When Worlds Go Boom
Five years ago Da’qot was a quiet, peaceful planet. Her people had been starfarers in the recent past, but after traveling to distant worlds and meeting new lifeforms and seeing new civilizations, they retreated back to their homeworld as fast as they could. It was a large, strange galaxy out there, and the people of Da’qot (called the da’qot’na, which literally meant “people of da’qot“) were perfectly happy tending to their simple farms, building their towns and cities, and worshiping the Great Egg.
Although they were tall yellow humanoids, the da’qot’na were also oviparous. The female of the species laid large eggs that eventually hatched their young. Ancient da’qot’na embraced this idea as the genesis of all life everywhere. They believed that a giant cosmic egg had hatched the entire universe, and for a time painfully put to death those who dissented. Eventually the dissenters gave up and joined with the Believers of the Egg as this not only kept them from being pummeled, burned and stabbed, but also meant that they could go to the weekly Believers’ picnics, which were always quite the impressive affair.
Still, there were still those who occasionally dared to formulate a non-egg based theory of universal creation. The Believers of the Egg didn’t stab or burn these heretics anymore, although they still engaged in a good pummeling once in a while. It was good exercise, for the pummelers at least, and was generally enough of a deterrent to keep the unbelievers quiet.
So it was that the inhabitants of Da’qot were surprised and delighted when a massive object in the shape of an egg appeared in their system. It raced toward their planet at high speed and the Believers of the Egg reveled, for they knew that their lord & savior had come.
The unbelievers weren’t so sure, but they kept quiet about it since they didn’t want a pummeling.
The massive object sped toward their planet, and the masses gathered.
It approached their moon, and they cheered.
Then it veered into their moon, knocking it out of its normal orbit and onto a collision course with Da’qot and they stopped gathering and cheering and began screaming.
The impact was dreadful, killing off ninety-nine percent of the da’qot’na immediately. The survivors fought amongst themselves at first, as supplies were scarce and the picnics were canceled. Then it was noticed that their planet had been knocked from its own orbit and was heading for the sun and the survivors quickly gathered their forces, dusted off their old starships, and did the most justifiable thing that they could think of.
They decided to hunt down their egg-god and kill it.
It was a decision made after much religious philosophizing and no small amount of pummeling. The High Egg Priest proclaimed that the Great Egg of the Universe had tested the da’qot’na by destroying their world and now expected its followers to respond in kind. As an explanation it lacked a certain amount of logic, but as a religious doctrine it was immediately adopted and embraced by the remaining populace of Da’qot.
And so it was that the da’qot’na fleet traversed the stars in search of an egg the size of a small planet. Which sounds much easier than it really was. The current da’qot’na found the galaxy to be as strange and as large as their ancestors had and a gigantic egg was not as easy to find as one would think.
Eventually they found a world called Vulag, an aquatic paradise where the lovely inhabitants wore little but basked in the sun and frolicked in the sand. The giant egg had been there, and the people of Vulag told the da’qot’na about those who rode inside of it. They spoke of the violent blonde, the confused man, the rolling brain and their leader, who called himself Balls Of Steel.
The fundamentalists among the da’qot’na nodded knowingly at this revelation, for in their language “balls of steel” translated as “egg-producing man parts made of metal.” After a bit of consultation and yet another round of pummeling, an addendum was made to their egg-based religion: This Balls Of Steel was obviously the father of the Great Egg of the Universe, for verily only metal balls could give birth to such a great and terrible Egg. It was decided that the Egg-father’s life was forfeit as well, and probably the lives of his compatriots. The priests really had no idea how they fit into the religious narrative, and so kept any mention of them to a minimum.
Following the trail of the Balls was not always an easy feat but the da’qot’na persevered. They visited dozens of star systems and in due time, and thanks to genial persuasion and occasional pummeling, eventually found themselves pointed towards Zaladon IV, the pleasure planet. It was there, they were assured, that they would find Balls Of Steel and his mighty Egg. The da’qot’na met this news with no small amount of appreciation, since they imagined a pleasure planet to be a restful place with open fields just meant for large picnics.
