The Deathworlders – Chapter 61: Violence Part 3

Date point: 16y10m1w4d AV
Gateway Station 2, Ugunduvur System, the Guvnuragnaguvendrugun Confederacy

Fiin, Champion and Stud of Clan Stoneback

Fiin’s paws met the gateway station’s outer hull with a solidity that reverberated through his whole body, eerily loud in the soundproof confines of his suit.

Electrostatic sticky fields in the palms and soles stuck him firmly to it, and he scuttled along the surface to plant a sensor, ensuring that the compartment he was about to enter didn’t contain a civilian: when it turned out to empty, he peeled the hull open with his fusion claws and forced himself inside against the flood of escaping air.

Life for Fiin had been unspeakably busy as of late. He was wearing triple hats as the Champion of Stoneback, effectively its Grandfather while they figured out a replacement for Garl…and unofficially Daar’s chief of staff for the Grand Army as well.

Fiin was desperately looking forward to Hunter gore on his paws. He had some frustrations to work out.

Brothers poured in through the hole he’d made, behind and alongside him. One of them paused to slap a sealing field over the hull breach. The power was out, and the station was in null gravity, but that wasn’t the kind of thing to slow First Fang. Especially not Fiin. No other ‘Back but Daar was better-conditioned then him. Nobody else could mimic a Whitecrest’s acrobatic magic quite like he could.

In fact, the freefall environment just gave him more angles to play with.

The gateway stations were mirrored pair, each resembling a stack of flat, mismatched, asymmetrical plates. Each had a long docking and cargo handling rail thrust outward from their notional underbellies, perpendicular to the system shield, and it was these that the Hunter swarmships had burrowed tick-like into.

First Fang and the HEAT went in via their respective targets’ notional topside. They were vulnerable while out in the naked void, and none of them fancied being instantly and ignominiously deleted by a swarmship’s point defence before they got a chance to lock their jaws around the enemy.

That approach also meant they were able to safely put the civilians behind them in cleared territory as they swept through the station. Cowering Guvnurag flinched in worsened terror as sinewy, deadly Goaian bodies flowed through their homes and public spaces, made sure all was clear, and moved on faster than the inhabitants could react.

They met their first enemy three decks down, clawing at a door with a herd of panicking Guvnurag behind it. It was one of the big, grossly enhanced ones with the exposed muscles.

For Fiin, hammering into one of the big Hunters like a flying boulder was just….so satisfying. He clawed its head clean off and broke its spine for good measure. His Brothers poured past him, weapons out: a disciplined volley of accurate shots left Hunters dead on the deck.

Fiin wasn’t at all jealous of the way Kodiak simply plowed straight through another big Hunter like tissue paper, killing it on impact with none of his momentum lost. Not many big ‘Backs knew how to use their size so effectively and it was a treat to watch.

Even fewer who could tactically command while doing so.

Fiin had been leaning heavily on the bright young male as of late while he juggled his myriad responsibilities. Definitely gonna need to talk with him after this…a Champion’s work never stopped.

Speaking of which, he’d bloodied his claws and that was necessary, but now his responsibility was to direct his attention to the bigger picture. A monosyllabic bark of a command to Kodiak, and all was understood. The team would endeavor to keep Fiin unharassed as the front progressed.

There were still a lot of Hunters to kill, and a lot of lives to save.

Date Point: 16y10m1w4d AV
Gateway Station 1, Ugunduvur system, the Guvnuragnaguvendrugun Confederacy


Silence. Waiting. Heartbeat and breath, data on his HUD… otherwise nothing but the wait.

Then the green light.


Sudden nothing all around as they push out of the ship. Little puffs with the maneuvering thrusters, cluster up, grab hold of a launch. Cally vanishes as she accelerates, falling away like a dropped rock, disappears in the dark.

Launch handles getting them close to the station. Come a long way since the first time they did this: carve through the hull, forcefield over the breach, in like battering rams. Quick, smooth, clean.

Signs of combat beyond. Flashing blue lights, gouges in the walls and floors, dented metal, broken doors. No blood, though. Weird, but good.

Move, ordered by ABBOTT. Good to have STAINLESS back.

Station has a main access shaft for cargo handling. Fastest way in. Wide doors, high ceilings for big aliens. Easy to move, lots of room, still no contact…

…Sound of gunfire, muffled, not close. Coming from where they’re going. Move faster. Deck squealing underfoot, not fast enough.

