Showing posts from April, 2015

Z Is For Zero Margin for Error

Humans. You come blundering your way into the Leonis Expanse: our Leonis Expanse. You manage to survive the First War by the skin of your inner eyelids. You force a stalemate in the Second War through Throgg’s own luck. You try to weaponize the Question. Goddam I like you. Except when you come down on the necks of hardworking pirates like myself. Piracy is a galactic convention. If you can’t defend it sell it and buy something you can defend or at least hide. If you can’t win a fight for it it wasn’t yours. The muck dwellers, the voles and the beanpoles all understood this before you affected them. You’re like the Question yourselves. But I like you guys for all that and you have let me go a couple of times. So when I see the Tesla being hammered in a hairball of Slug ships I pile in on the side of my fellow vertebrates. Slugs define brain food differently from humanoids. I do not like the slugs. My decision is not popular with my crew. I have to kill one before th

Y Is for Yesterday

Chief: Captain on deck! Sir! Captain: At ease Chief. How is he doing? Mukh: I’m fine! I’m a little tired of this macaroni and cheese stuff though. Chief: ’Sir.’ -’Sir!’ Mukh: You don’t have to call me sir.  Captain: Drop the act. I watched the old Three Stooges videos a million times growing up. You do a fine Curly Howard impression. Your people wouldn’t have sent a moron for a cultural and military exchange. Mukh: ... aye sir. Captain: Mr. Tivk and Mr. Nok are remaining uncommunicative. But you confessed to setting the self destruct on Thule Base killing all personnel. Mukh: I did. Captain: There’s no way to prove this. The cybertools, your padlet, any equipment that might have had a record was destroyed after you returned from Thule. Mukh: Yes. You had to do so to keep exposure to the Question to  a minimum. Captain: And a one giga-boom does not leave any evidence. Mukh: Unless you believe in ouija boards you’re out of luck. Capt

X Is for XX

Tivk: We will talk in here. My work station has enough interference from proximity to the drive core to prevent surveillance.  Nok: I have other counter surveillance programs on my padlet. We are secure. Mukh: Good. I brought the Vacc-Jack. Let’s all have a libation.  Tovk: My species does not drink. But this is a perfect occasion for me to start. Mukh: You said it, beanpole. Nok: I’m turning the lighting down a little. I want to take my glasses off and look at you two with my own eyes. Tivk: Be comfortable ... friend. This alcohol ...  Mukh: You like it? Tivk: No. Hit me again. Nok: That makes no sense. Tivk: I’ve been hanging around with humans, and you two. Mukh: Rhhh. This stuff can take the sting off egg laying, I’ll tell you.  Nok: I think far from influencing the humans they influenced us.Like right now. Why the hell are we speaking English? When was the last time we spoke in our languages or Galactic Common? We couldn’t dissuade

W Is for Water Run

Nok: Finally a planet with a normal level of light. I can take my shades off here not to mention walk around without fear of combusting. Mukh: Now if you had a healthy coat of slime ... you poor mammals. Tivk: We'll survive. Mukh: I dunno. Take the humans: they were one asteroid strike away from living in the dinosaurs' walls and stealing scraps to survive. Tivk: I doubt that any Tyranosaur could get the best of the Chief. Nok: I'd be selling tickets to that fight. What's going on over there? Trader: Step up! Be orderly, you rabble! Yes let me have a scan of that stone ... 20 carats. Very nice. That will buy you -10 liters of water! Good thing you caught me today. Tomorrow the price goes up! Nok: This is the way it goes on tide locked worlds around an M star.  Too low a water percentage to start with and it all freezes out on the night side. My homeworld was lucky. But this ... those firestones are worth thousands! Mukh: The dirty chisel

Zen of Jenn

Dakka! Dakk, Dakk. Dakk. Dakkadakkadakkadakka! Chief: Marine! What in Hell are you bringing onto MY shooting range? Marine: Chief! This is the assault rifle I was telling you about. Mr. Tivk was kind enough to help me print it in his spare time. Tivk: What? Chief: ... Marine: Mr. Tivk may have gone a bit overboard printing his ear protection. Chief: With them ears I can understand his concerns ... but the rifle!? Marine: Chief! We checked her out in the workshop six ways from Throggsday! She’ll fire as well as Fleet approved gear! Chief: But it’s pink! For GHU’s sake Jenn ... Tivk: WHAT?  Marine: Chief, let me show you what she’ll do. Chief: She? Tivk: THE PROTOTYPERIFLE IS PINK! Marine: Hippolyta! Tivk: The PROTOTYPE IS DESIGNATED HIPPOLYTA! Chief: I bet you wanted a pink assault rifle since your 8th birthday. Go ahead. Tivk and I will clear the range. Clear the range! CLEAR THE RANGE TIVK! Oh fer GHU’s sake! C’mere bean

V Is for ...

