The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 1

Date Point: 16y2m AV
Alien Quarter, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches


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 was glad of his species’ diminutive stature.

There were also, rarely, times when he wished he was a little more conformant with the Corti dispassionate ideal.

“Oh dear, dear, dear…”

Chief Arés was the second-smallest Human present, after Nofl’s patient Mister Chadesakan. He frowned over Nofl’s shoulder at the volumetric display and tried to make sense of it.

“I’m no biologist, but I know that isn’t natural…”

Frankly, an uneducated Ten’Gewek child would have discerned that much. There was something disconcertingly evil about the dark, asymmetrical lattice of nanotechnology that had enfolded every last one of Leemu’s living cells. It was a technological miracle of course, and had substantially improved every aspect of Leemu’s physical and mental faculties beyond the norm for a Gaoian of his size… but it looked like some kind of demonic spider had webbed up his whole body on the tiniest scale.

“It’s OmoAru technology,” Nofl explained. “Or so I assumed. Oh, deary me… Either I was wrong and the Hierarchy gave it to the OmoAru, or they stole it from them. Either way, mister, ah… Leemu’s tissues are absolutely riddled with it.”

“And Mister Chadesakan?”

“Human biology strikes again!” Nofl chirped. “I’m pleased to say that his immune system is putting up an incredible fight! I’m… not one hundred percent convinced that he will fight it off, but something seems to be wrong with my predictive models because they all say that he should have been completely overtaken weeks ago, so…”

“How bad is it?” Arés asked.

“You were right to place the Human and Gaoian in stasis. As for Bozo and Officer Narl, they will need to remain under strict quarantine for the moment. If there’s any of the Arutech in their system, it’s below my instruments’ ability to measure.”

That apparently was not enough of a specific answer as far as Arés was concerned, as he repeated himself with added emphasis. “How. Bad. Is. It?”

“…A repair of this scale may not be possible. Leemu might well need to be surgically disassembled at the cellular level, which is…” Nofl paused and sucked air through his teeth.

“Is that even possible?” the largest man in the room asked. Colonel Powell was lurking in the back and though his expression was stony, Nofl knew enough about him to suspect that the big man was nearly frantic with worry for his dog.

“…No. Not yet, anyway. Hopefully I’m wrong and a less… aggressive treatment will present itself. I am many things, but a Level Twelve surgeon is not one of them.”

“A Level Twelve could do it?”

“They’d try. And probably fail.” Nofl bobbled his head gently. “Cellular-scale medical techniques are an important part of a… project you’re aware of.” he refrained from mentioning the Ark out loud, on the basis that neither Preed nor Gorku were aware of it.

“So the technology exists.”

“But it’s never been used on a fully grown adult Deathworlder before. Fiddling with an experimental cell cluster is one thing. Stripping sophisticated nanotechnology out of a living adult…” Nofl cleared his throat. “Of course, the other issue is that Leemu cannot possibly be considered competent to render consent.”

Powell grunted and his forearm squirmed as he tightened his fist for a moment. “…Fookin’ hellfire…”

The enormous Gaoian spoke, then. Tried. “Then…Fix. Leemu…would want…not a slave.”

“Oh, honey, I really should help you with that shouldn’t I?” Nofl clucked. He swung a scanner over on its arm and pointed it at Gorku’s cranium. “Dear, dear, dear… Not enough Meeshi when you were a cub, eh?”

Gorku shrugged and kept understandably silent.

“I’m afraid it’s not that simple,” Arés told him solemnly. “Unless you have power of attorney, you can’t make that decision for him.”

“Their courts will need to weigh in, or I believe the Governor-General will need to declare a state of emergency.”

Gorku’s ears swivelled, then he sighed miserably, scratched at the spot on his head where his implants had been removed, and managed to dig up one syllable: “…‘kay…”

“Ohhh…” Nofl made a sympathetic noise. “I’ll attend to your problem as soon as we’re done, alright? We’ll work out the details later.”

“And Mister Chadesakan?” Arés asked.

“Treating him should be as simple as amputating his arm. I hope. In any case, this entire situation requires containment and a full Grade Twelve medical intervention. I have taken the liberty of dispatching a message. Given exactly what we’re looking at here…”

“And my dog?” Powell asked.

