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Though the Stars May Fall
Started by: Omega Vision

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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

Though the Stars May Fall

This is a science fiction story I started writing in September of 2009 and which is finished but undergoing extensive editing to better suit both my tastes and the tastes of prospective publishers. Anyway here's the first chapter:

“Build your walls high or don’t bother building at all”

-Ancient Thra’ha’ken Proverb

Chapter I

The Brown and Purple Figments

He was an ancient fossil of a man withered and wizened by age and malnutrition. It was a miracle that he had lived so long in such a squalid slum as that which served as his home. It was on this clear and sunny morning that the beggar resolved to leave the slum and try his best to find a safer and more salubrious place to stay.

But first he would finish the small bowl of losh tea he held in his hands. At his age and weight just a small amount of the potent liquid would be enough to temporarily rewire his nervous system and take him on a wondrous journey away from the material world to a world of sublime sensations where everything was at once more profound and less distinct.

For a brief moment the beggar forgot that he was in a slum and instead imagined he was back in his childhood home: a fine mansion in the center of the city far from any slum. His fetid surroundings were washed away, replaced by the idyllic images of his old home that he had stored in his memory for so many years now.

But it didn’t take long for his peace to be perturbed by a pair of walking hallucinations that barged their way into his home and obscured his view of the house’s interior. He looked at the ambulatory figments hard then he looked down into his empty bowl to see if there was any losh left. His eyes were greeted by the sight of an empty bowl.

The frustration he felt from running out of losh was compounded when he glanced up from his bowl and discovered that the images of his home were gone, replaced once more by the depressing slum. But the figments were still there! They were a pair of persistent figments that were overstaying their welcome. But what were they?

They certainly weren’t real material things like the beggar. They walked and talked like people but they couldn’t be people. They spoke in strange tongues, wore strange clothing, and their skin were odd alien hues: pallid pink and dark brown respectively. What’s more their ugly malformed faces were partially coated in fur. They conversed with one another in a slow tongue that was unlike anything the beggar had heard before.

As it happened they were as real as the beggar was but they were by no means mundane. Their names were Raja Muraja and William Walden and they were the first humans to have ever set foot in the slum.

“Tell me, William,” began Raja Muraja, the shorter of the two men who wore a royal-purple suit, “What do you know of the Thra’ha’ken?” William Walden, the younger, taller man with the brown suit slowed his stride as if to contemplate the question for a moment.

“Not much,” William admitted, “I do know that they’re halfway between being reptiles and being mammals and that they keep slaves. Oh and they have some bizarre obsession with apostrophes.”

“That’s mostly right,” Muraja said with a good-natured chuckle. Raja Muraja was a well travelled man who had visited more planets than William had seen pictures of and spoke more languages than even the most well versed linguists on Earth, “Except Thra’ha’ken only keep slaves on planets with low levels of industrialization these days and the reason for all the apostrophes is the lack of spaces in Thra’ha’ken writing.”

“Should we really be walking out here alone like this?” William asked, eyeing the few denizens of the street with suspicion.

“You’re with me William,” Muraja said, “Remember the last time someone tried to start trouble with us?”

“Do I remember it?” William snorted, “It took me days to get the blood stains out of my shirt! How could I forget?”

“I said I was sorry about that, when all you have is a meat cleaver to defend yourself…” Muraja shrugged and threw William a sheepish look. Muraja was a man in his mid thirties, of average height with a dark complexion that made people speculate whether one of his parents was African but with distinctly non-Indian facial features that suggested at least partial European heritage.

In truth not even Muraja knew who his father was, though he knew his mother was a neglectful prostitute from Jaipur. Muraja’s most distinguishing features outside of his colorful choice of clothing were his neatly trimmed circle beard and his bright green eyes. The eyes were the one thing of any value he inherited from his mother; they were what made her ‘popular’ in her line of work and stand out from the bountiful competition.

They helped make Muraja popular too; no one could ever forget his face because of the sharp contrast between his almost iridescent jade colored eyes and his dark brown skin and dark black hair. Other men who met him (including William himself) would describe him as sickeningly handsome.

He was essentially accent-less in that it varied depending on the language he was currently conversing in as well as the nationality or locality of the listener. For instance when he spoke English people from America and Canada would perceive a ‘British’ accent while English people would think he had a South African inflection. When he spoke French Frenchmen thought he sounded Swiss or alternatively Quebecois while Swiss were quick to call his accent French.

This carried across virtually all the languages he spoke and though he always spoke eruditely and intelligibly he was always (even if to a negligible degree) foreign-sounding. Raja Muraja’s name was a constructed name that was on his admission an anagram of sorts of his real birth name.

He created it in his own words as a name that would be unmistakably ‘Indian sounding’ to Westerners while at the same time easy to remember and pronounce thanks to its assonance. William was a different sort of person.

