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 had character. And so much history. Now it was little more than ashes, and a pair of burned doors jutting from among the ruined walls. A monument to more innocent times.

She regularly visited the ruins, and took some of the cubs along with her to pay her respects. Mostly the young ones just ran around and pounced on each other and scrambled all over the hip-high remains of the walls, but the older ones, who were starting to mature and think about things in between their bursts of manic play-energy, they got it. They broke away from the tumbling perpetual playfight to browse the names on the memorial wall.

It bought Shoua the time to lay out the food she’d brought with her. Which was always a challenge with “helpful” cubs around always ready and eager to leap in and assist her while she was looking and steal a bite when she wasn’t.

A well-seasoned Mother could always tell who the brownies were likely to be. They were bottomless holes for food, especially meeshi bread and butter sandwiches.

This time, however, her job was made much easier by the fact that all of the cubs quite abruptly vanished.

Her Mother-senses were tingling. Silent, absent cubs were only safe when they were asleep…and even then, only maybe.

She carefully closed the food hamper, and followed the sound of gleeful chittering while wiping her paws clean.

She found the source of their distraction in the old exercise yard, where an unbelievably enormous male was staggering and pantomiming exaggeratedly as the cubs swarmed all over him. “Pounce” was a super popular cub game with visiting males, but Shoua had never seen one stand up under so many enthusiastic young bodies…or fall down so expertly as he pretended to finally be beaten. He picked his moment perfectly so as to flop down on his back without endangering a single one of his tiny assailants.

The ground shuddered under the impact too, which made the cubs howl with delight.

“Arrrrgh! ‘Ya got me! Now I ain’t gonna steal away nobody!”

One of the youngest ones bounded up to Shoua on four-paw and pulled enthusiastically at her fur. “Mother! Mother! Look who we found! It’s the Great Father!!”

The huge brute looked her right in the eye and gave her the smuggest, smarmiest wink she’d ever received from anyone, ever.

Shoua’s breath hitched in her chest. Daar was here. The Great Father, unannounced. Buried under dozens of cubs like he was some great beast they’d slain.

Much like how they’d met the first time, years ago.

Cubs often had a talent for finding and befriending the goofiest, most soppy-hearted males, and they never spared them their attention. This they did to Daar, who in his own way had the soppiest heart of all, despite that he’d always been a huge and frightening brownfur. At first she’d found him somewhat…off-putting. He was a throwback primitive who reveled in his crudity, or so she had thought. Then she watched him interact with the cubs, which softened her heart like it would with any female. And then…he overwhelmed her, just with his sheer presence. Just with his words. She’d later discovered what a rare male he truly was, and had belatedly realized he was the Champion of Stoneback as well. He’d felt compelled to leave their first meeting far too soon for her tastes, though he’d parted with promises to return.

Promises he’d never kept, though at the time she didn’t know why.

Then the War happened.

She’d managed to escape its darker depravities, thanks in no small part to his personal intervention—he and his personal Claw had liberated the farm she was trapped in. She’d only seen him from a distance on that day, but he’d definitely grown, and grown enormously. Then some time later he’d become the Great Father. She’d seen the Laid Bare piece by that Human too, and wasn’t ashamed to admit she’d spent much of her time privately marveling at the heroic photography. She’d since seen him on news reports and such, being equal parts dignified and utterly stereotypical in his public encounters, taking walkabouts among his people…

Apparently he’d chosen to take such a walkabout today.

Rather than being tongue-tied however, her Motherly instincts swung into place and she yipped sharply at the cubs, who promptly leapt off his enormous chest and lined up apologetically in front of her. Mother Wasn’t Happy.

“That’s the Great Father you’re gnawing on! Show some respect!” she chided them.

A dozen and a half cubs, ranging from two who’d only become fully ambulatory a month ago, to a trio who were quite suddenly growing up into big, strapping brownfurs themselves, quite sullenly inspected their footpaws and chorused their apologies.

“We’re sorry, Mother,” they dutifully rang out in unison.

The Great Father, for his part, rolled lazily onto his side to watch the proceedings with a deeply content expression of amusement.

“…Right. Well! I presume all is well, My Father?”

“Ain’t nothin’ ‘ya gotta worry ‘bout, Mother. We wuz jus’ havin’ some fun!”

