The capacity of self-sacrifice is seen as the greatest virtue in our culture.
— Yui, a half-Arume resistance agent on the Arume

The Arume are humanoids which typically, but not always have a pale complexion and white hair, and all members of the species possess blue eyes and blood which turns white when exposed to oxygen, possibly leading to their pale complexion. The primary distinguishing characteristic of the Arume is that, for the past thousand years, every member of the Arume species has been female, reproducing through some form of advanced bio-engineering. Nonetheless, the Arume possess an effectively vestigial sexuality, with all of them being homosexual.

The Arume civilization is far more advanced than that of Earth, possessing technologies such as directed energy weapons, faster-than-light travel, and advanced genetic engineering to name a few examples. It is implied, however, that the Arume civilization has been in decline ever since the death of the male population, likely due to a lack of genetic diversity that Arume biotechnology cannot completely correct. During the past, the Arume were said to be even more advanced, being capable of interstellar personal teleportation, a technology that has long since been lost. During this period, an Arume male teleported to earth and successfully interbred with a human woman, placing Arume genetic material into the human genome.

In a last-ditch attempt to reclaim their genetic material, the Arume invaded Earth in the year 2000. In spite of their massive technological advantage, the Arume suffered heavy losses in battle with human military forces, implied to be the result of a combination of the fierceness of human resistance and the wasteful and sometimes downright suicidal tactics of the Arume, whose military culture highly values death in battle, and thus emphasized overwhelming the enemy with wave for disposable cannon fodder, or even outright suicide attacks. While the Arume suffered heavy losses, in the end, they defeated the human resistance thanks to the use of biological weapons and a reality manipulation device known as the Emil Force Drive.

Battle vs. Race Military (by SPARTAN 119)

Prolgue: orbit around Home

Shiplord Phollmos stood at the command of the Race cruiser, the 31st Emperor Rizzon, positioned at the front of the patrol group traveling away from the Race homeworld, known simply as “Home”. The Rizzon was joined by the 22nd Emperor Hetto and three smaller intra-system patrol vessels, smaller ships that lacked cold sleep chambers, intended for patrolling the star system. While the larger race starships were named for emperors, the patrol vessels were named for other heroes of the race, the three accompanying the Rizzon and Hetto being the Sherran the Navigator, Pssufalu the Conqueror, and Skarral the Defender, respectively. While most of the military had been only recently formed when the “Soldiers Time” was declared after the discovery of the habitable planet Tosev 3, Phollmos had been part of a small force of ships tasked with patrolling the system- essentially “space cops”. Phollmos had never had to fire a shot in anger thus far, having never dealt with anything worse than a cargo ship deviating from approved flight paths or occasionally a ship smuggling contraband.

When he detected an unindentified craft traveling on a path that deviated from the usual routes for ships coming in Rabotev or Halliess, approaching from outside the lunar perimeter, Phollmos ordered the Rizzon and the rest of the patrol group to follow him in approaching the unidentified craft and sent out a transmission on all channels. “Unidentified craft, this is the Home System Space Patrol. You are ordered to identify yourself and power down your thrusters. Representatives of the Imperial Military will arrive by shuttle and dock and board your vessel shortly.”

There was no response from the unknown vessel for several minutes, Phollmos had a second transmission sent: “This is the Imperial Military Home System Patrol, you are ordered to identify yourself and power down your thrusters immediately.”

After being ignored a second time, Phollmos ordered the Rizzon to fire a launch an anti-ship missile on a trajectory that would cause it to fly past the bow of the ship without impacting it, along with a third message. “This is the Imperial Military Home System Patrol, identify yourself and power down your thrusters immediately or we will fire on you. This is your final warning.”

Meanwhile, Kaziel, the Arume commander of the space cruiser Duuraal, heard nothing, the Arume not using any of the usual Race frequencies for communications. As far as she was concerned, Kaziel had not realized the aliens had seen her at all. That was until her radar detected a single incoming missile coming from the craft.

“Captain, incoming missile!”, Taranael, Kaziel’s co-pilot and one of only two Arume on the highly automated vessel, said.

“Activate weapons systems and prepare to engage target!”, Kaziel replied, believing the warning shot to be a hostile act.

At once, the Duuraal’s point defense lasers intercepted the the incoming missile. The craft then turned its three top-mounted energy weapon turrets on the incoming craft, which fired off a salvo of green laser beams at the unknown ships.

Alarms blared throughout the bridge of the 31st Emperor Rizzon as one of the intra-system patrol craft, the Sherran the Navigator, exploded in a short-lived fireball as it was struck by a beam of green light, the on-board oxygen quickly being depleted, leaving only a field of floating debris.

Sherran is hit, catastrophic hull failure! What just happened there!?”, Korron, the commander of the 22nd Emperor Hetto asked.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say it looked like some kind of weaponized skelkwank (Race word for a laser, used only for targeting missiles and electronics applications by the Race)”, one of bridge crew on the Hetto said.

“But that’s impossible”, Korron replied.

The speculation of the crew of the Hetto was interrupted by a transmission from Phollmos on the Rizzon. “Hostile contact, all units, engage!”

Back on board the Rizzon, Gerral, the fire control officer on the ship informed Phollmos that the forward launch tube array had fired, launching a swarm of anti-spacecraft missiles at the unknown contact. The other four surviving craft of the patrol group also opened fire, launching a swarm of about 100 missiles flying towards the unknown craft. Back on the Duuraal, Kaziel noticed the swarm of countless incoming missiles flying towards the ship.

“Incoming missiles”, Kaziel ordered, “Set all point defense weapons engage and divert additional power to shield”.

“Yes, Captain”, Taranael replied.

As the missiles approached the Duuraal, the point defense lasers and autocannons roared to life, intercepting dozens of the incoming missiles, as the Duuraal send swarms of point-defense missiles to intercept more of the incoming projectiles.

Only about a dozen of the Race missiles make contact with the Duuraal, all of them detonating against the shield, which was still at 90% after the impacts.

