Action, Author, Chapter Four, Fiction, Mini Series, New, Novel, Original, Sci-Fi, Sci-Fy, Science, Science Fiction, Scifi, Scify, Scyfi, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Four | Episode Sixteen: Close Call

Voiyn stumbled forward, and exited the examination compartment intent on not giving the stowaway another shot. His hearts beating fast, he glanced at the wound. ‘Nothing vital,’ he thought. It had been an energy weapon, which was fortunate, Voiyn wasn’t going to bleed out and the cavity wouldn’t become infected. He needed to get to the K8’s Armory.

As fast as he could drag his magboots the great reptile labored through the sterile white corridors of his own ship. The Armory was behind a hidden door, on the way to the cockpit. Senses on full alert he heard light footsteps rounding the corner behind him. Quick on his feet, he ducked into behind the threshold of a personnel compartment. A green lance struck the opposite side of the threshold where his head was just a moment before.

The steps were careful and meticulous, but not enough for Voiyn’s senses. A small flick of his tongue and he could taste the pheromones wafting off his enemy. ‘Let’s get his nerves even higher,’ he smirked at the thought. Slipping his had behind him, he activated the controls to the door. When it hissed open, the stalker moved quickly to the compartment. The hand held weapon peaked out from behind the corner.

Voiyn lashed out like he was striking at prey, grabbing the gun and biting into its arm. Warm blood rushed in his mouth as looked into the eyes of one of the adept servants crewed with the Seven Hounds Bounty. The being’s eyes went wide with fear, and then glassy as the toxins in his fangs pumped quickly through the creatures system. Wrenching the black weapon out of the hands of his would be assassin a few bones cracked, the musculature of the creature going stiff.

Having captured his prey, he looked over the aspirant. A greyish epidermal layer with a finely scaled quality. It’s eyes had been yellow orbs bisected with red pupils, now they had turned milky white, the toxins were going to work on his physical senses. All swaddled in the typical solid black of the Seven Hounds.

‘Notan owes so much. I need to comb the ship for more vermin, but first to warn NaN.’

— — — — — — — — — — — — —

“Call them off,” Essec pushed, exasperated with the sluggish thing.

“They are not mine to call, or push, or convince to do anything,” Notan repeated. His foul breath crept into Essec’s olfactory. “Like you and your lizard master, I can only supply the motivation, whether or not you comply is completely voluntary.”

This was exactly why Essec hated this smug thing. “Then supply them with the proper motivation,” Essec said trying to keep his tone amicable, but it was slipping fast.

“My, my, aren’t you the impatient one,” Notan’s gurgling voice even more disgusting attempting what Essec could only imagine as cuteness. “If any harm befalls the little monkey, I will gladly reimburse Voiyn for his damaged property. A good one is hard to acquire, I know. Unless you have something to give me, something that could supplant the boys value. Only then would I see Gort’ekl turning around. If you have nothing to offer, then our business is concluded and I wish you and Voiyn the best.”

Essec went stoic, there was no way he was leaving without receiving some kind of aid from this fat, greedy thing. Fortunately there was one thing in his possession that could be offered to the Pit Master. One thing that was his, that was the only thing of his homeworld. Having reached the black thirty cycles prior he’d begun a quest for his past, a history that had been difficult to discover in the limited channels of this caged called The Vale. Nokitha in the Juxl system was where his race hailed from, it took seven cycles just to understand that. After that huge discovery he’d begun to collect any and everything about the world, far far from this insipid place. The crown of his collection was a jewel, the rarest from his world, and the only he knew of that could be bartered with here.

“I have something. In my own personal possession, that cannot be found within The Vale,” he proposed.

Notan’s eyes opened in curiosity, “What kind of something might this be?” Now Essec had the fat stumpy creature’s attention.

“A gem the size of my fist,” Essec said.

Notan’s excitement seemed to fade. “Do you have an image of it? A being in my position has many trinkets of rare quality. I’m sure you understand,” Notan gurgled sardonically.

Essec had taken a recording of it on his data card. He never wanted to imagine being rid of it, however he knew it was priceless and could very easily become something to barter with in an extreme circumstance. Just like the one he found himself in currently.

