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.


“IFF is identifying the vessel as the HSB Russia, they just exited a spatial rupture directly between us and the Empire fleet!”

“Open communications!”

“Radiation needs to clear, one moment!”

Stagg ground her teeth together but said nothing, waiting for Arik to initialize the connection.

“.. and.. now!”

“They’re broadcasting on standard channels,” said Arik.

The static on the smaller section of the forward display cleared, and breaking away from the tactical readout for a moment Stagg smiled.

“You glorious bastard!”

Through the image James smiled as well, “Nice to know you can still get into trouble, want to give me a short explanation?”

“Protect the planet, we’ve got a way to extend the ACE field for ten minutes, found some friendly aliens who are helping. They got the friendly IFF codes.”

“About the same here, we found some friendlies,” James pointed up and Arik magnified the image of the bridge on the sister ship showing the small ugly leathery skinned creature in the pod above James.

“Even managed to get a hold of a few kilograms of antimatter. Curtsey of one of your crew, Diana.”

“Really? So she’s only making more trouble.”

“Story behind why you left her?”


“Let’s trade those later, right now we’re going to see how that dreadnaught likes a nice pile driver.”

Stagg’s grin only widened, “You have no idea how happy that makes me. Feel like sharing some of that antimatter?”

“We’ll launch you a pod after a few jumps. We’re a little vulnerable at the moment in no man’s land.”

“Got it.”

The Canada shook and Stagg glanced back up at the tactical display, they had just taken a hit from one of the smaller ships. With all shielding technology offline the hull of the ship was already beginning to heat.

“Arik, let’s hit one of those carriers, make sure those fighters have no home. Leave the dreadnaught to the Russia.”

“Yes Ma’am!”

The ship rotated lining up with one of the carriers, “fire!” shouted Stagg.

The kinetic round, only ten kilograms in weight already loaded into the chamber of the main gun of the Canada was quickly accelerated to nearly 5% the speed of light through the magnetic coils that spanned the length of the ship. Firing outwards into the vacuum of space the round soared towards the Empire armada, where most of the ships had just crossed into the area of magnetic disturbance where their shields were ineffective.

The mass of metal, heated and now a mas of energetic plasma slapped into the nose of the imperial carrier. Had the shields been up the round would have been absorbed in a flash of light and energy. The tactical officer on the bridge would have noted a 4% drop in shield capacity for ten minutes as the magnetic fields containing the focused plasma of the shields realigned. He would have noted that the kinetic rounds were draining more from the shield systems then the energy based weapons they were designed to mitigate, but was nothing to be worried about.

Without the shield though, the round slammed into the thin metal hull of the ship and continued forwards down the spine of the ship. Dependent on energy shielding the bulkheads and physical barriers of the Empire vessel were designed only to hold vacuum and the dangers of space at bay in the event of a breach when shields were not running. They were not designed to contain battle damage or defend and deflect physical objects.

The round tore through the entire length of the ship, barely slowing. As it exited near the third main engine of the craft the round continued forwards another fourteen kilometers where is slammed into the operational shields of the Singer and was quickly absorbed in a flash of light and energy.

Even as the crew of the carrier vessel tried to react and recover a burst of energy from the Valiant struck. Based on the doctrine of Imperial weapon designs, but modified by class C’s the energy weapon ate into the hull of the vessel completely dissociating every chemical bond in a burst of energy and light. As the captain of the vessel tried to recover, the entire bridge of the ship was atomized. He hadn’t even managed to issue a single order in regards to the first attack before he died in the second.

The last thought on his mind was that the Empire was doomed.

“Fire at will, targets of opportunity, Arik launch all warheads now!”

“With pleasure!”

The warheads in orbit of the planet, and primitive by even human standards, propelled by nothing more than simple ammonium perchlorate the solid rocket fuel fired.

Streaking towards the imperial fleet, the Dorvakian’s struggling to even comprehend that their shield technology was ineffective and that they were now at a disadvantage looked up in fear as death approached.

The Valiant

“Fuck me.” Breathed Klyn as he watched the battle unfold,

“You’re picking up bad habits,” muttered Edie similarly stunned.

“They’re defenseless.”

The Empire fleet had only moments ago been advancing in a coordinated formation, the dreadnaught at the center, battleships around her, and support ships on the outer edges in the classical imposing array of ships that had been used by the Empire during their many civil wars, and even more so during the pacification of planets.