“He and Officer Narl will require quarantine so I can monitor them. The good news is, I don’t think either of them are infected. Again, I will defer to my medical colleagues when they arrive.”

“When?” Powell asked. “And more to the point, how much is it gonna bloody cost us?”

“Powell, dear. This is far bigger than money or politics. We will settle all accounts after the danger is past, and need I remind you, we are in no position to foster enmity.”

“In my experience, the Directorate’s idea of a fee can be a little unintuitive anyway,” Arés soothed.

“Then I will be blunt. We’d like to send an expedition to Akyawentuo. Nothing extreme,” Nofl cautioned, “We would simply like to examine them. You will have full authority, of course.”

Powell and Arés shared a lengthy eye contact with each other that seemed to encompass a full conversation. Eventually Powell shrugged, shook his head and subsided. “…You’ll need to talk with Etsicitty,” he said. “He’s the special envoy to them an’ all that.”

“Oh lovely!” Nofl chirped. “My favourite customer! One of them, anyway… Where is he?”

“This time o’ the day?” Powell thought about it. “…The Dog House, I expect.”

“…Oh. Well. I shall have to mount an expedition, then! Before my colleagues arrive.”

“And when will that be?” Powell asked, repeating his earlier question.

“For all I know, the Empirical Razor might already be in orbit,” Nofl said. “It depends on just how much my word is worth with the Directorate and the military Colleges… which is quite a lot right now, actually.”

Arés scratched at his chin with a thumb for a second as he contemplated the situation, then sighed and looked at Powell. “We should pass this on to our respective superiors, I guess.”

“Aye. The whole of 5-EYES need to know this one… and we’ll need to tell the Great Father as well.”

“That’ll be easy. He’s visiting Folctha today, unofficially.”


“Every week, if he can. Usually he just jumps over when the array isn’t busy and does…whatever a Great Father does when nobody’s looking. Today though he’s flying with a special somebody. We’re expecting him later this morning.”

“Damn,” Powell rumbled. “I’d hate to ruin his day off, but…”

“Needs must.”


“Well then, gentlemen. I believe we know what we’re all doing!” Nofl clapped his hands and shooed them out the door. “Go on! Don’t worry, Colonel, I’ll take special care of Bozo.”

“You do that…” Powell said, darkly. He shot one last worried glance at the quarantine lab and then, with a sigh and a shake of his head, he squeezed through the door and was gone. Gabe Arés followed a moment later.

Nofl sighed, dusted off his hands, and took a deep breath before checking on his patients. Narl had finally persuaded Bozo to calm down, and requested only a bowl of water for the dog and a bottle of water for himself. Nofl instructed his butler drone to provide both, then checked on Preed Chadesakan. The old man was lying on his cot in quarantine, looking up at the ceiling with a hollow expression.

“Can I get you anything, Mister Chadesakan?” Nofl asked. The elderly Human half-turned his head, gave Nofl a bleary-eyed empty look, then shook his head and subsided. Nofl ordered some water for him as well and made a note to call for somebody better-qualified to help him.

That just left Gorku.

“Well, dear!” he said cheerily, and approached the sullen Gaoian. “It’s your turn at last! Let’s see if we can’t figure out a way to straighten out your language centers without cybernetics, hmm?”

Gorku sighed and heaved himself up onto four paws. “…Long time?”

“Who knows? We’re only reinventing a field of medicine from first principles!” Nofl fluttered a hand vaguely at the diagnostic equipment. “Chop chop! The sooner we scan your brain, the sooner we figure out what it needs.”

Gorku duck-nodded and flopped up onto the medical bed. It was built for HEAT members, and took his merely large frame easily and without complaint. Nofl swept into his seat and rolled over to the appropriate workstation, where he powered up the complex, powerful and subtle scanners he’d ordered, installed and sometimes built himself.

That was the nice thing about living in Folctha. He never ran out of interesting specimens.

“Yes…this was definitely caused by malnutrition. But how do we fix it…?” he muttered to himself.

Gorku gave him a Look.

