The valkyrie chronicles: titans

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The Valkyrie Chronicles: Titans

By Erik Schubach

Copyright © 2014 by Erik Schubach

Self publishing

 

P.O. Box 523

Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026

Cover Photo© 2014Zharate / ShutterStock.com license

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties.  Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited.  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, blog, or broadcast.

 

This is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

Manufactured in the United States of America

 

FIRST EDITION

 

ISBN 978-0-9909806-1-2

 

Prologue

We scouted the ancient ruins of the old Ragnarok capital city of New Ishatak for more of the hybrid sentinels.  The Frost Giants of Jotunheim left them behind to prevent recolonization of the Ragnarok homeworld.  I still couldn't fathom that the Jotunn had wiped out every single living Ragnarok and animal on the planet with their culling devices so very long ago.

It was almost surreal, the jungles had overtaken the cities over the eons since the planet was taken. The half crumbled plasticrete towers that jutted up toward the sky reminded me of the bones of some immense, long dead dinosaur from a bygone era, thrusting up through the jungle.

I shook my head at this.  The second most technologically advanced civilization in the galaxy and our once sworn enemies had thrived here only to be annihilated by a single Jotunn vessel with ten men aboard.  Well, third most advanced now that our new allies, the Olympians, had come to stand by us after eons of hiding.

I still marveled at what the people of Olympus had accomplished.  Their tech, though inferior in many ways, almost matched Asgard technology, and in some areas eclipsed our own in its brute force implementation.  I could understand brute force, that is the one thing that I, Kara the Wild One, First Valkyrie of Asgard excel in.  Artemis has become a steadfast friend to us in the eons since revealing herself to us.

I stopped as a chill went down my spine and my nanites, my Verr, snapped up various overlays in my eyes.  Thermal scans and motion and vector tracking all confirmed what the shiver had indicated.  There were four hybrids charging through the ruins toward our location.  No, make that six, two more were converging from another grid.  Anticipating my order, the Verr set our scout team's coms to voice activated.

I turned to my small scout team.  My mate, Kate the Raging Storm, First Valkyrie of Earth.  My sister in law, Inatra the Singing Rain, First Valkyrie of Ragnarok.  Artemis from Olympus.  And finally Intark.  I suppressed a grin as I looked at the rugged, middle-aged Ragnarok commander who helped me bring down the Jotunn Star Killer vessel that was threatening to destroy the planet Folkvangr all those centuries ago.  My daughter Essa wound up laying claim to him and he reciprocated, so it is with great humor that I sometimes call the man who looks twice my age, my son.

I scanned the skies, somewhere up there is the fifth of my team.  You never know with her.

I told everyone, “Heads up.  Four hybrids coming in at our ten o'clock, two at our three.”  They all nodded and the vegetation around us took on a bluish glow as all of us Valkyrie activated our nano-lattice.  The blue net pattern of compressed magnetic force covered our bodies and hardened us against damage.  Intark just smiled a predatory smile and took the huge chain gun off his back as easily as if it were a toy.  The seven foot tall Ragnarok warrior felt at home on the high gravity planet of his ancestors.  I shook my head at the man.  He had no nano-lattice like us women of Valhalla and it is impossible to make the man stay behind while we secure his homeworld.  That chain gun he had named Buttercup was his favorite toy, he says it is the one thing the humans of Earth did right.

I know it has been eons, but I still couldn't get used to him with two eyes, since he wore an eye-patch the first time we met.  But after he and other Ragnarok, were injected with Asgard nanites, his missing eye had regenerated.

Kate caught my attention and smiled, she always knew what I was thinking, apparently my emotions are too strong and bleed over the nanite link that us daughters of Odin and our children share.

Artemis grunted, I glanced over and she looked nervous.  Hiding was the best defense the people of Olympus had perfected over the countless eons, so this operation didn't sit well with her.  I could understand, it was instinct for her to fade away.  I would never call that woman a coward though.  If pushed, she is one of the most deadly long range fighters I have ever known.

That bow of hers is an amazing piece of technology, that is a great equalizer.  Its arrows can actually damage and even penetrate that unholy Jotunn armor.  I watched her cloak shimmer to life and grinned, the protection their reactionary cloth gave them was nothing to sneeze at either.  It afforded her as much protection, if not more, than our regenerative Valkyrie armor.

She looked at me nervously. “There are six this time.  They are learning.  We should call for backup.”