Whereas Muraja was a boy from the slums of Jaipur who managed to educate himself and build a business Empire who’s revenue was equal to the earnings of the next five largest companies combined, William was a ‘rich kid’ from Boston who inexplicably dropped out of Harvard in his Senior year (mere days before graduation) after having all but earned his degree in journalism.

It was this seemingly irrational act that earned him the attention of an eminent Harvard graduate: Raja Muraja. Though no one else could understand it Muraja recognized right away that direction was the one thing the boy lacked and he vowed to correct that. The office of ‘Vice President’ of Raj Tech essentially translated to traveling companion and confidant.

William had russet brown hair that he always kept neatly combed and a van dyke moustache-beard combo. William was of slightly above average height with a wiry frame and pasty skin (especially when he stood next to Muraja) but what made him stand out were his glasses.

The need for glasses had been all but eradicated by the 2030’s but even now in the year 2049 William Walden still wore a pair of glasses. People noticed him (for good or bad) because of the glasses. It was a matter of style. Glasses or no William was going to attract the attention of every last person in the street, as was Muraja.

None of the street’s denizens had ever seen a human in person and the few that had even heard of them weren’t sure how they looked like. So naturally the slum’s residents had no idea what they were and their attitudes toward the pair were for the most part equal parts suspicion and guarded curiosity.

“Muraja don’t use that excuse,” William said in reference to the ‘meat cleaver incident’, “When have you ever needed a weapon to kill someone? Admit that you just wanted to kill a man by throwing a meat cleaver at him!”

“Keep your voice down,” Muraja said, “And I suppose I was interested in it but it wasn’t like I had another choice. I couldn’t have reached you in time and you know I don’t like using guns. They’re too noisy,” Muraja dusted off the lapel of his purple coat.

“Well fine then, you still didn’t need to hit him in his carotid artery,” William said.

“I told you it’s the quickest kill,” Muraja said with a smile.

“Yeah and the messiest,” William grunted, “Now where exactly are we going?”

“We are going for a leisurely walk through this charming little slum on the way to the prison,” Muraja said cheerily.

“Are we really?” William asked. He had reason to distrust Muraja when it came to ‘leisurely walks’ as they usually lasted for hours and ended with William soaking in his own sweat.

“Yes, now we’re going to ask for directions,” Muraja approached the beggar who still regarded him as nothing more than a persistent hallucination.

“Yeah I’m sure the local color will be a lot of help,” William said sarcastically, “Muraja this is like South Boston: lots of people but not one willing to give you the time of day. You’ll be lucky to get an ‘up yours’ from these people.”

“Nonsense, William. Show them respect and they’ll reciprocate,” Muraja proclaimed. He bent down and dipped his head in a slight bow directed at the beggar.

‘Such a polite figment’, the beggar thought to himself.

“Good day, fine sir,” Muraja began in flawless Jen’dir’sha (the language of the educated citizens of the Thra’ha’ken Empire and one of two official languages). What Muraja didn’t know was that in the particular slum they were in Jen’dir’sha was rather uncommon and the primary language was the much simpler and (to some) vulgar dialect known as Tek’to’kum.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Mar 12th, 2010 08:25 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

Fortunately the beggar was one of the few people there who spoke Jen’dir’sha and indeed preferred it. It warmed his heart to be spoken to with the language of the upper class, the class he had belonged to long ago, “I was wondering if you might point me and my friend over there in the direction of the Great Kesh’tir Prison?” Muraja spoke in the politest possible tone and made sure not to make eye contact.

Eye contact in Kesh’tir culture was a sign of equality and by avoiding eye contact Muraja showed the beggar deference. The beggar’s gums stretched out in a smile, a smile that grew wider and wider until it actually started to hurt his old cheeks. He had never been treated so well by any of his hallucinations.

They were usually abusive or condescending to him, but this one spoke to him as if he were a rich man dressed in fine clothes rather than an ancient beggar wearing tattered rags. The beggar had a policy against speaking to figments of his imagination but he felt like he owed this particular polite (if exceptionally ridiculous looking) figment an answer. The beggar’s shaky, emaciated right arm picked itself up and pointed to a narrow alley that led into a much larger street.

“Follow that alley to that street, strange thing,” the beggar said with a raspy voice, “You can’t miss the prison; it’s the enormous dark building with the seven towers surrounding it.” Muraja looked thoughtfully down at the beggar and handed him a shiny piece of Thra’ha’ken currency: a rounded rectangle of iridium that had the portrait of a long dead Emperor of the Second Dynasty on it.

The beggar’s eyes widened and he quickly snatched the coin out of the generous and polite figment’s ‘non-existent’ hand. He bit the coin like some prospector to see if it was real. The pain he felt in his gums from biting the hard metal proved how real it was.

