Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1 - Cover

Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1

Copyright© 2023 by Uruks

Chapter 1: The Testament

Scientific journal entry number twenty-three. Personal Log. After years of testing outskirt planets for a viable site, we may have finally found the perfect world. Our experiment has suffered several setbacks, postponing operations years behind the projected schedule. Most of the setbacks have been logistical in nature, but we have also suffered civilian protests due to ... ethical reasons. My frustrations in this matter cannot be overstated. I don’t think many people actually understand what it is we are trying to accomplish. Even our sponsors in the government cannot fully comprehend the magnitude of the experiment. All they see is an opportunity for profit. I suppose if we are successful, there will be plenty of money to go around, but my motivations are not quite so prosaic. At any rate, I am eager to begin phase one on the test subjects. One of the reasons that it took so long to find a suitable testing site is that a side-effect of our experiment will involve creating an entirely new species. As such, we required a planet capable of supporting a substantial population while also being relatively uninhabited by sentient life. The planet chosen has been codenamed Prime, within the mostly uncharted Zeta Way Galaxy in a star system known as Black Star; locally named due to some superstition that I have deemed irrelevant to the project. I will be leaving Tarrus immediately to oversee construction of our basecamp. End of Log.

In the lonely reaches of space, a convoy of starships travelled slowly through the void. It was a small Elemental fleet from the Ministry of Fire, composed of a little over a dozen ships. Four frigate-class vessels, sixteen fighter-class escorts, all surrounding one capital-class star cruiser.

The design of Fire Ministry vessels was very reminiscent of their architecture. The vessels were tinted red with a depiction of a golden Lion on one side of the vessel and the depiction of a golden Dragon on the other side. This design was prevalent regardless of the size of each vessel in the convoy. One curious artistic aspect about Ministry vessels was the fact that they were made to resemble fire; that is looking at the vessels at a certain angle created the image of fire. The curvature of the hull, and the spikey, almost random nature of the plates, all contributed to the theme of fire that the vessel’s designers obviously wished to convey.

The smaller space fighters looked almost like arrowheads as they carved a path through space with immense speed and maneuverability. Unlike most vessels, Elemental ships were able to perform Elemency via their Elemental pilots. Which made Fire Ministry fighters some of the most dangerous out of all the Ministry vehicles, able to set ablaze entire cities if need be.

The frigates were about a fourth the size of a capital ship, which still made them rather daunting. About as large as a football stadium, a single frigate packed enough Elemental firepower to threaten an entire continent. The frigates were pointed like the fighters, but were much longer, complete with a tail that stretched far back behind the vessel. This design made the vessel look like a long arrow, or even a snake.

The capital vessel made for a truly foreboding sight, larger than all the smaller vessels combined. A veritable floating city as big as it was powerful. In times of war, Fire-Cruisers, as they were commonly called, had been used to burn entire worlds to cinders. Commanding a crew of several thousand Elemental pilots, technicians, and soldiers, a Fire-Cruiser was basically a highly destructive fortress capable of speeds faster than light. The shape of a capital vessel made it seem like a massive, inverted V; a wonderous display of all the power and prestige that was the Ministry of Fire.

The fighters were surrounded by dozens of tiny figures floating alongside them. There were about four of these objects per fighter, making for a total of sixty-four. The figures were actually Fire Elementals in specially designed Psionic Armor. Like most technology in the Ministry of Fire, Psionic Armor was powered by the users’ element. The armor resembled most Elemental suits, possessing a medieval design without the bulkiness of previous space suit designs. Fire Elementals had long adapted quite well to space travel, even going so far as to adapt their armor for long-distance space travel. What made Fire Elementals so skilled at traversing the depths of space without a vessel was the ability to use the element of fire like jet propulsion. In this sense, an Elemental Astronaut never ran out of fuel. Each suit was given a navigation computer of equal complexity as the ones aboard most vessels, and a trained spacefarer could easily keep up, or even outdo any vessel in the universe. Unlike in the early days of space exploration, the Elemental Astronauts were far from helpless, acting as a second line of defense against smaller enemy vessels and projectiles. Although it took special training for an Elemental to be able to use their elements in the void of space, it was doable. Over the years, Fire Astronauts had proven an invaluable fighter escort in the many battles the Ministry of Fire had fought over the centuries. Not only was their Psionic Armor durable enough to take the impact of meteors, but it was also extremely maneuverable thanks to the jet propulsion of Fire Elementals. If it came to a dogfight, a skilled and powerful Fire Astronaut could prove as deadly as any fighter-class ship, maybe even more so.

For most, the element of fire held dark connotations. It was an element that burned and consumed. An element of chaos and destruction. But it held a different meaning for the Fire Elementals. To them, it was a symbol of their undying passion for justice that would never be extinguished. A light of hope for their allies and a message of warning for their enemies. No other Ministry held the power or influence of the Ministry of Fire, and those who could call themselves Fire Elementals were among the most feared and the most respected warriors in the universe.

So reflected Captain Joseph Shak, the commander of the Fire-Cruiser known as the Testament, and leader of the convoy. It was a small fleet, to be sure, but one that was formidable in and of itself. Shak had waited a long time for his own command, but never in his wildest dreams did he ever imagine he’d be given his own Fire-Cruiser, let alone his own fleet. Of course, he was nervous, but at the same time excited to be given such a great honor and responsibility. Shak was eager to prove his worth to his superiors on this mission, especially Eramar, who was no doubt partially responsible for this promotion.

Captain Shak was so deep in thought as he marveled at the fleet from a porthole on the bridge that he almost didn’t notice his First Officer approaching from behind. Almost, but there were some things that were never lost in Elemental training.

“You always walk so quietly,” commented the captain. “I sometimes wonder if you’re trying to sneak up on me.”

“I assure you, that’s not my intention, sir,” replied the First Officer politely. “As a Half-Elf, I’m just very light-footed, sir. We don’t make much noise no matter where we go.”

“Relax, Commander Yaveen, I’m just kidding. As God is my witness, you will develop a sense of humor before this mission is done.”

“I’ll ... try not to disappoint on that front, sir,” replied the Half-Elven maiden, again very respectfully.

Commander Yaveen was a blonde-haired woman about a head shorter than most women. Her appearance was that of a child, though Shak knew she was almost as old as he was, and considering that he was over a hundred, that was saying something. Despite being only part Elf, her pointed ears were longer than most Elves, indicating that she had some highborn Elven blood. Her eyes were larger than a human’s and were emerald green; her skin was white as paper, giving her a more alien appearance than other Elves that were more similar to humans.

The source of this story is Finestories

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