Causal Results – Chapter 6: Squeaking By


9 Years, 7 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing

“We can do it!”


Tinner cocked his head from his potion on the foot of her bunk.

“We failed during the simulation, and that was with the entire class. How will the two of us complete the simulation alone?”

Mary rolled her two eyes in the expression that Tinner had come to associate with annoyance. It was odd how the Humans expressed though their facial movements, most of which he was learning were partially involuntary. It made up for their rather flat voices, which communicated almost nothing in terms of emotional states.

“We failed because of the other students! We had the firing solution, I had even diverted the power to the strange matter compartments to compensate for firing at higher velocities, and then Ronald twisted the ship to give the point defense guns’ direct fire, like the Canada were some kind of broadside cannon!”


Tinner slowly hummed along with the Human girl, she was not wrong. He did not like to think ill of his classmates, particularly the Human ones. The friendship between Humanity and the Tanuin was tenuous and slow. Each species actively avoiding making offenses towards the other, no one on either side was sure what the boundaries were.

At least that was the feeling in the higher echelons of power in the small communities of both species. The leadership was instead watching the young of both species, where the cultural clashes and issues would hopefully resolve. Both Humans and Tanuin recognized that the young were more flexible, and accepting for as much as they wanted the older ones to be.

The hope was to integrate wholly with each other. Humans and Tanuin, were both on the brink of extinction. Things like cultural identity were being thrown away by both sides simply to survive. To survive, cooperation was required.

Mary was especially adventurous, she had on the first day when the Tanuin young joined with the Human young for education had declared that Tinner was her friend. Ever since, Tinner never seemed to be able to get far away from her.


That had been the first emotion. The young Human was impulsive, stupid, and reckless. It had taken time for Tinner to hear around that, when she was determined to accomplish something logic, possibility, and the entire universe were not obstacles. Her goal of befriending Tinner only the first example in the Tanuin’s mind.

“Clicker was too broad in her view of power management! During the battle she was worrying about subsystems and tertiary power failures. If she had focused on the main power control systems she could have shunted an additional 15% power to the main guns and kicked the coolant pressure past spec.”



The Humans had an odd way of managing ships during battle. They would ignore massive amounts of damage so long as their main systems like guns worked, if they were in any way compromised the Humans would put together a fix that would hold for only perhaps five minutes, sacrificing other ship systems in the process.

After a battle, they would show concern for the rest of the ship, and do repairs in the greatest effort to fix what they had willfully sacrificed before. Worrying about systems that would do you no help in the next five minutes when you could be destroyed in that time made sense.

“She was keeping the ship operating!” said Tinner as he shifted on her bed waving his small arms in an approximation of the Human.

“Tinner, come on! Just the two of us, well seven of us will be able to do it!”

Tinner gave her a glare, she was annoying in how often she brought up the multiple bodies. It was like pointing out her skin color at every opportunity. Her skin was an odd color, darker than some of the other humans, but not black like a few he had seen, she had described it as olive. Tinner had no idea what the skin color difference signified if anything.

Some Tanuin had stripes that came out during the search for a mate. Perhaps it was like that? He would have to investigate.

“I am one mind. I can multitask little better than you.”

“You told me you can segment your mind though, have a body run off and do something on its own and return like it’s a computer macro. You can’t do that for ship operations?”



Tinner let out a low keen to respond but paused, the translator on Mary’s belt let out a low bleat of alarm as it took the input and tried to render it. She had no idea how it was, offensive to be suggesting it.

“That. That is, possible I suppose.”

Mary grinned, “Then what’s the problem?”

Tinner shifted uncomfortably on the bunk and needing time to organize his thoughts quickly crawled off the bunk landing on the floor of the room. His other bodies resting under the bunk shot out to join him.

“Tinner?” asked Mary looking at the alien.