Phollmos looked on in disbelief as the enemy ship was struck by a dozen missiles, each designed to punch through an armored spacecraft hull without so much as a scratch. As soon as the missile impacted, the unknown vessel retaliated. The two lighter patrol ships were all struck by the strange beam weapon the enemy ship carried, which burned straight through each of them, causing them to collapse in on themselves from explosive decompression.

After the energy weapon struck, then came the missiles, easily as many as the Race’s salvo, if not more. The Hetto and Rizzon both fired off their point defense missile batteries, intercepting dozens of them, while the close-range computer-controlled autocannons took out dozens more.

The Rizzon was lucky and got away unscathed, but the Hetto was not so lucky. It was hit by several missiles which impacted near the rear of the ship. Anyone in the back of the ship was killed instantly as the ion thrusters were destroyed. As soon as the hits were detected, the automatic airlocks snapped shut, cordoning off the front of the ship, which was now freely drifting without power.

Hetto, report, what’s the situation on board?”, Phollmos called out on the radio.

“Taken severe damage, propulsion and weapons are cold, abandoning ship!”, Korron replied.

“I read you, Hetto, notifying nearby patrol units to provide reinforcements and search and rescue”, Phollmos replied, before continues, “Gerral, fire the explosive metal missiles, blow them to an Emperorless afterlife!”

“It shall be done, shiplord”, Gerral replied, as he made the final preparations to fire the most devastating weapon in the ship’s arsenal, the six explosive metal missiles.

On the Duuraal, Kaziel saw the six missiles close in on the radar, only to split into four smaller contacts. The point defense systems intercepted first one, then two, then three. After a couple of seconds, however, there was a blinding flash outside ship. An alarm sounded, revealing that some sort of electromagnetic pulse had depleted the shields- the ship was on emergency power. Then two more of the enemy warheads made contact, and Kaziel knew no more.

At the distance of thousands of kilometers, the explosions of the explosive metal warheads was visible as a new star that appeared in the distance for a split second. When it had vanished, the radar revealed only a field of free-floating debris where the enemy contact was.

The crew of the ship erupted in cheers, but Phollmos was more subdued. If… whoever it was that operated these ships… sent more of them, he didn’t know of the Race could defeat them if they sent an entire fleet. After all, it took several explosive metal warheads just to destroy one.

Little did Phollmos know, when Duuraal failed to return, the Arume sent recon probes, confirming the presence of an alien civilization in the early stages of space-faring. The rulers of the Arume decided the Forime (Arume word for humans) could wait- they were nowhere near the Arume technologically. This civilization, however, could prove a threat if they were to develop faster-than-light travel. So the Arume sent a fleet of warships to destroy the civilization before they became a threat...


One Home-year later, in orbit of "Home"

Shiplord Phollmos had quite the eventful year ever since he engaged and destroyed that unidentified contact. He had expected to end up in a "bad odor" with the higher-ups on account of having lost most of a patrol group in the engagement. Instead, Fleetlord Atvar, the commander of the Race Military that was originally raised for the invasion of the Tosev-3, summoned him to Prefillo, the Imperial Capitol on behalf of the 37th Emperor Risson. As the only person who had firsthand experience fighting the unknown aliens, he was invited to serve as part of the Imperial council along with Atvar and the best physicists and biologists on Home.

The goal of this council was to prepare for something unprecidented in the Race's history: the defense of Home against a hostil alien invasion against an enemy they knew precious little about. From the remains found in the debris, they knew the aliens were carbon based, and further more, they were really ugly, at least to the eyes of the Race. They were bipedal creatures with smooth, light-colored skin and blue eyes with no eye turrets. Their hand had five digits, with only vestigial remnants of hand claws. All of them had a set bulbous structures on their chest, and furthermore, all of them appeared to be female, if they even had two separate sexes at all. Every one of the alien species had a layer of "fur" on the top of their head. They looked a bit like the images that came back from the probe to Tosev-3, but with marked differences- the most obvious, apart from the lack of any males, was their white-colored blood.

Furthermore, they were more advanced than even the Race- their starship was armed with weapons that, as far as the Race engineers could tell, projected a concentrated beam of light at the target designed to rapidly heat the surface to the point where it could melt a starship hull instantly- essentially an ultra-high powered skelkwank From Phollmos's report, the ship could also be presumed to have a device capable of prematurely detonating missiles that made it through the point defense weapons, which was only overcome by an explosive metal warhead.

In the end, the best they could come up with was to dig through every old bunker and arsenal to find every weapon they could get back in operating order, and retrofit every starship they could find with armaments, particularly explosive metal missiles. They even did something unprecidented in the history of the Race. After much argument, the council recommended that those previously not eligible for military due to Race tradition- Rabotevs, Hallessi, and even females would would be drafted into "reserve forces" for local defense in case of invasion. The females would be placed into separate units to avoid issues with the forces falling into chaos come mating season, or at least that was the hope, anyway.

One Home-year later, and Phollmos was still in command of the 31st Emperor Risson, leading a picket group of eight ships, half of them hastily retrofitted cargo ships in high orbit near the south pole of "Home". Their mission was to confirm previous reports from the Race's space probes of an incoming battlegroup of presumed alien starships traveling toward Home at near-relativistic speeds, one of the seven battlegroups of 10-20 vessels detected.

"Shiplord", the communications officer, Ktril, "10 unknown contacts making a course for the southern hemisphere, flight path does not match known commercial routes". Sure enough, a contact appeared on the computer screen, ten vessels moving in towards the south pole of Home.

Clearly this was not the only one, the 3D model of Home and the space around it lit up with reports of incoming spacecraft from multiple directions, seven battlegroups of ten to twenty.

Second after the contacts appeared, a transmission came over the radio: "This is Fleetlord Atvar aboard the 127th Emperor Hetto, all picket groups are hereby ordered to engage the incoming forces with all available explosive metal weapons and retreat to the main defensive sphere".

