Anto stood looking out over the city. The sky glowed a deep blue and the water a soothing green. The nayias floated in the concentric rings around the island, moving materials, preparing for what was to come. The towers of polished stone radiated in the bright yellow sun. If he didn’t know better, Anto would have thought it was just another day on this beautiful world.

“My Lord, your sister wishes an audience,” said a servant, approaching with head bowed.

“Send her in, Bastor, and then leave us.”

Bastor quickly reversed his route out of the room. Anto took the moment before his sister entered to quiet his mind and prepare his thoughts.

Dorsha glided into the throne room, oak doors booming closed behind her. The hem of her deep teal dress flowed across the marble floor like water over an ice-covered pond.

“Anto, is it true? Are the Annunaki returning? Does this mean another war?”

Anto turned from the balcony, studying the worry etched on his sister’s face framed by her long black hair. “Yes, it’s true. They’re on their way.”

Dorsha rushed over to her twin brother, burying her face in his deep blue tunic and wrapping her slender alabaster arms around his waist. He held her as she sobbed, letting tears drip from his own eyes.

It’s been over three hundred years since our grandfather died in the Battle of Teshra, the final battle with the great demons, he thought. Father warned us this day was coming but I never really believed it. Now he is gone and they’re returning.

“What are we going to do?” Dorsha asked, pulling away. “How many are coming? Tell me what you know.”

“Initial reports are that there are at least fifty thousand of them. Our scouts tell me that they’re landing a hundred star cruisers and are establishing a base on the Deneri Islands, twenty-eight drekna south.”

“Can we defend against so many? What about father’s weapon?”

“Before you arrived I sent word for the Praetorian Council to assemble. They should be here soon. Our best intelligence indicates that each cruiser carries a hundred attack flyers. I think we can hold our own, but my fear is for this world.”

“Quiet!” Anto said, pounding his fist on the table. “I’m ashamed to see so many veteran commanders whimper like newborn dogs over the thought of a battle.”

“But sire…”

“No. This is the time for us to show our true strength to this horde of demons. Praetor Doowal, send for the lead scientist supervising the weapon.” Doowal motioned to his aide to relay the message. “While we’re waiting, Praetor Mynk please brief us on the defense of the city.”

Mynk lumbered around the council table to stand beside Anto. “Sire, the power crystals are fully charged and the shields are active. We know there’s no way for us to withstand a prolonged attack without losing power, so with your permission I’ve devised a plan to help us thin out the horde, so to speak.”

“Proceed, Praetor.”

Pressing a few symbols on the table with his stubby fat finger activated a holographic image of the island. “As we speak,” he said pointing to the moving lights around the graphic, “I have a team of our best and most elite warriors prepping the battleship Vostop. If you approve this plan, they’ll leave as soon as they’re ready after this meeting. The ship will fly to the most distant point our defense weapons can reach from the outer wall and submerge. There they’ll wait until the armada approaches. When the demons are in range, the Vostop will attack the lead ship and we’ll begin a full onslaught. Based on our most conservative estimates, we can damage or destroy at least thirty-five percent of the fleet before they ever reach the wall and shields.”

“This is of course assuming that our intelligence is correct and they’ve not made significant upgrades in the last three hundred years.”

“Correct, sire. We did consider that possibility. We also included all the information our scouts gathered from the reconnaissance flights done during their arrival. We lost four of the twelve ships we sent on that mission.”

“Very well,” Anto said, looking up.

As he entered the throne room, Chinetza slowed, almost slipping on the glass-like floor. “You sent for me sire,” he asked, breathing with a slight wheeze.

“Ah, Chinetza, yes I did. Please tell us the status of the weapon.”

Closing his eyes briefly and taking a deep breath he said, “The weapon is as ready as it has been for the past hundred years, your majesty. As you know, your father would never let us test fire it, so as to not alert the Annunaki of its existence, but I have no doubt that it can reach the planet while it’s in the plane of the solar system.”

“What are the risks?”

“Honestly sire, they’re unknown. We’re using our most powerful crystals in combination with natural geothermal energy to power it, but without having more data I would hate to have to guess.”

“You’re the only one who can guess,” Praetor Doowal quipped. “If you can’t tell us what’ll happen after studying it for close to a hundred years, who can?”

“That’s my point Praetor. The only one who could was King Antresh, as he designed it. I can only warn that if we fire the weapon and something goes wrong, we may be in serious danger.”

The praetors started talking amongst themselves about the implications of this information.

“What do you mean by ‘serious danger,’ Chinetza? I know my father was a brilliant scientist and tactician but did he really know more than you in regards to what the particle cannon was capable of?” Anto said raising his voice over the drum of questions.