Humans.  They sleep dry and get wet to clean themselves. They flaunt their sexual dimorphism every chance they get and deny it! They forget that though 90% of their communication is verbal the nonverbal part lets a student of humanoids read them like a book! They took the Local Bubble by storm, made it in a big way and screwed up many times in big ways too, even when more experienced and cosmopolitan species tried to warn them. You can always tell a human but your can’t tell him much. Learn that. Also, I like them, dizzy, oversexed, dolphin-ape-hybrids that they are.  The Slugs are another matter. They scare me. They refuse to communicate although eating sentient brains does send a message. But using the Question against them is dangerous.  But they scare the Fleet. They scare everyone. The Fleet officers kept a small group of victims of the Question alive just to use their query as a weapon. The Slugs were identified as sharing a type of mind link to others of the

U Is for Undead

As I thought there was more to it than my ministering to a transgender alien's ovulation. Darned if I was going to make it easy for them to short me on leave. I returned from shore leave to a ship still reeling from a mission against the Slugs. The mission was successful all told. The team extracted enough data from a Slug terminal to give us a grasp of their written language.  The mission got hairy for the recon team with a firefight lasting several minutes. Fortunately there were no injuries to our side owing to excellent marksmanship by the Chief and Mr. Nok. When the Tesla returned to teleporter range the Captain committed considerable power to port the team and three enemy cadavers onboard. He then hit the installation with six torpedoes and got out of there. We have new orders. Thule Base. En route there I am to use cybernetics to reanimate the Slugs after a fashion. These undead cyber-Slugs will then be replaced on the world where we found them. Apparent

T Is for Torpedo

Tivk: Greetings cadets. The Chief has asked me to teach you cadets some facts regarding the First War. What can you tell me about it? Cadet: We won! Tivk: We did not win the war. The war ended in a treaty negotiated by /my/ people on their behalf ... and Earth’s of course. Cadet: We would have won. The balance was ready to tip any day. Tivk: From enslavement to extinction? Admittedly you had some bargaining power having allied with us. But the situation was still dire for you. Cadet: We had the new cruisers coming into action. They already beat off the enemy at Neptune! Tivk: And fighting a battle in your home system is the hallmark of a successful campaign in your universe? It was our alliance that saved Earth. It was the best strategic move you made in your entire history. Cadet: We were building the new fleet up in reserve and getting ready for a new offensive.  Tivk: And you expected it to do better than the first five fleets you built? Cadet: W

S Is for Shoreleave

Edit: Yes, I just realized that shore leave is two words. If I change the title now it will kludge all the links up. Whoops. Riasi: Would you care for another drink, Doctor? Chief Medical Officer: That would be wonderful. What a beautiful sunset. Riasi: There’ll be another along in a few minutes, sunset I mean. Weather control did a fine job today. C.M.O.: For a species that can’t drink it, you make great ice coffee. This is the best shore leave of my life. Mukh: Hey look! There’s the Doc! Hey Doc! Over here! C’mon guys! Riasi: Rrrrrr? C.M.O.: Oh copulation. What corner of Hell did you jokers crawl out of? Nok: Actually we took a shuttle. They wouldn’t give us clearance to land. I had to land inventively a few klicks down the shore. Hey what are you doing with that torch?  Tivk: Doctor, violence never resolved anything and we bring you a message from the Chief. Riasi: Doctor perhaps if I lit the torch ... C.M.O.: ... wait let me hear them out.

R Is for Reconnaissance

R Is for Recon Chief: Awright. Stay alert and stay cool. This could just be a walk in the sun. Nok: That’s a type F-star. I really hope any walking we do will be before sunrise. Chief: Me too. Good job getting us in the base. Nok: It was easy. Make a little cut in the door, cross a few wires. Chief: Right. How’s the computer coming, Tivk? Tivk: I have fabricated an input jack and am scanning the know-nodes now. Mr. Mukh will you please indicate any files likely to be of interest so I can begin downloading? Mukh: Sure! Oh sorry. Sure. Chief: Keep your voice down froggy. Them Brain Slugs don’t like uninvited guests.  Nok: Though we did knock. Mukh: I liked the way the Captain knocked ... with ten megatons if it was a kiloton. I’m amazed the joint is still standing. Chief: That is something the Captain intends to correct as soon as possible. Hopefully after we are out of here. Nok: Quiet. I see something. Get down! Chief: Down is good!

