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 space and stars returned.

“Report!” chirped Alpha.

“Running scans!” said Megan from her engineering console.

The bridge was silent for a moment, “No contacts!” said Tom from his weapons console.

“We’ve got something though, on an odd channel,” said Red as he manipulated his controls angling the ship towards wherever the transmission was.

“Odd?” asked James.

“I’ve seen this somewhere before,” grumbled Red as he stared at his own readouts.

“It’s an old Martian channel,” answered Megan as she quickly looked over a copy of the data.

“Martian?” asked James surprised.

“It’s weak, I’m cleaning it up give me one second.”

The bridge of the ship was silent for a moment as Megan worked. James glanced down at the ship wide report as different sections quickly checked in after the Jump. Besides a small power spike in the mess hall and a fuzzy display in one of the corridors everything was reporting green. A relief considering, they could no longer duck back into a dry-dock for repairs.

“A gift from Artemis to Humanity, Have fun with it!” The voice was garbled and sounded almost completely artificial as it came pouring out of the speakers on the bridge. The message quickly repeated.

“Artemis?” asked Alpha as once of his bodies drifted forwards towards the main display legs spread wide as he lightly landed on it. The Tanuin stared at the wave form of the sound as the message repeated again.

“Diana,” breathed Megan.

“Your daughter?” asked James.

“My adopted daughter,”

James blinked, “Her mother was Janus right?”


“Never really imagined that woman having kids.”

“She didn’t”

James frowned, “Then how…” he trailed off.

Megan glanced back at him, “2224.”

James was silent for a moment absorbing that bit of information, “Localize the signal. Take us to it.”

“Yes sir!”

“2224?” asked Alpha his voice low as he leaned in to James’s ear.

“Humans stopped experimenting with, and banned most genetic modification after that year.”


“Unintended consequences. Genetic breakdown was causing many of the children who were modified to literally fall apart after several years. The cause was never determined. A few dozen survived out of the few million who were engineered.”

Alpha absorbed this information as the Russia slowly twisted in space and James along with the rest of the crew glanced at their monitors watching as the ship slowly moved towards the weak signal.

“Found the source!” said Megan.

Pushing an image to the main display James let out a low whistle, “That thing’s seen better days.”

The alien craft was pockmarked and scored, different pieces of metal were holding it together and only small patches had any paint left. It was unmistakably built for mass transport of materials given the large hatch prominent on it’s surface and the lack of anything else but engines and a small cabin in the front looking like it was an after thought.

“Nothing close to a human heat signature, something is being held in magnetic containment though.”

“Magnetic containment?” asked James.

Megan nodded and the image on the main display flickered over to a thermal false color display.

Most of the alien craft was bathed in dark blues and blacks, only three things showed any significant amount of heat. One large pillar of heat near the cockpit, which James guessed was whatever was powering the ship. In the large cavernous cargo bay which was now exposed on the thermal two very hot objects were right next to one another.

“That’s a magnetic bottle?” asked James.

“Yep, although I’ve only ever seen Martian and Terran ones on thermal scans I’d bet this is one as well. It’s almost exactly the same which makes sense from an engineering perspective.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong but the only things that need to be kept in magnetic containment are strange matter and antimatter.”

Megan nodded, “Right.”

“So any guess at what’s in this magnetic bottle?”

Megan was silent for a moment, “I can’t tell from a distance. My guess would be antimatter.”

“A little hopeful thinking wouldn’t you say?”

“If this is from Diana, well she wouldn’t bother sending us strange matter. We can produce that easily enough on the ship’s linear accelerator. Antimatter though?” Megan shook her head, “We’ve still not got that.”

James turned back to look at the main display, “Red, get us close enough for a shuttle to make a hop over to that thing, I don’t want to get too close.”

“We’re in range now.”

“How much antimatter could be in that field?” asked James.

Megan thought for a moment as she moved out of her seat, “Max? Three kilograms.”

“Are we far enough away in case that detonates?”

“Should be,” said Red.

James looked at Megan, “This could be a trap.”

Megan smiled slightly, “Maybe, but this is Diana’s style. She got her flare for drama from her real mother. Sending it like this would be her thing. Why isn’t the Canada using this though is the bigger question. IF they got even a small amount of antimatter they would have been able to make a jump back to Bellona, and why isn’t this alien ship transmitting Canada authentication codes? It’s transmitting vague references instead of military codes?”