He pulled the data card off his omnisuit, and thumbed through it to the storage function. Selecting the video he handed the device to Notan. The gem and video was burned into his memory, after so many cycles of searching he’d stared at it for thousands of decacircuits once it had entered his position. It was a ovular gem, deep blue and black gem, the blue swirling within the sea of jet that made up the base of the treasure.

Notan’s excitement returned, “This will do. When can I have it?”

Essec smiled, “As soon as they return with the monkey.”

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK

The most important piece for any historian of the fluxDominion. Written by Toretia Wailxl the personal assistant to the mightiest of Supreme Leshers, Umixquios the Grand. About his life and how he became the Grandest Umixquios in Preshood history.

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Action, Author, Chapter Four, Fiction, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Sci-Fi, Science, Science Fiction, Scifi, Scyfi, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Four | Episode Fifteen: Combat

Voiyn stepped through the portal connecting both ships. The Golden Reptile was lit by the emergency lights to dread effect.

Nothing in the first compartment, mostly ammo and things of low value stored in synth-metal crates. His magboots active he had no problem stalking through the flotsam. There was no code required to exit this space, he pressed the switch. On emergency power the doors slid open slowly.

They were yet unaware of his presence, giving him a little time, he thought.

His boots clicked against the ground, he followed his instinct to the left. A hatch began to open, he readied himself for the fight. A pair of sycophants wet themselves at the sight of him, both barely up to his hips. The pair cowered back into their compartment for safety. None were safe here.

He closed the distance slowly, growling. Through his vocal emitter Voiyn’s long growl sounded like some dark god from long ago. Fearful, the iyediu* backed into a corner.

Having them cornered, Voiyn leaned forward putting his large golden helmet microunits from either face. “Where is he?!” Voiyn asked through clenched teeth.

Both unable to speak out of fear pointed further down the corridor. One swiped of his palm and both were unconscious. Slamming his right palm into the first, who’s head struck the other in the swelling brain gland that protruded from the side of its head.

Forgetting them he continued on. They had been helpful but not specific. The more time he spent here the more chance he’d have to fight someone with real skill. He opened every door in his path, and peon after peon attempted to attack him. So many that the corridor was strewn with bodies floating, or stuck to the bulkhead at random some missing body parts. There were a few more doors before he reached the rear of the ship, if those iyediu* were wrong, he’d be taking them back with the foundling. There was something unusual about so many crewmen aboard the ship, however it matched the rumors about the Seven Hounds Bounty. The faces never wanting to dirty their hands unless it was worth it.

Two more doors that he’d had to crack with OhkBD’s programming and there he was bundled up, floating aimlessly throughout the compartment. Even through his rage Voiyn had to suppress the urge to laugh. Cutting the bonds with his clawed gauntlets finally the gag. “Valgebosh! I can’t believe you came,” NaN shouted, ecstatic.

“There’s no time. Let’s leave,” Voiyn began dragging him through the corridor from which he’d just come.

Moving through the littered bodies, some of whom where now awake, he noticed a figure in the distance. She was moving towards him, part of him wished she’d tried to highjack his ship, the optical lock would focus and burn the eyes off anyone whom hadn’t been registered by him to fly it. The creature seemed feminine, a black mask covered the face, and her body seemed wrapped in a similar material.

She was using the walls to bound in his direction, Voiyn put a hand up to signal NaN to stop. Data streamed into his oculars as the K8’s brain examined her. Projecting the data in fine streams. A targeting glyph pointed at the upper left of her abdomen, and one at the base of her skull, the weakest points on her body. Voiyn wanted to maim, not kill. She was within a body length and he readied himself for the attack.

The black figure leapt forward, thrusting a foot out to stomp his helmet. Casually Voiyn moved his head out of the way, whilst simultaneously grabbing her leg at the knee. To his surprise she used the momentum she’d built to fold back over, as she kicked out of his grasp he felt a slice against his thigh. He watched her slip through his legs, swimming in the lack of gravity. Stepping back, he swung his elbow where her head should have been behind him. He’d missed the mask by a finger width. Fortunately NaN had leapt back out of combat range. Carrying over the rest of his momentum he lashed out with his right hand, full extension rotating of the shoulder to grab the mask of the wretch. Catching it he squeezed with all his might, the poly-synthetic mask burst into a glitter of the glossy black. His claws had marred the already mangled face beneath in four even trails from each corner of her face. Carrying through with his attack, he lifted one of his magboots off the deck and slammed it into her chest. A sickening crunch reverberated through Voiyn’s leg he was sure that he’d broken a few things within the foul thing. The force sending her flying at speed down the corridor, the shard that had been her weapon floated harmlessly before NaN.

