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” came in the form of…companionship. That cruel euphemism meant they were forced to spend time in the company of the “Brothers,” whether any of the sisters wanted it or not. Some of the Sisters had resisted. They didn’t last long. Though the pretense of their situation meant their captors kept up the veneer of civilization…on the first night, faintly, their missing Sister’s howls of terror and pain could be heard.

Naydra played along. Most of the brownies in this bastard Clan were large, stupid and aggressive, and she didn’t fancy her chances if any of them ever grew truly angry with her. They were violent too, much more than the love-fights Naydra had grown up reading about and then experiencing as a mother of cubs. No. This was something much darker. It hurt. Not just her body, and not just her feelings. It hurt her very being.

That was particularly true with the supposed Grandfather of this gang of thugs. Koruum was a very large brownie, the biggest Naydra had ever seen. He was one who had worked in the fields all his life and had the gnarled, muscular build of a hard laborer to prove it. He was their leader through no cunning stratagem or personal charisma, oh no. He was their leader because he was the biggest, meanest and stupidest one of them all.

And he was obsessed with Naydra. Day by day, his violent attraction was slowly killing her.

Every day he would demand her company and every day there would be some brief pretense at a civilized relationship before he used his brute strength to take what he wanted. No Female had ever deigned to mate with him and it was easy to see why: he was stupid, crude, and cruel. He was Clanless and without legacy in the truest senses of the words, and was one of the few males Naydra had ever met that was truly beneath the privilege of fatherhood.

The first week of her endless terror was surreal in its self-contradiction. Koruum had made a protracted attempt to woo her, as if being kept against her will could in any be ameliorated by an idiot’s attempt at Civilization. Naydra had rebuffed his crude attempts to charm his way into her good graces. Politely, at first, but more forcefully as time went on. Eventually he dropped the pretense and simply…used her. Her rejection angered him and made their inevitable encounters much worse, and much longer. He had the stamina and strength of a draft animal and seemed to think that if he just used it as much as he could to entertain his “guests,” he would at long last sire a cub.

He wouldn’t, of course. The historically successful Clan harems of their ancient past were comfortably gilded cages; they had to be if the Clan wanted cubs. While, yes, it took much vigorous mating to induce a pregnancy in any gaoian female no matter how fertile, mere copulation wasn’t the end of it. A Female had to live well-fed and free of stress if she would ever hope to conceive. The prisoners of this upstart Clan had neither. Their self-appointed Grandfather and the rest were too ignorant and stupid to understand but that didn’t stop them from trying. Koruum had forced himself on her every night for over a month, to no success. That small victory was almost the only thing sustaining Sister Naydra.

Koruum was, needless to say, displeased, and had begun to threaten her with further pain and torment if she didn’t swell for him. Naydra decided she would rather die than permit that, though if she was being darkly honest with herself, things were likely to keep getting worse and his escalating brutality made that latter possibility a near certainty.

It was strange, really. The inevitability of her fate had produced in her a sort of detached calm, and gave her a space to escape to while she endured Koruum’s loathsome attentions. The more academic side of her wondered at the psychology of such a thing.

Maybe this time he will finally go too far, and I will escape the suffering. Somewhere, deep in the protected shadows of her mind, the thought gave her peace.


She would survive this.

She would survive, even with Koruum crushing her almost to death with his strength and endlessly grunting away on top of her. Sister Trymin had braved worse, Sister Shoo had battled the Hunters single-handedly and survived.

Naydra would survive, and she would see Koruum pay for his crimes.

Something changed. Loud noises from outside. The sharp staccato of kinetic gunfire.

There was a crash and the door practically exploded open. Before Naydra could react to that, something moved like a lightning strike to her side, slammed a huge, brown paw on Koruum’s shoulder, sunk its claws in and ripped the evil creature off of her. For reasons Naydra couldn’t pin down, the thing she remembered most vividly about that was the almost comical look of surprise on his face as he tumbled backwards over his own tail and almost flew across the room. There was a brief silence. Then a keening snuffle next to her head.

It was a Female. A huge female, with the scars of a proven warrior in a healed snarl across her powerful, elegant muzzle. She smelled of death and strength and compassion like the Battle-Sisters who fought alongside Great Mother Tiritya. She was a Savior, a winged messenger from the old stories. She was—

“Are you okay?”