I understood the apprehension.  These sentinel hybrid creatures were virtually mindless bio-mechanical creatures run by combat computers.  They looked like the old three horned dinosaurs of Earth that I had seen once as a child.  What were they called?  Triceratops?  But their bodies were augmented with mechanical implants, weapons systems, and their immense bony foreskull was covered in that infernal Jotunn armor that only my power of Thor or Odin's Spear could damage.  Or of course Artemis' arrows.

They always faced their enemies, to keep that tough armor between us and them.  The energy weapons they used at long range while ineffective against us Valkyrie, who could absorb the blasts with our nano-lattice, were an extreme danger to Intark and Artemis.

If we could flank them and get around to their sides where they are more vulnerable, then a couple of us can do enough damage to take them down.  The battle computers on board allowed the lumbering beasts to counter our movements efficiently if they worked in concert with each other.  So our general tactic so far has been to isolate them one at a time to take them down.  We have taken hundreds down across the planet like that, but they are learning, like a hive-mind and are anticipating our patrols like this and coordinating attacks.

Before I could respond to Artemis, an elated cry was heard over our coms.  “Yeeeeeetahhh!  We don't need backup, I am your backup!”

My eyes snapped to the sky to see three familiar incoming cylindrical wind riders, marked in the colors of the Sky.  They numbered six now, a race of sentient ships of the Asgard.  There was a woman in her familiar three-point stance, standing on the roof of the lead vehicle, Pegasus, as the other ships, Looper and Swooper started barrel-roll peel-offs.  They dipped below the lead vessel just as the woman leapt off the roof of Pegasus as she veered off.

The figure fell hundreds of feet just to lithely land on the roof of Swooper, and somersault off of the ship like it were a springboard.  The hybrids that had just arrived in the clearing in front of us opened fire at the last incoming vessel that just absorbed the blasts with its own nano-lattice.  Others opened fire on us.

I stepped in front of Intark and Kate stepped in front of Artemis and we absorbed the blasts and waited for the beasts to get closer to engage.  Inatra hissed out a challenge like a Terran cat and Intark just stood patiently like a hunter, ready to fire a steady stream of thermite rounds into any target the creatures presented him.

The woman in the sky had just rebounded off of Looper's roof and the wind rider veered off when she spread her arms and photonic webbing appeared between her arms and legs.  The coherent light sails making her look like a flying squirrel from Earth as she soared the last couple hundred yards to the jungle canopy.  There she switched off her glide suit and snagged a tree branch and swung around it bleeding off half of her speed.  She whipped up in a graceful arc and took a magnetic lance spear from her back as she took constant fire from the hybrids. She landed in a three-point stance on the rearmost hybrid, sinking the lance into its skull behind the immense bone and armor shield.

The beast roared in protest and swerved.  Then it veered back erratically and ran full speed into the nearest hybrid, great horns impaling it.  I snorted in surprise, she was using the lance to guide the animal, like a horse.  Another Hybrid turned from us to contend with a woman and her rouge hybrid.

She dove off just as they collided, taking each other down in a horrific sound of bone and armor cracking.  She landed lightly on the ground in a roll but just kept rolling under a fourth. Bringing her spear to bear as she passed quickly under it, disemboweling it as she passed.

Kate and I concentrated on another with our power of Thor.  The lightning of pure compressed magnetic energy leaped from our hands, mine hitting the ground and blowing a crater in front of the animal, causing it to trip before it could react. Kate's striking its eyes and destroying them and cracking the armor around its eye sockets.  Before we could blink, the deafening roar of a chain gun sounded out and Intark was hitting the eye sockets of the beast and the cracks in the armor with a steady wall of thermite tipped bullets.  His battle cry sounding out.  The projectiles chewed through the creature and Intark must have emptied a couple hundred rounds into the hybrid's skull before it dropped.

Then we all turned to the final hybrid.  It was almost upon us.  I grinned in anticipation and as one, Kate and I broke from the group and ran at an oblique angle away from the others. We fired lightning at the beast, it had learned from what it just saw and compensated.  I chuckled at the stupid beast, we were just the bait.

I could feel it in the air before I saw it.  The compressed gravity of an infinitesimally small point singularity as Artemis pulled back on her bow and let loose an arrow at hypersonic velocities.  It went in one side of the hybrid's unprotected hind-skull and out the other side like a hot knife through butter. It embedded almost a foot deep in the plasti-crete wall behind the beast.

