A look inside "Kahari"

Read the first chapter (and prologue) of book 1 of the Scarab Reign series.



Kahari: The Scarab Reign Book 1


Power across the known universe vanished.


Billions of galaxies left in the dark, crippling worlds—forcing people to fight for survival. No one knew why or how.


Then the answer came: The Scarab.


A mysterious alien race with technology and power unseen ended the way of life for countless beings. Now they’ve come and taken over the federation (UFWA) to instill a new supremacy over the universe, selling power to worlds that can afford it.


The price?


Slavery.


A quota of humans must be met if the lights are to stay on. The Scarab need workers to mine gold. Why? No one had the courage to ask or go up against the Scarab—until Saren Thorn, Commander of the warship Avenger, made a stand.


She had a plan, and it was simple.


They took it all away—she’ll take it all back.




PROLOGUE


Long ago, the known galaxies under the United Federation Ward of Authority (UFWA) ran on a clean, limitless source of energy. As vast as space itself, the power coursed through the entire universe as effortlessly as cosmic rays and was merely known as universal power.


No one remembered the discovery of universal power, or who had engineered the device with the ability to tap into it.


The information lost to the ages.


Then the Scarab reign began, and the world went dark like an unseen giant unplugging the cosmos’ extension cord and ending the flow of universal power. At first, no one knew what had happened. Death and chaos ensued across the universe that day.


The loss of power grounded spaceships, hover-cars, and zip-jets, all no longer capable of flight. Eco-buildings, enviro-homes, hospitals—entire worlds through the known galaxies sat helplessly without power with no warning or explanation.


All technology utilizing universal power no longer operated, leaving worlds full of inhabitants in the dark and facing a new stone-age.


The way of life across the universe changed in that single moment.


The inhabitants, left in such dire need, returned to the old, dangerous ways of power and frantically searched inside the planet’s crust until they rediscovered fossil fuels. Crude, volatile oils and gases when burned, emitted carbons into the air, eventually killing off the majestic Atmospheric race, and creating dangerous carcinogens, slowly poisoning the rest of the population with cancers and diseases.


Dangerous fossil fuels became the only viable source of energy.


Existing technology needed retrofitting—new engines and working parts that would run on the old source of energy.


A new world era had been born, rising-up slowly and creeping its way across the universe until the races that survived had successfully adopted the noxious power source.


That’s when the Scarab came.


The aliens made themselves known to the galaxies across the stars arriving in droves of Warship Cruisers, Battle Darts, and modification vessels with the technology of the likes no one had ever seen, hellbent on eradicating the use of fossil fuels.


The United Federation Ward of Authority (UFWA) found themselves powerless against the Scarab as they easily blasted the crude, refitted ships of the federation out of the sky. Universal power was gone, yet the Scarab ships showed the telltale signs of blue plume trailing behind their engines, unlike the reddish-orange burning of fossil fuels.


It wasn’t long before UFWA gave in to the new regime of the Scarab government, allowing the aliens to take over as the new unified law of the universe. They sent modification vessels to scour each planet to destroy fossil-fuel burning production plants and factories, replacing them with unified hubs the Scarab could fill with universal power for a price.


Very few risked getting caught using anything but the power from the hubs.


The Scarab had discovered a way of harnessing the mysterious universal power and storing it in the hubs for later-distribution sales like an energy company. Since the Scarabs were unknowns and never having belonged to the Federation, they found the current form of currency across the universe useless to them.


The price the Scarab required to fill the hubs was slaves.


The irony of losing universal power was that the process of manufacturing the Scarab’s weapons, ships and gadgets reliant on the energy source was so dangerously volatile to their physiology, they required a safer method of production: Non-Scarab manpower.


The Scarab had set a mandate for each world to immediately cease usage of fossil fuels in lieu of receiving limitless universal power for one month. All the governments had to do was offer up a quota of slave workers. The quota was graciously calculated on a percentage of the total population to ensure the slaves didn’t become extinct.


The Scarab never set regulations on the government's ill-begotten power, except for its usage of basic living needs. No transportation in any form was to be run using the stored energy; if caught, termination of the offenders was usually imminent.


So, in turn, the greedy governments chose to sell energy to its citizens at a hefty price. Since only the wealthy could afford the expense, prisons and detention facilities soon became overcrowded with innocent people waiting for deportation into slavery, and less with real criminals. The crime level skyrocketed to a new high.


Law enforcement officials of UFWA soon shifted from enforcing laws to rounding up homeless people who couldn’t afford the price of living and handed them over to the Scarab into slavery.

Over time during the Scarab’s reign, people began living healthier lives once the usage of fossil fuels was down to a minimum of a few daring risk-takers, but the integrity of societies everywhere declined as a result.


The world was far from perfect, but after centuries, it was once again working like a well-oiled machine—begrudgingly.


Fearing the powerful Scarab became the norm.


Until one woman with a brass-set dared to come up with a plan.