“Thank you, good sir,” Muraja said primly. Muraja turned away from the beggar and as he did a passerby shoulder-bumped into him. The man’s hand briefly touched Muraja’s and though William’s attention was turned elsewhere he could have sworn that he saw in the corner of his eye Muraja pocketing something that reflected the sunlight like a mirror or a piece of carved crystal glass. Though the passerby continued on his way and said nothing Muraja gave him a quick apology and then turned to William.

“Well alright, so we go that way then?” William asked pointing down at the alley.

“Yes, I see your comprehension of the language is improving,” Muraja sounded pleased.

“Yeah I’ve been practicing and I understand the universal language of pointing,” William said with a shallow shrug, “So now what?”

“Simple my dear boy, we go visit The’kar,” Muraja said, tugging on William’s sleeve to signify it was time to go.

“Yeah about that,” William always hated how quick Muraja’s stride was. Despite William’s longer legs Muraja still walked much faster than he did and he practically had to run to keep up half the time, “What’s The’kar like?”

“Hmm?” Muraja acted like he hadn’t heard the question.

“How should I act around him?” William asked, refining the query. Often Muraja wouldn’t even acknowledge vague questions; it was one of his quirks.

“Well William act how any reasonable person would act,” Muraja answered.

“Well is The’kar the type to take offence easily?” William asked. He was greatly concerned about making a good impression on the man they were about to visit.

“No of course not,” Muraja assured him, “The’kar may look imposing, even a bit menacing but he’s quite the gentle giant. At least when he’s not in combat that is. Just try not to stare at him,” Muraja advised.

“Why would I stare? I mean sure I’ve heard he’s a big guy but I’ve seen big guys before without staring too long at them.”

“Oh well let’s hope so,” Muraja shrugged. Indeed the beggar had been correct for as soon as the two got out of the cramped alley they found themselves in a vast street that ran the entire length of the city and couldn’t have been narrower than a football stadium. William had to stop and take in the sights for a moment; he was utterly overwhelmed by what he saw.

Market stalls as far as the eye could see, long rows of houses and shops, and above there were hundreds of crisscrossing Rope Bridge overpasses which each ferried scores of men, women, and children at any given second. There had to be a million people in the street if not more. William had read numbers and statistics of Kesh’tir but had never truly understood the depth of their meaning.

When it was just a line of ink on a sheet of paper sixty million didn’t seem that impressive a number; Earth harbored four cities whose populations were larger. But what was different about Kesh’tir was how everything seemed so sprawled out and yet at the same time there was a sense of intimacy and compactness to the city and its people.

Looking at the people who browsed the market stalls at the edge of the street William got the odd feeling that there were very few strangers and most of everyone at least vaguely recognized everyone else. In an Earth city such familiarity would be unheard of for the most part.

The street was walled in on both sides by two seven-story high rows of buildings that looked like boxes stacked up on one another. They were built from yellow clay reinforced by wooden beams and sandstone bricks and they had little holes for windows.

Some of these windows had glass in them but most were bare save perhaps for some plain homespun cloth drapes to keep the wind out on cold days. The houses though distinct were all interconnected by walkways and ladders, reinforcing the sense of intimacy. The yellow clay looked almost red in the light of Ha’ken’s huge orange sun.

Ha’ken could survive being much closer to its sun than Earth was to it’s because the sun of the Ha’ken system was a weak orange star, much larger and much older but also much colder than Sol. During midday it appeared bright yellow and gave off clear light not unlike Sol but as the day dragged on it gradually turned darker as more and more blue and violet light was scattered by the atmosphere.

William was utterly entranced by the sights and it took a hard pat on the shoulder for Muraja to regain his attention, “William, I see the prison,” Muraja pointed to the end of the street where there was an enormous coal-black dome building surrounded by seven 100 meter-high headstone-gray stone towers.

In each of the towers was a small garrison of six to ten troops armed with scoped rifles designed for picking off long distance targets. The prison lorded over its small corner of the city and no pedestrians dared to venture within a hundred meters of it as if some invisible barrier or sinister curse protected it.

Even the carefree, lackadaisical little children who chased one another and stepped on the feet of others without any concern made sharp turns in the other direction whenever their tomfoolery brought them too close to the prison. Behind the black dome of the prison was the enormous white granite wall that had been built over a span of two centuries (during the same rough time period as the Hellenic age of Ancient Greece back on Earth) when the Thra’ha’ken were a pre-space civilization and walls were actually a good means of protecting cities.

The wall was as high as the Hoover Dam and was thick enough to land mid-sized starships on its ramparts and it was long enough to completely wall-in an area of land the size of Slovenia. William tried to imagine the effort that went into constructing it: just quarrying the granite would outshine the greatest achievements of the Ancient Egyptians and the Chinese.

The wall was maintained by tens of thousands of workers who labored each day to patch up cracks and clean up filth and grime that showed up easily on its white surface. It took some time but eventually William and Raja managed to get past the enormous crowds that flowed in every direction like so many rivers to the empty space beyond where no one walked.

