Causal Results – Chapter 4

Species C543 System

4 Years 2 months 23 days Before C1764 FTL Jump


[Sil] tried to turn away from the noise and tried to remain in the blissful realm of unconsciousness.


[Sil] forced her eyes open and let out a low groan of pain. [Fred] was next to her on the ground, her face inches from [Sil]’s.

“[Fred]! What, where?” grumbled [Sil] disoriented.

The sky above was an alien red, the star the planet was orbiting only hidden behind a ridge of tall mountains. The light from mid-morning filtering through the unpolluted and clean atmosphere.

“We made it to the surface of the Class C planet. As I feared, I passed out during atmospheric entry and you were apparently able to pull me clear of the escape pod before passing out. Which is impressive considering you have not gone through zero-g recovery training.”

[Sil] groaned and propping her elbows on the ground tried to sit up, her head was still spinning.

“My father had me go through it as a child. In case of this exact scenario. Well, that was for kidnapping but the same thing.”

[Fred] chuckled and slowly pushed herself up as well, “Somehow I don’t imagine it was anything close to the same training I had.”

[Sil] collapsed back onto the ground, “no. It wasn’t.”

On her hands and knees around [Fred] carefully looked around the crash site. They were in a small clearing in the middle of a valley by the looks of it. A small stream was running through the opposite end of the clearing and the pod was almost in the dead center. Not even trying to get up the bodyguard crawled towards the pod.

“I had to shut the hatch, it was on fire,” muttered [Sil] from the ground.

[Fred] paused and glanced back, “Did you grab the beacon?”


[Fred] muttered several things under her breath, “I might need your help to get this open. Can you stand?”

Rolling over and moving her hands to the sides [Sil] slowly placed them on the alien dirt and feeling the gravel beneath her hands tried to focus and push herself up.

The headache from zero-g was still present, but fighting it the Empress slowly managed to get up on her feet. The readouts had said gravity on the class C world was less than standard, but with already a few days of zero-g her body had adapted. The violent reintroduction was no pleasant in any sense.

[Sil]’s skin flushed a light pink as the blood drained away from her head and a dull roar echoed in her ears. Ignoring it and throwing her arms out to keep herself steady [Sil] remained still waiting for the sensations to die down.

[Fred] was likewise slowly getting to her feet, one hand on her side clutching at her wound another on the side of the escape pod using it to help her stand. [Sil] could see a fresh patch of dark blood on what remained of the bandages, “[Fred], you’re bleeding again.”

“I’m fine. The stimulants are keeping me from passing out again,” she glanced at her side, “the wound will need to be rebandaged and sealed again now that we are in gravity. Patching wounds in zero-g is always ill advised, you bloat and organs shift without gravity.”

[Fred] took her hand away from her side and put it on the hatch, “In any case the medical kit is in the pod.”

Slowly ambling over to the Pod [Sil] helped lever the hatch up. The pod was resting at a near [45 degree] angle so they were not lifting it entirely up and away. Either one could have under normal circumstances opened it while the pod was vertical with some effort. As it was injured and recovering from space it took both several agonizing seconds to open the metal hatch.

[Sil] coughed and stepped back as a cloud of thick acrid smelling smoke curled out of the Pod. The fire was thankfully gone, but it appeared to have burned most of the interior. [Fred] unconcerned with the smoke and smell of burning electronics bodily dove into the smoke and disappeared from view.


Still coughing and trying to hold her breath [Sil] stepped back to the hatch, several small objects came hurtling out of the remaining smoke and [Sil] stepped to the side barely avoiding getting hit and stumbling back to the ground when her foot connecting with a small rock.

Coughing the medical kit in her hand [Fred] climbed out of the pod and collapsed onto the ground with a low moan.

“Kit, and Beacon,” gasped [Fred] indicating the object in her hand and one of the small things she had thrown out.

Sil picked the small handheld beacon up as she once again got to her feet. The thing was a small metal cylinder built to endure anything but direct heavy weapons fire.

“[Fred] if the tachyon beacon isn’t repeating any signals in this system this thing is useless!” growled [Sil] as she flipped the small metal tube over in her hand and cracked the seal activating it. The beacon would continue to transmit for a [year] at least. Longer if it was placed in sunlight where it could absorb radiation.

“Well, I’m hoping the saboteurs only disabled that for a few days. Otherwise, yes it’s useless.”

Shaking her head the Empress grabbed the medical kit and digging through what remained pulled out the last of the healing gauze.

“No more complaining about using medical materials on you, I need you here to help me live, and I survived the landing with only a few bumps. Got it?”

[Fred] grimaced but quickly nodded.

“Good. Now this is going to hurt,” said [Sil] as she put her hand on the now saturated healing gauze. It had to be removed before the fresh patch could be put in place. There was nothing to be done about the smaller puncture on the bodyguards back at the moment.

“I’ve had worse.”

“Have you?”

[Fred] smiled and wiggled her right leg, “I shattered every bone in this leg when I was [twelve].”

“Do I want to ask how?”

“Training. Most of us go through it, Reece I know managed to nearly tear his right arm off when he was eight. The boy has always been an eager AH!”

[Sil] ripped the gauze away and tried to ignore the sticking and wet sound that accompanied its removal. The wound thankfully didn’t look to be infected, but the restorative properties of the medicine in the gauze were having minimal little effect on the puncture.

“How’s it look?” asked [Fred] as she propped herself up against the side of the pod and looked at the wound.

[Sil] was silent, waiting for her to make the assessment.

The bodyguard slowly prodded at it, causing another wet squelch. [Sil] turned her head to the side and retched, just barely keeping her last emergency ration in her stomach.