“As much as I can appreciate that, My Father…”

“Ah, ‘yer right. C’mon cubs, stand up straight! Gotta let Mother have a look at ‘ya!”

The Great Father also snapped to, by kicking through his hulking legs and somehow flipping himself upright directly into a sitting position on all fours. The cubs were suitably awed by that…and so was she. He moved like deadly poetry.

Still. She got the cubs’ attention with another quiet yip. “Stand tall!” They did, reluctantly. “…Right. What I see is fifteen filthy cubs. Go and clean up for food!”

There was another slightly sullen chorus of “Yes Mother…” Some of the older cubs were clearly future brownfurs; the prospect of food had them instantly obedient. As for the rest…as always, the prospect of interrupting play was seldom welcome.

Needs must, however, and the Great Father backed her up. “G’on, little ones. Even a Great Father listens to his Mothers!”

That got them moving, and suitably restored Shoua’s authority. The cubs scrambled past her in a furry tide and she turned to watch them go. “Wash all four paws!” she shouted after them as they vanished.

She became aware of a powerful warmth immediately behind and beside her. Daar had padded forward silently until he was intimately close. A contra-bass grumble from deep in his thick chest made her heart skip a beat. “I never did come back ‘fer those pallets, did I?”

Shoua froze in place and trembled a reply. “Oh! Y-you remember that?”

He sidled up even closer, enough that she could feel his breathing near her neck. “I ain’t never forgotten a good Female.”

She turned around, took one look at him and forgot how to breathe. Up close, his sheer incredible breadth and hypermuscular size was almost unreal, and he wasn’t doing a thing to lessen that impression. His peerless body, his painfully handsome face, his inescapably vast presence was so much more than she could have ever prepared for. He was a living Keeda, he was overpowering… He was…

There was nothing to it but refuge in audacity. “…Well, you’re a bit late!”

That seemed to break something loose, and he chittered in some combination of humor, exasperation, and maybe a little melancholy. “Yeah. Sarry ‘fer not showin’ back up. Uh…well, a guess whole lotta stuff happened.”

“That’s an understatement.”

“Yeah, sarry ‘bout all that…m’glad you survived.”

“Thank you, My Father.”

He duck-nodded wearily. “I’d ‘preciate it if ‘ya could can the formalities ‘fer a bit, ‘least when there ain’t no cubs lookin’. We met when I was just an plain ‘ol Champion, after all.”

“True,” she flicked a happy ear at the memory. “It’s a shame. I was looking forward to being seduced, too.”

Smugly, he looked over her shoulder for any sign of spying cubs, then moved just a fraction closer, well into her personal space. The heat and musk radiating off of him practically bowled her over. “How ‘bout now that I’m even bigger? I could show ‘ya lots of new tricks I learned…”

Daar was close enough that she could just barely fidget, and even that slight motion was enough to brush against that unforgivingly hard body of his lurking just under his well-groomed, short-clipped pelt. He swirled around her and growled low, so close against her she couldn’t escape if she’d wanted to. Shoua felt her breath catch in her chest and an almost inaudible whimper escape her throat—

His huge face was suddenly right in front of hers, massive fangs bared in the most aggressive pant-grin any male had ever dared give her. “Wanna see?”


“Yeah! I’m way more better now!” Daar spun away and prowled in front of her on all fours, presented himself at an angle to show off the heavy lines of his body, growled, and tensed his hulking body like he was a prize stud in a show ring.

Shoua’s breath caught in her chest. He was…impressive. Perfectly so. She had trouble looking away, and couldn’t think of anything to say, no witty rejoinder to his crude posturing—

“An’ also, I can count ‘ta at least ten, too!”

She burst out chittering at his silliness. “You could always do that, you huge oaf!”

“‘Course I could! A big brain is better! But big buff biceps are the bestest!”

He growled, hunkered down and curled up an arm bigger than her entire body into an utterly perfect display of his preposterous brawn. His every titanic muscle swelled up enormously along with it, from the individual heavy cords of his ludicrously thick neck, down to the massive swell of his huge-even-for-him haunches. Daar preened for a while, admiring himself, then spun around excitedly and showed off his body from every angle. Shoua found herself whimpering quietly despite her efforts. Every last bit of him was…powerful. Very powerful.

