The Deathworlders – Chapter 60: The Calm and The Storm Part 4

Date Point: Halloween, 16y10m AV
Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches

Allison Buehler

Halloween was Allison’s favorite holiday. An entire day devoted to minor rebellion? Awesome. And these days she knew exactly what her favorite part was: she could coax Julian into a skin-tight superhero costume, one custom made to show off that comic-book build of his, and there wasn’t anything he could say about it, or any way he could weasel out.

Playing dress-up with her loving, handsome, genetically perfect super-meathead boyfriend? Fuck. Yes. It was the perfect opportunity to ogle him.

“Ready to go, babe?”

Julian fidgeted at his mask’s gaiter. As always, that thick caveman neck of his warred with anything more sartorially adventurous than a T-shirt. “I guess. Isn’t this all a bit, uh…showy?”

Allison give him another once-over and grinned. Yes. Yes it was.

“Babe, that’s the entire point. The three of us haven’t had any real free time together since the babies were born. We finally get the opportunity and it happens to be Halloween, and I’ve got officially the hottest man alive on my arm? You’re goddamn right I’m gonna show you off!”

Julian grumbled a bit half-heartedly at that. “I ain’t ever gonna live that stupid magazine article down, am I?” Despite his protests, he smiled that slightly embarrassed-yet-smug grin of his.

“Sure ain’t, babe! It’s not like you have a lot of room to complain after those charity shoots…”

He wasn’t actually shy, of course. Julian was the type of confident man that considered black silkies and nothing else to be entirely appropriate everyday wear, and he certainly wasn’t a stranger to deliberate exhibition, either; ‘Laid Bare’ had only been his first photoshoot. Julian was endlessly teasable about all that and quite predictably defensive. “Hey, you said yes! Those were for the Ten’Gewek sovereign fund!”

“You’re damn right I agreed! Don’t tell me you don’t enjoy showing off, though.”

“…I mean…that’s different, somehow.” He fidgeted in place and scratched at his calf with his other foot. “I feel like this costume is almost more revealing than being butt naked.”

…Well, he sort of had a point, there. It added emphasis in all the right places, after all…not that he needed it, but who was she to turn down some sneaky boy-candy enhancement?

Al demurred and instead opted for a bit of flattery. “Hush. You fill those superhero tights out perfectly, babe. Can’t us girls enjoy flaunting our man a bit?”

He grumbled at that, but, well…the idea was clearly getting to him. He grumbled and adjusted his tights, which he tried to play off like he was bending down to pull on his boots…

“Hmm, getting second thoughts there, babe? We might need to take care of that later…”

Julian blushed a bit and rewarded her with one of those unfairly sexy grins of his. “Well, you make a good argument…” He reached up and scratched at the back of his head, which was one of her favorite little nervous gestures he did. “I guess this isn’t really all that daring, huh?”

She watched the hefty shapes in his arm stretch the costume for all it was worth, then grinned and offered support. “Well, it is a little daring. But you won’t be alone. Your friends will be there too! Hell, Hoeff’s going as Wolverine and Adam’s going as the Hulk. Green skin and everything!”

“That’ll be a sight.” Julian visibly relaxed a bit and within a breath or two was the confident, assertive and happy man she knew and loved. Sometimes, a little reassurance was all anyone needed.

In this case, his unease was probably two-fold. Firstly, some remnants of his Minnesota upbringing was likely chafing a bit at the idea. Modesty was a virtue of course, but Allison believed that everything should be had in moderation. Especially moderation.

She had decided to go as Natasha Romanov. The Black Widow. Hardly a modest thing! But, well, Al had really wanted to feel sexy and to her, right then, being able to pull off a ridiculous shiny black costume like that after having given birth to Anna…

And she’d be lying if she said she didn’t enjoy the way her man’s eyes were drawn to her, the way he kept sizing up her curves, or the gently possessive way he kept close to her, even in their home while they were still getting ready…

Or the unfairly sexy way that enormous stone-hard arm of his wrapped around her waist and pulled her comfortably tight against his thick slab of a chest and into his lap while they waited…

Al enjoyed Xiù’s furtive glances, too. She had earlier decided that she didn’t want to do smoldering tonight, so instead she dressed up as Squirrel Girl of all the things. Which was such a fantastically dorky costume, she couldn’t help but be adorable. Sexy too.