“Not as bad as it could have been. There is some torn muscle though,” muttered [Fred].

Keeping her eyes carefully up and away from the wound [Sil] turned back to her bodyguard, “What can I do for that?”

“Nothing for it in that kit. If we aren’t rescued in the next day or so it will heal wrong, and someone will have to go back in and cut the muscle so it can heal correctly. Or clone me a completely new rib cage or something.”

[Fred] moved her hand away from the wound her own face almost pink at the thought.

“That’ll be fun,” deadpanned [Sil].

[Fred] smiled, “I expect it will be.”

Taking a deep breath and trying not to gag [Sil] pulled out the sealant and quickly applied it to the wound. [Fred] let out a low his but remained still, using up the last of the package [Sil] dropped it to the ground and carefully slapped the gauze over the wound.

“You’re all good for now.”

[Fred] shifted into a more comfortable sitting position and leaned up against the pod.

[Sil] sat down next to her and looked at the rising star in the sky. It was just about to crest over the mountains.

“Well we made it to a planet. Considering we could have jumped into an escape pod in deep space, this is lucky, right?” asked [Sil].

[Fred] said nothing.

[Sil] sighed agreeing with her. Picking up the beacon the Empress checked that the device was working and attempting to transmit. Slowly she tossed it from hand to hand, the small blue glow on its side hypnotically going from side to side.

For several [minutes] the two women said nothing and simply looked at everything around them. The pod had been a constant electronic hum audible in the background. Now the background noise was that of the alien forest.

The trees were nothing remarkably alien, solid trunks of wood with slowly winding branches. A few odd leaf colorings at different spots, that was lighter than what [Sil] was accustomed to on the home world. The plants were tuned to the specific wavelengths of light that fell on the planet capturing as much of the energy as they could.

Vines, grasses, and other weeds of different types were spread about, again not very alien. The path of life was similar enough on most Seed worlds, still it was going to be difficult to determine what was edible and what was not. Looking at it all [Sil] was sure the rations were going to be something she would miss to eat if she had to live off the land.

“We’re going to need to sleep in the pod tonight, and keep watches. The categorizing biological sampling focuses on the class C’s and anything that is visibly significant from orbit. I am willing to bet there are predatory animals that would be more than willing to try and eat us,” said [Fred] her voice low.

[Sil] slowly nodded, before after a moment letting out a small chuckle.

[Fred] turned a quizzical look on the Empress, who only started to laugh even harder, “Share the joke, seems like a good one.”

“A few [days] ago I was worried about interstellar politics and the management of the Empire. Now I am having to worry about being eaten, it’s a dichotomy.”

[Fred] chuckled as well.

“At least protecting you from animals is simple enough, they can’t try and hijack an orbital defense platform to assassinate you. One blast in the rump and whatever it is will run away for an easier meal,” said [Fred]. She pulled her sidearm out and held it up emphasizing her point.

[Sil] furrowed her brow, “why that example?”

“That was the last assassination plot against you I had to deal with before we left the home world.”

[Sil] blinked, “How many do you typically deal with?”

“Against you specifically? That numbers gone up since you became Empress. About a thousand a [week] total. Ten of which are serious, and maybe one a [month] I have to deal with and disrupt myself,” She frowned, “this is one that I apparently missed.”

[Sil] turned away from her letting the bodyguard brood at her failure for several minutes.

Standing up the Empress walked around the small clearing, her head beginning to clear and only the fatigue in her muscles. Experimentally she hopped in the air, and landing back on her feet nearly fell over again.

“Seems like the gravity on Olyn almost, a little lighter than normal but not that noticeable.”


[Sil] shrugged, “First planet I could think of with a little less gravity than the home world.”

“Your mind goes straight to Olyn?”

[Sil] said nothing in response, [Fred] closed her eyes and pushing back against the pod slowly tried to stand again.

“You need to rest!” [Sil] rushed over and grabbed [Fred]’s arm holding her up.

“We need to start collecting kindling for a fire. Water as well, we have enough rations to last for a month and if weather does become an issue we can sleep in the escape pod.”

[Sil] winced, “My complaining about the accommodations at the last planet we visited is going to be something to envy from this point on then?”

[Fred] reluctantly nodded, “Yes, we’re going to be sleeping on metal or dirt for the near future.”


[Fred] smiled slightly, “We have the rations and shelter Empress. We are far better off in terms of survival essential than I was through many of the scenarios I went through during training.”

[Sil] muttered another half dozen curses under her breath.

“You stay here. I’ll look for plants to burn.”

“I would prefer you did not leave my sight,” [Fred] hesitated for another moment, “I am sorry that I am proving to be more of a hindrance than a help.”

“I’d be in a far worse situation if you were not here [Fred] don’t worry about it.”

The bodyguard nodded, and closing her eyes for a moment tried to relax. Which was when she heard the branch crack. Eye’s flying open [Fred] held her hand up, the Empress’s eyes widened but seeing the alarm in her bodyguards posture she said nothing instead quickly stooped down next to her and swept her eyes over the woods.

“What?” whispered [Sil].

“Something, lots of somethings are approaching us.”

[Fred] tilted her head listening, “They are on two legs. Considering how well things have been going, it is most likely the class C.”

“Renf.” Cursed [Sil] again keeping her voice low, “How many?”

“A lot.”

[Fred] was silent for a moment as she tried in vain to count, “more than I will be able to fend off with my injuries if they attack, which I find likely given their classification. Empress, I want you to hide in the escape pod.”

[Sil] bristled, “I am not going to hide from some C’s!”