Voiyn motioned for him to take it. He did with the look like when he’d been purchased to crew the Valevyinellen. That maternal instinct in Voiyn swelled with pride. He ignored it as quickly as it had flooded him. Finding the compartment he’d entered was simple enough, making sure that NaN boarded the ship first, lest there be any unexpected surprises. Voiyn entered behind the floating child magboots falling heavily on the bulwark of the K8’s hook. “To the cockpit. We need to leave. I need to go repair my epidermis,” Voiyn commanded.

They split directions, as Voiyn made it to the biorepair deck, he heard the distinct closing of the hook. The two wires chinking as they disconnected from the Kal’rax Fnerckt. Voiyn sat down to examine his wound, it wasn’t too bad though the blue blood was seeping out rather profusely. Her weapon was clean so the wound was as well. He grabbed an auto-suture and began stapling the gash with sterile twine ensuring that his omnisuit was not included. Finished, he stood and limped towards the cockpit where NaN awaited him.

White hot pain suddenly lanced through his torso, he knew their escape had been too easy.

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK

The most important piece for any historian of the fluxDominion. Written by Toretia Wailxl the personal assistant to the mightiest of Supreme Leshers, Umixquios the Grand. About his life and how he became the Grandest Umixquios in Preshood history.

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Author, Chapter Three, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Science Fiction, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Three: Entanglement | Episode Nine: Discovery