This brazen woman secretly rationed power, storing it away in stolen hubs to aid her cause. She sought out people and other radical groups off-world using an illegal, modified ship; finding allies to support her revolutionary cause.


Once she had all the power she would need, Commander Saren Thorn approached the UFWA council with a plan.


The Scarab had taken it all away; she was going to take it all back…





WHEN THE WORLD WENT DARK...


“Commander Thorn, I have confirmation that the Lieutenant’s shuttle is approaching the Avenger,” said Ensign Brody facing the bridge's helm.


Saren Thorn—Commander of the 1st Class Federation Galactic Warship, Avenger, sat forward in the Captain’s chair.


A long, hard scowl formed on her beautiful face framed by silken-black tresses, the color matching her perfect-fitting black battle armor. The look carried the menacing tone of a rabid Kractorian.


Since the Scarab reign began, all ships belonging to UFWA had been forced to decommission; useless without a power source. Saren found brave engineers, supporting her cause, to secretly downgrade her ship to run on crude corundum crystals found within the planets. The gems were extremely rare, difficult to mine, and dangerous to process into highly condensed fossil fuel.


Once word got out about the ability to modify the useless ships into working vessels, lone pirates, brave civilians, and desperate people had been fearless in the face of the Scarab's reign, defying the mandate by adapting their ships, and stealthily roaming the galaxies to make a living, risking capture.


Saren worked tirelessly for months, organizing her revolution; forging ties all across the known galaxies.


She soon became the hero in everyone’s eyes that would save them all.


The look on Commander Thorn’s face bore a hole in Ensign Brody’s back until he turned in his chair to face her.


Saren Thorn, orphaned since birth, learned the hard way as a woman that earned-respect took a back seat to commanded-respect. Women in charge weren’t unheard of in the galaxy, just rare and rarely respected, having to fight harder among the ranks of men. She found those she commanded respect from early on seldom turned on her, and the young recruit was new to her crew. “On screen, Ensign Brody,” she snarled.


The young man quickly turned to face the Commander Thorn after tapping a few buttons on the helm, lighting up the main viewer. The image of a battle-worn shuttle appeared on the screen. Ensign Brody said, “The First Lieutenant be hailing us, ma'am.”


Saren glanced down her nose at the apprehensive recruit with a stern look. She nodded once and barked, “On screen!” When he turned back around to carry out the order, her face softened, slightly.


It had been six months since she sent out her First Lieutenant, alone, on an extremely vital reconnaissance mission. The execution of Saren’s plan was based solely on the success of the intel the lieutenant gathered. Without it, the revolution was back to square one.


The vision of a beautiful young woman with red wavy hair cropped just below her chin appeared on the screen. She wore the same model battle armor as Saren. Even though the First Lieutenant’s dark eyes were alert and intense, below showed signs of fatigue.


“Lieutenant, I was beginning to worry about the success of your mission. I trust you have good news?” Her eyebrows raised as she said, “Since the shuttle seems to be in one piece.”


The woman on the screen rolled her eyes and said, “I’m glad to see you too, Mother.”


The commander eased back into her seat a little, but her face remained hard. Many questioned her ruthlessness, sending her only daughter on such a dangerous mission. The truth was she’d been worried sick and was pleased to see Elyria’s safe return.


Saren commanded the Avenger with a stricter hand than had most men in the fleet, and she’d be damned to allow any of her crew—related or not—address her in such a manner as—mother. Every single crew member aboard the Avenger except Ensign Brody had stayed with her during the harrowing induction of the Scarab reign. Even though Saren’s crew wasn’t bound by federation duty any longer, they risked their lives because they believed in her and protocols. They believed in her cause and redirected their duty to the revolution she had formed. It was the only way to hold on to the lives they missed so much.


Saren didn’t have another choice but to be the solid-rock they all looked up to, and she needed to show strength, especially for her daughter. Everyone turned to Saren for the answers, for guidance. Even if she wasn’t quite sure of herself, or the plan crackling around her synapses. There was no more UFWA government to protect them. At least not the UFWA they used to know.


The only thing Saren knew as solid fact, was, if no one did anything, the Scarab would continue to rule the known galaxies unchallenged.


A life of complacency is not life. It is servitude, wearing the false face of satisfaction to appease the chains that bind it.


When Saren said nothing else after Elyria's blatant disregard of protocol in sarcastically using the term of endearment, mother, the moment grew uncomfortable, and Elyria sighed, and said, “Yes, Commander. The mission was a success.”


Saren eased up on the arm of the Captain's chair she hadn’t realized she was squeezing. Elyria always knew which buttons to push. “Why are you in battle armor, Lieutenant?”


“Just a precaution, Commander, you never know what could happen. You taught me that.”


“Ensign,” Saren said, rising from the Captain's chair and staring at Elyria. “Prepare shuttle bay four to receive the lieutenant.” She walked closer to the viewscreen as her daughter’s eyes tracked her. “I’ll be waiting in the War Room to receive your debriefing.”