Plunge down a ramp, turn, down the next ramp, open space up ahead…

Dead Hunters littering the deck. Some kind of heavy-ass gun down that access shaft, filling the air with death. Hunters advancing into the teeth of it, keeping their heads down and using cover, gaining ground…Notice the HEAT coming, but too little too late.

A handful of gorey seconds later, ‘Horse stopped to think for a second and take stock. The Hunters had clearly had the same idea the HEAT had: hit that main arterial shaft and penetrate deep into the station.

Problem was, these Guvnurag apparently didn’t go down without a fight. And while they were surprisingly light for their size, and kinda fragile for something so big, there was still a lot of real estate on those guys to cover in Fun.

Back ‘em into a corner, give ‘em a defensible position with clear lines of fire, and they’d turned the Hunters’ easy road into the station’s core into a shooting gallery instead.

Problem: three fighting forces, no communication, busy environment. Now ‘Horse and RIGHTEOUS were in that shooting gallery themselves. Good cover, but still stuck.

Dex had it covered. He may have been a big fuckin’ boy these days, but he’d lost none of that nimble Gaoian ninjaforce that made them so damn good at what they did. Fuck, he was way better, even. He and his Bros swarmed down through the ceiling, carving their way through with fusion blades, scuttled on the roof with those sticky gecko-gloves, then dropped among the frightened Guvnurag.

The green-on-blue firepower faltered, then fell silent. Gotta love those Whitecrest stick-n-sleep patches. ‘Horse gave them a nod of approval, and pounced on the Guvnurag wounded while the Defenders secured a perimeter.

There were a few. Triage mode: He’s just winded, she has a broken leg—bad news for a Guv, but not a right-this-second problem—this poor fucker here bleeding a lot. Priority.

…Well, fuck. He was gonna hafta be rough on him. IRISH was by his side, very smart but still a bit inexperienced with big xeno trauma.

Tourniquet on, fluids in. Keep the blood pressure high in the core, limbs don’t matter so much. Medicine’s pretty fuckin’ sweet these days, just gotta live long enough to make it to theatre. Big core, though. Lotta fluids needed. Not so much painkillers though: ETs OD easy.

“No opiates for Guv, IRISH. Fatal. Gotta use a megadose of NSAIDs. Like morphine for ‘em.”

He knew of course, but mistakes happen. Always good to make sure.

Butler acknowledged that, applied intravenous ibuprofen, and with that their patient was basically stabilized. ‘Horse glanced up to check the status of their jump array: it was online.

They had a Guv-sized stretcher stuck on ‘Horse’s back, which he snapped open with a practiced flick. There was a trick to gettin’ the big dudes onto it without hurting them, ‘cuz lying on their side really wasn’t a healthy position for them: they found it hard to breathe.

First time for IRISH, but he knew what to do. Good. The real problem was hefting the patient. Warhorse knew (and personally trained) all four human beings strong enough to do it.

Time to test number four. “You good for this, bro?”

Butler’s helmet bobbed in a nod. “‘Course I feckin’ am! Are you?”

Adam grinned, stepped to his side of the stretcher. They heaved. Enjoyably weighty for Adam. Butler struggled fiercely under the Guv’s mass but that was okay, just more training in his future. They got it done, and they got the patient moved. Back on Cally they had a crane for this.


Move on. Catch up. Got a station to sweep. Caught up with Defenders, leave IRISH to assist. Not fast or nimble enough yet to hang with Aggressors.

Warhorse poured on the speed. Aggressors at end of main shaft, sprint forward to catch up, floor breaking under pounding feet, boots splashing in Hunter blood.

Icon in HUD. Sealed hatchway not so sealed, danger between Aggressor’s rear and Defender’s front. By coincidence, ‘Horse in exactly the right place.

Swat aside hatch and move like only Warhorse could move. Rictus grin—rarely does he get to unload so hard. Nobody tough enough to take what he can give. Three targets serviced without trying. No stopping, no slowing down.

A bunch more Hunters, bearing teeth. Stupid. Break like twigs in hands, smash like overripe fruit underfoot. Red or white, Hunters too puny. Meet Aggressors at other side of corridor.

Everything smashed, ‘Horse hardly winded. Grin.