James frowned, “Maybe they got to much of it?”

“They had too much of the most valuable substance in the universe, so much that they just decided to leave it floating in space hoping we would find it in another year when the Russia was supposed to launch officially?”

“I see your point.”

Megan grunted, “Meaning Diana is in some sort of trouble. Typical.”

James raised his eyebrows at that bust decided not to say anything on that particular front, “How long will it take to determine if this is safe or not?”

“Two hours.”

“Then I think it’s worth it, go!”

Megan turned and dove out of the bridge of the ship.

Red spun around in his chair, “Should we try and get into the alien communication network? That beacon’s making wide transmissions. I’m going to guess it’s their version of the public net.”

James nodded, “See what you can get, the Canada specially took Arik to sort through this alien chatter though. If we’re getting gifts from members of her crew they might have left translation software as well as antimatter.”

“That’s two hours though and we have the basic translation software from the fighter.”

“Run it, see if we can catch up with the times.”


He turned back to his console and James turned to Alpha, “Well how’s it feel?”

Alpha blinked several of his eyes, “What do you mean?”

“How does it feel to be back in the galaxy? You were trapped on that rock for how long?”

“Several thousand years. It is, odd. I never thought we would be exploring it with another species, or at least not one like the Dorvakians.”

Alpha collected himself, “I am looking forwards to seeing it.”

9 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing


The [Singer] shuddered as she dropped out of FTL and [Vann] looked out at the star system for a moment, this was where so much of the current strife originated, where [Charles] had been broken and perhaps remade. It was the star system that C1764 called home.

It looked like any other star system to his eyes, somehow he had been expecting something more grand than the simply blue green planet and average sequence star.

“Incoming transmission from the Admiral’s ship [Defender],” said [Sam] from her console.

“Put it up.”

[Vann] quickly got to his feet and as the transmission flickered on. [Vann] quickly raised his hand and put it over his eye saluting the admiral.

“Emperor [Vann],” drawled the older Dorvakian. The man was a career military officer and like [Reece]’s family and [Vann]’s own the lineage and tradition of military service that his family had rendered over the centuries was well documented and lauded.

As a consequence, he was also one of the more political military officers. [Vann] knew for a fact that he and [Marcus] regularly communicated with one another, and while [Marcus] played the politics Admiral [Meral] held control over the fleet which was almost always in a constant state of secret military operation under the direct purview of [Marcus] and the security council of the Senate.

“Admiral [Meral]. It’s an honor to meet you.”

“I believe we had the pleasure of meeting some time ago Emperor, although you might have been too young to remember it. I would like to think your father considered me a friend.”

[Vann] lowered his hand and the salute, breaking protocol somewhat without the dismissal, realizing the man technically lower in rank was not going to recognize the show of good faith by setting him at ease.

“He did sir, several of his log entries speak very highly of you.”

“I’m glad to hear that.”

The two were silent for several moments.

“Emperor may I be candid with you?”

“I appreciate candor.”

“I don’t like being given the task of watching over you. The 4th fleet operations are dangerous enough as it is, and dedicating ships and resources to your protection in combat operations is not something I wish to do. It will compromise the missions which we are assigned.”

[Vann] held up a hand keeping his own features carefully neutral, “I do not wish for special treatment Admiral. Given recent events the Consul suggested I be placed on this ship and under your command to,” [Vann] paused for a moment, “Learn.”

The Admiral’s eyes went wider slightly, “Is that so.”

[Meral] turned away from the transmission for a moment, waving his hand at someone off screen.

“Well, your first lesson will be perhaps your most embarrassing given recent events.”


“Scouting forces for our latest class C extermination are reporting anomalous readings. Apparently the class C ship you encountered and lost a battle to has parked itself over the planet set to be cleansed. They have even given the more primitive class C’s our communication channels. The things are attempting to open negotiations if you can believe it.”

[Vann] frowned, “Lost?”

The Admiral smiled and leaned forwards, “Yes lost. You had every advantage, yet you didn’t even raise your shields, due to that failure you lost souls under your command.”

[Vann] leveled his gaze at the man, “You did not read the reports Admiral, I made it very plain what happened above Jikse.”

“Yes, that the class C’s somehow managed to disable your shields. The shields of one of the most advanced ships in the fleet I might add.”

“Are you insinuating something Admiral?”

