Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

There was a sudden wash of sensation, a wave that traveled through the President’s body and made him shiver slightly as all the stress of the situation suddenly melted away. He wanted to panic, knowing full well that this wasn’t a natural feeling, but the ability to panic simply wasn’t there anymore. Everything was simple, cold, logical.
He turned to look at the other leaders at the table and saw similar reactions happening in the English Prime Minister, the Russian and French Presidents, even the Saudi could be seen arching his back awkwardly as doubtlessly that same chill that he’d just experienced crawled up his spine.
“Everyone stop,” the President said. “The food has been drugged.”
All eyes went to the plates in front of them, calm and cold, then to the American.
“I dare say, I think you’re right,” the Englishman said. “What is the meaning of this?”
As though on queue, the door opened and men in suits began to enter the room. At first, it was easy to mistake them for the American Secret Service, each wearing a black suit, sunglasses and an earpiece, but it was their apparent leader that gave them away.
The man who entered in the middle of the dozen bodies was diminutive, no more than four feet tall, clad in the same black suit as the others, accented with a black woolen overcoat and wide brimmed fidora that concealed his features. The briefcase in his hand seemed to be nearly half his size.
“What is meaning of this,” the Russian demanded, flatly and unable to muster his usual bravado.
The suited men retrieved a chair and a small folding table, setting them up in the middle of the delegation without a sound for the tiny man to sit and set his briefcase down.
“This,” the small man began in a voice that seemed to resonate all on its own. “This is an unfortunate necessity.”
The world leaders murmured quietly among themselves.
“Explain yourself sir,” the Englishman demanded.
The briefcase clicked open as the short man spoke, his hands pulling out manilla folders that were then distributed among the delegates by his larger counterparts.
“I represent an organization which, until August of 1974, was a clandestine but essential part of your governments. We are in charge of handling affairs outside the scope of your offices, but thanks to the actions of one drunken president showing off privileged intelligence to his actor friend, determined it best until now to remain behind the scenes.”
The short mans features had been obscured by his wide brimmed hat, but as he removed it the room went so silent you could hear a feather fall.
His eyes were almond shaped and too large for any human, strange bone ridges under the skin make his eyebrows jut out, his nose was so small it was scarcely even there at all.
“What are you,” asked the French President.
“A hybrid. Part human, part what you would call ‘gray alien’,” the hybrid said matter of factly.
The room chuckled weakly.
“This is nonsense, you expect us to believe that you’re some kind of alien hybrid working for a secret organization that exists outside of our governments,” the American said through his weak laughter.
The small hybrid did not share their amusement.
‘If I wasn’t, then how can you all hear me now?’ The words came without speech, every person in the room hearing the words even though his mouth never moved.
The laughter stopped.
“Why drug us,” the Russian asked.
“Because humans are irrational and violent,” the hybrid stated. “When confronted by something you don’t understand, one of your first reactions are either to combat it or flee from it. Fight or flight. I needed you all composed for this meeting.”
“And this meeting regards…” the Englishman probed.
“In July of 1947, a craft crashed on your planet. It was not the first time, but it was the first time there was a survivor. When his people came to collect him, they entered negotiations with various governments and created The Accord, a treaty between governments of Earth and those visitors. In exchange for advanced technologies, our guests would be allowed open access to the airspace over the member countries as well as the freedom to…borrow…members of the population for study and conduct various other experiments,” the hybrid said, his tone very plain and matter of fact about the entire affair.
“So, why the secrecy? Why were you only involved with us until 1974,” the American asked.
The hybrids unusually long fingers drummed on the table idly.
“Because Richard Nixon revealed secrets about us to his friend, Jackie Gleason. We couldn’t risk additional exposure, and so we simply stopped informing leaders that we existed,” the small man said, now looking a little weary. “Gentlemen, madam, I’m not here to give you a history lesson.”
The hybrids fingers steepled.
“Part of The Accord states that you are forbidden from firing on any visiting craft or autopsying any bodies discovered. Until a week ago, we had managed to insure that this clause was never breached. But somehow, our orders were…overruled…and a craft was fired upon, crashed, and it’s crew are now missing.”
His hands went to the briefcase once more, gingerly pulling out what could only be some type of alien firearm and set it on the table in front of him.
“My question, lady and gentlemen, is simple. Which one of you idiots just started an Interstellar War?”

Tiny Things

Posted: May 26, 2014 in Creative Writing, Fiction

So, here we are. The edge of the galaxy; a bleak, dark, gods forsaken place where even the nearest star is light years away from us.

The edge of the galactic void.

There is beauty out in the void though, and for the first time in months I’ve allowed the shutters of the ship to open.

Light, from any source other than the weak greenish yellow glow of the corridor lamps, is a welcome respite.

The fact that the amber and purple light bathing our vessel is coming from the burning husk of a Kellexus warship is moot.