Nod from RIGHTEOUS. Part respect, part brotherhood. Part jealousy. Warhorse understood.

No time to jack off.


Date Point: 16y10m1w4d AV
HMS Caledonia, Ugunduvur system, the Guvnurag Confederacy

Petty Officer Sachi Patel

Things were so smooth now that shield-sharing was a thing. It added a little heat load for Patel’s team to manage, but more than compensated for that by exponentially growing their radiating area. When linked up with two other ships, the limiting factor became Cally’s own ability to refrigerate herself and pump the heat around internally.

And… Cally was good at that. There had been nuclear warheads flying around in the fight at the freighter convoy. Enough firepower to turn a large chunk of Europe into a radioactive wasteland had bounced off their mingled shields, and that had raised the heat pressure to worrying levels, but in this fight?

In this fight, the Hunters were badly outmatched, despite having a numbers advantage. Cally, HMS Vindicator and the Sword Of A Poet had chained up and that was that. The Broodships just didn’t have the firepower to break them.

There was another rattling series of bangs through the hull as the launchers on the surface fired out another few dozen hotballs. Each one fired was… a missile, a really big gun, a storm of shieldbreaker rounds, depending on what Gunnery wanted it to be. Combined with Caledonia’s own jump receivers, not to mention her on-board weaponry, and…

Well, Patel guessed that the Hunters were getting slaughtered out there. She couldn’t actually see for certain, but she could see their own power output and heat management, both of which were ticking over comfortably with plenty of room to spare.

A small spike in power consumption indicated that they’d just jumped. Probably a micro-jump to a dragon’s tooth, dodging some incoming fire. Not completely a slaughter, then… but they weren’t taking hits.

She felt good. She felt calm. And below it all, she felt satisfied. There was nothing better than giving the Hunters a hiding.

This one was for the old crew.

Date Point: 16y10m1w4d AV
Gateway station 1, Ugunduvur system, the Guvnurag Confederacy

Lt. Col. Owen “Stainless” Powell

The space battle outside the hull was just a series of dry reports as far as Powell was concerned: the hotballs had done their job perfectly, driving the Hunters back in the teeth of a withering barrage as though the Allies had brought a fleet ten times the size.

Good. He liked not having to worry that others could do their job.

As for the Guvnurag themselves… mixed feelings. As it turned out, when news of the Hunters hitting the aid convoy had reached them, they’d deployed some of their most well-trained and tenacious troops to the gateway stations in anticipation of exactly this.

Take a platoon of van-sized alien quadrupeds, layer them in shield emitters and mount weapons on the powered exoframes they wore, and you wound up with a slow-moving but bloody solid combatant. Each one was more like a mobile heavy weapon emplacement than an infantryman… But against Hunters, though, the key was constant motion. They’d been surrounded. In a few minutes more, they’d have been overwhelmed. If this was the Guvnurag best, then while the Hunters would have paid in death for their victory, they’d still have won.

The Gurv, in short, had got lucky that a force of spaceborne killer apes and their beardog friends had shown up to slaughter the Hunters and pull their shaggy mountainous arses out of the fire.

“This everyone?” he asked.

The Gurv officer was more-or-less the equivalent of a captain, still reeling from surviving his last stand and from the tender mercies of the stick-n-sleep, which in Powell’s experience tended to mean a real skullsplitter of a headache. Too many colours were racing over his body to make sense of, even if Powell had understood their chromatic emotes.

“A-as many as we could save,” he stammered. “There, there might be others. I don’t know.”

“You have access to the internal sensors, don’t you?” Powell reminded him.

“Uh, y-yes? Oh! Yes!!”

Better late than never. Powell watched the officer call up what he had. He forwarded the pertinent information to Costello, trusting that from there it would reach Firth who would in turn ensure that hostiles were appropriately serviced.

And God help the poor sod who had to clean up after.

Date Point: 16y10m1w4d AV
Cloaked Hunter observation ship, Spacelane BlueSquare-552, the Guvnuragnaguvendrugun Confederacy

The Builder Alpha-of-Alphas

An Eater would have been angry enough to smash things, or kill any lowly Omegas or slaves that got too close. Many of the Brood-Alphas were doing just that, wailing impotently at the string of ‘losses’ they were enduring. First the freighters and now the stations? Unbearable!

The Alpha-of-Alphas, on the other hand, was getting exactly what it wanted.