Adorkably sexy.

The second and more likely reason for his unease was the crowds and his fans. There would probably be quite a lot of awkward encounters for him tonight, probably lots of selfies, possibly a lot of flirting. Hell, there might even be some inappropriate behavior toward him, too. But, well…

Honestly, that was fine. People needed to let loose a little. And he needed the socialization. He spent way too much time among his cavemonkeys and not enough with his own people, figuring out his own kind. He did enjoy it all, it was just social inertia that kept him mostly to himself.

She wasn’t worried. He could handle himself. And frankly, if anyone got too drunk and grabby…or worse…well. He happened to be on a first-name basis with the only people who were as scary as him.

Plus, Cap’s costume had body armor, which Adam had cleverly used to deploy a layer of the best mil-spec modern scale plate they could get their hands on. Julian wasn’t a perfect stand-in for Captain America, of course; Steve Rogers stood an inch or two taller with a soldier’s upright posture, while Julian was soft-footed and prowly anywhere he went. Steve had platinum blond hair and ice-blue eyes, Julian had an inky-black shaggy mane and an intense dark brown gaze.

Still, they shared all the important bits: both had rangy, athletic frames, heroic proportions, and honest all-American good looks. Both were pinnacle humans, though Steve of course had volunteered, and Julian…well. Both were friendly and somewhat naive about people, and tended to see the good in everyone. Both had the same honest nobility and the same pure, decent souls.

But Julian…well, he wasn’t trapped in 1950s-era notions about man and woman. He was much more…primal about it, and put every other man she’d ever had to complete shame, whether he was letting her take the lead or asserting himself exactly the way she loved it. And he was much broader of shoulder and carried a lot more muscle on his frame. That wasn’t previously Al’s thing, but on him… As far as she was concerned, he was better then ‘Cap in all the best ways. God-damn if she wasn’t feeling a bit patriotic looking him over!

Steve Rogers needed a tan, anyway.

Her daydreaming came to a halt as the Johnny Cab that Xiù had ordered pulled up outside. They were attending a charity dinner and auction in support of the Native Species Preservation Society. That was a cause near and dear to everyone’s heart—even Al, who was occasionally teased as the ‘black-hearted right-winger’ she really wasn’t—but for Julian in particular it was something special.

Along with a batch of comparison shots taken just a few days prior, he and Ava had donated original signed prints from his Laid Bare shoot. All of them, including the ones that didn’t make it into the final article. That was honestly pretty brave of him, because some of them weren’t necessarily flattering, and some of the others…well…

Xiù and Al had quietly conspired on whether they should spare their collective blushes and win it themselves, and had eventually come to the reluctant conclusion that it might be a bit of a faux pas. After all, why not just donate the money directly?

“…You didn’t order the big one, Xiù.”


“We’re gonna be sitting on his lap the whole way.”

“Oh dear. What a shame. How silly of me.”

Julian chuckled. “I’m right here, you know…”

“So you are!” Xiù beamed at him, then slipped past the door. Somehow, she even made her costume’s fluffy tail brush across his face. “Now squeeze yourself in there, and let’s go raise some money.”

“Heh. Yes ma’am.”

There was a happy chorus of “Good boy!” and they sardined themselves into the car, with a few false starts while they figured out what to do with Xiù’s tail.

“No last minute babysitting disasters?” Julian asked as the Johnny Cab’s suspension groaned despairingly under his weight. ‘Cheap’ was definitely their primary feature.

Allison shook her head. “Nope. C’mon, even my mom can’t fuck that up too badly at this age. And the boys are at a friend’s place, they’ll be fine.”

“Guess we’re ready, then…” Julian muttered. Al kissed his cheek, then leaned forward to direct their cab to its destination.

It was a warm and cozy ride, with Julian’s big arms comfortably hugging them both close, proving once again that Xiù was a genius and a lot less innocent than she looked. The cab dropped them as close to the venue as it could, considering the roads around the parks were closed. Folctha threw big street parties.

“…Is it just me, or did that thing’s motor sound a lot happier when it left?” Xiu asked, as she listened to it whine away once they were on the sidewalk.

“They probably cost like fifty bucks to build. And our man’s a hefty boy.”