At once, Phollmos relayed the order to the rest of the patrol group. The eight ships fired off their thrusters and maneuvered towards the incoming alien vessels, the 31st Emperor Risson in the lead. As they made their attack run, the sensors detected numerous smaller contacts in the distance.

"Incoming missiles", Phollmos ordered to the bridge crew, "All vessels, activate point defense systems!"

The missile batteries and rotary cannons roared to life on board the eight ship battlegroup. The point defense systems of the Risson and the four lead vessels picked off the incoming missiles one-by-one as the Risson moved into missile range and fired off a salvo six explosive metal missiles, before the activating the maneuvering thrusters and turning back towards the fleet.

The first four vessels fired off their missiles and escaped unscathed, but the fifth was not so lucky- it was hastily converted cargo ship with few point defense weapons. As it fired off its third explosive metal missile, it was struck by seven alien missiles and was crippled. Of the four converted cargo craft, only one escaped. But the aliens had not won their victory without losses. Two of their ships has been destroyed by explosive metal warhead impacts, and a third had been heavily damaged.

At the same time, Arume Flagship Novaal, primary defensive sphere, above Rizaffi, Home

Shivariel sat in captain's seat of the Arume flagship Novaal in the early stages of the invasion of the planet whose inhabitants had been foolish enough to attack her comrades. While the Arume had lost a few ships, they were acceptable losses- theirs was a glorious death, one that would pave the way for an Arume victory.

The ships of the primitive natives, which did not even have shields, were easily swept aside by the firepower of the Novaal and the 20 battlecruisers that accompanied it. Now they stood facing a battlegroup of fifty enemy vessels at just outside missile range.

Shivariel, however, was not concerned. The Novaal was an Arume flagship, and was armed with more powerful weapons than even the battlecruisers. "All units, keep clear of the bow of the Novaal, engaging Genocide Mode.

"Genocide Mode" was a rather cynical Arume term for the diversion of most of the ship's power to the forward energy weapon for use as a weapon of mass destruction. Contrary to the name, it wouldn't destroy the planet, but it would wipe out a battlegroup of ships... or a city, such as the one thousands of kilometers in front of her, near the shore of one of the few major bodies of water on the planet, located near the equator.

The front of the Novaal opened up to reveal the massive forward energy weapon, which began to glow with an bright light, which, over the the course of about 30 seconds, increased to almost blinding intensity, as though a piece of the sun formed on the bow of the Novaal. Finally, the weapon fired a massive beam of light which instantly bridged the thousands of kilometers between the Novaal and the Race fleet. The heat of the beam vaporized the Race ships that were caught directly in it, and even at a distance of dozens of kilometers, it was enough to melt the hull and cause a breach.

The devastating blast of energy kept going past the Race fleet, and impacted the surface of "Home", destroying the center of the port city below in a flash of fire comparable to an explosive metal bomb. The city center was annihilated, and worse, Atvar's defensive sphere was breached.

"Ships two, five, and seven, prepare to make landing, ready all drop pods for deployment!", Shivariel ordered. The Arume invasion of the surface of Home had begun.

Race starship 206th Emperor Yower, Space above Prefillo, Home

Elsewhere in the fight to control the space above Home, things weren't going as well for the Arume.

Shivariel's breach of the Race fleet has been an isolated incident, around the rest of the planet, Atvar's defensive sphere had held. The thickest point of the defensive "sphere" around the race was around the Imperial capital, Prefillo. Here, Atvar has placed the Race officers who had proved most insightful in the meetings for the defense of Home, and had developed a reputation in training for shying away from the manuals when he found a method of doing things he thought was more efficient, and also proved to me more aggressive in simulations. This caused him to butt heads with the naturally conservative Race power structure, including Atvar himself. Atvar didn't like him, but he begrudgingly admitted that in a situation like this, Straha's insight and aggression were just what was needed in a situation like this.

And so it was that the 206th Emperor Yower was tasked with leading a fleet of 70 ships against the Arume battlegroup travelling towards them, on a course that would see them enter atmosphere directly above Prefillo.

"All units, commence counterattack according to Plan 122-74", Straha commanded through the Race comms network, "Maintain positions for maximum point defense coverage".

The plan Straha referred to was one he had come up with himself while running exhaustive computer simulations over the last year to determine the best layout for a starship formation to avoid missile attacks while travelling in deep space. He could do nothing about the weaponized skelkwank, if that's what those "beams of light" described in Phollmos' report were, but the unknown alien fleet also used missiles, which could be intercepted by race technologies. And so, after months of testing different configurations various ship classes with different point defense arrays, he had come up with this formation.

The Arume battlegroup lay about tens of thousands of kilometers ahead, and numbered only 20 ships, centered around a single vessel much larger than the others. Yet they showed no signs of being phased by the opposing fleet.

"Were they highly confident in their superior technologies- their "weaponized skelkwanks" and "anti-missile fields", or were they just plain crazy", Straha wondered, "Or was it some combination of the two.

Regardless, as the first salvo of Arume missiles came in, the formation held. The incoming projectiles were greeted with a swarm of point defense missiles and a hail of ferric-tungsten slugs fired from the computer-controlled rotary cannons. Of the swarm of over 100 missiles, less the 20 got through, destroying only two ships and damaging three more.

After holding out for a second volley, it was Straha's turn to retaliate. Over 100 missiles, each tipped with an explosive metal warhead flew towards the Arume fleet. In atmosphere, using this number of explosive metal warheads was unthinkable, but here, outside the atmosphere of Home, the radiation would simply travel out into space.

As the missiles neared the Arume fleet, the Arume flagship, one of two heavy vessels similar to Shivariel's Novaal opened its forward heavy energy weapons, having entered "Genocide Mode" as the Arume called it. After it became clear that the enemy fleet could intercept their missiles, the Arume captain had ordered the employment of the weapon to wipe out the enemy fleet in front of her.

