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 soon as they could be made ready. With that, runners from nearby villages charged off into the trees to spread the news, and not long after that, more and more of the People poured into Yan’s village bringing meat, treats, an eagerness to play…

It was spring, after all. Springtime play normally had a slightly dangerous edge to it, like a flint knife that had been knapped a bit too thin and which could cut the hand that held it as badly as anything else. Big fights between tribes could happen in spring, when the Given-Men were at their hottest Fire, and the young men were strong and eager to take any woman even vaguely interested…or not, sometimes. For himself, Yan had never felt his Fire as strongly as he had this season, not even the first time so many seasons ago. It was only his worry for his People against the Sky-Tribes that kept his feet firmly on the trail…and maybe, if he thought about it, his love for Jooyun too.

But! Today was a happy day! Many of the sky-tribes were cruel and uncaring, but the gods must have smiled on the Ten’Gewek when they conspired for the Humans to find them.

Most of the Humans stayed out of the way and let the People have their fun. They had words like ‘high energy’ and ‘highly strung.’ They were celebrating too, in their quieter way, with beers and food, and some of their strange music playing from a singing-stone near their fire. But what Yan noticed, when he checked on them, was that it wasn’t like the way the People partied. Couples weren’t slipping away to find somewhere private to fuck. Well…Heff had his Claire wrapped up in strong arms and affection, and the two weren’t paying much attention to anyone else…but still. The rest of the men weren’t wrestling and boasting, the women weren’t dancing and teasing the men with promises of sweet treats and a warm, comfortable pile of hides…

These were ‘coll-eegs.’ They liked each other, they worked together, but they had rules. Rules seemed to be a big thing, to Humans. They were everywhere, spoken and unspoken, felt rather than learned.

Maybe that was a good thing, for people who played with the power of stars and nukes and built things like USS Robert A. Heinlein, and made rifles that could tear beasts in half or kill them even on a close miss. Maybe Humans needed their rules, to be as strong as they were.

Maye the People would need to become like that too, in time. But not yet.

So, Yan had partied in the People’s way. He’d fought, and boasted, and feasted, and nearly beaten Heff in a knife-throwing contest, and had beaten Jooyun in a race around the village, and he’d finally got to enjoy Yoonee, and two of Yoonee’s sisters too…

After which he’d decided that he was tired and would go celebrate with the Humans, something a few others including Vemik and the Singer had already chosen to do.

They’d opened some beers to celebrate the talks. Yan declined, but Vemik decided he would throw caution to the wind and brave another… Maybe because the latest woman to catch his eye was drinking it as well. Yan wasn’t about to try a Human, they were too… bendy… but if Vemik and Tilly both wanted to, then good luck to them!

Jooyun had pretty thoroughly exhausted himself playing with the men of the other tribes. He mostly won, too! That was good. The others needed to see their Human sky-friends as strong, because the more Yan learned about the bigger world, the more he realized that strong meant more than big muscles. The trick was showing that to the rest of the People. That was why Yan maybe bullied Jooyun a bit in the beginning and made him a man of the People. It was for his own good, firstly, but mostly it was for the tribes. Professor Daniel and his people were very nice when they visited each village, they brought learnings and coloring books…but they were strange and small people, hard to understand. And strictly off-limits for normal play.

Not Jooyun. He had grown strong enough for the People and had endless energy to challenge all comers, but even he had his limits. Eventually, when it was getting dark and two of the younger men from Bor’s tribe had tackled him at the same time, they were finally able to pin him to the ground, claim their victories, and give him a small embarrassment. He stumbled back to the campfire while smiling hugely, despite being exhausted and so sweaty-wet he looked like he’d fallen into the river. A couple of the younger children chased after him, eager to climb onto his back and pester him with young-boy questions.

He’d earned some peace, though. “Go play with your friends, little fellas! I need to sit down!”

He sat heavily next to Yan, sighed fondly at them, and groped greedily at those beer bottles. Yan still didn’t like beer. Instead of drinking until he was too dizzy to even walk, Yan planned to drag Yoonee and her sisters back to his hut, pin them under his strength and fuck them completely stupid, and keep fucking them until maybe the noon singing tomorrow…

It hadn’t taken Jooyun long to down a hand of bottles and start in on number five. Not even all that beer seemed to make him the least bit ‘dwunk.’ Professor Daniel had matched him drink for drink too, and maybe he was a little calmer and slower, but otherwise Yan could see nothing wrong with him either. It was him who’d sounded so surprised at Yan’s confession.

