Captain Ron was the galaxy’s most accomplished mercenary. He was a lonely man who lived in the shadows of his coming death, and with it, the extinction of his species.
His life was always war. The Dogmen of Sarrak-4 were soldiers all. He rose quickly through the ranks, eventually becoming captain of his own ship. He saw action from just outside the galactic core to the farthest reaches of the spiral arms. He never lost a man, and was not above fighting himself.
The Dogmen resisted entrance to the Consortium—they would not have a seat in the senate, and had no say in any negotiations as a consequence. They waged war against them, demanding a seat at the table, but the Triumvirate never wavered—entrance into the government must be earned, by blood and by deed.
Ron joined this war at its end. The Emissary from Sarrak-4 had been killed in single combat during a dispute with the Kharite Champion, the Triumvirate member of the planet Khar. In retaliation, a Dogmen capital ship directly attacked Origin Station, the seat of the Triumvirate.
Everyone on board was killed, and soon the Consortium turned its full military might Sarrak-4. Ron’s ship was captured and his crew killed. It was only after he valiantly killed 7 Kharite soldiers alone did he see the video. His home planet, the seat of his civilization, shot through like paper.
A voice could be heard on the video feed. “Let this be a lesson to any who would threaten us: the Khar are the sword of the Consortium, and we will never hesitate to wield our full might.”
That day, he disappeared to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, never to be found again.
There would be rumors, of course. A heist at Origin Station by a Dogman. An entire battalion of Kharite soldiers ambushed and killed. A Scion-Separatist rebellion that culminated in an official recognition of a new species of AI. The exposure a Doza-led slave ring that led to the dismissal of the Dozan member of the Triumvirate.
Ron would never admit to any of them. He would do the job he was assigned, take his money, and run. He wanted to die at this point, but it seemed like nothing would let him. He kept doing more and more dangerous jobs, hoping that someday it would happen.
He finished burying the bodies. He was supposed the head of a security detail for a new colony. They paid top dollar for the mythical Captain Ron. A sickness claimed the life of the entire crew, and the security detail.
There was no one left but Ron. He threw the shovel aside and went to the comm tent. There was a bottle of Alkt on the table with the comm device—it was to be a celebratory drink when the colony was up and running. Ron drank half the bottle in one gulp. It burned all the way down, and his stomach felt like it could catch fire.
He fiddled with the dials, trying to find something. No one was out this far, he knew, but maybe he might get a lucky signal.
A twist of a couple of dials pulled up something strange. It looked like an old Kharite faster-than-light broadcast channel. The encryption told him that it was probably a secret relay channel that no one had bothered to use anymore, possibly for decades.
He couldn’t make out the language clearly, but it wasn’t Kharite. The transmission came with a host of pictures depicting a planet not unlike his own—blue oceans, continents, white cloud cover. It made him tear up a bit.
Also included were coordinates. They were old Kharite standard galactic coordinates, and they didn’t match up with any known world in the Consortium database.
“Come to Earth, we have Godsteel. We are looking for someone to train soldiers for a new era of war. Come to Earth, we have Godsteel. This message repeats.”
He ran it through the translators on hand, and couldn’t find an exact match, but he constructed enough of it to know “Godsteel” and “War”.
He’d work for free if he had to.