A couple of hundred light-years from Earth, a large yellow star shone. One not that dissimilar to Sol. This star blanketed the six-planet system with light and warmth.
NZ-12G was its official name in the Federation Star Registry. It rested in one of the few areas of the Alpha Quadrant, near the edge of the Gamma Quadrant, that had yet to be touched by Federation, Romulan or Klingon vessels.
Four planets from the star sat a beautiful blue, brown and white marble, slowly rotating as it floated in a slightly elliptical orbit around her sun.
If you did not look closely, you could swear that this was Earth.
But if you did look closely, you could see the difference. On the planet, there were not many continents. There were only two large brown and green landmasses, separated by two mighty blue oceans, almost as big as the land.
A few small satellites orbited the planet, but nothing like could be seen on any of the more advanced planets like Vulcan or Earth.
But being less advanced had its charms. Having no technology anyone would want, this planet had not been caught up in the interstellar warfare that had ravaged the Alpha Quadrant for the past thousand years.
She did not have the Ferengi showing up to exploit her citizens, nor did she have to deal with the Orions coming to enslave their women. Even the Borg seemed disinterested in this planet, as there did not seem to be anything 'unique' about it.
Far from it though. On the surface of the planet, it was almost as beautiful as it appeared from afar.
There were very few clouds in the sky and little pollution from industrialization. NZ-12G IV did not have any available fossil fuels, as the planet was relatively young, and the humanoid population evolved differently than most planets.
The population was forced to develop other forms of energy, and they had.
Most vehicles on the planet ran from hydrogen fuel cells. Most electricity was generated with solar collectors that dotted the roofs of modern houses. The larger metropolises had nuclear power plants puffing out harmless steam.
Space travel had been achieved, but only to the effect of what they needed.
Orbiting the planet were two moons. One of which acted as a repository for the waste expended by the power plants. Once every six months a ship was launched to the moon from each of the continents.
While it was not the perfect solution, they felt it was better than burying the toxic by-products underneath the people’s feet.
There were quite a few people. Several billion, planet-wide.
The people seemed happy. In a park on the western continent children played with their domesticated animals. Men and women had picnics and old couples smiled as they fed the ducks.
One problem though.
The people looked a lot like humans. A few differences, such as hair color – some people were natural greenheads – but besides that, most could pass themselves off on Earth as humans without getting a second look.
However, to the people on the planet, there were two distinctly different peoples.
The people on the western hemisphere had spots on them, like a Trill. But unlike a Trill, these spots did not just run down the back of their necks and down their backs.
These spots dotted their entire bodies, sometimes in beautiful patterns, and usually in colors that matched their hair and eyes.
The Westerns were grateful for this. They felt that God had blessed them with such beautiful markings.
The people in the Eastern hemisphere did not agree. These people had no spots, and they were proud of that. They felt that God had blessed them by not giving them the ‘mark of the beast.’
Wars had broken out between the two 'races.' Wars that had lasted for years. Wars that had killed hundreds of millions.
And the wars just did not stop.
The Easterns had developed a little more quickly than the Westerns. The east side of the planet had many mountains that contained vast amounts of uranium. The west side though was flat, mostly plains, prairies, forests, and desert. Uranium was far sparser and needed to be conserved to power the few mega-cities that lay near rivers, major roadways, and oceans.
In addition, the Westerns style of government was more socialist, giving almost all the tax revenue back to the people in the form of free education, free health care, and intricate mass transit.
The Easterns had more a capitalist, free-market system with heavy consumption taxes which gave the government almost unlimited funds to spend on military research and development.
However, despite their advantage, the Easterns were never able to conquer the Westerns. The Westerns had a four-to-one population advantage. An occupation never succeeded either due to being outnumbered militarily or the massive insurgency the population managed.
In the southern Western city of Vida, the people milled about their daily routine. Men and women working at their places of business. Children, who had no school thanks to a holiday, played in the streets, hung out at the malls, and just did the things that children do when they get a reprieve from school.
In the middle of the city, between the remains of three bombed-out skyscrapers and next to a pair under construction, laid the largest park in Vida.
The image of this beautiful, lush park on this beautiful, cloudless day, in the shadow of the results of war, was poetically ironic, to say the least.
It became even more so as a squadron of attack fighters roared overhead, heading east.
