Post-Glasto

30 06 2010

Wednesday night and still buzzing from the weekends adventures.

Best Glastonbury ever and no hyperbole. If I were a starship pilot almost killed in some climatic struggle with the Big Bad at the end of a TV series  and the technology in my brain had to knock my fleshy conciousness into a near-death virtual world based on a fond memory, then that would be it. I would wander the sunny fields and encounter the distant memories of friends who would question me about my actions 1000 years after their time but I wouldn’t  be worried because of such fantastic nostalgia for one special moment in time.

That’s my own unique way of saying I’ve had a very good time in the past week, more coherent blogs will shortly follow but after this starship has circled round the planet a few times before landing.

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Los Motoristas Locos del Diablo del Bebéand the death of the Nwosu Family

12 07 2009

Los Motoristas Locos del Diablo del Bebéand the death of the Nwosu Family

 

 

Though ominous clouds were assembling on the horizon for the expected 16:53 thunder storm a refreshing and brief shower seemed just the way to cool off the hot and sweaty party goers in the valley of New Pilton. The luxuriant and colourful fauna in the valley dated back to Ashenar genetic engineering but were familiar enough not to jar with the quaint Terran design of stone buildings and wooden verandas that were half submerged in the riot of hedonism and festival flair that had consumed the streets of the far colony.

Bunzl was there to visit and old friend who have moved here from the old country back in Alnair. Kara was one of the few people who knew him from his previous life as a socially awkward loner, who always dreamt of being the dashing hero but his many neurosis would thwart him at every turn. Naturally this distant period of his life was never talked of, except in the small hours of the morning and with his closest confidants but it was still good to see a familiar face after the pant wetting excitement of the previous few months in the monolithic and easily offended Mellard Imperium.

The appeal of hundreds of lithe, attractive bodies in various states of undress adorned with reactive body-paint wasn’t lost on Bunzl either, and now he was back on home soil being a starship captain from the Community would play in his favour. Expectant eyes of ladies barely out their first century would fall upon him as he would regale them with tales of his ship’s exploits in dangerous and insane foreign systems, it was almost worth the hassle of real life on-board an interstellar picket for the boost to your reputation and social standing. Almost.

At this moment in time Bunzl was not the centre of attention, Los Motoristas Locos del Diablo del Bebé had jut roared down the main street. Tracing their lineage back to Sigma Draconis the Hispanic biker gang rode around with replicant avatars of human infants adorning their antiquated hydrogen powered chopper handlebars. Anyone online could slip into the baby avatars and be taken around on the bikers romantic and masculine adventures on the haulage groundways of a hundred worlds.

The replicant avatars were top of the line, allowing skin-jockeys around the Community to feel the rush of air across the babies synthetic dermis as they hurtled down fullurene highways of distant world, and to feel the effects of the numerous legal narcotics the bikers consumed and dealt in. Though Los Motoristas themselves were usually as stoic as a Peckinpah hero/villain the babies (being controlled by tourists to this sort of lifestyle) were unable to handle the harsh narcotic regime of their full size counterparts so were the life and soul of the party when Los Motoristas Locos del Diablo del Bebé rode into town.

The avatars at New Pilton were living up to type, the background chatter of instant messaging and info posts that soaked the airwaves of the festival announced that today the Motoristas were escorting a group of quantum accountants from Epsilon Indi on the company entertainments payroll. The air was full of rowdy Hindi language and adult voiced infants reaching out for breasts as the choppers slowly made their way to beach at the end of the main street.

“Hey Barfi! How about a baby like me gets a suck on your nice Choochi, eh?” leered one particularly pink and chubby baby replicant while his mirror shaded rider looked silently on and a sparkly rainbow skinned and nude girl threw a playfully coy expression.

 

Suddenly an impossibly thin and precise beam of sunlight stretched down from an invisible point low in the sky to arc over Far Pilton and illuminate the village at the far side of the bay with the intensity of a star.

In the buzzing wavelengths of internet chatter the phrase “WTF” (and its equivalents) managed to get out before the waters around the impact of sunlight boiled away at an unnatural speed

like a horizontal volcanic eruption and great molten piles of land the size of buildings were thrown up into the air with an almost toy-like indifference to gravity.

The shock wave of the plasma strike soon bellowed across the formerly blue and calm bay with impending velocity towards the stunned festival goers, BBQs and beers flung aside in terror as the wave struck and the playful hedonists of village realised the situation and ran for cover.

