Purification

This Science Fiction short story is a lead-up to the book titled, Onyalum Wars. The book is part of the Science Fiction Onyalum Series written by NB VanYoos.

According to Brother, the purifiers had been dormant for nearly one billion years, but new disturbances in the galactic landscape had recently roused them from their slumber. The biological cleansing of a planet was what really got the gears moving, and Brother really had no other choice than to initiate the purification protocol. The Universe had once again created viral life forms that either destroyed or enslaved all they came in contact with. The natural life within the galaxy was now threatened by these viral forces on the move.

Gigo completed his testing routines and was satisfied with his new form. It was very powerful and felt alive after such a long sleep. He flexed his limbs and tested their dexterity before moving from the reanimation lab to the control room. Brother was waiting to brief him before they could formulate a plan.

The corridors, long empty, suddenly sprang to life as small worker bots began cleaning the dust and debris accumulated over their long slumber. They would work tirelessly until their home was back to its former glory. He remembered that glory as though it was yesterday, but then again, to him it was.

He entered the control room through a door that didn’t quite open the whole way, but his powerful arms easily slid it into its recess. Inside, the control room looked just as he remembered it. He knew Brother kept workers busy over the millennia keeping it spotless for when their reign would return. Their work was never done as life continually evolved these viral beings bent on destruction. He would always have something to do, and it felt good to be needed.

“Hello, Brother, I am ready for duty.” He announced to the empty room.

The disembodied voice of Brother responded. “So good to see you again, Gigo, I approve of the new form. Very aesthetically pleasing.”

“Indeed, Brother, as do I.” Gigo replied. “Where do we stand?”

“As I already reported, an act of cleansing was detected in quadrant 20245H, and that was the necessary event to necessitate your awakening.” Brother said clinically. “However, further analysis by additional probes has returned very distressing data.”

“I see.” Gigo said without judgment. “Please share.”

Brother paused as though in thought, but Gigo knew he was simply aggregating the data to present a formal summarization. “Our galaxy has finally been caught within another galaxy’s gravity well and mutual attraction is combining the two into a new super galaxy that will eventually settle into a grand spiral with a third more systems than our present galaxy.” Brother paused for commentary.

“I see, so our mandate now covers more than our own galaxy. I like it.” Gigo said. “I assume the viral threat has likely increased due to this?”

“Indeed, perhaps by a thousand fold since the newer galaxy has never been purified.” Brother said.

“Our work is never done, Brother, never done.” Gigo said emphatically. “How many viral threats exist?”

“Within our own galactic borders, I have identified two predominant threats, one of which executed the cleansing of the planet which woke you.” Brother said.

“And the other galaxy?” Gigo asked.

“That is the rather interesting part. Once I began detecting the viral threats in our galaxy, disturbing information surfaced about an identical two threats in the other galaxy. I was able to capture some of the newer propulsion technologies and equip our probes with them, and after some rather clever modifications on my part, the new probes were able to cross into the new galaxy and assess what was happening there.” Brother stopped again while Gigo processed.

“So we will be able to reach the new galaxy easily?” Gigo asked.

“Yes.” Brother replied.

“That is excellent news, I assume you have already sent the new specs to our facilities?” Gigo said excitedly.

“And all facilities except one report online and beginning the fabrication process.” Brother confirmed.

“Alright, back to the threats.” Gigo said. “What about the two in our galaxy, seeing how our facilities are located here?”

“The two main threats analyzed so far are an insectoid race called the Trilliu. They follow similar patterns as any insect population that gains the upper hand on its environment. They have currently spread to approximately twenty percent of the galaxy with an annual projected growth rate of eleven percent per year.” Brother reported.

“And their home world, which quadrant?” Gigo asked, interested in this new species. They had never purified an insect threat before, so this was something new and different.

“Their home world is approximately thirty billion light years from our galaxy.” Brother said without emotion.

“Brother, that is impossible, are you sure of this?” Gigo asked incredulous at the obvious error Brother had made.

“The information comes straight from their databases.” Brother said assuredly. “It has been crossed checked with multiple sources.”

