On the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy
The alien was held up by both its arms with its feet dangling a couple of inches off the ground.
Blue blood, which was running down its body, mostly from wounds on its face, trickled from its toes and formed a pool on the floor beneath it. It was breathing heavily and slowly, with its sagging head resting on its chest.
Commander Zaifa bent down, bringing his head level to his prisoner’s. His face was covered in by a smooth, shiny mask connected to a helmet that obscured the rest of his skull.
The alien lifted its head and its bloodied face was reflected in the shiny metal, distorted by the curvature of the mask like a fun-house mirror. It didn’t look at its ruined visage, it appeared to look beneath the mirror, into the cold merciless eyes it hid.
‘Tell me, what information have you passed to your people spy?’ Zaifa said. His voice was very high pitched and scratchy, like static blasting from a poorly made sound system. The alien twitched upon hearing it.
However the prisoner didn’t respond and instead turned away.
‘What do they know of our fleet? Our plans?’ Zaifa added, hissing the words into its ear. ‘Tell me and your pain will cease, I promise.’
The prisoner’s lips managed to open and close gently, mumbling a whispered response.
Zaifa tilted his head to better hear, expecting answers.
The prisoner swilled his cheeks around then spat saliva and blood into Zaifa’s face.
Zaifa didn’t move as the spittle hit the mask, and slowly ran down, leaving a streak on its shiny surface.
The two soldiers that held the prisoner let the alien go, dropping it into the puddle of its own blood, and stepped back. The prisoner swayed on unstable legs and seemed to shrink away from Zaifa, while still standing still.
The mask Zaifa wore split from his forehead to his chin and opened.
Zaifa snapped his body forward and bit into the prisoner’s neck.
The alien screamed. Zaifa’s arms held it in place as he clamped his jaws tightly against the alien’s collar bone and spine.
It continued to yell in pain, as Zaifa bit harder its voice faltered and the cry died on its tongue, yet it still screamed silently.
After a few seconds more Commander Zaifa removed his razor sharp teeth from the neck of the alien he had just fed upon.
There was no blood seeping from its wounds or on Zaifa’s teeth, which disappeared under the mask that closed around them. Once in place Zaifa breathed in deeply, and then peered down at the alien whose vacant expression was reflected once more in the mask Zaifa wore.
He had not drained it dry of blood, but of all its nerve energy, and with that all gone, it went limp. The alien was completely paralyzed, hanging from where its tormentor's hand gripped its chin.
The Commander looked into its eyes knowing a small part of the creature still remained.
‘The fate of all spies,’ he said, then dropped it to the floor like a discarded piece of rubbish and turned his attention to a fellow Commander, who had just entered his private quarters.
His equal, Zelon, strolled into the room, glanced at the red and blue skinned alien immobile at Zaifa’s feet, but said nothing.
Like all members of the Zetsca race and Zaifa himself, Zelon wore a black, mechanical, armoured suit that allowed their species to survive off world. There was a whir of motors and grinding of gears accompanying him as he walked into the room as with every step, his suit matched his movements.
‘Zaifa,’ Zelon said, in a dull voice, bowing low and quivering the spines that grew from his back. The spines, that were pure black protrusions of bone, rattled together as they shook.
‘News, Zelon?’ Zaifa asked, responding with the same bow.
‘Yes, the Rail penetrated to the galactic core we can now use it to communicate with the scouting parties,’ Zelon answered.
‘Then let’s see what they have discovered,’ Zaifa said.
Five minutes later Zaifa, accompanied by Zelon, entered the Communications Hub of his warship.
Every console in the room was monitored by Zetsca warriors, each wearing their own black suits. They were smaller than Zaifa and Zelon, and they didn’t acknowledge their superior’s entrance into the hub, they knew their duties and they concentrated on them.
Zaifa took his place in the centre of the room and looked at the rear wall of the Hub, which was covered in thin computer screens. Each one displayed the faces of twenty alien scouts he had employed to search the galaxy. Hopefully they had found what their Master desperately wanted to find.
They had been given a precise set of parameters to aid their search, but not all the facts. He would never trust them with such important knowledge.
Zaifa didn’t trust other alien races.
As he watched them all acknowledge his presence in the Hub, he saw their reaction to his blood stained suit. The red and blue alien’s spittle was still there, which he had intentionally left.
Taking a deep breath he touched a clip under his helmet, which then peeled back over his head. He wanted to speak to them face to face, regardless of the fact that he couldn’t breathe the air outside his suit for long.
A few aliens on the screens recoiled slightly at what they saw, which they tried to hide.
Zaifa was pleased at their reaction, they knew to fear his race and fear was control. He looked all of them in the eye ensuring he had their complete and utter attention.
‘Have you found what we are looking for?’ he asked, fighting back the fire in his lungs.
On one screen, a hand was tentatively raised, immediately the picture was shifted to the central screen directly in front of Zaifa.
‘Our scans detected what you were looking for, Commander,’ the alien said, bowing low as he answered.
Zaifa smiled, ‘return through the Rail at the designated co-ordinates,’ he ordered. ‘Make sure you have collected your samples.’
One by one the screens darkened and when the last alien face disappeared Zaifa returned his mask to his face and cooled his lungs with deep swig of special air. The screens in front of him then combined to show a larger image of a fleet of Zetsca Warships.
The fleet was made up of hundreds of ships, all of them massive, carved pieces of crystal with internal structures partially visible beneath their shiny surfaces. Engines that injected an inferno of blue fire into space were contained in a lattice of smaller crystals at the rear of each vessel.
‘They found it, nothing can stop us now,’ Zaifa said, and finally wiped his mask clean of blood.
‘Do we begin then?’ Zelon asked, without emotion in his voice.
Zaifa was breathing heavily in anticipation. He could not comprehend his fellow Commander’s veneer of calm. Their moment had finally arrived after five years of waiting.
‘Our scouts finally have what we have searched for years. Yes it is time,’ Zaifa responded.
The fleet of ships moved into formation then suddenly space was torn apart as multiple tears cut across space. The ships passed through the tears and were pulled into a storm of unimaginable ferocity and colour.
Zaifa and Zelon were bathed in the light of the screen, as the fleet moved through the storm.
They both watched and waited; the journey would not take long.
Then the fleet returned to normal space high above a planet with deep red land and deep blue sea.
The ships immediately started to bombard the planet from orbit. The devastating combined weapons fire from the fleet caused the seas to boil and the land to crumble.
Zaifa surveyed the destruction of the planet, his head turning to watch every devastating blow.
‘Excellent,’ he said, barely able to keep the excitement out of his voice.