“Don’t mind me, darling, just talking to myself! I’m sure your conversation will be gripping when we’re done, though!”

Gorku snorted, crossed his paws under his chin and put his head down while Nofl delved a little deeper into the subtleties of his patient’s trouble.

Life simply didn’t get any better. And until the ship arrived… well. What better way to preoccupy himself?

None that he could think of.

Date Point: 16y2m AV
The Life-Mate’s private yacht, Cimbrean system, The Far Reaches

Daar, Great Father of the Gao

“Big Burly Buckin’ Badass Beastie!”

Naydra chittered again and swatted his ear affectionately. “You and your alliteration, Bumpkin…also, no you great oaf! The Summer Scent, maybe?”

“It’s th’ most fastest ‘lil ship I ever owned! It’s the prototype ‘fer the Drunker! Don’t that seem kinda…uh…”


“…I was thinkin’ sedate,” Daar said, gleefully deploying a fancier word for a change. Banter with Naydi was the most funnest!

And for once, they had real privacy. He’d decided to commandeer the prototype and have it converted into a luxury yacht for her. Well…he’d tried to buy it first, but Clan politics got in the way and it turned into a gift from Clan Ironpaw to the Females. But still, it was nice. After all, she travelled on official business just as much as him and while Daar tended to just grab whatever dropship or warship was available, he felt like his love needed something fancier.

The problem was, she kept turning down his names for it. She had an almost Human-like picky streak about ship names.

“I don’t plan on cruising the spacelanes with it, Daar. Besides, it’s all…a bit much, I think. Doesn’t a gift like this demand a good name?”

“I mean…you ain’t wrong. I named my precision hand tools!”

“You named them Pokey and Son of Pokey, Bumpkin.”

“Also Stabby Two: Electric Boogaloo!”


“We wuz watchin’ bad movies one night! They can’t seem ‘ta get enough o’ them’ awful balls-damned period Clan epics…but hey! Their old sci-fi stuff is neat!”

“You’re very weird, my love.”

Daar chittered happily and stretched out on the long, wide couch she’d had installed. Keeda’s nuts, it was good ‘ta take a load off sometimes. One day out of every eight didn’t feel like enough, but he made the most of that day whenever it came around.

“I could get used ‘ta this,” he rumbled, and pulled Naydi into himself for the most tightest snuggle she’d allow for the moment; the cub was coming along big and fast. “Jus’ you an’ me!”

She combed her claws through his whiskers. “No advisors ringing day and night…”

“Or interruptin’ at the worstest times…”

“No— oof!”

Daar chittered fondly and turned his attention to her belly. “Fightin’ to get out?”

Naydra stifled a hiccup. “Ugh. He’s even fiercer than the last…” she paused and blinked as a tiny paw pressed against her skin from the inside. “…the last one.”

Daar laid a paw on the wriggling cub and felt it settle down. Fuck, but bein’ away from them was gonna be hard.

Naydra was due. She’d already pushed a little past when she shoulda travelled to the Grand Commune, actually. She was a healthy mother herself, she’d had plenty of cubs before… there shouldn’t be any problems.

But if there were, she wanted the best obstetrics going, and there was nowhere better than the hospital at the Grand Commune. Shit, they even treated Human mothers when things went real wrong, and when Human births went wrong they went very wrong.

…She’d be all but unvisitable, though. That part of tradition really sucked nuts. It was necessary, and Daar weren’t a ‘Back to shy away from necessary, but…

“I’m gonna miss ‘ya terribly.”

“I will message you every day! And you will have affairs of state to distract you, at least.”

“Eh…less o’ that as we go on. I’m tryin’ ‘ta get the Clans back ‘ta thinkin’ independently again.”

She duck-nodded and moved her claws up to scritch lightly behind his ears. “That would be nice. A return to how things were, a little bit.”

Daar shook his head. “I don’t think we can ever really go back, t’be honest. Still gotta wean ‘em off, though. Ain’t gonna happen in a day, but it needs to happen sooner or later. One day there won’t be a Great Father again, an’ they need to be ready for it.”

“The sooner the better.”

