|The Razing of Ashadra|
This story is basically the origin story for Galiana. It also features Sol I Dor, and how he came about to find and, later, adopt Galiana. This story will also feature Galiana's birth name, Katia Matveev.
It was a normal day on the Earth-Like planet of Ashadra. The bluish sun shown in the clear equally-blue sky. Various ground vehicles would passed by on the street every once in a while. It was the weekend, so there were children out with their parents. The occasional military aircraft passed overhead. In fact, to 4-year old Katia Matveev, it was like just any other day.
She watched outside the window of her family's house and looked around the neighborhood. The neighborhood she lived in was small, but life there was good. She had some friends and, although her parents didn't make much money, they made enough to allow for the occasional family trip. She sometimes wished life like this wouldn't end.
Suddenly, she saw something in the sky. It looked like some kind of military vehicle; she saw a few of those occasionally. However, this looked different than most she's seen. Suddenly, more military vehicles appeared and attacked the one that had arrived. They were quickly destroyed. This shocked Katia, primarilly because she wasn't sure what was going on.
She heard a commotion downstairs, but, before she could investigate, what looked like a meteorite shot out of the sky and slammed into all the houses in the neighborhood, including her own.
Sol I Dor, esteemed Krilek of the 5th Defense Fleet of the Delson Hegemony's Defense Navy, looked over the bridge of his mighty vessel, the Kalzira. Although blind, he was a master psionicist, and, as such, saw with psychic energy. His vision was based in thermal, motion, and electricity.
His job was simple: to defend the Delson Hegemony and its regional sub-empires. For the past century, the Delson Hegemony has been peacefully annexing its former enemies; the Karagonus, the Scorpio Ultimus, among others, mainly for the benefits of mutual protection: the empires were still technically 'independent', but, as a whole, they were a part of the Delson Hegemony.
However, the Defense Fleets were given clearence from the Government to intervene in any form of hostile attack, specifically to defend the victim, circumstances pending, of course: they wouldn't aid an aggressive faction being attacked by a normally passive, but desparate victim launching a counterattack, unless the victim was sinister or malevolent in nature.
Sol I Dor always wanted to aid against a hostile attack. Now, he finally got his chance. "Krilek!" one of his bridge officers called.
"What is it, Julnil?" Sol I Dor called to the officer.
"We have word of an offensive being performed on a formerly-unexplored world."
"Hold on...coming onscreen."
The screen showed a garden planet: a world covered in various biomes, from lush forests to barren tundras. This world was much unlike Delse, Sol I Dor's homeworld and capital of the Hegemony, which was a Desert World. Then, he saw several vessels, of a design Sol I Dor had seen twice before. "Harvesters...order the fleet. Make for the Duliana Star Cluster!"
Katia shook her head clear. Her house seemed to have collapsed around her: she was surprised she was unhurt. She looked around, but all she could see was her neighborhood reduced to rubble, with people running around, screaming.
She could hear screaming and screeches. Then, she saw something climb over the debris: several creatures with 4 legs, 2 arms, and long fingers appeared and charged at the fleeing people. Katia watched in horror, as the creatures grabbed the people and carried them off. Then, she saw 2 figures she recognized: her parents. Her father was desparately trying to fight off the creature that had grabbed him, until the beast grabbed a stone and slammed him in the head with it, knocking him out.
In shock, she backed up quietly, but her foot knocked a piece of rubble and one of the monsters noticed her. Fearfully, she backpedalled as the creature charged her. However, she eventually tripped, and, as the creature got closer, she screamed.
The Delson forces landed on the planet. Sol I Dor and his Pel-Krilek were the last 2 individuals to arrive on the planet. They looked over the field. "I recognize this kind of damage," the Pel-Krilek said, "...the scorched earth...the destroyed buildings..."
"The Harvesters...vile, murderous beasts!" Sol I Dor responded. The duo looked around. "Again," he said miserably, "There's no one left..." Any Delson's worst fear was that they would arrive too late to stop an invasion or genocide. It looked like that was happening again.
Suddenly, the duo heard a high-pitched scream of fear. "What was that?" the Pel-Krilek asked, "That doesn't sound like any Harvester I've ever heard."
"Then that means someone must be left!" Sol I Dor said, rushing forward. He charged ahead of his comrade. When he reached where the scream came from, he was shocked by what he saw.
He saw a small, young humanoid female, with a Harvester looming over her. She was tugging away from the creature, but it seemed to be toying with her, wearing her out to make her easier to kidnap. This enraged Sol I Dor to his core. As the girl finally began to lose consciousness through exhaustion, he charged. The Harvester snickered as it picked up the semi-conscious girl, but, then dropped her as it sensed Sol I Dor approaching. Too late. Sol I Dor plunged his Arm-Blade into the Harvester. The blade, augmented by Psionic Energies, pierced the Harvester's armor. The Harvester breathed its last, and fell dead.
Sol I Dor then approached the young female, who was either too tired or otherwise unable to back away from him. "What...wha..." she tried to ask, before she lost consciousness.
Sol I Dor seemed to pity the young girl: there was no sign of her parents there. Any other individual would think that this race abandoned its young, but Sol I Dor clearly sensed the residual psionic resonances of a pair of older creatures of the girl's species.
