The Alien

“You’re going to die. You know that right?”

I ignored her and slowly opened my eyes, I was in the middle of the module and the emergency lights were the only source of illumination.

She was floating over in the corner, glaring at me despite her own injuries.

“Just die already, to keep fighting is pointless,” she drawled her voice low and threatening.

Something was keeping my left eye almost closed, glue or something. Rubbing at my eye for a moment I opened it again and looked at the residue on my hand. It almost looked like blood, but then that had to be from the emergency lights, they tinted everything red.

Tubes of chemicals and other supplies were drifting all around me in the cabin, liquids and small electronics that were normally secured were adrift as well.

Something else, a thick black haze was coiling through the air. I glanced at the alien, wondering if it was part of her attack but she shook her head and pointed with a clawed hand, “Behind you, human,” she grumbled.

I grabbed at the side of the module and swung myself around.

Crawling along the sides of the next module was a conflagration of smoke and fire. It licked at the sides and spun slightly, looking almost like the mouth of some giant fire breathing demon.

“Holy,” I pushed off of the wall and towards the demonic flames. I had to beat it to the hatch.

Grabbing the stored compartment door, and swinging its mass around I shoved it onto the frame and spun the lock.

There was no solid clunk as the mechanics slid home, instead only a small tinkling click. Looking at the sides of the frame I swore. The door had mechanical locks on it that would once the handle was turned reach out and latch into the metal frame of the connection module and push the door up onto it’s seal. Those connection points were bent out of place. What had done that to the station, and how the connections hadn’t yet failed I had no idea.

“You can’t escape this human. You’re going to die.” She said from behind me, laughter evident in her voice.

She wasn’t going to help; she was the one responsible for this entire mess.

I spun the wheel in the center of the hatch again to no avail, the latches were simply not going to slide into place with the damage.

“God damn it.”

Leaving the hatch in place I spun around to look at what I had in my module, the tiny fire extinguisher on the wall next to me was not going to be able to extinguish the approaching conflagration.

“What are you going to do human? You don’t have the strength to hold the door in place, and the fire will no doubt heat the entire compartment, it needs only to make its way in here to cook you alive. Even if it does not, it will still consume the rest of your oxygen.”

I looked back at the hatch, it was almost in place sitting on the seal. If I could bend a few of the small rods that held the hatch in place away most of them would fit. They were solid steel though, and an inch in circumference.

There was no way I would be able to bend them.



The alien was holding one of the oxygen tanks in her hands.

“Give me that!” kicking off of the hatch I grabbed at the tank wrenching it from her hands.

She raised her tentacles in surrender and gave me a bemused look

“What are you going to do with that?” she asked, “The fire will still cook you alive.”

“If I feed the fire, it’ll leave me alone.”

She looked at me, “Feed the fire? You’re insane human.”

I didn’t reply, but spun around, kicked her in the face, and drifted back to the door, still holding the tank in my hands. I looked at the valve assembly for a moment; I had to focus. My head was pounding and it felt as if the fire was already burning my scalp.

The tank was designed to withstand enormous pressure, and heat, but to do so without exploding it had an emergency release. If the pressure was too high, it would vent, releasing that pent up pressure and the gas inside.

I turned the bottle around in my hands and looked at the fill gauge.

I was in luck; the bottle was full.

I pulled the hatch away and was hit with a rolling blast of heat. I winced, closed my eyes, and turned away from the fire. Quickly I chucked the bottle into it and slammed the hatch back into place twisting the handle so the metal prongs retracted. They would only be a hindrance holding the hatch slightly off it’s seal.

Bracing myself I tried to push the hatch and hold it closed.

For a moment I managed, but then I was pushed away.

“The air inside that compartment is expanding, human. You do not have the strength. You are weak!”

“Shut up!”

Sliding the hatch back onto it’s seals I cranked the mechanism again. The few rods that were not bent out of shape latched into place, holding it steady. Still the damaged rods prevented the seal from forming and a steady blast of hot air poured through the gap near my face where it was not seated correctly.

I ignored the scorching heat and waited.

The hatch was beginning to burn to the touch, but still I held onto it.

Glancing through the small window on the hatch I looked at the flames. I couldn’t see the bottle inside the compartment. A few objects were floating in the air, most of them burning.

After a minute, I saw the results I had been hoping for.

A jet of flame more violent than anything else in the compartment flared to life. Like a tongue inside the mouth of a dragon it began to violently whip about. The steady stream of pure oxygen pouring from the bottle propelled it through the compartment like a rocket.

The entire frame of the station shook, and the bottle careened about and slammed into the hatch. I winced as it did so and although it creaked the few unbent latch points held and it remained in place.

After another moment I saw what I hoped for. The canister hit the wall of the compartment and spun away, but not before breaching the shell of the pressure vessel. The flames inside the compartment all wavered and began to lean towards the hole.

The bottle slammed into another wall and the compartment opened to space.

The compartment tore like a tin can as the air rushed from it. What had been a stream of hot air blowing on my face a moment ago became a maelstrom of wind blowing out into space whipping violently past my face.

I had been holding the door closed to keep the fire from spreading into my compartment, but with the sudden breach and the change in the direction of air the hatch squealed as it was pulled onto its seal the bent metal rods the only thing keeping it from completely slamming home onto it.

Reaching down I spun the locking mechanism, retracting the rods that would have normally sealed the compartment. The hatch slammed down onto the seal with a final shriek, now the very atmosphere I was breathing held it in place pushing it onto the seal.

The compartment I was in rocked and began to spin. Disoriented I let go of the hatch and drifted into the center of the cabin.

All around me the compartment spun as I remained stable.

The alien had drifted away from the wall as well, and floating next to me she watched the compartment spin around us.

“Well this is an improvement,” she grumbled.

I ignored her and reaching out grabbed at the wall, hanging onto it I was slammed into the side of the module. Reorienting myself I glanced at the small window in the module. It took a moment to get a look at the station, the spin was along several axises.

“You’re lucky. Had you been in the core compartments of your pitiful station, you would have died instantly,” said the woman as she joined me at the window her talons clicking against the metal as she latched onto the module’s inner hull with more grace than I had.

The station was in pieces; the structural module I had been attached to was one of a dozen that had been breached. The central spine of the station was twisted and bent, but for the beating it had been given it was still in one piece even as everything else around it disintegrated and spun away into space. Like I had.

“Why?” I asked, my mouth dry.

“Why not? You are a weak species.”

She slammed a hand onto the inner hull, “I need no container, no weak vessel. I have nothing to fear in space. The arrogance of a species such as your own to lay claim to any section of our domain is laughable and insulting.”

I looked over at her and rolled my eyes.

“The difficulty only makes it that much more impressive that we managed to claim even some small part of it.”

She frowned and sniffed rolling her eyes at me.

“But you will die here. In the end I will remain.”

“I’m going to die?” I asked.

She laughed, “Of course you are!”

“You seemed sure of that a few minutes ago, yet here I am.”

She raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

Looking around the small module for the first time now I grimaced, it was a simple service module. A glorified broom closet that had been tacked onto the massive station in recent years to augment its capacity. It had no independent life support or guidance systems. Only basic electronics that could be adapted to function in a variety of roles were strapped to its walls.

I had been using it to run diagnostics on the electrical systems of the station. My normal workstation near the core having been commandeered to run some sort of communication test. That was probably what had attracted the aliens.

I blinked and noticed that it had suddenly gone dark, we had passed into the shadow of Earth. Only the dim red glow of the emergency lights provided illumination.

Looking back out the window as the module continued to slowly spin I shuddered, the station was gone either all of its lights were out or I had drifted far away from it.

The Earth far below still looked normal, “You haven’t attacked the surface?”

She rolled her eyes and derisively sneered at me, “Our domain is space. We have no care for what you do as you crawl around in the dirt.”

I slowly nodded and turned back to the window wincing at the light that was streaming in through it.

“So now what human? You have perhaps only a few more hours of air.”

“Radio, I need a radio.”

The woman smiled and pointed at my ear, “that?” she asked.

Reaching up I pulled the small earbud out of my ear wincing, the plastic had apparently melted a little in the fire. In fact that entire side of my face hurt now that I considered it.

I frowned and touched my ear, only feeling something that had a vague resemblance to an ear, a lot of it was missing.

“You know I wasn’t going to say anything. You were so ugly beforehand that the burns might be an improvement.”

I looked at the small thing for a moment, “No. Not powerful enough.”

She crossed her arms, “Alright then, what are you going to do jury rig a transmitter and send out an SOS?”

“No need. Emergency beacon.” I pointed at the small module that was strapped to the wall near where the hatch had been stored.

“Oh. Well that makes more sense.”

Drifting over I pried the module off the wall where is was stuck with Velcro and held it up. Something has smashed into it during the attack and the plastic casing was broken. Pulling the safety cap off I flipped the switch.

No lights flickered on, and no steady beep.

“Damn it.”

Turning the device over I pulled the plastic casing apart.

The PCBA inside was cracked in half, a few small integrated circuits and capacitors were the only thing holding it together. Not to mention the fact that it looked as if the battery had been breached.

“See you’re dead human.”

“No I am not.”

Holding the device out I grabbed at the plastic and ignoring where the sharp bits of it cut into my skin I tore it off giving me complete access to the rest of the component’s

“You are dead human, dead!”

Letting the PCBA float I looked around the compartment, I could fix it easily enough it was only a single layer board of etched paths on the PCB and it wasn’t composed of anything but large components, assuming I had the tools.

“You’ve got solder human, but your tools were in the compartment you decided to torch. I saw them when I boarded.”

She held up the small coil of wire and juggled it back and forth in her hands smiling.

Trying to see in the darkness of the module I looked around for something anything I could use.

A pencil drifted in front of me and I blinked.

“You’re only delaying the inevitable human.”

I grabbed at the writing utensil and raising it to my mouth bit down on it, ignoring the bad taste of the wood I quickly stripped it away and extracted the graphite core. Absentmindedly rubbing it against the side of the inner hull to sharpen it I looked around and spotted a damaged panel.

Drifting over I grabbed at it and looked inside, components were still lit and for the moment the batteries appeared to have sustained power. A small laptop was strapped onto the damaged panel, it’s screen smashed. The battery would be good though.

Careful not to touch anything that could be electrified I reached into the panel and ripped out wire. I would only need a foot or so, maybe a little more.

“Oh, I see what you’re doing human. You have a resistor, and if you can connect it to the primitive electrical systems you have here you can heat it up to the melting point of your solder. Clever, still pointless but clever.”

Again ignoring her as was the habit at this point I carefully wrapped one wire around the tip of the graphite and the other around the end it. Glancing around I found duct tape that was being used to hold a pad of paper to the wall.

Smiling, I grabbed the small strip of the versatile stuff and careful to not waste it secured everything together creating a primitive soldering gun.

“Solder!” I growled holding my hand out.

She sighed apparently exasperated with me, but handed it over.

Ripping some smaller gauge wires out of the damaged panel and using the remaining duct tape to secure them in place next to me I ripped the two live leads off of the equipment cabinet. Careful not to short the circuits by touching the two together I carefully wrapped the wires onto my very dangerous soldering iron.

I could feel the heat building up almost immediately, the tape around the graphite began to burn.

Grabbing the PCBA I looked at the etches on board, seeing all of the connections I would have to repair. The light pouring in from outside the module giving me a perfect view. It looked like a total of eight traces would have to be repaired, three of them so close to one another that I was liable to short them if I wasn’t careful.

Placing the PCBA against the side of the jagged metal case I had extracted the wire from I scratched away at the protection on both sides of the broken boards traces giving me access to the conductive paths. Using the last of the tape I carefully attached the board to the wall and picked up the soldering iron, carful of the hot tip.

In the dim light provided by the remaining electronics and emergency lights in the module I carefully began repairing each trace. In some instances, I used no wire, and where individual traces were too close I used wire a to separate my work and keep the individual circuits from shorting.

Had to be careful.

Several times my hand slipped on the impromptu soldering iron, burning my hand and making me wince.

At one point the alien reached over with a talon and swiped at the board damaging half of the work I had done.

“Back off!” I growled waving a hand at her.

She retreated, raising her tentacles in surrender.

Finishing the last trace on the board I carefully unwound the wire from one prong of my iron.

The amperage that the laptop battery would output was lower than the original battery but it would have to do. Spinning around I grabbed the thing, and bracing my legs against the inner curved hull pulled.

The laptop came free from its mooring point with a harsh squeal. Tearing at it and worming my fingers between the cracked plastic, ignoring the red stuff that was coming out of the laptop I pried it open.

The battery was glued to the internals, but with a small yank it was free. Taking the last of the wire I had stripped earlier I squinted at the PCB double checking the leads.

“Red to black, and black to red Human. Even I know that.”

I almost believed her, “No. Other way around.”

She sighed, “Oh well I guess you are somewhat intelligent then.”

Again ignoring her I tore a small bit of the remaining duct tape in half and affixed the wires. Holding my breath, I looked at the whole assembly.

The LED on the front of it slowly faded on. A small chirp sounded.

“Fuck you!” I growled at the alien.

“Good for you, now they know you’re alive. You expect a ship to make it up here before you run out of air? Or better yet burn up in the atmosphere? That impact was in near direct opposition to your orbit. It had to have imparted some retrograde momentum.”

“Fuck me.”

“Humans are so weak, a little extra co2 is all it takes. Your own body is going to produce enough to kill you long before you run out of air.”

I glanced up at the small vent in the module. The station had centralized life support meaning I was now without a fresh supply and had been for a few hours at least.

“You’ve got some bottled oxygen, right there.” The alien pointed a tentacle at it.

I pushed off of the near wall and grabbed it.

Resisting the urge to take the mask off of the bottle and begin breathing it I looked around the compartment for the co2 detector. It was an independent module, battery operated and in a solid case. It should have survived the impact.

“It’s over there.” Said the alien pointing a hand at the wall behind me.

Twisting around I grabbed at the device, noticing for the first time the chirping noise it was issuing.

“An 8% concentration?” the alien whistled, “You humans go crazy at something like 10% right?”

I ignored her and quickly took the mask off of the canister and slipped it over my face. Twisting the on valve I felt the air rush over my face and I took a grateful gulp. I couldn’t actually feel the co2 buildup, but just imagining it was enough to make it feel as if the warm air was constricting.

“Still going to die entering the atmosphere human.”

I took another breath of the oxygen and tried to think, closing my eyes for a moment I winced as the light from the sun flashed across my eyes.


Opening my eyes to the dark module I looked at the alien, “What?”

“Your primitive construct is vibrating,”

Reaching out I put a hand to the side of the capsule and swore.

“Well Human? What are you going to do?”

I swallowed my mouth still dry like I hadn’t had anything to drink in days, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” asked the alien.

I looked around the module again looking at the scientific equipment and recorders.

“There’s a big difference between fixing a beacon or a hatch, and preparing a craft for re-entry.”

“So you are going to die.”

“I am.”

The alien was silent for a moment.

I closed my eyes and relaxed slightly. The oxygen was clearing my head.

“You’re not going to freak out? Scream at me or something?”


Opening my eyes again I stared out of the window at the Earth below, the alien glanced at me before slowly drifting over to join me.

“I’m going to die.”

“Why did you fight so much before if this is inevitable?”

“I don’t want to die.”

I kept my eyes on the Earth.

“Your efforts have only let you live for another day or so Human,”


She nodded, “Day.”

Leaning down I put my forehead on the glass. It felt good, it was cool to the touch.

“I don’t want to die.”

“Why do you not want to die?”

I didn’t move, I wasn’t exactly sure why.

“I never got to do anything. I never got to live.”

“You’re one of the few hundred humans who have even gotten to see your planet from this vantage point. You are not living?”

“I never did anything important. I worked my whole life to get up here, and I’m a glorified janitor. I wanted, I want my life to mean something.”

I trailed off and opening my eyes looked past the Earth in the window below. I looked towards the stars above the atmosphere. They were so much more vibrant up here in space, so much more real. As if for my entire life they had been covered by a thin film.

“I want to explore. I want to reach into the dust of Mars and pull up a little fossil. I want to see Jupiter with my own eyes. I want to go rocketing into the depths of space, challenge the very laws of nature itself.”

“You’ve seen aliens at least? Does that not at least give you some meaning? The first human to see an alien?”

The module was heating up now, and beginning to vibrate more. A slow spin was building up as we fell towards the Earth. As we were dragged back down away from the wide infinite sky and towards the dirt.

I turned away from the window, which was now smeared with red blood. My head pounding, I looked around the cabin.

It was empty, I was alone.


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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 4

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 51 (End)

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 6

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 5

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 50

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 49

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 48

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 47

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 1

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 6

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 46

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 3

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 1

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 45

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 2

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

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Good Training – April Fool’s

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 5

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 44

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 3

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

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Good Training – Pecking Order

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Tidying Up

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 43

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 5

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

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 4

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 42

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

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 1

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 3

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 41

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

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The Good Samaritan

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 6

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 40

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 2

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

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 4

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

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