Tinner ignored her and opened the cooling unit. Taking a block of mixed flour, eggs, sugar, and cocoa products out Tinner nibbled at a corner of it and passed the food around to his multiple bodies thinking.

Mary watched him saying nothing, the Tanuin were easy to read if you ignored the fact they were miniature hive minds from sci-fi horror stories. They ate when they were nervous, happy, and nearly any other emotion. Like humans though the more calorie rich the food, the more comforting. Going straight for the cookie dough was a clear sign something was wrong.

Raw cookie dough despite the difficulty to acquire on Bellona given the massive amount of resources to create and the still somewhat unstable livestock populations, was still popular with the aliens an humans.



“Don’t ask other Tanuin that question.”

Mary raised her eyebrows, but did not apologize. She had not meant offence and they both knew it, Tinner quite liked that aspect of his Human friend. She would not make the error again, but if he did not explain she would badger him until he did.

“Tanuin, do not like to utilize that particular skill. It is far too close to what happens when we lose a body. A mind spread out like ours is no safer than one like yours, it is simply dangerous in different ways. One loss and we are for a lack of a better word, insane. Some recover, I am lucky having six segments to my mind. There have been cases of six bodies becoming something as small as three. But it is not pleasant.”


Tinner took a vicious bite out of the food and paused for another moment.

“I’m not sure how the human mind works, but sending a piece of yourself out like that, leaving it exposed is unsettling, along with the feeling that you could go insane at almost any moment if the piece does not return.”

Mary slowly nodded her head absorbing this information. Reaching down she held out a hand and Tinner carefully placed a piece of the sweet concoction in her hand.

Mary popped it into her mouth and it was Tinner’s turn to wait.

“So, it’s like me asking a Human to cut off an arm. We can do so, and cybernetics could replace it, but few could actually do it?”


“Perhaps not that violent, it is not physical. The piece when returned will remake a whole like it was never broken. Cybernetics even if they are the best Humanity can make are never true replacements, yes?”

“Yeah,” she cocked her head to the side and reached down, Tinner put some food in her hand and she leaned back against the metal wall next to the bunk.

“Just curious, but when you send a piece of yourself out like that are you dumber?”


“No, memories, skills, and everything that makes me, me is redundant.”

“Wow. Humans are the same I guess, we have cases of people losing half of their brains and living.”

The dorm room was silent for several minutes as the two thought this over.

Mary sighed and reaching up to the pocket on her arm removed her Link and set it on the bed.

“Let’s give it a go anyway.”

Tinner paused with the food for a moment.




“Which brings us back to the issue of how we are supposed to get up to the simulator. Neither of us have the clearance to use a shuttle, we would need the permission from a professor to ride a public one to the Fort, and the simulator is only open to rookies on a limited basis with full crews. They’ll never let us do it alone.”

Mary smiled, “We hitch a ride on the shuttle transport up, then we worry about security once we’re up there. I don’t think it will be too bad, we’re not going into the upper tower or the rings. The simulator is right next to the cargo bays. Not a lot of security. Especially not at this time.”


Tinner slowly put the remains of the food back into the cooler and let out a warble.

“What would I have to do to avoid this?”

“Ask Allison out on a date.”



“Ask out Allison and take her on a Human date.”


“Why not?”

“We’re not the same species for one, and she’s annoying. She is constantly trying to get me to ride on her shoulder like I am, what was that thing?”

Mary smiled, “A parrot?”

“That’s it.”

The dorm was silent for another few minutes.

“So, we’re breaking into the simulator then?”

Tinner chirped in annoyance, “Yes. Want to explain how we are hitching a ride on the shuttle though?”

Mary smiled.




“This is insane!”

Mary glanced over at her alien companion as she checked the seals on the suit. The two of them had been able to easily break into the science lab for the school. It was 0300 and most everyone was asleep. The security in the compound of connecting tunnels that was the school hadn’t even raised an alarm.