The Vakurian’s recovering from their own nuclear war had managed to reactivate several satellite systems, and had spotted the Empire formation as they approached. 300 years ago the formation had been even more imposing composed of nearly 200 ships. Each ship weaker, and more massive than the lighter but more powerful ships in use by the Empire today it was more than a match for the species which had nearly destroyed itself.

Now that same formation was to their detriment.

Humanity during the Earth-Mars war had quickly learned that shrapnel from a kinetic impact during battle could be just as deadly as the impact itself. Without energy shielding to protect their ships and only physical armor, with weapons that could fire at a significant portion of the speed of light Humanity adopted a more fluid battle strategy. Spreading ships out across hundreds if not thousands of kilometers, only forming up closer when using their own vessels as shields for important assets in space like Aldrin station and Station in orbit of Mars itself.

Other aliens that had tried to resist them over the centuries, class B and C alike had simply never managed to advance to a technological state where they could compete. So the Empire assumed their strategy was valid. A strategy that had been employed by squabbling politicians in the midst of civil wars and against near defenceless aliens it was effective.

The two battle strategies being incongruous, one born from showmanship and equal footings in battle, and the other born from hard physics. The only advantage the Empire had was their energy shields, without them now the flaw in their strategy was readily apparent.

Close together a cascade effect from the first few shots of the Canada and the Russia’s main weapons destroyed the front line of ships. Those directly impacted were almost immediately disabled, and the ones hit by shrapnel and only barely able to generate internal fields to contain their atmospheres, the confidence of the Imperial fleet was shattered in less than ten seconds.

None on the ships had even heard about a battle like this, used to the slow slogging of bolts of energy weapons against energy shields the Imperial officers hardly even knew what had happened in less time then it took to issue orders.

“Let’s help them out,” said Edie.

“Target?” asked Klyn his eyes still locked on the destruction.

“The Singer, it’s caused enough grief for both of our species.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

Klyn quickly directed the weapons officer of the Valiant and the Spite. Lining up the modified energy weapons of both ancient ships on the even older vessel they quickly fired. Comparatively slowly to the human weapons the energy bolts streaked through space, weaving between two Empire ships as they tried to compensate for the lack of shields the bolts stuck home on the shields of the Empire vessel further back in the formation where it was quickly absorbed by the still operational shields.

“Damn it, focus on one of those battleships. The field must not reach that far. We have to destroy them before they figure that out,” ordered Edie.

Klyn’s ears went back in annoyance but he quickly complied, changing the targeting directive of both Vakurian ships. Within moments one of the cruisers exploded as half of the plasma containment system was ruptured, the Vakurian weapons disintegrating half of the system in a burst of light and energy.

“What about the dreadnaught?” asked Klyn.

Edie shrugged, “I’m leaving that to the Russia, given that they’re diving headlong at it I’m assuming they have more of a plan then simply ramming it.”

“You don’t want to get a shot in?”

“Oh I do, but let’s play support.”

“You’re usually the one advocating a more direct strategy, now you want to play support?”

“I’ve had it easy with you guys, nice ship, nice food, besides I got my licks in when the Empire attacked Phobos. Let’s give the rest of humanity some revenge.”

Klyn slowly nodded and the Vakurian crew watched as the Russia continued to accelerate towards the dreadnaught.

“Anyone want to guess about what the hell they’re going to do?” asked Ranlin as she watched the ship. It showed no signs of diverting course, lined up directly with the forward section of the ship where the bridge was positioned.

“I’m betting they have even less of an idea then we do,” said Ranlin as they all watched.

The Russia

“Arik has fired 90% of the remaining nuclear warheads, they’ll impact in ten! Now would be the best time to execute our maneuver I think!” said Megan from the engineering section of the Russia.

“Understood, I could use more power to engines!”

Megan turning to the power output of the fusion reactor frowned, bypassing the operational safeties for the system and dumping almost the full reaction energy into the system Megan increased the speed of the Russia by 20%.

“You are going to destroy the reaction chambers of the vacuum drives!” said Yern as he looked over the adjustments Megan had made.

“Will they burn out in the next twenty minutes?” aske Megan fixing her gaze on the small alien.


“Then it’s irrelevant for now. All that matters is that we win and kick the Empire’s teeth in!”

Yern glanced at the data and then back at Megan, “I suppose so.”

“You’ve got extra power.”

“We noticed, anything in particular we need to worry about for the pile driver?”

“We might hit them afterwards, which doesn’t look like it’ll be to much of an issue. In any case I’m going to program the inertial dampers in the opposite direction after the jump, so everyone’s going to be shoved into their seats instead of out of them. Hang on.”

