Everyone stared in disbelief at what they had heard. Everyone with hearing had heard the rumors, a base of dead troops found near the frontier, with over a hundred troops long dead. Some smashed to death.Some where torn apart. Some beat to death with tools, a few were ripped limb from limb, with some pieces hurled clean out of sight of the base.
Central command would have freaked but for one thing, the troops were enemy troops. The solders who found the base had realized that they had found something important beyond meer lives, and stayed on sight beyond the call of duty to find out what had happened. Barricaded in a workshop, a dryed up piece of jerky, in the shape of an alien humanoid form long dead is what they found. They learned a lot from that.
They learned very little about the next one, it was scored by scouts on a slave planet behind enemy lines. So they cut a deal, bought it cheap and hauled ass. They had cleared the frontier and ware making a report to command when the thing woke up, got lose, and kicked a hole in the outer hull. The whole crew with there prize got sucked into the vacuum between the stars.
A ship atempting to land at an outpost on paatay 6, lost gyro control, flipped over landing upside-down on the pad. The the dead pilot had hi-jacked the ship in space, after the crew had bought it from a slavetrader, at a neutral space supply depot, ran by some cold-worlders. Autopsy later confirmed this being was related to prior donor samples, but the spread/drift suggested a very large family.
Gorom traders found an enemy vessel drifting in space, the walls inside had been painted with blood and entrails the airlock had been forced open, and the perpetrator lost to the stars.
Many stories existed and could not be confirmed, but yet, they still presisted, one trend carried threw them all, when cornered or if its life is threatened it could kill almost any species of being known by hand and without weapons using blinding speed and phenomenal strength unknown to central planets.
But the one story that set the tone to follow was that if a legendary hero, who had saved a whole planet, and upon that one person the legend was truly founded. It’s name is still unknown to this day. It died with only a abbots simple wooden cross and a monks rough robes to mark him.
About it almost nothing was known. Even how it came to be hiding, in the cool damp tunnels, below the beseiged desert city under attack by the enemy invaders was a mystery. Even how it got on that planet in the first place was totally unknown. But it was there, alone, hiding in the dank dark tunnels below that sprawling city for who knows how long.
A group of lost orphans had sought refuge from the fighting above in the tunnels below. Led by a small light, held by a frail young female. Even how that frail young female, a native from a moon of “cico 5”, came to be among those orphans wandering though the streets was lost to the fog of war.
The small red vermin had been attacking in a massive onslaught. The waves of troops came down in a flood.
The small pale girl had found a small access to the ancient fallout shelters below. She led the scared orphans below to seek refuge and safety.
When the young girl saw a dark form hiding in the shadows she offered it water thinking it was just another scared orphan. But the hand that took the cup was big and had more fingers then even her own. The form, that it was attached to, was much larger then she first suspected. The creature was hard to make out in the gloom, but was far to big to an enemy soldier and the frail young girl gave it her second container of water, when it finished the first in one loud gulp.
It was one of those strange moments when scared children would accept almost anything that looked like an adult or like a pet. And as children are prone to do they fell in love with there new pet and gave it hugs, kisses and love. More to comfort themselves than anything else.
But it focused on the young one who first gave it water, above all the rest, its two dark eyes stared at the small girl and she had moved beyond its reach out of caution. She settled next to a smooth wall to protect her delicate wings from more damage. The creature made no sudden moves or loud noises, it gave comfort to the lost children as only a loving and caring father could, plucking debris from there eyes and brushing dirt from there heads. It seemed for a while the world above was far away and the death was happening to people they didn’t care about.
The creature used its sensitive digits to straighten the feathers on the only other avian here “Collie”. It painstakingly put the delicate feathers back in place. It carefully plucked sand off the compound eyes of a young insectoid. It brushed debris from the gills of a little Dagon.
