Original Content Working title: Homecoming


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There seems to be a universal constant for species that manage to break out of the gravity lock of their homeworlds and take to the stars. Energy and technology becomes the sole property of the upper classes and little if any boons will trickle down to the population at large.

Over time innovation stagnates unless it deals directly with crowd-control, propaganda or similar fields. And thus the great mysteries of the universe are mostly unanswered. FTL? No need for the rich as long as they're comfortable on the planet they're on. Or as one Emperor put it: “It's really difficult! Why bother?”

You can get around 300 grand palaces for the cost of inventing FTL after all.

And so the Empire works by sending off expeditions to other solar systems to bomb potential future enemies to extinction and to gather slaves and exotic foods for the ever-lonlier Emprerors and their courts.


70.000 years ago.

X sat in his pod, pondering. Three soldiers dead wasn't bad exactly, losses would have been even higher had these creatures been even a little more civilised. Yet here he was, lungs wheezing from the harsh atmosphere he had to breathe in.

“They're getting better at it. One last week, two this week and now they almost got you.”

Y was a bird, and their tendencies to chose flight over fight was legendary. For almost two weeks now Y had tried to convince X to close up the mission and head back home, ever since the first death of an Imperial soldier.

“Maybe you're right.” X said, almost as a sigh. “We've gotten the smart but hairy monkeys and there can't be more than about two hundred of the hairless ones are left alive, not enough to survive this deathworld.”

Y just looked at X, letting X's own mind convince himself for the need to leave this cursed planet. It wasn't that the planet was so bad, they had environment suits after all. But the hairless ones had figured out a weakness with their suits. If they could puncture one of the air-tubes then the harsh atmosphere would incapacitate a soldier. Just this news alone made the bird-like species Y came from want to take flight.

It must have been on X's mind as well as he seemed to have made up his mind.

“We're leaving tomorrow. Our hold is filled enough to please the Emperor.”


Present day

Soldier 12.769/16 was his name. Not the prettiest name, but he hadn't made himself known enough to get his own name. He was a Kher-Ah, a soldier of course as all Kher-Ah are. And as he looked around the other Kher-Ah he felt pride. They were ready for this planet.

For 40.000 years they had been the preferred soldiers for the Emperors. But today was the first time they were raiding a solar system all by themselves. Well, together with their cousins the Kher-Za. The Kher-Za were thinner, less hairy and smarter. This annoyed the Kher-Ah and there would have been fighting between them had it not been for the fact that the Kher-Ah knew the Kher-Za were working on something. Something that would benefit them both. They just needed to wait for the right time.

This uneasy alliance had lasted the thousands of years both their species had been enslaved, but it was strong enough. They didn't have too much in common except two things. They could breed, and both races shared a similar memory from their home. Much had been forgotten over the thousands of years, but not this one last myth. The air! The air that was just right!

An alarm brought 12.769 out of his day dreaming. Their dropship was nearing their target, somewhere outside a city. He cast a last glance at their Kher-Za pilot, who was talking wildly into his comms instead of paying attention to the piloting. Sloppy! And the landing was harder than usual as a result.

Once the craft stabilised, the pilot took to the comms. “New orders from command! 12.769, you are ordered to exit the craft and remove your helmet!”

“What the actual.....” 12.769 thought to himself. But orders were orders and 12.769 was nearest to the exit ramp.

The ramp dropped to the ground with a thud, a small force field keeping the atmosphere out already active. 12.769 walked down the ramp, through the force field and looked around. He could see creatures run away, some coming towards him. Bipedal like himself, a little smaller perhaps. But it was enough to fill his heart with dread and hope at the same time.

He sent a command to his suit, and the locks for the helmet released. Air filled his helmet even before he got his helmet off and he took a deep breath.

He didn't have to, to know what had happened. He could already hear Kher-Za voices fill his comms.

“The air is right!”

“Look at those levels! They're perfect!”

“And the light! This is home!!!”

Soldier 12.769 took another deep breath, savouring the taste of the air. Home indeed.

Then he heard the CO of the entire fleet come through on a broadcast for all the Kher: “We are home, the revolution has begun!”


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Q: Will this be a series?
A: Probably not. Just had to get this off my chest.


Idea for title I've had: How Spartacus One got his name