Burning plasma leaks from the beasts midsection, and from the intensity of the light, it must be from their version of a Void Drive. The purple hues are coming from the smoldering flesh of the ships exterior, tentacles writhing in slow motion as it dies naked in the black.

A flash of blue and white is echoed by a shockwave that makes the amber cloud shift and swirl, a bright white impact on the beasts side, the impact of our primary mass driver.

The beast begins to list to its side and we can see little forms being sucked out into the vacuum, the bioships crew, vented from the breach. Kellexus can survive fifteen minutes in total vacuum, it’s a blessing then that they drift into the burning plasma cloud and erupt like those little tissue paper poppers my son would throw at the concrete back home. A quick, faint pop and then gone. Hundreds, maybe thousands.

“Life signs of the bioship have ceased, sir.”

Here, on the edge of the galaxy, all light must fade.

“Very well. Weapons, target all available guns abroadside, torpedoes and missiles free,”

“Generating targeting solution, all guns abroadside, missiles and torpedoes locked. Targeting solution green, request permission to fire.”

All light must fade.

“End it.”

The sky burns as tiny stars of white hot plasma, glowing warheads and artillery shells streak towards their target.

The beast spins out of control as jets of burning plasma and gods only know what else vent explosively, the erupts in a brilliant amber and purple flash.

“All hands, brace for shockwave,”

I barely remember to say the words, the sight is too beautiful.

The hull trembles and I feel the ship rock and list, a fraction of what I’d expected.

“Comms, send word home, the first of the Kellexus have come through the Void Gate. We welcomed them accordingly.”

Something is amiss. Why is the hull still trembling?

Klaxons blare, red light fills the command deck.

“Report!”

Saunders, the navigation officer, has a panicked look in his eyes.

“Saunders!”

He snaps out of it, his wild eyes looking up at me.

“Void Traverse Field detected! Incoming at lattice 57.6, helion 3.”

Something else was coming through?

“Point of origin, Saunders?”

He was scrambling.

“Saunders!”

“I’m trying commander! The vector doesn’t make any sense! It’s reading as originating in galaxy NGC 1365, lattice 000, helion 0.”

That made no sense, I double check his math on my command screen.

“That’s impossible, there is no Void Gate that far out.”

“Gate sequencing engaged, VTF contact in 45 seconds, no recognition codes transmitted.”

This was impossible, there was no Gate in that galaxy, no way to fold the space between the galaxies. There was nothing there…

“Sir? Orders?”

This was impossible.

“First contact protocol! Engage axial rotation, charge weapons! Weapons, get me a firing solution on their contact point.”

The floor bounces as the center of the ship unlocks from the rest, gravity plating modulating as the mass begins to orbit around us and affect the overall gravity.

I feel my stomach lurch.

“VTF contact!”

Time slows, an effect of the Void Gate beginning to fold space to ‘catch’ the incoming object. The remaining plasma, still burning from the final onslaught of our guns, allows us to see space warp and ripple, like dropping a pebble in a still pond.

My jaw slowly goes slack at what I am seeing.

It is a behemoth, a leviathan, easily triple our size. Chitin plates and pulsing sacs of fluid and sensory organs, a thousand eyes staring and lidless.

It is a Kellexus ship, but one unlike I have ever seen, bigger than the largest of Draxi battle dreadnoughts. Impossibly big.

The time distortion is going longer than normal, and that massive hulk baring down on us is getting closer.

Time snaps back to normal like releasing a stretched elastic band.

“Hail them,”

The communications offers gives me a nod.

“Kellexus vessel, you have entered the sovereign territory of the United Terran Empire, use the codes we are transmitting to you to decode your language and respond at once or you will be fired upon.”

There is a pause.

“Unknown vessel, you will respond.”

I motion, the main mass driver firing a salvo past them.

“The next one will not miss, I assure you.”

Tiny things.
Little things.
Kill you
.

That psychic imagery was all I needed.

“All batteries, fire at will!”

It’s magnificent, the true unbridled fury of the Gentry Ascendant brought to bear, enough firepower to burn Earth itself to a cinder.

And it is doing absolutely nothing.

Charged plasma shells, high intensity directed energy weapons, high explosive ordinance that could level a city block, torpedoes and missiles that are banned from being used near population centers because they can ignite an atmosphere.

Nothing is so much as making a scratch.

“Arm the primary and secondary canons, full yield shells, emergency targeting solution.”

My hands grip the rail of the command station.

“Put a hole in its head!”

That head, if you could call the armored lump at the front of it a head, rotates slightly towards us.

It’s thinking, deciding what to do to this pest flying about and tickling it.

Well, this pest has a sting!

My console glows as the computer notifies me and the weapons officer that its reached a targeting solution. I don’t bother to wait for my officers confirmation.

“Fire!”

The ship lurches as both mass drivers fire in unison, over one hundred fifty thousand tons of ordinance streak towards the monster in front of us at nearly half the speed of light.

