Drahd2 (the “2” pronounced like a musical note two octaves above a bass rumble) had only an interval ago been awakened from its long sleep in the hibernation pod, then cleaned of coldsleep suspension fluid and had its first meal after the long journey to the Swarmfleet’s now completed destination.
It had been informed by one of its fleet-mates that today was the day to fulfill its purpose, of life, of struggle, the meaning of existence for Drahd2’s species, the Broogh, as laid forth by the Swarmfleet’s all-mother, its source of life…and direction…the God-Thegn, immobile and omnipotent in her fortress-vessel, a craft that easily outsized any other vessel in the fleet, even this one that Drahd2 called home, a mere assault-vessel that to most tiny alien species would be the size of a city.
The Broogh knew no words for war or peace…They had been fighting for so long that they had forgotten about the latter, and had no need to distinguish the former from life itself. Life was for fighting, and fighting was for life…the life of the Swarmfleet in which everyone did their part.
Drahd2’s people had been wandering the void, flowing across the field of stars in massive waves of vessels, for eons now, Swarmfleets of literally millions of ships of enormous size, each a self-contained world for its crew, with factories that produced weapons, food, new vessels, and soldiers to serve the God-Thegn’s will.
Drahd2 strode on its six legs, powerful tail swaying from side to side, into the armory, a huge chamber with countless others like itself, warriors both veteran and newly birthed by the God-Thegn, who were all being fitted with weapons and armor by those of the tech-drone class.
The dwarfish tech-drones, only a quarter the size of the warriors, but with proportionately larger heads atop their thicker and shorter necks, swarmed around the warriors, measuring some, fabricating customized armor components, specially fitted for each soldier, and assembled them as each piece was produced.
Some tech-drones deftly controlled robotic arms by remote to outfit the tallest warriors, this protective suit being proof against poisonous atmospheres, vacuum, radiation, and to a high degree, many weapons as well.
Drahd2 stood silently, nodding in assent and obeying when asked to shift its powerful form this way and that while the tech-drones put on its armor.
Nearby, one of Drahd2’s old battlemates, whose name is pronounced somewhat like three musical notes followed by a throaty hiss and two sharp clicks (we’ll spell it “687#!!” here) had completed its outfitting and picked up a plasma rifle from a nearby weapon-rack, running its gloved fingers over the finely crafted weapon to get a ‘feel’ for its spirit, to get a sense of the warrior essence the weapon conveyed.
The warrior was the weapon, and the weapon was the warrior, the two would become one on the field of battle, overwhelming and bringing fear and death to the enemy.
So be it, as it has been for ages since the Great Wandering to find refuge from The Baleful, those horrific legendary beings that brought just a tinge of fear to even Drahd2’s warrior heart.
The last of the tech-drones had completed assembling the sealants and environmental systems of Drahd2’s suit.
Tech-drones were physically little things, but so much smarter than Drahd2, even though they had no ability with the tactical prowess of a warrior, especially a veteran of many combats such as itself. Still, to each its purpose, and to each its duty. First the God-Thegn, then the Swarmfleet, then the Race, was most important.
Drahd2 strode to the weapon-rack and motioned toward at its favorite armament, a sub-nuclear particle cannon, which automated mechanical arms then mounted on the shoulder piece of its armor.
It followed hundreds of other warriors into the airlock, and waited until the sound of air leaving the chamber had silenced. The airlock door opened to the void, the stadium-sized chamber now filled with fellow troops, both old-timers and greens.
Drahd2 did some last minute checks on its suit systems.
Was that a tinge of fear it felt? This cannot be, for the Broogh fear no enemy. But something felt wrong, and this was disquieting for a brief instant.
Drahd2 steeled itself, holding the fear in its mind just long enough to dismiss it.
Over its communications link, Drahd2 bellowed, with a sound below the threshold of hearing to a human, if one were to be nearby at the time, and launched itself into the radiation-filled emptiness and microgravity of space, quickly to be joined by thousands of others, heading to the flashing pinpoints of brightness in the distance, the signs of explosions, or combat on the field of battle, in which they would gain not only glory and a place in songs of legend, but meaning, duty, and a sense of completeness.
This day, Drahd2 would fulfill its purpose and complete the circle of life and death.