“No silly play. They say what they want to take, they say what they can give back. Honest.”

“Only ‘cuz we kept ‘em that way, bud,” Jooyun told him. “They’d have taken you for everything if they could.”

“Good!” Yan boasted. “Would be weak if we let them climb all over us!”

“And they would be weak if they didn’t try to climb all over us!” the Singer agreed. She was trying beer for herself, and seemed to like it. “Why didn’t they come visit? We’d make a feast!”

Professor Daniel drained his bottle and set it next to the growing pile. Vemik would no doubt claim them for himself tomorrow. “They can’t. The gravity alone would at the very least break their bones.”

“They have excursion suits, don’t they?” Jooyun asked. “…No, wait. One sniff of the air around here and they’d be in anaphylactic shock in seconds.”

Yan had no idea what that long word was, but he’d long since got used to that with Humans. Jooyun was good about making a People-word if it was something really important for them to know. It sounded like a weak-person kind of problem, though. Didn’t sound nice at all.

“We had the same worry about Gaoians visiting Earth.” Professor Daniel pointed out.

“Yes…but that’s still valid for some of them. They have to get tested before visiting, after all. It’s like…half of all Silverfurs, and ten percent of the Brownies, I think? But yeah.”

“I thought Gaoians were [deathworlders] too?” Yan asked.

“They are,” Daniel said with a nod. “But the Hierarchy sealed away many of their body-words that make them that. Those body-words have been slowly escaping for many generations now, but the kind of time that, uh, the gods work on in these things is much, much longer than a life. In any case, they’re only just now re-learning what it means to be themselves. Really proper examples of them being Deathworlders—like Daar, or his friends—are still pretty rare.”

“That’s going to change though, I bet,” Jooyun mused.

“Oh, absolutely…Anyway. You still have some work to do, Yan. The Corti want to see a demonstration of your people’s overall fitness, so you’ll need to find two hands of the smartest, strongest, and best-looking Ten’Gewek you can, so we can bring them to Cimbrean for a little adventure next week.”

“God,” grumbled Jooyun, “That’s going to be…interesting.”

Yan ignored Jooyun’s misuse of god’s name for the moment. “Why?”

“Remember everything we had to teach you, Yan? How to use the toilet? How to stay safe with the other aliens? Things you absolutely can’t do?”

“Vemik and I, we’re smart! If we can learn, other People learn too!”

“And will you ensure they behave themselves?”

“Jooyun Sky-Brother,” Yan chided, “I am not a young, dumb man. I know my people. They will behave, you have my word.”

“…And your word is more than enough.” Jooyun nodded seriously. “But just to be sure, uh… absolutely no mating with aliens…” Jooyun gave a sly look over toward Tilly, who was a tiny, animated little thing wrapped up tightly in Vemik’s limbs; the two were essentially oblivious to all but themselves and conspired quietly with each other. Singer just rolled her eyes and trilled.

Yan nodded solemnly. There were times some of the younger Given-Men, still getting used to their Fire, suggested that being so close with the Sky-People made him and the people around him weaker. Yan had never stood for that, not for a second, and everyone who’d ever said it to his face had been one big bruise by the time he was done with them.

They didn’t know Jooyun and the others. They saw Jooyun and respected him, but the others? Little stick-thin ones like Tilly and old men like Professor Daniel weren’t the same thing. They knew Jooyun was rare among his kind, so Humans were weaker than the People. Even if they actually knew better in their head…it was hard to see past what someone’s gut said was true.

Yan had seen metal death hammer down from above, and a flash of godly power smash the forest. He had seen ships, and cities, and guns, and cars, and all the other things and he knew it was Humans who did all those things. The others… knew it, but they didn’t know it. Didn’t feel it. Yan looked at Humans and saw strong people, just like he’d seen strength in Vemik even when the Sky-Thinker was a young boy who spent too long gazing at clouds and not enough time throwing spears.

Professor Daniel and his coll-eegs were winning them over. It just…took time, and maybe it took Jooyun beating the bad thoughts out of a man now and then, too. When his women weren’t looking.

And there was another image seared in Yan’s mind, from the first time he’d fought the Hierarchy’s death-birds. The time Awisun had swatted a hand of them out of the air in just heartbeats with a cold, fierce face and no mercy.

Their bodies might be small. But their hearts were as fierce as anything Yan had ever fought.

“Yes, yes…” Yan again looked at the beer, and shuddered slightly. “They say, bring men and women? And you promise we will be gone only a little while?”

