Sweetness – Implications

CopRit Empire, Halfil

Sol 25 Of Race 4 Year 4958

Monty Publishing House, New Baltimore

Slowly gathering myself I stepped into the hologram chamber, the projection flickered and the simulation automatically paused as I stepped in. I quickly looked around to get my bearings, I appeared to be on a starship bridge enduring greatly exaggerated weapons fire. It had to be the next scene in his latest story.

Yiner, standing in the center of the holographic bridge that was in the process of exploding looked up at me an expression of slight annoyance quickly morphing into an exaggerated smile.

“Mary, what can I do for you?” he swept his hand to the side storing the simulation and clearing the chamber, leaving the room suddenly empty with only the two of us in it.

My mouth was suddenly dry, his face which many of the other humans and bipedal aliens in the office had described as handsome but flat continued to politely look at me. Trying to contain my blush I held the small data tablet out to him.

“I’ve got the bipedal, qudriped, and aquatic localizations for the work you submitted on Tuesday.”

“Thank you!”

He took it and quickly started paging through the revisions. Unsure what to do and how to ask him I unsteadily shifted on my feet.

Yiner looked up at me, “Do you need something else Mary?”

“Uh, I uh,” I swallowed and closed my eyes for a moment, “Willyougonadatewithme?”

The room was silent for a beat.

Opening one eye I looked at the alien, afraid that he might be insulted. Instead the flat looking alien looked rather taken aback his eyes wide.

“A date? A human date, like what you do for courtships?”

Quickly I nodded, “Yes!” I winced at the force behind the word, “I mean, yes. It’s a part of our courtship rituals, although it doesn’t mean I’m looking at you as my future husband, not that that would be bad! Or uh I’m dating casually, but I’m fine with it being more serious if that’s what you want! I mean, uh…” I trailed off and closing my eyes spun around towards the exit.

“Never mind!”


I froze, my pulse quickening.

“Yeah, yes?”

“I would be delighted to go on a date with you.”

“You would!”

I spun around to look at him and winced, “I mean, you would? Good. Not that it would be bad if you didn’t. I mean, it’s not like you have to.”

Yiner looked at me for another few moments as I trailed off a small smile on his stupidly perfect face.

“I’ll have to brush up on the appropriate behavior for such an occasion, my own cultural norms would dictate I give you a courtship display and then if amenable engage in non-reproducing mating behaviors. I believe human dating is similar, although with less displays, right?”

I tried to keep my own expression neutral at the mention of mating behavior’s but I could still feel myself blushing at his mentioning.

“A date for Humans would be a shared meal, conversation, and then if we both feel it’s acceptable non, non-reporducing mating!” my voice came out slightly squeaky at the end of the sentence but I ignored it.

Yiner slowly inclined his head, “Could I suggest then, that we share this meal after work, and then we decide if we wish to proceed with the mating?”

I blinked, surprise no doubt on my face.

“I need to go home first, and uh, change into something nicer…”

I trailed off as he cocked his head to the side again, “Never mind, after work will be fine.”

“I will look up an appropriate venue then. Your shift ends at [1700] correct?”


“Then we shall meet at [1715] and proceed to the date! Are you amenable to this course of action?”

I quickly nodded and he smiled.

“I look forward to it. In the mean time we must both continue working.”

Still nodding my head, I quickly turned and putting an inordinate amount of attention on my own feet, trying to make sure I wouldn’t trip quickly walked out of the room. The holograms for the simulations he was running slowly hummed back to life and flickered back to reality as I stepped into the hallway.

The door closed behind me and breathing a sigh of relief I almost collapsed onto the floor.

That had been, good? He sounded excited, kind of? Then again Yiner wasn’t human and in my reading I knew his species usually had to learn how to express things like human emotions. That was even if they wanted to emulate them.

He had to have some interest in it though, some interest in me, he had said yes after all. Maybe he was just being nice? Saying yes, he was nice after all everyone had said so, but still…

My feet carrying me through the building on autopilot and my head down as I tried to figure out what everything meant I had quickly made my way up the two flights of stairs and back into my office. Within a few moments I was back at my small cubicle.

Sitting down I let out a small sigh. I wasn’t going to be able to get any work done today, and it wasn’t even lunch yet!

Opening my eyes to stared at the computer console in front of me. I wasn’t going to get much done now.


“Yes!” I looked up to see one of Ginnert’s eyes looking up over the other cubicle back at me.