But immediately after she began diverting power to all unnecessary systems, the escort ships spotted the incoming missile swarm. With their point defense systems severely reduced, the Arume flagship and its escorts were struck by dozens of the Race missiles, exploding in a blinding flash, followed by a short-lived fireball as the explosion consumed the oxygen within the ship in less than a second, leaving only floating debris behind.

near the coast of the Sirron Sea, north of Rizaffi, a few moments earlier...

As if facing an alien invasion for the first time in the Race's history wasn't bad enough, Gorpett had the misfortune of being assigned to a base north of Rizaffi, a city located on the Sirron Sea, one of the few bodies of water on Home large enough for the use of seagoing ships to be economically viable. Everyone who visited the city, be they Race, Hallessi, or Rabotev complained about the oppressive humidity that was practically constant. It was times like these that made one wish they hadn't bothered hatching.

At the moment, Gorpett leaned against a tree with his rifle slung over his shoulder, trying to take advantage of what little relief the tree provided. About the only good news at the moment was that, at least thus far, the Race seemed to outnumber the invaders- it seemed they had underestimated the Race and brought only a small conquest fleet. From what he overheard from the radio in nearby Troopcarrier, the Race Imperial fleet had struck a major blow to the invaders attacking, destroying a force of enemy starships inbound for Prefillo.

Hopefully at this rate, the invaders would be defeated in space, and never make their way to the surface. As that though went through his mind, everything in Gorpett's field of vision was covered by a flash of light, as a force like a violent wind knocked Gorpett off his feet.

As Gorpett's vision and hearing returned to him, he heard the sounds of panicked shouting. The cause was immediately apparent, on the southern horizon, where the skyline of Rizaffi had been moments ago, stood only a column of smoke and flames, as though the city has been struck by an explosive metal bomb.

The he saw them, silhouetted against the flames that covered the sky, three large black shapes and dozens of smaller ones. Anti-starship missiles streaked off into the air towards the targets. A few of the smaller ones were hit and apparently destroyed, but the larger objects simply fired off what looked like beams of green light, which intercepted the missiles. Soon after, the beams of light started to streak down onto the ground.

The control tower of the airfield immediately to the north of Gorpett's position was struck one of the beams of light, exploding in a ball of fire, as more shots form the mysterious alien weapons sent an entire row of parked Killercraft up in flames. As Gorpett dove into a nearby foxhole along with several infantrymales, the beam weapons were joined by a swarm of missiles, more familiar, but no less devastating weapons.

In less than five minutes the seemed like an eternity, the barrage ceased, but the onslaught was far from over. The few dozen smaller objects split apart in to hundreds of smaller ones, which swarmed in at Gorpett's position. As they moved closer, Gorpett realized what they were, numerous swept-winged aircraft: Killercraft.

The alien Killercraft flew in as the few anti-air weapons that survived the bombardment opened up. A SAM battery fire, striking down first one, then two, then three enemy aircraft in a ball of fire. The enemy Killercraft retaliated, strafing anything that moved with beam weapons like those on the ships. While the Race air defenses, which consisted of two SAM batteries and three trailer-mounted computer-controlled rotary cannon were overrun, they took down over 15 of the enemy Killercraft. A race infantrymale even took down one with a man-portable SAM launcher.

Finally, the enemy Killercraft turned away, having presumably decided they had eradicated any Race resistance at the airfield. After a couple minutes of silence, Gorpett got out and inspected the smoking ruins of the airfield. The silence after the attack was broken by the voice of the infantrymale next to him, named Fotsev.

"You notice something strange about those alien Killercraft?", Fotsev said, "They didn't seem to have any long range missiles and were easily hit by our AA weapons, so they didn't seem any more maneuverable or to have any countermeasures. You'd think a Killercraft from a more advance civilization would completely outclass ours, but compared to what I've seen ours do, I'm honestly not all that impressed."

Fotsev's musings, however, were cut short by a panicked voice in a Rabotev accent- one of those miltias made up of those not usually eligible for military service, punctuated by gunfire: "Incoming enemy transports aircraft dropping troops off all over what's left of the city. A formation of them sighted headed to towards Rizaffi Air Base!"

Sure enough, looking on the horizon, Gorpett could a number of bulbous shapes flowing low above the ground, advancing towards their location. Gorpett unslung his assault rifle from his shoulder as, all around them, Race troops prepared for battle. Four troop carriers and four landcruisers arrived, looking less like a proper mechanized infantry platoon than simply a group of surviving vehicles that hurriedly made their way towards the oncoming foe.

The sound of helicopter rotors filled the air- apparently two who the helicopters at the airbase were undamage and managed to take off, moving in on the flight of incoming VTOLs. The first helicopter fired a missile at one of the alien aircraft, impacting it and blowing it out of the sky as the second engaged another aircraft with its cannon. They took down four of them before an alien killercraft dove in and shot down both of them.

As the VTOLs reached an area of ruined structures about a two kilometers from the gate to the airbase, Gorpett could see figures jump out of the craft and slowly fall to the ground, as though from a parachute, though they could not see any such device. Along with the infantry, six larger bepedal figures fell from the hovering aircraft. At first, Gorpett thought they were some kind of massive creature, but, as they deployed the retro rockets from their back and feet to slow their descent, he realized they had to be some kind of vehicle that walked on mechanical legs.

The troops managed to disembark within a couple minutes, the "walkers" moving out ahead to protect the landing zone. Then, the walking vehicles advanced forward, slowly making their way toward the race position. The Walkers opened fire first, firing bursts of what seemed to be purples tracer rounds. These projectiles exploded over the head of a group of race infantry about 100 meters down the line and tore them to pieces. Another burst of the alien projectiles impacted a troop carrier and sent it up in flames.

The sound of the alien weapons was joined by the thunder of a landcruiser's main gun and chattering of the autocannons of the troop carrier. One of the landcruisers scored a direct hit on the lead walker. Flames erupted from the back of the machine as it collapsed and fell over backwards. A race soldier operating an anti-landcruiser missile scored a second kill, destroying another of the walkers as the infantry on both sides opened up. Like their vehicle cannons, their infantry rifles seemed much more like those of the Race than their exotic air and spacecraft weapons, firing what looked like conventional rounds with purple tracers.

