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The Kalu are not a long lost nightmare anymore.
They came from the black.
They destroyed Rosho.
They ravaged Heija.
That was just the scouting force.
They are coming back.

Power those reactors, charge those rail cannons and ready the fighters. The Free Fleet is going to war.


Excerpt of From Furies Forged

Chapter Bombardment

Bregend looked as if he should be operating a Heavily Armed Powered Armor, not commanding the newly finished carrier Dal. He was a massive man, even among the genetically enhanced Avarians and creatures of the Free Fleet.
He looked over his three deck bridge. In front of his chair there were banks of consoles whose purpose was to relay the fleet’s status back to him. The decks ringed the room, the first deck and lowest worked to keep the carrier running, the U-shaped projection inside of their ring housed the command team who took the information from the lower decks and spat it up to Bregend. The second deck was about the same height as Bregend’s platform that he shared with Mills, his second-in-command. The third floor was dedicated to the controllers that coordinated not only the fighters of the carrier, but any and all attached fighters to the fleet. Ramps from the second floor ran down and up to the other floors.
His elevated seat meant that he only had to slightly incline his head to look from the third deck to the first. People worked their stations while others moved around the bridge with deliberate haste.
“Generators are at ninety-five percent,” Rous, Bregend’s Engineer since he had first stepped onto his first command, the battle cruiser Rebirth, said in his ear.
Since joining rebirth’s original crew Rous’ had gained scars, burns and a prosthetic upper arm. He’d pulled more than one damned miracle out of his hide. Keeping the Rebirth long enough for Bregend to get his message to Cheerleader was just one of them.
“Good work Rous,”
“Commander,” Rous said. His Kuruvian voice made it hard to tell his emotions but Bregend knew his chief engineer was proud. He had taken over the Carrier’s engineering crew just a week and a half ago. Just about the time Bregend had dropped this particular plan into their laps. They’d run with it and done their chief and Bregend proud. They were a credit to the Free Fleet training schools they had come from.
Salchar had issued orders with Dal’s transfer Ship Commander to give control over to Bregend as soon as possible.
Bregend had felt that the crew might be a bit pissed at how their Ship Commander was being pushed. Yet there was little of that sentiment.
Bregend had proved himself to be a worthy fleet commander. Any grumblings about how he had been accelerated through the ranks had died quickly. That was evident with the Star-destroyer yards that now lay between Groshum and Jafka.
Bregend remembered his meeting with Ship Commander Hazvar.
“Commander,” Hazvar said tapping his paw to his head in salute.
“Bregend, please,” Bregend said, waving the title away and him to a seat in front of his desk.
“Bregend then,” The Chaleelian said, amused as he took his seat.
“How do you feel about the carrier Dal?”
“At this moment I am out of my depth with Dal. Thankfully my command team has been picking up the slack and helping me out as much as possible. Though it’s not fair on the people that know their jobs to have uneducated and the unbloodied in command,” Hazvar’s amusement forgotten in his serious eyes.
“You were involved with the conflict on Chaleel, proved your mettle with the defense of Parnmal. You also have a damned good record of looking after your crew while patrolling the trading routes. If you don’t feel comfortable in your position, I have no doubt that you will quickly get a handle on it. Rick and his staff are not in the job of putting unqualified people into positions,” Bregend said, Hazvar seemed to be proud of his accomplishments, and to be recognized for them.
“That said, if you want more time to grow, I can’t fault that. You know yourself better than anyone else at the end of the day,” Bregend’s eyes were soft and confident. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to get my hands on Dal,” Bregend grinned.
“She is a good ship sir, and her crew are even better,” Hazvar smiled, something like regret colouring his voice. His features hardened as he looked to Bregend. “She’s your command sir, as much as I would like to find the ropes with her, well we’re out in the middle of Kalu territory. Me finding the ropes could get more people killed,” Hazvar’s face was hard lines as veteran eyes met one another in understanding.
“Very well commander. Though I’d suggest that you start looking over the plans for the Henry-classed Destroyers. I’m going to need commanders in boatloads to crew those ships,” Bregend said, standing pressing a few commands on his desk as he transmitted the file to Hazvar.
“You’ll have them commander,” Hazvar extended his hand.
Bregend took it, a gleam in his eye.
