Galactic Conflict



With a quick read of this series, you can definitely tell what influences me.  I developed the characters and this story (or a version of it) ten years ago, and they keep bubbling up to the surface.  I wanted to offer this first season of ten episodes for free.  Thus I will be periodically adding to this page, my Wattpad profile, and as an ebook (when it is completed).

A Lowly Hope, Season One


In the distant future, two hundred years after a coalition of hundreds of alien races mercilessly defeated the Fifth Robot Hive Collective, a spiritual war rages between the Light-Monks, which support the New Federated Space Democracy, and the Dark-Mongers, minions of the evil Traditional Space Empire.

The war comes to a headwind on Uverplaid, a backwater planet covered in desert.  There, two lives will be forever changed...

Episode One: Happy Beginnings


"He's dead."

Dark-Monger Castigate turned to the Colonel.  The Colonel wore the standard bureaucratic-laden gray-black of the Traditional Space Empire.

"I know he's dead!  You thought you could take the city with too few of troops!"  Mong Castogate's voice sounded hoarse like that of gravel raked over more gravel.

The Colonel shifted uncomfortably.  He couldn't see Castigate's face through the plasteel visage, the pathetic attempt to disguise an obvious anxiety disorder.

"That wasn't exactly it, Lord Castigate.  You know how Mong Trounce was.  He—"  The Colonel started choking and coughing.  Castigate stood with his hand raised, letting the power of the Darkstream flow through him, wielding it to wrap around the Colonel's windpipe.

"Don't lecture me on your failures!"  With his other hand, Mong Castigate drew a small metal cylinder and flipped a copper switch.

A red beam shot out at about a meter's lengtha lasersword.  He swiped downward at the Colonel and cut off his arm.  A scream pierced the air.  The arm flopped lifelessly onto the hard rock.  Castigate's unseen face twisted into a smile.  He let the Colonel down.

"What the hell is the matter with you!?"  The Colonel clutched his wound.

Castigate pointed at the Colonel.  "You failed me.  You failed the Empire.  A death would be too easy for you."  Castigate rubbed the chin on his visage.  "No, you will not die.  I will spare you, and you shall serve under me.  But, as punishment you will forever be known in the Empire as Colonel Stumpy."

Colonel Stumpy bent down to grab his arm.

"No."  Castigate swiped the lasersword down at the arm four times.  Then, he grabbed the pieces using his Darkstream powers, raised them up, and shot them into the desert.

Stumpy watched the pieces of his arm fly into the distance.  He scoffed.  "Why did you do that?"

"You aren't about to get the arm reattached.  And you are forbidden to use cybernetics."

Stumpy gazed at the sand below his feet.

"Mong Trounce was a hero and a saint, and you let him perish."  Castigate walked up to Stumpy and put his arm around him.  "Order my shuttle.  I want to go back to Mong Stalwart for his insight."

*             *             *

Hleem clutched his chest as he stared down at the lifeless body of a man.  His hearts beat slowly against his three fingers.  Though the desert air of Uverplaid was hard on Hleem's aquatic body, the ripples in the Lifestream caused the palpable pain he felt at the moment.

"Master Fleck," a voice called.  Hleem turned.  He saw a Federated Democracy trooper making his way across the lifeless battlefield.  The trooper noticed the water streaming down from Hleem's eyes.  "Oh, I'm sorry to disturb you."

"I failed as his master."  Hleem fell to his knees.  His tunic whipped around as he grabbed his apprentice by the shoulders.

"The reason we won today was because of Light-Monk Geroul's bravery," the trooper said.  He looked down.  Hleem still fidgeted with Geroul's body and his head lolled around haphazardly.  The trooper looked away; he didn't want to remember Monk Geroul that way.

"I felt him die, trooper.  I.  Felt.  Him.  Die."  Geroul's eyes had fallen out at this point.

The trooper felt sick.  "Uh, sir?"

"Yes?"

"I came here to escort you off of Uverplaid.  It's not safe."

Hleem shrugged.  "Where do I go now that I have no purpose?"

"Master Ruulth sent word.  He wants to speak with you."

Hleem stood up, secured his tunic, and hoisted Geroul's body over his shoulder.  The trooper rushed over and put his hand on Hleem's spare shoulder.  The stench from the corpse was unbearable.  The trooper vomited.

"Are you alright, trooper?"

The trooper coughed up the last bit of his lunch.  "Leave the damn body."

"Excuse me?"

"Dammit, Master Fleck.  Leave the damn body here.  Let the crew gather Geroul."

Hleem turned to the trooper and furrowed his brow.  Though Hleem did not have hair for eyebrows, a thick pink vein was an apt substitute.  "We never ever leave another Monk behind.  No matter the circumstances."

The trooper turned and retched again.

*             *             *

Castigate stepped off the hexagonal shuttle onto the familiar rocky ground of Montania.  Crystal pillars in shades of blue and gray stretched up toward the cloudy sky.  Castigate felt a renewed sense of assurance.  The Darkstream was strong here.  His strength wasn't in question or his desire to glorify the Dark-Mongers.  It was something else.

Castigate walked through a crystal tunnel till he reached a building that had been built deep under the crystal.  He felt the familiar presence of his home eek into his bones.

"You are weak," a voice called from across the room.

Anger flared inside Castigate.  He clenched his fist over his lasersword hilt.  Just as he was about to ignite the blade, he saw it was his master, Guru Stalwart.
"Calm yourself, Castigate," the man said.  Lord Stalwart stopped and stared down at Castigate.  "Harness your anger, yes, but don't let it control you.  There's a fine line between harnessing the Darkstream and becoming blind."