Now in the shadow of the huge prison and the even larger wall behind it William felt truly small. Even the skyscrapers of the largest city on Earth: Atlantis looked rather tame in comparison. It wasn’t the size: these things would be dwarfed by the skyscrapers. It was the atmosphere that surrounded them, the mystic quality of both great monuments that arrested William’s attention.

The juxtaposition between the black stone that made up the prison and the white granite that made up the wall was a marvel in of itself. Muraja tugged the dumbstruck William away from the foot of the long bridge that led up to the prison gate. When they reached the high, imposing steel gate they were greeted by a quartet of large, sinuous soldiers brandishing rifles with almost comical-sized bayonets affixed.

Thra’ha’ken weapons at first glance would appear somewhat primitive to humans and kadians but that was something of a misconception. Thra’ha’ken weapons were the product of centuries of refinement and trial and error that came together to make the most reliable and efficient killing machines in the Sector.

Thra’ha’ken swords may seem archaic but aside from their ceremonial purposes they also found much use in urban fighting as their almost-impossibly sharp blades (thanks to advanced metallurgy and/or Neutronium edging) can cut through almost anything without dulling.

Even kadian science has trouble understanding the metallurgy the Thra’ha’ken employ and the term “Ancient Thra’ha’ken Secret” is a kadian science joke for something that is currently unknown and inscrutable. Their semi-automatic rifles never jam and are purely point and shoot weapons.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Mar 12th, 2010 08:26 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

Their bullets travel straight and sure for hundreds of meters and even somehow adjust for powerful winds or heavy gravity. Tellingly while much more advanced technology is available the most common weapon employed by kadian assassins is the standard iron-sighted Thra’ha’ken infantry rifle.

The guards regarded Muraja and William with great suspicion; no one ever approached them, much less humans. Only one of them had even seen a human before, and it was a dead human at that.

“...Muraja,” William leaned in to Muraja’s ear and whispered, clearly he was a tad unnerved by the soldiers, “You did call ahead didn’t you?”

“You can’t ‘call ahead’,” Muraja said, unfazed by the hard stares the soldiers were giving him, “But I’ll straighten things out. Just stay put,” When Muraja took a single step forward the soldier nearest to him turned off his rifle’s safety. Muraja bowed deeply to show respect.

Muraja reached into his coat pocket and under the wary gaze of four armed men produced a small knife in a leather sheath: handle first. The nearest soldier took the knife and grunted at Muraja in Tek’to’kum: ordering him to identify himself. Muraja informed the soldier in Tek’to’kum that they were important dignitaries from Earth who had business with The’kar.

The soldiers were less than convinced but when Muraja flashed at them the Empress’s seal they grumbled an apology and moved aside. The Empress’s seal was an ornate talisman made up of two halves of two carapaces from two different animals studded with various gems and marked with scrawled out patterns that signified the Empress’s approval of whoever carried it.

Though still not entirely sure of the humans’ legitimacy the lead soldier reluctantly barked out an order to the men who controlled the gate. The gates swung open a moment later and released a jarring blast of cold air. The prison was kept just below 15 degrees Celsius at all times as a way to further punish the prisoners (Thra’ha’ken don’t take well to cold).

In contrast the outside air of Kesh’tir was around 29 degrees Celsius, rather average weather for Kesh’tir at this time of year. The pair of humans was escorted by a pair of silent soldiers with whip-swords at their hips. Whip-swords were exactly what their name implied: narrow and highly-flexible (but still durable) strips of metal close to five meters long with many small tooth-shaped serrations on the edges which in practice made them like bread-knives (in this case flesh, bone, and armor substituting for bread).

Whip-swords were interesting weapons but seldom found any use outside of ceremonies. When not in use they would hang from the user’s hip, coiled up and harmless but when drawn the wielder would coil the long weapon around a specially designed gauntlet that extended to the wearer’s elbow and was coated with a highly viscous oil that protected the gauntlet from the sword’s ‘teeth’ while preventing the teeth from dulling on abrasion with the gauntlet.

Once it was coiled around the gauntlet a trained wielder could uncoil it with a simple flick and the weapon would be sent flying toward a target. The blade would (if flicked properly) wrap around the target and ‘bite’ it with the teeth. Upon yanking the sword back the wielder would slice apart the target in a manner akin to a chainsaw slicing apart a tree trunk.

Those who could use a whip-sword well (or the rare swordsman who was proficient at dual-wielding them) were to be feared and respected. The soldiers silently led Muraja and William through a long winding corridor all the way to a large door that served as the portal to The’kar’s cell.

“Remind me why he’s locked up,” William nudged Muraja as the soldier was trying to find the right key to fit in the lock.

“He’s locked up for treasonous acts in the presence of the enemy,” Muraja whispered.


“Quiet,” the soldier grunted. He was struggling with the cumbersome and complicated key-ring and didn’t need any more distractions. He had over a hundred keys on the ring and they were all roughly the same size and make meaning that finding the right key was a matter of trial and error.

