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” gun culture threw around letters and numbers as though everybody knew exactly what they were referring to. Even generally observant types like Julian.

Fortunately, Xiù was good at translating. She apparently didn’t much care for guns either, but she lived with two people who did and had learned how to speak their language.

“It’s an anti-materiel weapon. Commonly called ‘The Barrett M82.’” she explained.


“It can shoot a hole right through a car’s engine block. That’s what it’s designed for, in fact,” Julian said it with a big grin. “…Always wanted to fire one. Al’s gonna be so jealous.”

“And you intend to use that against a living creature?” Daniel felt faintly appalled.

“…Honestly? Not really. I’m hoping it doesn’t get fired in anger at all. But Yan said it himself, this is no ordinary hunt.”

“Yes…” Daniel scratched idly at the back of his neck where the Akyawentan version of a mosquito had visited him last night. The damn things could bite through a Ten’gewek’s thick hide, so a human’s much thinner and more delicate skin was no challenge at all, and the result always hurt.

At least none of the native diseases knew what to do with a human body. Even the parasitic ones like the local version of malaria simply starved and died in the human body. Neither Yan or Vemik had picked up anything from Earth either, which was a good sign for future commerce, but that wasn’t necessarily conclusive; they’d only visited for a short time. On the other hand, if there were anything from Akyawentuo that was likely to jump species, it would have by now.

Back to the problem at hand. Yan.

“…That makes me worry,” Daniel said. “Does he seem… okay?”

“I think the idea of meeting with the Corti rattled him more than he let on,” Xiù suggested. “Let’s face it, they’re people whose sky-magic we speak highly of.”

“Oh hell, you don’t think he’s, I dunno, trying to prove something, do you?”

The couple looked at each other and then mutually shrugged. Not a good sign. Xiù usually had a good read on people, and Julian knew the Ten’gewek mindset well. If they were both stumped, then whatever was going in Yan’s head was well-obscured, possibly even from Yan himself.

Xiù spoke first. “I don’t know what he has to prove. He’s everything his culture thinks a man should be, and he’s smart, attentive, polite, observant, in fantastic health apparently…”

Julian nodded. “I’ve watched him lift and wrestle for literally hours with the two biggest fellas ever, and I’ve watched him learning to read and write with just as much energy. Or steel, bow-making…anything, really. Yan isn’t ever unsettled.”

“And he’s seen Sky-Magic in action, plenty of times,” Xiù added.

“Exactly. He’s as top-of-the-heap as any guy can be, and he’s that across species, too. Yan’s got nothing left to prove to anybody and nothing to be afraid of, either. So…what gives?”

“Nothing to be afraid of except Brown Ones,” Daniel mused. “…Maybe it wasn’t the Corti that rattled him. Maybe it was a Given-Man being attacked and eaten in his own village. Who was it?”

“Droono,” Julian recalled.

“…He was going to be Yan’s successor, wasn’t he?”

“Yeah. He was young as Given-Men go, and already one of their best.”

“I think he was Yan’s cousin, too,” Xiù added.

“So this is personal, then. For several reasons.”

Julian nodded. “Yeah. It’s also…uh, I didn’t say this out loud, but remember when I visited the Lodge? Uh…let’s just say that, with Droono gone…there ain’t another Yan in the wings.”

“Why, what did you see?”

Julian shifted his weight uneasily. “Just…trust me on that. I won’t betray the Lodge, but a big part of what they do is hammer out the pecking order among each other. It…wasn’t much of a contest. Not even a little bit.”

“Well…that’s not comforting. Isn’t he old?”

“Yeah, but like you said he’s in just ridiculously good health, as best as we can tell. So…”

Daniel nodded. The thing that made Given-Men especially weird was that they seemed to get healthier and stronger as they aged. Their skin didn’t wrinkle and sag, their bodies didn’t show increasing signs of wear and tear like regular Ten’Gewek did. Quite the opposite: they all grew fitter and stronger over time. The only thing that really gave away their age was their crests.