The man shook his head and quickly raised his hands, “Your lack of experience might have caused you to imagine things. Don’t feel bad, even the most experienced commanders must learn and train constantly. I am sure that under my tutelage you’ll become much more effective. Until that time however you are under my command, and I will treat you no differently than any other ship in the fleet. Is that understood Captain?”

[Vann] stared at the man, “Understood Admiral.”

[Meral] quickly cut the communication. [Vann] slowly sat back down in his seat.

“That could have gone better,” said [Syn] from her seat beside [Vann].

“Could have yes.”

“It’s going to be like this for awhile I think. Your public image is still that of a child prince, and not an Emperor. Until that changes you have only as much respect as your title provides, and not anything beyond that.”

[Vann] turned to her and rolled his eyes, “Well forgive me for not having done something dramatic. I’ve only been allowed to command ships for two years!”

“You’re doing better than most of your peers if I’m being honest. No images of you at parties, no scandals I’ve had to clean up.”

“Are you complaining?”

“No. I’ve heard what some of the other public relation assistants go through though.”

“I can imagine,” said [Vann] recalling several of the more exuberant parties that he had avoided on the home world. Composed mostly of the children of Senators and other higher politicians the decadence of such events was matched only by how much destruction they normally caused.

“We’re receiving the fleet command data and maneuvers now; we’re moving out in an [hour]!” said [Sam] from her computer console.

“Really, that quickly? Here I was hoping I might get to look around the system.”

Looking at the blue green planet below [Vann] looked at the small network of lights on the dark side. It was a familiar setup, showing that a military base had been set up on the planet and not much else.

“C1764 destroyed most of their larger cities right?” asked [Vann].

“They did. Still most of the infrastructure is undamaged. That’s being adapted,” said [Sam].

“What’s the planet being designated for?”

“It’s going to be the second Hygonix. The amount of damage to the planet and the technological development of the class C species in system has make it a dangerous for anything but weapons development.”

[Vann] looked over at [Sam].

“The debate for a second weapons testing planet has gone on for nearly 300 years! No one wants to waste a garden world.”

[Sam] shrugged, “It’s classified at the moment, but the Senate did approve the usage.”

[Vann] turned back to the planet, “So the planet will be well defended. [Marcus] must think that somewhere on the planet are schematics for the drive.”

“Or the precursor research for it,” said [Sam].

“What about the other planet? The one [Charles] was held captive on.”

“It’s not a garden world. From what I can see in the reports here it’s going to be used as the target for some of the weapons tests.”

[Vann] slowly nodded, and getting to his feet looked around the bridge.


The body guard stepped forwards, “sir?”

“Let’s run some drills. Whatever you haven’t used yet. If we’ve got an hour let’s not waste it.”

“Yes sir.”

9 Years, 6 Months, 14 Days After Eridani Landing


The small creature let out a low hiss, and barring fangs at Diana reared up on it’s hind legs the forelimbs held out like a trained martial artist. In the faint light of the nighttime jungle Diana only just managed to make out the small barbs at the end of the limbs. Their was a small amount of liquid at the tips, glistening in the star light.

“Now?” she whispered at the creature.

It struck out at her and Diana casually dodged the limbs, and then smacked it over the head sending the small thing tumbling out of the tree to slam into the forest floor some five meters below. She winced as it made a louder noise than what she had been expecting.

Their was another rustling of leaves and the creature let out a low painful keen. Diana cursed, Sek’s people had horrible night vision but given the ears on their heads she had no doubts about their hearing being at least on par with or above the abilities of her own genetically enhanced ears.

More than likely better if they had evolved with them, the human brain was after all only designed to handle certain types of stimuli well. It was the same reason her ability to smell was only thrice that of a normal human instead of something on par with a canine. The genetic enhancements she had guaranteed her the best possible senses available in the human genome, but couldn’t go outside of those limits.

Meaning her eyesight was at the moment her most important sense. That was assuming Sek didn’t have night vision equipment.

She had made the call for aide an hour ago, and had heard the transport that was no doubt carrying Sek and his people minutes afterwards. She had no idea of [Orin] and [Hal] had followed the plan and called for help themselves, she had ditched her own com equipment after serving as the bait and decided to hide.

Recalling survival combat Diana had moved up off of the ground, she hadn’t yet seen any of Sek’s people or the man himself. She might not see them given their ability to camouflage. Still she didn’t recall any of them having clothing that morphed along with them, so she was looking for that.

The creature on the ground let out another yowl and Diana winced as something moved in the underbrush quickly stifling the sound.

“Renai kewurt seli opinin.”

Diana heard the Comm device and instantly tried to still her heart, if she could hear the communication device and the alien’s had them turned to a lower volume they were no doubt close.

“Yin al Funfer.” muttered a voice beneath Diana.

Carefully turning to look at the underbrush below Diana strained to pick out the image of whatever was below her. A light flashed on and quickly swept along the ground. Wincing Diana quickly closed her left eye trying to retain some amount of night vision.

The alien was most definitely one of Sek’s men, he had the small creature in his hand now and it took Diana a moment to figure out that he had taken a clean bite out of it his teeth slicing through it’s skin and muscles. The man casually took another bite of the creature as she watched and continued to move his flashlight around. His ears twitched occasionally moving in different directions from one another a points, but usually both focusing on one particular location at any given time.

Taking another bite out of the small animal the man tossed it aside and casually moved the light up, looking around at the tree’s near Diana’s.

Diana watched, the man’s skin was casually shifting between several different colors blending in and out with his background. Moving the light up to the tree next to her Diana decided she had waited long enough.

Shifting, Diana levelled her weapon at him.

The man blinked and his ears snapped towards Diana.

“Wenhil!” shouted the man.

Diana fired, and the man grunted in pain as the shot clipped his shoulder. Diving from the tree Diana hit the man sending the both of them to the ground knocking both weapons away in the process. From past experience fighting them Diana knew she had the strength advantage, and she was going to use it.

The man let out a strangled cry and playing dirty Diana grabbed at his left ear. Panicking to try and get her off Diana brought her other hand down punching his throat.

The man let out a gasp but otherwise remained silent trying to breath.

Diana pulled the left ear off and grimacing as blood spurted over her hand brought her right hand down on his nose, a blow which in a human would have broken the cartilage and bone, sending both into his brain. Apparently these aliens did not have cartilage in their noses, as Diana felt a small sliver of bone go into her own hand as the mans nose broke.

The man’s eyes rolled up in his head, the pain from his ear and nose apparently enough to knock him out.

Pulling her hand free Diana quickly examined him, finding a small sidearm on his leg as well as a strap Diana took those and put them on, the rifle was too unwieldy to continue using. A knife was also on the man’s belt.

Taking that Diana considered him for a moment. Incapacitated he was most certainly out of the fight for now but would undoubtedly be an enemy in the future, on the other hand it was another matter entirely to slit his throat while he was unconscious. It didn’t seem fair in a way.

Weighing the blade in her hand for a moment Diana winced as the Comm he had been using buzzed, a voice filtering through it.

“Wenhil at uril halkek!”

It was silent for another moment.


Lights swept through the trees some twenty-five meters away and Diana cursed. Looking at the man again and steeling herself Diana quickly slit his throat. Twisting around in the darkness conscious that her foes were listening more than looking for her Diana sprinted back into the undergrowth and unclipping her rifle tossed it off to the side listening as it made a loud crash.

Smiling and turning in the opposite direction Diana quickly pulled herself up into the nearest tree. She wasn’t going to be able to outrun them now that they had some idea of her location, but Diana was confident she would be able to kill all of them.

Looking at the green blood on her hands Diana carefully wiped them on the moss like substance of the tree.

Pulling the knife out and wiping that as well Diana weighed it in her hands and smiling to herself settled onto the branch. She had riled them up, and from what she knew of them they were only going to get more and more reckless and sloppy the more she killed. That was until their were only a few left, and they were on longer confident in their ability to kill her.

Then she would get to play the Hunter.

9 Years, 6 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing

Vakurian Fleet

“What do you mean I’m only allowed two ships!?” shouted Edie looking as she stared at the older Vakurian, Tilurn through the communication hologram.

“The Admiral’s have made their decision Captain, and as much danger as your fellow Humans seem to be in we’re not going to risk more than two ships!”

Edie sighed and slowly nodded, she knew exactly how desperate the fleet was for supplies and space, still it made the reality no less frustrating. The fact that she was an alien in command was more than likely also at the forefront of the Admiral’s minds as they debated over how many ships to send.

The weren’t overtly discriminatory, but since she had taken command of the Valiant the ship seemed to always be at the end of the line for resupply, and always the one sent into the more dangerous situations.