The only part of the school aboveground were a few of the hangers for students and facility to utilize, and nearly at the center of the colony the two had not been questioned for their presence in the tunnels so early in the morning. One at the school it had been a simple matter for Tinner to crawl into the wall and shunt power to the automatic locks on the doors opening them without even touching the computer systems.


“This is a used suit! It was never designed for this!”

“We’re going up through an atmosphere, at a much slower speed than atmospheric entry! Only about a third of the ablative material was used up before it was given to the students in any case, it’ll work!”

Tinner gave the suit another look, he agreed with Mary in that her insane plan to latch onto the outside of an ongoing shuttle would most likely work, but he had no wish to tell her that. The Human was as far as he could tell one of the most ‘Human’ humans on the colony. Always eager to jump into something with a dangerous mix of careful planning and little actual thought about if something should be done.

“Fine, where do I go then?”

Mary pulled the flange away from her neck and pointed down, “This was made for someone twice my size, it’s roomy. On second thought my back would be better. Just make sure to hang on!”

Tinner slowly crawled up the side of the suit and paused at the neck flange. “You’re crazy.”

“You’re the one following me,” said Mary with a smirk.

“I’m not sure why.”

“For the same reason I insisted on joining you for that Tanuin celebration, you’re curious.”

Tinner let out several quick squeaks laughing, “No one has ever seen a nest so poorly built. It was amusing.”

“I don’t have nest making in my DNA all right? Now in you stupid bug!” Mary growled as she pulled the flange away again.

Tinner let out an indignant squeak and slowly crawled most of himself into the back of the suit. It was larger than what Mary required, she was an adolescent Human and by all standards small even by that measure. There was quite a bit of room.

Carefully latching onto the cloth she was wearing beneath the suit Tinner settled five of his bodies on her back. This close to a Human it was easy to hear the sounds they typically made, the heart pumping, blood moving, breathing. All of it seemed very exaggerated but then Humans were far larger creatures.

One body settled into the short hair on top of Mary’s head and flattened out as much as possible.

“If we are doing this I will be watching.”

“Can you hear once I seal the helmet?”

Tinner let out a small quick series of chirps, laughing again.

“Your body is made up of water, and my hearing is quite a bit better than yours.

“No need to get snippy.”

Mary picked up the helmet and snapped it into place with practiced ease. Without the Link to load preferences for the suit it defaulted to emergency mode and quickly displayed its complete status.

Mary looked it over, Tinner did as well. The Tanuin had no suits yet, Human manufacturing had a few ideas and several prototypes had been made but nothing had worked quite well enough to go into mass production.

Again, the Human simplicity and complexity paradigms came into play. Oxygen, CO2 and batter levels were the only large monitors. Everything else like the vitals and the status of the suits outer layers were small indicators and ready to be enlarged when needed. Functional, and without a possibility of data overload.

“Good?” asked Mary her voice reflecting oddly in the helmet.

“I am good, this is not exactly comfortable though.”

“Well I’m not either, this thing is heavy as hell!” Mary stomped her foot up and down on the ground, “I can’t see the military using these!”

“It was not designed to be used on the ground, it was designed to be discarded after landing. In any case it is a prototype correct? One used on Earth at some point?”

“It is. Still, here’s hoping if I do ever have to perform a HALO jump I get the new model, this one sucks!”

The Tanuin remained silent and further settled into the Human’s hair. In the history of Humans, the females had typically had longer hair, but given how often modern Humans donned helmets the current style was short. Tinner was thankful, the odd growth was alien, not quite alive not quite dead. Humans could cut it off without pain. Some even colored it differently, Tinner had no idea how they stood having the growths.

Shifting the alien tapped his manipulators on the Human’s head. It was odd to think that the entirety of the Human’s mind was inside the small bone structure, all of it in one spot and vulnerable.

Mary took several more experimental steps and the suit adjusted as much as it could to fit her frame, although it remained quite large on her.