Given-Men didn’t seem to die of old age, either. Yan was understandably reluctant to give away too much of their secrets, but what Daniel had managed to secure suggested they went on basically forever until something got them… though that something could come from within.

Yan had said something like…. “It’s the Fire that takes us home, one day. If I am not very respectful to the Gods, the Fire will make me head-broken. If not that, I may do something…too brave, maybe. So the stories say.”

Hunting a Brown One, a literal monster of legend to the Ten’gewek, might just qualify as ‘too brave.’ Except, bringing along a gun designed to put holes in a car didn’t quite fit.

“So, what I’m getting out of this…is Yan is having a mid-life crisis.”

“He’s not human, Dan,” Xiù reminded him gently. “Sometimes, aliens are aliens.”

“Oh come on,” Dan objected. “He’s about fifty and in his prime, he’s feeling his oats, he’s worried about his legacy…”

“Mm. Totally unlike a smart silver fox professor type who decided to play Doctor Livingstone on an alien world, huh?” She flashed a playful smile.

“Y—” Dan paused. “…Hmm.”

“I mean, you could be completely right!” she added. “…Or you could be projecting. It’s… just something to keep in mind.”

Julian couldn’t help but being his usual troll self. “Silver fox, huh? I can see it. I bet I’ll have better hair in thirty years though…”

“Twenty!” Dan shot back in a mix of indignation and amusement.

“Probably be in better shape too….”

“And with three doctorates to your name?”

“…Okay, probably not that.”

“We could fix that, you know…”

“Oh God no!” Julian objected. “I don’t have time!”

“Hmm. Maybe I could, though…” Xiù mused. Before that thought went any further, however, they were all interrupted by the familiar ground-shaking thump of the Array firing.

Sure enough, Hoeff was sitting cross-legged on top of the supply boxes in the company of the biggest gun Daniel had ever seen that wasn’t actually mounted on a vehicle. It was a drab green color, at least four feet long, and had a muzzle that Daniel could have fit his thumb into.

Julian snorted at the sight. “…Hoeff, please don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but even with all your progress lately? That rifle makes you look like a five year old kid.”

Hoeff vaulted down off the boxes and patted the weapon fondly. “I reckon not many kindergarteners have guns like I do!”

“…Guns? Wait, don’t—goddamnit.”

Hoeff flexed his big knotted arms and giggled like a boy who had the most bestest toy ever.

Julian gave a wry grin, “I mean…they’re pretty good, I guess.”

“Aww! And here I thought you were a gun nut these days!”

Xiù sighed and covered her eyes with her hand wearily. “Hoeff, that’s worse than any pun I’ve ever managed…Also.” She looked over at Julian, glanced at each of his considerably more impressive meat-hooks in turn, grinned coyly and said nothing more.

Sometimes, the mark of an exceptional woman was her ability to put a man in his place with nothing more than a smile. Hoeff grumbled ruefully while Julian scratched at the back of his head in embarrassment. He still didn’t quite realize just how much that gesture could show off.

For his part, Daniel snorted in amusement, then looked away as he heard a rustling from the nearby trees. “Brace yourselves…” he warned. “If that’s not Vemik, I’ll eat my fountain pen.”

It was. The instant Hoeff crossed the safety line, he was promptly tackled and wrestled into a tightly compacted ball.

“You have new mag-a-zeens yet?!”

Hoeff gave Julian a grinning yet slightly desperate look. “Little help here, hrrrrgh!”

“Nah. Use those big guns of yours!”

“Guns?!” Vemik sprang up and instantly bounced over to the cargo, prowling around its exterior with all the eager excitement of…well, Vemik. He kept his hands off, though; Vemik had eventually learned some boundaries. He hooted appreciatively at the M107 as he inspected it.


…Were all Dan’s fellow menfolk really so stereotypical? Or was he just out of his habitual oeuvre?

“At least someone likes my guns…”

Vemik again hooted his manic approval. “Who doesn’t like big guns?!” He then bounced clear over the cargo pile to inspect from the other side, presumably because walking was too slow.

“Finally, a man with some taste!” Hoeff’s smarmy grin was unbearable.

