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.
The Tlacidol were primitive warriors split along tribal lines across one continent on a world of three continents isolated due to the lack of technology. It was here the Leran armies hoped to establish a beachhead before taking over the entire planet. It was a reach for their forces, but they desired the raw resources available in the system, a system too remote from the reach of the Issgire Empire.
All except Tiir, an Onyalum sent by the creator Danirdan to infiltrate the primitive world as a spy and saboteur should the Leran make landfall. He had been on this world over a hundred years, living and fighting among the primitives he’d grown fond of. It was a young world, and he loved the primitive savagery inherent on such a planet.
He had risen in stature to a great leader of the Lapol Tribe, now the largest tribe on the continent. His berserker fighting style while under the influence of local hallucinogenic vegetation was legendary, and the many wounds scarring his visage presented a grim record of his battle prowess.
The Tlacidol were a powerful yet lean species. In the low gravity of their world, they evolved into a tall species with lightening quick reflexes and remarkable strength. Though not reptilian, their appearance was reminiscent of an earlier ancestor of the Issgire, thus making them the perfect ally. A sleek, hairless head was mounted on a slim neck that sat atop a muscular, bi-pedal body complete with a short vestigial tail. The skin was like tough leather, naturally green but often multi-hued due to the tribal paints worn by most. The colors indicated tribal affiliations.
The hands were remarkably dexterous with formidable claws sheathed when not in battle. The eyes possessed excellent distance vision and were able to see through even the densest nighttime jungle. Males of the species sported bony ridges along their spinal column, their size and intricacy associated with age and strength. The ridges stood tall like flags in battle, but remained folded down when not fighting. The ridges were used both as a territorial display against enemies and for sexual courting of the females. To Tiir, Tlacidol were an evolutionary combination of the best reptilian and feline features.
The system was named Saphilon-2146 in the Issgire Galactic Planetary Catalog, just another star in the remote Saphilon section of the Lannion Arm of their galaxy. It was too far from the Empire’s main holdings for the establishment of a permanent base, but desirable enough to seed it with an agent of destruction should the future require it. Tiir loved his job and couldn’t wait to foment revolt against the Leran scouts that had recently landed on this distant rock.
Continuing their rather effective method of recruiting worlds to their cause, the Leran worms had established diplomatic relations with a neighboring tribe, the Dnow. The Dnow and the Lapol had fought each other for centuries along the borders of each other’s territories, and Tiir knew they saw the Leran as an ally that would help defeat the Lapol thus widening their lands. However, the Leran, ancient and wise, rarely offered technology to those too primitive to create it on their own.
However, once the base was established, their defenses would be unassailable to anything but modern weaponry. This was why Tiir had to nip it in the bud before that happened. His spies established only two Leran drop ships had landed thus far. This was good news, but Tiir understood a larger force was nearby, dispersing scout ships to the various worlds in this remote part of the galaxy.
The key to success against this colonization was to demonstrate an inherent instability within the local populace to dissuade the Leran from establishing a base. They wanted the resources, but being so remote made an unstable populace less palatable as their own forces would spend too much time quelling uprisings rather than reaping the bounty of the rich resources they desired. It was always a calculated risk, and the Leran typically induced the local population with technology for increasing crop productions or curing illnesses, something this world didn’t need.
He knew an all out frontal attack would be useless and would only harden the Dnow’s resolve to welcome the Leran as protectors of their lands. Instead, Tiir had devised a method for creating instability in the Dnow Tribal ranks thus creating a civil war. Coupled with a frontal attack, the alliance with the Leran would quickly break.
Tiir had spent time on the other continents and knew their conditions were even more barbaric. This continent promised the most likely place for a base, but he believed he could change that situation if his plan succeeded. Long before the Leran had arrived, he had established relations with certain Dnow leaders in exchange for protection from his raiding parties. It was amazing what you could accomplish with nothing more than a few females to trade.
The instability he’d planted amongst the Dnow had taken root and his final objective would seal the fate of their leaders, chasing off the Leran for now. He and a select few of his forces had already overrun and killed the local border leader named Illut. The barbaric leader had never been in the good graces of the Dnow high council, but his prowess protecting the Dnow borders had kept him in power. He had always been viewed as a threat to the stability of the Dnow, and Tiir planned on exploiting that fact.