“Empress…” [Fred] trailed off as a figure emerged from the woods.

[Sil] winced, she could practically smell the creatures from across the clearing. They were hideously blue, and what parts of their bodies that were not covered in the ill fitted and dirty leather and linen clothing was instead covered in matted and disgusting looking hair. The hair on the subjects for the database had apparently been cleaned, the class C’s looked as if they had never been anywhere even near a bath.

“[Fred]…” [Sil] trailed off as a large creature broke through the line of the trees six legged and reminiscent of the old lizard like Hallo on the home world it was a beast of burden. Sitting on it’s back looking like a blue hairball was the cleanest and fattest of the class C’s. The class C leered down from atop the pack animal.

[Sil] shivered under its gaze.

“I’m going to try and scare them off,” muttered the bodyguard.

“Just kill them.”

“If they all attack at once, I won’t be fast enough to kill them all. We have only the one sidearm, I would prefer to scare them off.”

“Back!” [Fred] raised her weapon, the class C’s scrambled back. Several ducked behind the tree’s. the largest one atop the mount shouted something in a guttural language.

[Fred] tensed, “Empress as soon as I move I want you to get into the pod and seal it.”

“[Fred] they are class C!”

“That does not mean they are not a threat Empress!”

As one the class C’s nearest to them drew crudely made swords, behind them the other class C produced bows and took aim.

Again, the large blue class C shouted something.

[Fred] moved the gun towards his head, and the bulbous creature flinched. Which only raised more questions in the bodyguard’s mind, how did they know what she held was a weapon?

One man to the left let out a guttural roar and stepped forwards to begin a charge. Before he could manage a second step [Fred] had realigned her stance and fired. Even as the bolt of energy arced through the air the experienced bodyguard adjusted and fired again at the man standing next to him.

In a flurry of motion [Fred] managed to put another three shots downrange before the class C responded.

With a roar the hundred or so of the class C charged forwards ignoring their fallen brethren.

The hand weapon [Fred] was using could have defeated an entire army, in the same fashion that a single blade could. If each enemy stood still and allowed her to get clear shots, but coming from nearly every direction and having to wait the quarter second for the capacitor inside the gun to recharge she was limited.

The bowman not following the men with the swords let loose their own salvo, reacting only as [Fred] fired her weapon for the sixth time.

The men were not experienced fighters, but they had been part of the hunting party. Even a horrible bowman could hit a stationary target at the distances with ease. [Fred] grunted in pain as several of the arrows hit her chest and her clothing absorbed the impact. The cloth was interwoven with fibers designed to stop knives and small slashing attacks, against modern weapons it would disperse some of the plasma and at least allow her to live if somehow an idiot with a low powered hand gun took a shot at her when she was not in full armor.

Against the far more ancient weapons the clothing managed to disperse the kinetic energy of each attack and distribute it over her frame. Had she not been nursing injuries and already fighting to remain standing she could have absorbed the hits and continued firing.

One lucky arrow glanced off the side off the side of the bodyguard’s brow, the piece of metal that served to replace part of her missing skull and not even considered armor deflecting it away.

Blood flowing over her right eye [Fred] spared one last glance at her Empress.

[Sil] was standing at the entrance to the Pod, a look that [Fred] knew all to well on her face. The frozen face of someone in shock.


Unable to clearly see out of her right eye [Fred] continue to fire. Four more men collapsed to the ground, an arrow embedded itself in [Fred]’s neck and the bodyguard let out a low gurgle. She continued to fire her weapon until the sword cleaved through her neck.

[Sil] stunned watched as the large class C flicked his sword and [Fred]’s blood hit the ground in front of her.

The murderer lifted his sword and grunted something.


Ignoring the brutal class C’s, the Empress collapsed to her knees and shuffled forwards towards her friend and protector.

A better dressed class C with a large pouch that moved like something was alive in it stepped through the crowd of larger creatures. With expert ease it stooped down, and put a length of rope over [Sil]’s wrists.

[Sil] jerked away, “Don’t touch me!”

The class C’s hand snapped out hitting her between the eyes. Stunned for a moment by the time [Sil] regained her sense the rope was tied around her wrists.

The class C stood, and began to walk away from [Fred]. [Sil] dug her knees into the dirt, but the brute didn’t seem to mind and simply dragged her away.

The Empress of the Empire, conquerors of a thousand class C’s and B’s had been caught by Species C543.

Ruck, Willinkree

Year 3042 Day 35

“Back away from her!” shouted Duke Frin.

The other men around Piral who were all eyeing the sky egg and the dead woman backed away as the Duke bustled towards them.

“You have her Tamer?” asked the Duke barely glancing at the woman as he moved towards the corpse.

“I have her Duke!” said Piral even as the red woman continued to try and pull herself free from the rope, which was only tightening the knots over her wrist.

The Duke grunted as he fell to his knee’s ignoring the oddly colored blood on the ground he grabbed at the strange three fingered corpses hand and pulled the star thrower free. Holding it aloft the Duke let out a whoop.

The red woman let out a strangled cry and for a moment Piral was concerned she was going to dislocate a shoulder.


Duke Frin held the star thrower, it took him a moment his hand moving over the thing to summon a blast of starlight which shot into the air and soared up into the heavens.

“It works!”

Grunting again the Duke ignored all the men around him offering help and he stood. Gesturing with the star thrower a wide grin on his face Duke Frin stomped over to Piral.

Grabbing holding the star thrower in one hand he raised his other towards the red woman, who let out a terrifying screech and snapped her teeth at Duke Frin.

Piral carefully tugged at her ropes keeping her in place.

The Duke laughed, “She is spirited! She is your responsibility as we travel.”

