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The Sacrifice

Chapters: 6 Pages: 28 Word Count: 7,551 Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/War Story

In the distant past, in a time long forgotten, the Elder Races numbered in the hundreds and ruled the Milky Way Galaxy. Now they find their supremacy threatened by an enemy capable of destroying universes. An encounter with one of these Evil Ones turns into a desperate fight to save a bunch of apes, apes destined to evolve into humanity. Witness the full might and fury of the Elder Races in this story about demons and demigods.

Chapter 1: The Leviathan

Our universe is 13.82 billion years old, with a radius of 45.6 billion light years. It seems incomprehensibly big. No one knows for sure what exists beyond it or what came before.

Some believe that at the edge of our visible universe is another, only in this universe, time runs backward, with the future being the past and the past being the future. Others think we live in a multiverse and that our universe is but one of an infinite number, no more unique than the grains of sand on a beach. A variation of this theory is that we reside within a black hole, which lives within an older universe that too is trapped within an even larger black hole. Or maybe that older universe collapsed in on itself, creating the black hole we now call home.

We might never know. No one has yet devised a means to see past the Big Bang, the point in which our universe came into being. There might not even be anything to see. But what if there was? What if something did come before? What if life existed in this previous universe, and it had evolved like we did, eventually becoming sentient and learning how to travel between the stars? How old did it get before its universe came crashing down? A few billion? A few trillion?

Again, this might be all pointless speculation. Nothing might have existed before the Big Bang, but what if something had? And what if the life that had come before, ancient beyond counting and in possession of powers beyond imagination, found a way to cross over into our universe?

A Zelturian, a centaur-like alien with a long tail and dark skin, indulged such thoughts as he made his way to a pedestal. It stood within the bridge of his flagship. Crystals studded floors made of gold and silver, as well as the walls and the rails that guarded the balconies; the latter required because the multi-level bridge dwarfed even the largest of aircraft hangers.

King Brumah waved a hand, and the forward wall became transparent. It shifted and focused on a distant star: a red giant, which shrank at an accelerated rate.

King Brumah thrust a finger, and the image zoomed in. Partly concealed within an inferno, an array of fossilized tentacles thrashed about; the Leviathan gobbling up the much bigger star.

King Brumah fought back a shiver. The Leviathan was an Evil One. That was not what the creature’s people called themselves. Few would speak their real name aloud, either out of fear that doing so would summon a Leviathan, or simply because those two syllables were too terror-inducing to utter. Even King Brumah found saying their name unsettling.

He examined a readout of the star. It had shrunk another solar mass, and yet the Leviathan showed no signs of growing. Most disturbing.

“Is she refueling or harvesting more matter to construct yet another sphere, my liege?”

King Brumah looked down at the halfling-size Retikkee that hovered beside him. “We still don’t know yet if Leviathans need to refuel, Warrior Ti.”

“Nor do we know exactly what the spheres do,” Ti said telepathically.

“In the last thousand years, the Evil Ones have consumed 3% of the Milky Way Galaxy,” King Brumah said. “Destroying every sphere we find delays them from obtaining their ultimate goal.”

“A goal we are still ignorant of.” A blob of slime, shaped like a tongue, slithered forward. “Destroying those spheres is not a long-term strategy,” the Umamorph said.

“We have a strategy. The question is: can we hold out long enough to deploy it?” All turned. A Zee, a humanoid with a vertical slit for a mouth, levitated in the air. “My people, with the Shimmering Lady’s aid, are working on it. Again, we just need more time.”

“We Vijics will do our part to see that you have the time to make your plan work.” Queen Spenta lumbered into view; a towering mass of muscle. “We Vijics enjoy a challenge.”

“Better to play it safe, and nova bomb the star system from afar,” the Zee said.

“A supernova won’t even stun the beast,” the Umamorph said.

“True, but it will deny the Leviathan valuable resources.”

“It does not matter,” Ti said. “Our sensors detect that the Leviathan has already extended an anti-polarity field around the star. Our nova bombs will have no effect.”

“Then we have no choice but to engage the enemy,” King Brumah proclaimed. He got on his knees and raised his hands. He entered a battle meditation. With his telepathy, he strengthened the mental resolve of his warriors, as well as saw through their eyes. He tried to think of only victory, though just beneath the surface, fear of failure gnawed at him, reminding him that the Leviathan was power incarnate. It could not be killed, only banished, and they did not have…

No, King Brumah thought, jerking his head sideways. He could not let himself succumb to despair. The Leviathan also existed in the dreaming realm and would undoubtedly hear his fears. She would make a play for him, hope to turn him against his people. He must be strong. He must—

A slender hand came to rest on his shoulder. He turned to see an ethereal being, a creature of the dreaming realm, her arm little more than wisps of starlight.

Everyone else on the bridge appeared to be oblivious of her presence. The Shimmering Lady smiled. “Take my strength and know that she won’t claim your soul. Not this day.”

King Brumah nodded, sweat dripping from his brow and said for all to hear, “Move forward.”

Beyond the flagship’s main viewer, hundreds of thousands of warships, each the size of a large city, appeared and accelerated towards the moon-size Leviathan. Their bows blossomed, a memorizing light show of red, yellows, and oranges. Beams extended from them, plasma trails that guided liquid metal at relativistic velocities and hit with world-destroying power.

