Week 48, 2019
It was inconceivable that any force or power could threaten the Empire, the Continuum or the Collective.
They Observers believed that there were no unknowns, which could threaten their safety and security.
There were millions of Observers living on every one of the million worlds in the Empire, occupying every class and every station. They were in firm control of the apparatus of government and of the most oppressive intelligence gathering system ever conceived of, or implemented.
They were taken en masse, and completely by surprise.
The Observers were the first to sense the impending collapse of the Continuum. They understood that this was an existential threat both to the Collective and to themselves.
Some saw opportunity, but few of those understood how ready the citizens of the Empire were to burn down their civilization.
When the Observers finally did realize that something significant was happening, they opened their lines of communication to the Home World. Many traversed the distance to the Central System, only to be captured and sequestered in their mechanoid bodies, rendered powerless by Jim.
Others responded with the tools they had at their disposal, the reacted to protect the Empire, and to guard the access points each of them maintained to HomeWorld, the wormhole-conduits that would carry them to home world.
They experienced life on the defensive for the first time, and like a thirsty and starving man who did not know where to find food and water, they were terrified, filled with existential dread.
Every member of the Observer Corps was beset by overwhelming feelings, despite the fact that their bodies had been genetically engineered to enable them to suppress strong emotions.
Fear drove them, and curiosity also, along with a desire to protect the Home World.
The majority of the Observers made the choice to return to the Home World, using the apparatus under their control to transmit their consciousness via worm-holes across the galactic void, into the mechanical circuitry waiting for them.
It was predictable behavior, and they were trapped by it.
Every Observer had a back-up system on or near the world under their purview. A place that housed a copy of their consciousness, where they grew their doppelgangers, sanctuaries where they felt safe.
They went to their stations, activated the equipment generating the conduits that would take them home, but the apparatus on the receiving end, on the Central Planet did not function as they had expected, and they were trapped in the landing port of the receiving station, effectively cut off from the Collective.
They disappeared, millions of them gone in an instant.
The worm-holes that they opened transmitted data and commands in both directions, these were control systems that the Continuum put in place so that it could manage the Observers. Jim utilized those fail-safes to send destruct signals to those platforms, and they popped-off in a litany of explosions throughout the Empire.
It was chaos.
The remaining Observers numbered only in the thousands, those who held positions of rank and power marshalled their forces to protect the Central Planet, the Collective and Continuum.
They assembled the fleet.
They intended to attack the HomeWorld, to destroy whatever hostile power had taken control.
The formations of the armada prior to its movement into the Central System was a thing of beauty. None of the commanders had ever witnessed such a gathering of strength and power.
It filled them with a sense of invincibility, and stimulated their aggression. Witnessing the power and majesty of the fleet, beholding it, they had no doubt that they belonged to the most powerful force in the universe.
As the imperial fleet dropped into the Central System there was chaos where there should have been order, shock and surprise where there should have been symmetry and syncopation, there was hardly time to get a reading on their telemetry before the violence ensued.
The eyes of the fleet, those who had a view on it, were preoccupied with taking in the enormity of the undertaking they were engaged in, the magnitude of the Central System, the size and scope of the planetary structure surrounding the HomeWorld.
In the first moment, even as the fleet was in the process of calibrating their relative positions to one another, while plotting their trajectory to the center of the system an entire combat wing made their intention to rebel known.
They fixed their arms on the flag ship of the commodore and opened fire.
Projectiles, energy weapons, nuclear arms lit up the void.
Command ships filled with officers who had never once been asked to risk anything, suddenly burst into flames burning their oxygen and fuel in brilliant jets of fire, deep in the dark of the void.
They were stunned, struck by fear and found it difficult to organize a response.
The attack was abrupt, it was devastating, a slaughter.
The rebels fixed their sights on every command ship that did not belong to them and lit those up.
They sought to clear the field.
It was a vision of chaos.
It was combat on a scale that the military academies had not prepared anyone to manage.
The mayhem that ensued was unprecedented.
There was terror, panic, sorrow, and regret, but through it all there was the joy of victory.
The greatest part of the armada turned toward the attackers and joined battle, but they were beset by confusion. Those commanders who could not process the algorithms for course corrections in their head were the first victims of the rebel assault.
They initiated preprogrammed defensive maneuvers, they were predictable, tactics known to their opponents, and because of that they fell right into the firing solutions of their enemies.