“Understood.” Said James.

The Russia shook and glancing at the tactical readout Megan noted they had just endured a direct blast of energy from the largest enemy ship. The heat dispersal systems which were supposed to operate for the entirety of an encounter were already nearing their maximum operational capacity.

“I’m changing the exit vector we need to dump some heat.”

“Where too?”

“The upper atmosphere of the planet.”

“That a good idea?”

“It’s a workable one.”


Megan smiled and said nothing else.

The Russia continued forwards, her engines well past maximum capacity as she continued to accelerate towards the dreadnaught.

“Yern, once we go through the spatial anomaly we’re going to divert full power away form the vacuum engines to the hydrogen engines got it?”

“Yes, what is this maneuver?”

“Didn’t look it over?”

“I did not have time, and as you said we were not expecting to have access to antimatter.”

Megan nodded, and the Russia shook again. They were now close enough to the enemy fleet that only the dreadnaught was able to fire on them without fear of hitting any of the other ships.

Most of the other ships in the were attempting to compensate for the lack of energy shields and scrambling to mount something resembling a defense, instead of attacking. Megan watched as another shot from the Canada hit a ship and it nearly shattered. Which was to say nothing bout the two alien ships which had weapons that seemed to be vaporizing complete sections of the enemy vessels causing them to explode as their energy systems were breached.

“What do you think happens to a ship when we open a spatial rupture inside of it’s hull?”

Yern was uncharacteristically silent for a moment, before a high pitched rapid series of squeaks audible even to the humans in engineering was quickly translated.

“Nothing good? I’m not sure exactly what will happen.”

Megan smiled, “Neither are we. We’re betting the same though, nothing good. Besides we’ll leave them a little present as well.”

“Humans are insane.”


The Russia continued forwards, now so close to the large dreadnaught they were inside they were clear of the main weapon’s firing arc only the smaller munitions and energy blasts were hitting the hull easily absorbed them even as the heat began to climb.

“We’re going to have to implement a better heat management strategy. We’re already losing secondary systems.” Noted Yern.

“Put it on the list.”

“Megan, we good?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Tom, pile drive.”

Once again the antimatter and strange matter was mixed inside the core of the Russia’s drive core and was quickly ejected.

Locked to local gravitational gradient of the planet below, and at a relative speed of zero in regards to the momentum of everything except that gravitational field the rift opened only two meters in front of the Imperial vessel.

If they had possessed shields the interaction would have been more than likely thrown out of balance, without them the dreadnaught plowed directly into the rupture. Locked to the gravitational field, and falling inwards towards the planet to the perspective of every ship in orbit it looked as if the rupture was moving up through the ship consuming it.

Had the Empire employed armoring similar to humanity it would have been useless, given that the rupture was not tearing at the atomic bonds of the structure but rather the space time it occupied. Their was at no amount of physical shielding was likely able to mitigate the effect.

The rupture tore a neat circular hole through the dreadnaught as it fell, the Russia flying upwards directly behind it, accelerating to pass inside of the rupture the human vessel was for a moment completely inside the Empire ship. As the rupture closed and the Russia disappeared from normal space a small device launched from the aft of the ship.

The nuclear bomb detonated inside the middle of the dreadnaught, and unlike those weapons that had detonated in the vacuum of space it had enough atmosphere and material to produce a characteristic fireball which bloomed outwards in every direction consuming the entire ship.

Once again passing into the void Megan looked around.

“Here, you’re going to want to vent the coolant as soon as you exit and before the next jump,” Said Ben his form ghostly and incoherent.

“Are you real?”

Ben smiled and leaned against the bulkhead even as the rest of the universe distorted, turning all of it out Megan kept her focus on him.

“I’m dead.”

Megan threw the tablet in her hand at him and it clattered to the floor. Megan yelped in pain as she slammed into the floor. Yern let out a pained squeak as one of her leg’s landed on top of him. The gravity of the planet which they were now only a kilometer or two above taking hold the Russia fell.

“Too close!” shouted James through the communication channel.

Staggering up to her feet, the servos slowly adjusting to the gravity of the planet Megan hit the coolant release and opened a dozen hull panels as the ship plummeted through the air.

“This is perfect! We can vent excess heat here!” shouted Megan as the Russia started to violently shake. Although designed to dip in and out of atmosphere’s human vessels were not aerodynamic or designed to land in combat conditions. The few ships that had done so during the Earth-Mars war had performed the feats as a last resort and had required large chemical boosters to reach low orbit again.