“Oh my god, you’re terrible! Don’t you have something important to be doing?”

“Naw,” Hoeff shrugged. “Yan said he’d be here when I got back. Guess he’s runnin’ late.”

“He visiting Loor’s tribe right now. Their women…very pretty!”

Ah. He, Julian, Hoeff and Vemik all looked at each other, then collectively looked at the pile of cargo on the pad. Oh well, at least they’d get some exercise in.

The work didn’t take long between the four of them…well, three, plus Daniel’s “help.” Next to those rough-and-tumble men, he wasn’t exactly a longshoreman of legendary repute.

Naturally, once the pad had been cleared and the neighboring young Ten’Gewek recruited to help move the cargo, there was nothing left for Julian and Vemik to do. That was a condition that lasted about fourteen seconds before Vemik looked over at Julian, twitched his tail, snarled with a playfully aggressive grin, tackled the huge woodsman like a frog leaping across the ground…

And reminded them all who the kings of the jungle really were on Akyawentuo. Even standing as tall as he comfortably could on those heavyset legs of his, Vemik was a couple inches shorter than Hoeff and a full foot shorter than Julian, yet despite that he had noticeably broader shoulders and a sturdier, more muscular build. The blessings of youth, hard work, plentiful meat, and very good fortune had widened the mass gap between them to over fifty kilos in hardly any time at all, which was…Outside of the HEAT, no other humans were really Julian’s match, as far as anyone knew. He could best most any Ten’Gewek that wasn’t a Given-Man, and he definitely had Vemik beat on skill, patience, reach, and long working endurance…

…But the Sky-Thinker was already one of the strongest men the Ten’Gewek had. It took him a few minutes longer to wad Julian up into a ball than it had taken with Hoeff, but once he got those thick arms, legs, and tail of his properly around his prey, there was no escape.

“I strong man of the People, Jooyun.” Vemik snarled playfully right next to his ear. “Yan make me spear-hunt every day. I beat iron, train with you and Heff, race through trees…” He ratcheted his crush tighter and earned a groan of pain from Julian. “Now I wrestle you!”

He did. Julian wasn’t exactly helpless, and did manage to turn the tables now and then—once with a ground-shaking body slam that earned a rueful trill and a moan of pain from Vemik—but for the most part it was Vemik who ruled the day. Everyone else conversed and tidied up while the manic Sky-Thinker and Julian-slab happily crushed each other into giant bruises.

Oh well, they did seem to be enjoying themselves…

Daniel shook his head and decided he’d stick with his books.

Maybe an hour later Yan joined them from the forest, whistling merrily while a half-dozen bibtaw swung from his tail by their ears.

Ten’Gewek had an incredible ability to whistle, Daniel noted. They had virtually perfect pitch control and could put a hell of a lot of ear-splitting power behind it if they wanted. Fortunately, Yan was being somewhat civilized at the moment, though the leg-swinging happy bounce in his usual swagger was telling, to say the least.

The moment Vemik heard Yan approaching, he bounced up and hauled Julian to his feet, then dragged him down to his level for a crushing hug. It was one of those deeply affectionate, tail-around-waist and forehead-to-forehead kind of moments the Ten’Gewek reserved for those they truly loved. “Good fight! I make you werne jerky okay?!”

Julian chuckle-groaned in pain, but wrapped his big arms around Vemik and hauled him off the ground for what Dan would surely have felt as a literally spine-shattering hug. “Okay, big buddy!” He shot a look at Xiù, “Make some for my girlfriends and we’re even.”

“Okay!!” Vemik wrapped himself completely around Julian and they hugged even tighter, while Xiù giggled and Hoeff rolled his eyes.

“Right. Well!” Daniel waved at the Given-Man. “Did you have fun, Yan?”

“Yes! I had three funs! [You should go visit Loor-tribe, Vemik! Noyu is without child just now…well, maybe not anymore!”]

Daniel saw the way Xiù rolled her eyes. He couldn’t blame her. He still wasn’t quite used to how casually promiscuous the Ten’gewek could be, and he suspected no Western-raised human ever would be.