Bunzl had come to the party dressed in his spacesuit, a genuine suit never fails to

attract wanted attention at these kind of shenanigans which is why he had the special groinal custom-build spliced into it. Partly due to the level of pharms flowing round his bloodstream to help with the night’s Bacchanalian activities and partly due to the swift reaction of

his implants in recognising danger and flooding his brain with soothing hormones Bunzl stood as rock (or a slightly dazed bear depending on your view) while the other party goers turned to run from the imminent destruction.

The shock wave struck just as he calmly pulled on his helmet (which had previously been used to collect glowing ID tags of interested sexual partners for later tonight) and knelt into the blast. Like a roar from a Lovecraftian horror, the blast barged into those still stumbling for shelter. It knocked people and objects over like an angry giant running up through the village

and over the bough of the hills to be followed by a boneshaking thunder clap repeated over and and over again with mechanical rhythm. The line of deadly sunlight stopped as abruptly as it had started with the thunderclaps languishing behind at the speed of sound. Through a rapidly sobering mind Bunzl deduced the beam had come from a ship in orbit, the low angle of the beam suggesting it hadn’t the opportunity to shoot from the most desirable and long lasting viewpoint (right above) and was confined to registered space lanes above the planet Jarjel Ochki.

Bunzl helped a couple who had been blown against a picnic table, they were wearing nothing but dreadlocks woven with LED lights and emotive body paint currently displaying patterns of shock and pain. "What was that?!" came the cry from numerous stunned and bruised survivors. "A plasma beam" came the reply from the group chat that whispered between the implants resident in the villager’s heads and dreads. More realisations quickly spread across

the unperceived waves of digital chatter,"That was the Nwosu Ranch that got struck! Why?!"

"Why" indeed, thought Bunzl with a distant air of unease and guilt. He surveyed the area to see if anyone needed help he scanned the local Pedia entry for the Nwosu clan. A

nondescript extended family of many generations who arrived from the Velorum Stella Nation forty years ago and made a comfortable life for themselves in the Large Magellanic Cloud on the former Dead World of Jarjel Ochki. Their reputation offered no clue as to why they would be burnt off the face of the planet which to Bunzl’s dawning mind could only mean one awful thing.

Kutiya ke pilley!” coughed the leery baby who had been thrown from his seat. The quality of the avatar interface had allowed the accountant hundreds of thousands of light years away to experience the full intensity of the blast.

Bunzl mused the shot could have been for Los Motoristas. They had earnt quite a reputation, especially in areas that frowned upon narcotics or inappropriate infants. But no-one they could have enraged would go to all the trouble of firing a plasma canon to end their ride once and for all, no-one in the Community at least.

Like a wild but tender beast the Motoristas for the leery baby picked him up in tanned hairy arms and put him back in his fluffy baby seat. The mirrored shades turned to Bunzl and with the biting clarity of those who speak very little he said “Caray! You think that was meant for us?”

I think that may have been meant for me” thought Bunzl, sheepishly.





Introducing Bunzl, a character named after a coffee machine….

14 05 2009

Like intense blue-white hot blowtorches the stars of the Hadar system burnt away into the vast concentric spheres of dust and rocks that would have eventually coalesced into a mighty planetary system, sadly a majestic state they would never reach before all three giant stars that made up Hadar quickly burnt up the fuel in their core grow bloated and erratic in their old age. Each one of the brilliant suns would swell to a size many times the distance between the Earth and Sol, devouring the protoplanetary mass
settling around them like a fat old king of old at a banquet. Throwing out more energy per day than Sol would in its substantially longer lifespan the three suns of Beta Centauri fell victim to the old adage “A light that burns twice as bright lasts half as long.”

It was in a similar vein that the energetic (and energising) Bunzl Jagerman Jones burnt through life at many times the speed and ferocity of those around him. He was as handsome as a starship captain should be and with the charisma and lust for life that alone,could power a Hicks class Alnairian privateer across the stars and between the Branes. He was often described as Han Solo and
Captain Kirk rolled into one, which was no small compliment when you consider the high regard those who fly between the stars in the 31st century held the ancient pop culture heroes of yore. The comparison was closer to the truth then most would ever know, for it was those two specific characters whom Bunzl had in mind when choosing how to have his personality remoulded during his mysterious two year retreat in a mind-modding clinic in one of the Alnarian Partnerships’ backwater systems.
Where once there had been a mild mannered and ordinary individual who spent the first century of his life blending into the background and struggling to make an impression with his nearest and dearest there now stood a swashbuckling space hero currently abusing his equally heroic constitution with three of the most fashionable pharms.