There was bountiful data to pore over, though for the time being it didn’t care. There would surely be interesting secrets to glean, but the important part was that opening a second front had worked. A few of the enemy ships had peeled off, forced away the Hunters probing those stations, and were now stuck there.

That was important. The Humans in particular had only a mouthful of their elite boarders, each one by now known to the Hunters and cataloged. Specimens Alpha-1 and Alpha-2 were the largest and most destructive, capable of speed and ferocity that eclipsed even the most heavily augmented Hunters. They were accompanied by the many Beta specimens, each of which was a terror in its own right. Categorized into Fighter, Trapper and Sneaker variants, they divided their efforts according to clearly understood mission profiles.

Yes, each individual was known and tracked. And while destroying them would have been a sweet victory, they were not vulnerable right now.

But they were accounted-for, and the Builder knew that they could not rapidly redeploy. They hit hard and fast, when ready. But once used, it took a while before they were ready again.

Which meant…

The surrounding systems contained dozens of small stations and outposts. Mining facilities, for the most part, producing minerals and water for the Large-Prey planet and its many satellites and stations. Each was occupied by only a small few, but each one was also a wealth of technology and spare parts… the very things that the swarm had hit the convoy to secure.

Frustratingly, the Fur-Faced Alpha of Alphas had declined to join the battle. That was against forecasts and a bit of a disappointment, but the Builder did not base its stratagems on the assumption that the foe would be foolish. Some preliminary analysis had suggested this so-called ‘Great Father’ —a title which translated somewhat confusingly as [‘alpha spawner’]— possessed a personal combat effectiveness completely unmatched by any other. The previous Alpha of Alphas had been defeated by him, after all, and that had been an earlier, lesser version of this Fur-Faced Alpha of Alphas against one of the finest augmented forms the Hunters could produce. So much ability in a purely biological form—!

That such a thing was demonstratively possible was…hotly debated amongst the Alphas, who were only now coming to terms with the idea of Humans. The further notion that the Fur-Faced could also be not merely predators, but Deathworld predators…it was almost…

A vivisection would have proved most informative. But it was not to be.

The Builder gave its orders. Now that the enemy’s fleet and combatants were locked in place, the time had come to secure a victory. For now, they needed incremental progress. They would gather resources, husband their Prey-stocks, rebuild and repopulate. Those mining outposts were not as grand a prize as the freighters themselves would have been, of course…

But they would be enough to feed the Swarm.

Date Point: 16y10m1w4d AV
Gateway Station 1, Ugunduvur System, the Guvnuragnaguvendrugun Confederacy

Regaari, Father of Clan Whitecrest

Something was… off. Regaari could smell it, metaphorically. They’d come with Jump Arrays and everything they needed to get the hell off the gateway stations quickly if the Hunters swarmed them. That had been Regaari’s working hypothesis, in fact: that the enemy would take a stab at eliminating both the HEAT and First Fang by bringing in an overwhelming swarm of ships and vaporizing the stations.

Instead… nothing.

Oh, the broodships outside had put up a fight, engaged and tussled with the allied warships, retreating under the hail of supporting fire from the hotballs and then returning to take another swipe. But while the danger they posed had certainly been real, it hadn’t been convincing.

No. Hunters didn’t half-ass a juicy target. They threw everything they had at it in a slavering toothy wave until it was either consumed, or they were all dead. So the moment the Broodships abruptly disengaged and streaked out of the system at a few hundred kilolights set alarm bells ringing in Regaari’s brain.

He saw all, of course. That was his job. Scouting, intelligence gathering, being aware of the bigger picture. While his Brothers both Human and Gaoian got to focus on a small and clearly-defined job right in front of them, cunning, deadly DEXTER had no such luxury. His role was defined by bigger-picture thinking.

Hence the highly sophisticated virus he’d slipped into the gateway station’s network seconds after arriving.

Powell, of course, knew everything that Regaari did. He left the last of the sweep-and-clear in the capable hands of Costello and Firth, and kept half the Whitecrests by his side as he claimed the station’s core operations center for his own.

“Every bloody one?”

Regaari duck-nodded. “Gone. HIGHCASTLE says the same thing; all quiet. The Hunters just let us claim two valuable targets, almost unresisted.”

“…Well that smells fookin’ fishy.”

Curious that Humans, with their far less sensitive noses, would have such an olfactory idiom for suspicion. But Regaari had always found it very apt.

