Onboard the Interstellar Router “INFRA Sixteen Twenty-Seven” from Norghe System to Kugh it was celebration: the New Equated Year one hundred six had just arrived! On all decks people were hugging, kissing, drinking, and singing. They thought they had only eight more equ. hours of flight time until landing on the famous Dojavech Spaceport, in Kugh System, to end their long and tiresome twelve equ. days journey. Their common social destiny, however, was counting their last few precious moments of exuberant life . . .
     The navigators were having their own celebration on the Command Deck, with of plenty of excellent Jalder wine, with loud music, congratulations, and many jokes. When they noticed the little pulsing blue lights on the proximity panels they jumped to enhance the anti-collision right flank shields, though it was already too late.
     The Router was a civilian ship, totally defenseless against military technology, therefore nothing could have changed the implacable fate of one thousand one hundred and forty-three passengers and crew. They were the first innocent Allied Worlds citizens to die during Hurran Invasion. Later, the consolation was that all of them died instantly, happy and totally unaware, when the two, small, neutron-yield missiles collided with the Router, two levels below the Command Deck.

     The Allied Worlds Confederation was a lot stronger technologically than the Hurrans, and they had prepared for fighting a possible Invasion for a long time. However, when the Invasion actually came, it was a total surprise!
     The first System attacked by the Hurrans was Kugh, only that was not just a random choice because Kugh was the closest to the Hurran Star. In addition, Kugh harbored about two thirds of all Allied Worlds Defense Forces.

     Kugh Planetary System grouped only seven Planets around a small young Star glowing in a white-blue light, and riddled with plenty of ultraviolet radiation. One Planet, Susher, and its Satellite, Nalwan, offered good natural living conditions, while five more Space Colonies scattered within the System were the pride of the Kughs, and examples of successful, perfectly-balanced, large-scale self-sustaining artificial environments.
     The natives of the Kugh System were divided into five distinct biological sub-races, though all of them had developed the same dark-blue skin with a specific distribution of orthogonal bone-plaques, as a natural protection against the strong ultraviolet component of the Kugh starlight. The Kughs were all very nice friendly people having a rich folklore, and an amazingly peaceful culture. Their System exported exceptional food products, and the best textile in the Allied Worlds, plus some precious minerals, various industrial equipment, and some Hi-Tech merchandise. At the time of the Invasion, it was assumed in Kugh System lived almost five billion people, foreigners included.
     The Defense Strategy implemented within the Kugh System borders consisted, as the first line, in about six thousand “Warning and Defensive Automatic Response Stations”—WDAR Stations for short. Each one was a serious defense weapon, and a marvel of engineering ingenuity. WDAR Stations were autonomous, semi-mobile shielded fortifications having a fantastic firepower, therefore they were considered indestructible by the Allied Worlds Confederation. That psychological characteristic, however, was also their greatest weakness, because the stronger a weapon was, the harder were the efforts to develop efficient counter-weapons.
     WDAR Stations were deployed in two groups: the most numerous one was positioned on the periphery of the System, while the smaller group was strategically scattered near the populated areas, or in close proximity of important industrial platforms. For some economic reasons the number of WDAR Stations was not quite sufficient to cover properly all important objectives in the Kugh System, but the Strategy was to warn in due time, and to only delay the enemy. Once the enemy was detected, WDAR Stations were supposed to be redeployed, therefore to enhance the protection of vital and important targets.
     The second line of Defense was one hundred eight Interstellar Defense Units, each composed of one FW-Docking Ship escorted by nine Mobile Armored and Shielded Battle Turrets—MASB Turrets. One FW-Docking Ship was capable of deploying anywhere between four to five hundred short-range Forefront Wasp Ships—commonly abbreviated as FW Ships; the most reliable weapon the Allied Worlds had.
     Finally, the last line of Defense consisted in sixty-five Military Ground Bases which could have deployed in total about fifty thousand enhanced-design FW Ships. The Ground Bases were scattered throughout the Kugh System, close to important social and economic objectives.
     In normal conditions, those Defense Forces should have been more than sufficient to prevent any Hurran attack against the Kugh System. However, at the time of the Invasion, the night of the New Equated Year one hundred six, only one tenth of the fighting personnel were in an active combat condition at their designated command posts.

     The attack started from three points, simultaneously. What had been a total and a very frightful surprise was the fact that the Hurrans used a “Trans-States Drive” technology to materialize their Fleet right inside the Kugh System!
     The Trans-States Drive transport technology had been presented the first time to the public five equ. years before, by Dr. Najé Xallas of the Free Democratic Republic Xallas. At that time, Dr. Xallas used a small experimental model to exemplify his theory.
     Nobody thought that it was possible the Hurrans would develop their own Trans-States Drive technology, and then use it to transport enormous military Warships, particularly because that application was just a terrible waste of energy for the benefit of saving time. It was estimated the Hurrans had consumed during the first attack all their reserves of qenergon for twenty Hurran years of normal development!