“Yeah, men and women both. They should be quick learners so we can, I dunno, teach them Gravball maybe?”

“Now that would be a heck of a demonstration…” Professor Daniel said.

“You’ve seen gravball?”

“The rules leaked out in a TV interview some time ago. There’s a YouTube league now. Or, well, was. The rate of injury was pretty ridiculous. But given sports medicine these days…”

“Didn’t take you for a sports fan.”

“Not usually. But you have to admit, Gravball is spectacular.”

“Fun as heck to play, too. It’s basically three-dee spacerugby. Ooh!” Jooyun was struck by a good idea suddenly. “Maybe we could run them through some scenarios! Show off that they’re quick problem-solvers, too. Whatever we gotta do to make a good impression, yeah?”

Daniel chuckled. “You’re definitely a cheerleader for them.”

“Us. Cheerleader for us, human and Ten’Gewek. I took the rites, remember? And I took ‘em seriously.”

“Fair enough.”

“We bring our best,” Yan agreed. “Show us at our best, too. Only way.”

“I’d say no Given-Men besides you, though. After all…” Jooyun smiled slyly as he brought the bottle to his lips. “They didn’t ask for Given-Men specifically. Make them pay more for that!”

“Devious! I imagine Claire would like that…where is she?”

Yan grinned. “Fucking Heff!” He’d seen them slip away from the fire during the conversation.

Predictably, the Humans got all embarrassed.

“And where’s Tilly and Vem—? Oh. Never, uh, never mind. I don’t want to know.”

“…Well. Best’a luck to her, I guess,” Jooyun looked awkward, then stood up. “I’m gonna go sleep. I’ve gotta jump back early in the morning. And arrange shenanigans for you, Yan.”

That was one of his favorite sky-words. One of Yan’s too. “Go. Don’t be gone long.”

“Never. Maybe I’ll bring Tristan and Ramsey next time!”

“Strong boys?”

“They will be.”

“Good.” Yan liked that. Boys (and girls!) should grow up strong. And if they impressed the core-tie enough…

The People would be sky-strong too.

Date Point: 16y3m1d AV
Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches


There was something wrong with Leemu’s eyes, and it was scaring the shit out of him.

He’d never been all that brave. He hoped he wasn’t a coward, but fear was… he’d avoided it, when he could. Now, though, it was a light in the darkness. It was… something. A feeling, which made it a beacon he could follow out from under the crushing weight of depression. It was the first thing he’d felt with any real strength or passion since waking up, so as much as he was frightened by it…

He was also curious.

He’d first noticed it after a day or two living with Preed and Gorku on this strange new planet in this house the Great Father himself had got for them. Something was… Odd. When he looked out the window at the people walking past, sometimes some of their clothes popped out strangely from the background. He couldn’t describe it, just that they were… strange.

It didn’t go away. It just got more and more intense as time went on until one day he looked at a bottle of sauce on the counter in Preed’s kitchen and, with a jolt that fell right through him from his head to his stomach, he realized that he was seeing a new color.

“Gorku! Help!”

The huge Stoneback was in their garage gym, cheerily making a racket as he did most days when he wasn’t gleefully forcing Leemu to do the same. It wasn’t as fun as it had been before, there was much more pain and not as much progress, but…well. He only really looked forward to two things in the world. Preed’s noodles, and Gorku’s efforts to Make Everything Better.

Now, he desperately needed them.

Gorku came stampeding out of the garage. “Wuz’ wrong, buddy?” His speech had improved dramatically, but it was still a tiny bit slurred. Leemu had been noticing details like that a lot more, lately. And thinking about them more, too.

“Color!” He noticed something about Gorku’s fur. It looked different! Like…richer, maybe.


“I… I’m seeing…” Leemu waved a paw desperately at the sauce bottle. “What is that?”

“Uh…” Gorku lumbered over to the bottle and sniffed it. “…Hot sauce?”

“No I mean, what color is it you huge…?”

“Oh! Uh…kinda green? Mebbe a little yellowish, dunno why Preed likes it so much…”

“No! It’s different! I–” Leemu spun as Preed came in from the little garden he’d started tending out the back of the house. “Preed, what–”

Preed blinked at him, then at the bottle. “Red. Bright red. Slightly orange.”


“Yes. Maybe…come outside, Leemu.”