Tinner scrabbled to get a better grip in her hair and Mary let out the odd Human laugh.

“What?” asked Tinner as Mary grabbed at the emergency ladder that led to the surface.

“That tickles!”

“Sorry, your head is not the best place to be sitting I think.”

Mary slowly shook her head back and forth and continued to climb. It was odd, the Human body as far as Tinner could understand was built to climb, but also walk. It left them in a spot where they were far from optimal at either task, an evolutionary conundrum.

Heaving Mary broke the hatch through the ice above without using the emergency magnesium strips. Humans were enormously stronger than Tanuin, but they hardly leveraged that ability in their modern world.


“You’ve said that”, grunted Mary as the wind of the surface buffeted her. She quickly climbed out and closing the hatch looked around the colony. At least as much of it that was on the surface of the icy planet.

Fifty or so structures protruded from the ice, the frames of several ships that had been landed and stripped in the initial evacuation around the perimeter. That was the only difference Humanity had made to the moon visible from above. Ground down icy roads between the buildings were the only evidence people were in the buildings.

Bellona was a cold world, almost like Mars, but bluish and ice laden with an atmosphere thick enough to create vicious winds. Mary shivered despite the heaters in her borrowed suit and Tinner shook as well. The cold of the sleep in the ice, was not something he liked to recall.

The closest structure was the landing pad that would be needed to get back up to the Fort, it had been built in the center of the colony and others had since been constructed as it had expanded. Still the routine shuttle landed and took off above the school, which had for only a half year been the main control center for the Colony as other facilities were built.

The routine shuttle that went up to the Fort on the hour, where it would wait for approximately 50 minutes before traveling down and passing the other shuttle heading back up to the station. The regular schedule was easier on logistics than attempting to schedule and condense flights.

It also meant that the shuttle pilots were utterly board, so not very attentive. Something Mary and Tinner were planning to take advantage of.

Mary stepped onto the Ice and Tinner heard it fracture under her weight, the human remained unconcerned though. Slowly she put one flat foot in front of the other and trudged across the ice.

“Let’s hope that the insulation is as good as it’s supposed to be. We won’t show up for another few minutes on thermals.”

“Why would they be running thermal scans while on the surface?” asked Tinner.

“Don’t ruin my fun.”




“Can’t I at least pretend we’re not going to get caught?” asked Mary.


“You do not believe we will make it to the simulator?”

“Well, kind of? What’s the worst the teachers will do? They keep stressing unconventional and original tactics. Who would think of using a dive suit to latch onto the outside of a ship going to orbit?”


“Many Humans would.”

Mary laughed, “How many would do it?”

“Less, by a small amount.”

Mary continued to laugh and Tinner let himself hum in amusement as well. Humans were such odd creatures, constantly contradicting themselves, aware of it, accepting and reveling in it in fact.


Humans were consumed by chaos of their own making, and somehow reveled in it.

Mary dropped to the ground and Tinner shrieked.

“OW! Don’t do that!” shouted Mary.

“Why did you drop?”

“Someone is loading cargo into the shuttle.”

Mary moved her right arm out towards the shuttle and switched the camera in it on, Tinner looked through her hair at the image.

“Is that, food?”

Tinner heard the Human sigh.

“Looks like it, ration resupply I guess. Damn it, I didn’t think of this. We’re going to have to rush, as soon as the hatch closes I’m going to run for the platform and latch myself onto the ship. We have time to climb on top.”



“Will the clips hold?”

“If not I’m fairly sure I packed the chute on this right.”



“I’ve only done it once, but come on the instructions are printed on the thing. Idiot proof.”

“How does that apply to you packing the chutes?” asked Tinner his voice falsely calm.

“Ha ha, so funny. You do know I can hide your cookie dough.”

“Then I tell Jack what you have been saying in your sleep.”

Mary was silent for a moment.

“I do not talk in my sleep.”