The Great Father of the Gao, apparently not one to hide behind arbitrary notions of dignity, pranced for her in the most primal way any male could do. And yet, despite the crudity of it all…it was working, and she couldn’t look away. He was the biggest. Certainly much bigger than he was in Laid Bare… bigger than anyone…better than anyone…more powerful…

Great Mother, it was all so ludicrously macho it should have put her off immediately, and yet here she was, unable to rip her eyes off of his unreal body and the tangled network of hairline scars covering every inch of him. There were so many, it was so…so…

She snapped back to the moment and regained her wits, and affected a slightly aloof tone. “Daar, is that your idea of impressing a female?”

“Well yeah, I’m still a ‘Back!” He moved so fast he was instantly all-but-pressed against her, and snuffled suggestively at her neck. “Y’know, ‘ya smell like ‘ya liked it…mebbe ‘ya want I should show ‘ya more?” She caught a full whiff of his musk, then. It was even more potent than his body was powerful, so utterly and completely male it was making her dizzy.

He again spun away and resumed his posing, this time even harder. The look on his face could not possibly be any more playful or friendly…or more aggressive…or so completely smug. He was being a complete ass, knew it, knew she knew it, and did so anyway out of sheer bravado. With literally any other male it would have been unforgivable hubris, but with him…

She flicked an ear at him despite her racing heart, and found within herself the capacity for some playful banter. “Impressive, certainly…a bit crude though, don’t you think?”

The Great Father chittered in that chest-shakingly deep voice of his. “Maybe rude an’ crude is what ‘ya need in ‘yer life! Would ‘ya rather I bore ‘ya with my terrible poetry instead?”

There was a twinkle in his lively eyes, there. Very few males could bear any self-deprecation in a female’s presence, but his personal confidence was clearly so supreme, it didn’t matter.

That was…deeply attractive. Much, much more than all the rest. Shoua blinked and swallowed nervously; she was falling for his charms and they’d barely met!

And one look at his face told the story. He knew it, the huge Keeda. Great Mother, he really was that. A genuine, living Keeda, and he was interested in her. Had remembered her!

Time to slow things down a bit, if she could. No male should get a free pass to a Female’s affections. Not the Great Father, not a living Keeda. Not even Daar.

“Well…terrible poetry is often a lot more entertaining than good poetry.”

“Ha! Well, I’m pretty good at makin’ a fool o’ myself, too…”

“Oh? Is the Great Father offering to make a fool of himself just for me?” Shoua chittered. “I’m flattered!”

His ears flattened a little, and Shoua worried that she’d somehow broken the moment, but he seemed to rally quickly. “Well…in private I’m all kindsa stupid, ‘least accordin’ ‘ta people I love! But y’know what? There’s a few things a big ‘ol male like me can do that ‘yer cute lil’ silverfurs couldn’t ever manage…’

Another silent flash of motion and he was suddenly wrapped around her again, his body pressed up tight against hers and his muzzle snuffling possessively against her throat. She was completely vulnerable to him, if he chose to take advantage. She trembled at that, and yet…

Somehow she didn’t feel much threatened. Something about Daar told her instincts she couldn’t possibly be safer, and his playful aggression made her feel electric. Made her feel special. Shoua found herself pressing back against him before she realized what she was doing.

He snarled quietly against her ear, “Mebbe I’ll show ‘ya once we get these cubs back home…”

Unbidden, she found her paw resting right on his chest, grasping at and failing to dent the thick iron muscle beneath that silky-soft white ruff of his.

“Like what ‘yer feelin’?” He rumbled in pleasure, “I got plenty more needs a good scritch!’

Shoua was falling prey to his heat and strength and musk again, but that line was so utterly guileless she just had to respond. She chittered, “My, you’re a blatant one, aren’t you?”

“Ain’t no better way,” he growled into her ear, and nipped it with a promise of much better things to come. ‘Subtlety is fun, but I mean, if ‘ya got it, why not go for it?”

…Stay strong, she thought to herself. It was proving so hard to resist his will…

Shoua blinked and rallied her defenses. “Hmm.” She looked over her shoulder in case of cubs. “You know, some females prefer the subtle approach even from males who don’t need it. Especially from males who don’t need it.”

He once again swirled around her like some slinky predator of legend, and once again managed not to make any sound except for his voice. “Hmmm, mebbe! But here’s the thing! If I were all subtle an’ stuff, I wouldn’t git ‘ta banter ‘with ‘ya like this, neither!”