Powell ‘s brows beetled behind his visor as he watched Regaari’s tablet. The virus was working perfectly: Thanks to it, the Fleet Intelligence Center on HMS Myrmidon would now be milling the gateway stations’ logs, sensor readings and comms through their massive supercomputing resources.

Moments later, the results—and the answers—started to come in, plucked and prioritized right from the local out-system comm channels.

Distress calls.

Dozens of them.

There was a strained silence as the board filled up with desperate pleas for life and limb that they were entirely powerless to answer. Powell gripped the edge of a table so hard that it creaked and bent as, one by one, the distress calls began to cut out.

“…They played us,” he growled. “They fookin’ played us.”

There was nothing they could do.

Date Point: 16y10m2w AV
High Mountain Fortress, the Northern Plains, Gao

Matigu, Champion of Clan Longback

Arguing with the Great Father was always something to be done with the greatest respect. None of the Sea-Clans would soon forget what he had done to Clan Bronzefur, or how thoroughly—and easily—he had broken their previous Champion. Because of that, disagreeing with him in the slightest, especially when that magnificent crown sat upon his head, was an act of near suicide both political and personal, at least to Matigu’s mind, anyway.

The Great Father didn’t see it that way, of course. He prided himself on his honor and his reasonableness, and took pains to be even-handed in his dealings with the Clans. He stood heads above his Champions like a serene, towering colossus and, rather than wrestle Matigu or anything like that, asked the mildest of questions in reply. “I can understand ‘yer frustration, but what d’ya think my presence would achieve?”

It was a disarming tactic, and Matigu momentarily forgot himself in it. “The Swarm of Swarms took thirty-seven out-system mining posts! Thousands of souls!”

“‘Yer right,” Daar duck-nodded agreeably. “An’ what could I have done? Our people were pinned protectin’ a much more important resource. What benefit would my presence have brought? An’ what risks?”

“I…” Matigu paused and sagged, not really knowing how to put his thoughts into words. He could sympathize with the plight of out-system miners, having spent years as a young Associate out on a Clan Longback oil platform in Gao’s frozen polar seas. It was lonely, claustrophobic work and the weather rarely behaved well enough to go outside and enjoy the air.

He’d had a nightmare last night, about being back on the rig while Hunters smashed in through its tiny, storm-proof windows and clawed after him in the tight, close confines.

But whatever his objection might be, he couldn’t find the right words. They faltered and fell apart in the face of the Great Father’s not-unkind look.

“‘Yer passionate, an’ I can admire that. S’wat the Longbacks’ve been known ‘fer since the old days,” Daar said. “but…well, I’m a lotta things, but omnipotent ain’t one o’ them. I can’t be everywhere at once, either. None of us can. We’re not gonna win every skirmish an’ we can’t get hung up about it. An’ as much as I wanna personally crush every Hunter fuck unner my paws…”

A voice to Matigu’s left spoke up: Uriigo, Champion of Clan Bronzefur. “Nonetheless, My Father…we must answer for the loss.”

Daar’s snarl was a thing that made everyone reel back on their haunches. “Says who? Do you again presume to set our direction?”

Champion Uriigo was a master of needling the Great Father, and the only member of the Conclave who was quasi-openly antagonistic to the new order of things. Hardly surprising, really: Bronzefur’s previous Champion had openly defied the Great Father as ‘a matter of Clan survival’ and, for daring to show himself in council, was without any warning tackled, bodily picked up and quite literally broken in half by Daar as easily as one might snap a twig. Their Grandfather he dispatched with a spine-shattering kick that bounced him off the far wall, followed by a standing leap across the room, landing in an earthquake of a stomp right through his ribcage. It had all happened so fast, nobody could react.

The Great Father didn’t even take a moment to drop the former Champion’s ruined corpse to the ground, nor wipe the gore off his hind-paws, before he appointed Uriigo as the Clan’s new Champion… and did not accept his submission immediately. No, Daar had taken his time about it. In fact he’d ignored all of Uriigo’s attempts at abject prostration and made his displeasure thoroughly known. Acceptance hadn’t come until the new Champion lay broken on the floor and at the brink of death himself.

Uriigo had always stopped himself just short of open contempt ever since: he remained bloodied, but not broken. “It’s what will be expected… My Father.”