“Now, I also have a bottle of Dovarkian rum. I’ve always found the best way to get to know my commanders was with a drink, rather than an interrogation,”
“Well I must bow before the greater knowledge of my commander. And finer selection of spirits,” Hazvar said, a similar gleam in his eye.
Hazvar was one of the forty or so ship Ship Commanders that was now under Bregend’s direct command on this mission. Squadrons of ships were arriving everyday. The Kaluian Star-destroyer yard was their rally point. Ships wormholed between stars hiding in the lightyears of dark space avoiding Kalu detection.
Jump ships and their support ships operated independently moving from system to system. They supplied a constant stream of information of the Kalu. The Free Fleet had a better idea of what the Kalu were doing than the Union ever had.
Millions of Independent’s, the Kalu that had been banished from their home worlds for their peaceful thinking. Now worked with the Free Fleet to upgrade the stolen star-destroyer’s an crew some marginally upgraded ships.
Free Fleet personnel were training them up to capitalize on the Free Fleet tactics for when they engaged their brethren in open combat.
Bregend was in command of close to five million personnel. Just that number was staggering. Thankfully Min Hae, Silly and Felix, as well as every commander and leader was throwing in their weight, making things a lot more manageable.
Leaving me to see if some of the insane ideas that the Free Feet is famed for, work yet again.
“We are at one hundred percent charge,” Wilma, again another one of Bregend’s command staff, as he’d transfered to Dal, said from her position as helmswoman.
“Very well, carry out bombardment,” Bregend said, his deep voice rolling like a war drum as he stood there, his eyes bleak and arms held behind his back.
“We have wormhole creation,” Ourv’s tone brisk.
“We’re stable and looking good,” Wilma confirmed.
“Payload is looking good,” Mills said from his place as second-in-command. Bregend’s eyes were focused on the main screen, as scores of massive objects approached his formation. The bomb-pumped acceleration of the ships pushed them and their massive payloads through the ships to the rear of his fleet.
“Acceleration still increasing,” Ourv’s attention never wavered from his console as his sensor operators fed him constant information.
“Plot is looking good and clear,” Zov, one of the newest additions to Bregend’s command staff and navigator for the entire fleet. His voice catching slightly.
Only makes sense.
If one of those objects hit his ships, well then the light would be claiming some of it’s own today.
Bregend’s jaw tightened as the ships and their payloads crossed through the fleet with terrifying speed.
“Accelerating ships are releasing. Bombardment is going ballistic,” Kyle reported, holding his headset and looking to Bregend who merely nodded in understanding.
The fleet’s wormhole generators worked together, opening and holding the tunnel to another system.
There was just twelve more minutes that the fleet could keep that wormhole open.
The ships projectiles clearing the fleet’s formations in droves. Their accelerating ships peeled out of the way of the wormhole as fast as their crew could take the massive gravities.
“Wormhole stabilizers are coming online,” Ourv said.
“Configurations are looking good,” Wilma reported as those projectiles dove through the wormhole’s event horizon. If those stabilizers didn’t work, then the objects would be destroyed by the wormhole. Never making it to their destination.
Bregend looked to the time, it had taken seven minutes for the whole event to take place.
“Last projectile is through,” Ourv said.
“Shutting down wormhole generators,” Wilma said, there were no cheers or shouts as everyone looked at the main screen with anticipation.
“Good work people. Kyle, how are we looking on our link with Commander Smith?”
“We’re solid, currently listening to ‘ride the lightning,” Kyle said soberly, the corners of his mouth twitching just ever so slightly.
Bregend stopped himself from rolling his eyes.
“Very well,” Relay information onto the main screen please,”
“Yes commander,”
Now we just have to see if it worked, and hope that we’re on goddamn target. Bregend thought as lyrics from Metallica’s Ride the Lightning filled the bridge.

“Flash before my eyes Now it’s time to die Burning in my brain I can feel the flame”
Commander Smith muttered the words under his breath as he looked at the Kaluian system through his sensors.
The system was called Donakrel. It housed the third biggest Star-destroyer yard in traditional Kaluian control.
The biggest is in our control, and the second was one hell of a firework show. Smith smiled in memory as Kyle came on the comms channel with him.
Kyle and the rest of Bregend’s fleet were two-light years away in the dark of space. It had taken three days to get Bregend’s plan together. Though it’s craziness went up against some of Salchar’s own plans.