That did not make them any less dangerous. Gorpett cautiously raised his head over the foxhole and took aim with the low-power scope on top of his rifle, firing a burst of rounds at a group enemy infantry about 500 meters away. At least one of them collapsed, but it was not clear at this distance, whether Gorpett's bullets or those of the countless other race infantry males had scored the kill.

The firefight lasted maybe five minutes, though it felt much longer. In the end, the alien infantry retreated back to the ruined structures, proving unable to make it across the open area outside the airbase with all of their armor destroyed. But the Race had lost over 50 infantrymales and all but one of their vehicles.

Practically as soon as the alien infantry retreated, Gorpett heard a mechanical whining sound above him. Looking up, he realized that one of the alien ship that was hovering over the city was flying directly towards them. The few surviving SAMs at the airbase fired at the ship, only for them to be intercepted about 20 meters from the hull by what seemed to be an invisible barrier.

The starship was right over Gorpett's head. He expected them to fire their weapons and reduce them entire race position to dust, indeed, he had no idea why they hadn't already. Instead, however, they seemed to deploy more infantry, lowering them using whatever device the aliens used to slowly descend. The race infantrymales all fired upwards, and then, the unexpected happened: the alien infantry exploded with a blast the size of a bomb dropped from a killercraft when hit.

After firing for a second, most of the unit, including Gorpett, was forced to reload, allowing the exploding aliens to reach only a few dozen meters above them. As he slammed the magazine back into his rifle, Gorpett could see one of them hovering only about ten meters above him. It was a scaleless creature with white "fur" on its head, with eyes recessed into the skull rather than in eye turrets or stalks. Gorpett took aim and pulled the trigger, causing the his entire field of vision to be taken over by a wall of flames, and then, everything went black.

Ekaril, Arume Ship 5, above Rizaffi Air Base

Ekaril sat at the controls of the Arume Ship 5, designated "Blue". At the moment, she had just released 200 Gosta- Arume suicide bomber clones on to the enemy base. The alien forces surrounding the city were routed, fleeing in terror. Still, Ekaril couldn't help but feel uneasy about the situation. The Arume had created a corridor through the alien defensive sphere to the surface, but the most of the remaining battlegroups had either been destroyed, or else redirected to hold the one corridor to the surface they held.

If the alien forces pressed their attack, Ekaril feared they could destroy the remaining Arume ships in orbit, before trapping the landed forces on the surface where they could easily be wiped out, all before reinforcements arrived. It seemed clear to Ekaril that Shivariel and the Arume high command had underestimated their foe.

At the moment, Ekaril could do nothing about the situation. She could only keep fighting in the hope the Shivariel held to corridor for long enough for reinforcements to arrrive.

"Tsubael", Ekaril said to her weapons officer, one of only three Arume involved with the operation of the ship, "Scan the surface for any surviving hostiles and engage with the main battery".

"Yes, commander", Tsubael replied as she scanned the area and tasked the bottom laser cannons mounted on the ship with firing on several enemy vehicles on the surface of the planet, each of which was vaporized in a single shot.

As Tsubael started the bombardment of the surface, the image of Shivariel's face appeared in the holographic display. "Ships one through six are to deploy all reserve fighters to escort the heavy bomber immediately!"

"Understood, ma'am", Ekaril replied, before turning to the third Arume on the bridge. "Onomil", she told her, "Prepare the launch bays for fighter deployment."

Three hours later, Teerts, Race killercraft pilot, 500 kilometers from Prefillo

Teerts stood at the head of a flight of about 100 Race killercraft, comprising of the Second, Third, and Seventh squadrons, as well as he unit, the Fourth Squadron. After a force of about 200 alien craft

"This if Fourth Squadron Lead to Control", Teerts said through the , "We have detected the hostile air forces, about 200 contacts".


"We read you, Fourth Squadron Lead, you are cleared to engaged", the Race officer in the command center in Prefillo replied, "The large aircraft at the center of the formation is your primary target, Squadrons Two, Three, and Seven are to engage the escorts."

"Understood control", Teerts replied, "All aircraft, commence attack now!"

Immediately, a swarm of missiles flew in at the enemy air forces from three directions. Flashes of fire could be seen in the distance as the missiles made impact. Between the missile fire from the Second, and Third squadrons, which came in from the west and east respectively, and the Seventh, which came in the center, the front and sides of the large alien aircraft were completely cleared of escorts.

"Fourth Squadron, Fire two missiles at the target and make ready for a follow-up attack if necessary", Teerts commanded as he tapped the trigger on the flight stick with his hand claw twice. A pair of radar-guided missiles streaked off towards the target. As they neared the enemy aircraft, however, dozens of surviving alien fighters flew into the paths of the missiles, willing sacrificing themselves to prevent the target from being hit.

The rest of the alien fighters, about 100 in number, charged forward, making no attempt to fire missiles- in fact, reports from Rizaffi sent shortly before the defenders were overrun suggested that the weapons of the alien craft didn't have any weapons other than their nose-mounted short range beam weapons.

As such, the incoming enemy aircraft were cut down in droves by the Race killercraft. Teerts himself shot down four of them with short-range heatseekers. Only about 30 of the enemy aircraft made it close enough to engage with their weapons. One of them flew right at Teerts, the weapon on its nose glowing with light, preparing to fire.

But Teerts was too quick for them. Rapidly pulling up on the fight stick, he pointed his nose towards the enemy aircraft and pressed down the trigger. The rotary cannon mounted in the wing root fired, spitting out explosive shells at 1200 rounds per minute. The enemy aircraft burst into flames and fell from the sky in a streak of fire like a comet.

In the close-in melee, about a dozen killercraft had been shot down, but so were all of the enemy fighters. In the midst of the fight, Teerts was the only one who realized that, while they were falling in droves, the enemy killercraft had done their job- while the rest of the flight was distracted, the enemy bomber had released a single missile, which streaked off towards Prefiillo

Realizing there was no time to come up with a better plan, Teerts spoke into his radio to his second-in-command.