Q Is for Question

The (Ultimate) Answer is  profound, an epiphany, and also a myth. The (Ultimate) Question is all to real. I know. The archaeological dig to Quaestor-4 found the ruins, as as hydrogen. They scanned their glyphs brought them back to Station Solis for translation. The computers there were the best in the known galaxy. Unfortunately they were up to the task. The Fleet quarantined the station after some weird distress signals. A boarding party from a frigate was ported over and never came back. The team leader kept chanting that he had to know ... had to know ... The Fleet sent the dreadnought Zenith to Solis. It hit the station with a dozen torpedoes. Then it followed up with an attack run on the frigate. Something had gotten onto the frigate’s computers and they were going berserk working at ... something. The frigate’s AI kept saying, “Query ... Query ...” The Zenith’s computer was removed at Fleet Com for a major overhaul. Overhaul? More like junking it. In the process thre

P Is for Pirate

Korsa; Greetings gentle beings. You are my captives. You can expect humane treatment, rapidly giving way to homicidal fury in the face of any resistance.  Passenger: The Fleet is going to chase you all the way back to your rat hole, you pirate scum. Korsa: Let ‘em chase me. They’ve chased me half a dozen times. It keeps me on my toe analogs. My rat hole is a planet with no extradition treaties and a lot of financial incentive to give me alibis and whatever protection I need. Cruise Ship Captain: I will vouch for my crew captain. We will not make any trouble as long as our passengers are unharmed. Passenger: What if we are harmed?! Korsa: I can expect a sternly worded letter. How much do you think passenger liner crew make? Passenger: The Fleet will hear of this. Korsa: The Fleet ... Let me tell you something about your Fleet. Piracy was completely uneconomical until the Fleet came along. The Fleet gave us the deflectors that masked our IR and EM signals

Omnidirectional General Lifter

Chief: Awright, I dunno what you jokers done to the Doc; but you’re not doing anything to me. You read me on this? Mukh: I liked the Doctor. What happened to him? Chief: You’d know that better than me. The Captain had to give him a week of shore leave on the Cat Girl Planet to withdraw his transfer request. ... He said something about seeing you eat a box of towelettes being the last straw. Mukh: It isn’t my fault. They’re good on you or in you, either way they’re lemony fresh! Tivk: Perhaps we should send the Doctor a card?  Chief: Never mind that now! I’m here to familiarize you with the D20 Omnidirectional General Lifter, also known as a hopper. This is the current model and a great improvement over the earlier versions used by the Fleet.  Nok: Yes, it has cup holders.  Chief: What the hell are you doing in there? Nok: I needed something to put my mug in. Also it’s too bright out there.  Chief: Get ... no never mind. The rest of you pile in. I wi

N Is for Neuro Lash

Neuro lashes have recently gained in popularity in the Leonis Expanse and even among mercenaries in the local Bubble and Polaris Loop. Their appeal is simple. Most organisms have an aversion to excruciating pain allowing a lasher to intimidate or motivate reluctant minions to higher efforts. The second part of the appeal is that it is fairly hard to cause actual physical damage to a person being lashed. A drawback to Terran hand stunners is that they do not intimidate. Being put to sleep painlessly does not deter most hard cases from making a run at the stunner’s operator. A recent equipment overhaul resulted in new stunners being built into sturdy clubs to keep assailants at bay combining the highest and lowest weapons technology in one device. Most neuro lashes feature a 20 cm handle with an on switch and safety. The whip itself is coiled when not in use and worn in a holster on the hip. To ready it the user unclips the whip, uncoils it and hits the on switch. This i

M Is for Meal

Chief Medical Officer: Good morning new crew! Welcome to the Tesla. I’ll be handling your  orientation today. How are you this fine day? Mukh: My quarters are too dry. This entire ship is far drier than I was led to believe. C.M.O: Right I’ll see what can be done for you. It’s rough when you do part of your breathing through your skin. Maybe we can modify your uniform further. Tivk: Can you be more specific in your question doctor? Are you enquiring as to my physical, mental or professional well being? C.M.O: Not really. It was a social protocol to ask a rhetorical question. Tivk: It seems rather aloof for a physician. You let Mukh talk about his physiological shortcomings. Are you feigning interest? C.M.O.: Very well, How are your vital signs? Does the atmosphere mix sit well with you? Tivk: If it did not I would have appeared at sick call. C.M.O.: Right. Moving right along ... good grief what were you doing under that desk. Nok: I was resting. The