He then picked the girl off the ground and said to her unconscious figure, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you..."
Then, the Pel-Krilek finally caught up. He saw the dead Harvester and the girl in Sol I Dor's arms, and asked, "What happened?"
"She was left here. Her parents, I think, were taken by Harvesters. And this one almost got her."
"Well...what are we going to do with her? If we can't secure any other individuals from this world, she'll have nowhere else to turn..."
Sol I Dor thought for a moment, and, finally, after about 5 minutes of thought, asked, "HOW much Shore Leave had I accumulated, again?"
With the finding of the girl, whose race, according to documents Sol I Dor found, was called 'Human', the battle started to turn in the Delsons' favor: more and more humans were saved from the Harvesters. The Delsons even managed to knock a Harvester Prison Transport out of the sky, saving the humans within.
After the battle, Sol I Dor loaded the human child and the stuff he and his Pel-Krilek recovered from the girl's home onto the the Drenzer. The Pel-Krilek snickered. "For over 30 years, since you joined the Military, you didn't go on a single day of Shore Leave, and it only takes an alien child to change that?"
"Well, I had...a feeling something like this would happen. And, now that I have about 8 and a half years of Shore Leave saved up, I can probably be able to take care of her."
"Well, good luck. Just remember how difficult it is to raise a child...especially one of a different species..."
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine."
The Drenzer exited the hanger bay of the Kalzira and activated its FTL Drive, its course set for Timari. Then, he set the craft for autopilot, and went to the chanber behind the cockpit. The human girl was laying on a table Sol I Dor had set up like a bed, because of the ship's lack of real beds (Something Sol I Dor planned on fixing later). He waited next to the girl for a bit, until she began to stir.
When the girl saw Sol I Dor, she seemed somewhat scared of him. "What...what are you?!" she seemed to finish her attempted question from earlier.
Sol I Dor was surprised that he could understand at least some of the basics of the language the girl spoke. He attempted to respond, trying to mimic the language, "A friend..." It was awkward trying to talk in a manner where she would understand, but she seemed to get the message.
The girl looked at the unusual creature in front of her. It seemed to be speaking to her, and it sounded as though it wasn't going to hurt her. However, after all that she'd been through in the past day, she was not sure what to think anymore. She couldn't remember much either. She couldn't remember...anything. The first thing she thought to ask was, "Where...where am I?"
"You're on my ship, the Drenzer. You're safe, for now..."
Then, suddenly, an image returned to her mind: her parents being taken away by those multi-legged monsters. "Where...where are my mom and dad?!" she said, with the sudden realization.
The alien seemed to be trying to think of a way to explain, before finally saying, "My crew...couldn't find them. I'm certain that the humans we found did not include your parents. I'm sorry..."
The girl was shocked at this revelation. Shocked, and in great despair. However, she did everything she could to keep from breaking down in tears. The alien, however, seemed to recognize her despair, however, and asked, "Can you...tell me your name?"
The girl immediately tried to remember her name. However, she couldn't remember it.
"I...I...I don't...remember..." the girl responded.
Sol I Dor sensed that most of her memories were tainted by the trauma of what happened to her. Apparently, this trauma is also barring from her some of those memories, including that of her own name.
He also sensed that part of her despair was over the fact that she had no where else to go now. Wanting to help, he decided to ask anyways, "Do you happen to have...somewhere else you can go?"
As he thought would happen, the girl cried, "N-n-n-no..."
Sol I Dor then suggested, "Listen, I've got my own home and, well...there's more than enough room, if you'd like to come live with me..."
The girl seemed to stop crying, and she responded, "I...I guess I could..."
Sol I Dor responded, "That sounds good. However, I need something I can call you. Are you sure you can't remember your name?"
The girl sadly nodded yes.
Sol I Dor began thinking of something he could name the girl. However, all he knew about her was that, after he saved her, the battle began to turn in their favor...That's when the idea struck him. He knelt close to the girl and asked, "How does the name 'Galiana' sound to you? You think you could live with it?"
The girl seemed to nod yes to it, and she responded a moment later, "I...I guess so..."
Sol I Dor responded, "Alright then..." He then sensed something in the girl's mind, and, in response, asked, "Do you...feel like you need to be alone?"
The girl responded, "I...think it'd be...good..."
"Alright," Sol I Dor said, "Well, I'll get you when we get to your new home...Galiana..."
The duo left the starship, in front of a normal-sized Delson house. Galiana, however, seemed surprised by the size. "It's bigger than any house I've seen," she commented, remembering how her house was smaller than this structure.
"Really? This is a rather normal-sized building in my experience," Sol I Dor responded.
The duo walked into the house, and Sol I Dor showed Galiana around. He showed her the various computer rooms, entertainment centers, training areas, and other rooms in the house. After the tour, Sol I Dor asked, "So, what do you think of the house?"
"I think it's amazing," Galiana responded.
"Just a bit of warning, I will be treating you like a Delson child, although concessions could be made for anatomical differences. So, well, your new life starts today. I hope you're ready."
Galiana smiled nervously, before responding, "As ready...as I'll ever be..."