"The enemy aircraft had released a missile. Gefron, take command of the flight and take down that target. I'm going after the missile. May the Spirits of Emperors Past protect you, long live the Emperor!", Teerts said, as he made a sharp turn, diving towards the missile.

The alien missile had a significant head start, but it didn't seem to be any faster than an equivalent weapon of the Race- he could still catch up to it.

Teerts slammed down the throttle, activating the afterburner. For the sake of the Emperor and the millions of others who lived in Prefillo, he had to intercept it. In a matter of minutes, he had covered 10 kilometers... then twenty. All the while, he was gaining in the missile. It was no less than a kilometer away, and yet he could not get a radar lock with his radar-guided missiles- the target was too small, and he had used up all his heatseekers in the dogfight. He had to get close enough for a gun kill.

Teerts kept flying at full throttle, hoping he could catch up before the fuel gave out.... 600 meters.... 500.... 300 meters... At 200 meters, Teerts placed the gunsight of his cannon just in front of the missile and pulled the trigger. A burst of shells struck down the length of the missile. Then, Teert's entire vision was covered by a flash of green light, and then... nothing.

30 kilometers away, the rest of the flight was safe from the blast, which resembled an explosive metal bomb, save for the green hue of the flames, though dozens of them crashed, having been blinded by the flash. Nonetheless, the Prefillo was safe, the missile having exploded over a sparely populated desert region. As Teerts brought down the missile, the Arume bomber had been hit by several missiles and shot out of the sky.

Votal, about 300 kilometers north of Rizaffi

Votal stuck his head out of his landcruiser's hatch, one of five in his platoon, part of a larger armored company tasked with holding the outskirts of a now-abandoned city that had once been home to about 100,000 Race citizens, but was now occupied only by the race military.

At he moment, Votal's landcruiser was hidden in a narrow alley between two buildings, hidden amongst the town. Starting the day after they took Rizaffi, the aliens revealed new more powerful land weapons, which became known as "walking towers" by the Race. These "walking towers" were massive vehicles that walked on mechanical legs five stories tall, and were armed with a pair of guns comparable to those of a landcruiser.

While their higher platform gave the "walking towers" a slightly longer engagement range, you could see them from a lot further away than you could a landcruiser. Initially, when they were supported by the enemy ships, the "walking towers" and alien infantry made rapid gains, but with the curvature of Home preventing their ships from providing support, the destruction of much of their air forces, and the Race fleet keeping them penned in to the area of space just above Rizaffi, the alien advance was beginning to falter.

In this sector, the aliens were still advancing, but their momentum was slowing each day. At the moment, seven "walking towers" approached the city, unaware that they would soon be moving into range of the landcruisers guns. Votal lowered his head back into the landcruiser's turret and spoke into the radio connected to the platoon.

"Platoon 1 fire mission, target five 'walking towers', terrain reference point 3, load sabot, maneuver to firing position and engage on my go, direct fire pattern....." Votal said, "NOW!"

Switching to the landcruiser's intercom, Votal said, "Ussmak, advance to firing position!"

"It will be done", Ussmak, the driver of the landcruiser replied as the engine roared to life as the machine lurched forward. As the vehicle reached the end of the street leading into the center of the city, the turret shifted slightly to the right, taking aim at the "walking tower" directly in front of them.

"Firing!", Telerap, the gunner, called out, before all sound was drowned out by the roar of five landcruiser guns. A dart made of solid depleted uranium blazed toward to the Arume walker and impacted on the front of the superstructure, punching through the alien vehicle's armor and sending it up a flash of fire. As the cab exploded, the "walking tower" lurched over to one side and collapsed like a felled tree. In the distance, five more of the alien vehicles exploded, leaving only two remaining.

As one of the Arume walkers turned its main guns on Votal's vehicle, Ussmak sent it back into full reverse. The alien projectiles, glowing with a purple flame exploded about five meters in front of them, where the landcruiser would have been a second earlier.

By the time the smoke in front of him has cleared, the two remaining alien walkers were both hit by landcruisers from Platoon 2. The Arume heavy armor having been neutralized, the company commander ordered a counterattack. Votal's landcruiser rolled forward, firing its gun and making short work of an Arume light walker. Votal, meanwhile, had gotten back on top of the landcruiser turret, and was presently firing the top-mounted heavy machine gun, sending a stream of tracers streaking towards the enemy infantry, some 1200 or so meters away.

There was no doubt now that the tide was turning...


Ekaril, Arume Ship Five, over Rizaffi

Ekaril sat at the controls of the Ship 5 of the Arume fleet, designated "Blue". Thus far, the Arume had managed to keep a narrow corridor of space open to the surface, and the point defense systems of her ship and the others four Arume vessels hovering above the surface had intercepted any missiles or aircraft that came their way in atmosphere, but it was quickly becoming clear that the Arume had underestimated the alien enemy they were now engaged with. The Arume were more advanced, but they had arrived with too few ships, and Shivariel's zeal to landing on the surface and strike a decisive blow even before clearing the orbit of the planet was a looking more and more like a major blunder on here part.

For all that her culture instilled about self-sacrifice, Ekaril was beginning to wonder if it was all worth it- the Arume were supposed to be preparing for their expedition to the Forime homeworld to seize the last remnants of Arume male DNA in the Forime genome, and save their species from the impending genetic bottleneck that already could leave them highly vulnerable to being wiped out by something like a deadly disease that their medical technology could not contain. Instead, they were bogged down in a mission of petty revenge for what Ekaril could not help but think was simply the result of a case of mistaken identity and an itchy trigger finger.

And furthermore, considering the resistance they were facing on this planet, was invading the Forime homeworld really the best option? After all, according to Arume intel, the Forime did not have spacecraft capable of going beyond their system, and had never flown a manned mission further than their moon, but their fighter aircraft and armored vehicles were not that different from those of this race... right not those vehicles were absolutely wreaking havoc on the Arume ground and air forces. Only the spacecraft had any chance of holding the line.... at least for now....