“I still think they were a neat idea, though. Flat-pack electric self-driving taxi cabs?”

“Somebody musta been high while watching an Ahnold marathon.”

“And then designed one cheap enough for a big blue swedish store…”

“Let’s get the big ones in future,” Julian grumbled. “I felt hunched over the whole time.”

“Sorry, Bǎobèi.” Xiù didn’t look particularly contrite, but she gave him a kiss and they set off through the park.

It was pretty crowded, and the costumes were the usual mix running from the could-barely-be-bothered cheap store costumes that flirted dangerously with copyright— “Italian Mushroom Man,” “Kung-Fu Sewer Tortoise,” and (Allison’s personal favorite) four dudes walking past as “Dead Spirit Exterminator Squad” —all the way up to the disturbingly, almost obsessively good.

The aliens who’d chosen to costume up, of course, often either missed the point or didn’t really know enough about human pop culture. There was a teenage Gaoian female who’d dressed as Broccoli every year since first arriving on Cimbrean, another dressed as a taco, and a Vzk’tk who’d dressed himself as a ghost via the old “cut some holes in a bedsheet” trick. She looked more like a roaming gazebo than anything, but the intent was there.

Al was pretty proud of their own costumes. She’d splashed a bit on having them professionally made, but that was okay seeing as they were attending a charity event. She could hardly show up as ‘Dark Sexy Spider Spy,’ after all.

The expense paid off. They had to stop for selfies and socializing several times on their way to the Statler Hotel, and more than a few catcalls. They smiled, and waved, and put on their best public faces and Julian gave a thumbs-up when somebody called “Lookin’ good, Captain!” after him…

Thank God they’d reserved enough spare time to accommodate all that. As it was, they made it to the hotel exactly on time, and were ushered through into one of its convention rooms to find themselves surrounded by movers and shakers in a variety of costumes… and some others remaining reserved and formal in their nice suits and dresses.

Julian’s boss was one of the latter. He smiled ruefully as he shook hands and complimented them on their costumes. “I feel underdressed.”

“You feel underdressed?” Julian echoed. “This thing’s skin-tight!”

“Exactly. Very fancy. Striking, even.” Rockefeller smiled, toasted them with his champagne glass, then nodded toward the stage. “Not to mention daring. Those prints are quite a bold donation.”

“They should get a bold price then, hopefully.”

“Very bold. I think I heard Diane Woodward proclaim that she’s going to win that folder even if it bankrupts her.”

“Oh, Christ.” Allison muttered to herself. Diane Woodward was the wife of New Botany’s richest sheep magnate, Nick. They’d run into her before at a formal dinner and the best Al could say of her was that she didn’t mean to be rude and embarrassing. She just had a massive blind spot.

Thoughtless was the best word. She’d be likable, if not for that one glaring flaw.

As it was… the dinner was very pleasant, and firmly up to the Statler’s high standards, and they found themselves seated near some other representatives from the Byron Group… namely Levaughn Thomas, who was dressed up as the classic Bela Lugosi Dracula and was, tellingly, doing everything in his power to make sparkling conversation with Julian… and snubbing Al and Xiù in the process.

Not an approach likely to win Julian’s good books, that.

Finally, the dessert courses were finished, the coffees distributed, the atmosphere merry and the auction was ready to begin. It was hosted by the Mayor of Folctha, James Duffy, who took to the stage more like a showman than a politician. For once, though, he’d scrubbed up and didn’t look like the skinny, scruffy farmer he originally was.

Al liked him. His speeches tended to be short and to-the-point, and it took him mere seconds to get to the meat of what he wanted to say.

“Well, ladies, gentlemen and miscellaneous, we’re here tonight of course to raise money for a cause dear to all our hearts. I don’t know a single Folcthan who isn’t acutely aware that our presence here is causing a terrible wound to this world, one that I think we all agree we have a duty to minimize and mitigate as much as we can,” he began. “The Native Species Preservation Society are committed and dedicated to preserving as many of Cimbrean’s indigenous life forms as possible, not just in a cage or a lab, but hopefully one day to be released alongside Earthling life to live as naturally as it can in the new world.”