Not that those systems were needed with the antimatter drive.

“We’re not going this close again, Tom get us out of here!” shouted James over the whistling air of the ship falling.


Megan glanced at the outer display watching as the segment of the dreadnaught they had pulled through with them, and much more massive then them continued to fall. It would hit the ocean of the planet in under ten seconds. She had no doubt that some of the aliens were still alive inside of it. Even if they survived the blast as the Russia once again opened a rift and returned to space, even if they could swim, even if their ship for some reason had watercraft in the section they had sheared off they were in the middle of the largest ocean on the planet.

They were going to die.

The drive once again activated, the antimatter strange matter mass was ejected from the lower portion of the vessel.

The Russia, already accustomed to the rifts dove into it. The blast that sounded as it closed and the remaining antimatter detonated could be heard around the world.

The Singer

[Vann] stared in horror at the explosion. Pieces of the dreadnaught flew outwards from it, and several of the other ships in close formation with the vessel were hit causing other chain reactions as their energy containment systems or weapons systems failed and the pent up energy was released.

“How?” asked [Syn] her voice shaky as she stared at the screen.

[Vann] closed his eyes, “Doesn’t matter, the fact is that it happened. We can work out the specifics later, [Sam] open a fleet wide channel put me through to every ship now!”

The analyst didn’t move her eyes locked on the hologram of the battlefield a horrified expression on her features.


“Yes sir, sorry sir!”

She scrambled for the controls and quickly opened the channel to the rest of the fleet.

[Vann] stood, “This is Emperor [Vann], all cruisers perform an about face and form up on the Singer, the effective radius of the shield disabling technology is limited. Move out of it and signal ready to execute new maneuvers!”

The comm line crackled and sputtered.

“Yes Emperor!” chorused several captains of the lighter cruisers, who were serving primarily as the escorts quickly flipped around and began to move away from the planet. One of the carriers having been shielded by the mass of the dreadnaught slowly began to turn as well.

[Vann] looked at the battlefield for a moment and wincing prepared himself to give the order he had issued in dozens of simulations, those that [Charles] had designed and the ones that he had practiced with as a child and with teachers safe on the home world.

“All other vessels, cover their retreat!”

The massive battleships were to slow to change course now that they had committed to their direction of attack inertia being a factor. Most had already suffered critical amount of damage. They were not going to survive, not if the C1764’s seemed to be able to destroy a dreadnaught with ease.

The image of the C1764 station being used in much the same manner drifted across his mind.

“Can we perform a tachyon jump?” asked [Vann] turning to [Sam].

Tearing her eyes from the carnage [Sam] glanced at her tactical readout, “You want to retreat?”


“No, the radiation is blocking out the tachyon beacons. It would take us [ten minutes] or so to get a lock and half of the cruisers wouldn’t even be able to do that!”

[Vann] ground his teeth together, “[Sam] transmit the maneuvers I designed during the drills to all retreating ships. For now inform all captains to spread themselves out and to try and get away from the field that’s disrupting shields. Do not retreat in a straight line, tell them to move as far away from the C ships as quickly as possible.”

“Yes sir.”

[Syn] collapsing into the seat beside [Vann] continued to watch as the larger ships of the 4th fleet continued to fall apart, “what about the other ships?”

[Vann] closed his eyes for a half second and remained silent.

“[Sam], find the edge of that field and collect the sensor data from the cruisers. Try and come up with a countermeasure.”

“I’m not even likely to get all of the sensor logs in [five minutes] let alone come up with a countermeasure anytime soon!”

[Vann] winced, “I’m aware, just try. Let’s see if we can’t get the C1764’s to fire at us. Try and target those commandeered ships, see if we can enrage them enough to lose focus.”

[Reece] glanced down at the young Emperor, “You don’t think that will work do you? They held off attacking until [Meral] led the fleet right into their trap. They’re not going to fire on us while they can destroy the ships without shields. They might be vengeful, and want to destroy this ship but as you’ve said they’re not foolish.”

“I have to try something.”

[Reece] slowly nodded, “I suppose so. A suggestion?”


“The fighters, they’re agile enough to avoid the class C’s weapons for the most part.”

“They have point defense weapons the same as us, without shields the fighters would be torn apart.”