“Not really no, but even so you do mutter a few words every so often. It is amusing if incoherent.”




“We’re moving!” Mary leapt up to her feet and dashed across the ice towards the landing platform and the back of the ship as the hatch closed and the Humans loading the foodstuffs walked away from the vehicle.



The human gait at a walk was precarious enough, but in a full sprint humans relied on the fluid in their ears to remain balanced. They had perhaps only one foot on the ground at any given moment, and often not even that. A human in full sprint was a chaotic system, especially in gravity they were not evolved for.

“Mary!” Squeaked Tinner in terror.

“Hang on!”

Reaching the landing platform, the Human leapt up onto the metal jostling Tinner, who losing his grip slid forwards into the front of the helmet.

“Tinner!” growled Mary as she continued to run. Tinner felt her hot breath on his skin and desperately tried to regain his footing. As peaceable as the humans were, being so close to a mouth that could easily reach out and tear a chunk out of him had triggered a primal fear in Tinner.




“Sorry!” said Tinner as he crawled up the Humans’ face and returned to her hair.

Mary meanwhile drew a clip from her belt and slammed it into the attachment point on the hull. The lines designed for safety in zero-g was not going to hold her for the ascent. Tinner watched as the Human wrapper her hands around two of the handholds and tightened her grip.

“Here’s hoping we’re not hitching a ride with a hotshot.”



“A hotshot?”

The engines flared, Mary swore and activated the magnetic attachment portions of the suit as well. The metallic clang as she was slammed into the hull was drowned out by the roar of the chemical propellant engines in an atmosphere. The shuttle slowly lifted from the ground, before twisting in the air and slowly beginning to rise.

“See told you this wouldn’t,”

Mary was cut off as the shuttle’s engines which had already been loud even to her human hearing became deafening. The shuttle shot up into the air, towards orbit.

Tinner felt the acceleration and held onto the human’s hair as she endured it as well. She was far more massive, so the stresses were far greater on her. Mary grunted and Tinner saw her grip on one of the metal handrails tighten. The suit was no doubt helping her move, and remained attached but he could hear all her muscles straining to keep her connected as well.

“Bad idea!” shouted Mary as the shuttle climbed up out of the thin atmosphere.



“Told you this was not a good idea!” Sang Tinner.

“Tinner shut up!”

The two stowaways held on as the shuttle continued to rattle and gain speed even as the atmosphere thinned and the shuttle casually curved around towards a distant speck of light that flashed brighter at regular intervals.

“Suit looks good, we’re not even ablating! You could do this in a regular suit!” said Mary excitedly.

“Don’t these ships reserve full thrust until 80 Km?” asked Tinner.

The Electromagnetic drive kicked in along with the dying chemical propulsion engines, and once again Mary grunted with exertion pulling herself in towards the shuttle.


Mary was perspiring, and it was in her hair. Tinner tried to ignore it, the action was involuntary but still it was disgusting.


She grunted something that Tinner could not make out.

The engines died and everything was suddenly silent. On a ballistic trajectory now, they would coast for a few minutes until they reached the Fort.

“What Tinner?” asked Mary breathing hard.

“Did you bring snacks?”

She was silent for several moments and Tinner buzzed.

“I’m going to murder you as soon as I’m out of this suit.”


Mary let out a frustrated sigh, “We’re dead.”

Tinner let out a chirp.


“We are.”

“I thought we had this, we did everything right this afternoon!”


“Perhaps we overestimated our abilities?”

Mary snapped her teeth together, Tinner turned to Mary, It was fascinating watching them work a problem. The typical Human compared to a Tanuin was less intelligent by a small amount, but as a product of perhaps having only a single body were much better able to quickly change strategies or develop novel ideas.

It went back to primal behaviors perhaps, Tanuin had evolved to be redundant at the price of expediency, and Humans had developed rapid ‘intuitions’ to solve a problem in an instant to avoid death. Tanuin could lose a body to a predator and live, Humans not so much.