He smiled, and stepped up to the lectern. “That’s all the speech I had prepared,” he added. There was a ripple of laughter. “So I’ll start tonight’s auction with our first lot, kindly donated by Miss Ava Ríos, who sent her apologies… and of course, Mister Julian Etsicitty.”

There was a round of applause, some of it from certain quarters more raucous and accompanied by some wolf-whistling. Duffy gestured in Julian’s direction, and Julian stood to take a mildly embarrassed bow.

Duffy gave him a warm smile, then revealed that he did in fact have a lot more speech prepared. “None here, I think, need an introduction to the man in the photos. We are lucky enough to have with us tonight an explorer, a noted and diligent field researcher, a special envoy to the Ten’Gewek, a survival expert with a peerless physique…all in all, a profoundly gifted and hard-working man. He has since undertaken a number of modeling opportunities for various causes, but tonight we take a deeper look at the photoshoot that started it all. Tonight, gentlebeings, Mister Julian Etsicitty is on-hand—looking good, Captain!—to answer all your questions, and if you are very nice, perhaps sign a print or two for you as well…”

He turned a page, and nodded. “Credit must be given both to him and his photographer, Miss Ava Ríos. Unlike the original ‘Laid Bare’ presentation, some of these are…much more personal. You will see full demonstrations of his truly awesome strength and athleticism, along with new comparison photos taken only two days ago. Just what he and his elite fellow travelers can do is…difficult to believe, and they are understandably reluctant to flaunt it publicly. You will also see giddiness and playfulness. You will see sorrow, and you will see simmering rage. And yes, there is definitely an erotic and primal edge to many of these as well. Nonetheless, this is human art in high form, and I suspect this crowd will have the means to show proper respect. I’d like to open the bidding at sixty thousand pounds—”

Hands and gestures shot up all around the room. Including Levaughn’s, who at least had the sense to grin sheepishly at Julian as he waved his napkin. “Sorry.”

Surprisingly, Julian chuckled. “No no, bid away! I don’t mind.” He angled his head just so and gave a wink that could have been meant for Levaughn, could have been for Al or Xiù.

The smirk he shot at Al after Levaughn looked away was definitely for her, and promised a delightfully exhausting after-party to come.

Up on stage, Duffy was taking it slow at first, jumping up by ten-thousand-pound intervals to begin with. He made it to ninety thousand when Diane Woodward stood up and shouted at him. “For Chrissake Jimmy, stop playing around! Two hundred!!”

Al and Xiù both looked at Julian, who had gone slightly redder as laughter and cheers of approval sloshed around the room. “…Dang.”

And with that, the bidding began in earnest.

Date Point: Halloween, 6y10m AV
Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches


Some hours later, feeling rather more educated about what was going on around him, and having been walked to his new lodgings in the Alien Quarter by Ava, Uthrug actually felt bold enough to explore the city rather than rest. The journalist bade goodbye with the apologetic explanation that she was already late to a party and had to get her costume ready, and vanished at a steady and deceptively fast jog. When Uthrug looked back, she was turning the corner at the end of the street.

He followed the tourist guide and wandered through a green space known as Quarterside Park, along wide brick paths lined with young but already sturdy trees. Many of them were dropping their leaves in a slow and vividly-hued rain, leaving behind soggy orange-brown drifts against the low walls.

A strange custom, this festival. Celebrating fear and morbid horror? But no, it was more like… mocking them. Turning them into something playful, as though the grave and the fanged things lurking in the dark could be robbed of their power with nothing more than sugar and bright clothing.

He followed the lights and sounds and smells between the trees toward a nexus of revelry, where the park had been taken over by wooden shacks and large ground fruits carved into snarling faces, where everybody seemed to be wandering around in outlandish and impractical clothing or stranger.

A Gaoian sister was awkwardly thrusting her nose into a tub full of water and floating fruit, trying to snag one with her teeth. The exercise was made rather more difficult by her costume, which appeared to be a dense green tree of some kind. Its inflexible bulk completely inhibited her ability to bend over properly, turning what should have been a simple task for a Gaoian into a splashing, undignified, chittering mess.

Despite his odd mood, Uthrug found himself chuckling along too.

He explored the fair, took in its attractions and peculiarities. There was a game of skill involving throwing sharpened darts at a board: a quick review of the rules revealed that although the stall proudly offered quite a lavish prize even to the losers, it was in fact impossible to lose, and the minimum winning prize was almost worthless. A player would, statistically, have to play several times and spend a lot of money to earn a worthwhile prize. Clever, albeit deceitful.