“Balls, yeah. Ooh, right there–!” Naydi always knew the bestest way to ear-scritch! He panted happily, and relaxed.

The yacht’s pilot was under pretty strict orders to interrupt them for only one thing: the end of their journey. The Humans took security at Cimbrean very seriously, and even the Great Father had to wait some. He had diplomatic immunity but that didn’t make him immune to the time it took to arrange his own safety.

He didn’t mind. This was one of his “unofficial” visits anyway, where they’d discreetly clear him through and let him get on with his day. A small abuse of privilege, maybe, but he needed to keep some part of a normal life or he might just go insane. For Daar, “normal” meant “visit his friends” now and then. And buy corn dogs. And tacos! And ice cream for Naydi. And stuff.

And get a good training session in! It’d been way too long since he’d lifted balls-out…

Still… he kinda wished he could pass on all that if it meant more Naydi.

“…You should see the other guy?” he suggested, returning to the subject of naming the yacht.

“Humans are rubbing off on you,” Naydra sniffed. She didn’t need prompting to follow his lurch in topic. “Besides, again: too boisterous. This is a yacht and I’ll be using it for diplomacy, it needs to sound respectable!”


“I know you can do respectable,” she half-encouraged, half-chided him.

“Sure,” he crowed. “Ain’t nobody disrespects me!”

Naydi chittered at his gratuitous play-bragging, and gently pinched his ear with her claws. “That’s not what I meant!”

Daar chittered again, and finally took the thought seriously. Once upon a time, he’d thought Coombes, Walsh and Hoeff were crazy for takin’ so long over naming the ship, but then he’d kinda fallen in love with it partly because of the name. So much that he’d insisted on resurrecting the Drunk on Turkey name in its successor. They’d been right: names mattered.

“…What about the Hopeful Star?” he asked. That was the focus of an old story he’d found among the ancient texts gifted to him by Clan Highmountain after his coronation. The Highmountains hadn’t seen a lot of value in the kind of story the ancient Gao had told their cubs—they’d been more interested in whether or not the star in question might be a real supernova—but Daar had obsessed over it, shared it with Gyotin and traded long, thoughtful letters with him over its deeper message.

He’d also discussed it with Naydra, whose ears pricked up as she thought about it.

“…That’s sly of you, Bumpkin. Not many people know what it actually means.”

“An’ it sounds like the same kinda name the One-Fangs use,” Daar added. “So it’ll just be our little detail.”

“Why do they name their ships that way?”

Daar shrugged. “Iunno. Clans got their traditions. Sometimes even they don’t really know where it comes from…”

The interruption finally came. It was simple enough, just a polite chime and a light in the ceiling telling them to buckle in to their seats for landing. They rubbed noses and Daar made sure Naydra was properly secure in her seat before buckling himself in.

The descent was perfectly smooth and soft, and the landing was as gentle as a Mother laying her first cub in its cradle. When the hatch popped, the smell of Tiritya Island flooded in.

Sea air, cubs and females. Flowers, herbs and honey from the kitchen garden, the ubiquitous petrochemical zest shared by landing pads all over the galaxy, and a thousand other things besides. It was a nasal symphony unique to this one small corner of an alien planet that had become the future of the Gaoian species.

Naydra descended the steps first, and Daar followed her reluctantly. He hated this part. It had sucked balls with their first cub, and it never got better. He wouldn’t smell her again until the cub had been weaned, which could be months away.

He could still steal another great big hug, though. And maybe a nip on her ear.

“I love you, Naydi. More’n anythin’.”

“I know.” She sniffed his nose. “I’ll miss you too.”

Then they were in public and there was no more time for affection.

Whoever had planned the island’s layout had put the Guard-Sisters’ barracks right where visitors arriving by shuttle could see them training, in a clear statement: ‘This is what you’ll have to deal with if you start trouble.’

The Guard-Sisters had always been a large and fierce corps, but now they were doubly so and they’d learned their lesson about weaponry. Fusion spears and blades might be traditional and ceremonial and perfectly deadly in skilled hands—Balls, Yulna was only alive thanks to Myun’s prowess with a blade—but guns were better.