It stood there motionless for three long seconds then simply just crumpled to the ground.  Inatra was in motion, dispatching the wounded hybrids with her lattice claws.  Then everything was silent.  We all looked at each other and grinned then let fly our battle cries in celebration.

I looked over to the small graceful figure off to the side who spun her mag-spear in her hands rapidly and deftly slid it in place on her back. She stepped toward us with a huge grin on her face asking, “Now who here needed backup?”  I couldn't stop smiling at Kitty the Efficient, Second to Pegasus of the Sky, First Valklopt of Asgard, Valkyrie of the Sky.  I still saw that tiny girl at the gates of Valhalla from eons ago whenever I looked at her, named for her parent's hero, and my mate, Kate.

I bumped shoulders with her as she reached us. “Showoff.”

She gave me a toothy grin, even for how small she was, she was still slightly taller than me.  She chirped out in an over amused tone, “Why should you get to have all the fun Valkyrie?”

We all shared a cathartic laugh and turned to finish scouting the grid as Pegasus swooped down to retrieve her charge.

I smiled as I looked around,  New Ishatak, this would make a fine place for the Ragnarok to start resettling the planet of their ancestors.

Chapter 1 – Celebration

Pegasus flew us back to Valhalla, eight hundred miles to the southwest across the Errant Sea to the Ishvan continent.  I took the time to think about the significance of what we were doing here on Ragnarok.

After it had been discovered that the Frost Giants had revealed themselves to the inhabitants of this galaxy, they wiped out most of the Ragnarok race in search of the Asgard.  We were forced to make a stand on the planet Folkvangr.  There were still nine more vessels out there somewhere like the one which had destroyed the civilization on one planet and almost succeeded in destroying another.

This had accomplished what millennia of fighting with the Ragnarok race had not.  It brought a tentative peace and cooperation between our races.  We had reunited some of the Ragnarok with their brethren Outcast settlement on the moon in the Earth system using our intergalactic quantum entanglement transport system or Bifrost.

As we went through transitions to each of the other planets that Valhalla can reach through the veil, once every thousand years.  We set up small bases with Bifrost terminals.  We did not set up settlements on these planets.  We will wait for the native races to mature to agree to allow us to do so. Possibly one or two transitions from now.  But this gave us a network of transportation points between all of the planets we rotate through on our five thousand year cycle.

On one of the planets, Alfheim, with its indigenous population who have elf-like features, we found more Ragnarok.  Three vessels that had enslaved the population.  After our own Ragnarok citizens had finally convinced them that the war was over and now their race was fighting extinction under the protection of the Asgard.  The Alfines we set free and almost the entire Ragnarok occupation force chose to take the Bifrost to the Earth system to be with the remains of their own race.

Five years ago, we finally made the most anticipated transition before Earth.  The Ragnarok homeworld.  The citadel courtyard at the main gates was packed with Ragnarok who came from the Earth and Folkvangr systems for this transition.  It had been ominously silent as the transition occurred. My ears are still ringing with the deafening roar of elation that came from them as once again, Ragnarok warriors stood on Ragnarok.

We had barely started scanning the world with our sensors when the citadel came under attack. That is when we learned that the Frost Giants had left behind a myriad of hybrid bio-mechanical sentinels to prevent any such recolonization attempts.  They were beasts out of your worst nightmares. The planet was buzzing with them.  We figure there is some sort of facility cloning them somewhere on the planet.

The Valkyrie stepped out of the gates to lay waste to the beasts.  We couldn't stop the thousand or so Ragnarok that streamed out with us to engage the hybrids.  They suffered many casualties, but they swarmed over the terrors and showed them why the Ragnarok are the most feared warriors in the galaxy.

So this has been our lives the past five years, combing the planet, grid by grid, and sending the army of patrolling hybrids to the ages.  Father, Odin, projects that at the rate we are progressing, we should have the three main continents cleared of the enemy by this time next year.  Sooner if we can pinpoint the cloning facility to stop new ones from being created.

Today's patrol and battle, deemed New Ishatak's Return, I knew was most likely projected on the city dome.  People of three planets have been abuzz about it for days.  It held great significance to the Ragnarok race.  Their capitol city again theirs.  I grinned at the memory of Intark's insistence that he was in the team that took it.  He said something like, “It is only right a Ragnarok be a part of reclaiming the city that defined our civilization.”