“Hey look!” came an excited holler and eyes wide with delight,”Bunzl’s up on the bar doing The Saw!” A number of his fellow Alnairians turned their heads towards the bar where Jagerman-Jones was giving his own enthusiastic and slightly unhinged display of “The Saw” a dance where (men and the male at heart usually) would move their arms as if they were slowly grinding a primitive saw back and forth whilst moving ones booty from side to side. It was an interpretive dance style picked up (ironically, of course) by fans of the recent Bubba-grindstep music scene that had exploded into fashion back on Candi and synchronised quite nicely with the slow, salvia inspired multi-dimensional rhythms of that genre. That Bunzl choose to do this dance to the completely
different melodies of the Family Lounges’ soft ambient astro-jazz (27th century revival) and whilst bouncing up and down of the counter to the food bar was typical of his devil mare care attitude and spontaneous nature.
AV footage recorded via the eyeballs of the people in the lounge darted around to friends on the vessel to votes of approval but despite the positive reaction of some of his fellow travellers on the long voyage to Hadar other patrons of the lounge were less than approving. Mild expletives of castigation and sober explanations to curious children rattled around the lounge of the starship as service bots attempted to end Jagerman-Jones’ one man show on top of the food counter. Slowly weaving out the way of exasperated mechanical hands and tentacles he threw up his hands and intentionally slipped on a bright yellow trifle, bouncing off the counter with his buttocks and onto he floor. After a playful bout of cat and mouse with the multi limbed and soft pastel coloured automatons Bunzls adventures were brought to an end by the firm grip of a security drone, modelled after various transistor operated and clumsy movie robots of the 1950s, which had entered the lounge under the behest of complaining travellers.
Bunzl pulled the face of a cheeky and unrepentant schoolboy as vainly struggled with the grip of surprisingly agile and fast moving robot, its bright red grabbers clasping the recalcitrant future starship captain with just the right pressure so as not to damage him but enough to escort him back to the more decadent parts of the ship where his pharm-fuelled antics were allowed.
Singing joyously and surprisingly tunefully (another secret modification to enhance the “legend”) down the corridor to the adults only rear of the passenger section Bunzl was clearly in high spirits as the starliner fell towards its destination, the manufactured planetary system that orbited a suspiciously debris free and stable path around Hadar-B.
Bunzls’ ill advised public display of exuberance was far from the only incident during the long voyage that was borne of a dangerous mix of anticipation, boredom and good quality legal narcotics.
People from all walks of life and all shapes and sizes had taken this long voyage (almost 150 light years of straight FTL jumping) in hope of realising whatever dreams they thought would come true at the terminus and the air on board was thick with excitement and potential which often burst over into hi-jinks and horseplay.
For around Hadar B the long disappeared Gardeners had been busy. Applying their alien aesthetic vision (not to mention their god-like technology) to the raw material and energy of Hadar they had created a rich and majestic habitable planetary system which by now had the dizzying buzz of a gold rush town, populated by every possible cultural group the Community could throw at it and beyond that frenzy lay the wormhole that connected this isolated part of the Milky Way galaxy to the distant beauty and horror that lay within the Large Magellanic Cloud.





6 03 2009

Spacetime fizzled back to normal around the starship as it glided unpowered into dock at the space elevator. It was a Rolze trade envoy, called the “Orson Fucking Welles” and the name alone made the Alnairian traffic control operators wince at the misplaced vulgarity, twittering to their co-workers and friends that another Rolze crew had arrived to piss everyone off with their brash optimism, rampant materialism and awful haircuts. This was little hypocritical of the Alnairians who were no strangers to interstellar inappropriateness as the all femme(and proud) starship in the neighbouring docking port (The Pink Slit) would attest to.
To ancient eyes the exterior decor of the Orson Fucking Welles could only be described as “bling.” The white, gold and chrome exterior of the craft contrasted with the utilitarian docking cradle as it broadcasted its welcoming message to the Alnairians, an avatar of the assured ancient cinema director in black and white announcing in an incongruous high pitched Australian accent that “the Rolzes were here to show you space hippies how its done!”
A thousand personal networks in local space fluttered with righteous indignation at the open invitation to a flame war, blogs splurged with vitriol and contempt and all in the space of twenty minutes. Another typical day for the Community in the Cloud had dawned, the near infinite network of pointless opinion and information that underlay the physical and real universe a flurry with activity.





An unusual dinner….