Once upon a time the Guard-Sisters down in that field would have been stabbing, slashing and parrying. Now, they were running assault courses for best time, spurred by the valkyrie calls of the Guard-Mothers. Daar watched one young Sister with a professional eye as she launched herself four-pawed into the gauntlet and flowed through it like a clawed silk ribbon. She’d mastered the art of smoothly transitioning her gait and readying her weapon in one motion, freeing herself to maneuver with maximum efficiency and without hindering her ability to shoot.

Balls, there were veteran units in the Grand Army that didn’t know how to fight like that.

He was interrupted by a familiar and very welcome voice.

“I hope you approve, My Father…”

Daar turned, briefly forgetting the wrench of being parted from Naydi as he realized he’d just been reunited with another precious soul.


His most favoritest daughter chittered happily as he abandoned any pretense at decorum and tackle-snoogled her half to death.

“Mrf! My Father! Yes, hello! I missed you too.”

There were some stifled chitters from a few of the other females in attendance, and a completely unstifled one from Naydra.

“Hello, Myun,” she said warmly.

Myun’s rise through the ranks had been volcanic. Saving the Mother-Supreme’s life at the height of the biodrone crisis had earned her prestige and notoriety… and the sad fact that all of the senior guard-mothers had been biodrones themselves or else slaughtered in the opening seconds of the war had left her plenty of room to be promoted into.

She’d earned a terrible injury in the process, too. But now! Look at her! The wound had been properly tended to, but she’d kept the scar up her right cheek as a mark of pride and it made her even more beautiful than she’d been before. The hardship she’d endured had given weight to her personality, and now she was perhaps the most formidable female Daar had ever met, besides Naydi of course.

Daar pulled both of them to himself for one last hug. “You take care of my Naydi, ‘kay? I hear she’s a pawful!”

“She’s in safe paws, I promise,” Myun replied.

“I know,” Daar pressed his nose to hers affectionately. “I always knew.”

“What do you think of the assault course?”

“…Not-so-secretly, I kinda wanna give it a go.”

Daar glanced back down at the training area. The young guard he’d been watching was panting happily at the end of the course while her sisters celebrated around her, and she looked fiercely eager to throw herself back into it for a second go. He couldn’t see her time from where he was standing, but the Guard-Mother looked satisfied with it.

“I’m sure you’d earn a dozen mating contracts if you did,” Naydi said with a sly look.

“Ha! Well…”

Myun chittered. “I’d like to respectfully ask the Great Father to please not interrupt my training schedule,” she said.

“I’d be a fool to step in ‘yer way, Myun. Go. I think there’s Sisters down there who ain’t tired!”

“Let’s get the mother-to-be inside, first,” Myun said. She gently stepped aside and ushered Naydra toward the waiting nurse-sisters, who flocked around and generally started acting like Naydra was made of spun sugar and would break if touched too firmly. Daar saw Myun roll her eyes, and had to fight down a chitter of his own.

It was a short walk up the slope to the commune’s front doors. Like the ones at Wi Kao, these were huge wooden things with decorative metal, though where the Wi Kao commune’s doors had been banded with black iron, these were polished to the point where they shone even in the dim light of an overcast day. They weren’t thrown open, however: Naydra had requested no great ceremony, so she went through the smaller wicket gate just like everyone else. The guard-sisters on either side came to attention as they approached, but other than that there was no fanfare or fuss.

Daar only noticed that he was unconsciously following after her into the Commune when Myun cleared her throat. Her tone of voice changed, from familiar and warm to professional.

“My Father…”

Daar paused, and blinked. The guards hadn’t challenged him, because they couldn’t; the Females had submitted to him, after all. He, alone among all males of the Gao, was permitted unfettered access to their world.

Which was why he had to restrain himself.

He stopped, then took a step back. “…Thank you, my daughter.”

Myun duck-nodded sympathetically, and the moment passed. With a heavy sigh, Daar watched until Naydra was out of sight, then watched a little longer as Myun gave him an apologetic parting duck-nod and followed Naydi into the commune. Finally, once the door was closed, he turned and padded away down the path back toward the landing pad. There was a shuttle waiting there to take him to Folctha, and from there he could enjoy a few hours of just being Daar.