[Reece] shook his head, “The fighters will be useless in any case, they’re designed to combat other fighters. We still have our original mission to complete, it might be wasteful but they should be able to destroy most of the planet’s larger cities and infrastructure. Even if we must completely retreat now, with the loss of one carrier half of them will be abandoned.”

[Vann] looked at his bodyguard for a moment, “Shields can’t be activated in atmosphere, even if they weren’t somehow disabling them.”

“Emperor, you just ordered half of the fleet to defend the other half with their lives. Let’s not let that sacrifice be in vain. Distracted as they are now the class C’s will not be able to target the fighters as they move towards the planet. This will be the only opportunity before we both regroup.”

“[Sam], Issue the orders.”

For the first time in generations an imperial Emperor was at the forefront of a battle where the outcome was not certain. For the first time in generations the Empire was fighting an actual enemy, not slaughtering a species unable to defend itself, not participating in a petty squabble among peers.

The outcome of the battle would set the tone for generations to come, and encourage both sides to further push the boundaries of their technology and morality. A war of extinction, in the end only one would remain.

The Russia

James winced as the ship returned to normal space, the universe no longer tearing and flashing in front of him the man looked around his bridge.


“We’re on target, 200 meters away from the port side of the Canada.”

“Megan, I want a drone ready to carry antimatter to them now. As much as your comfortable sending them. Two ships doing this should be more fun.”

“Any amount I send them to be useful will be deadly if breached.”

“We’ll move away as soon as you launch it, and continue attacking.”

“Yeah, about that it’s murdering the antimatter engine doing this many jumps so quickly. We’ve got maybe another thirty jumps with this engine. I didn’t get to look at the Yamato’s engines she did this. They need to be reinforced more.”

“Just give me those thirty jumps. If we haven’t won by then we aren’t going to.”


“Transmission form the Canada,” said Tom as he put it up on a smaller screen.

“Well that was more effective then predicted,” said Stagg.

“Yeah, we’re sending you guys some antimatter. Let’s see how they like both of us pulling those.”

Stagg shook her head, “Nothing like a dramatic entrance. When they make a movie out of this no one will believe you jumped in right behind that wave of nukes.”

James shrugged, “What can I say, I like playing the knight in shining armor?”

Stagg snorted, “You wish. We were going to be doing fine without you. Grouped up like they are without shields our kinetics are ripping them to shreds!”

“You don’t happen to have any more nukes do you?”

The response was a sudden flash from in front of the ship. Several filters quickly fell over the visual feed and the communication line was filled with static for a moment.

“The chemical rockets are a little slow. Still effective though. That was the last of the borrowed nukes. From here on out we’ll be using our own stockpiles,” Said Arik as her avatar appeared in front of both Captains.

“What about the interference with the ACE field?” asked James.

“That’s already being circumvented. I just managed to decrypt a message that went out to all of the Empire ships. Those Vakurian’s have some amazing decryption protocols and you’ll never believe how long we’ve had contact with them,”

“Later Arik, play the message loop the Vakurian’s in as well.”

“Yes Ma’am!”

Arik’s digital avatar quickly saluted and the image from the bridge of the [Singer] quickly appeared. The older Humans all remembered the transmissions form the ship when it had been in orbit of Earth and Mars, the messages it had given.

The Captain of the ship had apparently been replaced though, Stagg recognized it as the same young Captain who had been in charge of the [Imperial].

“This is Emperor Vannalnaskara, all cruisers perform an about face and form up on the Singer, the effective field of the shield disabling technology is limited. Move out of it and signal ready to execute new maneuvers!”

“Emperor?” breathed James, looking closer. By human standards the young man looked like he was barely out of his teenage years if that.

“Records show him to be the Emperor, although he does not have absolute control. His power has been mostly symbolic, the Senate having control of most government operations given that both of his parents are recorded as having died when he was only three years old.” Said Arik.

“So he didn’t order the attack on Earth?” asked James.

“Well his signature is on it, although I’m not sure you could hold a six-year-old accountable.”

“Doesn’t matter. He’s valuable,” snapped Stagg.


“Think he’ll retreat if given the opportunity?”

Stagg frowned, “Arik, can you hack a line into their communications?”

“Nothing in real time, I can send a short message. They can respond and communicate as they did earlier.”

“Do it.”

Tom waved his hand and James turned to him.

“The antimatter drone is ready.”

“Send it, Stagg incoming.”

“Roger that, go ahead and jump away. There are a few stragglers inside the field still. Want to take care of them?”


The Russia turned and once again disappeared in a flash of annihilation.

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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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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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