     Founded exactly one hundred six equ. years before, the Allied Worlds Confederation united three Systems: Kugh, Ancen, and Norghe. The purpose of the Allied Worlds was to develop the commerce, technologies and, later, the Defense Strategy against the Hurran threat. The Hurrans had been part of the Confederation during the very first years, but they refused to change their social, economic, and political structures to the new, democratic, equated standards. Consequently, they withdrew from the Allied Worlds Council.
     The remaining three Systems brought into the Allied Worlds Confederation three Planets and three Satellites having natural living conditions, plus nineteen highly productive Space Colonies. Demographically, the Confederation cared for almost fourteen billion Allied Worlds citizens. Politically, the Confederation was composed of fifteen autonomous Republics, plus the Free Democratic Republic Xallas having an Observer status. The truth was, the Xallas Republic was regarded more like a twisted political joke, than a real State.
     It has been observed that historical trend in democratic societies works towards unity. Accordingly, the Allied Worlds Republics were politically autonomous only because they were geographically separated. However, the overall purpose of the Allied Worlds Confederation was to standardize all aspects of life, beginning with the equated time and monetary units, and ending with similar, democratic, political structures. The Confederation itself represented the essence of the democratic unity, and each of its citizens was well satisfied to be equal in rights to everybody else, and to have exactly the same standard opportunities.
     There was, however, a strange minor exception: the Free Democratic Republic Xallas.
     About one hundred seventy equ. years before, Dr. Gorkun Xallas from Planet Cotta in Norghe System had developed the first Interstellar “Infra-Space Drive” engine, which made possible the contacts between the neighboring Planetary Systems. Dr. Gorkun Xallas was the initiator, and the father of the Allied Worlds Confederation, therefore it was no wander he became the most honored and the highest respected person throughout the local cluster of Stars. During his life, Dr. Gorkun Xallas had been an exceptional man having a rather unconventional behavior, typical to geniuses. When he died, he left a huge fortune to his son, Dr. Dhaz Xallas, together with many special political privileges.
     Dr. Dhaz Xallas continued his father’s work as a scientist, and also as the wealthiest person in the entire Allied Worlds. However, he was paying enormous amounts of money in taxes to the Cawa Federation, and he believed the Government was not using his money efficiently enough. He used to say that a good Government should be capable of bringing back to the taxpayers—in services-value—at least ten times the value of each credit received from taxes.
     At some point in time, Dr. Dhaz Xallas presented a few plans of social improvement to the existing Cawa Government in support of his theories, but nobody bothered to consider them sufficiently viable. As always, the politicians of the day were way too busy spending taxpayers’ money on anything that lasted for one mandate-time only.
     Dr. Dhaz Xallas decided that it was better to prove his theories with the power of example. Consequently, he managed to get a three hundred equ. years lease contract with the Cawa Federation for the Bant Island in the Storms Sea. Although remote, bare, and fairly cold, the island was a sturdy piece of rock, therefore he started building there a wonderful city named, “Gorkun”. Later, based on his father’s political privileges, he founded the Free Democratic Republic Xallas having as territory the leased Bant Island, plus a few hundred asteroids belonging to the family. Everybody took it as a new eccentricity of the rich scientist but, in respect for the memory of the late Dr. Gorkun Xallas, all the legal documents had been officially ratified unanimously.

     Only a few equ. years later, the new Republic proved to be an exceptionally benefic enterprise, and the banks of the Xallas Republic became the richest and most influential throughout the Allied Worlds. The Free Democratic Republic Xallas had only one fixed tax of ten percent for all business income, while everything else was totally free of taxes for all its citizens!
     Very many profitable companies flocked to enlist under the greatly tolerant political umbrella of the Free Democratic Republic Xallas. Consequently, the revenue of the minuscule Republic reached astronomical levels which only a few Republics of the Allied Worlds Confederation could match.
     After ten equ. years of existence, the Xallas Republic numbered about thirty million of registered citizens, out of which only two hundred thousand—mostly technicians and scientists working in research laboratories, plus their families—lived permanently within its borders. The rest of the Xallas Republic citizens were in fact juridical entities, businesses scattered throughout the Allied Worlds Confederation, and they constituted the affluent source of that legendary wealth!