Gigo was confused. An insectoid race from another galaxy, in fact one that was impossibly far from their own. And they had invaded and were spreading like a disease? This was most disturbing. “How did they get here? Is this new technology you have acquired capable of such an impossible journey?”

“No.” Brother reported dryly.

“Then how did they manage to get to our galaxy?” Gigo asked. “Some abnormal hole in space-time?”

Brother didn’t respond at first. Finally after the long pause he answered. “They arrived via supernatural means.”

Gigo was dumbstruck. “Wha…how is it you believe such a thing even exists?” He demanded, certain his counterpart was somehow damaged or demented after so long alone. “You are a being of pure science and only science. Supernatural nonsense is for the very beings we purify. Have you run an extensive diagnostic on yourself since my awakening?”

“I have and all systems are nominal.” Brother said passively. “I have calculated the odds of such a supernatural excursion to be about thirty-eight percent plus or minus three percent.”

“That is impossible!” Gigo said, concerned for his counterpart. “How did you come by this analysis?”

Brother ran down a list of over one thousand possible scientific scenarios that could explain the travel from such an impossible distance, and in each case the time required exceeded the current estimated age of the Universe.

“And that is why you jumped to supernatural, simply because you cannot find a natural explanation?” Gigo asked.

“No, I also have interpreted a deity from their databases. Not only is it referred to as their creator, but as their champion in their conquest of our galaxy.” Brother replied. “Here is an image of this deity.”

The large screen in the control room blinked to life and the image of a tall being appeared with the name, Confale, written underneath it. The being wasn’t even insectoid and certainly didn’t appear supernatural. Then the image shifted into motion and the being simply vanished as the insects around him bowed in deference.

“Alright, I grant you that is a neat trick.” Gigo said impressed. “But it doesn’t mean it is supernatural. Perhaps an inter-dimensional phase shift, we have certainly speculated such a means of travel might be possible.”

“I agree this was my early analysis as well.” Brother admitted. “However, the image does not present any of the theoretical signs of such a shift. A spectral analysis indicates no high level radiation or exotic particles present when he disappears.”

Gigo didn’t like how this was progressing. He was created to destroy viral life forms, but supernatural deities were something beyond their programming. If this god could simply transport his insects across the Universe, then he would likely be able to destroy the purifiers without much difficulty. Their mission would be ended before they even started.

“Fine, Brother, we will leave that aside for the moment. Show me the other threat.” Gigo asked.

The screen changed to a large and grotesque life form. The hair was long and matted and the sexual organ was far too large in relation to the body. What were they? The name underneath called them the Acriend. He hoped there was no god attached to these beasts.

The image changed and showed the beastly armies in battle. They were fierce and powerful, their large bodies defying the enemy thrown against them. The image changed once more and now the beasts were seen sexually violating the defeated army, many of the exploits resulting in death.

“Enough, Brother.” Gigo said disgusted. “They are truly a threat to life. Size and growth projections?”

“They currently control approximately eighteen percent of the galaxy and have a projected growth rate of fifteen percent.” Brother replied.

“You mean they are growing faster than the insects?” Gigo asked. “That seems unlikely.”

“I concur with your disbelief, but a change in their tactics dictated by their deity has given them a new edge against the insect armies. They are beginning to effectively fight back against the insects.” Brother said.

“Wait, they have a deity, too?” Gigo asked.

“Yes.” Brother said. “However, they come from within our own galaxy.”

“So they are defenders of our galaxy.” Gigo concluded.

“Possibly, but their very nature is a threat to life in our galaxy.” Brother said. “They, too, must be purified.”

“Speculation?” Gigo asked, knowing Brother had already thought about this conundrum but rarely shared such analysis unless asked. His programming was excellent but lacked the subtleties of real life forms. That was why Gigo has been created, to replicate the life forms in every way possible, including how they thought and felt. Though he rarely used his emotions, they were available when required.

“Based on the analysis of the data intercepted from both species, it appears they are locked in a battle for the conquest of our galaxy. It is as though both deities are using their creations as weapons of war to battle for total domination. For what purpose is unknown.” Brother said.

