The Galactic War: The Beginning
Chapter 1: The Invasion of Lazarus 13
Sector General Terrence Laster took the center of the stage, stepping into the plasma lighting on the ceiling before the great holographic screen that dominated the far wall of the auditorium. Arrayed out before him were some of the top brass in this part of the Milky Way galaxy, representing the armies from one hundred human colonized planets in their sector. Their military uniforms were all superfluously decorated with medals and honors that had been awarded to them. Different styles of uniform reflected their native cultures but all were splendid and formal be they wearing gold berets or bearskin caps. During these peaceful days, almost none of the medals had been awarded for achievements in actual combat. As soon as Terrence Laster took the center the entire room ceased their excited speculations on the past few days.
"Gentlemen" Terrence said to the crowd while a tiny robotic camera hovered near him to catch every inch of the powerful man on video, "I know you know why I have gathered you all here on such short notice. As you may have guessed the recent troubles in our sector of the galaxy can no longer be ignored. I'll start right from the top". He gestured to the screen and a map of the Milky Way galaxy appeared behind him. For every human occupied planet there was a single tiny green dot marked the galaxy. The Milky Way practically glowed green with dots and it was divided into a clear grid.
"Here is our sector" Terrence continued as he touched one square of the grid on the edge of the Milky Way. The region lit up and enlarged itself to take up the whole screen. Though it was an insignificant portion of the galaxy it was shown actually to be a very large body of space when made larger. There were at least one hundred green dots within the square's boundaries.
"Here is where the incident occurred" Terence continued as he pointed up at the map. A single tiny green dot at the border of the sector and the Milky Way galaxy enlarged itself to fill the screen and became an orbital photo of a hospitable planet. To the eyes of any man it resembled Earth, the ancient human homeworld.
"This is Lazarus 13" Terrence continued. "Population three billion, its size is 100.028 of Earth. Here is where the incident took place". He cleared his throat and snapped a finger at the screen. The photo changed to a photo of the edge of a crater as taken by someone walking up the crater and to the lip. "Rather then tell you what happened, I'll show you." Terrence stated, "What I have here is compilation of videos recovered from the site of the incident on Lazarus 13. I must warn you it contains some shocking images. Just a warning". At this cue the video began.
"Whoa!" said the exaggerated voice of the cameraman as the shaky image moved up to the lip of the crater and pointed down into it. Background noise suggested other people nearby though none were seen on camera. "This is some intense…what the hell?" The camera pointed to the bottom of the pit and at the bottom could clearly be seen a small gray metal sphere. It lay in an indentation at the bottom of the crater which told the views it has slammed into the ground. A bright white light shone upon its front. The video paused then.
"Intelligence has identified this as an ancient tracer drone first built in 2037 AD. Its original function was to determine a good landing site on the planet Venus for a manned space expedition".
"Who would be using that old thing?" someone asked from the back with a heavy accent which originated in Eastern Europe. "It is the year 5500 AD. It is thousands of years after its time. For goodness sakes, humanity lives uncontested across the stars. Who would use…" Terrence silenced the man with a gesture.
"Uncontested across the stars?" asked Terrence. "Just watch". The video continued. The camera came closer to the pod as though to inspect it when a scream caused it to suddenly turned skyward. Shimmering silhouettes were appearing out of nowhere in the sky. The mammoth objects became clearer and clearer until they were fully visible. They were great ships of dark gray. Their size was impossible to tell but based a single tree that happened to be in the shot, the ships were no less than a kilometer long. Thousands of flashes could be seen on the underside of them and tiny glowing objects fell from the underside of each craft like pepper from a grinder. They poured relentlessly downward in an unending cascade of light. The terrified curses of the spellbound cameraman and screams in the background chilled the spines of the onlookers. The video paused.
"These ships are unidentified. Intelligence cross referenced their designs with over eight thousand designs from the Enterprise shuttle to the Icksoshurdull which was released last week. No matches. However, it is similar in design to a heavy duty freighter that is used for transporting robots" Laster explained. "No videos exist of the objects they are dropping making landfall. Eyewitness reports insist they were small metal pods made of metal so thin it could be crushed if driven over. From these pods emerged these". The screen changed to a photo of a humanoid robot in the bombed out streets of a city.
The robot in the picture was dark gray and similar to the human body in all dimensions. In place of a face and jaw the robot had a pair of horizontal visors positioned equally apart in a mechanical parody of eyes. It held an assault rifle in its hands and was firing shots wildly off into an open door.
"Intelligence identifies this machine as a KR-888 Mongol. It is an old robot soldier design last used in the year 4139 AD". A long string of armature videos were played. The horrified audience watched dozens of videos of unarmed humans being slaughtered by Mongols or consumed by explosions. Now and then Terrence stopped the videos to explain what was happening. From what he said, these mysterious invaders had arrived en mass and occupied dozens of population centers at a time.
"All contact with the planet was lost twenty minutes before this meeting began" Terrence concluded. "The last known situation on Lazarus 13 was critical to say the least. 98 percent of populated areas were occupied by these invaders and their ships in less than a day. If intelligence reports are to be believed, the number of robots on the planet may exceed the sum of three hundred billion". A terrified flurry of whispers raced across the room at this tremendous figure.
"Gentlemen" Terrance said. "Lazarus 13 is close to my homeworld of Lazarus 21. My eldest daughter had her first baby and I haven't gotten a chance to see or hold him yet". The screen changed to the same picture of Lazarus 13 from before.
"I will not have anymore worlds fall to this anonymous onslaught. As you all have gleaned by now, I purpose here is to immediately take military action and bring these robotic conquerors and their programmers to justice!" The room was engulfed in applause.
War had begun.