Preed had started growing a garden out back of the kitchen. Mostly it was herbs, and that was a real treat for the nose. One of Leemu’s first really good moments had come when he’d been led outside and had the chance to experience the scents of Basil, Lemongrass, Galangal, Turmeric, Coriander, garlic…

He’d also planted flowers, which were a different and much sweeter texture for the nose. Now, though, they were… were…

Leemu looked around, and felt as if the world had just become much, much bigger and way scarier. He whimpered, just trying to taken the sheer incredible change of it all–!

He felt as if the bottom had dropped out and he was falling down, down—but also flying. There were hues there he’d never imagined. Like that flower which was blue but not, and that one which was yellow but not. And…

He sat down abruptly and covered his eyes, shivering.

Gorku and Preed were right there for him. It took him a while to feel brave enough to open his eyes and look again and see just how different everything was.

It was… He didn’t know how he’d even begin to describe it. He could see patterns on the flowers and leaves that would have been invisible before. Were invisible! When he looked at Preed’s shoes he saw a warm healthy color he couldn’t name rather than the dark drab one he’d never really thought about.

He pointed at them with something between excitement and terror. “What color are your shoes?!”

“These? They’re just brown…”

“I’ve never seen a brown like that!”

“…Really? I always thought they were a bit plain—”

“I need to see more!”

The fear was gone. Suddenly, Leemu wanted to see everything. A quick blitz around the garden turned up a hose with bright “orange” connectors, a climbing flower of some kind that was still in its infancy but nevertheless the little buds were riots of rich color, and a tiny insect that Preed said was an Earthling. It had a shiny carapace covered in little black dots, but the base was red.

Gorku followed him all around the garden smelling strongly of worry. “Leemu…are you okay?”

“What are these?!” Leemu thrust a seed packet at his friend.


“And th— Fyu!”

Preed had been chuckling to himself as he gathered the hose. Now he’d plugged it in, turned the water on and put his thumb over the free end, which he aimed high into the air. It was billowing out a fine spray, and within that spray was…

Leemu ran out of words. He just stopped, and stared.

“You like that, Leemu? That’s called a rainbow.”

Leemu approached carefully, staring at the mystical thing dancing in the air in front of him. “…You see this? This is what it’s like to see like a Human?”

“Sorry to say, I think you’ll get used to it.”

Leemu reached out to touch the rainbow, and got a wet paw for his efforts. It snapped him back to reality a bit, though. “…I don’t think I want to get used to it. Wh…what is that?”

“Light through a prism, or something like that. There are seven main colors. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.”

“Do you see these a lot?”

“I saw one this morning. It rains here every night. Get up early, and you’ll see them if the rain lasts late into the morning and the sun comes up behind it.”

Gorku smelled confused, and when Leemu glanced at him he saw his large friend tilting his head at the water spray. Preed turned and shut off the water, and the rainbow faded away.

Leemu felt a moment of profound sadness, but a different kind to what had been crushing him for so long. The fact was… he’d just seen something that he wouldn’t have seen if the Arutech had killed him. He’d seen something that the Arutech hadn’t shown him, too. It was…

For the first time since being cured, there was something better about life than what the nanites had been doing to his brain.

He held that thought lightly in his brain, barely daring to touch it. Then he looked at Preed, and completely broke down.

Later, after the hugging and keening and healing, when he was alone in the evening gathering his thoughts, he worked up the balls to do something truly ludicrous. He sent the Great Father a message, directly to his personal infosphere account.

It consisted of one short, vital question.

“What am I?” 

The reply came within minutes.

“The future--D, GF” 

It felt good.

Date Point: 16y3m1d AV
Planet Akyawentuo, the Ten’Gewek Protectorate, Near 3Kpc Arm

Doctor Tilly Briggs

Tilly had no regrets. But her body sure as fuck had complaints.

She and Vemik had stayed up long into the night talking about his “bawistuh,” way up in the trees where she could see the world bathed in the full-moon gloom. Ten’Gewek had excellent night vision, and Vemik in particular had sharp eyes; he kept pointing out interesting things she could barely see. Though…while looking at stars and trees was admittedly fun, they were alone for a reason and quickly grew much more interested in each other. She told him stories about her life while he listened, rapt and asking question after eager question. That was flattering and all, but she was more interested in hearing more about him. His stories were much more exciting, and were filled with adventure and danger, the joys of discovery and exploration…

He grew more and more animated as he told her about his manhood Hunt and the huge Werne he’d taken. He had invented the bow for the occasion, too! At some point the cavemonkey part of his personality asserted itself and he began to show off while telling his stories, mostly by jumping about, flipping head over tail, one-arm flinging himself like he was secretly ten times lighter than he actually was… Stereotypically grunty? Of course. She normally didn’t find herself terribly impressed by that sort of thing, but Vemik was just so honestly playful…

She wasn’t complaining, really. The Sky-Thinker put every single one of her insecure former suitors to shame, in every category. He was smarter than them, much smarter, to the point where she was pretty sure he was a genius-level intellect under all that brawn, smart enough that her only advantage seemed to be her schooling and experience. His mind was like a bear trap, even when tipsy.