“They—if indeed it be ‘they’ and not a figment of ‘yer imagination—can expect whatever they want. Fuck ‘em. We can only do so much ‘ta defend the galaxy. They gotta learn. An’ that’s why I’m here an’ not wallowin’ in it like I really wanna…”

There was just… something in his growl at the end which clearly suggested the Hunters weren’t the only thing he wanted to destroy.

“Some might question your…resolve…My Father, if you make a habit of commanding from the rear…”

…Balls, that was a reckless thing to—

The Great Father exploded across the room so precisely and so unbelievably fast, it was almost literally blink-and-miss-it: his brutal muzzle stopped a mere inch from Uriigo’s throat.

“Question my resolve, eh? Tell me…are you afraid, Champion?”

The snarl he made was so deep and so menacing, Matigu could feel it reverberate in his chest from across the room. Daar touched his nose against the suddenly shock-still yet defiant Champion’s jugular before giving his throat a long, threatening sniff. It was an extremely loaded question too, with only one possible, humiliating answer. There was no doubt in Matigu’s mind that Uriigo was courting death.


“Not completely stupid, then…” Daar gave another reverberating growl as he prowled around Uriigo, searching for any weakness. “It ain’t often I smell suicidal bravery so strong on somebody…which is awful damn strange ‘fer a Champion that ain’t never soldiered through any kind o’ combat, huh?”

That was a vicious jab, and touched on some unflattering rumors that frequently provoked rage on Uriigo’s part. Anyone else would have found themselves scarred for life over that comment. Uriigo was a brownfur after all, and not a small one. But against Daar…

What could he do but stand there and take it?

Uriigo, somehow, found the way. “Not true, My Father. I survived a duel against yourself.”

“Hrrm.” Daar sniffed again, then straightened. “Ballsy. I can respect that. Jus’ don’t mistake my charity as anythin’ but. Do ‘ya remember why I broke ‘yer predecessor?”

“I remember the reason given, yes.”

Matigu had to stifle his disbelief. How reckless was Uriigo going to be…?

“Cute. An’ you somehow got the balls t’wonder why I had my fun bouncing ‘yer weak lil’ body off the walls that day…the Females ‘member just fine, an’ it’s only by their mercy that ‘yer Clan still exists. ‘Ya might consider some honest contrition if’n ‘yer Clan is gonna have any hope o’ breedin’ itself a future. Who knows? Bronzefurs with humility? Stranger shit’s happened.”

“I will not be lectured about humility from the Stud-Prime of Stoneback…My Father.”

Daar’s tolerance was truly awesome. Matigu was so incensed by the lack of respect, he and several others had to restrain themselves from leaping at Uriigo’s throat…but they needn’t have worried. Daar’s reply was growled quietly against Uriigo’s ear…and it was devastating.

“You’ll stand there an’ take whatever I wanna give, Champion. You’ll take it ‘cuz I’m better’n you. I am Stud-Prime because of my fitness ‘fer the title. I have the confidence of a leader born of over fifteen thousand years o’ faithful service, an’ I come from an honest tradition of hard work since time immemorial. My humility stems from the blessings I have inherited, an’ for which I am but a steward in a long line o’ servants. But humility ain’t the same thing as modesty. I won’t pretend ‘ta that.”

Daar pressed himself against the comparatively tiny Champion and rested one of his huge paws over Uriigo’s shoulder. Those rib-breaking claws were fully extended and resting lightly over the Champion’s heart.

“After all, it was my Clan that brought the liberation of the Females, and who protect them even today against the honorless an’ the evil. And it was us who remade the Gao. That faithfulness brought us the power we enjoy today. That esteem ensured our consequent genetic perfection an’ blessed my unbroken line in particular with its superiority. You ain’t got none o’ that, an’ you fuckin’ well know it. So…mebbe consider why the Females chose ‘ta spare ‘yer lil’ Clan after what ‘ya did, and think on what y’all might do to be worthy o’ that mercy. ‘Cuz my patience with ‘yer unearned arrogance is wearin’ awful thin…Champion.”

Uriigo’s teeth chattered very slightly; he was just shy of abject terror, and now everyone could see it, if they somehow couldn’t smell it.

But credit where credit was due; the defiant Champion somehow found a liferaft of dignity on which to escape. “I shall take your words under advisement…My Father.”

