What madness has befallen us?
I dread the day when the first fatality is announced, the moment when the ancient law of our forebears is broken forever. It will be the lethal spark that starts the fire, a conflagration that might never be extinguished. Sister will be set against Sister; loyalties will be set by blood, and not by aspiration or ideals.
The crew of my ship is thrown into confusion, with former friends and colleagues refusing to work with each other. For the moment it is just words and accusations, but still my orders are ignored. The simulacra wander about in bewilderment, reeling from the contradictory orders that beset them. They shrink in fear as they see their mistresses shouting and arguing, wincing at the raised voices they are unaccustomed to hearing.
I had thought I could count on the great simulacrum that controls my ship for it is many millennia old, so old that it remembers the last days of the Creators. I had assumed with great age would come maturity and wisdom, but instead it has become paralysed like the others, shocked no doubt by the awful realisation that our long held solidarity and purpose is collapsing. In all those years serving the Lazloi, watching the slow death of our race, the wasting away of our men folk, it will have seen nothing like this.
As a precaution, I grounded the ship on a world in the hinterlands of our territories. Here we could both avoid possible conflict with other ships and ensure there is no harm from sabotage or failure to carry out basic orders. The crew left the ship and immediately factionalised along both Clan and political lines, with Clan and Blood sisters accusing each other of disloyalty and betrayal.
I tried reason, I tried shouting, but nothing would bring them back together.
In the end it was a common enemy that unified them, news conveyed in an urgent message from the Clan Mother Zylyra, leader of the Gathering of Ravens. She addressed us all, regardless of Clan or bloodline, reminding us all of our common loyalty to the Ravens. Despite her great age, she was the most youthful of the Clan Mothers. Her eyes shone brightly from the visiplates and holograms, and her voice cut through the confusion and distrust that clouded our minds:
'Sisters and brothers, have you really surrendered to this insanity, do you truly nurture the seeds of dissention that the enemy sowed in our hearts only nine years ago? Kyraenia was foolish and nothing more, believing that the Enemy was one with whom negotiation and compromise was possible. As Ravens, you know that this is not possible. You know that conciliation with evil is to sanction its right to exist, and to give it the tools with which it will destroy us.'
'I tell you now, with Aradhnwen as my witness, that the enemy is on the move once more. The Gate at Hycaron II is stirring again, and something is preparing to come through. This is no false alarm my sisters, a ship is preparing to emerge. Some of our sisters may attempt to communicate or parley with it, in the mistaken belief that Kyraenia's strategy of appeasement was right. Yours is the closest and fastest ship to the human worlds that I can rely on, the Grayling Storm must be there when the enemy emerges, so the Enemy will know that the Lazloi will not stand aside.'
Behind Zylyra was an image of Hycaron II. A great pit yawned below the viewpoint, a terrible wound in the side of that desolate world. Faint whispers of aurora danced above the opening, like the first puffs of gas and steam of an awakening volcano.
'Be strong my sisters.'
As the transmission faded, I saw a new look in the eyes of my crew, and I knew that the ship was mine again.
-- Ayana ny Zenya ny Corsiva hept Zilaerion, commander of the Super Falcon class frigate, Grayling Storm.
V3 figures in Xurge Cybersuits with custom textures. Slick and Chico hair. The Super Falcon is a custom model created in Hexagon 1.21.
Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 6 Pro Studio. Post processed in Photoshop CS2