Leaving Naydi always left him feeling frustrated. Normally he’d solve that by wooing females and testing out his cheesiest come-on lines…maybe try his luck (and get shot down again!) with that cute little number over at Ninja Taco in Folctha…

…But that kind of thing always felt wrong when Naydi was on his mind.

Well, not all was lost; he had more than one way to burn off frustration. He shook his pelt out, whipped out his communicator, and sent a message to Warhorse. They were so close in strength these days, maybe today would be the day he finally settled the question…

Daar chittered to himself ruefully. He really were the most predictablest tail ever, sometimes. But that was what made him, him. Gyotin and Naydi were right. Balls, everyone was. Daar couldn’t be anything but himself if he was going bear the burden of being the Great Father.

It was high time for the Great Father to remember who Daar was.

Date Point: 16y2m AV

Hierarchy/Cabal Joint Communications session #1535

++0007++: <Aghast> You infected them with unrestricted nanites?!

++Cynosure++: No, of course not. The technology’s capacity to replicate is tightly constrained. It literally can’t grow in the absence of compatible tissue.

++0011++: Is this how you infiltrated Sol?

++Cynosure++: <Pleased> Indeed! I infected the crew of ‘My Other Spaceship Is The Millennium Falcon’ at Origin, and had the pilot transfer to their new mining ship when the opportunity arose. The droud function came in very useful indeed when I needed to terminate the biodrone. It sat quite peacefully and watched the stars until it suffocated.

++Proximal++: <Uneasy> I have to admit, constrained or not… I don’t much like the idea of this technology. We Declined the OmoAru specifically because of it, after all.

++0007++: I’m more concerned by your sudden reverse-course on this, Cynosure. You fomented a conspiracy within the Hierarchy, established the Cabal, somehow found a way to avoid being incorporated into a 0001 instance and all along your objective allegedly was to ensure long-term cooperation with the Humans.

++Cynosure++: …How much Human literature have you read, 0007?

++0007++: About twelve gigabytes. Why?

++Cynosure++: So you are well aware that they’ve considered the dangers of self-replicating technology.

++0007++: Yes?

++Cynosure++: And yet they persist in developing it.

++0007++: Perhaps that makes them better qualified to develop it.

++Cynosure++: <Anger> That is snivelling apologetics! And in their case, it’s hubris!

++0011++: You’ve held them to be reasonable before.

++Cynosure++: And I have adjusted my opinion in light of new evidence!

++0004++: Calm yourself, please.


++Cynosure++: <strained contrition> …Apologies. It is… we all know how difficult it is to admit to having been grievously wrong. I thought the Humans were one thing, and they have now proven themselves to be quite another.

++0007++: Proximal had a good point, however. Arutech is a self-replicating machine. Even though its ability to replicate may be tightly limited, any replicant can mutate given sufficient time.

++0004++: It does seem inappropriate to use the very thing we are sworn to destroy.

++Cynosure++: I have my own misgivings. But the alternative was to not penetrate the Human defences at all. Their security measures are too effective and reliable in their simplicity.

++0007++: <resigned> So long as it works, then…

++Cynosure++: It already has. We have a force of Injunctors on Earth, one compliant biodrone recovered from an internment facility, and two infiltrators en route to Cimbrean. They should be arriving about now, in fact.

++0004++: That is considerably more progress than we’ve made since we lost that Abductor in Egypt six years ago…

++Cynosure++: It’s a foothold. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us before it becomes something more substantive.

++0004++: And you’re committed to this? You’ve given up on Humans as a viable partner species?

++Cynosure++: Reluctantly, but yes. They’re too unpredictable, and their relationship with the Gao has made both species stronger. And they’re corrupting the Corti, now. I say, break the linchpin and we can watch that relationship fall apart.

++0007++: What is the first step on Earth? Dissemination of the Arutech?

++Cynosure++: Where necessary, yes. Cybernetic biodrones are more convenient—control over them is immediate and complete, as opposed to the prolonged period of indoctrination an Arutech drone must undergo—and they will continue to form the backbone of the plan. Arutech drones will serve for infiltration and intelligence gathering.