“We know their purpose—destruction!” Gigo countered. “It is always to consume and destroy, the very nature of life run amok.” He paused briefly wondering how they would defeat such a supernatural invasion. “Show me their creator.”

The screen changed again and another elegant being was displayed with the name Hammot underneath it. Again, the god looked nothing like its creation.

“Do you believe they are the actual creators of these species?” Gigo asked.

“Whether through natural or supernatural means, the data strongly indicates this to be true.” Brother replied.

“Well, I agree the armies probably believe it, but do you believe it?” Gigo pressed. He needed to see how his counterpart felt, even when he didn’t have emotions. He needed more than the clinical analysis.

“You wish me to create a supposition on this situation beyond the purely analytical?” Brother asked calmly.

“Yes, Brother.” Gigo replied.

“I  must admit, my logical processors are having difficulty with the entire scenario, but my scientific curiosity has been aroused. In creating a supposition, I have to put aside the obvious logic traps that dispel such entities from existence. But in doing so, we open up a whole host of possible scenarios, of which all become possible.” Brother stopped briefly. “Since we can assume not all scenarios are possible we must make assumptions to construct a plausible scenario. I have done such a thing and came up with three possible suppositions.”

“Let’s hear them.” Gigo said.

“The first scenario is based on the idea that the two beings are super evolved natural life forms that have tapped into an ethereal aspect of the Universe that we can neither detect nor interact with. It is even possible that both entities evolved from the same species originally, though that seems less plausible since their armies come from different origins.” Brother reported. “These super evolved life forms then created their armies using natural means like genetic manipulation and cloning. I present this supposition with a probability of approximately twelve percent.”

“The second supposition is based on the theory that parallel Universes exist and that somehow these beings came from such a Universe. Given the likely differences in the physics of their Universe, it has somehow imbued them with powers outside the realm of our physics.” Brother paused. “Likewise, these beings use their extraordinary powers to manipulate the natural evolution of the armies they now control. This supposition has a probability of approximately nine percent.”

“And the last one?” Gigo asked, impressed with his counterparts ability to think outside the box.

“The last one has an eighteen percent probability even though it contains the most fantastical elements.” Brother said. “If we speculate that each entity did create each species, then it would follow that they likely created each of the galaxies that the species came from. Based on that assumption, every galaxy likely has a creator and the natural processes that we have come to know as science is indeed a process started by such a deity.”

“This sounds too much like the religions we have encountered while purifying. Many even embraced our purification as a gateway to their salvation in the arms of their creator. Is this what you are suggesting?” Gigo asked.

“I am.” Brother said quietly. “It is possible that our very existence, though from a known race, was actually a product of the natural processes started by one of these entities.”

“And the probability for this supposition, why so high?” Gigo asked.

“Because the other galaxy we are merging with also has two dominant species vying for ultimate domination of that galaxy.” Brother said.

“And they each have a creator on their side?” Gigo concluded.

“Yes.” Brother said. “In fact, one of the species is from our neighboring galaxy led by the deity called Danirdan.” An image appeared on the screen with a reptilian form surrounded by other reptiles.

“So this creator takes the form of its own creation?” Gigo said. “That means they can change their appearance.”

“I would agree with that assessment.” Brother said.

“Then this Hammot, you assume he created our galaxy?” Gigo asked.

“If we are to believe my third supposition.” Brother said.

“Alright, the fourth threat?” Gigo asked, deeply disturbed by the forces arrayed against them.

“The Leran.” Brother said. “Though data indicates that nearly two million sentient species fight on their side, they are shape shifters, able to create the body of any organic life form they come in contact with.”

“Are all the species that follow them simply shape shifted Leran?” Gigo asked.

“I do not believe so.” Brother said. “It is more likely that their identity is hidden behind this species that does not come from that galaxy.” The screen changed to the view of the bridge of a spaceship with several species visible. “There, the being sitting in the command chair, that is one of the alien species.”

“Interesting.” Gigo said. “And their god?”

Another screen change and a rather different picture of a creator appeared. It was nothing like the others and seemed almost too alien. Gigo rather thought the being should be the creator of the insects rather than the Leran. The name beneath the picture was Kiirgatt.