Smith had been a fighter and test pilot before the Syndicate decided that Earth looked like a good source for slaves. He had been recruited into a program by the United States to take at least some control back from the damned bastards.
He had launched, and found to his surprise that the slaves of the Syndicate had been up to their own tricks. Led by Salchar they had taken the second biggest damned station in known existence. They had also freed another planet and found a planet of genetically enhanced warriors, the Avarians.
Smith had been sent back to Earth and given new orders. Infiltrate the Free Fleet. He had followed his orders. Maybe a little too well. He had fought across the stars, the people he was supposed to betray, became his brothers and sisters.
He had gone from Multi-Environmental Fighter or MEF to the Jump fighter and gained himself a seat to the fall of Rosho station. The last Syndicate bastion.
And now I get a seat to the destruction of Donakrel’s Star-Destroyer yards. He thought, not without a little glee.
“Payload is on-route,” Kyle said through Smith’s ear. Smith clicked a button, confirming he got the transmission.
A wormhole snapped into existence.
“Sweat, chilling cold as I watch death unfold Consciousness my only friend”
“Fuck,” Smith might have felt something like, pity for the Kalu in that moment.
Then the darkness that had lived in his soul from the first battle against those damned demons made his eyes dance as he bared his teeth.
Asteroids ripped free of that wormhole, there was no stopping them as active Kalu star-warriors and Destroyers fired on them.
Smith remembered the asteroids that had ravaged Ship Commander Kelu and his Syndicate fleet. Salchar’s plan had been as brilliant as it was risky. Bregend’s plan mitigated those risks, and used the asteroids with terrible efficiency.
The asteroids weren’t just single entities. Each projectile was made up of tens of asteroids. Each connected by cabling and supporting struts. charges went off, breaking those separating struts.
The asteroids had been given a small spin for just this reason. the projectiles unfurled like deadly flowers.
“Time moving slow The minutes seem like hours The final curtain call I see How true is this? Just get it over with If this is true, just let it be”
Smith didn’t even try to listen to the lyrics of his song as the first asteroid hit the yard.
The wave of destruction was indescribable. The superstructure of the thousands of yards shuddered, breaking as it’s sides disappeared. Kinetic energy met Star-Destroyers.
Projectile after projectile hit the yard. Those deadly flowers turned anything that seemed to stay together into uselessness. Fireballs burst into existence as Destroyers disintegrated.
It was like watching Lego be hit with a fifty calibre machine gun, again and again.
“Flash before my eyes Now it’s time to die Burning in my brain I can feel the flame”
“I think we can chalk this one up for a win,” Smith heard himself say, the wormhole disappeared as he surveyed what had been the Star-Destroyer yard.
“Yeah,” Kyle said, the shock clear in his voice.
What will happen when someone looks to use that against populated worlds? A part of Smith’s brain thought. A shudder passed down his spine.
“On to Venzir next,” Kyle said.
“Only fourteen more Star-Destroyer yards to go,” Smith replied as he passed the message onto his Jump-ship pilots.
They confirmed and set their plans for jumps back to the support ship.
“Be damned happy to get rid of them,” Kyle’s voice turning cold.
“Me too,” Smith said, remembering the Kalu fighters at Rosho and the vids he’d seen from Heija.
Evelyn Sparks and every damned reporter was pushing those videos as hard as ever. Some were getting the idea at least.
The Free Fleet was getting more applications everyday. The reserve planet-based Commandos and fighters were quickly mobilizing. If Ashota’ predictions of what Orshpa was going to do came true. Those reserve units would quickly find themselves on the front lines.
Smith discharged a capacitor, making a wormhole away from Donakrel.

Evelyn Spark’s articles were read, broadcasted and listened to all across known space. Knox, Min Hae’s informant within the highest echelons of government, listened to them more than most. The spy master scanned through it, the war on Heija was unlike anything that he had ever heard of. It had gone on for months. The Free Fleet Commandos and ships just staying alive. There were no reinforcements coming, but they held on, inflicting casualties and hell onto their enemies. Video footage of HAPA’s being called into support of a front line trench that had collapsed kept his attention. The cannons blazed, their tracers grinding the Kalu back as the line rebuilt itself.
Injuries were severe, people were missing arms, legs and getting back into powered armour and going again. The neural implants kept them fighting, the armour their new bodies as they fought.