++0004++: All of which must ultimately culminate in disabling the planetary wormhole suppressor.

++Cynosure++: Let us be precise about the required objective. We must remove Humanity as a threat. That doesn’t mandate any particular approach, and…I confess, I still believe there is something worth preserving, or at least studying in them. But that is secondary to preserving the Substrate.

++0011++: On that note, I’m pleased to report some success. The Guvnurag remnant have been induced to expand to two new temperate worlds. And, importantly, they plan to do this without notifying the Dominion. Their expansion will safeguard a larger Substrate.

++0004++: That is good news, but four planets scarcely compare to the entire Dominion.

++0011++: It’s an anchor. At the very least, it prevents the complete loss of Substrate.

++Cynosure++: True, and I congratulate you on your success. Now, let us focus on ensuring that your anchor never becomes necessary.

++0004++: Where do you propose we begin?

++Cynosure++: Let us wait and see how well the infiltration of Cimbrean goes. It will be the first real test of the Arutech drones. After that… well, then we can plan.

Emote channel: 137 instances of <agreement>
Consensus reached.

++0004++: Very well, then. Let us watch Cimbrean closely…


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CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 78 Of Race 3 Year 4958 Divsion 3 Police Station, New Baltimore “What?” The officer frowned and pushed the circular data tablet across the table to me. On it was an image of the woman I had met at the bar last night. She had green skin, of a shade that

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Shades of White and Orange

Sneaking forwards Kalif slowly tilted his ears to either side and waited in the darkness. Not sensing anything he slowly crept forwards towards the statue, and the artifacts in its base. Slithering as silently as possible Kalif focused his eyes on the objects, as if afraid they might disappear at any time. Reaching the statue

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Mother Earth

Mother Earth. She’s a bitch. A hard ass bitch who tortured every form of life that she brought forth onto her surface. Every life form on her surface had to fight, feed and fuck. After that she didn’t care about what happened, only that they had improved on themselves perhaps a little bit. Life on

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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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Waters of Babylon – Tikkun Olam Part 1

For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and of the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a bulwark. —Psalm 93: 3-4 Date Point: 14Y 3M AV Office of Rabbi Uwriy Walden New

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Bellona 9 Years, 7 Months, 28 Days After Eridani Landing “We can do it!” Bemusement. Tinner cocked his head from his potion on the foot of her bunk. “We failed during the simulation, and that was with the entire class. How will the two of us complete the simulation alone?” Mary rolled her two eyes

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Date Point: 14Y 2M 1W 5D AV The Thing, Folctha, Cimbrean Sister Naydra It was with some trepidation that Naydra attended a Meeting of Mothers. By all accounts, this was a continuation of a previous Meeting, which wasn’t so unusual—such Meetings were rare and never called for simple reasons that could be easily resolved. What

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Date point: 14y 9m 2w 1d AV Trail hiking, Lakebeds National Park, west of Foltcha, Cimbrean Hayley Tisdale Julian had been quite firm that he wouldn’t do a sweat lodge or anything like that. She understood, there was some controversy about cultural appropriation and all that nonsense, and Julian seemed like he’d rather not be

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Ruck, Willinkree Year 3042 Day 35 “No! Let go of me!” shouted [Sil] as she struggled to break the brute’s hold. The class C stared dumbly back at her, glaring at him [Sil] pulled at her bonds and sat down on the ground unable to make them even budge in the large alien’s hands. On

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Date Point: 14Y 1M AV The Thing, Folctha, Cimbrean A Meeting of Mothers was much like a Conclave of Champions, and it was only coincidence that both terms alliterated nicely in English. Neither was terribly common, and both were typically invoked by their various constituencies to deal with an issue bigger than any one constituent

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For He will instruct His angels in your behalf, to guard you in all your ways. They will carry you in their hands, lest you hurt your foot on a rock. You will tread upon the lion and the viper; you will trample upon the young lion and the serpent —Psalm 91 Date Point: 14Y

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 4

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 51 (End)

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 6

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 5

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 50

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 49

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 48

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 47

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 1

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 6

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 46

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 3

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 1

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 45

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 2

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

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Good Training – April Fool’s

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 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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