Piral bowed, “Yes Duke.”

“Teach her proper words as well. If the legends are to be believed they can learn, supposing the star women are as intelligent as the star men.”

Piral bowed his head, “I will endeavor to do so Duke Frin, I cannot make a guarantee though.”

The Duke pointed the star thrower at Piral who merely raised his eyebrows.

“You can’t?”

Piral looked at the point of the star thrower, “I have no idea if she can even learn, and I will not make false promises to you. Have I ever said an untruth?”

The Duke slowly lowered the star thrower “You have not Tamer. You have not. I do expect some progress though, I do not wish to present her to the King without some words.”

“I will be able to give you an assessment of her ability to learn by the time we return to your Estate.”

The Duke frowned, “Yes. We cannot tarry however, as loyal as you might be Tamer. The men will talk, and the King will know I have a prize. She must be presentable to him.”

Duke Frin held the star thrower up and shot another star into the heavens.

“This is not as powerful as the King’s, is it?”

Piral looked at the Duke for a moment and shook his head, “No Duke, it is not.”

The man sighed and muttered a string of curses under his breath.

Leaving him to his cursing Piral turned to the red woman and looked her up and down with an apprising eye. Practiced at examining the slaves that passed through the Duke’s realm the Tamer quickly determined that the red woman from the stars had led a soft life, softer than perhaps even the Duke’s own daughters. Perhaps even more so than the King’s daughters.

She had no imperfections, she had none of the stretching or sagging of skin from improper food or sun exposure. She had no scarring, the current wounds from her fall to the ground in the star peg looked like they would heal without too much permanent damage.

Amazingly, the hairlessness of her skin did not look to be like it was from shaving. The legends of the others from the sky had said they had no hair, but Piral had never believed the tales.

The red woman’s skin had no pinpricks from re-growing hair, no errant nicks from a blade. Privately Piral thought that not even the King’s own daughters were as cleanly shaved. Truly the red woman was from the stars.

Piral tugged at the ropes bringing her closer, the woman chattered again in her incomprehensible tongue and dug her heels into the dirt. Piral calmly wrapped the lead around his hand and stepped towards her, continuing to examine her.

The red woman was crying now, terror in her eyes. Piral ignored it, he had seen the look far too often to be affected. He did not like to deal with people, preferring to work with his animals they were far easier to train.

The woman slammed her hands into Piral’s chest and barred her teeth beginning to scream again. With practiced ease born from placing the bits in the jaws of the younger beasts of burden and the improperly trained mounts in the Duke’s stable when he had first arrived Piral patiently waited until the red woman paused to suck in a breath and quickly shoved a piece of leather and cloth into her mouth.

Her eyes widened and behind the gag she continued to yell.

“Trouble Tamer?” asked the Duke watching.

“She is being difficult, if I remember the legends correctly all of the star people are.”

Duke Frin noncommittedly grunted, “I suppose so. I’ll have to go through my library and look up the older ones. I can’t remember any about star women.”

Piral considered that for a moment wracking his own memories, “She might be the first.”

Duke Frin looked forlornly looked at the corpse of the other red woman, “Shame we had to kill this one. I’m amazed it was able to stand with the wounds it already had though.”

“To fall from the stars, they must be more resilient.”

Duke Frin patted hide of his steed that had been led back over to him, “Perhaps. She looks soft though.”

Piral nodded in agreement and held the rope up, “She is, Green Flyer here is almost as strong as she is.”

Upon hearing its name the small creature poked out from it’s pouch and looked around letting out a low chittering. Palming a small morsel of food from another pocket Piral quickly gave it to the creature.

Green Flyer took it and retreated into the pouch again.

“The real difficulty will be getting the star egg back to my estate,” muttered the Duke, “Will my Mount be able to drag it Tamer?”

Piral considered, and casually ran his eyes over the Duke’s bulbous frame.

“He could I think, if the star egg is hallowed like the other ones. I would suggest you walk Duke, your mount is not young.”

“Why did you harness an older one?” asked the Duke annoyed.

“You requested an easy ride Duke, I can hardly control the offspring yet. They are still being broken in and trained. This one here,” Piral patted the creature’s snout and the animal leaned into the hand, “Is your best trained mount. It is not his fault he is old.”

The Duke muttered several things under his breath.

“We shall set up camp here you are responsible for managing the red woman, I will oversee the collection of the star egg. Who knows what else it might hold!” said the Duke as he held up the star thrower.

“As you command Duke. I obey.”

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Species C543 System 4 Years 2 months 27 days Before C1764 FTL Jump [Sil] looked at the controls for the pod and slowly shook her head, “This is not good.” [Fred] only able to operate because of the minimal effort needed to move around in zero-g drifted forwards, “I would agree, but what is the

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 5

Date Point: 16y3m1w Memorial Concourse, Old Commune of the Clan of Females, City of Wi Kao, Planet Gao Mother Shoua There were days when Shoua missed the old commune, at the other end of the city. The new commune was larger, more modern and much more secure of course but… …But the old one had

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 4

Date Point: 16y3m1w Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Ramsey Buehler Ramsey didn’t think he’d ever get used to being one of the cool kids at school. Actually, just going to school was kinda weird after all the home schooling he and Tristan had had back on Earth, but whenever he and his brother had got

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Henosis – Chapter 4

“Hey, that’s my suit!” A naked Gaoian fell on the Hunter from the tree above, landing on the sextupedal predator’s back. The impact was enough to stagger the creature, and Keegi was nearly thrown off. The claws of one paw extended, sinking into the Hunter’s glossy flesh as he held on as hard as he

