Total annihilation.

A planet once fought for its riches and beauty, now revolved lonely, scarred, shaved clean of its ravishing look that allured the dwelling of many life forms. The beauty that destroyed the proprietor, the beauty that tended to be destroyed by the beholder, they were now only something to be remembered.

There left nothing but a red, bare planet drifting away the endless void of space. It was the outcome of a grave massacre, the war, between two strong foes – the Terrans, arrogance and greed best described the majority; and the Arzankans, referred to the sophistications of barbarian tribes, emerged as a strong race because of their uncompromising viciousness and oppressive nature. Yet now, innumerable bodies lay, covering the terrain with decaying flesh and putrid blood. Nothing was left except for the infertile soil tainted by radiation. No one cared, no one bothered, for this planet would soon be forgotten in time.

The stagnancy, however, sparked some commotion when a small vessel visited the war-torn area. Landing on the ground, the pods and hatch opened, and stepping out were four persons, with them a large truck with wheels. It was unclear of their motives coming to this trivial land, but they seemed to be searching for gold. If anything was worthwhile, it had to be the bodies of the fallen soldiers, as they were hauling them into that large truck, after some meticulous scrutiny.

“Haul them, bring in those who’re still alive!”

The four in a party consisted of different races. There was a Terran General, large and surly; the other two were alien to Terrans, one with a large head and monstrous glass eyes, the other, if looked from a distance, could be mistaken for some rock piles.

The last and the most commonplace of them all was a little Terran boy, probably a servant child to the General. He romped around, by order of his master, in search of the still-living soldiers slumped all over the place. He remembered his master had reminded him to watch out for healthy and strong ones, but they all did not look too pleasing to the eyes, like sufferers of a plague perhaps.

He stepped on and over the dead bodies like they were just some uneven grounds; disrespect, but he could not just move on without doing that. Once, his foot landed on a soldier’s hand, and the hand suddenly jerked and retracted, which almost scared off his wits. He inspected the person closely, and found him to be a kin – a Terran like him. There was still life in him, which made the boy frightened, but not as frightening as stumbling upon a life, ugly Arzankan. The soldier’s right arm still clutched his weapon tightly, seemingly not eager to let go even though the war had ended. The boy tried to drag him up, but was too heavy together with the weight of his armour.

“Gard! Have you found what I want? You’re lazy, aren’t you?”

Gard shuddered at the shouts of his master. Immediately, he waved to the General, or otherwise addressed him as Master Palov, to avoid further reproof. The other three rushed to him to see his discovery. Palov peered the soldier’s helmet, and raised his eyebrows into sheer excitement.

“Ah… am I wrong, or just damn lucky? No, I know this man, everybody does! Illian!”

“Sir Palov,” said the rock-face Grodon, “are you referring to Illian Greyor, intergalactic mercenary? He joined the war?”

“Of course he is Illian, Dethc! And look… the legendary weapon, famed for its unsurpassed abilities.”

Palov took the weapon from his hands. “Behold, UWOD, the Ultimate Weapon of Destruction, or I simply prefer Dictatorship, ha ha ha ha…”

Both of the other aliens heightened the cachinnations with sinister laughs, until Palov broke off, “haul him in, that’ll be enough! We should say our thanks upon Generon to find this jewel, ha, our victory is bound to rewrite history of the world!”

“Don’t follow me around Gard, come only when you’re told!”

The three adults walked off into the room. Gard stood lonely in the huge building. They were back in a large laboratory after scavenging the red planet, but the place looked all the same – no life but dirt everywhere, a barren soil, likewise, eerie and chilling. Gard knew nothing of his master’s plans, but the lord always said that it was an ingenious project that would change history forever. However grand the plan, Gard could not see the importance, nor guessed how the plan could change his life for the better.

So he wandered around, as it was not part of the instructions that he must not roam the place. Fascinated, he could only gasp at the sight of huge vaults and dark rooms. One room was opened, and he stepped inside, only to see cubicles of frozen persons lined up in a row. They were the captives of the previous trip to another war-torn planet, and it seemed that Master Palov had been using dead bodies greatly of late. Perhaps he was recreating a legion of fallen armies.

In the dark, he could only hide under a table when he heard a low, rough groan coming from somewhere inside the room. His body shook violently, frightened into a bath of cold sweats. A creature, which he did not identify, stomped into view. Nothing was seen in the pitch-black room except for menacing red eyes. The creature snorted, and moved away, to his relief.

There was a feeling of a major event would happen not too long after that in his intuition.

The three sat themselves at a round table, spirits poured into goblets, and a toast made for a celebration. They wetted and burnt their throats with the infusion, and then wiped their mouths clean.

“Kaz, are you complete with the clones?” asked Palov to the large-headed alien. “Yes, sire. They’re already sent out to the farthest of the universe in their capsules.”

“Good, that’s good,” Palov snickered, “I knew that crossbreeding of Terran and Arzankan would be a great revolution! Let them mingle with the locals and grow to their environment, nurture them among their own kind, and finally, we shall harvest our sow, and we shall have control of Generon!”

“Let them betray their own kind, let them betray the hands who fed them, your meaning?”

“Indeed, you’re right, Kaz! And together, we’ll put the universe under our command. Ha, ha, ha, ha….”

“But, I’ve no intention to,” a sly smile came to Kaz, altogether with his cold, glassy eyes, “I certainly have no intentions to rule the world with you.”

“What do you mean, Kaz? You don’t want power – Wait… you’re not plotting to –”

“Yes, afraid to say, I am!” answered Kaz blatantly with an evil sparkle in his eyes. Three claps of his hands summoned a monster, something the other two had never seen before. “What’s the meaning of this?” shouted Palov furiously. He took out his gun and fired shots at the creature, but the ionised-photon particles seemed to bounce harmlessly off the creature’s hard carapace, and instead of subduing it, he had it aggravated. As its fiery eyes locked on its assailant, with one powerful swipe, it sent the general banging against the wall, and the shattering of bones marked his deathbed.

“This is an outrage! What do you think you’re doing, Kaz? It’s Palov who had brought us to the path of glory, in case you forgot!” Dethc drew his weapon, a black cryolite sword, and lunged towards the creature. The sharp blade sank deep into the creature’s limbs, sending it into agonising howls. Stuck in flesh, withdrawal of the sword was futile. Together, Dethc met with the same fate as Palov, crush to death under the heavy paws of the monster.

When the feud ended, Kaz stood over the two dead partners whom he once called them as. “Ha, ha. What do I think I’m doing? No use, Dethc, you’re too na├»ve to even understand – and Palov, heh, heh, you’re the one who taught me the skills of survival and conquer, so I’ll always remember you by these words: the strong will live and the weak shall die; the cunning will triumph and the fool shall rot! Thank you, my late mentor….”

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