NaN’s nerves wore off after a few circuits. The atmosphere was still tense, and stifling, but they were pretty much ignored, their novelty had already worn off. Everything seemed a little clearer this time. Directly across from the Docking Bay were the eateries and ethyl-alch lounges, ‘For those times when you need inebriation as quickly as possible.’ His imaginary commercial voice perfectly irritating. A hodgepodge combination of these businesses formed the outer orbit, two intersecting, diametrical corridors ran into the center of the station. Down into the real Pit.
Every store front corridor had an odd synthesis of natural and synthetic structure. Overall it was an easy layout to understand, it took them the better part of the first half of the one revolution allotted them by walking the circumference. After reaching the first leg of the intersecting passageways, NaN whipped out his datacard to trace a map with his relative position in space. Plans for future visits were already being made.
“…more apes. Can you believe how quickly they reproduce? They should keep themselves to their own cesspool in the Eleventh District. Us good being want have to not put up with their fragile little lives, paying with my good orn to pump this filthy oxygen…” The voice of the passerby clicked as he trailed off into the pockets of crown surrounding them.
“You hear that?” NaN clapped JOS enthusiastically.
“What,? The screaming from the back of that eatery?” JOS pointed at the restaurant bearing a sign: Quality Meats – Fresh?
“No…” NaN lost his focus for a moment, distracted by the many shades of neon making up the sign, he remembered, “No.  There was this thing that was talking about a place here, just for our type.”
“New?” JOS was so clueless.
“Not new to the Pit, it’s a place filled with the same species as us,” NaN could see he’d gotten his friend’s attention.
“Where is it?”
“Some place it called the Eleventh District,” NaN answered.
“What is, or where is the Eleventh District?” JOS beginning to sound frustrated having to repeat himself.
“Probably down in the lower levels, our datacards shouldn’t have any problem mapping any route we take, sound like fun?” NaN watched JOS think about it.
“I’ll set mine as well, the moment we go out of range we turn back. We cannot get lost here,” despite the serious voice JOS’s eyes betrayed his excitement. JOS detached his datacard from his magbelt to set the map tracker.
NaN kept his eyes on the descending spiral about 800 Units away. “Let’s go,” JOS commanded. Together they continued through the light crowds towards the center of the Pit. More aware of the surrounding environment without protection, there were several directories posted around the entrance to the Pit’s main artery. A group of beings were gathered around it, they looked familiar, it was hard to place anyone after seeing so many shapes, sizes, and types of bodies.
He tried to pick out recognizable details, but they all stood cloaked by the back lighting of the directories. Only five in the group. ‘It’s them!’ the thought sounded off like a klaxon. Seven Hound’s Bounty, from down in Notan’s Lair. His hand shot out to stop JOS.
“What?” JOS surprised, “Wasn’t this your idea to begin with?”
“No,”NaN shook his head, “no, I see something better. See those guys by the central spiral?”
“Yes.”
“Recognize them?”
“How could we possibly know anybody here NaN?”
“You’re not thinking about it clearly enough. Look closer.”
NaN watched his friend scrutinize the beings hoping to see him come the same conclusion as him. Now JOS was irritated,”I don’t recognize anyone.”
“Maybe almost dying made you forget, think back like twenty circuits before that,” NaN reminded JOS.
JOS’s eyes went about as wide as his mouth did, “Those are the guys we’re supposed to hunt with right? What do you think they’re doing?”
“That’s exactly why I stopped you,” NaN’s voice was conspiring. “Let’s find out.”
“Are you trying to get us dead?” JOS asked incredulous.
“Not killed, I think we’ve got an obligation to know more about these guys, and what it is we’re getting into. “
JOS thought on it, before he could respond NaN had to include, “Or are you too terrified?”
NaN was always surprised at how JOS could remain stoic, even with his constant checking for cracks in JOS’s ego.
“Alright, I’ll concede. More importantly we can get a guided tour from some serious killers,” JOS tried not to sound nervous. “I’m sure they’ll go to all the best section of the Pit. Set the timer on your datacard now.” JOS fiddled with his own as he continued, “We have about half a revolution, fifty-three circuits exactly. Once our timers hit thirty circuits we return, no matter where we are.”
“Yes, Valegbosh,” he mocked JOS sarcastically.
JOS gave him that stern look of disapproval he often received, “Are you ready to do this?”
“After you Fligar,” NaN meant it. Having any name was better than some anthropomorphic serial number. He caught the smile JOS tried to hide by taking the lead. Not that NaN wanted it anyway. This was JOS’s specialty, stalking clientele, moving noiselessly through hallways teeming with auditory sensors to alert customer’s at the Servitude Colony that they could be heard by the servants. As property of the Juxl Corporation, they were encouraged to learn the secrets of their customers, which the Corporation would gladly keep safe, for a fee.
‘A precautionary measure to ensure the safety, comfort, and privacy of our staff, patrons, and wonderful guests,’ the faceless monotonous feminine voice from the Colony still clear.
Another large group was within fifty units of the Seven Hound’s Bounty, still having a great time bogarding the directory. The two did their best to blend in by having a silent conversation, actually watching their prey, which only stood around making more noise than anyone in the vicinity. They seemed to stand there for revolutions.
Without warning the five Hounds shifted as a group into the central spiral, NaN and JOS stayed relaxed. JOS followed first, just before the last one slipped out of sight. Standing at the entrance was like his first leap across the void. NaN breathed out, taking the lead now, he was feeling powerful, and wanted to test his own abilities. The group wasn’t moving very quickly, making them easy to keep up with, but hard to watch. It’d be too simple to give themselves away if they rushed their stalk.
Halfway down, the entrance into the Pit proper revealed itself again. Imagining it in his mind distracted him from controlling the weight of his boots. It clacked a little too hard against the metallic flooring. NaN pushed his body into the bulkhead they were walking along. Everything was too quiet, NaN’s heart pounded in his throat.
“I smell dessert…” the slimy voice could be heard through the sound of adrenaline try to burst his heart through his sternum. One more check in with his data card, ‘Plenty of time,’ he thought. Twenty-four more circuits until that alarm would go off.
“Fligar,” NaN flashed a smile, nodding at JOS.
“Ragilf,” JOS nodded back in confirmation.
In one motion both of them lifted themselves from the wall, slinking into the vast crowd that made up the permanent residents of Notan’s Pit. Eyes and ears were on full alert, searching for their “guides”, and the Eleventh District.

