The Great Library, a massive collection of knowledge in the center of the Galaxy was fought over in several conflicts that made up the Eradication Wars. Prior to that, access to the Library was open to every race but was highly limited as the authorization codes had been lost millennia ago. Several copies of the Great Library were scattered all over the Galaxy and contained technological data of the empires that owned them, those were called 'Lesser Libraries'.
When the Confederacy of United Suns--a massive collection of unions that were bound by the Rights of the Sentient--finally had enough of the wars, they swooped in and destroyed the reason for the conflicts while sacrificing their own Lesser Library.
When the fighting died down, the Confederates signed a treaty that forced all participants to destroy their most advanced weapons: Planet Breakers, Nova Inducer Bombs, Subversion Mechanisms, Replicating Nanites and Phased Beams among the massive list. More civil advancements were also erased: Cloning, Wormholes, Intergalactic and Fast Jump Drives, Planet Builders and the planets that were created, Atomic Replication, 'Seeder Devices' and the famed 'Genisis Drive'.
82 Years after the Great Intervention, the Confederacy of United Suns assumed the role of protecting less-advanced, younger empires from invasion. Pirates and slave traders were hunted down with great efficiency by SpecOps commandos.
The Confederacy's Capital Planet and Homeworld, Nova Armeston was a sphere of water and land slightly smaller than Earth. It was lightly populated with only 2 Billion people scattered across two massive continents. One was called Windplane, the other was Heightfires. In the Confederacy's infancy, before the discovery of spaceflight, both continents were their namesake. Millennia later, the planet had been transformed into a temperate climate with tropical areas around her equator: flora and fauna had been engineered and modified to cope with the almost-sudden change in climates.
Twenty Seven years later, the fires of war are about to engulf the galaxy once again as the Empire begins hostilities with the Confederacy. The Confederate Navy is being readied for the task it had been given millennia ago: Defend Her and Her Allies.
Kazimir sighed as he pushed his datapad away: he had just signed the contract that committed him to 4 years training in the Navy.
A pang of uneasiness shot through him. 'What if I die in a Live Fire accident?' he thought.
Dying in battle was generally accepted, but dying in a Live Fire exercise was seen as stupidity on both ends.
He pushed the thought away and downed a glass of water in once gulp. The datapad pinged and Kazimir picked it up. The device automatically detected his biometrics and unlocked itself, allowing him to view the file that was being sent to him.
Seconds later, the download was complete, and he had everything he needed to know about the training process. A transport would arrive for him within the week.
A Week Later
Laerana Miroslav hugged her son, Kazimir with tearful eyes. His father, Abram 'Abe' Miroslav stood beside Laerana, his eyes red and puffy. Once Lae had broken her embrace, Kazimir saluted his father, who was an Eradication War veteran.
While cloning had been abandoned, cell regeneration was still available at a high price, theoretically allowing people to live indefinitely.
His sister walked down the stairs leading to the Master's Suites, a small nanocloth bag dangling from her hand. His brother, Jared followed, the Miroslav Family crest in his hand.
“We'll meet again Mom,” Kazimir said “I'll promise that. And Dad, my medals won't come posthumously.
“Through fire and ice,” Gerson replied “freedom will reign free, son.”
“Come on guys.” Kazimir said, “It’s not like it’s the last time you’ll ever see me again.”
“Kaz,” one of his brothers said “you're an idiot, you always were. But you've got what it takes.”
“Same as always, Jared.” He replied with a smile “Keep mom safe.”
“'Course I will.” Jared said, hugging his brother.
“Take this,” Jared said, pressing the crest into Kazimir's hand “it'll save your life. Probably in some barfight somewhere.”
Kazimir laughed and nearly missed the thrum of anti-grav units hovering outside.
“I guess it’s time for me to go.” Kazimir said “Jera ‘kai!” Farewell.
Kazimir took his belongings and stepped outside. The day was bright and cloudless. To the far north he saw an aurora dancing, and he thought that it complimented the sight of Nova Armeston’s twin moons: Charity and Piety. A military transport contrasted the sight; its paint was chipped and scratched and the mass of metal hovered a foot above the neatly groomed grass lawn of the Miroslav Family Mansion. The frigid winter winds blew on his face and a shiver ran down his spine.
Kazimir waved goodbye to his family, which returned the favor through the window, he also greeted the gardener a good morning and climbed into the transport.
The dimly lit rear of the vehicle was dank and smelled of dried vomit, blood and sweat. The uncomfortable looking plastic seats were chipped and broken. The vehicle had obviously seen some action before being sent to pick them up. Kazimir placed his things in an overhead storage bin and sat down.
Ten other people were in the transport, they were silent, and seemed depressed. Kazimir looked at their eyes and saw a lust for vengeance combined with sorrow, they had obviously lost someone to the war. He had seen that look all too many times in his friend's eyes.
Armeston's most massive spaceport, Firepath Keep lay in the distance. Freighters and dropships lifted off from numerous gantries and hangars or touched down on black Quicksphalt landing pads. Fighters patrolled the skies, leaving white trails in the serene blue sky.
A ribbon of quicksphalt snaked through a checkpoint. Drab gray army vehicles squatted along the road, their weapons panning the area.
A soldier battle armor stood ahead of the transport and ordered it to stop. The soldier walked to the side of the transport and pointed a scanner at the driver's eye before walking to the back and pulling the door open.
