Anteverse

Sometime after Operation Pitfall

The young Precursor scuttled into the large chamber and took a place near the back, as befitted its lowly position in the society. It looked over the teeming masses, wondering what could have possibly happened to call for such an unprecedented gathering. Down at the center of the chamber, atop a small platform, stood a number of high-ranking officials. The Warmaster, charged with pacifying the new world. The Breeder, tasked with growing and assembling the massive Warriors that had been dispatched to destroy the Vermin that inhabited the new world. The Chronicler, who was in charge of the massive archive of historical records and interpreting what they meant. The Agronomist, master of the economy. And most surprisingly, the Doyen, the leader of the society, who rarely was seen by the public.

Suddenly, an unknown entity entered the young Precursor's mind. This was not uncommon, as the immature Precursors were unable to speak and used the Hivemind to communicate, and were often paired with a more mature member of the society to learn. As the entity began to realize what was going on, it emanated disorientation and confusion. The Precursor radiated calm, and the entity's panic faded, replaced with intense curiosity. The Precursor allowed it to view the world through its eyes, and the entity began to feel excited. However, the event was about to begin, and the young being focused its attention on the dais at the center of the chamber. The discussion's topic hadn't been announced in advance, so all the Precursors were eager to find out more.

The Doyen began his opening speech, and the young Precursor was somehow able to roughly translate it for the alien presence in its mind.

"My people, we have waited long for the opportunity to move to a new world. We have sacrificed much to create our gigantic Warriors to send through the Rift to secure our new home." It paused for a moment.

"These sacrifices have been for naught."

A rumble of distress rippled through the crowds. For naught? How?

The Doyen held up a hand, and the murmurs died away. "Not long ago, the Vermin attempted to breach the Rift. They have tried before, and each time they had failed.

"This time, they succeeded."

More rumbling from the crowd. Again, a hand raised by the Doyen silenced the crowds. "This breach was accomplished by a single Warrior-class mechanical creature. It then proceeded to utterly destroy the Warrior facility and the Rift by destroying itself. Anyone that has been sent into the damaged area has returned gravely ill, on the verge of death."

The entity expressed confusion over the term "Warrior." The young Precursor remembered the first Warrior it had seen, a massive beast with a pointed skull, yellow markings, and blue eyes. It had been the very first Generation III, meant to find out what the Vermin's defending Warriors' weaknesses were. The reports had stated that it had succeeded in defeating a Vermin Warrior, but died in the process. It had been deemed an acceptable loss, as it had returned valuable information, especially regarding the fact that the Vermin Warriors were not self-motivated like the Precursor Warriors. Instead, two Vermin controlled it. Kill them, and the Vermin Warrior fell.

The Warmaster stepped forward and began to speak. "Yes, they set back the invasion slightly. We shall rebuild the Rift and take the world beyond as ours, as is our right!"

The Agronomist, however, shook its head in disapproval. "Not swiftly, though. And your new Generation IV Warriors are incredibly resource intensive. Making one diverts enough resources to provide for a whole Hive for three dozen cycles! And the only Exterminator-class Warrior you made was easily defeated. I could have better used those resources to feed five Hives for a hundred cycles!"

The young Precursor again felt confusion and curiosity from the entity over the terms "Hive" and "cycle," so it remembered the Hive it had been raised in and the rising of the primary star, it moving across the sky, then setting, then rising again. Understanding again emanated from the entity.

The Doyen held its hands aloft again, and the two Precursors backed down. The Chronicler stepped forward and began to speak.

"We have faced resilient Vermin before. We have always triumphed in the end. All of us know this. However, none have ever breached the Rift. There is no precedent for this in the Histories. We are setting our own path, one that will shape our civilization from this point on."

Unease emanated throughout the Hivemind as thousands of Precursors heard that final bit. The last time the path had not been guided by the Histories, they had nearly destroyed their civilization. It was not an encouraging bit of news.

The Chronicler stepped back, and the Breeder stepped forward. "Yes, the Warrior facility was utterly destroyed. Not a single Warrior was spared. We will have to start building a new facility. Did we lose everything? No. We are not starting over, but we are behind where we were." It moved back behind the Doyen, who was silent for a while. Finally, it spoke.

"Agronomist, can we locate another suitable world in time?"

The Agronomist stepped forward. "No, we cannot."

"Breeder, can you make more Warriors?"

"Yes, with time."

"Warmaster, you may continue your campaign. Be warned, however, that you cannot continue to waste resources on ever-larger Warriors, as these have been proven to be impractical. Focus instead on more effective warriors, and in larger numbers. Let quantity be a quality all its own." It looked around. "This session is closed."

-.-.-

The young Precursor sensed the entity get excited as the connection faded. Before it went, however, it asked one question of the entity. What are you called?

The entity paused for a moment before replying just as the connection faded away.

Newt.

-.-.-.-.-

Author's notes…

I had a few ideas that I'd been kicking around in my head for a few days: What if the Kaiju were as expensive, if not more so, to the Precursors as the Jaegers were to humanity? What would the reaction be when Gipsy came out of the Breach and destroyed the Kaiju facility and the Breach? Would the Precursors try to find another world after having been slapped in such a manner, or would it just galvanize them?

I wound up making this one-shot both to answer those questions and as a tie-in to my Forged in Fire story. It's outside the main story arc of FiF (hence the one-shot), but it is a part of the same literary universe, and it will have an impact on FiF sooner or later.

So in short, yes, the Breach will reopen in the Fire-verse, but not right now. I still have that story to tell. ;)

Also, expect more one-shots and/or short stories to pop up from time to time to delve into more detail of certain aspects of the story or to develop the backstory of any new OCs I create along the way.

Anyways, the next output from me should be Chapter 21 of Forged in Fire.

Cheers,

Patrick "Maverick" Sawyer