Settling in the chair I looked across the embassy office at the alien, and tensed.

Large the creatures were vaguely humanoid in shape, two legs, two arms a torso and a head. Beyond that general shape it was different from a standard human. Its legs had two knees and claws that curved upwards. Its skin was a vibrant purple flecked with green in places. The hands were six fingered and stubby the claws cut back.

Its robes were a dull brown, and the regal pose combined with the very humanlike glare from its two eyes the creature was plainly trying to intimidate me.

I gestured at the chair in front of my desk, “Councilor, would you please sit?”

The Beami snarled, “I will not sit.”

“Very well then, what is the issue Councilor,” I checked his nametag, a woven string of characters on the top of his robes telling his life’s journey from hometown to the Hub, “Jarali? Am I saying that correctly?”

He waved his hand dismissing my pronunciation, “You and every other member of your species has been lying to us! To this entire Council, every member of the Hub! Your petition to join with us will be denied and I am of half a mind to order you be imprisoned here to answer for what you and your people have done!”

“What have we done?” I asked keeping my voice cool. The diplomatic group had been at the Hub for nearly a year, and besides a few heated negotiations over trading regulations everything had been moving along at a steady pace.

Jarali narrowed his eyes and clicked his talons on the floor. I ignored the display.

“You are a machine.” Spat Jarali.

I looked down at the gray synthetic skin that covered my frame and the mechanics that were moving underneath it.

“We have never hidden that fact Councilor.”

“No, but it does make you a curiosity. Only two other synthetic races have joined the Hub. You are like neither of them. You act as if you are a creature of blood and gore.”

I nodded in agreement, the other two synthetic races were nothing like us. The Hala were obsessed with the acquisition of knowledge, and simply hoarded all they could. Paying massive amounts of credits and resources to acquire the libraries of new species when they first joined the Hub. They never created anything of their own though, and never processed what they had in any meaningful way.

The Binaries were the other race, if von neumann probes could be called a race. Uninterested in talking or trading the machines moved slowly, between star systems terraforming planets.

Whoever had programmed them had been single-minded, but ethical. The probes never moved into star systems that had life. The machines had no data on who created them, and the small central ship controlling the rest of them simply drifted on the outskirts of the Hub system talking only when prompted, otherwise content to wait for its brethren to slowly move across the stars and transform the planets to support life.

“We act as we have always acted. We are not going to change.”

Jarali’s talon dug into the wood of my office floor, I winced at the damage. It had taken a long time to ship in the Oak from Earth. “You are raising a fully biological creature as your offspring!”

I frowned, this had not been the direction I had seen the conversation going.

“David? What about him?”

Jarali scowled down at me, “You are not the child’s parent. You are a synthetic, and all documentation points to both of you being Human. You have lied to us, and manipulated the Hub.”

Slowly I stood. “We are both Human, and David is my son.”

“You are a machine, one that is pretending to be a biological creature! You may lie to the creature you say is your son, but we are not as easily fooled. Which is Human, you or your son?”

I ground my teeth together, “Both. If, however you mean biologically my son is Human.”

Jarali sneered, “And what are you? Surely you are not Human ‘biologically’.”

I considered the Hub creature. “No. I am as you pointed out a synthetic. In Sol culture I am Human, four hundred years ago my kind of Human was created in a lab, and we have ever since continued to grow in harmony with those who created us. We are not wholly like them, but together we are Human.”

The Beami stamped its talons down.

“You are a machine, raising a biological creature, and you claim it is your son this is wrong!”

I narrowed my lips, “In your opinion. This is the way of Humanity. Some Humans raise and train infant synthetics, small algorithms and lines of code that take years to grow. Some Humans raise biological creatures of similar helplessness. Most biological Humans raise biological children, most synthetic Humans raise synthetics. Sometimes it is more important the child has a home. My wife is biological, and she is on Earth at the moment raising our daughter Nickel, who is a machine like me.”

I stepped towards him, “This is what Humanity is.”

Jarali raised his stubby hands up, “It is wrong. I have done what I must. No machine should have a biological child in its care. The child is being taken into custody as we speak, and will be looked after by the Council until such time that,”

I jumped out of the body I was in. Vaguely from one of the hundreds of camera feeds of the Hub I saw it drop to the ground in my office. The body would need to be replaced, the Councilor had begun clawing at it with his talons as soon as it hit the ground.

The sparking wires and connections from my emergency jump out of it making the thing smolder.

Unfurling my mind into all the alien computer systems I broke diplomatic protocol, and simply rammed through every form of cybersecurity. I sent the last several minutes of my perception to every other Human on the Hub.

Those who were on our ship docked at the outer edge, dropped their bodies as well and moved into the computer systems with me. Other Humans watched a summary of the events someone had edited together in an instant and began to either collect their own items and move towards the ship, or gather weapons.

David had been touring one of the alien markets with Helena, a young synthetic who was working with the diplomatic teams as part of an internship. She hadn’t been brought along to the Hub to watch David, but she said she enjoyed taking him off my hands for meetings.