He was intensely affectionate, too. Vemik had wrapped her up tight in those thick-set, steel-strong limbs of his while he finished his story, burbling happily about the stream of big ideas he so desperately wanted to achieve. She found herself on the edge of being flustered by him. Just keeping herself afloat was proving to be alluringly taxing, even if it was a bit like being lovingly crushed by a hot marble statue. Still, exploring ideas with Vemik was…overwhelming. In a good way! But overwhelming, nonetheless.

Nor did it help that he was…well, really quite handsome. She had trouble looking away from those iridescent eyes of his, or the way his naturally neon red-orange sideburns framed his broad, heavy jaw…Vemik was definitely a looker in a brutally masculine, alien sort of way, and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but who really decided that sort of thing anyway? It wasn’t like she made a habit of dating ugly men of course, she had standards…but Vemik had charm that cut right through the superficial bullshit. She liked him. She liked him a lot.

…Of course, he was also several hundred kilos of compact spacemonkey gymnast, and had a steel-hard superhero body to go along with it. She didn’t mind that at all, oh no. He was supremely self-confident about it too, but had none of the posturing fragile ego that so often came with the big meatheads she’d turned down in the past. His swagger was effortless, unconscious and authentic, which just made it so much more impressive.

He was, in short, a rare man by any definition. Young, accomplished, kind-hearted, absurdly intelligent, good-looking with the body of a god… and all the boundless, untempered, overwhelming enthusiasm for life that only a young man in his late teens could possibly have.

One of his ideas involved damming a river some distance from the village, which of course he decided needed showing right now. Tilly found herself suddenly riding on the edge of terror as he flung them both through the trees at what felt like a suicidally insane pace, making ten meter leaps across the canopy look as easy as stepping across a puddle.

She definitely could have done without the leap down. Tilly didn’t know exactly how high up they were when he flung them out of the tree, but it was high enough she couldn’t see the ground in the gloom, and had just enough time to realize the impact was going to be…jarring.

It was. Vemik’s ridiculous strength kept her safe, with her head palmed safely in the crook of his thick neck and his tail inescapably wrapping the rest of her up. Nonetheless, nothing she had ever felt before shook quite so hard. They bounced on impact too, so there was another hit, much less violent, followed immediately by another. He pulled up to a stop and without even a moment of adjustment, charged over to what he wanted to show.

“See!? Jooyun says, this is very strong granite stone along sides! Different from the rest, we could block the river here! Bring water to the villages, no fear of yshek!”

And so the evening went. Tilly learned just how overwhelming of a personality Vemik could be. He talked excitedly about how they might go about such a project (and other things too) while he propelled them back to the village at only a slightly slower pace. By the time they came back, the village was just about shut down and everyone had found a warm hut in which to bed down. Judging by the general atmosphere, most of them weren’t exactly asleep.

She found herself at Vemik’s hut. He gave her the most playful, suggestive look she’d ever seen, nodded towards the doorway…

Things were a blur after that. A snarl, sharp fangs against her throat, a crushingly tight pin. Warm pelts that smelled so completely like his musk it made her dizzy. Much later, there was a faint sunrise peeping through the hut’s doorway, which she vaguely noted while they were still furiously exploring, playing each other’s bodies like fine instruments.

Waking up the next…afternoon…was an effort. Soreness and exhaustion was no small part of it, but being honest, the biggest reason was just how wonderfully tight he’d snuggled up to her, and how comfortable his warmth was against her skin. She gave him a gentle scritch in his crest and a feel up his ridiculous abs to wake him up, practically melted at the sleepy little grin he gave her, politely declined his offer for another round of play…then reconsidered.

Eventually, they emerged from his hut. The village quite predictably had nothing but amused hooting congratulations for them as they stumbled into the light. Vemik gave her one last affectionate nip on the cheek and then hared off to check on his forge, while Tilly had to endure the somewhat stiff and ungainly walk of shame back to her own camp.

It wasn’t quite as bad as she’d feared. The worst, in fact, was an arched eyebrow from Dan, and identical wicked grins from Claire and Hoeff, who beckoned her over to join them at lunch. She was, she realized, absolutely famished.