About an hour later a enemy soldier stepped out of a passageway and with a shriek of joy and killed that harmless little avian from “setleg 4” with the butt of a needler. The small body fell for an eternity, and fear swept though the panicking orphans as numerous answering shrieks echoed up the tunnel. It’s thin forked tongue licked in relish as the needler came up spitting charges in a spray of death that was chopping the young orphans down. The frail young girl was suddenly furious at the gentle frail form her existence had took. He mind raged with impotent fury at the fate the made her body so useless in combat. Fate had been cruel and had given her a soul of a warrior. She stood up hissing in rage as she braced for the pain that would bring death.
The strange alien leaped up and took a full burst of plastic assault darts in the lower torso with a soul rending howl. It attacked the vermin in a blur of lethal speed and tore threw the shocktrooper, without pause it gave forth a tremendous roar. It then screamed a word like a battle cry and disappeared down the tunnel that had answered it’s challenge.
The enemy commanders hearing reports of a major battle turned there troops toward that section of the tunnels. They intended to engage the militia stronghold they sought below the city.
In that very moment the militia forces had accepted there fate. They had decided to go down fighting, fighting as free beings of free will, not to die as lost cattle, food for slaughter. The militia commander saw the enemy eyes in the last sensors he could call his own. His last line of defense was set. The burnt stump of his now almost useless left arm was posed to give the command of attack. The enemy suddenly stopped and turned there backs in the faces of desperate parents, scared farmers and the few grim faced franchise owning veterans of foreign wars left alive.
The old commander turned disbelieving eyes to the desperate survivors. Just a few handfuls of beings still able to fight. They had chosen to stand and hold the last line of defence with the old admiral. And to die with him on the field of combat. His voice trembled as fate teased him with death yet again and he said, “They have turned there backs on us we have just this one chance”. He slowly dropped the stump. They flooded the tunnels behind the troops silently then struck first, viciously and without warning.
It was a slaughter that only stopped when the enemy officer in command detonated its suicide pack in the tunnel ahead killing almost every remaining enemy soldier and fatally wounding the unknown alien. The noise brought the friendly troops running armed to the teeth with everything they could find. They followed the mournful call of grieving orphans.
What they found stunned the hardened old vets. The farmers just turned and left. The parents of lost children mustered there courage to help. The carnage was beyond words. Beings had been beaten to death with the bodys of other beings and were strewn about in pieces. Blood and ickor coated the walls in haphazard patterns. bodies lay about the small chamber some still twitching in the throws of death.
There in a small clear spot, next to the light of a small handheld lamp, stood a small group of sobbing orphans. The horrible gurgling sounds, coming from the ruined form on the ground between them, left no doubt as to how bad it was.
The sorrow in the faces of the circle of children tore at the militia squad leaders cold battle hardened heart. There was a strange alien on the ground. It’s head was cradled in the lap of a little orphan girl. That orphan was a member of a race of beings whose light gossamer wings and frail but beautiful construction made it a rare sight beyond the soft skys of ‘cico 5’. For them, it was dangerous to risk contact, with even one there own kind. And the risk to a small child, of that frail race, in a tunnel, beneath an active war zone, on a field of battle. That made its presence here in this place all but impossible. The thin delicate gossamer wings floated above the alien. As if sheltering it from further harm. Her whole demeanour projected menace, somehow in the way her frail wings floated protectively above the torn ravaged body she held and the tears of grief flowed acrossed a face that twisted between fury, grief and profound loss, to fall upon the upturned face of an alien, the race of which no one could identify and the tears diluted blood that was the brightest royal red anyone had ever seen. The flow/pulse of it’s life slowed as the alien whispered a single word, in an alien tongue no one understood. The word had been repeated over and over hundreds of times since the young orphan had found it. That word had been repeated so many times, that almost all the orphans could say it clearly, sometimes said like a name, sometimes like prayer and then once even as a battle cry. The word would later become the future senator/ambassadors legal name. And the grizzled old, one armed, retired, admiral, that had lost all hope in life when his entire family was killed, in the first strike. He became her father.
Notch Johnston was the only one who could tell her what an “Angel” was, and why an alien, wrapped in rough cloth, and adorned only with a small cross, made of almost useless wood, would sacrifice itself, in unarmed, combat against an entire invading army, to defend useless children of no value.