Author: Logan Smith
Yavik initiated the firing sequence. A small change in the audible cadence of his warsuit’s power cycling was, at first, the only indication that Yavik had done anything at all.
He was already on the move, the angular mass of his suit pirouetting away and knifing deeper into the star system. The small, rocky planet he had been facing was enveloped in a spidery lace of violet light for a moment before the warsuit’s paracausal weapons converted the planet’s mass to energy and then steered the torrent of sheer elementary destructive power in a broad, lancing arc that followed the edge of the system along what had been the planet’s ecliptic plane.
Yavik’s suit had no displays – the substrate in which warsuit pilots were immersed acted as an extension of their own modified nervous systems – and his awareness registered a positive hit on the vector by which he had entered the system.
Slinging himself into the concealment of the system’s first gas giant, Yavik drifted through the storm of molecular hydrogen, assessing his options. Pressing at the edge of his awareness, his target had been stalled only briefly by the paracausal detonation that had cost the system its outermost planet. With a thought, Yavik urged his suit back into motion, seeding the gas giant with mirror drones, noetic images of his own warsuit that would buy him the time he needed. The drones, extrapolations of Yavik’s own consciousness, could initiate multiplanar strikes on the target, leaving Yavik to deal with the real space threat.
Then Yavik was on his way, his warsuit cutting through the solar system in a series of maneuvers that would have been impossible for any conventional spacecraft. Fractals in colors he couldn’t describe swam at the edge of his vision as psychedelics flooded his system, signaling that the noetic drones had begun combat. Yavik personally hated this part but the drugs didn’t work on machines and human pilots needed them to engage with these star-devouring ‘gods’ in all the dimensions humans were generally ignorant of while the warsuit did the heavy lifting in real space. Yavik knew some pilots who preferred to call it space magic. Fucking space magic.
As the ruddy mote of the gas giant behind him vanished, Yavik swept his aft scopes over the place it had been, and what he saw nearly stopped him dead in space. He hoped it was the drugs, at first, but a second scan showed the same thing. A vast form, slithering and pulsating into a million billion impossible shapes all at once. Uncountable eyes, some of them even human-looking, and each one a window into a reality that Yavik hoped would never be his own.
And behind it was a great rend in space, a fissure from those unspeakable universes the gods had come from. And they were coming out.
That’s got to be one of the most disconcerting things to see in your rear-view mirror …!
A damn fine take on the stars being right.