I had no doubt she was attempting to earn some favoritism for jobs after graduation. She had earned that.

Helena hadn’t jumped out of her body at my message. Limited by the amount of processing power on a mobile platform and her inexperience she was only slightly faster reacting than the biological creatures around her when the guards moved into the market.

The two scaly Yaeik stepped out from behind a stall selling small figures David had been looking at. The Yaeik bore the official Hub markings, a black a yellow mashing of colors that to Human eyes at least was an ugly thing. The weapons they were holding marked them as security.

David didn’t see them, still intent on the trinkets. Helena burst forwards slamming a fist into one Yaeik’s chest. Its scales cracked and a sound like gunshot went off. The officer grunted in pain, taking a step back. The second security guard swung his gun towards her. Helena jumped out of her body leaving her brain sparking and ruined.

The alien fired, a bolt of plasma seared through the synthetic platforms skin and ate at the internals.

“Ambassador!” Helena had joined the mass of other Humans in the computers. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know what else to do, and I panicked, I left David alone!”

I shook my head, a motion communicated through code and shorthand bursts of data. It wasn’t the same as an organic motion, but the meaning carried.

“You’re not in trouble Helena. We weren’t expecting this. I’ve got a plan.”

Helena blinked, and looked around at every other Human. Someone tossed her a data packet of the hasty plan I had contracted and her eyes widened. “Oh.”

The events outside computer accelerated time were slow, but still happening. David had turned around at the sound of Helena’s fist hitting the guard. His scream as she was shot in front of him echoed through the compartment.

Every single Human on the Hub was lending me their power and expertise.

The code breakers were feeding me the access codes to every device in the Market.

The soldiers were feeding me tactical analysis. The training of the Hub guards, and the skills of the two in front of my Son.

Those who had no skill to add, donated computer power lending me their own runtimes and processing resources. It pushed them out of machine time, and into a perception close to a biological Human. Leaving me and those working more time, to solve all the problems.

The Biological Humans on the Hub were also moving, they had only been informed of what was happening seconds ago but they were moving, I already had the plan worked out.

“Run David!” I shouted the words through every device in the Market.

David’s eyes widened his gaze flicking up to meet the Yaeik’s. He ran straight at the lumbering creatures, weaving between the two of the before they could react. His small legs were a blur, and not a blur, while he ran.

I could approximate his exact physical condition down to the small oddly formed callous on his right pinkie toe based on the data and analysis every Human was feeding to me, based on every source of data in the Hub.

I paid it little mind, my hundreds of eyes focused on my Son as he ran through the aliens and creatures around him.

“Which way?” shouted David, his voice cracking as he ran through one aisle of the market.

“Right!” I shouted.

The alien’s in the market all looked down at their devices, wondering why they were speaking in an alien voice for the second time in only moments.

Aliens in the market were watching David now, running as guards continued to stream out of the different segments of the market. The old-style radio communicators they were using not something that could be jammed in such proximity.

I checked on the status of the ship.

“Dad, what’s going on?” asked David to the open air as he continued to run, taking in sucking breaths as he did so.

“The Hub does not like the idea of Synthetic Human’s raising Biological Humans.”

David frowned and his paced slowed by a fraction, “What?”

“Keep running David!”

A large alien, one I didn’t even bother to identify barreled through one market stall sending materials in every direction as he moved to grab David.

A piece of some building material flew into David’s path, and he tripped. In machine time, I could only watch the spectacle with painful slowness. By the time he hit the warn metal floor, I had an analysis of all injuries he would sustain with 97% accuracy.

The ship was on the move now, the biological Humans inside of it moving with as much haste as they could.

They ripped the ship away from the dock it was moored at inside the antigravity field, and spinning it around in space gleefully ignored all warnings the Hub control was shouting at them.

Several code breakers hastily disabled the weapons of the Hub.

“I’m hopping out, Helena!” I shouted it through the digital void.

Helena was pulled back to me.

“Ambassador?” she asked.

“You take over. I need to get him myself.”

She nervously swallowed, “Got it!”

Slipping into the position of control I had been in only a millisecond before Helena continued to direct every Human in the market computer systems.

Jumping out of the alien computer systems into the ship I stepped out of one alcove and grabbed the shotguns off the rack. The androgynous body I had taken out of storage quickly began to morph into my usual form. Grabbing a pistol, I slid it into the holster that had formed at my waist.

“Ambassador!” George slammed a hand down onto my shoulder.

I glanced at him, “How close?”

The scarred veteran glanced at his HUD. “Twenty seconds.”

I chambered a round into the shotgun, “We’re going to try to not kill. This appears to be a social impasse, and miscommunication.”

George frowned, “One big enough they want to take your kid?”

I huffed in annoyance, “They don’t appear to have much faith in Machines.” I spat the final word out. “They’re fine trading and making peace with us if we’re machines, but biological and technology apparently shouldn’t mix.”

“That’s it?”

“As much as I could wrangle from the Councilor, I cut the body when he said he was taking David into custody.”

George shook his head bewildered.