Other games were luck-based, and thus in fact rather more fair in Uthrug’s estimation. Others weren’t games at all but “rides” that he was entirely the wrong shape, size and weight to enjoy.

The food, on the other hand, was incredible. Fruit in a crisp candy shell, pies and tarts with sweetly spiced fillings, a smooth hard substance of the most unappetizing brown hue that blossomed into a rich, creamy flavor with distant hints of interesting bitterness… the predominant theme in most of it was caramelized sugar, but they did so many interesting and varied things with it that Uthrug reluctantly had to stop and rest his belly before he’d sampled even half.

He took his repose by a fountain and watched awhile. Youngsters of many species thundered back and forth, shouting and pointing and playing and wearing a bewildering variety of costumes, none of which he understood.

It was all very colorful and exciting. Though, if he were honest, something about the colors the Gaoians chose were decidedly…clashy. Or else the palette they chose from was limited, which was probably down to their limited chromatic depth. The Humans had more insight and their choices were more harmonious, but not even they could see it as he did.

“This seat taken, stranger?”

Another Human woman was addressing him, indicating a spot on the fountain’s retaining wall next to him. Uthrug indicated that it was not with an inviting sweep of his hand, and she sat with a groan.

“I tell ya, I love the way this town throws parties, but I can hardly keep up,” she confessed.

“I only just arrived,” Uthrug revealed. “I am ‘fresh off the boat,’ as you might say.”

“We all were, once. Whole town of nothing but immigrants, after all.” she sipped a steaming beverage from a cardboard cup. “Guess that’s why we party so hard. Build a community, you know?”

“Perhaps,” Uthrug agreed. He offered one of his hands to shake, though it was far larger than hers. She gripped his finger with a smile. “I am Uthrugvugeg.”


“A pleasure.”

“So is this a trip for fun, business, migrating…?”

“I intend to remain permanently.”

“Got a job lined up?”

“In theory. Though, the University of Folctha has not in fact formally opened, yet.”

Ray brightened. “Right! Yeah! They’re building the campus out west past the palace. So, you’re gonna be on the faculty, or…?”

“I hold the equivalent of a doctorate in mathematics. My specialty is in topology.”

“Ahh. A valuable field for warp scientists. So you’re gonna be professor Uthrugvugeg soon, then!”

“I hope so. It would be nice to have some security and tenure.”

Ray gave him an unreadable look for a few seconds, then nodded. “I totally understand,” she said.

Uthrug turned his head and rippled his facial tendrils curiously. “…You do?”

“Sure. I’ve been through hell myself. Really makes you value the simple stuff, right?”

“Indeed. And after going through this hell, you chose to stay on Folctha?”

She laughed softly for some reason. “I’m still here, yeah. Think I’m here for good, and you know what? It’s a lot better than the last place. Got lots of the simple stuff.”


The biggest Human Uthrug had ever seen stalked past in a predominantly blue costume with red and white highlights. Ray giggled and called after him. “Lookin’ good, Captain!”

The Human responded with a grin and a gesture with one of his hands, where he closed his fist with his thumb pointing straight up, and vanished among the crowd, in the company of two rather sleeker figures clad in shining black and fluffy brown. Ray laughed again and sipped her drink.

“Now that is America’s ass,” she muttered to herself with a wide smile.

“I am very confused,” Uthrug admitted.

“Several layers of cultural in-joke, my friend. I bet you guys have jokes like that too.”

“Yes, I suppose we do,” Uthrug conceded. “Here and now, however, they make me feel… alien. Isolated.”

“I mean… I’m sorry to hear that. But you can’t fairly expect us to stop being us just because you’re here now too, can you?”

“No, of course not. That does not, however, change the observation.”

Ray nodded. “You’ll adjust. Took me a while to catch up when I came here, too.”

“I hope so.” Uthrug found that his belly was feeling refreshed and ready for more, so he heaved himself to his feet and dipped his head in gratitude. “It was pleasant to meet you.”