1 03 2009

When dinner was served Vaz realised why the guest with the curious symmetrical scars on his face only communicated via IM. His lower jaw split apart at the seam down from his chin to his throat revealing some kind of grotesque pink appendage, slick with saliva. Shaped like a short fat trunk it fell out towards the bowl of gruel specifically given to him. He proceeded to devour his meal using a slim purple tongue coming out of his trunk and two brilliant white grinding teeth chewing what solid morsels that could be found in his slop.
The hosts of the meal noticed the awkward, uneasy glances between the crew of the Century Eagle at the mutation happily chomping away in front of them. “Ha! It seems our guests weren’t prepared for Hansol’s unique genemod. The Commander had that done to him after some misdeed seventy years ago. Feeds him that special gruel without which he would die, just so he doesn’t run off. His mouth is based on some alien thing on a planet 25 years from here” advised Exlaande, whose jolly face found the horrific tale more amusing than unsettling. “The guy knows this habitat inside and out,if the Commander let him go we’d all be screwed y’see?”
“Ug, this is going to be a worse business lunch since that Genevogue place that served food out of a replicant anus hanging above each table” linked Vaz to everyone from his ship. Every week the Large Magellanic Cloud threw something even more extreme and terrifying at the adventurous crew. Vaz was starting to feel homesick for the vaguely alien cultures back in the Milky Way, at least they had the detachment of being alien when they started doing freaky stuff. Seeing Hansols’ trunk flop out of a human face was all the more disturbing.





Holidays On Chickenworld pt 1

26 10 2008


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Holidays On Chickenworld

It was Rear Admiral Voshal Hreen-Garlds’ idea. Amongst the officer classes of the more civilised Nuur Clans it was understood that such professional and glorious defenders of True Humanity needed to unwind in ways more fitting to their demeanour. So instead of debasing themselves with simple “civilian” amusements Worriunt lead his most trusted staff on what was boisterously known as a “Jaunt.”

Much of the preparation was just for show, the exercise and equipment maintence in the hanger, the bawdy fighting songs as they swaggered into the dropship and the cheeky sexual innuendos as they slipped into the individual landing pods. Some even felt cocky enough to joke on the way down through the atmosphere, the re-entry flames and jarring motions of the descent rockets seemingly just another day at the office for them.

The planet they were falling towards like a drunken rugby team on tour was a secret, or rather a little surprise that almost forgotten, far out beyond explored space. Halfway between the hellish Tarantula Nebula and the sphere of Humanity in the LMC lay the humiliatingly named “Chickenworld.”

It shouldn’t be named “Chickenworld” of course, the intelligent inhabitants of the planet had many names for their homeworld, and when the day came when all the tribes of the planet became nations and those nations started bickering among themselves as to who’s name should be used to refer to their planet to the wider cosmos they would choose a name less demeaning than that of a simple minded and somewhat comical terrestrial farm animal.

The resemblance to chickens was passing anyway; chickens don’t have two independently moving sensor heads nor four prehensile limbs where their wings would be. Nor do chickens wear shawls and adorn their bodies with beads and tools. The intelligent beings of the planet where the size of dogs anyhow, and no group of chickens (except that horrific experiment and art project at 37 Geminorium) could ever hope to create a wealth of culture and technology comparable to Terra in the 15th century.

Sadly when angry and waving their four arms around as about to attack they did dance and squawk like a chicken, a fact which made them so hilarious to fuck around with.

The Nuur Clans liked to pride themselves on their notion of honour, fair play and honest humanity as they went about their business defending Homo Sapien affairs. Sadly, this was not a charity passed onto the other intelligences in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Anything which had the audacity to speak not through a human mouth or not to have been created by the wise hand of humanity was The Enemy.

It was The Enemy which had lead to the downfall of Humanity ten thousand years ago, The Enemy which had turned humankinds machines against them in an orgy of megadeath and self destruction and therefore where-ever The Enemy cropped up (even if that particular species or culture had never even heard of the Tri’Ef’Fid and their war with the humans) they must be smacked down before they could strike again.

It was this rapant xenophobia and genocide which kept the Nuur Clans such a viable empire throughout the millennia. Descendants of the military forces that survived the Nanopocalypse which destroyed the Ashenar civilisation the Clans had cornered the market in playing up to peoples fears of the unknown. Thousands of worlds, habitats and outposts had sworn featly to the Clans in return for their protection form enemies real and imagined (sometimes after a degree of coercion and gunboat diplomacy.)

——————————————–

“More demons, from the sky” noticed Frontaar Eldestson and using his sensor heads, gestured towards the shooting stars in a motion that sadly could only be described as “chickenlike.”

The King fluttered his neck dongles (a sign of his great age) which in most of the kingdoms along the southern coastline of this particular continent was considered a dignified and wise expression, much the same way an old human male would thoughtfully stroke his beard.

“This day comes sooner and sooner as the years come by” The King consorted to his eldest son. “Why it was barely three seasons ago when the great port city of Efralm was smited from the land by the sky demons. I had always said they never hid themselves from the heavens as they should but it was so difficult to hide a city as large as that and the merchant classes just would not take head of the blessed teachings.”