     The Government of the Xallas Republic was composed of seven scientists, and their election to the Governor seat was based on achievements in science only. Although Dr. Dhaz Xallas was the owner, the soul, and the driving power behind the Xallas Republic, he decided not to be a part of the Government, unless his scientific achievements would allow him to do it. He was, however, the permanent Delegate of the Xallas Republic to the Allied Worlds Council.
     Due to its strange electoral rules, it happened the Government of the Free Democratic Republic Xallas changed its composition each time a researcher made a new discovery—sometimes, even from one day to the other! However, the governing rules and regulations were so simple, that frequent political changes didn’t affect a bit the regular flow of business. It was clear to everybody that the Governors were receiving, in fact, a pleasing reward for their hard work, as a nice, prolonged holiday. In general, what the Xallas Governors used to do was to meet together and have some good time—mostly by boosting personal merits and by throwing many veiled, intelligent ironies at each other.
     Same as his father, Dr. Dhaz Xallas married fairly late, then he had a son, Najé Xallas, and then he died of old age in one hundred and one. After his father passed away, Dr. Najé Xallas had to wait until he made a few interesting discoveries, in order to ascend to the Governor seat of his private Republic. Once there, however, he immediately started working on changing the electoral rules.
     In order to implement changes, Dr. Najé Xallas had to reason logically with the other six Governors, and that was far from being an easy job, particularly because the scientists were rather reluctant to changes, and they had very strong personal opinions. Dr. Najé Xallas, on the other hand, had unusual skills of using the arguments and contra-arguments, therefore he managed, somehow, to make his changes official. He became a permanent Governor with the title of First Governor, and each of the other six Governors started being elected for a fixed period of two equ. years, still based on—the accumulated—scientific merits.

     About the same time, Dr. Najé Xallas published his theoretical and experimental developments in space travel using the Trans-States Drive technology. His first experiments involved two reference-points in space, both equally and uniquely energized, plus an enormous amount of a particular subatomic energy: that allowed for almost instantaneous travel!
     The Hurran informers inside the Allied Worlds delivered promptly the latest scientific news to the Home Planet, Togris, and the Hurran Arch-Commissioner, Bagres Kuldema, figured out that the new technology was the only chance the Hurran people would ever have to successfully attack the Allied Worlds Confederation. Consequently, all research and development resources of the Hurran System had been channeled towards developing the new Trans-States Drive technology.
     From Norghe to Ancen, and from Norghe to the Kugh System were, in sequence, seven point five, and nine point four equ. light-years. Between Ancen and Kugh were six equ. light-years, and from Kugh to the Hurran System were thirty-five equ. light-years. There were, of course, many other Stars having Planetary Systems close to the Allied Worlds, though none with good, natural living conditions on a fifty equ. light-years radius—the maximum explored at that time.
     Hurran was a big, old, white-orange Star, and its Planetary System summed seventeen Planets, out of which only Togris offered excellent natural living conditions. The Hurrans were small in size, although proportionally stronger, because Togris was very big and it had a one point seven equated gravity vector at the average sea level. The Hurran political structure was a military one, with classes, ranks, and grades throughout the entire social activity. The topmost hierarchical poles of power were the Arch-Commissioner, and the Central Planning Committee.
     The Hurrans also had benefited greatly from the Infra-Space Drive technology implementation in their Civilization, and from the numerous economic transactions with the Allied Worlds Confederation. Being somehow far and remote, there were a few commercial contacts from the Allied Worlds to Hurran, though very many from Hurran to the Allied Worlds.
     The Hurrans were interested in acquiring technologies, research data, and radioactive minerals, and they offered in exchange mostly metallic alloys and ceramics which were far stronger than the ones manufactured in the Allied Worlds. They were also importing some food products and luxury items in limited quantities reserved, most likely, for their high-ranking nomenclature.
     The Hurran population was estimated at fifteen billion people living in hardship, and it was regarded by the Allied Worlds Confederation as a permanent, ready to burst menace. Since their refusal to conform to the Allied Worlds democratic political system, and following their subsequent withdrawal from the Allied Worlds Confederation, the Hurran leaders went on spreading the enemy-threat propaganda among their people.
     The indulgence towards a life dedicated to relaxation started being depicted as a capital sin which required a quick harsh punishment. Moreover, their political police commenced discovering on a regular basis all sort of plots against “the freedom of all the people”, or “influences” of the Allied Worlds ideology. The need for secrecy increased exponentially, same as the dire workload of each Hurran citizen.
     The Hurrans embarked on upgrading their Interstellar Military Fleet based on the latest developments in technology on Hurran, and in the Allied Worlds. In the same time, the Allied Worlds Confederation replied by developing their Defense Strategy, and things continued that way for about eighty equ. years.
     The Allied Worlds hoped that technological developments and cultural contacts would bring some democratic changes into Hurran political life, and they never had the intention, or the will, to impose those changes by force. In the other side, Hurran social progress was simply impossible due to the militarized social life, and to the centralized political structure.

