Yama'nan tilted his head back up, watching the screen with Sol'n. They stood for moments, quiet, appreciated what no Tau eyes had seen for over a century.
"That is why we have returned, Fleetmaster. I understand that now. Aun'Kath believed that the Empire and the Castes needed to be reminded of the past. As I look on at the journey ahead and feel this excitement in my core, I see that we are not only meant for war."
Yama'nan nodded, a rare smile passing for a moment on his all to grim features. "I should have never allowed you full access to my vessel, Archivist, you'll poison us all with such optimism... Why have you come?"
"Shas'Ui Nars, my lifekeeper, has often boasted of the power of the Path Resurgence and it's capabilities and yet I myself am more curious about the being that commands such power. Would you have time for me to inscribe your reflections, Fleetmaster?"
A Kor'La motioned from her station on the edge of the vast atrium that was the interstellar city's bridge. Carved from a single Au'taalian Tox'o pearl, the 'Apex' contained nearly two hundred Air Caste crew that worked in shifts day and night to maintain the Path Resurgence's systems. Yama'nan eye-flicked an acknowledgment, his communicator patching directly into the Kor'La's station so that he 'saw' her data in his mind's eye.
"Patrol ship Sandspar is translating back into real space, Fleetmaster."
"Open a channel to them, Kor'La."
"I obey." There was a moment as sensor towers aligned and fixated on the distant starship and contact was made.
Yama'nan looked back at Sol'n, "Another time, Archivist, history must still be made before there is time to write it down."
Sol'n bowed, turning on one hoof and began to walk on the coherent light-bridge that connected the suspended Apex to the entry portal. As Yama'nan opened the channel to the Sandspar a burst of static filled the chamber followed by a groan of pain.
"Path Resurgence! By the Path, we made it!" Sol'n turned, looking at a large two-dimensional holo-screen that had winked on next to Yama'nan.
Yama'nan leaned in, "Where is Shipmaster Ka'lyl?" Yama'nan searched the screen. It was dark, the picture going in and out as static distorted any detail.
"Dead, Fleetmaster, I am Kor'Vre Na'tu'vo. We are under attack!"
Yama'nan raised a hand, instantly causing the lights in the Apex to dim. All eyes were on him as the threat level was raised on board a hundred vessels by Yama'nan's single gesture. The Coalition of the Path Resurgence had learned much since their departure from the Septs.
"Find calm, Vre Na'tu'vo." Yama'nan commanded.
"Scans indicate a single vessel, Fleetmaster." A crewmember shouted from across the rows of stations.
"Order the fleet into phalanx-black-four pattern," Yama'nan said flatly, not breaking contact with the screen."
Sol'n walked back quickly as the light-bridge dissipated as security protocols took over. He kept to the side of the nearest row of kor'faan and observed.
"There was no ship, Fleetmaster, our attacker is already inside!"
"Where are the Shas?"
"Dead! All of them! It killed them first-"
"What is 'it', Kor'Vre-" A screech of metal cut off Yama'nan's question. Some of the Apex's bridge crew put protective hands over their ears in pain.
"You must let us dock, Fleetmaster, it is coming through the doors!" There were screams from other Tau on the Sandspar.
"Docking bay thirty-two, outer ring." Yama'nan ordered. In the same moment, a red cube was projected out from a console next to him.
"Ethereal's mercy, thank you Fleetmaster!"
Sol'n recognized it as Ca'dak, the Path Resurgence's Hololith dedicated to security. When it spoke, angry red lightning sparked from around it's edges. "I caution such a risk, Fleetmaster, the unknown element could infiltrate the ship."
"That is why I'm sending it to the construction quadrant. Have three security teams take position around the dock and a network of kor'vesa with integrated shield generators for quarantine."
"Better to confine the ship beyond our risk area-"
"I'll not lose another vessel, Hololith. Once the Sandspar is within range, override the piloting and direct it into a landing pattern."
"I obey." Ca'dak disappeared with a strobe of angry light.
"I would go as well, Fleetmaster." Sol'n spoke up.
Yama'nan did not turn to face the Sol'n. "Why, Por'Ui, you are not a part of Shas'El Tae'n's Cadres..."
"I am not, Fleetmaster, but Shas'Ui Nars is and he was on board the Sandspar."
Yama'nan nodded slowly before waving a hand and bringing the light-bridge back online. "Go then, Por'La Sol'n, and be cautious for this universe is far too dangerous a place for explorers anymore."