I was knocked out of my thoughts by a warm hand in mine.  I looked down to see Kate's hand clasping mine.  I looked up into her sparkling eyes and she had a gentle smile on her face.  “Waxing poetic again love?”

I smiled back and nodded absently.  “Verily.”

I glanced down as we flew through the gates over the unbreakable line of Einherjer, our gate guardians.  Then over the huge crowd of Ragnarok and Asgard in the courtyard.  Then I got distracted by Kate's glittering eyes and glistening lips.Wow.  She smiled.

After we landed and exited the craft, Kitty landed lightly beside us from above and pushed her flying goggles up onto the top of her head.  I grinned at her.  I still didn't understand her insane habit of standing on top of the wind riders as they flew.  She insisted it gave her freedom and let her share the exhilaration of flight with her 'other people'.  This made me grin again, she was as close to the race of sentient ships, the Sky, as she was to her own people of Asgard.

We looked at where we had landed.  Not at the gates, nor the Central Spire, but at Citadel Park.  I cocked an eyebrow at the women and Intark.  Inatra smiled and hissed gently. “What?  We're hungry.  We can deal with whatever pomp and circumstance father has dreamed up this time after we fill our bellies.”

I held my hands up defensively and she grinned and looked around at everyone, “Shish Kabobs? Then without waiting for an answer she stalked off toward the food pavilions with Intark right on her heels.  Kate snorted and shook her head. “What is it with Ragnarok and beef?”

I shrugged as we followed, it was a question I often asked, but I didn't care, all I wanted was a good stout mead!  We all switched our coms off as the incessant buzzing in them from father that threatened to interrupt our meal.

We joked and discussed anything but the battle.  Then just as things were winding down, Arina walked into the white tented pavilion. She shook her head reprovingly and trying hard to hide her ever-present smile as she spoke to us, “ Well met Valkyrie, Intark, Artemis.  Really?  Leaving me to deal with Father?  I have had to listen to him complaining about the delay for an hour now.”

Inatra gave her a loving hiss, then laid the back of her hand on Arina's cheek.  As the centuries have turned, and the worlds have spun, I have never stopped marveling over their pairing.  The most gentle of souls and the first Valkyriefrior, Valkyrie of Peace that is Arina the Whispering Breeze and the most violent and feared Ragnarok in history, Inatra the Singing Rain, the Fox.  You could still feel their love for each other as a tangible thing.  I have no doubt that one day they will pass to the ages in each others arms.

Inatra said quietly trying not to be overheard, “Well met love.  We were hungry.  Father's little surprises can wait.”

Arina smiled and said, “Get your Valkyrie butt into Pegasus and take your medicine or by the Tree of Ages, Odin will drive me out of my mind with his complaining.”  She swept her gaze around and with an overly cute smile she added, “You too you surley lot.  Shoo, into the wind rider.”

I tried to stop my snort as Artemis of all people responded. I swear I tried, and failed as the warrior of Olympus hung her head down comically, “Yes Arina.” and trudged toward the wind rider pads in the park.

Then Arina scrunched up her nose and looked way up into Intark's eyes pointing a finger toward Pegasus.  The Ragnarok let out a rumbling belly laugh as he started marching toward the wind rider. Arina turned to the rest of us with a silly satisfied grin as we all got in step beside her to go suffer through whatever father had planned.

No sooner had Kitty pulled her goggles into place and took a single step on the open lawns of the park. Then she dove into a high arcing flip into the air yelling “Yeeeetah!” As Swooper came barreling past almost faster than we could follow and she landed on his roof in her three-point stance and they went darting off into the air toward the Central Spire.

Inatra was giggling with glee as she watched.  She shook her head as we stepped into Pegasus. “That tiny one is always so full of energy.”

Kate laid the back of her hand on Arina's cheek as we sat. “But like you around her age, she needs to learn her own limits.  She was reckless today.”  Arina sobered a bit and nodded.  We all knew that the only two people that Kitty would listen to were Arina and Artemis.  I'm pretty sure she has a severe case of hero worship for the Olympian, and a huge crush.

Pegasus apparently knew where we were going and what torture father had planned.  I swear, there is nothing the ruler of Asgard likes more than exhibiting his showmanship to the masses at our expense.