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 3

Date Point: 16y3m6d HMS Sharman (HMNB Folctha), Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Technical Sergeant Adam “Warhorse” Arés “Firth, I gotta ask ‘ya something.” Per Colonel Powell’s standing orders, they had the rest of the day off for individual training time after a mission. Adam always took maximum advantage, but some of the other operators might use

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Causal Results – Chapter 2

First Landing Earth, Florida, Launch pad 39A April 12, 2033 “Ignition Sequence start, five, four, three, two, one, lift off!” The crowds several miles away from the historic launch pad watched as the craft slowly began to move up into the atmosphere. Almost an homage to the craft that had taken Humans to the moon

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Good Training – Survival Part 7

Date point: 14y 8m 2w 2d AV The Dog House, Folctha, Cimbrean Late afternoon Julian Etsicitty Agony. If Adam had a singular talent that stood out, it would have to be his supernatural ability to give his training victims some very dramatic results by inflicting insane amounts of pain. Julian both dreaded and eagerly anticipated

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Henosis – Chapter 3

Virtrew had been relaxing in the starboard docking array. He’d been feeling inspired and creative for the past ten-day… it was too late to alter the structure of the current station, but he had ideas for the next. He was off-shift, so he’d picked up his data tablet, a bowl full of Vzk’tk salad, and

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 2

Date Point: 16y3m6d η Ithacae, 94.9° 12-GERBER-UNARY G2V III, “Heafield” Technical Sergeant Adam “Warhorse” Arés Every now and then, Adam had a day where every little thing went so well and he found himself firing on all cylinders so perfectly, he could feel right in his big ol’ slab of a chest that exact same

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 1

Date Point: 16y3m5d AV Hierarchy/Cabal Joint Communications session #1772 ++0010++: Proximal’s continued absence is a source of concern, and investigating has been forced to take a low priority by other operations. His last known activity was in an Irujzen-1-adjacent sub-lucid volume. ++0004++: Irujzen? Why was he all the way out there? That’s a backwater! ++0022++:

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Henosis – Chapter 2

The mess hall on the station was a cavernous space on one of the mid-decks in the core, overlooking the long central shaft. It was a temporary arrangement… once the station was near-complete, a merchant or restaurateur would be enticed into setting up a proper dining area, whereupon the space would be converted in whatever

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 5

Date Point: 16y3m5d AV Planet Rauwryhr, The Rauwryhr Republic, Perseus Arm Ambassador Sir Patrick Knight Rauwran Great Trees were… They were quite a thing to behold. Each one was as thick around at the base as a cricket ground, and soared up and up and up until their canopy was an invisible dark haze high

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Henosis – Chapter 1

[2yr 1m AV] Trrkitzzkt L’tr’brtrk’tr quietly filed away the video files of the interviews he’d completed, queuing a copy to be sent via the station’s normal data exchange to his personal archive, in addition to the backup copy he kept on his personal data tablet. Both were encrypted with the strongest algorithms the investigator had

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Causal Results – Chapter 1

Dorvakian Home World 4 Years 3 months 8 days Before C1764 FTL Jump Looking across the grounds for several moment’s Silnersalkara tapped the table in front of her. The data controls embedded in the device quickly shut off and the hologram above its surface died. “Kermarcus, I’m aware of the situation. The opposition’s been attempting

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 4

Date Point: 16y3m AV Planet Akyawentuo, Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Yan Given-Man “I like these Core-tie.” “You do? Why the change of heart?” When the ‘del-a-gay-shun’ had returned, there was of course much eagerness to learn the news. Yan was very happy to tell everyone they would be getting vack-seens from the Core-tie as

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Good Training – Survival Part 6

Date point: 14y 8m AV Residence of the Great Father of the Gao, Folctha, Cimbrean Sister Naydra The months on Cimbrean had been…therapeutic. She found herse lf greatly appreciating the Female presence on the Human’s first colony world, and everything it stood for: stability, acceptance. Survival. The Humans had done so much to support the

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 3

Date Point: 16y3m AV USS Robert A. Heinlein, Akyawentuo Orbit, the Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Third Director Tran Some of the other Directors had expressed reservations when Tran had informed them he was taking Nofl along to the meeting with the Ten’Gewek. He’d invested some of their trust and patience by reassuring them that

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 2

Date Point: 16y2m3w AV Hierarchy/Cabal Joint Communications session #1722 ++0008++: In summary, the infiltration of Sol means the operation was a success, though not an unqualified one. We have four Injunctors on Earth, and a further two in the outer system, but the new Arutech biodrones appear to be an abject failure. The Cimbrean infiltration

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Rising Titans – Chapter 51 (End)

9 Years, 7 Months, 2 Days After Eridani Landing Chront Leaning down and putting her head to the table Stagg yawned. “Try the tea,” repeated Derrick sounding just as exhausted as she felt. The Captain turned to look at the engineer and then at the small pot on the table. “I did. Taste’s like mold.”

