Big Game V – Chapter Sixty Five: Flight

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The Hive Mother pushed all of her worrying to a lower portion of her thought processes.  How this voice had corrupted her thoughts and manipulated her was unimportant.  What mattered now was the survival of the fleet.  The contingent to Iperin was regrettable, they could not be retrieved.  However, quick action could save the fleet in orbit around Tashka Prime.  The digestion of the biosphere was well underway, and all prey on the surface had been neutralized.  Spire formation was coming along quickly.  Soon the biomass of the world would be available for her fleet, and she would wipe all opposition from this place.  Those that drew her to the Chasma Spica to enslave her and her children would see what a mistake they had made.

A sudden impulse of fear drew her attention.  The prey had arrived before she could restore the shadow in the warp.  This was unfortunate.  Her few Conch warships were no match for this fleet.  The spires would not be finished in time, but the Hive Mother could not let such resources go to waste.  Swarms of Rippers big enough to be visible from orbit changed direction at once.  There was not enough time to reclaim them all, but many of them would be rendered down and pumped into the bellies of the transports on the surface.  Time enough to harvest enough resources for extended spaceflight.  Transports in orbit dove into the atmosphere in a desperate gambit to harvest more of the precious chemicals and energy before the prey arrived.  Yes, it would be enough.  She sent out an impulse to Telōk, showing him what had happened.  Telōk was so far away that his reply was whisper quiet, but he had heard.

This place was too much for her, in her weakened state, but she would be back.  With Telōk’s fleet and the support of several conquests, the Chasma Spica would be hers one day.  How long it takes does not matter, she thought.  She had all of eternity to devour the galaxy and make the stars her own… to silence the voices that drew her on.

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