Ekaril's musings were cut short by the sound of the holographic projector coming to life, showing an image of Shivariel's face speaking on from on board the Novaal.

"This is commander Shivariel to all forces. Commence planetary evacuation. Ships one through Seven are to escort the Novaal out of system. All ships are to hold the corridor until such time as the Novaal has commenced FTL travel".

In response to this order, Ekaril commanded, "Onomil, warm up the thrusters and enter position in formation with the Novaal".

"Tsubael", Ekaril turned to her other subordinate, "Place all defense systems on high alert and ready main battery to engage any hostile spacecraft".

"At once, Ma'am", Tsubael replied as Onomil gave a similar affirmative.

Ekaril didn't express it, but at this moment, she, along with everyone else on the ship realized that things must be even worse than they had thought. The corridor to the surface was clearly in imminent danger of falling.

Ekaril piloted her ship alongside the Novaal as all five Arume spacecraft hovering flew north over the Sirron Sea at an upwards angle. As the ruins of Rizaffi and blue sea below got smaller, the thursters of all five Arume ships went into full power. Soon the blue skies turned the the blackness of space as two other Arume space craft in orbit joined them.

"Incoming hostile, battle line in imminent danger of breaking!", a panicked voice yelled over the Arume comms network, as seconds later, a second yelled, "Interceptor missiles are exhausted, shield power at 20%, need backup...!"

At that second, Ekaril saw a flash of fire in the distance, as an Arume vessel disappeared from the radar.

"Incoming hostiles, Distance 40,000", Shivariel ordered, "All escort vessels are to expend all remaining missiles and engage!".

"You heard her, Tsubael", Ekaril said with a resigned sigh, "Fire all anti-spacecraft missiles at the targets indicated".

Some sixty or so missiles blazed off towards a Race fleet of dozens of ships. Two of the alien ships were hit, but most of the Arume missiles were intercepted by their point defense systems. Ekaril ordered Onomil to break off formation as she had been told to and prepare to make a run on the incoming ships.

At a distance of about 20,000 of the standard Arume distance unit, Tsubael locked on to the first vessel on the Arume fleet. The highly automated computer systems did the rest- a stream of green light streaked through space, catching the enemy vessel in the nose, blowing off the bow and causing the rest of the ship to crumple from the decompression. A second shot sent the sublight thrusters of another Race ship, sending it up in flames.

Clearly the Race were not about take this lying down. A swarm of missile flew in at the small Arume battlegroup. Ships Four and Seven were hit first, with one of the being blown apart by a nuclear warhead, while a second was simply heavily damaged and left floating, its engines dead. A second salvo of smaller alien missiles flew in. With all of the point defense systems destroyed by the nuclear blast or fried by the EMP, it was an easy target for a swarm of conventional anti-ship missiles, which covered its hull in explosions, punching countless holes in its hull, until the ship was torn apart by explosive decompression.

Then it was Ekaril's turn. She saw dozens of missiles flying in towards her. The first few were intercepted by the point defense systems, but the several more made it past... only to fly right past her ship. Looking through her rearview cameras, she saw the missiles fly towards the Novaal, which had split apart the four covers of the bombardment cannon, entering "genocide mode" as it was known to the Arume. Clearly she was trying to blast her way through the fleet ahead.

Unfortunately for Shivariel, she never got the chance. With all power diverted to the main plasma cannon, the point defense lasers were cold. Ekaril shielded her eyes a four nuclear missiles struck the Novaal. As the flash cleared from her eyes, the Novaal was replaced with a floating debris field.

Now that the primary target was destroyed, Ekaril knew the enemy would waste no time mopping up the secondaries, including her.

"Onomil!", Ekaril commanded, "Divert all power to the FTL drive and prepare to jump immediately. I don't care what vector, just get us out of here!"

"At once, Ma'am", Onomil said hurriedly as the the armaments and shields all powered down. With missiles incoming, it was question of whether the FTL drive could fire up in time. The ship began to accelerate forward as space warped around her. The stars became streaks as her ship began to red shift, before disappearing entirely. They were safe, at least for now.

Votal, near the ruins of Rizaffi Air Force Base

Votal looked through the periscope on his landcruiser, having "buttoned up" as they were presently approaching a force of Arume walkers, both medium and heavy. This small group of Arume were some of the last ones resisting, having their backs literally to the wall now that their fleet had retreated. While some groups of the aliens resisted, many of them fought to the last, like a cornered tsiongi.

Votal's landcruiser kept moving forwards its maximum speed as several helicopter gunships flew overhead, releasing a salvo of anti-landcruiser missile as the alien forces, before turning away before they could return fire. With the Arume air and space force either been annihilated or having retreated, the only thing the helicopters had to fire handheld missile launchers and heavy machine guns. Fortunately, their missiles allowed them to hit the Arume walkers from beyond the range of those weapons.

Seven Arume walkers were hit by the helicopters missiles. Now it was turn of Votal's unit, and over 50 other landcruisers and at least as many troop carriers to strike. As the vehicles neared, the six remaining "walking towers" fired off their main guns. Their slightly greater range, given their height, allowed them to get off the opening salvo, but they only took out two landcruisers and three troop carriers.

"Enemy heavy walker", Votal called out, "TRP 3, range 1500, load sabot!"


"Affirmative", Telerep, the landcruiser gunner responded, as the turret shifted slightly to the right "Firing!"

The landcruiser's gun roared as the discarding sabot round shot out of the barrel and into the walker. The walker exploded into a flash of flame as it was struck by multiple shells. With so many more landcruisers, all of the walkers were picked off in less than a second, many of them hit by multiple rounds.

"Good hit, target destroyed", Votal called out.

"Second Platoon", the company commander, a Race officer named Hisslef said into the radio, "You are to move in along the runway and support the infantry in taking the the hangars and the remains of the control tower.

"We read you, command", Votal said, "It will be done".