Daar chittered darkly. “How gracious o’ you. An’ as ‘fer what ‘some’ might question and what ‘others’ might expect an’ all th’ rest, you fail to unnerstand.”

He prowled away, and Uriigo swayed back with a well-restrained sigh as he let out his held breath. Nobody wanted the Great Father’s teeth that close to their throat.

Daar ignored him. He returned to his place at the head of the great table, expounding as he went. “One day y’ain’t gonna have a Great Father, an’ things can’t go back to the way they were. So…what then? My purpose ain’t ‘ta rub my huge nuts all over everything an’ claim it as mine. I already won that game. My purpose is to ensure the survival an’ prosperity of the Gao, and if I can swing it, her most bestest allies too.”

Matigu listened, not yet ready to give up on his own feelings that something more could have been done, but not able to disagree, either.

Daar knew, and turned his terrible gaze back to Matigu. It softened instantly into something much more kindly.

“‘Yer young. I get it. I wasn’t much younger when I was called to be Champion. But the kwekshit awful thing ‘bout high office, is we’ve got responsibilities beyond ourselves, yijao? Gettin’ kilt ‘cuz I wanna personally squish sum Hunter fucks is the pinnacle o’ stupidity. I have duty that goes past all that, an’ that means I can only take to the battlefield when I’m needed. But even more’n that? Spendin’ my forces like cheap peshorkies when I ain’t advancin’ th’ goal is straight-up evil.”

He glanced back at Uriigo and his expression hardened again. “Part o’ doin’ that is knowing what’s signal, an’ what’s noise. Even if ‘ya gotta smash the noise now an’ then…”

Uriigo, wisely, didn’t react in any way. He just stared back, ears up, back straight. Daar held his gaze for a moment, then duck-nodded and addressed the rest of his Champions.

“An’ another part is knowin’ when ‘ta delegate. Champions Fiin an’ Thurrsto are out there right now, an’ they in turn are learnin’ what they need ‘ta delegate even further. If there’s anythin’ we gotta learn from the Humans, it’s that we can’t govern ourselves like a pile o’ competin’ Clans anymore. That means my Champions gotta learn ‘ta let go. An’ ‘yer Brothers, they gotta learn ‘ta let you.”

He sat, which was an invitation for all the Champions to take their seat. Where the Great Father sat directly on the floor, however, the Champions sat on actual wooden furniture, in a series of expensive groans, squeaks and creaking noises.

It was both a gesture of high esteem on the Great Father’s part, and also an unsubtle reminder: he was still eye-level with all of them.

“I trust they’ll git ‘er dun proper-like. An’ the gaoian world don’t stop just ‘cuz of those greasy nutless Hunter fucks. So…unless anybody’s got more they wanna git outta their fur…shall we?”

Business concluded swiftly after that. The Great Father was in a bad mood, Uriigo remained very carefully silent and attentive for the rest of the session, and the same went for many of the others.

Champion Meereo got Matigu’s attention when Daar finally dismissed them, a small gesture with his paw and ears that said ‘walk with me.’ They left through the doors at one end of the room, while the Great Father made his exit through the other doors with the kind of inexorable speed that he only used when there was somewhere he intended to be, soon.

Clans Longear and Longback had always been close: the Longears were the offspring clan, descended from the much-rewarded deep sea divers who’d first laid the great undersea communications cables across the Equatorial Gulf toward the end of Gao’s industrial age.

They still looked much the same, but there were differences. Longears were sleeker and a bit taller, with much longer ears and slightly broader shoulders; they were naturally graceful athletes. Longbacks had shorter legs and stouter bodies that were noticeably more muscular; hard work at sea was their forté. Both still had dense glossy black fur and partially webbed fore- and hind-paws, though Longbacks had the thicker fur and retained more functionally useful webbing.

Both enjoyed the salt and the sea, and had little patience for kwekshit.

“You know, I think in another life the Great Father would have a lot of respect for Uriigo,” Meereo commented, once they were safely out in the gardens. The Great Father had personally guaranteed that the gardens were not monitored—a quirk of his particular sense of honor that had always left Matigu a little bemused—and that concession freed the Champions up to speak freely among themselves. Maybe that was the idea.

“Hard to believe,” Matigu replied.

“Is it, though? It’s pretty obvious he respects Uriigo’s personal bravery, if not his Clan.”