“You were right father, but we shall punish those wicked giants for their bloodlust with the new sciences we obtained from the Eastern Lands” replied the eldest son, clearly fired by the chance of vengeance. “The townsfolk will already be as aware of demons coming as we are, they need their king to lead them in their darkest hour and no doubt in your absence the nurse-brooders will be interfering as is their way these days.”

“And you, my most wise and passionate son must attend to your duties too and remember all that I have taught you about the sky demons and their thousand cursed ways.” His throat dongles quivering with rage, the King spat the words out in a rare display of primal emotion, of the sort not seen since his queen had died of the pox three years. Composing himself for the Masses he descended from the watchtower of his castle to where the townsfolk were already extinguishing their fires and switching off their steam boilers to hide the heat signature of their town.

—————————————

“Dawn is in an hour folks so realign your assholes after that rough landing and lets break out the morning after pills!” joked Worriunt over the local net. He enjoyed the lack of informality you had with Jaunts. So much of his day to day work life was an exercise in front, his personal image as a stout and noble transhuman guardian of Humanity with the legacy of ten millennia behind him had to be maintained at all times in public. Showing weakness amongst the civilians would lead them to getting ideas of running the show for themselves and while that fruitless exercise in democracy was allowed The Enemy could sneak up behind them in the night and slit their throats.

“Maybe Chorlee needs a bit of extra realignment from you, Worri” whispered Psy-ps Squadron Leader Mysfitaa over a private message. Since their brief but adventurous congress ninety four years ago during the Banfaald Cluster insurrection, Mysfitaa and Worriunt had a private understanding that whenever their paths would cross they would always find time to consort and unload their personal troubles on one another.

It was in these private and brief liaisons that both parties vented a lot of psychological baggage. Despite her cold exterior (again, mostly a front) Mysfitaa was a deeply empathic individual who by now knew more about Worriunt than any Purity Council inquisition could find (or so he hoped) and she was more than understanding about the Field Marshall’s predilection for young males whilst on a Jaunt.

Corporal Chorlee was one such hopeful. To the outsider his presence on the trip appeared to be the kind of astonishing opportunity to progress up the ranks by hanging out with the big boys and girls that the Clans liked to throw out to the lower classes once in a while. It was an example of how egalitarian the more progressive Nuur Clans thought themselves to be, no matter what a persons’ background if they had the strength of character they could still get as far in the Clans as any Clansborn transhuman warrior could (but maybe not quite as far, after all glass ceilings had to be maintained and the millennia old linage of the Clansborn had to be protected.)

Chorlee had been only recently fitted with the cybernetic and genetic upgrades as befitting a solider of his rank, a commission obtained on the battlefield during that most frustrating and troublesome insurrection in U Caendevibel (and to Worriunts weary eyes there seemed to nothing but insurrection these days.) Still recovering from his recent modifications at the Clans’ expense the harsh G-force of the drop had struck Chorlee the worst and he staggered out his pod like a sickly child off a rollercoaster.

Stifled chortles ricocheted around the group net as everyone else noticed Chorlees’ newbie state. Most stifled their amusement not so much out of respect for the Field Marshall’s rank but out of respect for an old friend with amusing predilections. Knowing winkies and smileys were distributed across the Jaunts’ network as Worriunt helped his latest “special Jaunt friend” out of the pod and helped him adjust his bio-rhythmic settings.

“Thanks Field Marshall, I feel like a bit of an idiot” said Chorlee looking up to the Field Marshall with those piercing blue eyes. “Don’t mention it, why even the best of us can come a cropper from a Drop” Worriunt winked fraternally back, at the same time suppressing a wry smile as rampant thoughts raced around his head.

“I am ready to get me some chicken-bashin you fuckers!” exclaimed Colonel Panthars as he fired kinetic rounds with reckless bravado into the dawn sky. His fellow members of Battalion XV yelled in approval and fired off a few rounds themselves in a cacophony of phallic abandon. In his youth Worriunt was as boisterous and arrogant as Battalion XV were today and after the psychological mindgames, memewarfare and cyberassaults of U Caendevibel he thought it refreshing to be around good old fashioned infantry soldiers. He reasoned that harking back to his glorious past in the lower ranks might have been just the tonic he needed to settle his troubled mind. In reality they were turning out to be just annoying, tiresome and unprofessional with the drunken Colonel seemingly the worst of the lot. Their little fireworks display would have alerted the “chickens” in the valley of their whereabouts and no doubt the ridiculous creatures were relaying their position to whatever kind of freakish poultry had for a leader.

Mysfitaa relayed a similarly disapproving emoticon to Worriunt and then announced to everyone “Now, we know there is a sizable chickenmen settlement over the bough of that valley so it’s a good old fashioned root march of 10 klicks which should get the juices racing and work up a thirst for beer. Huzzah!”