     The Invasion had been carefully planned for years. The main phase of the Plan was to destroy, with a first blow, the existing military objectives in the Kugh System which represented about two thirds of the total Allied Worlds Defense Forces. The Hurran Arch-Commissioner, Bagres Kuldema, decided that they needed only ten Hurran days for that first, and the most important phase of the Plan.
     The second phase was to attack the remaining forces the Allied Worlds would have managed to get together in the Ancen System—highly disorganized and greatly demoralized after the first blow—within the following ten Hurran days. The third phase of the Plan was scheduled to be implemented after another fifteen Hurran days, and the Hurran Fleet would have entered the boundaries of the Norghe System—the most important prize—which was supposed to be totally defenseless!
     The attack started on three simultaneous directions in order to take the entire Kugh System Defense by surprise. The first direction—though only as a deceiving strategy—was the closest point on the periphery to the Hurran Star, therefore the fights were carried against the WDAR Stations. The second and the third directions were above and below the planetary plane, and deep inside the System. The timing had been perfect, since all important Planets in the Kugh System were aligned at closest distances to Hurran.
     Excepting a few insignificant incidents, as was the destruction of the Router INFRA Sixteen Twenty-Seven, nothing indicated the imminent Invasion. Then, the three Trans-States Drive points of deployment opened simultaneously, and then the metallic waves of Warships started to pour. The intelligent WDAR Stations signaled immediately the presence of the enemy ships but, later, everything happened so fast that the warnings became totally futile. As for redeploying the WDAR Stations to enhance particular strategic objectives, that maneuver proved to be simply impossible due to the speed, the extent, and the force of the attack.

     The first Warships to enter the battle were over ten thousand ordinary cargo transporters, each caring thousands of Hurran tons of magnesium foils. That was a smart Hurran tactical invention. The magnesium foils had been specially treated with a coating substance rich in oxygen. Their purpose was to be deployed in space, burning slowly for about four Hurran days, therefore creating deceiving metal and infrared targets for the WDAR Stations, and for any automatic aiming system.
     The transporters began deploying their loads according to very complex, carefully elaborated strategies. For the enemy electronic surveillance observers, the clouds of magnesium foils appeared to be an impenetrable, burning metallic wall engulfing the horizon. The sophisticated WDAR Stations started firing continuously high-energy pulses, neutrons-yield missiles, laser and plasma charges, but they were aiming blindly at the clouds of burning magnesium foils.

     The next wave of Hurran Warships was, roughly, one hundred enormous FW-Docking Ships at each deployment point. They were so huge that the biggest FW-Docking Ship the Allied Worlds had was less than one quarter of their size. Their mission was to carry short-range FW Ships, about two thousand each, plus refills for ammunition and the precious nuclear fuel—qenergon. In addition, Hurran FW-Docking Ships had strong artillery posts scattered on their hull, all independently pressurized because the bulk of the ships contained no air, and it was almost empty, in order to minimize the effect of direct hits. The Hurran FW-Docking Ships started immediately their programmed action of sweeping the military objectives, while pushing closer towards the Susher Planet and the Nalwan Satellite.
     After the Hurran FW-Docking Ships came thousands of transporters carrying Space Landing Platoons. The Hurran Strategy was, three waves of short-range FW Ships came on each target, from behind the cloud of burning magnesium foils, and each started a torrent of fire to annihilate the objective, then they went away to the next planed objective. Almost immediately, Hurran Space Landing Platoons went into action, and they tried building a new defense stronghold—if there was anything left to support life; otherwise, they killed all survivors and destroyed everything, then they moved to the next target.
     The battle for the Kugh System turned to be a massacre for the Allied Worlds Defense Forces, and it lasted for three equ. days continuously. The Allied Worlds FW-Docking Units were the first ones to be destroyed, together with the Military Ground Bases. In a few places, the Allied Worlds military people started to reorganize themselves, trying to adapt their tactics to the ones used by the Hurrans. However, it was impossible to predict what was going to come next from behind the clouds of burning magnesium foils.
     Overall, the great surprise was the fact that the Hurrans had extremely efficient strategies for all difficult situations, and they fought as if they were machines. In addition, the Hurrans used radioactive materials in their projectiles without discrimination: ecological pollution was terrible, therefore lowering even more the moral for fights, or resistance.
     Those ten percent of military personnel present at their posts and ready for combat were slaughtered in proportion of eighty-five percent. Soon, the Allied Worlds Defense Command realized that the only reasonable tactic was to flee away from the doomed Kugh System, and to save whatever military technology they could for future confrontations.

     It was a glorious victory for the Hurrans. Following the fights, countless armies of ferocious little people arrived each day in the newly conquered Kugh System to impose the humiliating, dire, invaders’ ruling occupation. In the same time, millions of Hurran technicians worked night and day to exhaustion to gear up the Fleet for the next planed attack.



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