"Ussmak", Votal said to the driver of the Landcruiser, "Advance along the runway, Telerep, battle carry HE"

At Votal's instruction, the landcruiser began moving forward, towards the runway of the ruined air base, avoiding the many craters in from the Arume bombardment a few days ago. Looking through the thermal sight, Votal spotted a squad of Arume troops taking cover in the ruins of a hangar about half a kilometer away.

"Enemy infantry located in the ruins of the hangar, 35 degrees left", Votal called out the target. He then called out targets for the other landcruisers in the platoon- "Landcruiser 331, enemy infantry, right hangar, 45 degrees right of the runway. 249, target the enemy force behind that wrecked killercraft. Vehicle 115 is to remain on standby in case any of them make a run for it."

Telerep turned the landcruiser's turret to target the ruins of the hangar. The explosive shell detonated, throwing pieces of concrete and steel, as well as Arume bodies through the air. At the same time, two more shells caused further damage to an already throughly destroyed hangar and killercraft respectively.

As the infantry advanced, the autocannons on the troop carriers opened up, suppressing the Arume positions in the ruins of the hangar. A few Arume tried to return fire, but they were soon either killed or suppressed by fire from the troop carriers and landcruiser. Some of the muzzle flashes from the Arume position were the familiar orange flame of Race weapons, and not the purple muzzle flash of the Arume's more exotic armaments. This could only mean one thing- they were running out of ammunition and were forced to use scavenged Race weapons. Votal wondered why they didn't just surrender at this point.

As the infantry drew close to the Arume positions, the fire from the vehicles ceased. As the infantry reached a distance of about 100 meters from the hangars, a handful of surviving Arume returned fire, only for the Race infantry to retaliate. The firefight lasted only a few minutes, as the right side of the Arume line was thoroughly gutted by the fire from the landcruisers, allowing the infantry to move on the Arume's flanks and fire on them through the gaping holes blown in the walls of the ruined hangar.

Soon after, the voice of the commander of the infantry company charged with clearing the hangars reported, "The hangars are clear, landcruiser unit, move up and provide support".

Votal's landcruiser platoon led the charge, with the infantry advancing behind them towards the ruins of the control tower, which had the top completely destroyed, now remaining only as a concrete stump about half the height of the original structure, the steel skeleton sticking out of the top.

As they reached a few hundred meters distance, a machine gun nest on the tower opened up on the infantry. At the same time, a rocket streaked out from beyond the top of the tower. The rocket, a weapons of alien design, streaked between two landcruisers and impacted a troop carrier, sending it up in flames.

"Contact, rockets, top floor of the tower, MG nest on the second floor", a voice called out on the radio.

"Telerep, put a HE shell in the upper window", Votal called out on the radio, before switching from the intercom to the platoon frequency, "Landcruisers 115 and 331 are to target the second level of the tower".

Three landcruiser guns, along with the autocannons of several of the troop carriers opened up on the tower, effectively reducing the structure to a steel skeleton, no doubt killing any enemy forces that remained inside. Under the covering fire for the landcruisers the infantry advanced.

Once again, it was over in a few minutes, the outgunned enemy forces that survived the fire from the landcruisers either surrendered, or else were swiftly dispatched by the infantry.

Atvar, R&D facility, Prefillo, six months later

Atvar and Straha walked past the security checkpoint, into the R&D facility, where they were greeted by a Race physicist, a female named Pesskrag. It had been six months since the alien invasion had been defeated. In the center of the R&D facility was a larger metal tube, showing clear signs of damage, but still apparently functional, as it had wires connected to it criss-crossing across the floor, and a series of lights on the side of it were emitting a dim green glow. The weapon was one of the alien "weaponized ftaskelkwank (Race term for a laser) recovered from the debris fields of one of the destroyed alien ships.

"Fleetlord", Pesskrag said, "We have been able to make some breakthroughs with the alien weapon. If we continue at working at what, I may speak freely, is a quite frankly reckless pace, we may be able to replicate the device within one to two years."

"Ever since the aliens landed, we must rethink the meaning of 'reckless pace'", Straha replied, "At this point, we can only hope we can reverse engineer their technologies before more of them arrive".

"I understand, Shiplord", Pesskrag replied, "Thankfully, at least we can understand the ftaskelkwank, it seems to not be that different from a similar race device, only operating at a much higher power. Our starship's fusion reactors should be powerful enough to make them a viable starship armament. We still haven't figured out how they managed to miniaturize the reactor enough to mount it on their killercraft".


"...and what about the defensive field and the FTL drives?", Atvar asked.

"The defensive field is proving more difficult. We've managed to power a recovered example using a fusion reactor, and we have a pretty good idea how it works. Essentially, it seems to project a field of superheated plasma intercept solid projectiles, and is also capable of refracting alien energy weapons. Of course, should it be struck with an amount of force such that the power is not sufficient to create a shield strong enough to block the attack, it can be overwhelmed, as we saw with the explosive metal warheads. By our current estimates, my team might be able to replicate the design in five to ten years. The FTL drive on the other hand, is a whole other issue. If I hadn't seen the evidence with my own eyes, I would have told you it was impossible", Pesskrag replied.

"To be frank, I'd say, even assuming we manage to piece together the parts of the drive from a destroyed alien craft, it will be at least 25 years before we can replicate the technology. If we can't get our hands on an intact specimen, it might take 75 years or more.", Pesskrag continued.


"In that case, we simply have to hope we can get at least the ftaskelkwank into production and active service before more of them arrive, and that it will be enough to hold off the second wave.", Atvar said.


WINNER: The Race

Expert's Opinion

The Race won this battle in spite of the Arume's superior technology as, while the Race were slow to adapt, they did prove capable of adapting to a new threat at least to a degree, even if it was too little, too late to prevent their defeat on Earth. The Arume, on the other hand, center their culture around the virtue of self-sacrifice, leading to poor allocation of their superior technology, such as their fighters which lack shields or long range weapons. This, along with the downright suicidal tactics of the Arume gave them the Race the victory.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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