Naydra keened.

She keened like she hadn’t since her cubhood. Her Savior pressed her muzzle against Naydra’s own and held it there, the world for the moment forgotten.

There was a groan in the corner. Koruum shook his head, rolled onto his back, then remembered where he was and snapped to alertness. He kipped himself up and onto his feet in a single, explosively powerful motion. Great Mother he was strong, and one look at his short-furred bulk confirmed it. Her Savior pulled away and approached warily, a dangerous growl bubbling up from deep in her chest. But as impressive as her Savior was, she was really nothing compared to Koruum. He knew it, too.

“Two beautiful females to sire my cubs! I’m gonna enjoy breaking you.”

Naydra sat up and keened again—how could her Savior win against such a massive male? He charged and Savior only barely managed to parry. He was fast and handily dodged the Savior’s counter-attack with her blade. She’d attack, he’d side-step or weave…his feral grin grew wider and wider. He couldn’t lose.

Until he did.

Naydra…couldn’t really see what happened. What she saw was that her Savior moved too fast to understand and suddenly, Koruum wasn’t so terrifying after all. He whirled around in a confused motion, desperately lashing out against his tormentor, but every attack was blocked, redirected, avoided. The Savior stabbed him, cut him—all of that in just a few seconds. Savior stepped back and sneered, while Koruum wobbled on his feet for a moment, then slumped to the floor.

At that moment another…creature came barging through the door. It moved so much faster than Savior it couldn’t be real. It slammed into Naydra’s tormentor and crashed into the wall with a sickening crunch. Koruum slumped, coughed blood, and looked about ready to die—

“Not yet, you worthless shitstain.” The male—and he was so much more of a male than Koruum or anyone else that Naydra had ever seen—flipped her tormentor face-down and sat on him, pinning his torso with his sheer weight and controlling him with one gigantic paw contemptuously pressing down on his head. That paw was so huge it almost wrapped around Koruum’s skull, and the claws–!

The bestial male reached with his other paw to retrieve an injector of some kind and mercilessly stabbed it into Koruum’s torso, which elicited a cub-like squeal of pain.

“MEDIC.” The gravelly boom of his voice was almost unreal.

Savior was by her side again, now with a first aid blanket and a container of water. Naydra was too confused to follow everything that happened next. More females came in. She learned that her savior was actually Myun, the legend herself, and not once did she leave Naydra’s side. Others were in and out, medics were doing something to Koruum…

Soon the racket died down. The gigantic male prowled back in with another behind him and talked to the medics in a low voice.

He turned his eyes to Naydra and she instinctively recoiled. He winced, briefly, and flattened his big, pointed ears against his huge skull. But now that she could properly see his face she realized that he wasn’t just any Stoneback, he was—

“If you want, I will leave,” he said quietly. “All the males will leave.” He crouched down on all four paws and got well below her eye level. “Tell me what you want me to do. I will do it.”

Naydra couldn’t, she just wanted to bathe and sleep forever, and…

He duck-nodded and padded over to Koruum. “I’m takin’ this piece o’ nava husk with me.” The hulking male slammed his paw down on Koruum’s back with a sickening crack and sunk his terrible claws into him, all the way down to the roots. Koruum squirmed mightily in a soundless howl of pain, but the hulking brute didn’t care. He dragged the would-be Grandfather out like so much meat to the butcher.

The room was empty, now. Only Myun was there.

“Great Father will want to know what you need,” she said, gently.

So it was him. Naydra didn’t know what to think about that just then.

“And the Mother-Supreme is here too. She also needs to hear. When you’re ready.”

“…What happens next?”

“We evacuate you to Cimbrean, you and the other Sisters. Gao is no place for an unprotected Female just now.”

What an appalling statement that was.

“What will he do?”

Myun squirmed a bit uncomfortably. “Well…exactly what you want. Koruum was a serial reject by all the labor Clans, including Stoneback, and for the Great Father, well: it’s personal. So I guess the answer to that is, if you let him, Daar will do a great many things to Koruum and every male here. Please,” she almost whined, “Think carefully before you answer.”

There was nothing to think about. “Any male living here deserves it.”

“…You are certain?”


Myun seemed resigned. “Okay. But you tell him yourself. Brother Fiin!”

A head popped around the corner. “Yes, Sister?”

“Get the Great Father, please.”

He duck-nodded and disappeared. Naydra didn’t have to wait long before she felt a slight tremor through the ground and in padded the Great Father on all fours. He approached, respectfully, but his presence even then was utterly overwhelming.

“You wanted me, my Sister?”

Myun spoke up first. “She has decided, My Father.”

“…Thank you, my daughter.” He turned his head back, “May I ask your name?”

“…S–Sister Naydra.”

“Okay. May I speak with you alone?”

Naydra cast a nervous glance to Myun, who duck-nodded encouragingly. “You couldn’t be safer with anyone, Sister. I’ll be just around the corner, okay?”

“…Okay.” Myun stalked out of the room, leaving her alone with the Great Father.

He looked about, shook out his pelt, then sat on his haunches next to her and sighed. “Sister, this thing, it’s…an abomination.” She could smell a rage on him that was so much stronger than any she had ever smelled, it was honestly terrifying. “I would do very much to avenge it. But the Humans have a saying,” the Great Father warned, “It goes something like, ‘wish carefully, you may just get it.’ So I must ask you, and I must have an answer: are any here worthy of any kind of mercy?”

Naydra didn’t hesitate. “No.”

“…You are certain of this? We found some males living outside the compound…”

“They raped my Sisters to death, Great Father,” she spat. “I heard them take turns while that thing you dragged out of here tried to do the very same to me.”

For just a moment the Great Father’s entire body tensed, and the scent of rage pulsed much more strongly. He growled low in his throat, but some incredible discipline of his quickly re-asserted control.

“…Then they will be punished, Sister. I promise.”

“I will witness it.” Naydra was far beyond innocence.

“…If you wish. I hope you might reconsider that—”

“No. I will see them pay with their lives. All of them.”

Daar didn’t say anything. He simply duck-nodded, turned around, and padded out.

There was medical care, then. And food. Sweet, glorious food. A Mother-blessed reunion with her Sisters, a large tent outside of the hated compound with naxas blankets and pillows…

They slept for what felt like an age. When they woke up they did little but huddle together and comfort each other, and eat when their fellow Sisters brought them food.

By mid-day they could hear construction of some kind. By the early evening, Myun showed up with a trepidatious set of her ears. “The Great Father will grant justice tonight. You may witness, as you requested. He hopes you will reconsider. It…will not be pleasant.”

Every Sister went to watch.

Daar was there, waiting on the platform they had hastily assembled. A series of wooden beams that crossed with each other had also been erected, and a prisoner stood each in front of one.

He looked up at Naydra, sighed, then picked up Koruum one-pawed exactly like he was a runty, misbehaving cub.

He turned back to his prisoner and snarled in the most dangerous voice Naydra had ever heard. “You will be an example to everyone of the depth of my wrath, Koruum.” The comparatively little male trembled in terror but Daar did not delay. He broke the prisoner with his bare paws like anyone might break a stick, and ignored the sickening crunches and the screams and the blood. He slammed his ruined prisoner against the crossed beams and held hi m there with a single paw. With the other he picked up a large mallet, and—

Naydra watched, and wished she hadn’t.

Date point: 14y 2m AV
Folctha, Cimbrean
House hunting

Xiù Chang

Cimbrean had changed quite a lot since the last time Xiù had visited. The war on Gao had been ongoing for about four months now and the flood of refugees had, from what she could tell, only intensified. There was so much loss in the air. Everywhere she looked, Xiù could see it on the face of cubs, in the set of a Mother’s ears. The Humans weren’t immune, either. On some of them there was a grim determination to get through the day. Others had a more…negative energy she found difficult to fathom.

But the overwhelming energy—and it was overwhelming—was one of compassion. Compassion from the Governor-General all the way down to the littlest toddler. Homes had been opened, parks repurposed. The jump portal could hardly handle the influx of aid that was arriving every ten minutes and the city bent all their resources to expanding and improving the refugee camp growing steadily on its borders. That, more than anything else, told her they were making the right decision, in the right place, and at the right time.

It did make housing expensive, though.

They were on their way to the fourth and final viewing. Xiù was generally a early bird but that morning she just couldn’t seem to find her center; something like jet lag, maybe? In any case, they were looking for a large apartment or home that would be a good choice for a growing family, and the pickings were…slim. Slim, and one needed to know someone to get their foot in the door in the first place. So really, a lot like Vancouver, from what Xiù remembered.

Fortunately they did have an angle. They had Sister Niral, diplomatic agent of the Clan of Females…and lately, a licensed realtor. Someone had to handle their property concerns, after all, so why send that money to an outside agent? They also had three cubs along with them, all of which were climbing all over Julian while they walked down Delaney Row. And he delighted in them! He’d flip them over his shoulder, hold two aloft with one arm and gently toss the third—a very precocious young male—with his other. It was adorable and it took much restraint on Xiù’s part not to coo while she watched. Niral’s ears said she very much approved, too.

Allison teased him relentlessly and couldn’t hide her grin. Nor could Julian, and he chuckled softly to himself while he one-arm curled the littlest chittering cub, who made awe-filled sounds and kept asking him to do it again, and again, and again. He was going to make an amazing father.

“Thank you so much for doing this, Niral. I know this was short notice…” Xiù seemed to be their natural spokeswoman, and besides: Niral was always good for fascinating conversation.

“It is no problem, Sister Shoo! Though I admit it’s been hard to find any openings for, uh, family accomodations.”

“Tough market?” Julian had placed the youngest cub on the back of his neck, and endured sharp claws and little paws gripping with a deathclutch in his hair.

“Yes, though that is not surprising. There was a fifth, an opening in Warhorse’s apartment building, but…”

“Probably best not to mix friendship and business.”

Niral duck-nodded and led them toward their waiting shuttle. “This final home is a bit out of of the way…”

Julian perked up at that. “Oh?”

“You’ll see.”

The ride over was quick, just enough time for the cubs to start squirming from sitting still, but not long enough that they attempted to wriggle free of their car seats.

“Here it is. It’s the most expensive property out of the four I picked for you…but I hope you can see why.”

They were definitely in the upmarket part of town now, on the south bank of Palace Lake. From what Xiù could recall from the tourist guide, that was the expensive part of town tucked away in the quiet south-west corner.

It certainly had a stunning view. Palace Lake was fed by an aquifer that came up in the courtyard of what had once been the palace and was now the Thinghall, and had been groomed and channeled into a pair of crashing water features. Throw in the alien architecture of the Thinghall itself on top of the rock, and there was probably nowhere else on any Human planet with a view quite like it.

Julian was firmly non-committal, and remained much more interested in the cubs.

“Lake Park is quieter than Quarterside or Riverside parks, but that’s not the really attractive part. Check out the house itself.”

Unusually for Folctha, it wasn’t an apartment or a mid-terrace town house, but a genuine standalone property with an interestingly chunky L-shaped footprint that gave it a fenced deck—private, but keeping the view. Inside was open-plan, with a huge kitchen abutting a sprawling living space divided up by the built-in furniture rather than by proper walls.

The middle floor was two bedrooms, both with an en-suite bathroom and a sliding door out onto a second deck above the kitchen, and the top floor was a huge studio bedroom all to itself. Xiù didn’t even want to guess how many square feet the whole thing came out to—it had to be more than twice the size of her parents’ tiny place in Vancouver in total.

It certainly made an impression on Allison when she discovered that it had a basement as well. And a double garage!

“You can actually breathe in here!” she declared upon opening the closet in the master bedroom and discovering that it wasn’t that much smaller than their quarters on Misfit. “Christ.”

Julian took his time as he ambled around the house studying it with a critical, calm eye. While Xiù and Allison cooed over the house’s features, he kept his cards closer to his chest. One of the more endearing things about him was how much he was a man…but not just because of his body. Not really. For her the real attraction was in a bunch of subtle, not-too-loud kinds of ways, like how he looked like he was taking notes as he made short, pertinent observations. “Basement slab needs sealing. Garage is a bit small for a double…nice big shower, though.”

“D’you like it or not, Etsicitty?” Allison asked him after the third or fourth room.

“…Eh. It’s very nice,” he was quick to say, “But, I dunno. It’s just a house.”

“You mean it’s not a Julian house,” Xiù observed.

That earned her a sideways smile and one of his trademark chuckles. “A Julian house, eh? What’s that like?”

“I’m thinking…squeaky front door, beavers out in the backwoods, shed full of hunting and fishing gear…” Xiù counted off on her fingers, and Allison stifled a laugh. Just for a moment, there’d been a flash of nostalgia there.

“The squeak is important,” he said with an almost straight face. “Could do without the beaver. Shed would be nice…”

“Right. So it’s too fancy for you, babe?” Allison asked. Julian shuffled his feet.

“…It’s very nice,” he repeated. Allison snorted.

“Christ, you’re so goddamned Minnesota sometimes.”

“Well? What do you want me to say? I’ve never bought a house—how much is this?”

Niral consulted her tablet. “It’s listing for just shy of seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds.”

Julian practically choked. “That’s like a million dollars!”

Allison gave him a patient look. “Babe. We can afford a million dollars. We wouldn’t even have to mortgage, we could buy this place outright.”

“I could build this house for, I dunno, like a tenth of that!”

“You don’t have time, babe, and you couldn’t build it here,” Xiù said. “So…do we like the address? The lake, the park, and all that stuff?”

“I mean…yeah? It’s nice and quiet here…”

“And private,” Xiù added.

“Okay, but seriously. Come down and look at the basement. They didn’t even seal the floor. I can’t find the sump! It feels like this place was slapped together in eleven seconds by a fat man named George.”

There was a moment of confused silence, broken by Niral’s genteel cough.

“That’s…specific,” she commented.

“Every fat construction worker is named George,” he said drily. “And they never seal floors.”

“That does put a damper on it,” Allison agreed. “Literally.”

Julian sighed. “I mean, it’s not unfixable. It’s level, at least. I think. I didn’t bring my carpenter’s square to actually check ‘cuz, y’know, I’d assumed a million dollar house would be built right.”

Allison rolled her eyes and scoffed. “You don’t have a carpenter’s square yet, babe. You can put one in the garage!”

“Yes I do! And would I put it next to your motorbike, huh? Or in the basement, next to my slabbin’ toys and bikini babe posters?” Julian troll-grinned, “Is that how it goes?”

Allison had the perfect deadpan response at the ready. “Only if we all agree they’re smokin’ hot. Anyway…is it fixable? I’m sure we can use an unsealed basement to haggle them down, but if it can’t be fixed then this place is a bust.”

Julian sighed. “Oh, it’s fixable. I just, I dunno. I feel like we’re rushing into spending a lot of money, maybe.”

“…Julian, when was the last time you looked at our net worth?” Xiù asked him.

“…Ten minutes ago. We’re, uh…up about two grand this morning.”

Allison snorted. “So we’re up about two grand since breakfast? At that rate we’d be able to buy this place in…what, three months?”

Xiù felt the need to moderate, again. Julian was being way too cautious for her tastes, but that didn’t mean she had to let Al’s gung-ho predilections go unchallenged. “That’s not fair Allison. Stock markets are kinda frothy. But still. We can afford it. Don’t worry about the money. Is it what we want?”

He still seemed torn. “I mean…okay. I like the design. It’s kinda funky shaped. The built-in furniture is a little weird but I guess that’s how rich people do. I like the park. But I’m worried the home is actually garbage.”

Niral cleared her throat. “Folctha has…quite robust building codes,” she said.

Julian rolled his eyes. “That does not mean a goddamned thing, Niral. Building codes are what men like George break for fun.”

“But it does mean that if the place is garbage then you can sue this hypothetical George for every penny he ever made…and the MBG legal department give other lawyers nightmares.”

“Yes, because that’s exactly what I want to deal with while I’m covered in mud on an alien world!”

“Didn’t they handle the bullshit with your grampa’s place?” Allison recalled.


“While we were stuck in a box preparing to get covered in mud on an alien world,” Xiù added. He threw his hands up in despair.

“No ganging up!” he protested. “…You two really want this place, huh?”

“Yeah. We knew this morning when we saw the listing. You were off getting groceries, remember? And it’ll be nice to move out of the Statler.”

That seemed to annoy him. “So you, what? Decided this was the place while I wasn’t there? I won’t deny it’s in a great location but c’mon!”

“Julian.” Allison gave him her you’re-being-silly look. “It’s a good house, the problems are fixable and if you’re really worried about it, we’ll just need to pick a good home inspector.”

“…I want a good one. One not named George.”

“God, anyone! They can even come from Earth for all I care! I’ll pay the travel expenses myself if you’ll just quit being a dummy and admit you like this place!”

“But I don’t, though!” He blurted out, then had regrets the moment Niral quietly slipped away into another room. “Well, okay. No. I…fuck. I dunno. I just want something right here that’s like…half this. It’s too much. Not the cost, I mean—”

Allison softened. “I know what you mean,” she said. “I just wanted you to quit dancing around it. I’m sorry.”

Xiù thought that was maybe unfair. It wasn’t that Julian was dancing around anything. It was more that when he thought or felt something, the words came later when he needed to say them. She’d noticed that tic of his a while ago and it was both charming and a little frustrating.

“…I’m sorry too,” he sighed, and with a quick peck on the lips the argument was gone again. “I just…don’t like it as much. It ain’t bad, I just…for some reason I can’t see us here in my mind’s eye. I always figured we’d pick somewhere, uh…cozier.”

Niral had returned to the room when the voices had quieted. “There are smaller properties, but they will not have three bedrooms. You humans enjoy building family housing like small communes. And they will cost about the same; it’s a tough market.”

Xiù nodded along, then picked up where Niral left off. “Look…we don’t have to decide today, but we do have to all want the place, not just accept it.” She looked at Julian meaningfully.

He didn’t quite relent, but he did scratch the back of his head and concede to the possibility. “No promises yet…lemme get a workout in and think about it.”

“Christ, the more you hang out with the SOR the more they rub off on you,” Allison snorted, but she took Julian’s hand and kissed his cheek. “Go. Think. Slab to your heart’s content. And if you don’t wanna live here then that’s fine. It has to be your house too.”

Julian’s embarrassed little grin was unfairly sexy, and he either didn’t know it or was the most ruthlessly manipulative man Xiù knew, and she knew him too well to believe that. “Okay. I’ll be a bit late. Adam’s got something planned.”

“Okay, but you have to promise not to be grumpy after. Last time he had something planned you got real cranky.”

“Heh.” It was a grim, humorless chuckle. “He can really put the hurt on. Anyway…” Julian checked his phone and pulled a face, “Shit! Gotta run, I’m almost late. Love you both!” With that, he grabbed his bag and charged out the door and sprinted off into the distance.

Allison stood in the middle of the floor with her arms folded staring after him until Xiù draped herself around her from behind, wrapped her arms around her waist, settled her chin on Allison’s shoulders and squeezed. “He’ll be fine.”

Allison sighed. “…I just wish…does he know what he wants? I don’t think he does, sometimes.”

“He just takes a while to figure it out,” Xiù promised, then raised a finger to playfully flick the end of Allison’s nose. “We’re not all as decisive as you.”

“I’d like a little decisiveness from him! I mean…” Her face blushed just a bit, which was a rare sight on Allison. “Besides, y’know.” She coughed slightly and blushed harder.

Even Niral’s ears flicked.

“It’s not a small decision,” Xiù tactfully side-stepped Allison’s embarrassment. “He’s always been the careful one. Would you want him to just jump into things? Or be led by the nose wherever we drag him?” Xiù asked.



Allison thought about that for a second, then nodded and unwound.


Xiù smiled, kissed her and let go. “Shǎguā.”

Niral asked tactfully, “So shall I tell the seller you’re interested? I have other clients today…”

Xiù decided to be a bit more assertive, just for once. “Yes. I’ll make the earnest payment.” When Allison looked at her, “What? If he doesn’t like it I’ll be out some cash, but if he does I’m not missing out on this. Just…don’t tell him.” She turned to Niral. “Either of you.”

“Our little secret.”

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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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Causal Results – Chapter 6: Squeaking By

Bellona 9 Years, 7 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing “We can do it!” Bemusement. 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

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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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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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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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