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Chapter 1 - The Battle - Page_6

The Voracious were, as everyone knew, a highly militarised race which lived by nomadically plundering the environments and cultures they came across as they moved through space. Having scavenged everything they could from an area adjacent to the System, they had left a metaphorical black hole in space from which all resources with any apparent value, animal, mineral and vegetable, had been extracted to leave a spatial desert absent of any life and civilisation. All that remained of this area was the diaspora of fleeing groups and individuals gradually moving out through space as though the resultant debris of a stellar catastrophe. This residue was the only imperfect evidence and Alzheimer-esque memory of a place and time otherwise completely obliterated.

Having fully exploited this neighbouring area of space, the Voracious greedily eyed the riches of System space with its mineral wealth and its own rapaciously effective technologies of military encroachment and production. The would-be invaders bounced back and forth along the edges of System space, always being effectively resisted by the Service and its military resources. But the Voracious kept coming, all the while testing for a weakness in the System, seeking a breaking-point or inattentive-moment from which they could flood into System space, to exploit what they took and, of course, to move ever onwards to the very heartlands of system space.

This time, one intelligence officer explained, flicking through a number of maps on the screen, the Voracious appeared to be mustering their strength on the other side of the Flour Sack, a massive area of primal dust gradually coalescing into the stars of another era temporally irrelevant to living things of this brief moment of sentience. Having massed, it was understood that the Voracious fleet would swoop around the Flour Sack in an example of blitzkrieg, hitting the Service borders hard and fast with everything available to the Voracious in that quadrant of space.

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