“End communication.” She turned and headed for the door. “Lieutenant Vasquez, you’re with me. Lieutenant Kohn, you have the bridge.”


“Yes, ma'am.” Science officer and Lieutenant Alva Kohn left his station and sat in the Captain’s chair, assuming command.


Lieutenant Juan Vasquez exchanged a quick glance with the Commander’s daughter before the viewscreen shut off. He got up and left the tactical station, heading off the bridge to catch up with the commander.


So not in the mood to argue with her.


Commander Thorn had a way of asking questions and only listening when given the answer she wanted to hear.


Juan remembered the last conversation they’d had before the commander’s First Lieutenant and daughter, Elyria Thorn had left for the reconnaissance mission six months ago, Juan and Saren had met to discuss their options of eradicating the Scarab.


The Commander had successfully negotiated with the leader of the underground militia on planet Saröton for a Terra-Disrupter Unit he had secretly stolen from an unsuspecting Scarab modification vessel on a doomed planet.


Worlds refusing to join the Scarab reign received the deadly Terra-Disrupter Units—that when activated—would destroy the entire planet by disrupting its core with a blast of highly condensed universal power. Since the inhabitants had no way of leaving the surface, no one escaped the wrath of the Scarab. It was their way of ensuring one-hundred percent cooperation.


The leader of the underground militia barely escaped in time using a modified shuttle with room enough for only himself and the unit before the planet’s destruction. He had waited until the last second when the Scarab vessel was out of range so that he wouldn't be detected.


Saren had finally gotten the Terra-Disrupter Unit so vital to the first part of her plan. She would avenge the lives of those people by using the Scarab’s own technology to destroy their homeworld.


Lieutenant Vasquez, Juan—a seasoned UFWA tactical officer experienced in killing thousands in the heat of battle—still held the prime directive of the old legislation close to his heart: Preserve life when at all possible. It was a peaceful selling point for homeworlds considering to join the Federation.


People desired safety over anything else.


Juan had fought Saren’s balls-to-the-wall idea of entirely wiping out the Scarab, regardless of the cruelty of their actions.


The truth was, no one knew anything about the Scarab homeworld, its people or why they had taken away universal power so long ago. Elyria’s intel will be their first real look at them. Since the UFWA council was always the authority of the known galaxies, the Scarab dealt with no one else, or, at least no one else survived meeting them.


The Commander was deaf to Juan’s pleas of at least considering a less violent plan and learning more to make an informed decision. She countered his statement with the fact they were killing and enslaving her people. That was all the information she needed—other than their location, which had been the other vital part of her plan.


She blatantly told him the council’s balls dried up and fell off the minute the first warship appeared, and she wouldn’t kowtow so easily. That’s when she’d lost respect for them. As an orphan, she learned how to be a fighter who never just gave up to the bigger guy, and UFWA’s decision to concede without a fight left her helpless. That’s what infuriated her the most.


Juan tried reasoning with Saren, telling her that no one should have the power to destroy an entire world and its people without knowing all the facts, lest they become the evil they seek to destroy. She had forgotten the peaceful reason which started the federation.


She didn’t care, saying all bets were off when they’d shut down the power and started reaping their people.


He cleared his head of the memory and sprinted to catch up with Saren.


“Permission to speak freely, ma'am,” he said, stepping in line with her quick pace.


“Please, Lieutenant! Spare me the melodrama about innocent Scarabs. We’ve already had this conversation. It isn’t about humanitarianism at this point. It’s about our freedom.”


“Commander, we haven’t even discussed the repercussions of what will happen if we succeed in blowing up the Scarab homeworld. Surely all of their ships won’t be docked on the planet. Once they find out what happened, we’ll be in the middle of a Hornet’s nest of Battle Cruisers. They’ll blast us from the sky before we can even engage the VS-Drive. What will this suicide mission even accomplish? The Avenger alone couldn’t even take on one of their ships—hell—an entire fleet of fully functional First Class Federation Warships using universal power couldn’t even put a dent in their hull plating.”


Saren stopped in the middle of the hallway in front of the War Room and turned to face the Lieutenant. She put a hand on his shoulder and said, “I understand your concerns. I know I may appear hot-headed at times, well, most times, but I never make rash decisions. I assure you. I’ve thought this out.”


“But Commander—“


“Lieutenant! A lot is riding on Elyria’s intel. Nothing’s written in stone—just yet. So relax. I’m banking on whatever the device is the Scarab created to shut down universal power is housed on their homeworld. When we destroy the planet—“


“It just may disrupt the distribution of universal power to their ships,” he interrupted, finishing her sentence and nodding at her with a keen eye. “Inventive, I’ll give you that. But what if it doesn’t?”


Saren let go of his shoulder. “Nothing in stone, Lieutenant, nothing in stone.” She turned toward the doors as they slid open and left him standing in the hallway.


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