Orphan Star 1 Prologue

This material is the sole property of Scott Carle. You may not copy or reproduce it for any purpose without the permision of Scott Carle” ©1994

Orphan’s Star


Eleven planets and two asteroid belts silently orbited the sun in the hush after battle. Once verdant and green with great forests, wide plains, statuesque mountain ranges and huge oceans the fifth planet was now a wasteland. Craters covered its surface and its oceans had boiled away to small toxic lakes of hot mud. Magma and ashes were thrown high into the unbreathable atmosphere by immense volcanoes that erupted through cracks in the crust of the planet. On the night side of the planet a hazy glow could be seen that emitted from the very planet itself. A sinister light caused by the bombardment of the planet with tens of thousands of gigaton yield nuclear weapons. Where two moons used to orbit the planet there was forming a ring of broken rubble. Large chunks of the moons, some several cubic kilometers in size would in time gradually fall out of unstable orbits and impact the planet, continuing the destruction. In close orbit the remains of orbital factories, space docks, defense satellites and starships formed a dense shattered wasteland. A closer look at the debris would show not only the broken remains of the planetary defenses but also thousands of enemy warships shattered by the valiant if hopeless defense.

Hours after the more than 25,000 warships swept through the system trailing death and destruction, the silence was broken. From the debris of orbital factories with still intact sections came cries for help.

“Is anyone out there? May Day, May Day! Oh God someone please answer………”

Secret research installations on moons of the outer planets and asteroid belt sent out cautious queries.

“Tenek control this is Ifemas II……” came over a scrambled frequency. Then after a while, in a more desperate voice “This is Ifemas II addressing anyone listening. Is there anyone there?” over an unscrambled frequency.

“Dear God thank you! This is the Deneb Industries orbital platform…or what is left of it. We are running out of oxygen and power. You’ve got to come get us.”

“Deneb Industries, this is Ifemas II. What happened? What about Altair V ?”

More than a minute passed in silence, then “Ifemas II…I’m sorry…It’s….It’s gone” came back over the com in a broken voice. Almost 5 minutes passed in silence “Ifemas II, are you still there?”

Quietly “Yes.. we’re dispatching everything that can make it there. Hold on, we’ll be there as fast as we can. Listen for anyone else that might call for help.”

“Roger Ifemas II, we’re holding on.. and listening”

Thirty minutes later. “Altair Control this is the Indigo Run out of Spirus carrying cargo and passengers….”

As the hours passed, more and more radio transmissions crisscrossed the system as rescue ships from the outer planets and asteroids started to search for the few survivors, and starships called for traffic control as they dropped out of subspace. Few survivors were found and Altair’s orbital control no longer existed.

The first day of the Beta Sector territorial war the Klurian Commonwealth destroyed Altair 5 and its moons. Of the eight billion inhabitants, less than two million survived; students at universities on other planets, tourists vacationing off planet, business men and women off planet, embassy staff at Altairian Embassies throughout the empire, Altairian military personnel stationed with the empire’s armed forces on other planets, and hundreds of thousands of scientists and technicians at secret weapons research centers hidden on various moons around the outer planets of Altair’s sun. Altair 5 was one of the first targets attacked by the Klurians because it was the single biggest weapons producer in the empire. After it was destroyed, the Altairian embassy on Imperium, the capital of the empire, sent subspace messages that crisscrossed the empire and beyond to call for every able bodied Altairian man and women to assemble. Special dispensation had been given for the formation of the Altairian Guard (normally no planet was allowed to raise its own cohesive interplanetary fighting force). Of approx. two million survivors not a single person failed to volunteer, of these, 500,000 were accepted to fight as combat troops. Out of this 500,000 only about half of those first volunteers survived the war.

The people of the Empire will always honor the Altairian Guard for its ferocity and valor in battle. It carried the battle on many planets and in more than one space engagement. But emperors are a different creature altogether. Now with the war over what once was a military asset to be used was now a semi-autonomous military power unmatched in the galaxy, strong enough and tough enough to make anyone nervous. A power that makes emperors nervous is a power with problems.

In the first year of the war, a scientist speaking with a friend told about the results of his research in genetic recombination. That friend, a senator of the empire thought it important enough to approach the emperor. In less than two weeks time the scientist was installed in a lab with unlimited funds. He was no longer limited to working with animals and plants in his experiments, but now encouraged to develop specified traits in humans, traits designed to make the subjects super soldiers, assassins and spies all unmatched by ordinary humans. Eight years passed and the war ended. Nobody had expected it to end that quickly, so everyone was caught unprepared when the Klurian Commonwealth sued for peace. More than a hundred special children between the ages of six years and several months old now existed. Secrets that were easy to keep during a war become much harder to preserve in peace. The secret that he had been doing genetic experimentation with human DNA was not one the emperor wanted to get out.