Vemik jumped down from Julian’s grasp and hooted in a very specific this-conversation-is-old kind of tone. [“I tell you every time Yan, I am happiest with Singer. Dancing for other women is fun, but nobody makes me laugh like her! Anyway come look at Heff’s guns!!”]

Another reminder of her point that they were dealing with aliens here. People he loved, admired and respected, but that didn’t automatically mean he fully understood them.

[“Vemet was the same way…”] Yan grumbled indulgently, but his interest perked up when he laid eyes on the rifle. [“…Now that is a strong gun.”]

Yup. Daniel was marooned on Monkey Planet and surrounded on all sides by big, brawny, and terminally testosterone-poisoned men. It should have been a scene from an eighties-era bad teen movie, except none of them were stereotypically stupid, nor were they cruel bullies. The were just…playfully crude.

And happy. He’d worried at first about life among superjocks, but honestly…it wasn’t so bad.

“Anyway.” said Yan. “We must go and see Brown One, yes? Vemik! [I need you to send word to the west. Loor-tribe is already spreading word east!”]

“Got anything else for us, Hoeff?” Julian asked.

“Just the tagging kit.” Hoeff nudged it with a toe.

“Tag-ging. Means…?”

[“Means it’s for putting a mark on the Brown One that we can follow!”] Vemik enthused.

“Yuh-huh. Gonna tape it to the drone… Y’all did bring the drone, right?” Hoeff checked.

“Yup. Xiù’s gonna fly it.”

“That makes sense.”

“I’ll leave you to plan your expedition,” Daniel said, and stood up to return to the…

Was it still a camp? They still called it “The Camp”, but really it was a permanent research station nowadays, and the word “camp” did it an injustice. They’d never named it either, which was beginning to rub against Daniel’s sense of rightness.

Then again, it was never supposed to be what it was. It had originally just been temporary housing and a situation room for the archeological dig around the furthest inland settlement the lake Ten’gewek had apparently founded. Daniel had always intended for whatever permanent human presence arose on Akyawentuo to be a carefully contained enclave, maybe on an island somewhere, supplemented by some kind of a philosopher’s garden somewhere near to the tribes.

Nowadays it was a place of the most constructive of culture clashes. Humans taught Ten’Gewek how to read—now that they had their own letters, Yan thought it was “okay”—and how to do more practical things. Things like food preservation, simple tool making, mindful habits about writing down thoughts as they occurred and suchlike. Predictably, everyone was interested in Hoeff and Julian’s daily weightlifting and other training, so every day they taught the People how to methodically exercise, once they’d finished torturing Dan and his students.

All in all, things were going well! They’d even begun a post office between the Given-Men, now that Vemik’s and Singer’s writing was spreading like wildfire. ‘Giving-marks’ and ‘Taking-sounds’ was what they had called the female and male systems. The one ‘gave’ the reader an idea with its many characters, all of which evolved from the Singers’ bite-marking system, while the other one ‘took’ sounds from the mouth and kept them on paper forever.

They were soaking up knowledge like sponges and making it their own, in ways Dan couldn’t have hoped to guess they would. The Ten’gewek, in turn, taught the somewhat cloistered graduate students how to live a little, though that had of course been a bit awkward at first…

…Because the Ten’Gewek were…amorous. Deeply, aggressively amorous.

And they were interested.

That had prompted important issues immediately. How, for example, would a young woman politely turn down the love interest of a playful, flirtatious, rugged, breathtakingly athletic spacemonkey who might mass north of three hundred kilos…or much more for a Given-Man? For that matter, how did the young men politely decline the attention of women who often massed over one-fifty, and could put all but the most elite human athletes to shame?

Well, good banter did the trick, as playfulness seemed to be the key to everything Ten’Gewek. They had a soft spot for bravado and someone had been teaching them bad words. They had gleefully embraced the term “snu snu” for example. They didn’t need to know where it came from, only that what it meant was hilarious to them.