“Did you ask him this time?”

I apparently took too long to answer, a low whistle sounded and several more eyes on long stalks popped up over the partition.

“You did!”

“Quiet Gin!”

There was no stopping her though, as much as she looked like a cross between a horse and a slug with an always odd number of eyes on top of her head the alien had a demeanor not unlike a human woman in her late forties who had already raised several children, and relished every small aspect of office gossip.

“I can’t believe it! You’ve been saying that you were going ask him out for weeks now! You finally did it! How did you work up the courage!?”

The eyes bobbed up and down in exuberance, “And he said yes! Of course he did! You’re showing your teeth and turning blood colored! I was afraid he might say no to you like he did to those other Human females! Plainly that boy has better taste though, much better taste indeed!”


One of Gin’s eyes paused looking at me even as the others continued to bounce, “Well yes, I know for a fact that two of the Human females in the sales department asked him on a date the first week he was here. Turned them both down flat!”

All the humans who were working in the sales department were far better looking, they were the sales people after all. I was, me. The bipedal quality checker, all I had to do was clean up the designs that Yiner and the other more creative people came up with for the holograms’ and ensure that the average ‘humanoid’ would be able to navigate them without any errors.

“Why?” I asked, my voice cracking slightly.

Five of Gin’s eyes were now staring at me over the cubicle none of them dancing. She was trying to figure my body language out now.

“No idea, he didn’t say. Disappointed quite a few of them, your species seems to be particularly infatuated with what the Unfrn can do.”

“That’s not why I asked him. I like his work, and he’s nice, he gives me good feedback and when we do have to fix something in his program’s he doesn’t fight with me like some of the other writers, not to say he lets me walk over him, I mean when we do work together I, I don’t know I feel like we fit?”

Gin’s eyes slowly went side to side at that like stalks of sea grass in a gentle current. I continued to glare at her, “That might be part of the reason. For my species, at least Artists and sales people hardly get along each having usually very polarizing opinions of one another. Perhaps it is the same here?”

I mulled over her words for a moment, “Maybe, I guess? It’s the same with humans, artists want to make what they want, not what’s popular to sell now. A lot of Human artists aren’t popular until they die, as morbid as that sounds.”

Gin’s eyes retreated back down, “Well, good luck. You’ll have to tell me how it goes.”

My mouth fell open at that, mostly out of disbelief that Gin would be willing to leave it at that point. I would have bet money that on her needling me with questions until closing. Instead her eyes disappeared back behind the partition, leaving me with silence that on most days I would have begged her for.

It was going to be a long day.

Nibbling on the end of the digital pen I carefully pulled the cavern rocks down slightly, the whole point of the form localizing was to ensure that the correct atmosphere was present for any given alien form. We had artists and scenario creators from the four most common body types in the CopRit, as well as Yiner who was still trying to settle into the Humanoid market.

The individual biological differences for things like colors and other senses were simple to adapt, but spatial dimensions were another matter. The automatic algorithms for things like that still left a lot to be desired and most of the artists downstairs hated them, their art being ruined more often than not.

So, the differences in scale and more subtle aesthetics were adjusted by myself, Gin, Zeeribat, and io-Hibit. The four of us covering the most general body characteristics types at the small holographic publishing house.

I was at the moment adapting a program which had been designed by an alien of Gin’s species, which meant making things smaller for the most part, without eliminating any of the artistic attributes, or the critical story parts of the program the writers had given as requirements, while also balancing a dozen other things.

I wanted to finish the revision by tonight, so the artist could look it over tomorrow and submit comments if needed before it was reviewed again.


I blinked and glanced up from my desk the small hologram I was working with receding.

Yiner was standing behind me, at the entrance to my small cubicle.

My eyes widened, “Yiner!” the digital pen tumbled from my lips and standing up to quickly, my foot caught the edge of my desk and I collapsed forwards onto the ground.

Working with holograms that could bug often could leave one disoriented, so the floor was padded, only injuring my pride.

“Is this a customary Human greeting for date?” asked Yiner as he slowly knelt, holding hand out to me.

“No. For me though, it seems to be.”

Taking the alien’s hand, I noticed the warm and almost polished smooth texture of his skin. It wasn’t hard, but smoother than even a Human who moisturized an obsessive amount.

Pulling me up Yiner kept his hand around my own.

“I apologize for startling you, but it is past the time we agreed to meet.”

“Oh, sorry, I was uh absorbed in my work.”