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 1

Date Point: 16y2m3w AV Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Daar, Great Father of the Gao “Hey, this ain’t a bad little house at all!!” Daar followed in behind Gorku, who was carrying a completely exhausted Leemu on his back and had to mind his steps. “Humans know how to build houses arright,” he agreed. “Maybe

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 6

Date Point: 16y2m2w1d AV Planet Akyawentuo, Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Vemik Sky-Thinker One of the Human archaeologists was a metallurgist. Tilly was a strange and delicate name that didn’t suit her at all, Vemik thought. She had a sharp face full of metal piercings, skin full of bright pictures, and a half-shaven crest of

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Good Training – Survival Part 5

Date point: 14y 2m 3w 4d AV SOR barracks, HMS Sharman, Folctha, Cimbrean, The Far Reaches Meanwhile… Brother Faarek (Southpaw) of Clan Whitecrest–SOR “Are you sure you want to do this, Brother?” “Yes,” Thurrsto said with absolute conviction. “She’s the most beautiful Female I’ve ever seen and she’s hurting. I can’t bear doing nothing.” Faarek

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 5

ESNN Magazine article: “Prisons In Their Head- an interview at Camp Tebbutt” Author and photographer: Ava Magdalena Ríos [Cover image: two men seated on a bench in front of a chain-link fence, with a stunning Alaskan vista behind them. On the left is a scruffy bearded white man with shaggy salt-and-pepper hair, and next to

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Rising Titans – Chapter 50

+15 Minutes The Canada “Can this thing fly?” Shouted Pankin as a rattling howl began to echo through the ship, the crew members on what was now the ceiling tightening their straps as objects that had been floating began to rattle on the floor as the ship dove deeper into the atmosphere of the planet.

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 4

Date Point: 16y2m2w AV Weaver dropship, Rich Plains contact volume, Kwmbwrw Great Houses TSgt Timothy “Tiny” Walsh All throughout the ordeal of becoming HEAT and finally earning the Mass, the one thing running through Walsh’s head was that one day, he too would serve at their level. Do the mission like none other. Walk through

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 3

Date Point: 16y2m1w5d AV Camp Tebbutt Biodrone Internment Facility, Yukon-Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Ava Ríos “You ever rode a helicopter before, Ava?” Ava jumped, and looked away from the window. She’d been enjoying the view. It was her first trip to Alaska, and the thing that struck her as she’d watched the landscape rolling by

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 2

Date Point: 16y2m1w2d AV Gaoian embassy, Alien Quarter, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Daar, Great Father of the Gao There was shit to catch up with. Stuff to read, stuff to make decisions on, stuff to be briefed on in case he had to make a decision later… At first Daar did his best to

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Good Training – Survival Part 4

Date point: 14y 2m 1w AV Planet Akyawentuo, The Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Singer “So, if we salt the roots in boiling water with some herbs, and use a very tight…what was the word?” [“Jar,”] Julian said encouragingly. “—And then we boil the whole jar with the lid on loose, so the bad spirits

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Rising Titans – Chapter 49

+10 Minutes The Singer [Vann] stood in the center of the bridge the three-dimensional hologram showing the entirety of his fleet as well as the surrounding space. The cubic formation was going to be tested now, up to this point the only gauge of effectiveness was how [Charles] had reacted to it in simulations. He

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 1

Date Point: 16y2m5d AV Planet Akyawentuo, Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Xiù Chang Yan was having to explain himself. It wasn’t that the men who’d come out to hunt the Brown One were disappointed, exactly. None of them had been looking forward to the battle at all. They all knew the stories of how many

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 6

Date Point: 16y2m4d AV Planet Akyawentuo, the Ten’gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Julian Etsicitty Daar caught up with them about an hour after Xiù called ahead to let them know he was coming. A lot had happened in that hour. Yan had laid out his bibtaws in a kind of scent lure, some distance out

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 5

Date Point: 16y2m3d AV Gaoian embassy, Alien Quarter, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Daar, Great Father of the Gao People who didn’t know Daar all that well thought he had a pathological aversion to Civilized pursuits. Not true at all! Daar had always enjoyed history, writing, and the more subtle arts of courtship, and he

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 4

Date point: 16y2m3d AV Planet Akyawentuo, the Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Daniel “Chimp” Hoeff Julian had a habit of singing in the woods. Not loud, exactly, and Hoeff wasn’t even sure he was totally conscious he was doing it, but loud enough to hear. Apparently it kept critters from blundering into them that might

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Rising Titans – Chapter 48

+ 7 Minutes 38 Seconds The Canada “Captain, your message?” asked Arik as her Avatar superimposed itself over the main monitor. “Surrender now, call off the fighters and we’ll let you live. Then we can begin to negotiate for an end to this pointless violence.” “That’s it?” asked Arik after a moment. “Unless anyone else

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Good Training – Survival Part 3

Date point: 14y 1m 2w AV “Clan Young Glory,” western unincorporated territories, Gao Sister Naydra Naydra and her fellow Sisters were slowly dying. The “Clan” that had “liberated” them from the clutches of what they now knew were biodrones had decided their honored guests needed “protection.” Their so-called protection consisted of imprisonment. Their “protection fees”

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 3

Date point: 16y2m3d AV Planet Akyawentuo, the Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Professor Daniel Hurt “What exactly did he say he’s fetching, anyway?” “An M107.” Daniel frowned. Although he’d learned more about firearms in general over the past few years than he’d ever imagined he would, there were times that the people who really “got”

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 2

Date Point: 16y2m1d AV Chiune Station, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Allison Buehler Allison hadn’t slept well in a couple of nights. It wasn’t that she begrudged Julian and Xiù going offworld, not at all, but it did disrupt the sense of familiarity that made home, well… Home. If she didn’t have her brothers to

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Rising Titans – Chapter 47

+ 30 Seconds The Canada “The Empire ships are now in range of the ACE field!” reported Arik. Stagg grimaced as the ship shook “Activate,” “New contact!” shouted Arik interrupting. “What?” “IFF is identifying the vessel as the HSB Russia, they just exited a spatial rupture directly between us and the Empire fleet!” “Open communications!”