“Huzzah!” bellowed the fellow Jaunters. This was a curious expression to Worriunt that had seeped in (along with a lot of things) from the Community, apparently a reference to age when the Terrans were all on that one planet in the Great Galaxy and happily knocking the hell out of each other with primitive firearms and swords. Around that time the Terrans were like savages Worriunts’ great-grandfather, Worriunt The Redoubtable was leading the final and glorious cleansing of the traitorous Clan “Memory of the 7th Fleet” before the misguided maniacs could defect to the greedy and cowardly Federation. If the Federation were bad enough nothing about Community (of which the Terrans were a founder member) sounded good to Worriunt. From their blasphemous allegiance with all manner of non-humans, half humans and half animals, to their claim that Earth was the home of all Humanity and to their almost laughable naivety in how civilisations should all just try to get along and live and let live it all sounded like poppycock and balderdash to the Field Marshall.

So many among the rank who had dealings with the Community played up to their stereotype of the Clans being overgrown cadets blundering around on ill advised campaigns purely for long obscured traditions of glory and honour. Shouting “Huzzahs” and growing extravagant facial hair like the caricatures ‘cast on Community networks was a way many appropriated and threw back the insults peddled by the devious Community.

Scout drones were launched into the air to get a full view of the area and a path of destruction was plotted to the nearest large settlement which the dropship now meandering down the gravity well to the prearranged “after match” rendezvous point out to sea recommended as a good chance of sport.

Despite a flood of information now coming over the Jaunts’ local net Worriunt was still pre-occupied with the Community. Its genetically engineered talking animals, its deceitful and freakish xenos, and the thinking machines they thought to be people in their own artificial right meant that by rights they just shouldn’t be. In all the schools of thought that he had been educated in they should have descended into chaos and self destruction centuries ago, like all the perversions that came out of the Dead Core. Nothing quite so extreme and subtly dangerous had been seen in the LMC for many thousands of years. Some amongst his peers even referred to the whole meta-civilisation as a Blight, a seething mess of rampant technology and social chaos almost as dangerous as the Posthumans of Prastoj that threatened to pollute the rest of Humanity with its insanity. And by Great Ashenars Memory they were smug!

——————————–

Frontaar held the seeing tube the ocean merchants used to view at distance to spy the landing site. Though the fireballs in the sky lead to this direction he couldn’t make out any smouldering craters. This could either be confirmation that the sky demons with their stealthy magic had come down or maybe he had miscalculated and the demons were in another valley. For a moment Frontaar was gripped by fear of failure. His father and his kingdom had trusted so much in him and that he might, through his own weakness and stupidity have let everyone down already sickened.

TWACK!, a distant clap of thunder echoed around the valley.

TWACK, TWACK,TWACK, it went again and Frontaars’ dual food and sex orifice curved into what to his species was a devilish smile. He squawked back to his trusted steed, (which on this continent was a creature the size of a pony and with the appearance of a furry caterpillar on eight deers legs) and led his men down to the entrance of the valley leaving no time to explain the plan formulating hurriedly in his head.

———————————

On the invigorating march out the valley (vehicles and levitators were tradionally eschewed on activities like this) the Jaunters amused themselves with AV footage and memory-cordings of previous Jaunters out “chickenbashin” The members of Battalion XV were clogging the groupnet with cruel laughter and de-humanising jibes. A scene of a Clansman burning down a market town made out of mud-dwellings that were disguised as piles of rocks prompted one infantrymen to gleefully comment “man, I’m gonna cook me up some of those chickenmen with some old Granjee herbs and some baked potatoes and we’re gonna have ourselves some good old fashioned meat-fry!”

“I wouldn’t.” icily chided Mysfitaa. “This whole planet is an Original, nothing here is edible. It all evolved without the Hand Of Man so don’t eat it and don’t fuck it!”

——————————————–

“It’s a bottleneck, like when the Enflaat tribe made their stand at Tempus Ridge in the old legends” explained an excited Frontaar, his arms flapping excitedly. “We use the new exploding power to collapse that narrow passage there and then while they are trapped we unleash a timely vengeance for Efralm and for all the times those sky demons have plagued us!” embiggened the Kings son and stamping the ground in a manner which to his species expressed noble defiance but to humans could only be described as “chickenlike.” His fellow countrymen stomped their feet in agreement and emboldened by the possibility of finally getting their own back for centuries if not millennia of oppression and death from the skies.