“Tinner, you trust me?”


“I am here.”

Mary smiled.

“Then let’s try again.”

“You expect a different result?”

“The whole point of simulations is to try and try until we win.”


“Or until we know the scenario well enough to play the scenario, and cheat to win,” said Tinner his voice going up an octave.

Mary’s face reddened.

“I was not cheating playing that card game, card counting is a time honored tradition. Learn it.”


“You were cheating.”

Mary shifted from side to side, “Next time you pick the game then.”


“Agreed. Let’s try again.”

Tinner settled his bodies into the multiple work stations around the bridge. He would not be able to operate all of them at the same time. He would be able to switch his focus between all of them when needed though.

“Computer simulation start, no logs!” said Mary.

The system beeped in response, “Simulation start in ten seconds!”

The two settled back into their stations, Mary in the command seat controlling the weapons and shields, while Tinner was focusing on power distribution and piloting.

The main view screen flashed, and the scenario started.

Three ships like the one that had laid waste to Earth were now in orbit of Big Blue, two were moderately damaged the orbital defenses having done their job, but were now disable. The objective of the scenario was simple, without the use of antimatter jumps destroy the three vessels and ensure no tachyon beacons were transmitting.

It was a daunting task, the computer algorithms controlling the enemy vessels had very little to go off in the way of actual tactics, but given the aliens’ behavior in Sol, brazen confidence was the prevailing attitude the behemoths exuded.

“Port and center ships moving to attack, starboard vessel moving behind them.” Said Tinner.

“Ignoring it for now, focusing fire on the center ship.”


The Empire ships could only fire line of sight shots with their plasma weapons having so little mass. Even if the ship was trying to hide itself to repair it would be unable to fight. Tinner much preferred the Humans mentality in weapons.


The only limiting factor to Human weapons was the ability to eliminate heat. They could also be influenced by gravity wells, something that could be advantageous, and disastrous depending on the situation.

“Tinner set us on a collision course,”



Tinner’s many eyes widened but he remained composed, “Understood.”

The simulator shook as the main guns of the Canada fired. The model was accurate to the smallest detail, including the limited forward weapon dampening. The Canada had been designed with a gun far larger than its frame had initially been designed to handle and it had not been corrected in the transferal of the designs from the Pacific class vessels of Earth.

An even larger impact registered as the Empire ship’s fired. The simulator shook and Tinner clutched at the control panels he was hanging onto.


“Want to explain?” asked Tinner as Mary continued to pour power into the engines.

“The Yamato approach. Right out of the gate.”

Mary was silent for a moment even as the simulator shook, “It’s a way to complete the scenario I think. Also, to make sure we’re not being handed a Maru.”


“Maru?” asked Tinner as he rerouted coolant to the main guns. If they were making a suicide run, the correct care of the engines was unneeded. They would operate past spec without coolant, and it would allow the forward gun to continue firing.

“Trust me?” asked Mary a smile on her face.




The central Empire ship was growing larger in the forward display and was continuing to fire back, the front of the simulated Canada was beginning to show hull breaches and slagged system. The blasts from the main gun were now punching straight through the damaged sections of their own ship.

Tinner spotted the problem, the ship they were moving towards and firing at was moving away exposing the third Empire vessel and giving it a clear line of attack.

“Mary!” Tinner squeaked as the vessel fired and the simulator was jerked to its limits.

“This’ll work!”

Tinner let out a bleat, “we’re going to lose engineering at this rate. I must divert power from weapons to cooling the hull. We’re losing far too much armor!”

“Not like the weapons are doing much at the moment, you are going to make sure the Ace remains on right?” asked Mary.

“Of course,.”

The simulated Canada continued to gain speed, What had been the center Imperial vessel was now above them, and the damaged one far closer and growing fast in the center view.

“Prime all of the nuclear missiles in the tubes. Set them to detonate on impact,” said Mary.