“That bravery—”

“And integrity,” Meereo added.

“—and integrity are going to get him killed.”

“He has little choice, I think. He has to earn a certain reputation in the Great Father’s eyes if he’s ever going to redeem his Clan of their sins.”

“There’s one of those words again.” Matigu sighed and looked up at the sky. “A lot of old words going around in the Great Father’s court these days.”

“Like, for instance, ‘Great Father.’ And ‘Court.’”

“Yes. Lots of… hmm… little steps into the past.”

Meereo shrugged, and stretched his arms over his head. “Maybe. I dunno, I think it’s more a step backward to take stock, myself.”

“I hope so. They say the future is built on the stones of the past, but sometimes I think we’re being a little too… literal about it. Reliving old ideas, rather than refining them.”

“Maybe. We did, after all, vote to crown him. Even Uriigo voted for that in the end. We can’t claim we went into this blind, he warned us what that crown properly meant. And in any case, whether you prefer ‘sins’ or ‘crimes,’ the Bronzefurs have been straddling the line between Civilized and Privateer for a very, very long time…” Meereo mused, following his own unravelling thread of thought while his ears weaved back and forth above him.

“…You wanted to talk with me about something.”

“And the war isn’t close to over yet. War is always an old-fashioned kind of time, I suppose. However modern the methods may be, the psychology is the same as it ever was…” Meereo continued, obliviously.

Matigu snapped him out of it with the gentlest of claw-touches to the arm. “Meereo… cousin, if I may. I’ve had enough of Bronzefur and Uriigo and the war and…” Matigu waved his paw vaguely back toward the council chamber, “…that, for today. What can I do for you?”

“Well… This is what I wanted to discuss.” Meereo said, turning to face him. “…You seemed shocked, back there.”

“Isn’t that natural? The Great Father seemed… I don’t know. Darker than usual, today.”

Meereo sighed. “Cousin… have you forgotten what his other duty today is?”


“He’s saying goodbye to an old friend…”

Previous Chapter

Sweetness – Love and Kiing (NSFW)

CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 14 Of Race 4 Year 4958 Frostal Secondary, New Baltimore Sitting down in the chair across from the Principal’s desk I nervously swallowed and tried to calm my heart. The Principal could probably hear it, and smell my perspiration. Which was only making me more nervous. “Thoomaas,” squeaked the principal from

Read More »
Next Chapter

Sweetness – Love and Kiing (NSFW)

CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 14 Of Race 4 Year 4958 Frostal Secondary, New Baltimore Sitting down in the chair across from the Principal’s desk I nervously swallowed and tried to calm my heart. The Principal could probably hear it, and smell my perspiration. Which was only making me more nervous. “Thoomaas,” squeaked the principal from

Read More »

More by HamboneHFY

Sweetness – Implications

CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 25 Of Race 4 Year 4958 Monty Publishing House, New Baltimore Slowly gathering myself I stepped into the hologram chamber, the projection flickered and the simulation automatically paused as I stepped in. I quickly looked around to get my bearings, I appeared to be on a starship bridge enduring greatly exaggerated

Read More »

Sweetness – Chapter 4 (NSFW)

CopRit Empire, Halfil Sol 78 Of Race 3 Year 4958 Suburbs, New Baltimore I looked back up at the shopkeeper, the small Human was trying to appear unconcerned. Not that I could really blame ‘him’- glancing over at the human I checked the chest. It was a male, the chest did not protrude and there

Read More »

Sweetness – Chapter 3 (NSFW)

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

Read More »

Sweetness – Chapter 2 (NSFW)

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

Read More »

Sweetness – Chapter 1 (NSFW)

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

Read More »

Shades of White and Orange

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

Read More »

Mother Earth

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

Read More »


Nyx fired off another shot from her rifle and the Prod nearly 800 meters down the street jerked and ducked into an ally. She frowned and sharpened her gaze on the point where the purple mass had disappeared, looking for the telltale red fragments on the pavement. “More of ’em?” asked Iyo, he was whispering

Read More »

Adam, Artemis, Atlas, & Icarus Part 2

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

Similar Stories

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

Good Training – Survival Part 10

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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++:

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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.”

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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”

Read More »

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”

Read More »

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

Read More »

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!”

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »


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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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”

Read More »

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

Read More »


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

Read More »

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,

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »


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

Read More »

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

Read More »

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *