Astronomical and Mythological Data
The constellation of The Great Dog:
Latin name: Canis MajorNotes:
Translation: The Greater Dog
Named Stars: SIRIUS (Alpha CMa), Murzim (Beta CMa), Muliphen (Gamma CMa), Wezen (Delta CMa), ADARA (Epsilon CMa), Furud (Zeta CMa), Aludra (Eta CMa)
Messier Objects: M41 (open cluster)
The brightest star in the constellation is Sirius. Canis Major and Canis Minor are hunting dogs of Orion from the Greek legend. Orion was in love with Merope, one of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades, but Merope didn't care about Orion. Orion stepped on the scorpion (Scorpius), and died. The gods put Orion and his two dogs in the sky as constellations.
The star Sirius
Name: Sirius (also called the Dog Star)Notes:
Bayer/Flamsteed Name: 9Alp CMa
Spectral Type: A1Vm
Henry Draper Catalogue Number: 48915
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observation Number: 151881
Right Ascension: 6h45m8.9s
Declination: -16° 42'58"
Distance from Earth: 8.7 light years
Accompanied with a small star, a white dwarf by the name of Sirius B (or the 'Pup'), only 32000 km in diameter and of magnitude 8.5, it makes a binary system.
General description and legends:
Located in the stellar constellation of Canis Majoris, or The Great Dog, less than 9 light years away from the Earth, Alpha Canis Majoris, commonly referred to as Sirius or The Dog Star, is the brightest star in the skies. Observed from the Northern Hemisphere it is visible low in the southern part of the sky.
Ancient Egyptians considered Sirius as the celestial representation of the goddess Isis, the sister-wife of Osiris, the most important goddess of their mythology. Isis assumed virtually every important attribute and function of all the other goddess and she was worshipped for mothership, healing, magical spells and charms. Egyptians believed that Isis has learned the secret name of the god Rae from himself, and therefore was the most powerful magician in the universe.
Some twentieth century historians speculated that Egyptians, as well as some other ancient cultures, had contacts with intelligent beings originating from Sirius. But those theories were not considered too serious and never achieved general approval. Lately, it proved to be a bit more than just a silly idea.
AD 2063, Titan, Saturn, Solar System
Lying on the floor, professor Bennett was staring at the stars and watching them slowly turn and move in complicated patterns in the dark sky, as Prospector was rotating around its primary axis in the orbit around Titan, which is orbiting Saturn which is in turn orbiting around our Sun. Not the she could actually see the influences of all those planetary motions, except for the Prospector's gravity-generating rotation, but she was still impressed by the sheer thought of the complicated forces that made each part of the universe constantly spin around some other part of the universe. It was her favorite thinking position since the beginning of the Prospector's mission on Titan. She was a respected linguist and the leading scientist in the mission. Last few months here were very busy and very fruitful, and now she was too tired make any more progress in her work, so she decided to take bit of a rest. She was just staring at the stars and thinking of how it all begun.
Although it first seemed a bit hard, the humans did escape their gravity well and, eventually, started to expand in the solar system. Building bases, mining planets and moons for precious metals and minerals, making more living space and progressing in large. Still, always a bit behind with the resources and space, as humans usually have larger needs than abilities, space mining was not yet a full replacement for digging our own planet. However, that did prove good in the end. Since the temple of Abu Simbel was moved to an alternate location in the previous century, there was no archeological researching there any more. So one small local oil company did eventually get a permit to build an oilrig on that location. If they didn't drill there, we would still be sitting on the most valuable ancient artefact ever, without even suspecting it.
The underground crypt found was not really the space base as it was first hoped, but did contain significant amounts of alien machinery with unknown purpose and provided lot of written documentation. It was all written in the Sirian pictograms, which, what is not peculiar, are very similar to the hieroglyphs that Egyptians used. The translation was simplified by the fact that the Sirians did leave all those with the intent to be discovered and translated. Something like a concept of the gold disk on the Voyager. It was also accompanied with audio-visual recordings and Egyptian translation samples. Sirians invested great efforts to make all that as much understandable to a foreign race as possible. The writings contained much more information than those that we sent to outer space. Not all texts were fully understood, but what the Prof. Bennett's team and other scientists from different countries were able to translate was enough to decipher the core facts of Sirian history and their presence in the ancient Egypt.
Sirians were intelligent race much like humans in appearance, a bit taller, without any body hair, and with each hand bearing two fingers and a thumb. When their expedition came to Earth, some five thousand years ago, they were on the peak of their prospect. They have become adept in interstellar travelling and have expanded throughout their solar system and several others in the neighborhood. Their advances were mostly technological, but they have also discovered other races that practiced mental powers and magic casting. They have just started to research and develop such skills, and were still very fresh on that field.
Not genuinely destructive, they helped any other intelligent race on lower technology levels that they met, and they never met any race more advanced than themselves. Up to that time. According to the scripts found in the crypt, just a few decades after the Sirian expedition arrived on Earth, one of their other expeditions has found traces of an ancient and now extinct race in some near part of the galaxy.
Sirians named that race Eillians, or 'The Ancient Ones', as the race has disappeared several hundred thousand years ago. The Sirians found Eillian legends of large empires spanning great areas of the galaxy for eons. The Ancient Ones called that old age 'Tag'h Na-Mah', meaning 'big order that oscillates', as the empires were constantly expanding and contracting, blooming and falling apart, merging and separating, like all great systems involving organic being always do. Still, the entire system was seemingly stable. Allegedly, the empires were usually governed by creatures called 'Hum-Tah', the infinite beings. Those were some kind of immortal beings whose exact nature is still unclear. As the most important clue for the events that followed, Sirians left a fragment of an old Eillian song in rough and unclear translation meaning:
Of the infinite, there are three kinds:
Lost ones, they are lost in infinity
Ones that create, they were our gods
They were finited.
Ones that destroy, they were banished.
But The One Infinite is still.
According to The Ancient Ones, the age after great empires was named 'Ugh-Tah', the infinite death. Not explaining how it begun, Sirians describe that age as a curse for intelligent life in the entire galaxy. It is marked by the dark reign of the last persisting immortal being, The One Infinite, or 'Tah-Um' in Eillians legends. Sirians also called that being Chaad Sheen, what meant wizard-exterminator. It is a blood-thirsty immortal that uses its magic powers, supernatural mental abilities and all available technology to wipe out any intelligent life it finds. Sirians describe that there are no other immortals left except for the Chaad Sheen and that it, according to the Eillians, is wondering across the galaxy now, sweeping in long periods measuring hundreds of thousands of years. It is not interested in subduing other races and keeping an empire of its own, but rather uses any eventual violent races it encounters together with robots and magical creatures under its control to just wipe all others out. Chaad Sheen had wiped out the Eillians long time before intelligent life appeared on Sirius and approximately at the same time when Sirians discovered the Eillian traces, it found the Sirians too.
From what is written in the Sirian messages, they fought long war with its dreadful armies, but apparently, they had no chances for survival in the end. Together with the Sirian own planet, it was going to destroy all their colonies and all the primitive civilizations supported by Sirians. That is, each and every one it could locate. But the Sirians were pretty sure that although The One Infinite was a powerful being, it did not know that they had an expedition on Earth, since that was just in stage of an early contact. So the members of the expedition suddenly became refugees who were ordered not to return and not to have any more contacts with their home planet. They were deemed to stay on Earth and cease any large scale technological construction or traveling in order to keep low profile and not be noticed by Chaad Sheen.
All Sirians and all the other races in the nearby systems were exterminated by the One Infinite. The members of the last expedition on Earth were left alone on the planet alien to them to live like the last few of their race among the primitive strangers, not using most of the technology they were used to. In that poor situation, they were not really happy. They were depraved and couldn't really keep their culture going. From the documents and from the Egyptian legends, human scientists have concluded that they were decimated by the sole depression, and that few left have gone mentally unstable and started to play gods to the ancient Egyptians. They were using what was left of their technology and established the concept of the pharaoh - a divine being living on Earth. After few generations, they were completely extinct, and the Egyptian civilization continued its own way without them. Their last sane efforts were put into building the crypt and providing all the materials in it, so that when the earthlings develop to a larger level of civilization, they would have some data to start with, and especially to be warned about the fact that they live in the age of Ugh-Tah, the infinite death.