“Your majesty, your father was the most brilliant scientist I’ve ever known. I was just a young man when I started working on the project near its completion. Unfortunately, your father died shortly thereafter so I have no idea if he knew or not. That is only a guess. I think that if the crystals absorb too much of the geothermal energy, it is possible that we could lose control.”

Anto sat on his throne. The summer flowers placed around the room, which were replenished each day, filled the air with a sweet mix of aromas. The breeze billowed his robes. Seagulls flew around the tower screeching loudly.

Dorsha entered. “Anto, I’ve been looking for you.”

“I am not yet ready to face this, Dor. I made the decision but I’m not sure it was right. I’m not sure father was right.”

Dorsha moved to him, kneeling at his feet. “I trust you Anto. We can’t let them take this planet. These people, they can live without us, but not under those monsters.”

“I know.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes.

Praetor Doowal entered, faced Anto, crossed his arms with closed fists across his silver chest plate, and bowed his head. “Pardon me your majesty, but we have just monitored the Vostop’s attack on the armada. I’ve ordered the launch of the second wave.”

Looking down at his sister, Anto said, “My time is up.”

Standing to join the Praetor, Anto saw the wall cannons begin firing at the yet to be seen targets.

The Vostop fired its entire arsenal at the lead star cruiser. The ship rocked with explosions as dozens of smaller crafts launched from the dying ship. It fell from the sky to the unforgiving ocean below bellowing black smoke in its death throes.

Commander Soren issued orders rapidly as the ship attempted to evade enemy counterattacks. The sea was a coffin to their demon enemies but a warm embrace of safety for them. The Vostop pierced the water only moments after the devastated hulk and Soren could see bodies of those he just killed sinking into the darkness.

The demons deserve a far worse fate than this, he thought as a body of one of the Annunaki floated by the forward portal. The large black oval eyes stared into the ship as one burnt arm trailed blood and the small mouth twitched from the final uncontrollable inhalation of the seawater.

Praetor Mynk had been correct in his attack strategy and assessment. The Annunaki had lost at least one third of their fleet in the attack.

This had caused them to slow, but they were now surrounding the city, attacking from all sides. So far, the shield was holding, but the power to their crystal-based defensive weapons was failing.

The explosive concussions were loud, rippling through the air, causing Anto’s skin to vibrate. He stood with Dorsha on the command tower located behind the second wall. Ships from both sides buzzed like insects around the city, falling and erupting randomly.

“Sire, we need to evacuate you and your sister before the outer shield fails. The inner shield is not nearly as strong,” said Praetor Mynk, almost shouting over the roar.

“Take Dorsha, I’m staying until we can fire the particle cannon. I will not let them win.”

Dorsha began to protest but Anto grabbed her pulling her into a hug and whispered in her ear, “Go, don’t argue. I need you to live. Do this not because I’m your brother but because I’m your King.” Kissing her on the forehead, he pushed her to Praetor Mynk and turned back to the battle.

“Your majesty, the planet has entered the central plane. If we’re going to fire the weapon, we should do it now,” Praetor Doowal said.

“Very well,” Anto replied. He paused, taking a deep breath. “Fire the particle cannon.”

“Fire!”

Long moments passed. Anto felt all his muscles tense. The time passed as slowly as molasses pouring from a jar.

Finally a rumble started, echoing louder than the discharges around them. The tower began to shake and then a bright blue beam of light shot from the east of the palace, drilling through the sky, growing brighter as the rumble grew more violent.

The particle cannon had been built in an underground addition to the palace. The opening from which the beam emanated was now an obliterated decorative fountain.

“Praetor Doowal how is the power level?”

“Systems indicate that it is holding steady. Also, the destructive force appears to be doing the job we intended on Nibiru. A few more minutes and it’ll be done.”

Doowal had no more than stopped speaking when a large boom occurred near the weapon. The beam doubled in size as the shock wave knocked them all off their feet.

“What’s happening?” Anto yelled above all the noise. Trying to stand, he held on to the railing but the shaking was now so violent that it was almost impossible.

As the rumble increased, the light from the beam grew to a brightness that blocked out the sun. Ships were flying into the inner shield as the outer one had collapsed. Others were knocked out of the air and into the water without even being shot down.

Anto watched in horror as the beam grew in size, shimmering into a blinding white light. He felt no heat but his skin was burning.

The tremors grew to such an intensity that the tower began to crumble beneath him. Shocked he watched at Praetor Doowal fell when the wall gave way. He knew then that this was the end.

When the beam reached its highest intensity, it seemed to flicker. Anto was holding onto what little was left of the tower as the people below screamed in agony and fear. The detonation was so intense that it almost slowed down time.

If only Dorsha lives, was Anto’s last thought before the fiery wall engulfed him.

Few of Anto’s people survived to recount what happened that last day and even those personal accounts have fallen into myth.

 

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