Tinner twisted the body at the environmental control substation and launched it towards Mary, running directly into her chest it took him a moment to reorient.


“So, we’re making sure we die in an inferno of our own creation, not the Empire’s.” deadpanned Tinner even as he reached down at her controls and quickly unlocked all the detonators.


The two remained in the Captain’s seat and watched as the forward display flashed and cut out. The entire room which had been shaking and full of alarms was suddenly silent.

Tinner shifted uncomfortably, and slowly the bodies spread out at the other consoles launched themselves though the air to latch onto the Human in the center of the compartment.


“What was that supposed to do?” asked Tinner, his voice low.

The forward screen flashed again.


Mary grinned.



“What happened? We died.”

“The only requirement for the simulation was to destroy all three of the enemy vessels. We completed that,” said Mary.

Tinner looked at the human and tapped her skin thinking, “Other ships have done Yamato dives. They were not effective.”

“It has always been a last resort. Nuclear ordinance had been expended already, and the Empire ships had been more spread out. This time we struck when they were close, and along with our kinetics of the impact detonated nukes in close range turning us and most of the damaged Empire ship into plasma. The other two were still recovering from the ACE, so had no defense.”

Tinner was stunned, it was a maneuver that had won. Still most students had attempted to at least survive, looking back on the requirements of the simulation the only condition had been to destroy all three Empire ships. There had been no survival requirement.




“Is this the only way to win? We do not have the population, or the ships to continue sacrificing like this, as needed as it might be.”

Mary sighed, “For now, simulations with antimatter FTL are much more promising.”

“This was mission success, we could do it. You were right,” said Tinner.

Mary shook her head, “Success is not a win.”



“We won. That is not a success, not a win?”

“We completed the objective, at best it was a stalemate in regards to winning. Winning would be us watching as the Empire ships spiral down into Big Blue broken and burning. Winning is listening to the distress calls of their ships as they burn and die. Winning is doing what they did to us a hundred times over. Winning is, winning is getting back what we lost.”



The look in the Human’s eyes was predatory, and feral. Almost like that of the Tanuin who lost themselves, who were broken and destroyed parts of a whole never able to be a whole again.

Tinner shivered, could humans be like that? Broken and violent.


“Can Humans win?”

Mary looked at her alien friend for a moment, “No. We’ve already lost so much. The entire star system we grew up in. Lost, gone. An entire generation raised for war. We’ve lost so much. It’s also why I’m glad you’re here.”

“Why? Because I helped in the simulation?”

Mary said nothing and Tinner heard her heartbeat quicken.

“No, you’re not human, and your entire species is helping us. Hopefully when the time comes you’ll make sure we don’t win. We’ve done it so often in our history, destroyed an enemy, ground them down to nothing, killed them. We’ve won. Only to realize that means standing in a field of bodies and blood everything else thrown away.”

Mary drifted up from her seat, “I’m too Human, I want to win. I’m hoping you guys will be able to stop us.”



Humans and Tanuin.

“What if I don’t want to stop you? What If I want to win as well?” asked Tinner his voice low.

Mary tensed and looked up at her friend.

“Then I’m a little Tanuin, and you’re a little Human already. We should promise to stop one another.”



“I don’t want to make that promise.”

Mary sighed, “Neither do I.”

Tinner slowly pushed off the Human and drifted back to the consoles, “Let’s find a way to win, and hope the simulations are easier than the real thing.”

“Computer, simulation start!”