I glanced down as we passed the shining new spire of the Bifrost terminal, it had been completed just a couple hundred years ago.  It has its own magnetic energy collector independent of the citadel so it is not a drain on the main power core.  It has five active gateways to the six worlds that the realm of Asgard in our pocket universe orbits around on the other side of the veil.  I grinned at the sixth inactive portal.  One day that would be the Bifrost bridge to Ragnarok.  I idly watched a couple cylindrical wind riders that were sized just right to fly through the gateway, pass through to another world, and new ones arrive here in Valhalla.

After the Stand of Folkvangr, and the defeat of the frost giant Ymir and his Jotunn vessel, Arina had proposed a change in wind rider design to allow them to use the Bifrost gateways.  That would allow for faster troop transports or civilian evacuations.  Pegasus' new body, after the destruction of her original winged, boxy form was destroyed saving me, was the first to feature the new cylindrical design.

Over the centuries the traffic in the science workshops where the Bifrost, or Rainbow Bridge, resided was getting way too heavy with the constant comings and goings to other planets.  So a new terminal spire was constructed at each settlement.  It always reminded me of Grand Central Station back on Earth in the twentieth century before the Ragnarok invasion.

Then we started landing on Pegasus' private land pad at Central Spire and I hissed out at the crowds assembled, “Odin's beard!”

Kate just chuckled at me, “Looks like father is at it again.”

I looked around and said to the other daughters of Odin just as Swooper landed next to Pegasus, “Sacrifice the fresh meat first?”  The other Valkyrie nodded enthusiastically as the doors opened.  We looked expectantly at the hesitant Ragnarok and Olympian.

Intark inhaled deeply and stood in his stooped manner so he didn't hit the ceiling with his head.  “I fear nothing.  I am a Ragnarok warrior.”  Then we all broke out into almost hysterical laughter when, in a sudden sweeping motion, the huge man thrust Artemis toward the door and she stumbled out into deafening cheers.  He shot us an overly pleased grin then stepped out after her.

The only bright spot in the celebration of the retaking of the Ragnarok capital was that mother and Sif were here from Earth to celebrate with our people and our Ragnarok.  We hadn't seen mother in three or four days.  Something odd was going on in Earth space and she and Thor were monitoring it. And we hadn't had the pleasure of Sif's company in weeks.  As interim First Valkyrie of Earth since Kate was in Valhalla, she had her hands as full as Aunt Freya did at Folkvangr, mediating all the squabbles between rival Ragnarok in the Earth system.

She 'vacationed' with us a month back.  She said she found it relaxing to patrol the jungles of Ragnarok and battle any hybrids we came upon.  She was a delight to watch in action.  She reminded me a lot of Kate's fluid and graceful style of fighting.  Like a deadly dance.  She preferred a double ended mag-spear in battle that she wielded like a bo staff, to other forms of hand to hand.  Since she could not produce the lattice blades or Odin Spears, the daughters of Odin could with our evolved nanites.

These bladed magnetic weapons were created after the stand of Folkvangr in case the Jotunn return.  Our magnetic energy weapons and the Frost Giant's own armor shards are the only things we had to penetrate that ungodly armor.  They, like our Valkyrie sidearms, are powered by our own nanites.

I looked at Inatra and Kat and sighed.  We stood together and braced ourselves and stepped out into the celebration Odin had put together to celebrate the retaking of New Ishatak.  It was just as blatantly overboard as most of father's other celebrations.

He had shared with me once that this was by design.  The people of Valhalla needed something to focus on instead of the harsh realities of war.  So by celebrating the heroes that battle in their stead, it brings all the citizens and races together.  A common goal and common celebration.

Then he spoke to my heart.  That it was just as good for the Valkyrie that protect the combined races. It helps lift the guilt of committing violence to stop violence.  To know that those they protect accept and appreciate the moral sacrifices the Valkyrie shoulder every time they go to battle.  It allows them to know that the Asgard have not turned their backs on the ones cursed to protect them.

Later that night I collapsed into one of the overtly comfortable couches around our seating area and Kate joined me.  We looked over at Artemis, who had joined us just as Arina's entry chime sounded and her and Inatra came walking in looking just as exhausted as us.

Inatra flopped down beside Artemis as Arina headed over to the service port to call up some mead for us.  Inatra had a half smiling smirk on her face.  It always looked a little out of place on her Ragnarok features but was a real delight to see.  She said, “Well met Valkyrie and Artemis.”  We exchanged well mets as Arina joined us with the mead and sat beside her mate.

Then Inatra asked slyly, “Is it just me or would anyone else prefer battling the spawn of the Frost Giants out there than be the center of Odin's celebrations?”

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