They gave her a minute or two to demolish a bowl of stew and some freshly baked bread before the inevitable questions started. Claire leaned forward into her field of view and gave Tilly a Look over the top of her glasses.


“…Weapons-grade. Totally worth it.”

Claire couldn’t keep a straight face and bust out giggling.

“You do realize you’re officially the first human to ever have sex with an alien, right?” Hoeff asked as she took another bite of warm, fragrant loaf. “You’re gonna be in the history books.”

Tilly had… not considered that. She stopped chewing for a second, then swallowed.

“Well,” she said with maybe more bravado than she felt, “A girl’s gotta make her mark somehow.”

“Only if you lot forget your discretion,” Dan intoned, injecting himself into the conversation. “That’s her story to tell. Not yours.”

Tilly shot him a grateful, albeit embarrassed look.

“Hey!” Hoeff raises his hand placatingly, “I’m no gentleman but I never tell! Just, y’know. Someone will. You should know that. Tongues wag, y’know?”

“…Y’know what? Let them,” Tilly decided. “I’m not ashamed.”

“Attagirl!” Claire agreed.

“I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer some, uh, words of caution,” Dan said, sitting down. “As Hoeff just pointed out, Vemik is an alien. It’s… probably worth considering what your expectations are.”

“Dan, Vemik’s as close to monogamous as the Ten’Gewek get,” Tilly told him. “And I have no doubt the Singer’s gonna be wearing him out tonight. This was about curiosity, not about anything more. I don’t have any expectations.”

“Curiosity sated, then?” Claire asked.

Tilly shrugged, and couldn’t resist a naughty smile. “I could go a few more rounds.” She grinned at Dan’s obvious discomfort. “But yeah. Curiosity sated. His too, I think.”

“Good boost for all’a us, I think,” Hoeff said. “You know how Ten’Gewek are with strength. Proving a human can ‘go a round’ with one’a them can’t hurt us.”

“Definitely not with a Given-Man, though,” Tilly clarified. “God no.”

Dan sighed. “Well… I suppose diplomacy comes in many forms,” he conceded. “Quite a contrast with the no-doubt very formal discussion they just had with the Corti…”

“No doubt,” Hoeff agreed. “You can leave Tilly here in our care, Professor. I bet you’ve got a ton of important professor stuff to do and she needs her rest…”

Dan shot him a Look, which Hoeff met with the light, friendly smile of a man who had a limited supply of fucks and wasn’t interested in giving one here and now. It worked: Dan’s ruffled feathers settled and he wandered off in a cloud of vague well-wishes.

“Well,” Tilly decided that turnabout was definitely fair play. “You two seem…nicely relaxed.”

“Gotta represent for team Homo Sapiens.” Hoeff’s expression was quite possibly the most smugly self-satisfied and lecherous look she’d ever seen on anyone.

Claire’s expression was just sinful. “Weapons-grade indeed.”

“Well, look at us!” Tilly laughed. “Living the glamorous space explorer life. Exotic alien worlds, new life, new civilizations…”

“No green-skinned space babes though.”

“I’ll take reality over some bitch with a palette swap any day. James Kirk, eat your heart out!”

TIlly took the rest of the day off to enjoy the simple comforts of the camp. They had hot water, so she luxuriated with the shower on its massage setting, then tried to just relax and let her body recover from a night of vigorous exertion.

Relaxation didn’t come easily, though. Hoeff’s observation about the history books kept going around in her brain. And so did the one about wagging tongues…

…Fuck it. May as well own it. She sat up, grabbed her tablet, propped it up on the table and called up the touch-type volumetric keyboard. They had twelve hours before the next comms synch and… Well…

Somehow, she just felt like telling all.

So she did.

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CopRit Empire Sol 77 Of Race 7 Year 4957 PackRat IV, 5 Months out from Halfil I slammed into to deck plating. Coughing, I rolled over onto my side and vomited on the floor, trying to get over the fact that everything was spinning around me. “You know, Humans have perhaps one of the most

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Sweetness – Chapter 2 (NSFW)

CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 78 of Race 3 Year 4958 Athletic Complex, New Baltimore I jumped to the side, dodging the attack. I felt the breeze as the weapon passed my abdomen; it missed me by only a few millimeters. Twirling to the side, I brought my foot up. Reacting with amazing speed, my opponent

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Sweetness – Chapter 1 (NSFW)

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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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 5

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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 – 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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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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