When they warped into the system the da’qot’na rejoiced, for the Great Egg was orbiting the planet and the High Priest did proclaim that lo, it was verily time for the great people of Da’qot to take vengeance against their god and scourge its foul taint from the universe and so the missiles were launched and the lasers doth fired and the greatest weapons of the da’qot’na unleashed in fury and fervor.
None of which did fuck-all to the Gran Huevo de la Muerte.
In addition to being a monolithic, if egg-shaped, spaceship the Gran Huevo de la Muerte was outfitted with a cutting-edge defense system that came to life even as the da’qot’na fired their first salvo. The da’qot’na weapons either bounced off the thick hull or were intercepted by counter-measures, which caused no small amount of consternation to the would-be god-killers. Yet even as they readied their weapon systems for another go, the Gran Huevo de la Muerte’s computer compiled and transmitted a one-hundred and forty-two page report on the entire incident to Captain Steel, who was currently on the surface of Zaladon IV. The report went into great depth on estimated enemy capabilities and listed out twelve options, each with a six-month projection related to the probable outcome.
Five seconds later the computer received a reply: “Deal with it.”
The computer was as impressed as a computer could be with how quickly Captain Steel had assimilated the information, considered the options and issued a response. It never considered that he might have just given an irritated glance to the alert while he was ogling the topless four-breasted waitress at Big Mod’s Boozatorium and issued a quick response so that he could go back to ogling. And, granted, “deal with it” was not one of the listed options, but the computer assumed that Captain Steel had complete confidence in its decision-making capabilities. So it went with option number two.
Now while option number one was to let the attacking fleet continue their assault until they got bored and/or ran out of ammunition, option number two was a devastating counter-assault meant to vaporize the enemy in a show of force that would strike fear into the hearts of potential foes for generations to come. The first option was the least violent, obviously, but the second one meant that the computer got to fire the ship’s main weapons and it really looked forward to doing that. Options three to eleven were variations of one and two, with less severe consequences, while option twelve was a complete surrender. The computer wasn’t a fan of that one, but included it out of a sense of completeness.
On the da’qot’na flagship the captain was just ordering a second a second salvo when one of the crew brought to his attention the fact that weapon ports were opening up on the heavily-plated surface of the Gran Huevo de la Muerte. The bridge crew saw the array of cannons and grew a bit concerned. Then their concern turned to fiery, screaming panic as the particle cannons fired, weaving a swath of destruction throughout the fleet. Ships caught fire in space as their hulls were breached and the oxygen escaped. Da’qot’na died by the hundreds, and then the thousands, as they were blown out into frigid, airless space. Those who managed to not be blown out of the hull breaches were instead victims of explosions, fire and fiery explosions. Some were disintegrated by particle beams or atomic lasers, and others were shredded by shrapnel.
The high priest looked at the carnage engulfing his fleet and putting a violent end to the last remaining people of Da’qot and said, “God is totally pissed.”
Then a particle beam struck his ship and it exploded.
From the bridge of the crippled pirate ship, Kell watched the bloodbath. He was regenerating quickly, thanks to the amount of protein readily available. It wasn’t really cannibalism, since he was reptilian and most of his dead pirate mates weren’t, although he did feel a twinge of guilt when he ate Novik, who had been a good drinking buddy over the years. Still, Novik was dead and Kell wasn’t, and that was the way of things.
Kell put down the arm he’d been chewing on as Steel’s ship finally stopped firing its guns. The enemy, whoever they were, had been devastated. The remains of ships and men floated through space and the Gran Huevo de la Muerte closed its gun ports and went silent again. That settled one question in Kell’s mind. He had considered trying to sneak aboard Steel’s ship somehow, but looking at the results of the massacre in front of him, Kell discarded that plan. There were some things even he couldn’t regenerate from.
That left Kell with the only other idea he could come up with. He was going to have to go down to Zaladon IV and kill Steel in person. And this time he wouldn’t be tricked by that accursed finger gun.
Kell burped, then wandered out into the hall. He was still hungry, and he was pretty sure he’d seen “Fatty” Farkin’s body down by the crew’s quarters.