After what must have been five minutes’ time the soldier found the right key and fit it into the thick lock. William could hear the gears turning and creaking into place as the lock budged open.

The soldier then grabbed the door by its two behemoth metal handles and nearly pulled some muscles in his arms and back in the act of drawing it open. His heart beating like a drum and his chest heaving the soldier pushed his head through the opening and with what little strength he had left addressed the cell’s occupant, “Visitors for you,” he said curtly.

With that he departed and left the door wide open for William and Muraja. William was confused: how could he leave the door open like that? Were prisons on Ha’ken that much more lax than Earth-prisons or was that particular guard just careless? Muraja saw the look of confusion and smiled.

“The’kar’s not the type to attempt escape, the guards know that,” Muraja stretched and yawned, he hadn’t gotten the best sleep during the trip from Earth and the walk through Kesh’tir had taxed him, “Well in we go, William,” he pushed William in before the latter man could protest and in doing so caused his friend to half-trip over the threshold of the door.

William’s jaw dropped when he spotted The’kar. The sight of the 197 kilogram, two and a half meter tall man-mountain was awe inspiring even when he wasn’t standing up. The’kar was passing the time in his cell with some ‘light’ reading and plenty of exercise. When William stumbled through the doorway The’kar was using one massive hand to hold open a philosophy book while the other hand was occupied with the task of repeated two-fingered push ups.

When he moved up and down the mounds of muscle in his arms surged but his face remained still. It seemed he was completely unflustered by the exertions, “The’kar, you old brute…” Muraja stepped through the doorway and immediately The’kar’s concentration was broken.

“Muraja?” The’kar was surprised to see his old friend. He had expected the human’s arrival but not until later in the afternoon, hence the surprise. The’kar felt remised at greeting Muraja shirtless and quickly set about rectifying this. The’kar pushed himself off the ground with his one hand and carefully placed the book to the side on top of a pile of similar tomes.

The cell was a small but well-furnished one, the sort of cell that held deposed rulers or political prisoners and the only real discomfort was the fact that The’kar’s head nearly scraped the ceiling when he was at full rise. It was when he was on his feet that the true gravity of The’kar’s size dawned on William. The’kar was easily 260 centimeters tall and on top of that bulging with muscle.

His wasn’t the lean and well-defined muscle that covered Muraja’s frame; his was the meaty kind that wrestlers and strongmen possessed, the kind that could almost be confused for fat at a distance. His face was just as intimidating as his body with its strong chin, piercing eyes, and beetling brow.

Like all Thra’ha’ken he lacked extraneous ears, had two nostrils that stuck straight out of his face in lieu of a true nose, and was seemingly hairless. He was a rarity (not just because he was a giant) as a ‘Brown’ Thra’ha’ken (the result of his joint ‘Green’ and ‘Red’ Thra’ha’ken heritage). When he saw Muraja he smiled, and in doing so showed his twin rows of sharp pale-yellow teeth reminiscent of a shark.

His face was marked with an assortment of battle scars that ranged from little nicks to jagged trenches dug into his olive-brown skin. These scars combined with his piercing yellow eyes with the thin black snake-like slits for pupils made him rather unattractive even by the standards of other Thra’ha’ken.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Mar 12th, 2010 08:27 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

The yellow color of his eyes was due to volatile mutagenic chemicals he had ingested as part of his training in the elite forces of the Thra’ha’ken military. The chemicals sped up his reaction time and lowered his sensitivity to pain but also changed the color of his irises to a golden-yellow hue. Still, he was friendly enough and even evinced humanizing embarrassment at greeting them without full clothing.

The’kar threw on a white shirt that William probably could have used as a table cloth but which fit snuggly around The’kar’s massive frame.

“How are you doing, old friend?” Muraja asked in English.

“I’m doing fine, thank you,” The’kar replied in flawless English, “Aside from the fact that I’m being tried for treason I can’t complain,” William was impressed by his impeccable speech, “Who’s your friend?” The’kar asked, motioning to William who was staring stupidly at him.

The’kar’s voice was a low gravely murmur that while being little more than a whisper was of sufficient resonance to rattle the eyeglasses on William’s face.

“Allow me to present William Waltham Walden the Third,” Muraja threw his arm around William and patted him on the chest lightly. It was a Thra’ha’ken gesture that translated to: ‘you can trust this man, he’s a friend’.

“Well it’s nice to meet you William,” The’kar said with a good-natured smile, “Now if you please I don’t like being stared at.”

“Oh I’m sorry,” William immediately broke out of his trance and stared down at his feet.

“It’s alright, I’m used to it,” The’kar let out a short chuckle.

“It’s really good to meet you, sir,” William said, “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“And I hope you didn’t believe most of it,” The’kar said with a grin. He took a seat in a chair whose seat could have fit both Muraja and William comfortably but just barely contained his large posterior.

“Good to see you’re keeping in shape,” Muraja observed.