Thus were the awkward clashes deflected, and in the end it served its purpose: Feelings remained unhurt, bodies remained unbroken, and the possibility remained open for anyone brave and adventurous enough to finally try it. After all, it wasn’t like the Ten’gewek weren’t quite brutally handsome in a primal, alien sort of way…

Daniel couldn’t imagine himself boldly going quite that boldly. He was…pretty sure a couple of his students might, and he wasn’t going to judge if they did, but he wanted no part of it.

In any case, once the natives understood that, no, there would be no casual mating with the tall elf people from the sky, the more concrete matters of learning and exchange could proceed apace.

Keeping the place tidy when there were curious native children constantly poking their nonexistent noses into everything was the biggest challenge now. They were… Their desire to help exceeded their ability to help. Though they were helpful: They were strong like grown men and had the boundless energy only a child could have. Focusing their attention was a challenge, but give them a task, and make it competitive…

The archeologists on-staff had never once had porters so hard-working and eager to please. Provided they were only entrusted with things that could survive a little rough handling, the dig sites ran like clockwork.

Claire in particular had a deft touch with them. Enough so that she could actually dismiss a whole pack of chattering cavemonkey children with a few kind words as Daniel arrived.

“Is he back?” she asked, and Daniel smiled inwardly. She only had eyes for one man, of any species. Too bad the man in question had… hangups.

“Yes, and the gun he brought is almost bigger than he is!”

She sighed and tidied up her books. They included the works of Doctor Seuss, printed on Tyvek in both English and Vemik’s writing system, and Daniel wasn’t entirely sure where she’d got them or who’d performed the transliteration. The pool of potential candidates wasn’t big, but it was big enough. “…So the hunt’s going ahead.”

“It certainly looks that way… At least I’m not worried about anyone getting killed any longer.”

“How come?”

“That rifle looks like it’d make a cow explode. And it’s got a scope on it you could see Neil Armstrong’s boot prints with from here. That poor Brown One doesn’t stand a chance.”

Claire pulled a face. “Kind of an anticlimactic end for a creature like that.”

“Which is why I don’t think this hunt is a good idea, but…”

“But it’s Yan’s idea,” she finished. She sighed and pushed her glasses up her nose. “Well, if they’re not free to make a mistake…”

“…Then they’re not free,” Daniel agreed. “All we can do is stand aside and let them do their thing.”

“I wonder what’s going on in Yan’s head?”

Daniel considered all the possible answers he could give. The conversation he’d had with Julian and Xiù back at the array, his own dark suspicions…

In the end, he decided not to burden her any more than she already was.

“That, I think,” he said, “is between Yan and the gods.”

That was all he could say.

Date Point: 16y2m3d AV
Mrwrki Station, Erebor system, Deep Space

Lewis Beverote

“Still no word from the dang thing, huh?”

Darcy shook her head as she considered the intricate document in front of her. “None. It just left me a cryptic note about detecting something and vanished… I get three spells, right ?”

“Yeah. Here.” Lewis handed over the spell cards. “Way easier than tracking them on your sheet.”

“Thanks. This is complicated enough already…”

“Dude, don’t worry. You’ll get it it in no time.”

“You sound worried,” Lucy observed. She was handing out snacks and drinks while they waited for the other two to arrive.

“About the Entity? I guess I am.” Darcy sighed as she started to read the cards. “I mean… It’s my responsibility after all.”

“Isn’t it, like, the baddest dude out there though?” Lewis asked.

“I know it makes the Hierarchy shit their pants, but that might just make them gang up on it.” Darcy put a card down. “Comprehend languages?”

“Sure, yeah. Lee likes his arcane mysteries and ancient tomes and shit. That’d come in useful.”

“Who’s our fourth player, anyway?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“…Is it Vedreg?”

Lucy and Lewis boh groaned. She was exactly right.

“Like… how’d you guess?”

Well, you’ve got this big open patch of floor here that he could squeeze into, and we’re on this side of the table…” Darcy grinned. “And honestly, inviting a Guvnurag to play D&D just sound like a you two thing to do.”

“She’s got us, baby,” Lucy laughed as she patted Lewis on the shoulder, and sat down. “Wanna know the best bit?”