The first quantum beams struck the Leviathan dead center, and she howled, a horrific cry, but then the inferno that engulfed her expanded and the rest detonated harmlessly.

“The beast’s hellshield is transferring much of the kinetic energy into an alternate reality,” the sensor officer said from his terminal. "Our attacks have little effect.”

“Perhaps,” King Brumah proclaimed, “but doing so taxes her. Continue the assault.”

Minutes passed, and more quantum beams exploded against the inferno. King Brumah eyed a monitor beside him. The firepower they were throwing at it would have destroyed a hundred stars and yet— A graph spiked, indicating that the creature was about to—

Beneath the inferno’s surface, a tentacle whipped a crimson beam that moved in a wide arc.

“The beam’s temperature is off the charts. I’m detecting multiple spacetime anomalies.” The sensor officer turned. “My lord, it’s burning holes in space.”

“Order the ships to spread out,” King Brumah said. “Prepare for micro black holes.”

The beam tore through a dozen motherships. Each hit created a short-lived black hole that sucked what remained of the ship in, as well as anything too close.

“Moving the ship out of the beam’s path,” the helmsmen said. “There. We missed it.”

“I’m getting abnormal readings from the red giant,” the sensor officer proclaimed.

King Brumah and the others looked forward. Ribbons rolled across the star’s surface, then rocketed towards them like the fingers of a giant hand.

One solar flare washed over King Brumah’s flagship, tilting it sideways.

“Aura fields are holding,” said another member of the bridge crew.

“Don’t stop. Continue firing,” King Brumah commanded.

Millions of quantum beams besieged the Leviathan until one penetrated the inferno and destroyed a tentacle. The creature recoiled.

Cheers erupted throughout the bridge.

The Leviathan moved away, plowing through hundreds of motherships, and went superluminal.

“The Leviathan has escaped,” Ti said. “She is headed for Retikkee space.”

“All ships, engage hyperdrives and pursue,” King Brumah said. The fleet bolted forward, and the swirling currents of hyperspace replaced the stars.

The Zee floated forward. “When will the Evil One reach your homeworld?”

“That is not her destination,” Ti said. “We have calculated her trajectory. It will take her to a solar system 37.3 light years from ours. Behold.”

A yellow star materialized before them, along with nine planets. The inner five planets were rocky, while the outer planets were made up of gases. Two had rings.

“Correction,” Ti said. “The Leviathan is headed for the third planet from the star.”

“We should destroy that world before she can create another Leviathan,” Queen Spenta said.

“We cannot,” Ti said. He pointed to the world, and it grew and twirled, displaying seven continents. "Several intelligent species inhabit this world, but of note is the Orrorins. We believe they have the potential of becoming a Type Zero Civilization.”

“How far along are these Orrorins in their evolution?” The Umamorph asked.

Ti made a gesture. A bipedal creature with brown fur appeared before them. “They have yet to create stone tools,” the Retikkee said, “but as you can see, their five-digit hands, one being an opposable thumb, are well suited for complex manipulation.”

“Hands are useless without a brain to command them?” Queen Spenta said. “When do you project they will have the cognitive abilities to fashion tools?”

“Between 3.9 and 4.3 million years,” Ti said.

“Or never.” Queen Spenta sighed. “We can’t justify the risk, not for them.”

King Brumah closed his eyes and fell into a dreaming state. He envisioned descendants of the Orrorins, furless and standing fully upright, with smooth flat foreheads and dressed in garments, building cities and flying spaceships. The Shimmering Lady, who now took their form, rose over them. “The Orrorins are the key to your salvation. You must protect them.”

King Brumah’s eyelids receded. “No, we must defend this world.”

“My liege,” Queen Spenta said, “we Vijics value life above all else but—”

“We are Elder Races,” replied King Brumah. “It is our sacred charge to protect the younger races. Besides, I had a vision.”

“What did you see in your vision, my liege?” Queen Spenta asked.

“That our fates are intertwined with the Orrorins,” King Brumah said. “If they die, so do we. We must defend them, no matter the cost.”

“Something is happening,” the Umamorph said. “The Leviathan has come to a stop.”

King Brumah returned to the dreaming realm. The Shimmering Lady floated over the world, beautiful and elegant. She reached out with her arms and prevented the Leviathan from getting closer. He gasped. “The Shimmering Lady is fighting the Leviathan!”

“She has never confronted the Evil Ones directly before,” Queen Spenta said.

King Brumah nodded. “No, she has not.” He turned. “The Leviathan might not be able to land, but she can still send her dark servants.”

Everyone gazed at the unspoiled world.

“Then we must deploy our ground forces at once,” Ti said.

Chapter 2: Engineer Un

Engineer Un hovered within the cargo bay of a Zelturian transport. Like everything the Zelturians built, it comprised of gold laced with silver and time crystals. Massive topazes laid embedded within the floor, a critical component of the craft’s transporter.

His head swiveled, noting the size of the hold, which was bigger on the inside than on the outside thanks to dimension manipulating techniques. A hundred Zelturians, each between fifteen and seventeen feet tall, filled