“Yes, I’m trying my best to stay fit now that I’m on the onset of middle-age,” The’kar clenched his two fists tightly and the veins in his arms dilated and swelled as blood pumped through them furiously. Each one of his hands could comfortably fit around a man’s skull and crush it like an egg, a fact that wasn’t lost on anyone who met him. William reached for the book The’kar had put aside and found to his surprise that it was a human book on philosophy written in German.

“Immanuel Kant?” William mused, flipping open the worn out cover and skimming through the pages.

“I’ve been reading a good deal of philosophy of late,” The’kar shrugged, “It helps put things in perspective.” Beneath it were many other works of philosophy as well as religious texts and anthropological studies. Some of the books like this one were human texts and a few were of kadian origin but the majority were unsurprisingly Thra’ha’ken, “Tell me, boy,” The’kar looked to William, “Did Muraja lead you through some slums?”

“He did, actually,” William answered. Evidently William wasn’t the first person to have been dragged through a slum by Muraja.

“Hmm... still the same old Muraja then,” The’kar chuckled again.

“What can I say? I like the atmosphere, it reminds me of home,” Muraja said with a smile and a casual shrug.

“Well in any case, I want to thank you both for coming,” The’kar proclaimed, “Your testimony will be invaluable to my defense.”

“It’s the least I could do,” Muraja replied, “I can’t allow someone like you to go to the chopping block over some misunderstanding.”

“Misunderstanding?” The’kar shook his head, “No they’re right. I did allow a kadian ship to escape in the midst of hostilities which under the law of the Empire counts as treason. I’m not arguing against that. I’m arguing that ‘treason’ was the right course of action.”

“Then you’re facing something of an uphill battle,” Muraja observed.

“That’s why you’re here,” The’kar replied, “You’ve always been good for miracles.”


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Mar 12th, 2010 08:28 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
BruceSkywalker
The BatLord of the Jedi

Gender: Male
Location: The Batcave

very good


__________________



Thanks Steve... The Darkside of the force...

Old Post Mar 12th, 2010 10:32 PM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

quote: (post)
Originally posted by BruceSkywalker
very good

Thanks. smile
I'm conflicted over whether or not to post some samples of my older story. Its a superhero story but its of poorer quality.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Last edited by Omega Vision on Mar 12th, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Old Post Mar 12th, 2010 10:34 PM
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BruceSkywalker
The BatLord of the Jedi

Gender: Male
Location: The Batcave

quote: (post)
Originally posted by Omega Vision
Thanks. smile
I'm conflicted over whether or not to post some samples of my older story. Its a superhero story but its of poorer quality.



go ahead im sure its good as well


__________________



Thanks Steve... The Darkside of the force...

Old Post Mar 13th, 2010 05:11 AM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

“They came in strange flying castles these strange creatures did. They spoke in strange tongues and wore stranger garb. They were like us but smaller with deformed faces, smooth gray skin, and long strands of brightly colored rope growing from their heads, and soulless eyes. We came to trade with them and offer them a warm hearth to sleep by. Either they didn’t understand our offer or they did not care and not long after they came they stole some of our children from their beds and put them in cages like little animals. I called my soldiers to arms and together with the fathers and mothers of the purloined children we attempted to compel them to return the little ones. Instead of relinquishing the children they attacked us with fearsome weapons. Our swords, staves, axes, and rifles laid low a few of them but their own weapons were too great. They were like our own guns but they fired without pause as if they required no loading and sounded like fiendish drums. Scores of men and women died, some of them did not even possess weapons. On my command we fled and left behind the bodies of our fallen. As their flying castles left us they rained down fire and destroyed our villages. There was nothing left of my family when I returned home. I don’t know what these gray skinned monsters were, nor do I know from whence they came but I know that they left nothing but sadness in their wake.”

-A Recounting of First Contact between Kadians and Thra’ha’ken from Jur’Tesh, Lord of Yan’vir Province, Ha’ken.

Chapter II

Guilt

Kwizr was the pretty one. She had always been the pretty one. In the huge Teysr family the standard of beauty was high: so high in fact that the glamorous Jylna was considered rather homely in comparison. Of course humans who met them couldn’t really understand such a subtle pecking order but the Teysr sisters all knew Kwizr to be the fairest of them all.

The ‘homely’ Jylna didn’t fault her for being so pleasing to the eye, she loved her sister dearly. Even by kadian standards the Teysr family was enormous and complex. In all there were currently forty-seven wives married to three husbands with about two-hundred eighty seven daughters and one son. Of these daughters eighty-two of them had a total of five hundred and thirty eight daughters and eight sons.

Seventy three of those grandchildren had a total of one hundred and fifteen daughters and four sons. Kadian society had a female to male ratio of 13:1 which meant that it was dominated by the females, not that the males had anything to complain about with everything they could ever need provided to them in exchange for fulfilling their biological imperative.