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Author, Chapter Two, Mini Series, Novel, Science Fiction, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Two: Notan’s Pit | Episode Eight: Fligar & Ragilf

With this he could defend himself, if he managed to keep it, it would be paramount in establishing his name as Ragilf. NaN basked in his self-aggrandizement for a moment. First, he had to figure out a way to keep it better hidden, since it had already atomized his sleeve. He checked his data card for the time. More than a revolution and a half before the rest were back onboard. “If some aren’t back already,” he whispered in embarrassment to himself.

Now or never. He climbed out of the hatch, back into the engineering compartment where he looked for a couple of heat masks. JOS was probably in the fitness arena already done with his tasking, attempting to train. The thought made NaN smile. Then he imagined JOS’s reaction to the nanobrains.

Likely he’d defecate on the spot. NaN chuckled to himself rounding the corner towards the fitness arena, the imagery of his hardline friend, eyes bulging with shock, mouth moving speechlessly. As if gasping for air. Too amazing.

He’d almost forgotten the need to be paranoid when he heard the whisper of a door from the fitness arena opening further down. “You’ll never guess what happened!” NaN called out.

His heart sank.

“What exactly happened?” Voiyn’s deep voice made the feeling worse. NaN swore he saw Voiyn look at his arm before he could shift it out of view.

Quick to reach for something, “Vahl’s compartment is absolute filth. It was so foul I had to hold my breath the entire time,” he mimed, placing his right hand over his nose and mouth. In an attempt to draw the attention away from hand holding the masks, covered in nanobrains, poorly hidden behind his back.

“And the masks?”

‘Think, think…’, “They’re to help with JOS’s training, I figure he’s probably not going hard enough in there,” he served the lie on silver.

“You’ll be surprised. He’s training harder than I’ve ever seen. Maybe being so close to death from that Boi-zht gave him some fire,” Voiyn said with great knowing. “You both should go through the Pit. Show the other Packs that Voiyn’s Horde is unafraid. This time show your faces proudly. You have a revolution and a half to explore. Don’t get yourselves killed. This next hunt will be big. Worth close to half your debts. Don’t waste the opportunity being reckless.” NaN couldn’t help but stare into the poisonous yellow eyes that reflected the light in the semi-shadow he stood in.

Voiyn carried on nonchalantly towards his private compartment. NaN was drop-jawed, ‘He knew. That crafty lizard knew,’ he looked at the matte black coating his hand. His footing returned to him as he began reading into what Voiyn had said. His mind flicked through an infinity of scenarios. “Yartūss*…” he shrugged to himself continuing on. That had been the only permission he could have wanted. Hopefully JOS wasn’t too dead to make this soujorn into the wild.

“Incredible,” NaN gave JOS a clap after watching his friend leap knee height, drenched in sweat.

JOS shot him a fierce look, he wasn’t the first interloper, JOS wasn’t in the mood. “Are you going to to stand there and stare, or join?”

NaN flashed a toothy grin, “You’ll never believe what happened.”

JOS’s face switched from anger, to exasperation.

“Remember how you told me about nanobrains?”

JOS sunk his body in annoyance.

“Wait!” NaN stopped him from turning around by raising his blackened arm.

JOS stared for a moment, “If this is some trick you’re playing, I’ll kick you so hard you’ll vomit,” he snarled. Marching towards NaN, his footsteps echoing off the walls, sounding harder with every step towards him.

Before JOS covered even half of the distance between them, NaN opened his hand like before. The unit long spikes stopped JOS in his tracks.

There it was. That face, it was even better, JOS looked like he’d just had a bucket of water thrown on him. NaN wasn’t sure if his smile could get any wider.

“Is that real?” JOS was still processing everything.

“Quite,” NaN responded haughtily, wanting to sound impressive.

“How?” was all he could say. ‘Got ‘im,’ NaN thought.

“That’s not even the best part,” he relaxed his fingers causing the spikes to recede, ‘I’ll have to remember that.’ “We have just receive notice of our allowance off this box, to go explore this Pit.”

“This is getting ludicrous. You’re telling me you have a nanobrain weapon,” JOS pointed at the matte black hand, “and somehow you secure us leave off the ship.”