The Free Fleet was as relentless as their enemy.
Knox respected their strength, and while he acted as an agent of Min Hae there was a few things that he wasn’t going to reveal to the spy master. Such as the meeting he was about to have with the President, a group of specially selected and powerful people as well as liaisons with other countries.
With the race to get into space and expand countries power, old allies had come together to have the resources to do so. Countries were now so closely connected with one another that calling them separate countries was fact only in name.
Knox put down his data pad and stood from his seat. He was in the UN building, the new one which was buried seventeen stories in the ground, with escape routes leading kilometers away. The old building in New York had been leveled as a show by the Syndicate that they ruled the planet. They didn’t care about the millions of people they killed.
A man with the newest forty calibre rifle, raised a hand as Knox was scanned by hidden sensors. It didn’t take long before the security guard lowered his hand, the door behind him opening.
Knox was the last to the meeting. His seat the only one open.
“The Free Fleet is basically a Private Military. We pay them with resources, technology and money to keep us safe. This sounds like a good compromise, but it also leaves us open for the fact that if the Free Fleet to raise their prices we can cancel our contract, but then there is nothing to say that they won’t turn on us. They are one hell of a force and we need to come up with a plan of how to hamstring their power, especially Salchar’s. Among their ranks he has become some kind of legend, a kind of leader that they would do anything for,” The President looked over the people in the room.
An actual leader that leads from the front. Knox mentally added.
“Are there any objections with moving a plan forward to curb the control and power of the Free Fleet?” The President asked, there was none as he nodded.
“Very well, Mr. Knox would you brief us on our current on goings within the Free Fleet?” All eyes looked to Knox with the President’s final words.
“We have about a Brigade’s worth of informants throughout the entirety of the Free Fleet. Most have gained positions as commanders. Gaining access to Min Hae’s intelligence department has been hard to penetrate, we only have ship based intelligence commanders and leaders. The development base has been similarly guarded. We could initiate a coupe, but I believe it would be more prudent to wait until after the war has run its full course. We currently need the Free Fleet to defend Earth,” Knox warned.
“What about forces on Hachiro and Nancy?” A diplomat asked.
“We have about a Battalion on Nancy, a Company on Hachiro,” Knox said. The numbers were staggering, but the yard and station supported nearly fifty million people, three times that amount if the processing and mining facilities in the belts were added, five if the training ground on Mars was included.
“Sources on Nancy have reported that the dead fleet is going to be cut up, melted down and their components sold,” The diplomat from England, Damien Forsyth said. “We have all been developing systems for space, if we were able to get our hands on that technology then we could start to build our own parts and a force able of taking on the Free Fleet, or at least giving us back the control of Earth,”
“It might also be an idea to test our connections in Chaleel, they do have A destroyer and a corvette under their personal control,” Jon Wilkinson from Canada said. “AIH sees Salchar as the one to give them purpose, to give them their deity and keep them alive with their shield generator,”
There was rumbles of agreement through the room, AIH was firmly in Salchar’s pocket. They were the third biggest traders after the Kuruvians and the Free Merchant Fleet.
“Chaleel is also a massive trader with the Free Fleet and AIH, we will need to tread carefully,” Ash Anthony from Australia said, pointing a finger at Jon in his reclined position.
“We also need to figure out the numbers of the Free Fleet, and how many ships we could cripple, use or destroy,” Robert Shinawa of New Zealand said.
We might call people that fight in war’s beasts, but are they right? Are they, the ones that inflict violence on others for the better of many the beasts, or the one that sits back, watching and criticising those that die for them or is it the ones that call the beast’s a hero, while planning to kill them.
Knox had already relinquished the information that Edwards had given him on the Free Fleet, their systems, capabilities and people. He knew that the Free Fleet was a risk that would need to be watched like a hawk. Yet he didn’t know if taking it apart, or leaving it would be best.
With having people from every planet and race amongst it’s ranks the Free Fleet would be hard pressed to do anything against civilians without a damned good reason.
Still the what if’s and maybes were what Knox and the people in this room dwelled on. Once they had a plan and a way to carry it out, then they would all feel calmer. Though it would just become easier to pull the trigger on the operation.
Knox wanted to hold his head, to just have space and time to think of something other than direct action.
The potential for this to go very wrong was too high for his liking.