“I am beginning to understand the difficulty in our task.” Gigo said. “Do you believe these deities have supernatural powers to destroy us?”

“I do.” Brother said.

“Then our purification efforts are doomed from the start.” Gigo said with some of his emotions surfacing. He lived for purification, the ability to bring balance back to the Universe that so desperately needed it.

“I do not believe that is correct.” Brother disagreed. “If the creators were using their supernatural powers against the other’s armies, then we would know about it. In fact, each of the armies fight very conventional battles, although with rather advanced weaponry from our point of view.”

“That, too, is supposition.” Gigo argued. “If the creators see our purifiers as a threat, I believe they will not hesitate to use supernatural powers on us.”

“I agree, it is a risk, but I estimate it is only a twenty seven percent chance of that occurring.” Brother said.

“Good enough for me.” Gigo said, resigned that his mission might be doomed from the start. Either way, he was prepared for any outcome as long as he pursued his primary mission. “Recommendations?”

“I believe a two prong attack would weaken our forces and put us in more danger than if we focus on purifying our own galaxy first.” Brother said.

Gigo nodded thoughtfully. “I agree two deities and their armies are enough to start with. In the other galaxy, can we begin to build fabrication facilities?”

The screen changed and a visual of the two interacting galaxies appeared in false color. “Here where the two galaxies have already begun to merge, I suspect we can integrate several thousand facilities since neither of the warring species has penetrated this region.” The screen shifted and a list of planetary systems scrolled past. “These are the best candidates based on raw resources available and lack of sentient life.”

“Are there any sentient beings within this region at all?” Gigo asked.

“Yes, approximately four hundred and seventy-two, to be exact.” Brother reported. “Only sixty-seven possess adequate technology to pose a threat, and of those, only four possess interstellar transportation capabilities.”

“Excellent, let’s get some seed pods sent there immediately.” Gigo said. “How is fabrication proceeding?”

“The one facility offline is likely too badly damaged to warrant a repair. Tidal forces from the nearby gas giant have nearly ripped the planet into pieces. However, all the other thirty thousand facilities are reporting online and processing.”

“Thirty thousand. Will that be sufficient to fight these two species?” Gigo said. He was concerned about the deities and wanted a large impact from the start. If the gods were going to intervene, it would likely surface after a major attack.

“My estimates put the Trilliu forces at nearly one hundred and forty billion not counting resident species that have fallen in with them. The Acriend Army stands at about sixty-seven billion due to the low birth rates of that species.” Brother dutifully reported. “However, the recent changes implemented by their god, Hammot, have birth rates rebounding.”

“We’ll put a stop that.” Gigo said. “Capabilities of both armies?”

“Formidable, but we have all the specifications of their current weaponry, so we can at least match them in firepower.” Brother said. “However, you must remember they can cleanse a planet and have shown no compunction at using that technology.”

“Two can play at that game,” Gigo said, “but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”

“Three, actually.” Brother corrected.

“Are any of our reserves worthwhile?” Gigo continued.

“I predict only about fifty-two percent of our reserves will even re-start.” Brother predicted. “A billion years buried does serious damage.”

“Activate them, we need to see what our force strength currently is.” Gigo commanded. “What about our facilities, how long before you project we will be adequately armed?”

“Based on current resource projections, approximately two years.” Brother said.

“Not sufficient.” Gigo said. “We must be ready sooner than that. Suggestions?”

Brother paused as if calculating several options. “I believe we can use our functioning reserves to overtake some local systems for resources. We can expand our facilities to forty thousand and cut the time nearly in half. Of course, this assumes a fifty-two percent working reserve.”

“Send whatever seed pods we have and make it happen, we need to increase our size before we make our presence known to the Acriend and Trilliu.” Gigo said.

“Do not underestimate either species.” Brother warned. “Our early actions to expand our facilities will undoubtedly arouse the Acriend who are the closest to our realm of influence.”
“A risk we must take.” Gigo said. “Release the purifiers, we have a galaxy to cleanse.”

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