Yiner smiled showing off a smooth row of pearly white teeth, “I only noticed the time because I set an alarm, I can become quite absorbed as well in my work, although I appear to the only one who does so.”

I nodded not sure what to say now. I had half a mind to go running away from him or to come up with some excuse about feeling sick, while the other half of me wanted to insist his work was good if a little bland.

When I had asked him out on the date it had been in the middle of the full hologram room, where he had been half hidden in darkness, here he was in the full harsh light of the office and only looked more perfect. I was put at a loss for words.

“You must be Yiner,” Gin popped several eyes up over the cubicle again, and Yiner did the same quickly extending several eyes of his own up into the air. It was funny, I had expected his shape shifting to have some sort of noise accompanying it, a squelch or something. Instead it was completely silent.

“I am, you have heard of me?” asked Yiner as he moved his eyes in some complex sequence that Gin apparently understood.

She laughed, “I have although it would not be wise for me to say what, all good things though.”

“Then you’ve obviously not heard everything.”

Gin’s eyes bobbed up and down, “You be kind to my little human coworker, it rare for me to find someone who will listen to me prattle on all day.”

“Gin…” I trailed off and she laughed.

“Go! Both of you, I have a few more things to finish up.”

Yiner’s extra eye stalks which had sprouted from his head and shoulder’s slowly fell back into his body and disappeared, he turned to look at me his smile still dazzling.



Taking my hand in his he strode towards the elevator pulling me along with him.

I glanced back at Gin, only to see one of her eye stalk’s looking back at with me in what could only be described as barely controlled mirth. Damn that slug!

“Yiner, a pleasure to see you up here,” said a seductively soft voice.

I snapped around, Bella and Mark, two of the Human’s from the sales department were apparently leaving the building at the exact same time as us. Bella was leaning forward’s towards Yiner, a beautiful smile on her perfect face.

“I’m sure,” said Yiner as he stood his ground.

“What brought you up here to my floor?” asked Bella.

Yiner offered her a thin smile, “I had to tear my date away from her work, she nearly forgot we had the event scheduled.”


Bella seemingly for the first time turned to look at me, and I tried to keep myself from flinching away from her gaze.

“Yes, a date. I’m taking Mary here to the Paragon, after which depending on our moods we might engage in mating behaviors.”

I could feel my face turning a deeper shade of red than it had ever done so in my life as he finished the sentence.

Bella’s mouth fell open.

The elevator arrived and Yiner stepped into it, dragging me along with him. Before the two stunned Humans could enter he hit the door close button and it shut on them.

Still trying to recover myself I turned to Yiner, unable to think I blurted the first thing my brain came up with.

“The Paragon, that fancy restaurant on Capital street? How did you get reservations?”

Yiner smiled, “My brother is a chef at it. Asked the Owner to squeeze us in.”


“He’s been insisting I find a mate. So, it might be selfish of me to take you there and demonstrate I am trying. We could change venues if you wish.”

I shook my head, “no, no, Paragon is fine.”

Unsure what else to say, and completely floored by the events of my day I remained silent as the elevator began to slow.

I hadn’t woken up in my apartment this morning with this scenario in mind, I had only asked Yiner out on a whim! I hadn’t expected him to accept, I hadn’t expected him to be taking me to one of the fanciest restaurants in New Baltimore!

“I looked up the Human date behavior, and I must admit It’s somewhat vague in regards to what we are actually supposed to do while on the date. Could you fill me in?”

The elevator came to a stop and the doors opened onto the street level of the building. The two of us quickly walked out and Yiner held up his Comm calling a transport.

“Uh, well, uh, the whole purpose of a date is for the two participants to get to know one another, and well, determine if they want to continue the relationship.”

“So we talk?”


A small transport rolled up in front of us, Yiner opened the door and gestured forwards.

Blushing I stepped into the vehicle and quickly sat. Yiner did the same and within moments we had joined the usual automatic traffic of the ending work day.

Yiner looked perfectly at ease across from me, his human like features set in small smile and his eyes locked on me. I quickly tore my gaze from him and looked out the window despite feeling like I should have said something.

“You mentioned a courtship display, is that like the human date?”

“The purpose of both activities is to get to know the potential mate. Although now that I think of it I’m not sure if the courtship display will be applicable.”

“Why not?”

Yiner’s face morphed and quickly flattened, geometric shapes of a hundred different colors flashed up for the briefest moment before being replaced by another pattern. Feathers, small pupils, gills, and another dozen things flashed up before quickly disappearing.