Castigate relaxed and bowed.  "Yes, master."

"Irregardless, you need rest.  The battle on Uverplaid made you weak," Stalwart said.

Castigate looked at his master's face, under the crimson shawl that set atop his head and above the grotesque, insect-like facemask over his mouth.  His eyes were a piercing yellow.  Castigate knew what he had meant.  Control the anger, don't let it control him.  Harness the power, don't become an empty vessel.

A sense of emotion rose within Castigate.  He bowed.  "I will, master.  Thank you, master."

Stalwart lifted his hand.  "Rise, Mong Castigate.  Come.  Follow me."

Castigate and Stalwart snaked through the underground building until they got to the central command room.  A small team of Imperial troopers stood around the room and monitored the data displayed on the terminals.  Colonel Stumpy stood there as well.

Stumpy snapped to attention.  "Lord Stalwart.  Lord Castigate."

Stalwart jolted to a stop.  "Why no salute, Colonel?"

Stumpy's eyes widened.  "IILord Stalwart, I have no arm!"

Stalwart's eyes narrowed as he glanced down at the missing appendage.  "So it would seem.  What's your name, Colonel?"

Stumpy breathed in sharply and opened his mouth, but before he could answer, he saw Castigate out of the corner of his eye.  His face relaxed and set into a frown.

"Well?"  Stalwart's eyes were blazing.

"Stumpy.  Colonel Stumpy."

Stalwart stood upright.  "How bizarre.  You know, uhhColonel Stumpy, that the Traditional Space Empire has a great Worker's Compensation Program.  We take pride in the safety of our workers.  We have a safety rating of point three, certified by the Grand Imperial Emperor himself."

Stumpy's face lit up, and he started toward Stalwart.  Castigate caught his eye once more.  Castigate pointed to his lasersword, then to Stumpy.

"The life insurance went bankrupt though," Castigate growled.

Stalwart nodded.  "Naturally. After the Death Moon and Death Moon Two blew up...all those insurance claims..."

"Death payouts are zero now," Castigate said.  He tilted his head.

Stumpy looked from Castigate to Stalwart.  Sweat poured from his brow.  "I appreciate the offer, but I think I will stay in the military."

Stalwart shrugged.  "On the other hand the pension program is completely funded now that they don't have to pay out all those retirements."

"Yes, my Lords."

Stalwart pointed.  "We are almost there, my pupil."

Castigate felt a glimmer of excitement.  What had the Guru planned?  What mission would he get that would bring glory to the TSE and Dark-Mongers?

Stalwart lead Castigate into the North Hanger and stopped.  Castigate noticed a round figure.  The man was overweight, but looked like he had been fit as a teenager.  The man's face was round with three chins.  He exhibited all the attributes of laziness.  His hair was oily and matted, his facial hair had grown out and needed a trim or shaving, and the man's belly button peaked out from his shirt.  And Castigate had a suspicion that the man's yellow-stained, gray t-shirt was once white.

"Meet your new apprentice.  Say hello to Fleeto."

Fleeto cooed in glee.

*             *             *

Hleem walked between two weatherworn pillars and up crumbling stairs.  Even though the mountains on Nevadia were beautiful, the sight did nothing to raise Hleem's spirits.  He continued until he got to the outpost of the New Federated Space Democracy.  There were a handful of troopers monitoring this sector of the galaxy.  After all, there was the Galactic Conflict to worry about.

A man in full white body armor, save for a crimson jewel on his chest, stood with arms outstretched.

Hleem began to sob.  "Master Ruulth.  What ever shall I do?"

"Come here, my old apprentice.  You need healing."  Master Ruulth embraced him.

Light-Monk Gaaron Ruulth held him for a full minute while Hleem cried in front of everyone in the war room.  Though the soldiers could not see Gaaron's expression through his protective suit, they could feel his embarrassment edging out.

Hleem let out a particularly dramatic wail.  "Okay, Master Fleck."  Gaaron tried to step back, but Hleem's claws had dug into his suit.  He wailed louder.  "Master Fleck?"  Gaaron grabbed Hleem's arms.  They were rock solid.  "Hleem.  Cut the crap!"  And with a little help from the Lightstream, Gaaron shoved Hleem off and into the wall.

Hleem rubbed his head.  "Ow."

Gaaron walked up to him.  "You okay?"

Hleem sniffled.  "Yeah.  I—uhh—needed that."

"Let's not worry about it.  Come, I have someone I want you to meet."  Gaaron led him down the hallway into a dormitory.  A thin male Ghark—a buggy, reptilian looking species—leaned against his desk.

"Khartba, this is Master Fleck.  He will train you in the ways of the Lightstream."  Gaaron clenched Hleem's shoulder.  "You'll do great.  This is what you need.  Khartba's a great kid."  Then, Gaaron turned down the hallway and disappeared.

"Hi," Khartba said.  His voice was high pitched and smooth.  The way he said "hi" by dragging his pitch up and down and the elongation of a single syllable word to four caught Hleem off-guard.  Khartba looked at the ground shyly, folding his hands and scraping the stone floor with the toe of his shoe like he was a little schoolgirl.  He seemed a little odd, but Master Ruulth knew the best route for healing, and Hleem would take on this new apprentice to help rebuild.

"Hey kid.  Let's work on some basic Lightstream techniques."


Coming Soon:

Episode Two: The Basics


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