After killing Illut and most of his warriors, Tiir and his men painted themselves in Illut colors in preparation for starting the civil war the high council had always feared. At the same time, Tiir had ordered his own Lapol border leaders to attack the Dnow to the North. To the South, Tiir held off his forces as his allies expected the promised protection. It would split the Dnow tribe in two as northern leaders would expect the southern leaders to come to their aid. But they would not come, Tiir had seen to that.
The Dnow relations with the Leran could not survive a civil war combined with an all out attack from their neighboring enemies. It was everything Tiir had set in motion decades before, and he was excited as it began to unfurl as he had envisioned. The Leran would write off this world as too hostile for now, planting one of their worms to rise as leader all could rally behind. But that worm would have to contend with an Onyalum bent on destabilizing the world the worm wanted to pacify. Tiir could look forward to possibly centuries of excitement.
After painting themselves in Illut’s tribal colors, he and his warriors marched towards the landing area of the Leran scouts. Taking up offensive positions around it, their colors had thus far allowed them to move uninhibited within the Dnow territory. Various leaders were sending parties to meet with the Leran, so Tiir’s infiltration simply mirrored those other leaders.
As the hallucinogenic properties of the local plants began to take hold of his senses, he eyed the distant ships sitting idly on the open plain below them. From his lofted jungle position, he could see all the points of attack where his men were currently arrayed. When they started, mass confusion would reign, but his men would be merciless as they took down anyone not marked in Illut’s colors.
Each of his warriors would be under the influence of the narcotic, the drug heightening their battle senses to that of near supernatural proportions. He’d learned long ago that a dedicated fighting force under the influence of select narcotics could be made into a nearly fanatical religious force imbued with powers beyond that of normal warriors. His men were that fighting force, and they followed him as the Issgire followed the creator Danirdan.
Although they lacked anything more technological than swords, spears, and arrows, he had whipped up a batch of primitive explosives that would be used as part of their shock and awe campaign. They would hit hard, bringing the Leran into the fray before withdrawing. It would be quite the spectacle, and poor Illut would be blamed for the attack.
As predicted, one of the scout ships fired its engines as part of daily maintenance, that was the signal. He watched as his forces intermingled down below drew weapons and began the carnage. Those outside the immediate vicinity of the fighting had no idea who was attacking, so they could not marshal a defense against the mysterious foe. Tiir’s warriors mowed them down before they realized what was going on.
Tiir pulled his sword and sprinted down the hillside into the thick of the battle. His senses were at their peak and his berserker actions took out many surprised by an attack by their fellow brethren. It was nearly too easy. He paused, taking time to light one of his makeshift grenades which he threw into the fray. The explosion panicked the Dnow warriors and the distant Leran were suddenly on high alert as something totally unexpected caught their attention.
Other explosions sounded across the plain as more of his men threw their own grenades into the battle. It was too much for the Leran and they opened fire on the local warriors near the ships. Tiir smiled as the technologically advanced weapons tore through the Dnow warriors equally surprised by the turn in allegiance by the aliens. They could trust no one and fell back to tribal identities, fighting all others not in the same colors of their own local tribe.
Tiir laughed through his hallucinogenic haze as he took off another head with a deft swipe of this deadly blade. The fuse had been lit and the chain reaction he’d hoped for ignited the Dnow into a civil war that would take decades to recover from. He watched the second ship’s engines ignite as the Leran prepared to flee the chaos.
It was the final signal for his men to leave the fray and regroup far from the battlefield. He and several of his warriors headed back into the hills, their bodies covered in glorious red from their deadly assault. As he neared the top of the hill, he turned back to the roar of ships leaving the ground while spraying those left behind with a hail of supercharged particle cannons burning enormous black gashes in the plain while vaporizing anyone unfortunate to be nearby. The Leran would not be welcomed back anytime soon.
It was too much for Tiir to dream for, and he howled in victory as he and his men slipped into the cover of the thick jungle. It was good to be Onyalum!