His humanoid face reappeared after a moment.


He smiled, “Thank you. Although I must admit, you’ll find far more talented shifters.”

He paused seeming to consider something, for the first time I realized he might not be as entirely at ease as he looked. He was a shape shifter after all so maybe he was as nervous as I was?

Too nervous to say anything else I looked back out at the city as the transport flew towards the restaurant.

Stepping into the restaurant I was afforded only a quick look at the other patrons who were varying in morphologies from the basic humanoid shape to several in the back who far larger than anything I had ever seen would have given Gin a run for her money on the slug description.

That was before something detached from the ceiling and launched itself towards me.


Yiner stepped in front of me, flattening out as he did forming a large shield of what looked like bone. The gelatinous mass hit his improvised shield and slammed him down to the floor with a wet slap.

Blinking I tried to sort out where Yiner was, for a moment it looked like 100 kilo mass of blue pink goo.

Two Yiner sprouted up as the mass separated, the one on the right looked annoyed while the identical one on the left had an exaggerated smile on its face.

“Mary, my brother,” growled the Yiner to my right.

“Mary! Such a pretty name Human, right? You work with my brother, that’s got to be difficult. The guy is obsessed with his work, when we were spawns I tried to help him with his art and he would get all stony like he is now. Ah well, got me into food making, it’s the one thing he doesn’t like for some reason.”


Wilkin stepped forwards extending a hand to me as his face morphed into portlier version of Yiner, like he had suddenly been crossed with the Earth Saint Nick without the beard.

I took his hand smiling as well, his mood seemed infectious.

“I’m Human yes, and I work on body localizing the programs he and the other creators work on at the publishing house.”

“Ah, so you’ve seen him when he’s prissy, he hates it when people mess with his work.”

I frowned, not recalling him arguing with me on any of the modifications I had recommended. In fact the first program of his I had submitted back before even meeting him had something close to five hundred revisions, only one of which he had contested.

“Anyway, Mary! Do you have any preference towards your meal tonight? I’ve been told that the Human mac and cheese I create is to die for!”


My date opened his mouth but his brother’s hand stretched and shot over covering his mouth.

“I’m just going to ignore him anyway, I’d poison his food if I wasn’t certain that would ruin your night as well.”

Yiner rolled his eyes in a gesture which was far beyond anything a normal human would be able to do.

“Something alien, but sweet? I don’t know, could I look at a menu?” I asked trying to keep my voice level.

“Something sweet, and alien? That I can work with! Yiner I’ve set you up in the table in the back you be nice to her!”

Wilkin once again went gelatinous, and shot up towards the ceiling. Grabbing onto what looked like a small rack he shot back towards the swinging doors that led to the kitchens. A loud crash sounded through the restaurant accompanied by what sounded like an elephant trumpeting. The other patrons ignored this and continued to eat.

“He always like that?” I asked.

“I’ve been told its part of his charm. As annoying as he is, his food is very good.”

Yiner waved a hand at me and guiding me to the back of the restaurant pulled out a chair for me, sliding into it he quickly sat down opposite from me.

I was sitting in one of the fanciest restaurants in New Baltimore, across from a shapeshifter alien, who I had asked out when my nerve broke. I was dressed in my rumpled office clothes, and I had no idea what to say.

Yiner’s eyes darted side to side as well for a moment.

He groaned, and seemed to melt slightly.

“You alright?”

“I’m not sure what to do now, which is strange. I’ve…” he trailed off and melted further.

“You’ve what? We’re two aliens trying to figure this out.”

Yiner looked at me for a moment, “Can I confess something? Without it sound odd?”

I frowned, “Uh, sure.”

“I’ve been researching humans for a long time, like even as a kid I was obsessed with Earth and everything. I’ve read a bunch of Human romance novel’s, seen movies on everything from romance to action. I think I’ve done everything right, but still given all the corrections you make to my programs I’m not sure, but I don’t’ think I messing anything up. Still I’m drawing a blank about what to actually discuss on this date.”

A dozen thoughts shot through my head at that moment.

“That’s why you’ve been so perfect!”

A very undignified snort leapt from my lips and I quickly threw a hand up to my mouth trying to contain them.

Yiner looked somewhat stunned, “What?”

“You’ve been acting like the perfect gentleman and everything, I mean not that I don’t think you’re not nice but I haven’t had a date who held doors open for me and stuff like that before!”

“Was that wrong?”

“No, a little old fashioned. Not bad!” I emphasized as he deflated slightly.

“Oh, I thought I had messed up again.”


Yiner nodded, “Like with the first programs you gave back to me.”

I frowned, “What about them?”

“You corrected things like the comfortable height for bipeds, and the color tones humans liked and found threatening, things like the temperature and the smells. Everything!”

Yiner pocked at the place setting in front of him, “I came to New Baltimore thinking I would make it big breaking into human hologram designs and programs. I knew everything about you after all, I’d read all I could get my hands on, done my research. Instead, well that didn’t happen.”

Yiner sighed, “Sorry, this isn’t date talk is it.”

“It is actually, the whole point is to try and get to know one another. Me for example, my family evaluated from Earth when I was three. Don’t remember anything but living here. I picked up doing localizations for holograms when a quadruped in my middle school class brought one in to show off his home world. It didn’t work quite right for me, so I spent a month figuring out how to make the thing think I had four legs instead of two. Kind of took off from there. I never was really very good at making my own programs, I’m good at the taking apart and putting back together.”

Yiner leaned forwards, “You’re confident with all of the changes you make to the programs. At the same time, though, you don’t detract or substitute. Even localizing it to your form you, I don’t know, keep the alien components? The other localizers attempt to keep things the same but invariably end up changing things.”

“Gin always shift’s things towards the Ultraviolet spectrum,” I observed before putting a hand to my mouth.

Yiner smiled, “It is true though. I wonder why it’s different when you make changes to the programs.”

“I like the alien things, the latest hologram that Hun’re’keck worked on, did you see it?”

The alien was a small avian alien species, one that despite being the size of a human owl were generally more intelligent than humans.

“I did, although for me I simply morph into the species of alien that created the hologram program, for the best experience. His simulation had to do with one of his species crash landing on a planet with gravity so high that they were unable to fly correct?”

“Yes, so as you can imagine there was some difficulty in localization. A lot of things like the inability to fly didn’t instantly translate well.”

“Since most bipeds cannot, under any circumstances fly.”

I smiled, “Not for lack of trying. In any case, Gin simply thickened the atmosphere for her body form localization, made everything slower. In my opinion it changed the whole dynamic of the program since it gave the reader time to think everything through.”

I leaned forwards onto the table.

“Excuse me!”

I blinked, a large minitour like alien with a pink grey hide was holding aloft two trays of food.

“Sorry!” I leaned back and he carefully set the food down in front of us, it looked like an omelet. It smelled sweet though, and I could see some bluish green chunks through the film of whatever was containing the food.

“Do you know what this is?”

“Charnil Turnovers.”

Picking at the food with my fork I quickly cut off a small corner and popped it into my mouth.

“I, oh.” Yiner was watching me now, I nervously swallowed.


“This is my favorite dish it’s from my planet. I know my brother cooks Human food, I can have him make something else.”

“Where is the fun in that? I like the alien stuff.”

Taking another slice off of the turnover I quickly closed my eyes trying to focus on the taste, it had the consistency of the omelet it resembled, but very little protein instead being made of some sort of grain with vegetables and aliens spices mixed in along with something that felt and tasted like a cross between cheese and sweet yogurt.

Overall it was blander than some of the more alien dishes I had enjoyed over the years but enjoyable.

I opened my eyes to see Yiner staring at me.

“Sorry! did you say something?”

“That’s it.”

“What’s it? The food?”

Yiner shook his head, “You like alien things?”

I tilted my head to the side slightly, “I’m sitting on a planet a few hundred light years from where I was born, in a city built around Humans integrating with the rest of the CopRit, working in an office where my best friend has a very odd number of eyes and I’m on a date with a shape shifter who looks like a very attractive human. I like alien things.”

Yiner raised his eyebrows slightly, “Good to know I’ve got the emulation down.”

Putting his hand out over his food Yiner formed a mouth on it and began to eat, I watched for a moment.

“That’s diffrent.”

Yiner slowly consumed the food a thoughtful look on his face.

“Mary, what has been wrong with my holograms in your opinion?”

I paused, “uh, nothing has been wrong. I had to make all of those fixes but that’s normal. You mean in terms of content?”

He nodded.

I took another bite of my food, “Well, uh, this isn’t really my area but I don’t know. You seem to hit all of the right things, but none of them stick. Everything seems just a little to generic, like you’re playing it safe?”

“I’m attempting to market towards humans, as much as I have studied your culture I don’t think I understand enough yet to make things you would deem unsafe.”

“Pick a niche, or make things alien.”

“Most of it is alien to me,” Yiner said smiling slightly.

I rolled my eyes and took another bite of the food, “You’re keeping things to broad trying to cover every trope and avenue. Do something small, and alien as an experiment. Or something that would be alien to humans, like eating with your hand.”

He glanced down at his hand and frowned.

“Something that simple would be entertaining to a Human audience?”

“Yes! You’re being to broad, what you want are the niche groups of humans! The odder something is the more fervent the following and the more interested the fans are. Things eventually go mainstream, like why all the Human female’s in sales were asking you out! The things in Human media about shapeshifters…” I trailed off and quickly took another bite of my food face turning red.

“Like?” asked Yiner.

“You’ve read human stuff, what do we turn everything into?”

“Pornography?” He frowned and his eyes winded, “Is that why you asked me out?”

I dropped my fork and my face went beat red, “No? Kind of? I mean I like your work it’s not the only reason, and your human form is handsome, but that doesn’t really matter since you can change it at will, so saying I didn’t think of it would be lying, and I uh, it wasn’t the only reason I swear! I couldn’t ignore it either and uh, uh…”

I trailed off.

“Mary, I’m perfectly willing to hold this shape around you if you are uncomfortable with me changing.”

“No! I mean like I said, you’re alien. I want to learn about that, see that! It’s what I’m trying to tell you humans like the strange things from our perspective.”

Yiner slowly morphed into a blob like he had been after his brother had hit him, “This doesn’t upset you?”

“No, kind of weird I have to admit. Is this your natural form?”

The blob wiggled and shook, something I interpreted as laughter, “I have no ‘natural form’ holding any one shape takes the same amount of effort.”

“oh, see learning.”

Slowly the blob morphed into a solid stone of marble, “do you have any requests?”

The night continued like that as we moved through the meal, he turned into a chair, a cloud of smoke, a dog, a clone of me, and a dozen other things.

He reverted into his ‘human’ form when we traveled back to his home, which was in the human section of the city only a few blocks from my own apartment.

“You really do like us humans,” I said as he opened the door and turned on the lights to his apartment. It looked, normal. Like my own apartment but with a better aesthetic sense, and cleaner.

“My brother would call it an obsession, is anything out of place?”

I slowly looked around taking everything in, “The art’s a little odd, nothing in any one style. Nothing wrong with it though.”


I laughed, “Your phrases though are a little out of date.”

He laughed as well and sat down on his couch, “I had a few hundred years of television to sort through, I suppose some of that was old stuff!”

He was suddenly covered in eyes.

“Ewww.” I said exaggerating the noise.

We both laughed again.

“So…” he trailed off.

I slowly walked over and sat next to him. Carefully he put a hand around my shoulder and it morphed to kind of cradle me in place.

I closed my eyes and leaned towards him.

Our lips met, and once again I marveled at the smooth texture of his skin. It was a little too perfect, without the little hairs or pores that would be on normal skin. Not to say it wasn’t good.

I cracked an eye open to look at him.

He looked back at me, “So, is this the point where we practice mating behaviors?”

I pushed him away from me and fixed a glare on him, “Yes.”

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Nyx fired off another shot from her rifle and the Prod nearly 800 meters down the street jerked and ducked into an ally. She frowned and sharpened her gaze on the point where the purple mass had disappeared, looking for the telltale red fragments on the pavement. “More of ’em?” asked Iyo, he was whispering

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Adam, Artemis, Atlas, & Icarus Part 2

The data streams slammed into me. With practiced ease, I pushed them aside and forced myself to view the data from afar. To not see it as billions of lines of code, but rather as the small white room that any other human would see. Floating in the center of that white room was Artemis,

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Adam, Artemis, Atlas, & Icarus Part 1

0 days Adam “You’re insane.” “Your point is what?” She rolled her eyes and tightened the straps holding me to the chair. “The point is that someone who can’t move shouldn’t really be this snippy.” She gestured at the plethora of medical equipment around us. “I’m sure I can do some interesting things with all

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Painful Mercy

We had begun with the standard shock and awe tactics, bombarding their population centers from orbit with kinetic weapon strikes. One moment a city was standing, and the next it was ash through the power of pure physics. No radiation to clean up and minimal collateral damage to the atmosphere. It was standard procedure, one

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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

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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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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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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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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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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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