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 1

Date Point: 16y2m1d AV personal sanctum, Dataspace. Cynosure/Six Data sophonts did not sleep, and thus did not dream. Nevertheless, Cynosure had a recurring nightmare of sorts. When his attention wandered, he found that it almost inevitably alighted on a handful of disturbing subjects. The details varied, as he worried at different aspects of the problems

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Good Training – Survival Part 2

Date point: 14y 7d AV Planet Akyawentuo, The Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Later that day Julian Etsicitty It was approaching mid-day and the day’s morning work had been taken care of. The scouts had come back and reported that the nearby werne had just calved and would need to be left alone for a

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 6

Date Point: 16y2m AV Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Daar, Great Father of the Gao “Poor bugger hardly knew which way is up…” Powell grunted, once Wagner was gone. “Who can blame him? His whole crew going violently psychotic on him with no warning, only to be stasis-hopped right into a Corti’s lab being sniffed

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Rising Titans – Chapter 46

9 Years, 6 Months, 14 Days After Eridani Landing Jikse Diana blinked in surprise as the jungle was suddenly lit up by a fantastic reddish glow, glancing behind her towards the city Diana watched as another blast of energy, identical in color to the flash fell from the sky. Unable to see from her vantage

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 5

Date Point: 16y2m AV Folctha, Cimbrean, The Far Reaches Julian Etsicitty The house was a mess when Julian got back, which was rare. Nobody in their household was naturally untidy—living on Misfit had driven Allison, Xiù and himself into an ingrained habit of orderliness, and the boys had lived in fear of their father’s belt

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 4

Date Point: 16y2m AV Hierarchy/Cabal Joint Communications session #1536 ++Asymptote++: I have bad news. It would seem our new drones are detectable. ++0004++: <Dismay> you’re certain? ++Asymptote++: The force I sent to Cimbrean was captured immediately upon arrival. ++0007++: How? ++Asymptote++: Unclear. The Arutech drones don’t report as concisely as conventional biodrones. The connection is…

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 3

Date Point: 16y2m AV The Thinghall, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Gabriel Arés Every civilization needed its icon of executive power. The UK had the black door of Number Ten Downing Street and, somewhere behind it, the Cabinet Room; the USA had the White House, and the Oval Office; Folctha had the Alien Palace. The

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Good Training – Survival Part 1

You may also want to read Pyrophytes in The Deathworlders series. Same story, different angles. Date point: 14y 7d AV Planet Akyawentuo, The Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Professor Daniel Hurt “You want me to read it by next week?” Julian mopped the sweat from his face and bounced loosely in place. “What was it

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Rising Titans – Chapter 45

-7 Hours CHRONT THE CANADA “More contacts!” said Arik as she flashed every monitor on the bridge a bright red. Stagg glanced up at the monitor, “How many more?” “I’m counting!” “You’re counting!?” A grainy image of the approaching Empire patrol vessel was quickly displayed, a small box around it. Additional boxes quickly filled the

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 2

Date Point: 16y2m AV Alien Quarter, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Nofl Leemu had become unresponsive. Nofl’s quarantine facility had alerted him after the patient had been anomalously still for twenty minutes, and the reason why became obvious upon a quick inspection of the cell: Leemu was sprawled on his back, staring blissfully up at

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Good Training – April Fool’s

13y 3m 29d AV One-Fang workhouse, Alien Quarter, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Sergeant Regaari (Dexter) of Clan SOR One of the best things about the humans was that they had a springtime holiday dedicated to mischief. Before them, only the Gao could claim to celebrate such a thing and it was one of the

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 1

Date Point: 16y2m AV Alien Quarter, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Nofl Nofl’s lab was spacious, but inevitably finite. When it contained an alarming number of alarmed Humans, not to mention one particularly sculpted canine and a Gaoian brownie who was doing his best not to loom at everyone… well, there were times when Nofl

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 5

Date Point: 16y2m AV Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches Allison Buehler After a lifetime of helicopter parenting, Tristan and Ramsey seemed addicted to every opportunity they could find to do something their mother would have scooted them away from. And who could blame them? Amanda had never managed to get her head around the idea

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Rising Titans – Chapter 44

9 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing Deep Space The Russia shuddered again as the engines slowly powered down and the ship slid out of the red blue haze that was the tachyon FTL corridor. James blinked several times trying to clear the haze from his eyes as the regular black background of

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 4

Date Point: 16y1m AV Dataspace adjacent to Mrwrki Station Entity The Entity understood the concept of boredom in an academic, abstract way. It could even vaguely summon up Ava’s memories of being bored. But understanding the idea and actually feeling the emotion were two different things. The closest it could get was the sensation of

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 3

Date Point: 16y2w AV Air Force One, somewhere over Asia, Earth President Arthur Sartori “…You want to give us a Farthrow generator.” Daar’s image was janky and low-resolution thanks to the vagaries of current wormhole comms, but the audio was a lot clearer now. Technology marched onwards. “It’s loaded up on a train and ready

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Good Training – Pecking Order

13y, 8m AV Operator’s Barracks, HMS Sharman, Folctha, Cimbrean Officer Regaari (Dexter) of Clan Whitecrest “I got an idea, Regaari.” Regaari flicked his ears forward in annoyance. “This again?” “Well, yeah. I gotta win that bet, Cousin!” Regaari duck-nodded wearily. Not long after Daar had received the SACRED STRANGER briefing, he’d sulked off to think

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Good Training – The Champions – Tidying Up

Messier 24 Mission day: 3 Sergeant Daar (Tigger) The third day was always when things settled into routine. Daar didn’t really know why, ‘cuz that was prol’ly some complicated psychology stuff (maybe he should read up?) but he did know how it worked, practically speaking. Daar always pondered morning thoughts like that when he was