Kazimir winced as bright light flooded the cabin, momentarily turning everything black and white. The soldier motioned for them to come out and they complied. They were led to a narrow hallway where various scanning equipment operated, at the end of the hall was a shimmering repulsor field.
One-by-one the group passed through the field, where a man in black dress uniform briefed them. A scant minute passed and a sleek, angular shuttle descended from the sky. Wind tossed Kazimir's mop of black hair around, making it more disorderly than usual before the shuttle touched down on its landing skids.
A ramp on the shuttle's rear dropped to the quicksphalt with a thud as a hatch slid open, exposing the shuttle's cabin.
The cabin contrasted the dark and smelly interior of the transport, the shuttle was almost-naturally lit and smelled faintly of pine. However, the nanocloth seats seemed only slightly more comfortable than the ones in the transport.
The shuttle fired its drives in one long burst and rocketed into the sky. Minutes later and they cleared Armeston’s gravity well, people who didn’t fasten their harnesses were suddenly floating around and were scrambling to get back to their seats before the gravity came on.
Kazimir had just laid a hand on his armrest and was about to pull himself in when the artificial gravity activated, slamming him to the floor.
He got up with a crazed grin plastered onto his face. It was supposed to hurt, but Kazimir found the experience very fascinating.
The shuttle dropped them off at a Troop Frigate: FFT-5053 Imel, where they began their journey to the Desert Moon of Agnicephas--meaning Fire Stone--where training would begin.
He did just fine during Academy. That is until his NCI was installed.
“Morev-damned doctors,” he cursed “this NCI itches like the Inferno.”
He winced as another spike of pain lanced through him.
“It ain’t pretty ain’t it?” Sergeant John Hopkins observed “Ya’ got lucky kid, most people will hurtin’ like the ‘ferno at the first week.”
Kazimir passed by the medical wards, Hopkins trailing him.
“Gah,” he heard Brynna say “take me now Morev! I don't need this damned NCI.”
A nurse turned to administer some painkillers before remembering that the NCI is plugged directly into the brain.
“Don’t- ah, fuck!” Victor cursed.
Kazimir chuckled at his friend’s misery. Brynna had been a childhood friend of Kazimir, and was his closest. Victor however, was Kazimir’s cousin.
Brynna gasped as she tried to sit up, pain tearing through her body. She said “Godsdamned, I think Morev is punishing me for something.”
Morev was the Armestonian Goddess of the Arts, including War.
Victor chuckled, and then coughed. The intercom sputtered “All personnel, please report to the simulation area for NCI conditioning.”
“Gods no!” Brynna yelled in shock.
- - -
Kazimir sat down on a water-filled chair and winced as technicians plugged a cable into his NCI port. He found himself swimming in a sea of blackness, he felt nothing, he seemed to be nothing.
'Gods!' Kazimir thought 'Is this what it feels like to be a God?'
He suddenly found himself sitting inside the bridge of a warship but he could not move. Instead, various sensor feeds filtered into his consciousness, he felt as if the ship had become his body he knew it was a Heavy Cruiser designated Kalef.
Kazimir sent a mental command and the ship's drives flared, pushing her forward. He killed them with another command, particle bolts cracked through space at his whim and the ship responded eagerly to every maneuver command.
'Once you are done familiarizing yourself with the interface,' a voice echoed into his head 'an Imperial warship will be brought in for target acquisition practice.'
'I'm game!' Kazimir replied excitedly.
He felt a slight tugging at his consciousness as a jumprift opened into space and spat an Imperial Destroyer into space before collapsing in a burst of radiation. It was marked on the sensors as 'Aka'.
It registered as hostile in his consciousness and he opened fire with the main gun: a turret mounted Heavy Particle Beam Cannon.
A thin shaft of lightning cut a ragged trench into the Aka's gray hull, atmosphere exploded from several compartments and a turret vanished in a ball of flame as its capacitors were cut open.
The Aka returned fire, several kinetic rounds streaked towards the Kalef as a bubble of energy enveloped the Imperial ship.
'20 kliks and closing,' Kazimir thought 'PD is green.'
Artificial lightning reached for the kinetic shells and vaporized them as Kazimir fired another beam at the Aka. The shaft of lightning smashed onto Imperal shields and electric arcs rippled over the bubble.
He increased the beam's output slightly and the shields rippled, a sign of stress. He fired the particle cannons and more ripples spread throughout the shields. A final salvo pierced the bubble and smashed into armor plates.
Particle bolts tore jagged, partially melted holes into the gray hull while beams raked over several turrets as kinetic shells smashed into the Kalef's shields with a display of electric arcs.
The Aka spun on its axis and fired as the Kalef closed in for the kill. Dazzling red beams cut space into geometric shapes as they ate Confederate shields away, kinetic rounds and plasma lances threatened to overload her shields and vaporize her hull.
Kazimir snickered as he warmed the main cannon and brought it to bear on the Aka's drive assembly. The beam tore through the relatively flimsy armor and sliced through vital components, specifically the containment bottle.
A shockwave rippled throughout the Aka as it listed away from the Kalef. With a final burst of weapons fire, the Aka took the Kalef's shields down and tore its starboard launch bay to shreds.
Kazimir felt part of himself go numb and sighed as he put several beams through the Aka's reactor. It broke in half as the reactor detonated in a brilliant flash of light, shockwaves rippled through space and washed against the Kalef.