In an interesting cross-cultural co-incidence many of the “chickenmen” referred to themselves in their own languages as “Children of the Soil.” This relates to their egg hatching nature where “Soilers” emerge from their fleshy pod into a nest half buried in the ground. These days and particularly in Frontaars affluent kingdom artificial nests that were warmed by steam boilers were more and more common which had led to a major societal change in for sexless “nurse-brooders” of the species. Due to the long gestation of the fleshy pods and the high death rate the nurse brooders traditionally found themselves tied to their nests all day, rarely playing a part in larger affairs. But now, with the steam boilers allowing some escape from their domestic servitude they had suddenly become a lot more vocal in the running of the Soilers affairs if only because they liked to chatter and gossip. Times were certainly changing for the Children of the Soil so maybe an omen for victory against the Skydemons hoped Frontaar.

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“Am I right in thinking that my sensors show there are chickenmen and those weird horse things along that ridge near the valley passage?” asked an unsure Chorlee. Worriunt smiled, despite what some had said (never to his face, mind) the young man was not just along to be Worriunts plaything. He had promise, as shown at U Caendevibel when Chorlees’ quick action in his native world of Betor Tipic had prevented his squad from being sucked out of a domed city and into the hardly breathable air of the barely terraformed planet. Corporal Chorlee (as he was after that) had shown a lot more strength of character and allegiance to the Clans than many of the others in U Caendevibel the majority of whom seemed ambivalent to the insurrection. Chorlee was one of the few good points in the whole misbegotten mess of that system, perhaps the only.

“That’s right, I spotted them about half and hour back but there’s nothing they can do at that distance. Even though the Chickenmen now have chemical projectile weapons they make as much dent in our armour as their poison darts did so nothing to fear” advised Worriunt.

“They look even more stupid with guns than they did with the spears” laughed Colonel Panthar and fired an aimless shot towards the general direction of the Soilers, who were by now quite close. “Take that your alien fucktards! Whoo, YEAH!” heckled the Colonel who was gyrating his groin offensively, which his fellow battalion members found to be the height of wit.

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Frontaar had forgotten how terrifying the sky giants weapons were close up. As Panthars’ volley hit the ground around them some were flung from their steeds but Frontaars’ heart swelled with pride as his fellow warriors who had hidden themselves in the valley entrance kept their subterfuge and nerve despite the explosions around them.

“When confronted with a more powerful foe, evade. Lead them into a trap, try and turn their own weaknesses against themselves” a wise old Soiler had taught Frontaar. The Kings’ son had spent years away from his family and his homeland being taught by the wisest and most experienced Soilers in all the lands (including some kingdoms which Frontaar thought only existed in legend) on how to possibly fight back against the sky demons. This was a recent change of events, for so long the Children of the Soil had thought the devils from the sky to be a mere force of nature or god, something only prayer or fate could deal with and not something they could realistically do anything about.

But then a fateful day three centuries ago one of the giants appeared to remove its head after destroying the city of Gra’heim. It turned out it wasn’t the demons night-black skull but a helmet, protecting some kind of horrific one headed being which then proceeded to stumble and vomit over the charred remains of the Holy Gardens of Gra’heim.

The Priestess of Gra’heim saw this bizarre and unholy event and soon told all she could of it. Though the sky-demons were mighty and in their suit impervious to all that the Soilers could throw at them they were but of flesh and blood like them. And if they vomited, they could be killed. Having only one head put them at a disadvantage too.

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“I think it’s about to kick off, they’re jumping about on the path ahead” commented Worriunt.

“I’m going to run up ahead and kick the little fuckers to death” laughed Panthar and he galloped up the path, the powersuit amplifying his movement so it felt like a giant gorilla in crimson and gold embossed armour was charging up the passage. His cohorts followed him in wild abandon, like troops who had spent too long in a jungle and let the primal frenzy get to them.

Out the corner of his eye and just as he passed through the tightest part of the passage a chickenman jumped out to the side the Colonel with a flaming torch. As he turned his arm with a maser pistol mounted on it one side of the valley exploded, catching Panthar and the chickenman in the blast. The dust from the bellowed down the passage to a stunned Jaunt and was then followed by Panthars cursing which had reached new heights of obscenity. A second explosion went off, this time higher up the valley side and a massive boulder came down to trap Panthar which was then followed by a comical trombone like sound.

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Frontaar wept for the death of Wantsee Thirdson, even though he knew his role was dangerous and he was given every chance to decline with honour the chance to get one back for his people fired him on. He sounded the mighty and noble horn his father had given him to lead other into battle. “Wantsee will be honoured” thought the prince, “ if there was a kingdom to get back to.”

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(continued in Pt 2)





Stuff and things from the 31st Century.