“He’s playing a barbarian. And he’s taking it very seriously.”

Lewis grinned too when they were treated to the rare sound of one of Darcy’s giggles. It ended in a kind of uptick squeak. “How seriously?” she asked.

“He watched all three Conan movies back-to-back,” Lucy revealed.

“Hee! Vedreg the Barbarian!”

“Lee had to talk him outta callin’ the character ‘Steve.’” Lewis recalled. “He–”

Their door chimed, and he stood to open it while Lucy picked up the story. Sure enough, Lee and Vedreg were outside, one very much looming over the other. Not that Vedreg had any other option but to loom. Bein’ as big as a van would do that for a dude.

It made welcoming him into the home tricky. Mrwrki had been built by and for the Kwmbwrw originally, who were a fair bit taller and broader than humans themselves, so the doors were just about able to welcome a middle-aged Guvnurag if he didn’t mind having to shuffle through them in a low crouch.

At least the private quarters were big and roomy. Vedreg settled comfortably in the middle of the rug and the four humans scooted the table over in front of him so they could gather ‘round for the first session of their new campaign.

Lucy was playing a paladin, of course. She always played paladins or clerics. Darcy had never played D&D before and had gone with a warlock. Vedreg’s barbarian promised plenty of hitty-smashy combat goodness.

Lewis had decided to go with a ranger. It seemed like a fairly balanced party, all told.

They made a little small-talk before they began, obviously, but pretty soon Lee was waving his hands and describing how the four characters’ collective adventure began in the back of a wagon at a slave market built inside the ribcage of a long-dead titanic primordial being.

An hour later, Vedreg was carefully rolling his giant foam d20 to see whether he’d cleave through a chattering skeletal minion when Darcy’s phone pinged urgently.

She immediately grabbed for it. “Oh, shit… Sorry guys. This one’s important.”

“Aww c’mon—!” Lewis objected.

“I work in intelligence, Lewis. ‘Vacation’ and ‘free time’ are quaint concepts I gave up when I sold them my soul. They call, I jump.”

Lee and Lucy both nodded, sadly understanding. Vedreg merely glowed a shade of interested raspberry red as she got up and crossed the room to answer.

“Darcy… It is? Alright, yeah, link it through. Thanks.” She lowered the phone slightly and smiled across the room. “Our friend’s back.”

“That’s good news,” Vedreg said, shading to a warmer, more relieved shade of red.

“Yeah. Let me just…” She sat on the couch. “Hello. Welcome back!”

Lewis stood up and made coffee for himself, Lucy and Lee, a hot chocolate for Vedreg and a green tea for Darcy. Hopefully if she wasn’t just heading back to her office, that meant the game was merely interrupted rather than cancelled.

Sadly, that seemed it wasn’t to be. After a minute or so of talking to her screen and whatever mishmash of emojis came back, Darcy sighed, stood, and grabbed her shoes.

“Sorry guys, I think I need to head back to the office,” she gave them a weary shrug and an apologetic half-smile.

“Something big come up?” Lee asked.

“You could say that,” Darcy agreed. She slipped her shoes on and grabbed her bag. “It, uh… It says it has a prisoner.”

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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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Waters of Babylon – Tzedakah Part 3

Date Point: 14Y 1M 3W AV HMS Sharman, Folctha, Cimbrean Toran and Tybal “Shhh…” “You shhh…. I’m already ssssh’ing.” The two cubs, having crept past the outer fence surrounding the base, slinked in behind a short hedge and remained motionless. It was late enough that the nightly rain had, overall, stopped, but early enough that

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Causal Results – Chapter 5

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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Waters of Babylon – Tzedakah Part 2

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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Waters of Babylon – Tzedakah Part 1

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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Good Training – Survival Part 9

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 4

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 8

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 4

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

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Henosis – Chapter 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 3

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 7

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

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Henosis – Chapter 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 1

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

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Henosis – Chapter 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 5

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

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Henosis – Chapter 1

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 4

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 51 (End)

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 6

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 5

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 50

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 49

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 48

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 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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