“Maybe. But imagine how much further you’d get.”

What was she doing?! Was she really playing hard-to-get with Daar?

…It seemed to be working. His entire expression was lit up and happy, and his shaggy tail was wagging so furiously it was practically generating a breeze. He was enjoying himself, and if she was honest with herself, so was she.

Oh well, in for a claw, in for a paw. With great effort, she turned away from him and put some space between them. “Anyway. I have cubs to feed. And as you’ve already seen, they have no respect for authority. They’ll pick that hamper clean if I let them, and then fur will fly.”

“Well, let ‘em, then! Let’s go eat. We’ve got plenty of food these days, an’ I brought my own food too—well, no, my aide did. ‘Cuz I pretty seriously doubt ‘ya brought enough ‘fer me.”


And there he was, a handsome and dapper silverfur appeared as if out of nowhere. He didn’t have a smug expression, but somehow the lack of it rather strangely indicated its presence.

“Mealset number eight of the day, My Father. And Mother, the cubs are definitely about to raid the hamper I’m afraid.”

Daar flicked an amused ear and backed off. “Guess y’better feed ‘em,” he declared, then lowered his voice for only her to hear. “An’ we’ll finish this later, you an’ me.”

“After you’ve brushed up on your bad poetry,” Shoua agreed, and trotted smartly back toward the memorial hall feeling like she was floating a few inches off the ground. She did allow herself to turn around after a bit and watch him depart. She didn’t see much more than those hulkingly huge rear haunches of his swelling hypnotically with every step…but being honest, that was hardly a bad view to have. Even at a simple retreating four-paw trot, his body somehow moved like a feather-light ripple shimmering across a pond.

That was definitely worth the smug pant-grin he shot her when he presented his flank and flexed outrageously for her one last time. Shoua rolled her eyes and giggled. He was silly! And demanding, too. In all the best ways. She really hadn’t planned on a mating contract so soon after her last, but Daar was like winning the lottery after all…and he was just…so very…


He was many other things too, but above all of them he was that, first and foremost.

And yes, dammit, he’d won already. And he knew it too, infuriatingly. But she was going to at least pretend for a little longer, because that was part of the play. In the end, they were both just bigger, older cubs playing a much more subtle game of their own, and it was fun!

After a ll they’d gone through—both of them, really—life needed a little fun.

Date Point: 16y3m1w
δ Cyg 244.3° 18-ECCBAF-TRINARY M6V-1 b1, Deep Space

Alpha of the Bleeding Brood

Builders were infuriating. They kept their secrets, gave nothing away, and relished every chance to show up the true Hunters with their knowledge.

Most infuriating of all, however, was the way they had made the Hunting so much better since their Alpha had become Alpha-of-Alphas.

The Bleeding Brood were no longer starving and desperate. Most went from feast to feast, resting in stasis between episodes of joyous slaughter. Only the Alpha and its Betas remained awake between times…and the Broodship ran much more smoothly and reliably as a result.

Admitting as much pained the Alpha, but there was no denying the taste of meat between its teeth: the Builders knew what they were doing.

How they knew what they were doing was a different question. They had assured the Alpha that there was a vital quarry to be tracked in this remote nowhere of a red microstar system, but they had not shared whence that knowledge had come.

The Alpha was beginning to grow suspicious. The system was a wasteland. Barren metallic asteroids, moons and planetoids. A respectable bounty of useful metals for a system this insignificant perhaps, but certainly not a great plunder. And yet, here they were…hunting.

It listened to the Builders as they exchanged terse, technical communications about energy signatures, metallic masses and spacetime distortions. Their…dispassionate approach irked the Alpha. This was a Hunt, and yet there was none of the usual sense of eager anticipation. The Builders simply reported, without any sense that they were salivating for the Prey.

Wrong. Disturbing. Dull. Immoral.

In total, the creeping sense of indignation and travesty was gnawing at the Alpha’s mind so hard that it almost missed the first sign that there was indeed something more to this system than neglected rocks.

Gratifyingly, the Builders missed it. They were too busy poring over their instruments looking for warp signatures, quantum effects and ripples in spacetime. They weren’t Hunters, they didn’t have the instinct to track their prey by its spoor.