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Sneaking forwards Kalif slowly tilted his ears to either side and waited in the darkness. Not sensing anything he slowly crept forwards towards the statue, and the artifacts in its base. Slithering as silently as possible Kalif focused his eyes on the objects, as if afraid they might disappear at any time. Reaching the statue

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Mother Earth

Mother Earth. She’s a bitch. A hard ass bitch who tortured every form of life that she brought forth onto her surface. Every life form on her surface had to fight, feed and fuck. After that she didn’t care about what happened, only that they had improved on themselves perhaps a little bit. Life on

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Nyx fired off another shot from her rifle and the Prod nearly 800 meters down the street jerked and ducked into an ally. She frowned and sharpened her gaze on the point where the purple mass had disappeared, looking for the telltale red fragments on the pavement. “More of ’em?” asked Iyo, he was whispering

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Adam, Artemis, Atlas, & Icarus Part 2

The data streams slammed into me. With practiced ease, I pushed them aside and forced myself to view the data from afar. To not see it as billions of lines of code, but rather as the small white room that any other human would see. Floating in the center of that white room was Artemis,

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Adam, Artemis, Atlas, & Icarus Part 1

0 days Adam “You’re insane.” “Your point is what?” She rolled her eyes and tightened the straps holding me to the chair. “The point is that someone who can’t move shouldn’t really be this snippy.” She gestured at the plethora of medical equipment around us. “I’m sure I can do some interesting things with all

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Waters of Babylon – Tikkun Olam Part 1

For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and of the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a bulwark. —Psalm 93: 3-4 Date Point: 14Y 3M AV Office of Rabbi Uwriy Walden New

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Date Point: 14Y 2M 1W 5D AV The Thing, Folctha, Cimbrean Sister Naydra It was with some trepidation that Naydra attended a Meeting of Mothers. By all accounts, this was a continuation of a previous Meeting, which wasn’t so unusual—such Meetings were rare and never called for simple reasons that could be easily resolved. What

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Date point: 14y 9m 2w 1d AV Trail hiking, Lakebeds National Park, west of Foltcha, Cimbrean Hayley Tisdale Julian had been quite firm that he wouldn’t do a sweat lodge or anything like that. She understood, there was some controversy about cultural appropriation and all that nonsense, and Julian seemed like he’d rather not be

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Causal Results – Chapter 5

Ruck, Willinkree Year 3042 Day 35 “No! Let go of me!” shouted [Sil] as she struggled to break the brute’s hold. The class C stared dumbly back at her, glaring at him [Sil] pulled at her bonds and sat down on the ground unable to make them even budge in the large alien’s hands. On

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Waters of Babylon – Tzedakah Part 2

Date Point: 14Y 1M AV The Thing, Folctha, Cimbrean A Meeting of Mothers was much like a Conclave of Champions, and it was only coincidence that both terms alliterated nicely in English. Neither was terribly common, and both were typically invoked by their various constituencies to deal with an issue bigger than any one constituent

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Waters of Babylon – Tzedakah Part 1

For He will instruct His angels in your behalf, to guard you in all your ways. They will carry you in their hands, lest you hurt your foot on a rock. You will tread upon the lion and the viper; you will trample upon the young lion and the serpent —Psalm 91 Date Point: 14Y

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Date point: 14y 9m 1d AV Planet Akyawentuo, The Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm Meeting of Given-Men Yan Given-Man “When will Jooyun return and take the Rite of Manhood?” Yan mopped some of the sweat from his crest and loosened up his crushing grip on his challengers. “Soon,” he said confidently. “Soon.” Fall was almost

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Causal Results – Chapter 4

Species C543 System 4 Years 2 months 23 days Before C1764 FTL Jump “Ma’am.” [Sil] tried to turn away from the noise and tried to remain in the blissful realm of unconsciousness. “Ma’am!” [Sil] forced her eyes open and let out a low groan of pain. [Fred] was next to her on the ground, her

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Good Training – Survival Part 8

Date point: 14y 9m 1d AV Total Combat Fitness, southwest Folctha, Cimbrean Mid-morning Dr. Marc Tisdale Marc was, at heart, a gentle man. He had love for most everyone he met and refused to hold anger for anyone or anything unless they had truly, irrevocably earned it. That said, he was still a man and

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Causal Results – Chapter 3

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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