'Most of those facts were of purely historical and archeological importance, but there was one notion that made humans extremely enthusiastic. It was the exact chart that described where they had parked their spaceship before their definite grounding on Earth. The chart showed the underground base on Titan, Saturn's largest satellite. They hid the ship there, so that both they couldn't get to it even if some of them cracked and tried to return to home, and that the earthlings wouldn't discover it too early. Whole human civilization was delighted with the idea that they had a real interstellar spaceship available. Scientists could examine it, hopefully understand most of the technology and build their own spacecrafts for interstellar travels. We would no longer be prisoners in our solar system, confined with the finite sub-light-speeds of ordinary traveling methods. That is why the Prospector was now orbiting Titan for the last few months. The team lead by Prof. Bennett was trying to decode the writings found in the underground base and they were doing well. Pretty soon, they will have all the technical data that Sirians have left in the base translated, and humans will be able to travel to the new worlds, going from system to system, to explore, to expand and to prosper.'
The Beginning of the End
When the Sirian technology for interstellar traveling was fully understood and building of first interstellar spaceships commenced, the initial fear of The One Infinite has already ceased. From the start, many have complained that it was unwise to continue expansion, since we might encounter the evil immortal, which will wipe our world out. But when considered deeper, the arguments seemed week even to those who were their originators. If all the data was even approximately valid, it was clear that the Chaad Sheen has confronted with Sirians only a few thousands years ago, and that the period between its arrivals was usually few hundred thousand years. From current perspective it seemed like being afraid of our Sun becoming a nova. Like, yeah right, it is going to happen, but it will be so far in the future that no one knows what is going to happen until that, so it doesn't really matter.
With such thoughts, all humans were happy to see first few of our spacecrafts leaving for outer space. First for the nearest star, Proxima Centauri in the constellation of Alpha Centauri. In the beginning just basic exploration. Then came the miners to bring valuable materials and together with the miners came archeological expeditions to search for traces of Sirians and other races that might had lived there. When we became adept with going to our nearest neighbors and back, we sent out the first expedition to Canis Major, to find out if there is anything left of the civilization on Sirius.
AD 2104, Sirius Stellar System, Canis Major
Even being bigger than a good sized aircraft carrier, with its sub-light propulsion engines spewing wide beams of accelerated ions and leaving a glaring trail few miles long behind it, Surveyor is still just a tiny little spark in the great darkness of the universe. The super-light part of the voyage is now over, and the main computer has switched the engines to intrastellar mode. At ten percents of light speed, the ship is slowly approaching outer limits of the Sirius system. The crew has already waken up from hibernation and they are now busy running around the decks getting all the systems up and running, preparing the instruments to start scanning the system for possible traces of civilized life. Surveyor is the first exploration ship sent to gather basic information of the system, and prepare environment for further missions.
Everything is running smooth so far, and things are more or less as expected, accounting prior experiences in dealing with systems previously inhabited by the Sirians. Just one thing is strange. According to first scans, there is a large asteroid belt surrounding the four planets of the system. To be more exact, it is really more of a sphere than a belt. Array of pieces of rock all very similar in size distributed more or less regularly around the globe, like a giant bubble it is encompassing entire system. The asteroids are all sized like a medium mountain, and at distance between each other one hundred times of the one between Earth and Moon. The bubble should not cause any navigational problems to Surveyor, since the layer is thin and the asteroids are away from each other enough to make a smooth pass between them. But the strangest thing is that Sirians have never mentioned something like that in their writings.
Captain Stone is standing on the bridge with his hands on his back, staring at the big front monitor showing empty surface of the artificial asteroid in front of Surveyor. The ship is now parked steady relatively to the asteroid, following its orbit around the star. A shuttle was sent down with a scientific team to explore the surface of the asteroid. They didn't really have a choice of what to do. The situation was strange, since they didn't expect to find something like that. The entire crew was a bit afraid and no one was really eager to just go through the monstrous layer of asteroids and proceed with their voyage inside it. They were cut away from the company headquarters on Earth, since they didn't have an interstellar transceiver built in with the ship. They were supposed to deploy a team on the outermost planet, which would unfold a large transmitter's antennae and mount a relay station for interstellar sub-etha communication. Before that was done, they were just stuck with conventional radio signals, and it was of no use to wait sixteen years for the return information. There were only two options. Go through it, or get back to Earth, or at least to Alpha Centauri, and ask for further instructions from the headquarters. Strategic consultants on the ship had no desire on approving the idea of returning back. The S&E and HBM missions were on their way to the Canis Major too, and the company has invested great deal of money and resources in this mission. They didn't really want be the second ones to get there. Anyway, it was the captain's word last and he would rather go back than rush in crazily, but he didn't want to give up so soon. So he decided they take a closer look at one of the asteroids, just to gather more information. Maybe they will know what to do when they get to know more about the nature of those asteroids.