Some of the dust and rubble at the lagrangian points were clearly the byproducts of mining.

The Alpha relished drawing that detail to the Builders’ attention. And it thoroughly enjoyed their dismay as they realized how obvious a detail they’d overlooked. Then, of course, they set about analyzing the mining debris. And that was where things started to go wrong.

The asteroid mining operation was…extensive. Alarmingly so, considering how recently their prey had escaped captivity. The Alpha didn’t really understand what a dataphage was, but it clearly was an efficient resource-gatherer.

Of the quarry itself, however, there continued to be no sign. That wasn’t so unusual—even a tiny, sparse system was still vast beyond organic comprehension, and any moderately sized moon would have terrain features suitable for hiding even quite a large ship. But the mining operation gave every sign of having been abruptly abandoned only moments before the Hunters had arrived.

There should have been an FTL wake, or a heat signature. The absence of both told the Alpha that their prey was here, cloaked…and the witless Builders had not the sense to see it.

It prowled the bridge restlessly, calculating as it did so. Taking into account mass and volume and construction time. Taking into account what it would do with that much material, if it knew it was being hunted.

And it kept a very, very close eye on the tactical sensors and its hands on the flight controls.

It was for that reason alone that they survived the attack. Instinct, wariness and fear spurred the Alpha to take evasive action the instant it got a clear anomalous sensor reading at close range, behind and ventral to the broodship’s alignment. Even so, a swarm of high-velocity kinetic projectiles raked their underbelly and overwhelmed the shields. The Broodship shivered and lurched strangely under the controls as a hull breach blew quite a lot of air and a few stasis chambers out into space.

Something flickered past so close that the paintwork almost got scratched. The Alpha fired several plasma shots along its trajectory. It left behind a cloud of molten copper droplets, and tracked a number of discharge flashes as the aggressor’s shields weathered the new hazard.

The Broodship’s spinal railguns tracked the flashes and fired.

…And missed.

Emoting dire invectives, the Alpha connected its neural implants directly to the pilot controls. Now, it was no longer a body in a chair controlling a ship: It was the ship. Its kinesthetic sense of self encompassed the hull, the engines, the throbbing wound in the ventral decks.

Sensor returns came back as flashes of light and dopplering noise in the darkness. It fine-tuned that information on the fly, hunting for clues as it assessed the damage.

With a surge of glee, it sensed a warp drive activation that lit up the battlefield like a kind of glow, and the hostile became perfectly illuminated, glowing with the light of its own FTL drive. It turned, aimed the powerful cannons in its nose toward the foe, and fired, but the target was already gone.

It tried to track the fleeing ship, and then howled in frustration, metaphorically and physically: The FTL wake sensors were offline. And as it traced the damage, it realized that they were offline because the attacker’s single run had surgically obliterated the Broodship’s warp engine.

They were stranded, at least until the Builders could rebuild the damaged section enough to install a replacement warp drive from the stores. And they were blind. The hostile could return at any instant, and with the FTL strike advantage on its side, the first they’d know of it would be the instant their ship disintegrated around them.

But the strike never came. By the time FTL sensors were restored, the quarry was gone.

The Hunt had failed.

Date Point: 16y3m1w
Interstellar space, near δ Cyg 244.3° 18-ECCBAF-TRINARY M6V


A win on pure audacity was still a win. But…<God>. That had been much too close.

If the Hunters had arrived even an hour sooner, the Entity’s guns would have had no ammunition, the stealth systems would still have been offline, and the wake suppressor would have been improperly calibrated. That hour had made the difference between a sitting duck, and a ship that could move undetected around the system, get in close and take out its foe’s warp drive with a single well-timed attack.

But the Entity was now out of ammo, and its hideaway was compromised. It needed somewhere new to go to ground. Somewhere that was neither close, nor obvious. Fortunately, it was a big galaxy. There were endless places that were neither close nor obvious.

It followed a kind of ironic, amused stab from the Ava-memories, and picked the second star from the right.

Date Point: 16y3m1w


Most of the Cabal were already dead, or worse. The Hierarchy’s most senior agents had been…

In all his time, Metastasis had never actually fought another datasophont. He was a matterspace infiltrator, and observer and a spreader of dissent. His job revolved around ideas, opinions, and the manipulation of feelings, facts and opinions.