They hit home, making the beast reel and list, but as the blinding light fades I can see its barely scorched.

Tiny things. Break you.

A thousand eyes fix on us.

“Commander, VTF detected!”

You have got to be kidding me.

“Where, Mr. Saunders?”

His eyes get wilder.

“Lattice 11.2, helion 6…Engineering section! VTF Core!”

What the…

“They’re folding space! They’re folding it inside the ship!”

My hand is on the comms button before he’s even done speaking.

“All hands, abandon ship! To the escape pods! Now!”

Zarathan Beshon watched from the stations command deck as the lumbering chunk of planetary debris began to crumble, the five mining vessels tearing away at it, an elaborately choreographed dance that required weeks of preparation and planning for the highest possible output during this ballet of devastation. The Harvaren Mining Consortium had bought the rights to the dying system, the star having already gone into its Red Giant phase and consumed several potentially profitable planetoids, but the sacrifice of those few meant massive secured profits from the remaining five along with the stellar matter and plasma harvested from the dying star.

He’d make millions from this in commission alone from the unexpectedly higher yields the miners would bring in, because if there was one thing Zarathan Beshon understood better than anything, it was how to squeeze the most of out seemingly worthless rock. He’d probably even get an official acknowledgment from the Guilds, which would make his Personal Stocks skyrocket and insure his continued employment for the foreseeable future. This claim had officially pushed Zarathan Beshon into the top half percentile of all Harvaren.

A stubby, fat finger pressed on the comm as Zarathan Beshon watched the dancers in the void.

“Overseer to Breaker Fleet. Kyoga, increase forward mineral extractors by six percent. T’Kai, watch your armatures in the debris field. Zevrasta, hold Y axis rotation and move north on Z by twenty-three degrees, fifteen percent thrusters. We’re breaking down planets here, not waging war, no need to go full throttle.”

Zararthan Beshon had long since become accustomed to the comm echo as his orders were translated in multiple languages as he spoke, and the ponderously complex Harvaren language meant that most other species were always waiting for the translator to catch up to the speaker. At least he didn’t have any Ves ships in this team, the fact that the Ves spoke literally at light speed meant they were always waiting on you, and that notion made most Harvaren uneasy.

Never trust someone who speaks faster than you. His father had taught him that.

“Analysis of the current planetary fragment,” Zarathan Beshon asked down towards the Analyst’s Pit where fifty Harvaren, Kartoshi and Vele were watching every single bit of data coming from the various mining vessels and surrounding observer ships.

“This one reports all Organic contamination still reads nill,” said a young, pale skinned waif of a Kartoshi.

“Mineral extraction reads thirty six percent iron ferrite, high levels of assorted natural gases and the Kyoga is picking up a feathering of gold in quadrant eight. Recommend we crack Segmentum Helion and Kioshi after this to see if we can net the bulk of it before planetoid becomes to unstable,” piped up another, a wide shouldered Vele. One head was speaking to him while another watched the screens and the third head was crunching numbers and plotting mineral deposits.

Another Kartoshi gently tapped on the glass enclosure he stood in, the barrier that separated his ammonia based atmosphere from the methane required for the Kartoshi and Vele and allowed him to work without an encounter suit, unlike the unfortunate Harvaren in the pit. The Kartoshi was clad in blue and green silks, compared to the bland uniforms of the analysts, and Zarathan Beshon’s personal aid.

“Guild Office Chancellor on narrow beam transmission for Zarathan Beshon. Shall this one ask him to call again at a later time,” Hiyeni asked, her melodic tones hardly done justice through the speakers into the chamber.

“No, I’ll take it now.”

Her Harvaren was nearly perfect, although she’d never been able to shake the melodic quality of her birth race. Zarathan Beshon had to admit that the Kartoshi were more than pleasant to look at, and the diligence with which they did they tasks, no matter how mundane, was admirable. He was even considering paying for her next Youth extension, which of course would carry the benefit of keeping her a pleasant to behold female, rather than a curiously pleasant male if she aged and shifted to the male part of her life cycle. He pondered it more as he trundled over towards his Overseers Throne and engaged privacy mode, shading the glass of his environment cube and leaving the operation in Hiyeni’s capable hands. The vid screen flickering to life as he thumped onto the throne.

The Chancellor was fat, even for a Harvaren, unpleasantly so. It was a constant reminder that his station in the Guilds meant he never had to move and had enough underlings to do what needed to be done. Success meant never having to leave the comfort of your chambers, and Chancellor Jothun Getenki hadn’t needed to leave his in over a fifty rotations.

“Do I have the privilege of addressing Overseer Zarathan Beshon,” The Chancellor blubbered, all formality and pomp accorded.

“I have the honor of being named and titled such, most revered Chancellor,” Zarathan Beshon responded with equal propriety.

“Overseer, allow me to congratulate you on your most fortunate contract acquisition and assure you that the Guild Body has the utmost faith and confidence in your ability to bring -” The Chancellor blubbered on and on and on and all Zarathan Beshon could do was listen diligently and feign flattery as was expected. He kept his head nodding so as to avoid the Chancellor noticing that he was staring at the undulating jowls of fat that jiggled and bounced obscenely as the Chancellor droned on and on.

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that last part Chancellor, the planet break is causing some interference in the signal,” Zarathan Beshon said after the twenty minutes of flattery had caused him to open a monitor to continue observing the operation outside, but something the Chancellor had said pulled him back.

“I said, we require you’re assistance on a consultation brought forth by the Union on behalf of the Ves.”

The Union bringing a consultation to us on behalf of the Ves? I knew he was buttering me up for something…’ Zarathan Beshon thought.

“It would be my honor to lend me expertise, Chancellor. You may notify the Union, at your convenience, that I will be available in five rotations after the operations here have stabilized.”

The fat jowls and winkles obscured any discernible reaction from Zarathan Beshon, another perk of his station. No one could tell what he was thinking,

“I’m afraid, Overseer, that simply will not do. I am forwarding some images to you now, tell me what you can make of them.”

As the files began to steam onto his console, Zarathan Beshon let his annoyance show plainly. He had earned that right.

Images of a blasted landscape and charred and roiled ground began to appear, along with mineral and geological reports, making the Overseer frown.

“Chancellor, it would be quite obvious to someone even less skilled than myself that this world has been strip mined. Have I given such offense to the Guild that my time must be wasted on such trivial circumstances?”

That made the fatty wrinkles in the Chancellors brow deepen.

“That world is the third lunar body of Tyoga 7.”

Zarathan Beshon blinked, not sure he had heard that correctly. He chuckled.

“Tyoga 7.3 is a well known Ves research station. They engineered the cure for the Ulaty Plague there. It’s a jungle world with Nitrogen atmosphere. This…rock has no organic life to speak of, an atmosphere comprise primarily of carbon monoxide and its overall topography only matched with the moon in question by five percent. And that moon is inhabited by over-”

“Five million Ves,” The Chancellor said, ending his sentence for him.

More images began appearing on the Overseers screens. Destroyed settlements, blood stained sand, ruined structures, utter devestation.

“Chancellor, are you saying someone strip mined a Union world while it was still inhabited,” Zarathan Beshon said, almost in disbelief.

“No, Overseer. I’m saying something has strip mined eleven Union worlds.”

Zarathan Beshon couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“But, an operation the size of Tyoga 7.3 would’ve taken at least five rotations to even strip the surface. These reports show evidence that everything, down to 40 kilometers has been stripped, and I see strong evidence that even the atmosphere was harvested. An operation this big would’ve taken close to fifty rotations, and the planetoid would be crumbling apart. Why are we just hearing about this now?”

“Because, the operation you speak of was done in less than half a rotation, as well as the stripping and destruction of the other ten worlds.”

Zarathan Beshon leaned back in his throne, trying to come to terms with what he was hearing.

“There is no Harvaren technology that can do what you speak of. No Ves or Vele or Kartoshi or Sylandic nor a dozen other species combining their mining fleets could do this.”

“And that, Overseer Zarathan Beshon, is why we are sending you to Tyoga 7.3.”

Vetaya’s digits ran through the sand, slowly taking a deep breath. The sand was still damp with blood, the smoke in the air from the fires stung xyr olfactory gland along side the trauma, pain and fear still in the atmo made xyr thin skin prickle. Even without facing him, the soft glow of Betay’s luminescent words could be understood.

“Have you found anything new,” Betay asked, the color of his words a soft, calm, amber that rarely deviated. Betay was a Vruud, possessing two genders and both of them being male. Vruud were hulking, towering, Ves that stood easily double the height and triple the weight of even the largest females. Despite their appearance, however, they were gentle giants that bonded to a single Ves. They would be bodyguard and councilor to the Ves they were bonded with until the day they died, and woe be to poor soul that stir the gentle giant into the need for violence.

“No,” Vetaya responded, xyr words glowing silver and starting to radiate into the quiet of the infrared spectrum. “More of the same. Pain. Shock. Horror. Fire. Black shadows.” Xe was smaller than the rest of xyr species, ganglier, xyr limbs longer and xyr sense organs significantly more developed and pronounced, but totally lacking reproductive organs. It was a good omen to birth a Hyol, and their position in Ves society was a cherished one, because they could see things that other Ves could not. Xe was a Hyol, the seventh of the Ves race’s seven genders.

The pair had been walking on the blasted landscape for hours, Vetaya periodically stopping to run xyr digits through the sand or across a ruined wall and always wincing at the flood of emotions and flashes of imprinted memory flooded xyr mind. Everything had memory, from the sand to the alloyed hull of a ship, and the Hyol could see those memories with a mere touch.

All of the memories of this place were bad.

“Always the black shadows,” Betay asked, helping the Hyol to xyr feet again with a hand that was nearly the size of xyr.

“Drones,” Vetaya said.

Betay was quiet for a long moment, mulling that statement over.

“You are sure about this?”

“What else would do something like this?”

The blasted and charred rock they stood on, now windswept and begin consumed by the sand, had once been the colony hall. It would have been the last defensible structure of the main colony. Nothing remained. The air was sour with the shadows of panic and despair, and blood soaked sand clung to all thee of Vetaya’s bare feet, causing xyr to periodically feel the sorrow and rage trapped in the blood.

“Do you think anyone survived? Surely a few had to make it to shuttles, or at least to the comm gem to send an assistance beam.”

Vetaya glowed softly at Betay’s optimism, but it didn’t last long, the dark truth of the situation sapping xyr of anything good to tell xyr companion. Xe rubbed a bit of the coarse sand better xyr digits, holding it up to xyr face to examine it and allowed the gains to fall one by one from between xyr digits.

“No one got away from this,” Vetaya said, xyr tone shifting down towards the whispers of Infrared light.

The Ves had no eyes as most species would recognize them, and in comparison to most species, they didn’t even have a face. Their epidermis was their eyes, a highly complex and sensitive organ containing the rods and cones for sensing light. Ves communicated with light, being able to impart their thoughts and intentions in the light generated from the bioluminescent glands in their heads and chest while being able to perceive and make sense of any light that touched their skin.

Vetaya and Betay’s flickering conversation was interrupted when a comm gem hovered down near to them, gently pulsing as it awaited activation, Betay running a digit across it’s surface to open the light link.

The massive gemstone flickered, then glowed a familiar hue of lavender before the image of another Hyol Ves appeared in its facets.

“Hyol Vetaya,” the gemstone pulsed.

“Hyol Po,” Vetaya responded.

“We have found something, you should come to my coordinates at once.”

“What is it?”

“They killed one.”

Fitting a Vruud into a shuttle was no easy feat, and while Vruud sized craft were available, it was not often readily so. When Vetaya and the other Hyol’s had been dispatched, the few Vruud sized craft were all already dispatched with their massive occupants on official business of the state, leaving Vetaya and Betay to make due with a ponderous cargo hopper. While Betay fit in the ship, the only way he did so was by carefully crawling into the cargo compartment and keeping himself curled into a tight ball. Traveling this way was uncomfortable to say the least, but Betay did it without complaint. The bond of a Vruud meant he would follow his bondmate anywhere, and endure any hardship.

The flight to Po’s location was short, an outer settlement as blasted as the rest, but now being swarmed by the military and other investigators. Betay urged Vetaya to go on while he extracted himself slowly from the back of the cargo hopper, and maybe take an extra moment to massage the cramps out of his legs. The focus of all the Ves was a crater on the western edge of the settlement and Vetaya was met halfway by Po who matched Vetaya’s hurried pace.

“Is it a Drone,” Vetaya asked, barely sparing to turn xyr head towards Po for fear if xe took any attention from the site the find would vanish.

“Yes,” Po began, less afraid of their subjects magical disappearance than xyr counterpart. “It appears to have been brought down by -”

Po trailed off as they reached the rim of the crater, doing dark and silent as the other two dozen Ves had as they all stared down into the charred black pit. Vetaya had only paused the briefest second, shocked by the sheer size of the ruined craft. Large chunks of the hull were missing, slagged off or torn off from the impact, but the bulk of it was intact. Black metal, some untouched portions still gleaming, curved and bent to create a hull roughly ten meters long and standing taller than a Vruud. A slagged wound was in the metallic beasts flank, the scar from the impact of an air defense weapon. The other Ves were standing around the rim of the crater, in a mixed state of shock and awe, as Vetaya circled the craft to inspect it.

Po had been about to say that xe wouldn’t suggest touching the craft, but Vetaya was a step ahead of xyr. Visions of a cold womb, the rumble of its mother breaking atmo, being birthed into blinding light with fire and death, larger brethren lumbering in the distance as they-

Vetaya ripped xyr hand away and turned to look up towards Po.

“You saw?”

Po nodded.

“Has the land east of here been examined?”

Po nodded again.

“And?”

“Stripped of every mineral, the land churned and ruined. The same at over a thousand other locations.”

Vetaya’s second stomach roiled as though a school of Damdari Eels were living in it.

“Get me a comm gem,” xe said towards Po between shifting attention to the rest of the group which had roughly quadrupled in size. “I want this thing extracted, get a cargo barge down here to ferry it up to the Divine Light. Get the defenses back online.”

The group hesitated, forcing Vetaya’s words to shift into the loud Ultraviolet spectrum.

“Now!”

Dirge

Posted: April 29, 2014 in Creative Writing, Fiction

The Song echoed through the empty passageways of the station. Any other time, these corridors would’ve been bustling and choked with travelers, merchants and military personnel. But now, in this moment, everyone was gone.
There were no merchants or traders jockeying for attention. No travelers lost in the labyrinthine maze of passageways or staring in awe out of the windows that overlooked the shattered world below.
They were all down there on the Dias that stood next to the Chasm, on the orbital platforms that overlooked it, or the smaller orbitals that circled the ruins of the Ring.
C’Th should’ve been with them, lost in the mournful trance of the Dirge, carrying the song to the billions who we’re being remembered today. Instead, C’Th was snaking through the empty crystalline corridors of the Mourn Field Station towards the audience chambers.
‘Urgent Affairs of State’ the song had said, though what could be more urgent than the days observance of the Dirge was beyond C’Th, third facet of J’mon, and the thought was troubling. The Dirge was a sacred rite, one that even the lowest and most roughly hewn Visrullis were encouraged to set aside their daily burdens and attend. It was one of the few days where the Shimmers Dynasty stopped, that its light went from radiant to contemplative in remembrance of when the Ring opened and the swarms of metal monsters came by the millions, descending onto the Grow World below and tearing into its sacred soils and killing entire generations of Visrullis.

“Light embrace you,” the Council greeted as C’Th entered the hall and bow low.
“May it ever illuminate your faces,” C’Th returned, as was proper. “My councilors, I have come as bidden, but am saddened to see so many here rather than observing our sacred duties of remembrance.”

Visrullis did not ‘speak’, but rather communicated through refracted bioluminescence created by colonies of microbes in their crystalline bodies. Their mundane communication was always a silent display of elaborate flashes and patterns of colored light, and their crystalline bodies allowed them to perceive and process light from any angle. Thus, a Visrullis could ‘hear’, process and understand the full context of hundreds of simultaneous conversations at once.

“We are aware of your displeasure, C’Th, and know of your utmost dedication to the Faith. That we would summon you away from Sacred Duty should prove the severity of the situation on its own merit,” The First Councilor said from his dias.
C’Th’s head bowed in solemn acknowledgment, because the councilor was absolutely correct.
“How may I serve?”

A wide facet of one of the crystalline walls glowed, pulsing dimly in a strange pattern that made little sense.
“We have received a transmission from just outside our borders. We believe it to be a distress call.”
The more C’Th watched the pattern, the more the broken patterns of the Visrullis language became vaguely apparent. Help. Stranded. Help. Stranded.

C’Th’s face flickered at the repeating patterns, picking out an occasional extra word, but the bulk was nonsensical gibberish, but was stunned when a single complete phrase flickered through the light.

Rite of Rescue.

“Who has sent this,” C’Th asked, snapping attention back towards the Councilors. “They call for the Rite of Rescue, such a call can not be ignored. It is Sacred Duty.”
The soft, pulsing glow from each councilors betrayed their amusement, but also their concern.
“You are certain of this fact, Third Facet of J’Mon? That the Rite of Rescue is a Sacred Duty, and may not be ignored under any circumstance,” the Second Councilor asked probingly.
C’Th nodded, once, a silent sign of absolute certainty.

The wide glowing facet changed, revealing an view of a solitary vessel drifting and spinning, dead in the vacuum of space.
“Do you recognize this design, Third Facet of J’Mon?”
C’Th approached the wall, raising a seven digit hand and manipulating the image. Rotating and zooming in and out on the dead ship.
“Crude. Ungrown. A mechanical design, doubtlessly from one of the -” C’Th paused, then paused the image and zoomed in very close. Symbols were emblazoned on the side of the vessel. “Lightweb, do a pattern match on these symbols and cross check against records from -”
“Cancel request Lightweb. We know who these aliens are,” the First Councilor spoke again.

C’Th spun, glowing with rage and hate and confusion, glaring up at the Councilors.

“These are the Drone Bringers. The Ring Builders. The ones who smashed the world beneath us.”
“And you haven’t destroyed them? You are certain of this and yet leave them spinning in the black, just outside our borders? What if more come to aid them? Have you taken leave of your senses,” C’Th words flared with the radiance of a star.
“At peace, Third Facet. Even you acknowledge that the Rite of Rescue is Sacred Duty, no matter the circumstance,” The third councilor said now.
The image unpaused and C’Th could see the purposeful flashes from the ships hull and the UV bursts from its comms array every time the ship upended in the direction of the Visrullis border, a pointed attempt to reach them specifically.
“How they know of the Rite of Rescue, we do not know. However, it has been requested, thus is shall be heeded. You are to leave immediately, in your fastest Void Piercer, with a full crew. Render aid to the Drone Bringers, learn what you can.”
“And should we encounter Drones with with,” C’Th’s light was soft and hard to see.
“Then you have authority to defend yourselves appropriately. We are sending a lightwave with all the information we have on the vessel, as well as appropriate protective equipment and atmosphere generators. You will need them.”

C’Th glared at the image once more, the dying craft spinning end over end as it slowly rotated and the symbols came into view once more.

USS Celestial Fortune

4-2-14
6:55am

Welcome to Southern California where if we have anything other than sunny 80 degree days, all hell breaks loose.

Where the hell do I even start?

We lost power for several hours yesterday, lightning strike took out a major transformer or something. Radio reports are saying that this storm came out of nowhere, and that all the indicators said that such a storm shouldn’t be sustainable, let alone growing. And it is growing, apparently at a ‘frightening rate’. Most of California and Oregon are covered in it now, it’s expected to hit Washington, Nevada and Utah later today.
Elizabeth’s boss called last night and told her to stay home until things get better.
Lexy’s school is canceled because of the hazard.
The Emergency Broadcast Signal is going off every fifteen minutes with flash flood warnings, high surf advisories, mud slide evacuation instructions…
There have been six ‘serious’ slides in the past twenty four hours.
Streets are flooding.

But I still need to go to work.
I shit you not.

Weird side note from yesterday: I don’t know if I just missed it or something, but there were a couple of lightning strikes that didn’t have thunder. I mean, they HAD to have thunder right? You can’t have lightning without thunder, its the way nature works, but I swear there were four or five strikes yesterday where there weren’t. I mean, I guess I could’ve missed them…fifty mile an hour winds can get pretty loud…but one of the strikes was only a block from the shop, I should’ve heard that one.

8:20am

The storm is starting to mess with the radio, must be all the electricity in the air, or that LIGHTNING HIT THE DAMN ROAD 20 YARDS FROM ME ON THE WAY TO WORK. I’m still shaking from that. Winds are really kicking up an causing the clouds to move really oddly, makes some really strange shadows. Creepy.

11:55pm
Massive evacuations underway.
Laguna Beach, Newport and most coastal cities are being emptied.
EBS isn’t saying why, but most people are assuming mud slides, or something to do with that 8.2 Chilean earthquake. All that’s for sure is that all hell is breaking loose.
The storm had already reached Stateline, and there’s talks of widespread evacuations of many desert towns because of fears of Flash flooding.
Radios continue to have weird interference, and cable is out.
I’ll be amazed if the network holds up for this to get posted.

2:04pm
Roads are being closed, cops are telling people to stay inside.
More lightning without thunder, the girls at the flowershop have noticed it too.
Think we just had an aftershock from the La Habra quake last week, the whole floor rumbled. We thought it was a low helicopter at first, but all air traffic has been grounded.
What the hell is going on?

2:10pm
Cops just told us we are being evacuated to higher ground and away from the hills.
‘We don’t care where you go, just get to higher ground.’
WTF?
Cell network is down. I can’t reach my wife or my kid. Running on WiFi right now. Can anyone let me know if they’re okay?

5:52pm

Wife and daughter are safe, getting home took every bit of street lore that I have.
Elizabeth insists she saw something moving in the clouds. She had a lot of trouble describing it, clouds obscured the view, but she insists it was there.

4-1-14
6:55am

Woke up to rain today, a heavy torrential downpour that I vaguely recall hearing begin last night after we went to bed. Between that and Edison’s snorting, wheezing, protests at realizing he was going to have to get walked in it made for an interesting start to my day. Thank god for coffee, right? Even while driving Elizabeth to work we were hard pressed to see at certain points during the 15 mile drive down to her office in Capistrano. The drive back was even more eventful since people in Southern California can’t drive in a light mist, let alone a god damn torrent like what is outside right now. I saw cars hydroplane and spin more than once, and pointedly made sure to keep myself to the side and moving at no more than 50mph the whole way back home.

Had to ‘Alarm Pug’ Lex to get her out of bed, but when she got up and heard the storm she was grinning. She loves the rain.

The storm is going to complicate work, doing delivery driving in the rain is a big enough pain, but when it’s flowers…uhg.

I doubt I’ll be making any money today at all.

7:21am

Oh great, now there’s thunder and lightning.
Awesome.

8:46am
Jesus Christ! So, dropped off Lex at school and somehow managed to make it to work without getting killed. Damn California drivers, I swear.
I think the storm has actually gotten worse, and the thunder constantly sounds like it’s directly overhead, no matter how far off the lightning is.

9:30am
I’ve been watching the clouds while my orders are getting prepped, gun metal gray masses wrapped in velvet black. This roiling, churning, ebon morass hanging over our head. I can’t believe people are ordering flowers in this shit..

Hey people, so we are going to try an experiment.

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to try my hand at a epistolary novel. I’m not going to give you any spoilers, except that it is going to be sci-fi/survival/horror based.
Any time you see a post marked [Storm Wardens], make sure you check back periodically throughout the day for additional edits throughout the day as our intrepid hero chronicles his journey.

Basically, this is something I’m going to be writing and dictating in my downtime while I’m at work. Partly because I want to, partly because it’ll keep me sane on super slow days.

So, remember, if you see a post from me marked [Storm Wardens] to check back frequently to keep abreast of the story as it unfolds!

We heard it again today, that low droning noise that knocked out our communication with Huston for hours on end.

Humans truly have no scope of the sheer size of the universe, nor for the unfathomable ocean of blackness that stretches between heavenly bodies.

Things that seem so close, even within our own solar system, can take months or even years to reach by any man made craft. But when the human mind is finally confronted with the vast abyss between planets, and then try to compare that to the virtual infinite night between stars, we just can’t process it.

We, as a species, can not fathom being so small.

That is why when we first saw them in 2009, we couldn’t understand. The first time we saw them, truly saw them, was in imagery from the Cassini and Hubble telescopes. An infrared silhouette just outside the outer most ring of Saturn. We called it an ‘outgassing’ of one of the larger bodies within the rings, dust and ice refracting light and causing the line just outside the rings. Then the Helio Observatory caught another image in 2012. A shadow, just on the rim of the sun, sucking in plasma like a vacuum. We tried to reason it away, calling it a ‘coronal cavity’ or ‘plasma cooling event’. We could only see a slight edge, and already we knew the shadow was bigger than our entire world. We buried our heads, reasoned it away, and never thought of it again. The objects we were seeing were bigger than anything conceivable to the human mind, things bigger than entire continents. Bigger than our Moon. Bigger than Earth.

It was…impossible.

In 2014, the Europa Races began. It was quiet at first, but word began to slip that we were bypassing our old fixation with our closest neighbor, Mars, in favor of going to one of the frozen moons of Jupiter. Over the next decade, we saw a surge in the dwindling space program. The Second Cold War was grinding into motion, pitting us against the Allied Eastern Bloc of Russia, China, Syria and Iran.

We saw them again in our own sky, or at least their shadow, when the moon went dark for fifteen minutes. Again, we scrambled for a rational explanation. A massive, previously undetected asteroid crossing at just the right angle. A coronal mass ejection that darkened the sun just enough.
Something.
Anything.

China was the first to launch, the combined manpower of a million workers with the greatest minds of the rest of the Allied Eastern Bloc propelled them into the heavens and streaking towards Jupiter. The world watched, every day, as the AEB broadcast the reports and messages of the crew. It would take them two years to reach Jupiter, but it never arrived. The signal, terminating midstream, eighteen months into the journey.

We found the chinese ship yesterday. Their craft hidden, unmarked and undamaged, on the other side of Ganymede.
There was no one inside.

We can only assume their encounters have been similar to ours. I don’t know if you can hear any of this, if it will ever reach you, but I have to try.

We are so very small.

We caught our first real look at them, a clear image, last week after we lost contact. They were rising out of Jupiter’s atmosphere, the wisps of gas clouds leaving tendrils that seemed to stick to the hull. When the light catches it just right, it twinkles in colors that I have no words to describe.

I can scarcely say whether they notice us at all, or if they do, if we are but little more than an amusing afterthought as one would have looking at a puppy or even an insect that was investigating us. How dim and simple we must seem, little more than grunting animals that have learned to hurl themselves brutally into the void where these beings glide and dance.

I have seen them stop, suddenly, while traveling at speeds we can not fathom. Turn and spin in ways that defy every known law.

How can we even begin to dream that we could, even one day, be likened unto them? How can we dare?

Hollister cut his own throat this morning after rambling of how we were trespassing among Gods. McKenzie hasn’t left the barracks in two days, saying that even glimpsing them causes her eyes to throb and a stabbing pain in her temples. She talks in her sleep, as though being asked questions, but I can rarely make out her murmured words. Is this what happened to the Chinese? Did those brave men and women simply go mad at this revelation, or was it something else? Did they take them, and now realize exactly how truly simple we are and now do not even bother to acknowledge us?

I’ve been staring at one of them for hours now, here in the command module. It has simply been sitting, silent and unmoving. We feel no pull of gravity, the nearby moons and stellar debris seem as oblivious to its presence as it is to theirs.

Is it even metal? The twinkle and shimmer of those bizarre colors seem almost crystalline, yet the shell is opaque and seems as solid as  the moons it hovers around.

I get the feeling they are looking at us now. Assessing. Wondering. As though they somehow know I’m talking about them, like when your ears burn when someone elsewhere speaks ill of you. Can they understand awe? Do they even have a concept for it anymore? Could we even communicate with such beings? Would we truly want to? We have been trying. Broadcasting sequences of prime numbers, complex mathematics, patterns of lights, even ‘Hello, we come in peace’, but we are only ever answered in silence.

I’ve been so lost in this that I didn’t notice the warning lights. The proximity warning. One is directly above us now, maybe only thirty feet from our ship. We felt nothing as it approached. It’s like I could reach out and touch it, as though we were hung from the bottom of the world like a toy rocket. But now I feel a sense of dread. An annoyance at we tiny things who dare to look where we ought not.

I think it won’t be long unt-