Guarded Titans – Chapter 10

10 Years, 01 Month, 05 Days After Eridani Landing

Species C1764 Home World

Pursing his lips [Vann] looked down at the C1764 planet. The oceans took up most of its surface, almost a direct inverse to that of the Home world with its proportions. The first wars on the Home world thousands of generations ago had been fought over the access to water. Looking at the oceans [Vann] couldn’t help but admire them. It was something he hadn’t seen with his own eyes. Even from orbit the seas looked massive.

If the C1764 had followed the same trend as other species that developed on such worlds, then they had been traveling the seas before they had even started recording their own history.

“This ship is going to land? On the surface of the planet?” asked [Venna] from her seat off to the side of [Vann] on the bridge of the [Singer].

Her father, sitting at one of the science consoles on the bridge of the [Singer] spun around in it. “This is an older class of ship, she’s been the experimental test bed for new systems for generations. Her hull was built before shields were perfected, but strange matter manipulation was. It was a gap of, [twenty years]? So, she’s got a thick hull and precise strange matter control.”

“It was a [twenty-three] year span of time where the ships like the [Singer] were built.” Said High Scientist [Sam] from her science station on the other side of the bridge across from [Howard].

[Vann] glanced at her surprised she was providing information.

He nodded, “During that time, it was safer to build ships that could slowly lower themselves from orbit and land. Energy intensive, but safer than relying on ablative friction when you needed to more personnel and cargo up and down the gravity well. Cancel out all orbital velocity and allow the planet’s gravity to pull you down while slowing the fall with the strange matter systems.”

[Venna] furrowed her brow, “So this entire ship, is like a shuttle? Or a Transport?” She shifted in her seat uncomfortable with the concept.

“Not nearly as maneuverable, she can land and take off, but she’s not built to really fly around in the atmosphere of a planet.” [Vann] paused thinking, “With her original power plant’s at least. Her generators have gone through a few generations of improvement at this point. I suppose she could actually fly around. Her last foray one the ground was about [ten years] ago when her cloaking systems were being upgraded.”

[Syn] shuddered from her seat up near the forward display, refusing to take any of the seats on the bridge she was leaning up against a corner of the transparent material. “Please let’s not try to test how fast she could go, the amount of mass this ship has.” She trailed off shaking her head.

[Reece] grunted in agreement from behind [Vann]’s seat, “Unnecessary risks are something you are supposed to avoid Emperor.”

[Vann] glanced back at him and then around at the rest of the people on the bridge, “It would be interesting none the less, I could take the controls if it would make you feel better.”

[Syn] grimaced, “You take the controls in of the [Singer] I’m stealing one of the shuttles and flying in the opposite direction.”

“The Emperor, uh, [Vann] can’t be that bad of a pilot.” Said [Venna] she turned to him, “Right?”

[Vann] smiled, “It depends who you ask. I’ve never heard an opinion anywhere in the middle. I’m either a dreadful or an excellent pilot.”

[Venna] laughed and glanced over at [Syn]. “So, he can pilot, but he does not exactly follow regulations?”

The small woman nodded, “Exactly. He always tries to scare me whenever I have the misfortune of being in a Transport with him. He doesn’t bother doing the insane flying with [Reece], he won’t flinch until the transport is on fire when [Vann] crashes.” She cocked her head to the side, “I’d be interested to see what he does if he ever deigns to pilot for you.”

[Vann] thought for a moment and turned to [Venna], “There are some beautiful natural features on this planet, the C1764 destroyed a good number of the more ingesting ones but the atmospheric scrubbers have been working nonstop for a few years now. [Charles] had some data on the better ones, I’ll have to dig it up.”

[Venna]’s face went pink at the suggestion and she weakly smiled, “This is a new planet, isn’t it? The class C were just removed, right? Would it be safe to leave the established compounds?”

“Normally no, but you’ll be with me. So, it’ll be fine.”

[Venna] licked her lips, “uhh.”

“There will of course also be an entire battalion no more than ten seconds away at all times while you are with the Emperor.” Said [Reece]. “It’s unlikely [Vann] will be able to get you into more trouble than they can handle.”

[Venna] turned in her seat to look at the bodyguard, “That’s what? A hundred men?”

[Vann] groaned, “A battalion is seven hundred men, and you’re being overprotective [Reece].” He matched [Venna] and turned to look back at [Reece].

[Reece] kept his eyes forwards studiously ignoring them both, “This is a planet that the Consul has designated as exclusive to military and technological development Emperor. There are five entire army groups on the surface, many of whom need training in the protection of VIP’s. Your visit is giving them the opportunity to train.”

[Vann] sighed and turning away from [Reece] he stood, “Fine.”

Pacing forwards, [Vann] moved up to the clear metal at the front of the bridge. Ignoring everyone else on the bridge [Vann] looked down at the blue green planet as it continued to grow in size.

The Singer was over a continent which looked like it had been hit by an asteroid in the far past, a massive circular impact crater which had been filled in by the water of an ocean.

Looking down at the planet, bathed in the light of the star it orbited [Vann] slowly moved his eyes along the coast of the landmass. Every civilization except those that were far more insane than the standard class C1764 established cities beside the largest bodies of water. It made for easy trade even with the most simplistic of technology.

The land of the planet was scared, even from orbit the impacts and assaults the planet had endured under the abuse of the C1764 were visible. Impact craters from the kinetic weaponry, unnatural and unhealed wounds that could only be the from atomic and antimatter detonations.

The cities were the worst off, even devoid of power and falling to the elements of the planet it was easy to see where the population centers had been. The blasts at the centers of nearly all were evident from space, even with the years to recover the biome of the planet would need centuries to cover it all.

That was discounting the few cities and portions of the continent that showed far more recent scars.

The logs from the occupying Regent, which [Marcus] had provided showed that he had ordered an older style orbital bombardment of tactical locations after they were searched for technology and research relating to the antimatter technology.

It was a brutal tactic, but one that [Vann] had to agree with to some extent. The Bunker that [Charles] had been imprisoned in on the red planet, the weapon emplacement on the asteroidal moon of the same world, and the base that had been on the surface of the moon around the C1764 home world.

The C1764 had not been wiped out in the initial cleansing, and it was not impossible to believe that there were still survivors.

The records for the last one had been classified, and [Marcus] had not budged on the issue of their release. [Vann] was half tempted to investigate it, but the [Singer]’s standard scan of the moon as they had come into orbit showed that a nuclear device had been detonated on the site. A failsafe of some sort.

That went without mentioning the dozens of orbital strikes that had been executed during the first few years after acquiring the planet. The Hygonix was still in the atmosphere, bunkers and sealed environments on the planet below had allowed some of the C1764 to survive. Smaller ships and outposts fortifications had infested the system as well, the furthest a small station in orbit of a small rocky planetoid beyond the last gas giant of the system.

That base had only been discovered a [year] ago with a single C1764 left on it. The thing had resorted to eating the other inhabitants of the outpost.

The more recent decision to have the system converted into one purely dedicated to military development was justified by the danger the C1764 presented, there was the still very slim chance that C1764 remained. With hundreds of thousands of troops on the surface combing through the remains of the world for clues to the antimatter technology it was more unlikely every minute.

[Vann] stumbled as the ship shook, torn from his thoughts he glanced back at the pilot.

“Sorry sir,” said the pilot his eyes only flicking up from his readouts for a moment. “I’ve never done this.”

“No worries, the [Singer]’s tough.” Said [Vann] reassuring the man.

“Overengineered and overpowered for her size you mean.” muttered [Sam] from her post.

[Vann] stumbled again as the ship rattled again. The planet was now dominating the forward display, the [Singer] slowly beginning to dip down into its atmosphere. [Vann] looked out at the window for a moment, it was odd to be traveling down to a planet’s surface without the usual ablation shields protecting the hull.

“She’s a bit of a mess behind the scenes, but you have to admit it’s a little more comfortable to have solid walls.” [Howard] tapped the metal behind his console.

“with sensor dampening properties in the hull, which interfere with all of her telemetry. She’s got one of the most advanced sensor suites in the fleet, but the cloaking technology limits it. We’ve got only standard sensor resolution, on any other ship we would be able to pick up a Comm signal from the last gas giant from here!”

[Vann] shrugged and stumbling again as the ship more violently shook he moved to sit back down in his chair. A low hum began to echo through the bridge, [Syn] put her hands down on the deck and grimaced.

“You said you would be fine without a chair.” Said [Vann].

[Syn] glowered at him and closed her eyes as the ship again shook. “[Vann]?”

“Yes [Syn]?”

“Please stop talking.”

[Vann] grinned the [Singer] shook more violently, [Venna]’s hand shot out and grabbed [Vann]’s. He glanced over at her and weakly smiled. “You alright?”

[Venna]’s eyes were screwed shut, her face pinker than it had been only minutes before. “I’m fine.”

[Vann] squeezed her hand as well and turned back to the main display. The [Singer] was still above the clouds of the planet, but they and the compound below were visible. The main compound established by the planetary regent that [Marcus] has assigned was on the continent north of the ancient crater asteroid impact crater, almost exactly in the center of the continent.

It had never been greatly developed like the coasts and despite the C1764’s self-destructive tendencies the damage was light on the plains that dominated the center of the landmass. The development was in the area was minimal, making it easy for the establishment of conventional infrastructure and defenses.

The natural threats of the area were minimal, and the weather mild for the most part. Seasonal storms like those that occurred on the plains of the Home World were common but not unmanageable.

The nose of the [Singer] dipped downwards and the ship accelerated. The strange-matter systems whined and [Vann] felt a slight tug in his gut as the systems fought to maintain normal gravity on the ship and cancel out the planetary gravity which would have thrown everyone on the ship into the nearest forward wall.

“Whoa,” muttered the pilot.

“Something to report?” asked [Vann], even as he pulled the ship out of the dive and flattened out the decent once more.

“No sir, I didn’t compensate enough for the mass difference of the ship. I looked over the flight records and programs for her past, but the [Singer] is more nose heavy than she once was. The old power plants were massive, I had known but my estimations of the difference overall were not correct.”

[Vann] said nothing as the ship passed down through the clouds, “We’re stable then?”

“Yes sir.”

[Vann] stood back up, “Then land us. I’m going to the ramp.”

“You’re not scheduled to disembark for another hour Emperor.” Said [Syn] as she stood, her back pressed to the metal wall keeping herself balanced.

“I’m aware of the schedule.”

[Syn] nodded, “Are you going to change?”

[Vann] glanced down at his light armor, it looked like the antient leather armor the first Emperor’s had worn on the home world when they had led troops directly into battle. Adorned only with his rank insignia [Vann] had taken to wearing it on the ship since the battle with C1764. It was one less thing to worry about in the middle of battle, his own robes fouling him in some manner.

“There is still a possibility this is a hostile world, correct?” asked [Vann].

[Syn] nodded and winced as the [Singer] listed to one side.

“You want to put the Regent off balance.” Said [Venna].

[Vann] lifted her hand and widened his eyes at her, “and I would want to do that why?”

[Venna] narrowed her lips and eyes, “I am better informed than the average citizen Emperor. My Father’s work, and the class C species that has been mentioned only as a whisper for as long as I have known to pay attention to such things? This is the C1764 system, and Earth.”

[Vann] frowned, “What have you heard in the whispers?”

“Emperor, I.” she swallowed. Looking past her [Vann] noted that her father was now very still, and the screen in front of him was not moving.

“I am sure the Consul made all efforts to keep what needs to be secret as such. What have you heard?”

She shrugged and glanced away from him, “That this class C species is the most dangerous ever encountered, that they are.” She paused and turned her eyes back to [Vann]. “That they are a threat to the Empire.”

[Vann] kept his face impassive, considering her words and the implications of such rumors within the Empire. Among just the Senators and other government officials it was concerning, but if it had filtered down to the socialites. [Vann]’s eyes went unfocused as he continued to think.

[Venna] blanched, “It’s not as if anyone believes they could actually be a threat!”

“They wouldn’t destroy it, but they would be able to cause significant damage. They have faster than light technology that bypasses beacons, and they have a way to disable the shields of any ship.”

[Venna] blinked, “What?”

“It is what your Father has been working on replicating for the past [ten years]. He and hundreds of others. He can explain it to you, I have a Regent to meet.”

[Vann] stepped around the stunned woman and glanced at her father, “You can tell her everything you know, or as much as you would trust her to keep secret. I’m afraid I still haven’t gotten to spend enough time with her to make that judgement.”

[Howard] swallowed, “Yes sir.”

Turning [Vann] walked back towards the aft hatch of the bridge, [Reece] and [Syn] in step behind him. The ship shook again and [Vann] pulled out his Comm checking the telemetry of the ship. Just barely under 4,000 meters.

“I thought you were going to be bad at this, you’re not doing great, but her father is convinced.” Said [Syn].

[Vann] kept his eyes on his Comm as he moved through the now familiar corridors of the [Singer] moving towards the cargo bay.

“He hasn’t had to do anything yet that might pit him against whatever [Marcus] might have told him to do.”

“True, but so long as you don’t break his daughters poor innocent heart,” [Syn] drew her words out emphasizing them,” I don’t think you’ll have any issues getting him to break away from [Marcus].”

[Vann] glanced at her, “[Syn]?”

The woman rolled her eyes, “You don’t think that [Venna] isn’t doing the same thing to you?”

[Vann] slipped the Comm back into his pocket, “We manipulated circumstances to meet her,”

“Which she knows.”

[Vann] frowned, “She knows?”

[Syn] groaned and put a hand to her head, “You are lucky that she literally cannot do better than you. You ‘somehow’ running into her, falling into her debt, and then making romantic overtures with her, when her Father just so happens to be involved with a project that you need to gain more control of?”

The [Singer] lurched and [Vann] shot a hand out to grab [Syn] before she fell, “It was your plan!”

“The whole point was to make it just believable, you could have just randomly met her, a woman who just so happened to be related to one of the more successful engineers of the anti-matter engine project, which is what [Marcus] has been obsessed with for years. It all could happen, but I don’t think anyone involved believes it could have happened, it did happen.”

[Vann] growled under his breath, “Then what does she want?”

“Well I’d imagine she would be ecstatic with the title of Empress, but she would settle with being your first love. Just the fact that you’ve whisked her away on your own ship with a military escort to locations unknown will be enough to catapult her up to the interest of a Senator’s son if you don’t stay with her.”

[Vann] pulled out his [Comm] and checking the readout paused, [Syn] continued to walk down the hall and glanced back at him exactly when the [Singer] touched the earth.

[Syn] stumbled and fell to her hands and knees, barely catching herself, [Reece] didn’t move from his position directly behind [Vann] still in his shadow.

“So now that I know that she knows that, when does she figure out that I know that?” asked [Vann] exasperated. Leaning down he held a hand out to [Syn]. She took it and he pulled her up to her feet.

“She doesn’t need to look at that many layers, all she needs is public perception. You need reality.”

[Vann] shook his head and reaching the last compartment door, hit the ancient controls. A small gust of wind blew into the corridor, [Vann] ignored it and stepped into the cargo bay. A full squad of guards quickly saluted, [Vann] waved a hand at them.

“You are early Emperor.” Said the man nearest to the ramp controls.

[Vann] smiled, “I didn’t want to leave you just standing around for too long.”

“The honor guard has not formed outside yet.”

“Then they were not as prepared as you, open the ramp.”

“Yes sir.”

He turned to the controls and tapped at the ancient console. A low hum echoed though the cargo bay and the mechanisms holding the ramp up squealed in protest. Slowly the metal moved, and the ramp moved down. A stronger gust of air swirled into the cargo bay, [Vann] stepped back buffeted by it and put a hand up to his eyes blocking the dust.

The air was warm, mixed with dirt, the smell of mechanical systems and a plant filtered in. Squinting in the sunlight [Vann] walked forwards down the ramp. A transport was quickly moving down the landing strip towards the ship staying only a meter off the ground.

“Positions.” Growled [Reece] as he put a hand on [Vann]’s shoulder.

The squad moved forwards weapons raised, [Vann] heard the additional grinding of metal from above and he frowned.

“You’re going to fire the weapons system in atmosphere?” asked [Vann] looking up at his bodyguard, “That won’t be very efficient, the plasma backsplash alone.” He trailed off as [Reece] glanced down.

“They are set to minimum power. That will be more than sufficient for any ground based threats.”

“Emperor.” [Sam]’s annoyed voice crackled over [Vann]’s comm.

“Yes, High Scientist?”

“We just got a transmission from the Regent’s office, he is on his way to greet you personally.”

“Is this Regent currently in a transport speeding towards the [Singer]?” asked [Reece].


[Vann] pushed [Reece]’s hand away and stepped forward, between the two men in front of him.

“Emperor.” Growled [Reece].

[Vann] ignored him, the honor guard moved in step with him their weapon moving to ready positions.

“Stand down.” said [Vann].

The men complied, and [Vann] stepped off the ramp and onto the earth.

Taking in a breath he raised his head, and waited. The transport stopped several meters away and lowered itself to the ground. The door on the opposite side from [Vann] opened and a tall Dorvakian only a year or two older than [Vann] stepped out.

“Emperor, you’re early!” shouted the man.

[Vann]’s eyes widened, such a greeting was far from tradition and almost rude enough to be an insult.

“That I am Regent Delsantil!”

[Del] smiled at the words and slowly walked around the transport to stand beside it, “I could still form the honor guard if you so with Emperor, but most people were not very keen on forming up underneath a ship coming up from orbit. You’re also at the wrong landing site,” he tapped a foot on the ground.

“This is one of the old 64’s landing sites.”

[Vann] looked around and nodded, “Ah so it is. Well, not that much of an issue.”

The young Regent smiled, “The Consul did inform me you hated ceremony.” Walking forwards he extended his arm out. “I’m not much for it myself, to many things to do.”

[Vann] walked out across the earth and mirrored the Regent’s gesture, the two quickly set their hands on the other’s shoulder.

“That’s my opinion as well, you don’t have the traditional greeting meal prepared, do you?” asked [Vann].

[Del] chuckled, “I’m afraid so. Some of my advisors were adamant that it be prepared.” [Del] gestured back at his transport, “If you don’t feel like sitting down for that I’ve got some food that’s a little better than standard rations with me.”

“Those will be fine, I’d like a tour of the compound while we do that.”

“The Consul said that would be your first request, that or have the civilian scientists you’ve brought with you start going over the newest data cache we’ve found.”

[Vann] took his arm off [Del]’ shoulder, “You’ve found more data on the antimatter systems?”

[Del] waved a hand, “It’s another one of the 64’s military data devices. We’re running decryption attacks on it now, but it’s more than likely irrelevant to the antimatter systems. From everything collected thus far, well the original scans from your ship.” [Del] nodded at the [Singer], “Are more helpful.”

“Well you can’t have covered everything, you’ve been here for a [year]?”

“About one local year,” [Del] leaned over to [Vann], “If you’re going to be staying her for a while, I’ve got to warn you about the days, they’re [four hours] longer than the home world’s. More time to get things done, but it wrecks your sleep for the first few [days].”

[Vann] smiled, “I could use the extra [hours].”

“You’re saying that now,” [Del] stepped back towards the transport. “Tour?”


[Del] stepped back and waved his hand around the horizon, “Welcome to the most infuriating planet I’ve ever been on.”

[Vann] grunted and looked around at the fields of tall grass that stretched out to the left of the landing strip. Looking at the too blue sky he shook his head, “You’re understating it.”

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 3

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 7

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

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Henosis – Chapter 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 1

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

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Henosis – Chapter 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 5

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

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Henosis – Chapter 1

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 4

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 51 (End)

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 6

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 5

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 50

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 49

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 48

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 47

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 1

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 6

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 46

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 3

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 1

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 45

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 2

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

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Good Training – April Fool’s

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 5

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 44

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 3

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

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Good Training – Pecking Order

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Tidying Up

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 43

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 5

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

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 4

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 42

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

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 1

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 3

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 41

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

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The Good Samaritan

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 6

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 40

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 2

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

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 4

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

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