An elderly couple looked up as the four silver warplanes streaked by, leaving ironically beautiful contrails of water vapor behind.
“Where do you think they are going?” The old man asked his wife of fifty years.
The old lady shrugged and inhaled deeply. She had grown too old to care about things like that anymore.
The sound of children’s laughter was once again interrupted, this time by a loud, shrill wailing noise.
A man playing with his six-year-old son looked around as two military police vans screeched to a halt at the front of the park, red and blue lights flashing like mad.
“Don’t those bastards ever stop?” he pondered as the wailing of the air-raid sirens continued to blare.
A man’s voice bellowed out of one of the police vans.
“WE’RE HERE TO TAKE YOU TO THE LEVEL FIVE SHELTER!”
The old man looked to his wife.
The old lady shrugged and inhaled deeply as a whistling noise began to fill the air.
“EVERYONE HURRY!” the army man screamed.
The people in the park began to realize that this was not the usual bombing that their city had endured almost every day for the last five hundred years.
People began to panic as the whistling became louder.
The look of pure fear on the hardened military people did not help keep the people calm. Many began to scream as they rushed to the vans, knocking each other down, trampling each other as the sound of the whistling became so loud it overpowered the air-raid sirens.
“I love you,” the old man said to his wife.
The old lady took her husband’s hand, kissed him on the cheek, and inhaled deeply.
A brilliant flash of light overtook everyone, followed by an explosion that could be seen from cities over a thousand kilometers away, and from a couple of military satellites in orbit.
When all was said and done, all that remained of the fourth largest Western city was a mushroom cloud that extended seven kilometers into the air.
The look on the evening news anchor was perplexing. Lt. General Una Garone could not figure out whether it was sadness, fear, or anger.
He would have understood all three.
The journalist had been covering wars since he was a pup. He had thought he had seen it all, but today had proven that he had not.
“While government officials haven’t released any official numbers, all indications are that no more than a handful of Vida’s six million people managed to survive.”
The man on TV’s face contorted.
“Yeah, that’s defiantly anger,” Garone acknowledged out loud.
“Our condolences go out to all of those affected by the Vida massacre.”
The Western Prime Minister took a step back. It was very odd to hear someone who has won hundreds of awards for his unbiased reporting use a, while accurate, biased word like ‘massacre.’
“General,” the Prime Minister said.
Garone jumped up. He hadn’t heard his commander in chief walk in.
“At ease, Una,” the Prime Minister replied.
Garone nodded. He motioned for Prime Minister Pho Mao to have a seat on his couch.
“I like what you’ve done to your office,” Mao stated as he sat down on the couch.
“Thank you,” Garone acknowledged as he pulled up one of his chairs and sat across from Mao. Garone grabbed his remote and muted the volume on the television.
“What’s the word from the Eastern press?” Mao asked.
Garone hopped up and grabbed some papers. He quickly sat back down and handed them to his boss.
“They are celebrating it as a triumphant attack against the enemies of God.”
“Are they acknowledging that only about ten thousand of the six million killed were military?”
Garone inhaled deeply. “I don’t think that matters anymore. By using such a high yield weapon, they HAD to have known that it would have resulted in millions of civilian casualties.”
“So, it’s not about conquest anymore, is it?” Mao asked, thumbing through the reproductions of the Eastern newspapers.
“No.” Garone looked to the television, which was showing aerial pictures of the smoldering Vida. “It’s about extermination.”
“So, what are we going to do?” Mao asked, setting the papers down. “It’s going to be months before our first missile silos are active, and probably a year before the missile defense shield is operational.”
Garone’s eyes narrowed.
“We kill all of them before they kill all of us.”
Mao took this thought in for a moment.
Garone shook his head.
“I don’t know, sir. But we cannot sit here and allow ourselves to be slaughtered.”
Mao nodded as alarms began to sound.
Three of Mao’s bodyguards ran into the office. “Sir, we need to get you to the shelter. We have incoming and WADN believes that they are targeting the Ministry of Defense.”
Garone stood. “Another missile?”
“No,” one guard shook his head. “Carrier-based bombers.”
Garone grumbled as he helped the prime minister to his feet. Mao paused and looked to the leader of his armed forces.
“God will provide for us.”
Garone nodded as Mao and his bodyguards hurried out of the room.
“Maybe. But maybe we need to try and give God a little help,” Garone said to himself before he headed down to the war room.