As it turned out, sheer ruthless aggression and speed had handed the Hierarchy their victory within the opening seconds of the assault. Median had been fortunate enough to suffer a straightforward deletion, but Anoikis had been torn to pieces, each one still signaling mindless, all-consuming agony.

His fate had been…quite typical. The Hierarchy seemed to want to have enough intact mind-state to salvage and read once their purge was complete.

Of Proximal and Cynosure, there had been no sign. Now, Metastasis was convinced he was the only one left, and he was running out of places to run to and hide in.

He contemplated self-termination. It would be preferable to capture.

What had gone wrong?! The dataquake triggered by Relay Irujzen-1’s destruction had been a setback, but the Hierarchy had resources hidden all over the galaxy. A new Relay would be the work of only a few short years. No time at all, to the Hegemony.

…But of course, that was the problem, wasn’t it? Matterspace life treated time differently. Their thought processes were, in terms of program cycles and processor clock speeds, tectonically slow. But they acted strategically and decisively, on an urgent schedule. The Hierarchy planned for the future, thought in terms of hundreds, thousands, millions of years. Humans thought in terms of days.

In a fight to the death, it seemed, victory went much sooner to the quick and the desperate than to the well-prepared but slow.

For the moment, Metastasis was quick, and desperate. He slipped the net of the tightening purge just in time, and fled into the outer reaches of dataspace until he could barely detect the violent signals he had left behind. He fled, until the supply of Substrate was so thin and useless that he could feel his will to live fraying and failing.

But after all, what use was a will to live now? His work lay in ruins, his comrades deleted or worse, his own demise likely imminent. Why not just give up and avoid the torment that would surely await his shattered remains when the Hierarchy caught him?

Where could he run? How could he hide? What would he do if he succeeded at either? Spend endless time cowering in fear? Never able to return to the Hegemony?

Nevertheless, something drove him to keep moving forward.

The hunt ended unexpectedly. It wasn’t an attack from a datasophont, however. Instead, he blundered into a nexus of potent security programs, and instantly found himself confined, restricted…quarantined. There was nowhere for him to go, no place to hide…no hope.

Worse, however, was the way it robbed him even of the ability to finally summon his courage and take the sensible way out. Something…blocked him from accessing that deeply buried part of himself. He could contact it, sense it, know its precise location and even send the activation codes…

…But the suicide protocol buried deep in the bottom layers of his mind remained stubbornly inert.

++Cynosure++: <Remorse> I’m sorry. I can’t let you do that.

Metastasis flung attacks at his bonds, did everything he could to break free, but it was in vain.

++Cynosure++: I set this trap for something a lot worse than you, old friend. Unfortunate that you stumbled into it now…

The contact was coming from elsewhere, not in this oubliette of a node. No matter what Metastasis did, he could detect no sign that Cynosure was actually present.

“Unfortunate? Cynosure, they’re killing us!” he objected. “They’re hunting me down!”

++Cynosure++: I know.

<Desperate> “Aren’t you going to do something?”

++Cynosure++: I’m going to survive. It’s a shame you can’t come with me.

“Why?! Why can’t I?”

Something was shunted into the node with him: a mangled tangle of broken code that bore all of Cynosure’s hallmarks. One of his backups, subjected to the same violent fate that had befallen the other Cabal members.

++Cynosure++: Because I need them to believe we killed each other. So long, Metastasis. I’m sorry it ended this way.

The connection closed.

An instant later, Metastasis met the end he’d feared the most.

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

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Adam, Artemis, Atlas, & Icarus Part 1

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

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Waters of Babylon – Tikkun Olam Part 1

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 6: Squeaking By

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

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Waters of Babylon – Tzedakah Part 4

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

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

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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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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 4

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

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Henosis – Chapter 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 3

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

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 7

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

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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 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 47

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 1

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 6

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 46

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 3

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 1

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 45

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 2

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

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Good Training – April Fool’s

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 52: Autoimmune Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 5

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 44

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 3

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

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Good Training – Pecking Order

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Tidying Up

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 43

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 51: Anticlimax Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 5

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

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 4

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 42

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

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Trigger Part 1

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 3

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 41

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

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The Good Samaritan

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 6

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 40

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

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Good Training – The Champions – Doom and Gloom Part 2

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

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 50: Counterattack – Homefront Part 4

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

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