7 09 2008

Pascal on Altair: Vignettes from the Old Worlds

Raighleigh watched as one of the larger WD-800s helped a struggling AF Series "Little Rascal" move a cargo container. "Look," she said "that big robot is helping the little one!" Pascal seemed remarkably unmoved at this revelation of machine altruism. "I wouldn’t be too amazed by it" he mentioned, barely looking up from the screen. "On this planet the authorities made sure that all cybernetic devices capable of even a monkey like level of awareness have morals. Kinda like the Three Laws but for machines which don’t even come near being self aware…"
Pascal went on to explain, his pleasure in complaining about eccentricities of Krell now more important than the data he was watching on the screen.” You see it comes from the founders of this planet all being religious, mostly Catholics. And with their Industrial Age thinking they were never really comfortable with the idea of the Machines amongst their society so every once in a while a Board or two gets up some ridiculous meme about" , and with a derisive snort Pascal concluded with "immoral godless machines" (the irony that the 100km sphere which orbited Krell and many believed to be a mouthpiece to God was nothing but a machine itself was never lost on him.)
"So a new law is passed making sure toasters and garden-bots are programmed to kind and considerate to one another and especially their human masters."

"Pascal," sighed Raighleigh "if you hate this planet so much why do you live here? It’s not like you don’t have a choice to live wherever and with who ever you want?" Raighleigh had recited that ago old tautology in the Community, that if for whatever reason you didn’t like the society you grew up in you could always move to one you did want to be a part of , or start your own out on the frontier. Now that M-space travel and wormholes were commonplace in the affluent Community there was no excuse for whinging away on a planet you just couldn’t get to grips with. This made Pascals bitterness towards the people he shared a planet with all the more puzzling.

"I’ve got family here, amongst the Kabbalists. And strange though it may sound, this place is my home." Pascal finally looked directly at Raighleigh, the harsh blue light of the Altairian sun amplifying his piercing expression as he confessed his perplexing reasons for being on Krell.

Another Day in the Life of the Century Eagle

"Well, there is that theory isn’t there…." Victar went on to explain. "Theory?" questioned Ingstock, already suspicious of another onslaught of pop culture babble.
"Yeah, the theory that since the dawn of the Information Age all our cultural artefacts have been endlessly reproduced and regurgitated for each generation and whereas in earlier times the narrative rivers which guided the various isolated communities were prone to noise and reducing memes and led to wildly varying mindsets around the globe the homogenisation and……"
Ingstock closed his eyes as if a headache were coming on.
"…..standardisation of culture across the Earth since the 20th century has led to repetitive cycle that rarely progresses. So then, if the culture which illustrates our mindset is endlessly repeating itself then it is no wonder that memes from 1000 years ago can still
be prescient today." continued Victar who by now was on a roll and clearly enjoying himself. "If it weren’t for the injection of fresh memecomplexes from other intelligences such as the Blee and all the way across to genetically modified dolphins the narratives of the Information Age would be even more dominant in the Terran-based human noosphere!"
"Right" commented Ingstock, his face a mixture of wariness and tired bemusement. "So that’s why in the year 3008AD somebody still gets Batman?"
Ingstock turned away from Victars exalted face, clearly ending any further discussion. As he turned his worlds-weary head to calibrate the 11-dimensional fractals in the starboard M-jump nacelle he thought to himself that he much preferred Victar on his femme days, when he was masculine he was the most persistent geek.


Field Marshall Worriunt The Grand:

"and his journeys through the decadence of the Community”

The exoskeleton that encased his body was itself covered in tiny sculptures, sometimes abstract, sometimes of humanoid figures that seemed to be as alive as the man inside and expressing various emotions in much the way his natural body would. For example the anthropomorphic robot figurines that “lived” on his knees resembled a beloved childhood pet robot, all big headed and cute but capable of writhing around on his knees to emote all kinds of things. Such an intricate and ornate battledress was worn by someone who had done well in the martial rankings of the Nuur Clans. A suit no doubt earnt punishing the enemies of Humanity, from the millennia old but still marauding drone fleets of Mazdans, through to the everyday criminals that dared prey upon those populations under the “benevolent” protection of the Clans to the Ancient Enemy of the Tri’Ef’Ed the perennial bogeyman of the humans in the LMC.

Right now Worriunts’ impressive body armour was displaying a range of feelings, from his pharmologicaly inspired comfort and blissful satisfaction on the sprawling silken bed to a vague sense of restless and a need to get up.
Luckily for him that eternal battle most people feel between the drug induced bubble of warmth and an urgent need to perform the usual bodily functions was unlikely to affect his current mood. With a contented sigh he relieved himself where he lay and let the absorbent innards of this ornate red and white cybernetic suit take care of the mess and recycle it into a little flask of purified water. He would have some fun with that later with the lotus eaters writhing orgasmically around him.