“Do I get to at least choose which ship comes with me?” asked Edie.

Tilurn’s ears went back and forth, “The Spite has been assigned to the mission.”

Edie’s eyes widened slightly, “Really?”

“Captain Jun volunteered.”

“So he’s getting antsy again is what you’re saying. Well this should be interesting.”

“That’s one way to put it. The two of you always seem to produce the,” the man paused, “The most interesting reports.”

Edie snickered, “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“I’m not sure if I meant it to be one or not,” muttered Tilurn.

Edie shook her head, “I’ll send that bottle of Vodka I owe you in the next trade. Thank you for dealing with them Tilurn.”

Tilurn rolled his ears, “I’m not sure that one bottle’s enough I don’t have any more fun dealing with the Admirals than you do.”

“I’m not sending you more than one bottle, don’t even try to guilt me into another one. Besides, you know exactly how to sweat talk them.”

Tilurn let out a breath and smiled waving his hand at her, “Good luck Captain.” He cut the connection and Edie slowly let the smile on her face fall away.

“It’s better than going at it alone, you didn’t expect more did you?” asked Ranlin as she slowly got up from her chair in the corner of the room and walked over to the desk in the ready room of the ship.

“I was hoping for more. I get why they’re not allowing more, I really do. At the same time though, these are Humans! The ones who escaped!”

Ranlin sat on the desk, “Humans who are being very pigheaded and have put themselves in-between the Empire and a planet they plan to destroy. I can’t tell if it’s a good thing or not. The only reason we’ve survived this long is because we avoid the Empire. We don’t try and save every civilization they aim to destroy. If we did, we’d lose our own.”

Edie shook her head, “I understand that. You don’t think I do?”

“No, best to just say things out loud sometimes though.”

Edie stood and walking around the desk put a hand on Ranlin’s shoulder, “Humans who have tech that can go up against the Empire. They have to have set up somewhere away from the Tachyon network. If we can get the damn Admirals to trust Humanity well you might need to spend the rest of your life on this damn ship!”

Edie slammed her foot into the deck.

“I like my ship!” Protested Ranlin.

Edie laughed, “I do as well. I lived on Mars and Phobos, this place is heaven compared to those conditions. Actual gravity!”

Ranlin stood up moving away from the desk, “I’m going to try and cut through the Empire data jamming see if I can pull anything more from that transmission.”

“Right, I’m going to have to coordinate with Jun.”

“Have fun!”

Ranlin calmly strode out of the room wiggling her ears as she went. Following her out Edie strode onto the bridge of the alien ship that was her home and looked around.

“We’re bringing the last of the combat systems online now,” said Klyn from the Captain’s chair as he stood up.

Edie looked at the absolute mountain of a Vakurian who was her second in command and nodded, “Good. The dorsal shield emitter acting up again?”

“Yep. Replace the whole damn thing and I’d bet you it’ll still act up.”

“Probably. I do have good news though; Jun is going with us!”

Klyn’s ears drooped slightly, “He’s the last, and the first person I would want to take with me on a mission like this.”

“Tilurn said about the same.”

Klyn snorted, “How many bottles you sending him this time?”

“Just one. It’s nice having a monopoly on the stuff.”

The two were silent again, Klyn’s ears slowly going back up and down.

“What?” asked Edie.


“Not nothing, I’ve learned hot to read your ears by now. Talk.”

“What are you going to do assuming this all works out, we live, the humans live, and we meet up with your people? Which is a lot of if’s I grant but…” he trailed off.

“What am I going to do? What do you mean?”

“Are you going to be able to go back into the Human military?”

Edie blinked, “Oh.”

Edie looked around the bridge, most of the Vakurian ears were perked in her direction surreptitiously listening.

“I probably could, but I’m not going to.”

Klyn blinked, “You’re not going to go back to your own people?”

Edie looked at him for a moment and sat down in her chair. “I am with my people.”

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 4

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 8

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 4

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

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Henosis – Chapter 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 3

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 7

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

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Henosis – Chapter 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 1

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

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Henosis – Chapter 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 5

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

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Henosis – Chapter 1

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 4

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 51 (End)

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 6

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 5

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 50

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 49

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 48

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 47

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 1

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 6

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 46

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 3

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 1

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 45

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 2

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

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Good Training – April Fool’s

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 5

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

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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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