Neither man said nothing as a stranglet fueled, nanite controlled charge was jettisoned from the bay of the ship. It tore into the hull of the Hub, tunneling though the compartments towards the inner hull where David and the Market was.

The stranglets were being chaperoned, and contained by the small machines which directed them to remove all solid inanimate matter through subspace to a location 100 meters off the Hub. All creatures contained in the path of the weapon, including those only large enough to be seen with a microscope were pushed into other compartments of the Hub.

A small network of the nanites quickly formed temporary atmospheric shields as the ship dove backwards into the hole that had been created.

The back hatch of the ship opened, and I threw myself out through it.

Pulled down by the Hub’s gravity well I watched as the last compartment bulkhead dissolved far below.

David glanced up at the small disruption in the air, and his eyes widened, a smile appeared on his face and I felt one tugging at my own even as I consulted with Helena and looked around for threats.

The floor bowed inwards and screeched in protest as I landed. George slammed into the plating next to me, falling to one knee from the impact before quickly standing.


David ran to me, and threw his small hands around my waist.

I kept the shotgun raised as the guards and aliens all around the small shopping district stared at us.

“Are you Ok?” I asked David glancing down at him.

He nodded, “I’m fine, what’s happening? Is Helena OK?”

“I’m fine David!” Her voice streamed out of the small communicator at my waist.

A commotion to the side drew my eyes, I watched waiting as the ship continued to move carefully down through the hole it had excavated in the hull of the Hub.

The purple alien burst out of a door, and his eyes went wide at the destruction.

“Councilor Jarali.”

The alien did a double take looking at me, and then back at the door. He had just left a body in my office, only three compartments away. It was the same body I had used since David had been born

“Ambassador?” asked the alien.

I inclined my head.

The alien swallowed, “I fear we have stumbled upon a cultural impasse.”

I curled a lip at him, “You were attempting to take my son.”

Jarali took a hesitant step forward. His robes were rumpled now, and I took some amount of vindictive pride in the fact that the talons on his feet were dulled. Ripping up the other body had no doubt been difficult to do with only biological appendages.

“Daaaved, that is not your father! That is a machine!”

My son scoffed, “Dad is Dad!”

“It is a machine! It should not be raising you! You are flesh and blood!”

David pouted, and raising his hand slowly extended a middle finger at the alien. I had to fight to contain my laughter. George not so controlled scoffed.

“Helena?” I silently asked.

The girl remained silent, sheepish embarrassment filtered through all of the Humans in the computer systems. Most had moved into the ship, now only a few still in the alien computer systems.

“David, go with George.”

He dropped his hand, and quickly nodded his face red.


George leaned down and picked him up, “Come on little guy, we get to use the jets.”

David’s eyes widened, “Really?”

George nodded, and activated the devices on his boots. Quickly he shot up into the air and back into the ship.

The Hub security having had time to regroup watched him leave, and their gaze shifted to me. I was a single creature in a crowd of hundreds now. With only two guns.

Not that it really mattered.

I stepped towards the Councilor.

His gaze dropped from the hole in the Hub, “You have no doubt ruined your chances of joining the Hub with your actions here.” Said Jarali.

My face hardened, “Councilor, I prevented a war. What you just witnessed was every single Human, biological and Synthetic working together. With only a second warning we decimated your cybersecurity, physical security, and prevented a war. I will not apologize for that.”

“A war?”

I let my eyes darken, “You tried to take my Son.”

Jarali opened his mouth to say something, but quickly thought better of it. “We would not have harmed the human. The Hub does not wish to bring harm to any creature.”

“I don’t care. Humanity will not stand for any culture that does not recognize all of us.”

Jarali frowned, he stepped forwards. “I do not understand.”

I lowered my weapon.

“Admitting that is a start. For now, though, we are leaving the Hub. When you are ready to talk again, and recognize all of us. Humanity will be eager to join the Hub.”

The Councilor clicked his talons. “I look forward to that day.”

Turning from him, I activated the jets in my own legs and drifted up to the ship. The ship quickly began to move away from alien structure as I settled into my seat.


I relaxed at the sound of his voice. He was fine. He was safe. We were on a Human ship.


He extended his hand, one of the small trinkets from the stall was in his hand, “I didn’t pay for this.”

I blinked at the small thing. It was a figurine of the same species as the Councilor, dressed in what looked like formal regalia.

“It’s King Zea, I was watching one of the shows he was on. The Hub had these different shows, he’s the King of the educational building on planet Imagine.”

I sighed and picked David up, “I’ll send payment to the vendor. You’re not in trouble.”

David’s face brightened, and then fell. “What about the bad hand?”

I rolled my eyes, “You shouldn’t do that, definitely don’t show your mother, but you’re not in trouble for that.”

David nodded absorbing everything, “Will we be going back?”

I pulled him into a hug, “I hope so. Assuming your mother doesn’t kill me for all of this trouble.”

“She’s going to be mad?”

“She’s going to be mad.”

David squirmed in my arms, “Good luck Dad!”

He jumped out of my lap and falling into the seat next to me started to play with his figurine.

Settling in the chair I looked across the ship at my son, and relaxed.


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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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