Kadian men were rarely seen by outsiders because they often sequestered themselves away in the company of their favorite women. They had an amazing deal going until the introduction of sophisticated robotics and the much more recent discovery of humans who were similar enough to be considered attractive by kadians and who were all too willing to provide companionship. Kadians were eerily similar to humans outwardly and inwardly and evolved from creatures akin to hairless Chimpanzees.

Despite the many (and indeed astronomically unlikely) similarities between the two species kadians were distinguishable from humans due to their rose quartz-colored skin, hairless bodies, exotically colored eyes, and the fleshy locks that served as their hair (in actuality nerve tendrils that gave kadians a sort of ‘sixth sense’ and allowed them to sense electromagnetic phenomena humans couldn’t barely detect with the most sensitive of equipment).

Kadian science was the most advanced of any society native to the Sector with the only other society that came close being the mysterious dinuthians. Almost all kadians were citizens of the twelve system entity known as the Kadian Systems, an entity ruled by the powerful and wealthy Teysr Family headed by Teysr Tavr. She ruled from the Teysr Tower in the center of the picturesque capital city known as Hyrklx.

It was at the base of this enormous tower that Jylna and Kwizr decided to have their lunch that morning. The unnatural sounds of the city were suppressed by noise cancelling pylons that surrounded the base of the building but the faint twitter of little kash bats and the rustle of the soft wind were allowed to filter through to lend the picnic area a certain natural ambiance.

This allowed the sisters to have a nice conversation after finishing their lunch, a conversation undisturbed by the rumbling of starship drives overhead.

“Look at that ugly little excuse for a ship,” Kwizr pointed up to one of the human warships that was docked on one of the great towers of Hyrklx, “It’s like no one ever told the humans about aesthetics.” The Helios was one of nine Heraclitus class Frigates: 150 meter long mid-sized warships with a top speed (in slipspace) of just under thirty-six light-years per hour and with a peace-time complement of 215 men and women that nearly doubled during rare times of war or 'adjusted wariness'. It may have seemed impressive to human eyes but to the kadians it looked quaint.

“Oh I think they call that ship the Helios,” Jylna said, looking up at the squarish, black and gray ship that was supported by a latticework of slender but strong cables connected to the many nearby towers that surrounded it.

“Dumb name,” Kwizr said with a snort.

“I don’t know, Kwi,” Jylna began using her sister’s pet name, “I think it looks alright...you know for a human ship.”

“Oh please,” Kwizr rolled her eyes, “You’re just saying that because you’re seeing one of its crewmen.”

“That’s not the reason at all,” Jylna protested. The rosy gray skin of her face turned an almost purple shade as she blushed, “And his name is Martin.”

“Another dumb name,” Kwizr said dismissively, “What’s with humans and dumb names?”

“I bet our names sound really weird to them too,” Jylna shot back. She felt that an attack on her beau was the same as a direct attack on her own honor.

“Who cares what they think? Humans are good for one thing and that’s to be available when they’re wanted and to get out of the way when they aren’t.” It wasn’t that kadian society encouraged haughtiness and jingoism per se; it was more a matter of doing nothing to discourage it.

“That isn’t true,” Jylna replied, “Martin’s very sweet to me and I enjoy his company. I even feel bad when I gossip in front of him. He just sits there and smiles. If he knew what I was saying...” Jylna noticed the vacant look on her sister’s face, “Hey are you listening to me?” Jylna grabbed Kwizr by the shoulder and shook her to get her attention.

“Oh sorry,” Kwizr smiled innocently, “I was just opening up the database.” The database was the colloquial name given to the kadian information network that all kadians had access to from birth. Nearly all information was available through a small device that was implanted in the brain and it could be accessed intuitively in the same way that actual memories could be recalled only with much greater clarity and precision.

“What are you looking up?” Jylna asked, curious why her sister would be looking through the database in the middle of a conversation.

“I just finished looking up the Manifest of the Helios,” Kwizr said with a sly smile.

“Oh,” Jylna sounded worried.

“Yeah I looked up Chief Petty Officer Martin Cole’s personal file,” Kwizr tilted her eyes up, away from Jylna and the sly smile grew wider, “It said he was fluent in seven kadian dialects,” Jylna looked aghast, “Which you should have known considering he made no secret of the fact that he was one of the ship’s interpreters.” Jylna looked down at her feet and hung her head low in shame.

“So he just sits there and acts like he can’t understand that I’m making fun of him?” Jylna buried her face in her palms.

“Yeah either he doesn’t mind being laughed at by a dozen alien women or he’s willing to put up with it if it means he can get into your pants twice a day,” Kwizr said with a shrug. Then she noticed how badly her sister was taking it and she felt awful, “Hey now, it’s alright,” she patted her sister on the back and offered a genuine smile, “I’m sure he’s just too polite to say anything. And even if he is just interested in you on a physical level there’s hundreds where he came from,” Kwizr pointed up at the Helios, “Why don’t we talk about something other than your problems with men? Like Telk: I hear she’s returned.” Kwizr said. Jylna looked up and raised an eyebrow (figuratively speaking, kadians don’t really have eyebrows).