Now as the shuttle is hovering near the asteroid, Stone began to think that maybe it was not such a great idea. He had that strange feeling that there was something wrong with all this, but he couldn't really tell what could be wrong with a pile of strangely put asteroids. A pretty large pile, but still those are just asteroids. They are just going to see if there is anything on those asteroids, and then perhaps the strange feeling will go away. At least he wanted to believe so.
With the time that followed, that will be considered the greatest mistake in the history of the humankind. As the shuttle was exploring the asteroid, the shuttle's crew made a few circles around to observe it and then set out to explore it personally with the jetpacks. They have found an underground cave filled with machines of non-Sirian origin. After significant amount of analysis, it later turned out that the asteroids were set there by Chaad Sheen which was a bit suspicious on the Sirians and decided to leave automated watch units to warn him if intelligent life reappears too quickly. The asteroids were connected in a lock-out network of radio signals, which made an astronomical sized alarm device detecting anything that could pass through. It appeared that the shuttle's circling was enough to trigger the mechanism and the great evil was back in our part of the galaxy, one hundred thousand years too early.
In the battles that followed, humans were fighting with all forces but The One Infinite was virtually unbeatable with his unlimited supplies of evil armies. Being so dreadful, the Chaad Sheen quickly got humans give it a new name: Notorious Mental. Earth forces were steadily defeated, planet by planet, from the Alpha Centauri systems and back into our own system. No matter how much we fought, we could never survive.
Although everybody was more or less sure that the conflict was inevitable this way or another, captain Sam Stone, just as most of the others from the crew of the unfortunate Surveyor, kept blaming himself for the mistake of triggering the ancient mechanism. Stone just could not forgive himself. He joined the armies as soon as the first fights begun, and was reckless in the efforts to get himself killed in action. With time, he became known for his habit of being the first volunteer for any suicidal mission. Starting from serving as an officer on a cruiser, he insisted on being transferred to fighter pilots, later to space marines and finally to special forces. In all his fights, he was always concentrated and exact, never caring of anything, just wanting to kill one alien more. Because he never smiled or laughed, never cried or showed a glimpse of fear, but just scowled thinking on how to get more alien blood on his knife, he got himself a nickname Serious. With thousands of battles behind him, Stone became one of the oldest veterans in the space war. He commanded a destroyer at the big space battle for Rigil Kentaurus, he was victorious in countless dogfights against alien roboships, he lead hundreds of diversions on Mental's bases and fought head to head with his minions for thousand times. Wounded countless times, but never defeated, Serious Sam became famous as a symbol of the Earth's defense against the ancient evil. In battle he was always acting furiously and never cared for his life. Nevertheless, he survived it all. Destiny just had something more planned for him.
The Last Chance
The humankind is coming to an end. Great battles over solar system have been lost and the Earth is now under direct attack. Mental is not really in a hurry. It is just finishing what is left of human space defenses and it is a matter of day when it will send the evil forces down to Earth and commit great slaughters country by country. There is no more hope. After its short outburst of interstellar glory during past few decades, the human civilization is doomed to be lost. Forever.
AD 2113, Abu Simbel, Egypt, Earth, Solar System
In the ancient underground crypt under the old temple of Abu Simbel, a small group of officers is having a secret briefing. General Wilson, head of a secret committee of the joined defense forces codenamed Escape, major Kowalsky, scientific advisor, major Willowby, strategic consultant, and captain Sam 'Serious' Stone, the toughest commando in the forces, are sitting on plain wooden chairs around a small square table. The crypt is lighted with dim back light from ancient Sirian computer monitors, and the walls are covered with writings in Sirian pictograms. Wilson, Kowalsky and Willowby are a bit nervous. Strange behavior for people of their rank and experience, but the situation is very complicated. Sam is, as always, serious. He is just dubbing his fingers on the table, anxious to hear if they have a great idea on how he could slay some more bad guys, before he gets wiped out together with their good old Earth.
Kowalsky starts explaining:
'Sam, you know that the scientists have been translating these Sirian writings that are all around us here, on the walls, in papyrus documents and on hundreds of crystal disks. That did take decades, and we now know most things of the technology they had, and we use a lot of it. But there are some facts that have been never been revealed to the public. There is one powerful, but very dangerous device that Sirians have left us. The device is not their craft, but rather a work of The Ancient Ones, or maybe even some race older than they are. It is called 'Gana-Og', Urnpool, or the Timelock.
'The nature of it is very complicated and unexplainable. Sirians did not leave any information on how exactly does it work, and we believe that even they didn't know that. But we do know what it does. It enables one to travel back in time. Just that the concept is not as simple as we would like. When one decides to use a Timelock, it has to be placed on a certain place and armed. For arming, it has to be charged from a power source stronger than any one we currently have available. After that, Timelock accumulates the energy in a force field of nature completely unknown to us, but allegedly, it can keep it that way forever. The energy is somehow interlocked with the time-space continuum in that point, and internally to the field, the time stops ticking. The current time of the Timelock's arming is kept that way to be unleashed later. The whole concept is complicated, but what is certain is that, if someone enters the Timelock at any later point in time, and triggers it, the Timelock will unleash the field, bend the time-space and the person will be transported approximately to the time when the Timelock was armed. This does not allow for simple time traveling around whatever way you like, but it does provide you with at least some way to go back in time. It is noticeable that both the Eillians and the Sirians had that device available, but seems that they have never used it. No sane man would ever want to have a thing like that armed, because from then on, he would never know when can someone pop out from the future and mess something up. Allegedly, both the Sirians and the Eillians were afraid to ever arm it, so they couldn't use it to confront the Mental when they needed to.
'The writings say that before their end, Sirians have sneaked the only Timelock they ever had to Earth, so that it would not fall in Mental's possession. Anyway, the Sirians on Earth have armed the Timelock just before they disappeared, because they didn't have any hopes left, didn't care about anything anymore, and they thought to give us a chance more, if we ever get to need one. And now we really do...', Kowalsky's voice has already started to quiver.
'We have no other chance left', proceeds General Wilson, 'our forces are almost defeated, and there is no way we can fight the Mental back with any regular military power. Therefore, under the plan codenamed Escape, the joined defense forces headquarters have authorized us to use the Timelock to try to stop Mental before all this mess began.
'Problem is that we are still unsure of how exactly to use the device. We know that if we trigger it now, it can transport one person to the time of ancient Egypt, while the Mental was still somewhere around this part of universe. Perhaps the device can be used to go to some later point in time, or to transport more than one person, but we don't know how to adjust it yet. And there is no time for experimenting.
'The final decision is that you, Sam, should go through the Timelock, sneak Mental, since it is not expecting you, and assassin it, five thousand years ago. Then it would not be able to confront us in the present time. 'Sure so', says Sam, 'but how am I going to kill it, if I'm on Earth, and it is on Sirius?'
'You see', Kowalsky drops in, 'Sirians have had their ship parked on the Titan, so that they cannot go back. But they actually did leave a backdoor. There was a remote control device which could have communicated the ship and bring it back to Earth. But the keys to accessing the controller have been deliberately scattered around Egyptian temples, so that no one person could activate it without being noticed by the Sirians which actually lived there. If you collect all the keys, which are held in the form of the four elements and find operating instructions, you can call the spaceship back from Titan.
'Then', continues major Willowby, 'you can go to any other planet. But, you must not go directly to Sirius, since Mental would notice you. You have to go to another colony on Proxima Centauri, nearest to the Earth, and then use Sirian merchant teleports to transfer from one colony to another and finally to Sky City at Sirius. Hopefully, at that time Mental will be just busy finishing up what was left of the other races around there, and won't even notice one man coming to get at it. Of course, the colonies and the Sky City will be swarming with Mental's forces, but there is no other option.'
'Never mind, it will be my pleasure to blow them off', Sam comments without shedding a smile.
Kowalsky says: 'About the Egypt, we are not sure. It is almost certain that triggering the Timelock will alarm Mental both at present, and in the past. When you come there, its forces might be on their way to the Earth. But they will not know that you are there. They will go primarily to wipe the Sirians, and the Egyptians whose presence will be revealed with that event. Due to the imprecision in the operation of the Timelock, you may get there before the aliens or after them. We don't know. We can just hope you won't be too late to sneak on Mental.
'What you may take with you, is just your uniform, the implanted NETRICSA, a knife, and your favorite Smith and Wesson. We cannot allow for anything more to go in the primary wave, due to the possible instabilities in the time-space field of the Timelock. The total mass transported is suspected to be limited and the exact time-space location of the transportation will vary more if more mass is involved. However, we will try to put in more weaponry, ammo, shields and medipacks for your supplies. We will keep putting more in, after you have departed, as much the Timelock will be able to eat. However, you may find them scattered across the Egypt, but that is the best we can do for you.'
Willowby gives final directions: 'You can now download all the tactical data to NETRICSA, and when you are out there, it will be your only strategic help. We cannot tell you anything more, since we don't have any more information on what you may encounter. NETRICSA will try to decode any new data you will eventually encounter, and give you more insight on what to do. You know how to get from the Earth, but once you leave Egypt, you are on your own for guidance.'
Sam takes a coldlight uploader interface from Willowby, and stares into it. With few minutes of quick flashes of light on the small screen of the uploader, all the necessary data has been uploaded through his eyes and into the NETRICSA (NEuroTRonically Implanted Combat Situation Analyzer) which is implanted inside his skull. Sam's NETRICSA is the best available of the wide range of such devices, common among modern head-to-head fighters. It is a neurotronical computer connected to the perceptual cortexes in his brain. The computer has all the access to his audio-visual experiences and can provide him with feedback. It is used to provide fast and simple access to all the necessary data and analysis for a skilled combatant, so that he can keep up to date with the situation and know what to do next. It translates texts, offers simple head-up-display directly to the visual cortex, tracks targets and gives other kinds of help in fight and in general tactics.
His Smith & Wesson is not a simple colt, also. It is fitted with a technomagical device seized from one of few captured Mental's minions. The device is known as ammo-replenisher, and it provides him with infinite ammunition for extreme cases when he has no other weapon left to fight.
After the download is finished, Sam takes the little of his equipment, and follows General Wilson. Wilson approaches one of the walls and gives it a few quick touches with his fingers over some pictograms as if it was a dial keyboard. The wall transforms from its innocent appearance covered with colored Sirian pictograms into a dark black stone with a visible trapezoidal line of a size of huge door in the middle. The bordered part of the wall then slides in and to the side, showing a dark hallway.
They walk silently down the long hallway made of black marble and enter a strangely lighted room at the other side. The room is all white and heavenly light is pouring from all the walls, floor and the ceiling. It does not look like anything Sirians ever built, it is a craft of some forgotten civilization, from the age of Tag'h Na-Mah.
In the middle of the room there is a small pedestal in shape of three concentric hexagonal stairs built of a material completely black and dull even in such a bright room. On it, a thin metallic disk is floating, hovering slowly up and down, spinning and tilting softly. Similar construction hangs down from the ceiling, and strange forces seem to connect them. Soft lines of light dance between the two disks, appearing here and there moving a bit around their surfaces and disappearing again in the endless game of power.
The four soldiers stand around the device in the center of the room no one saying nothing. The future of the entire human race in on the stake, and they are all afraid of what is going to happen next. Except Sam. His brows scowl, as he slowly approaches the middle. He looks to the others calmly and stands there a bit. Then, suddenly, he salutes them. As if surprised at first, they salute him back, and he walks into the Timelock.
Blinding light flashes for an infinite moment as they observe the time-space continuum bending, forced by ancient powers to perform unnatural action and send captain Stone back to time when Egyptians built their great pyramids, and Mental was slaying the Sirians.
And now ...