“You too. Sure I’ll see you around, Professor.” She remained seated on the fountain, watching the world go by, and Uthrug moved on feeling oddly off-balance, in a good way. He’d never met somebody who gave off tangible waves of contentment before. Whatever hell Ray had been through… she was so happy with life here and now that it almost radiated from her like warmth.

He wondered if he might feel that, eventually. Before he’d gone ten steps, however, she called after him.

“Hey, Professor!”

Uthrug turned and looked back. She toasted him with her drink, then grinned. “You think this is festive, just you wait ‘til Christmas!” she said, then stood and went her own way.

Uthrug tilted his head to one side, considering that. He looked around him at the lights, sounds and smells that had seemed so bewildering only a few minutes before. He tried to imagine what an even more lavish celebration might look like, or what, indeed, it might celebrate.

And then, with genuine happiness and hope glowing along his flanks for the first time in far too long, he rejoined the crowd.

He’d made the right choice.

Date Point: Halloween, 16y10m AV
Statler Hotel, Folctha, Cimbrean, the Far Reaches

Allison Buehler

The champagne was flowing, the charity auction was a roaring success, and Levaughn had finally conceded defeat after driving Diane Woodward up to a bid that had her husband gritting his teeth. The NSPS were probably looking at a seven-figure windfall, after the remaining lots were gone.

Al was having altogether too much fun teasing Julian about it all, while Xiù was drunkenly enjoying herself in bidding on a signed original oil painting from a Gaoian artist called Leemu, whose increasing notoriety was likely to make his paintings balloon in value even if Xiù wasn’t really thinking of that.

“Babe! You should have Leemu paint you!”

“…Okay?” To Julian’s credit, everything about the evening seemed to bemuse him more than anything else. “I mean, I don’t know if I should, given the, uh…intense enthusiasm. I can’t help but feel a bit guilty for Mister Woodward…”

“Why? ‘Cuz Diane’s gonna be ogling your—?”

“Al!” he interrupted her before she could get to the good bit. Too bad he was being polite; Julian loved having his ego stroked just as much as anyone.

She gave him a nose-wrinkling grin. “Hey, maybe he’ll come and thank you later. She might get all frisky!”

“Maybe that’s why he married her!” Xiù commented. She always got a little more scandalous when she had a few drinks on board. Still, she lowered her voice. “Maybe she’s a total freak!”

Al giggled. “Bleating all night long…”

Julian rolled his eyes in unwilling amusement. “I swear I can’t take you two anywhere.”

“Sure you can! We’re just going to have a good ti– yes?” Xiù paused as a Gaoian got her attention with a gentle tap on the shoulder, then leaned in to whisper in her ear.

Her happy expression vanished like somebody had just wiped it off her face with a cloth. She nodded politely to the Gaoian, and then gave them both a Look.

“…We need to go. Julian, I guess you’d better grab the ambassador too…”

Neither of them argued . Anything that could kill Xiù’s jolly that fast was serious.

Maybe their hasty exit would raise some eyebrows and gossip, but Al didn’t care. She just stuck by her girlfriend’s side and held her hand as they followed the Gaoian into an empty room. Julian arrived with Rockefeller a minute later, and frowned at the Gaoian as he closed the door behind them. “…Babe? What’s going on? And who’s this guy?”

The Gaoian produced an ID card. “Officer Ekil, Clan Straightshield,” he introduced himself. He offered them a tablet. “Please stand by for the Great Father.”

And that said everything either of them needed to hear. Xiù’s hand squeezed Allison’s so hard that it hurt. They all knew what was happening.

It was time.

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

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Waters of Babylon – Tzedakah Part 3

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 5

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

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Waters of Babylon – Tzedakah Part 2

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

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Waters of Babylon – Tzedakah Part 1

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 9

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 4

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 8

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 4

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

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Henosis – Chapter 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 3

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 7

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

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Henosis – Chapter 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 56: Dataquake Part 1

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

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Henosis – Chapter 2

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 5

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

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Henosis – Chapter 1

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

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Causal Results – Chapter 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 4

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 2

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 51 (End)

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 55: Reinvention Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 6

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 5

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 50

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 4

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 2

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 49

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 54: Here Be Dragons Part 1

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 6

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 5

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 4

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

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Rising Titans – Chapter 48

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

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Good Training – Survival Part 3

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

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The Deathworlders – Chapter 53: The Wild Hunt Part 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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