“Telk?” Jylna guessed correctly that Telk was one of their sisters. Unfortunately there were so many of them that it was almost impossible to keep track of them all and she had no idea which sister it was.

“Yeah, she just got back from a long mission in Thra’ha’ken space,” Kwizr said, “Hey look there she is now!” Kwizr leaned over the table and pointed past Jylna’s shoulder at a tall crimson ‘haired’ woman with carnation-pink colored eyes who was slowly making her way to their location. Telk was characterized by her above average muscle tone and her wide shoulders; she was also among the tallest of the Teysr sisters.

She had a beautiful face with wonderful symmetry and graceful features but like Jylna was nonetheless considered to be unexceptional in that regard. At present she appeared lost and confused; she was constantly looking over her shoulder and looking to the side as if she were being followed or watched.

“Oh! Now I remember her,” Jylna had visual-based memory and once she saw something she would immediately recollect almost every little thing about it.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Mar 14th, 2010 12:13 AM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

“Hey! Over here!” Kwizr stood up and waved her arms at Telk to flag her down. Telk looked puzzled for a moment before she recognized the pair as her sisters, “Get over here Telk!” Kwizr shouted, unconcerned that the other people who were eating near them were starting to stare.

They were the Teysr family, no one argued with them and everyone wanted to be in their good graces so if they wanted to shout that was their business. Telk hesitated for a moment; she was worried because she didn’t know much about the pair. She recognized Kwizr almost immediately and was able to match a face to a name because Kwizr was the ‘pretty one’ in the family.

The other sister she only faintly recognized as her kin but couldn’t for the life of her remember the name. After the moment’s hesitation Telk marched double-time down to the table and nervously grabbed a seat that was far enough from her sisters to leave some space but close enough to not cause them offence.

“It’s good to see you again Kwizr and uhh…” Telk trailed off as she was addressing Jylna.

“Jylna,” said Jylna, she tried to mask her displeasure for having been forgotten.

“Right, sorry,” Telk blushed and lowered her head.

“So how are things on that ship of yours?” Kwizr asked, leaning in intently.

“Things are fine I suppose,” Telk scratched her scalp in between two tendril roots where she had a bad itch and leaned back in her seat just as Kwizr leaned in.

“I heard you survived a battle with none other than Grand General The’kar himself.”

“Oh yeah it was a close one but we pulled through,” Telk said, less than enthusiastic about the mention of the battle.

“From what I hear The’kar got himself in trouble with the Imperial Court,” Jylna said, picking at some food that was stuck in between two of her top incisors.

“He did?” Telk almost sounded worried.

“Yeah I know what you’re talking about,” Kwizr replied, “He’s in chains right now for treason or something. Typical barbarians, always ready to pile the blame onto someone when they fail to get results. I wonder how he’ll be executed.”

“Executed?” Telk gulped.

“Yeah he’ll be sentenced for sure,” Kwizr said, almost cheerily, “Their legal system has a 99% conviction rate or something crazy like that.”

“Ooh I bet they’ll cut his head off,” Jylna said in a gossiping tone as if they were discussing a mutual friend that had put on some weight.
“I pity the poor fool who has to carry it out,” Kwizr laughed, “Knowing that gigantic brute he’ll take a few down with him.” Kwizr and Jylna laughed for a bit but stopped when they noticed the glum look on Telk’s face. Telk looked like she was ashamed and guilt-ridden though her sisters couldn’t imagine why.

“Hey what’s up with you?” Jylna asked in a concerned voice.

“Did you forget something?” Kwizr asked, “I always get that look when I’ve forgotten something.”

“No it’s nothing like that,” Telk said morosely.

“Then what is it?” Jylna asked, “When we mentioned The’kar you got all--” the realization dawned on her suddenly, “What? You don’t feel sorry for him do you?”

“You’ve got no reason to feel bad for him, honey,” Kwizr said with a dismissive flick of her wrist.

“I don’t feel bad for The’kar,” Telk answered defensively, “I just...I forgot something.” Telk got up from her seat and started walking away from her sisters as fast as she could without actually running from them. Jylna and Kwizr exchanged confused looks and watched as she hurried off without even a token parting gesture.

“She always was the weird one,” Jylna proclaimed once Telk was out of ear-shot.

“Emperors and Empresses are invaluable to the Thra’ha’ken. They have been ever since the abolishment of the old religion over two centuries ago. People need rituals to feel that something matters and whether they worship unseen and inscrutable forces or just monarchs who sit on high golden thrones they all need something to believe in.”

-From ‘A Study of the Thra’ha’ken’ by Eustache P. Schwann, ©2037


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Mar 14th, 2010 12:20 AM
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