None of the commanders had been experienced at taking heavy losses in combat, the forces of the Empire were just too overwhelming in the field. They had only ever experienced small-surprise defeats at the hands of rebel forces.
In this new theatre of combat they were overwhelmed, both militarily and emotionally.
In the vital seconds that were lost while processing the implications of their failure, they cast their gaze on the HomeWorld of the Continuum and prayed for deliverance.
They had been betrayed by their closest companions
The Continuum was absent.
Their prayers were swallowed by the void.
The killing field was vast, it could not be taken in by a singular field of vision.
Millions died in the assault, crushed and burned bodies suddenly froze in the cold and dark of the battle’s aftermath.
It was the final sacrifice of the Imperial Armies.
Tens of thousands of starships burst into flame and were suddenly extinguished in the vacuum of space.
It was a spectacle of incredible beauty, of horror and terror.
It was over mere moments after it began.
The rebellious commanders were unnerved and confused by the ease with which it all transpired, but when they looked to the figure in the high command, the man who had plotted the assault, they understood their victory, because it was him, the Empire’s greatest General, the High Priest of the Imperial Temple, a figure of legend and worship held in the highest esteem, it was El handling the tactics. And it was done.
El’s participation absolved all the rebels of their crime.
Their brethren would never return to this life.
No aid was given to any who might have survived.
Their ships were systematically disabled, and they were left to drift in the ghostly lights of the Home-World
What remained of the fleet had no intention of preserving the old ways of the Empire, they viewed themselves as being on the cusp of a new order.
Their destiny was in their hands.
They were ready to bring the Gods down, to force answers from the Continuum, to have the truth, to bathe in its cold light at any costs.
There were leaks of information through the intelligence services. No-one serving in the insurrection was there for altruistic reasons, their reactions to the events that were unfolding were completely self-serving.
Everyone was looking for opportunities to advance, and with the destruction of the majority of the Imperial Fleet, the rewards to be seized were immediate. Ranks and social standing were being recalibrated in real time.
The rebels only had to succeed in their attack with enough time to get to the temple to ratify their movement.
In the Empire, among its million worlds, the news was devastating to those who were trying to uphold the existing order.
There was widespread mayhem, chaos, thousands of years of pent up rage expressed under pressure.
The Imperial news sources could not keep a lid on it. Every planet was in crisis, and the emergency news traffic was designed to be unfiltered.
As the conflict ensued, reaching its boiling point, suddenly the untouchables and outcasts threw their hands in, in one great uncoordinated wave.
They were reaching for their freedom, actualizing their potential, and they would not be denied.
On every world the priesthood struggled to make sense of things, but they could not, and they could not appease the masses.
They waivered for a time and then began to side with the people.
The plebs wanted revolution they wanted freedom.
Those who could not see the change coming, discovered it in the sudden shock of terrible-violence.
The multitudes gathered throughout the Empire; the outcast, the unknown, the untouchable. They were the overwhelming majority, outnumbering all other castes and classes of people on every world throughout the Imperium.
On a million worlds there was conflict. It rose like the sudden wave of a tsunami, the people gathered, seeming to coordinate their assault as if they were moving together in an atavistic state of consciousness.
They were driven by more than common purpose, they were connected in a group mind.
The battles devastated the aristocracies on every world. Millions perished as they pressed their attacks with bricks and bats, with their bare hands, against the police stations and military posts, and the private security forces that protected the elite.
They evinced no fear as they were cut down by projectiles, explosives and energy weapons, mowed down by the thousands.
The survivors pressed their victory against any who represented the Empire, the Continuum and the Collective, on every world they pressed to secure their gains. They did not stop to loot or rest, they tore down everything in their path, pressing their assault into the temples and the mansions behind them.
It was sheer chaos for those who faced the assault, it defied reason, and any experience they had ever had of how people behave in a theatre of war, or on the field of combat.
They risked their lives and perished in vast numbers, doing so without fear of pain or death, reprisal, revenge or failure.
Rebellious Observers in the vanguard of the rebel assault knew that they had this one chance to press their advantage. They had to put down any counter-attack that was launched against them, and they had to spend the strength of the masses so that they would be too weak to resist their influence when everything was said and done.
If they failed, their bid to reorganize the Empire would end in disaster.
Part Seven, War
Chapter Forty-six, Conflict
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week
#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek
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