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 2

Date Point: 16y2w AV Weaver dropship, Gaoian space Sergeant Ian “Hillfoot” Wilde “So in all the excitement, we clean forgot about these things. That’s what you’re telling me.” Champion Meereo made a sound that was half a sigh and half a chitter. “…That’s more-or-less exactly right, yes. We had… well, bigger priorities.” Wilde had to

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Rising Titans – Chapter 43

9 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing Bellona “Ready?” asked Alpha from where he sat on top of the Captain’s chair. “I’m good!” said Red from where he sat at the controls for the ship. It hadn’t taken much to convince him to pilot the vessel. James glanced down at his own console

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 1

Date Point: 16y AV Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Zane Reid The cold didn’t hurt anymore. At first, it had been like forcing his way through a wall made of knives that cut through his clothes. Zane’s every breath had blinded him as it billowed and steamed in the air, and when he’d experimentally licked his

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 5

Date Point: 16y AV Camp Tebbutt Biodrone Internment Facility, Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Hugh Johnson Snow. Of course, snow in January in Alaska was hardly surprising, and this one threatened to be heavy. At first, Hugh had thought it was probably just an seasonable dusting that’d add a couple of inches to the foot or

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I had made my way through the tournament, but most of my matches had been won by the skin of my teeth, and I had only the advantage of being evolved from a pursuit predator to thank for it. Our great endurance had been the one boon that had kept me going, and I was

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 4

Date Point: 15y 10m 1w AV HMS Violent, Rvzrk System, Domain Space The ground battle churned on for days. That was the problem with Hunters. There was no surrender involved, it was a kill-or-be-killed fight where smashing their will to engage in war simply didn’t achieve enough. Any Hunter left alive would just keep murdering

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 4

He awoke to a pleasant smell. “…Eggs?” Hoeff detangled himself from Natalie and the sheets and stumbled towards the kitchen. Daar was busy in front of the comparatively little stove and fridge, humming some terrible Gaoian tune to himself. Seriously, their music was like Chinese opera with extra pain. Some Humans liked it, though…but “atonal”

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Rising Titans – Chapter 42

9 Years, 6 Months, 15 Days After Eridani Landing The [Singer] The explosion hit and [Vann] watched at the lights on the main hologram and different panels flashed a blinding white light, before dying and plunging the entire bridge of the [Singer] into darkness. “What were we supposed to do?” asked someone near the weapons

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Day 1. I’ve made it on board the human trading vessel! They didn’t detect my presence, and I’ve managed to smuggle myself into their engineering bay, and disguised myself within a cluster of cables! My small, serpentine body makes me indistinguishable from a thin, grayish cable, and the Humans won’t notice my existence until it

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 1

Date Point: 15y 10m AV Camp Tebbutt Biodrone Internment Facility, Yukon–Koyukuk, Alaska, USA, Earth Hugh Johnson Camp Tebbutt wasn’t actually a bad place to live, if you didn’t count the fact that it was essentially a prison for innocent victims. Hugh understood why he was there, and why he couldn’t leave… but after eleven years,

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 3

Firth Regaari chittered, “It is difficult to imagine you ‘humbled,’ Righteous.” “Heh,” Firth chuckled. “You do know most of my attitude is straight fuckin’ bullshit, right? Adam and John know why.” Regaari looked over at John, who shrugged massively. “He’s a scary dude. Being ridiculous kinda takes the edge off, y’know?” Regaari duck-nodded. He was

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Rising Titans – Chapter 41

9 Years, 6 Months, 13 Days After Eridani Landing Jikse Moving down the hallway Diana paused at the double doors, carefully she moved forwards into it’s threshold and they slid open. A woman in an orange smock looked up from her Comm for a moment, and then going back to look at it did a

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The Good Samaritan

I felt a white-hot pain in my back as I was stabbed. Once, twice and then three times. I fell to the ground clutching my new openings, and for a moment I couldn’t grasp what had just happened. I had walked through an alley as a shortcut back home, and then suddenly someone had grabbed

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 6

Date Point: 15y9m3w AV Mrwrki Station, Erebor System, Unexplored Space Darcy “Does it seem… different to you lately?” “What?” “The Entity. It’s actin’ different, dude, I swear it is.” Darcy sighed and set aside her work as Lewis sat down. She was sitting drinking a Moroccan Mint tea in the station’s rec lounge, with its

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Rising Titans – Chapter 40

9 Years, 6 Months, 13 Days After Eridani Landing Jikse Popping the restraints off of her legs Diana swung herself off of the table, the two class A’s still in their isolation suits were pounding at the door of the room the three of them were in. “It’s out! Open the door!” shouted the man

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 2

Master Sergeant Christian (Righteous) Firth The end of the movie came and the ladies were fast asleep and prolly too tired to head home with any comfort. The other bros were asleep, too, and Firth was tangled up with them pretty good. Oh well, both ‘Base and ‘Horse were heavy-ass sleepers and only danger or

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Hell. It’s a completely Human concept. The concept of a realm of eternal torture, to which you are sent depending on the whims of one deity or another, is something only found in Human fiction. And it’s not an isolated occurrence. Almost every human culture since the dawn of humanity itself has had it in

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 4

Date Point: 15y9m2w AV HMS Sharman (HMNB Folctha), Cimbrean, The Far Reaches Senior Master Sergeant Christian (“Righteous”) Firth “Hey, fuckers! Guess what hit the newsstand today!” Adam looked up from his needlework for a second and raised an eyebrow. “Imma guess Coombes’ centerfold spread with Ava?” Firth deflated, somewhat flummoxed that ‘Horse had stolen his

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