“Something like that,” he waved towards the sanitation compartment, the nanobrains for med into talons. “Awesome,” NaN examined his hand. “Let’s go get back in our omni-suits, Valegbosh’s request.”

Donning their omni-suits, NaN exlained Voiyn’s offer, then he told JOS what he’d learnt going through each compartment. NaN finished up his magtags, deciding on a pair of black machining gloves instead of the matching pair. One puncture anywhere on his omni-suit would be a disaster to repair. ‘It’s better not to risk it,’ NaN reasoned with himself.

“How have you planned to tell Essec about the microscopic artificial intelligence attached to your arm?” JOS asked with those eyes that made him feel like a target. NaN hadn’t actually given it as much though as he probably should.

“By giving it back… if I can,” NaN hoped the joke would misdirect.

Nonplussed JOS responded,”That’s clever, I bet you have a voidsealed plan for getting off the ship without any permission. And at the same time, though unintentional, you stole someone elses belongings.”

NaN took the criticism for what it was, JOS knew he needed to hear it. As much as being wild was fun, the level of trouble for a single mistake beyond the protection of Voiyn’s Horde was too great.

“You can get what you want without asking sometimes too. Opportunities are everywhere it’s important to take advantage of them when you can. Which means you have to take risks.” NaN was all snark. He held his hand in the thumb and finger chevron sign of sarcasm.

“Since we’ve got our permission, let’s go out. Better learn something about this place if it’ll be our docking home for the foreseeable future,” JOS deadpanned.

“One of these rotation’s you’ll stop doing everything so stressfully,” Nan sighed. “You’re right though, let’s go learn about this filthy mess.”

Both exchanged a look of excitement.

“Ragilf.” JOS said.

“Fligar.” NaN responded, together turned in sync proceeding towards the hangar exit.

NaN remember, turning to JOS said, “Oh yeah, Voiyn said, don’t get us killed”

JOS punched him in the shoulder, sending him into the bulkhead.

There was a tense, silent moment between them. Then, JOS laughed. NaN joined, they laughed together until they couldn’t stand.

Finally able to catch their breath, they stood up, brushed themselves off, and went off into the plums of yellow, questionably nontoxic, gas.

* Yartūss – slang. Used when performing an undesirable task, (ex. “Oh well…”, “Git ‘r done…”, “Yartūss…”)

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Author, Chapter Two, Mini Series, Novel, Science Fiction, Writing

Act One | Chapter Two: Notan’s Pit | Episode Six: Collection & Comfort

“Beings have died for less than assaulting a packmate,” Essec reminded his potential victim.

“You’re the one to do it?” garbled ML.

“Twitch wrong,” Essec invited, still as carved stone.

The moment between them hung in time, JOS tried to search for some kind of improvised weapon. There were too many careful, watching, eyes, and talented hands in their own methods of death to do anything. Not that he could really be of any help, but Essec was protecting him. there was an obligation for him to do something. From everywhere around him came the intense feeling of being in focus, having all attention directed at him.

Uneasy JOS stayed frozen in place, feeling the erratic palpitations in his neck and teeth.

“Nothings like you. Not worth the damage you could cause.” The way the sound of its footsteps moving away, into the crowd, put JOS a little at ease.

“Ræpk*. Te tu nao xilach,” Essec called after the being. JOS tried to remember what all the words meant in Notanish, he could only remember that it was a very insulting farewell. Usually reserved for the Double Dosca.

Reading the situation he turned back to face Voiyn. Less than an arms-length away from the Vale Hound, senses on full alert.

Muffled gurgling suddenly in his ear piece caused him to whip his head around. What he faced was a creature drowning in its own neon blue blood. Essec stood behind the thing, one hand restraining the fowl, ruddy, gelatinous head. Infinite tiny serrated teeth were exposed, pulsing with each attempt at breath. The other of Essec’s hands performed the killing stroke deep into the spot where JOS’s trachea would’ve been.

“That confirms it,” Essec said to himself.

No one asked what he meant. The Hounds would listen when he decided they required an explanation.

“Sorry you and your new friend couldn’t hangout longer,” NaN tried really hard. OhkBD laughed weakly.

JOS couldn’t respond, he was still trapped in fear of the blade in the creatures extremity, now dangling lifelessly at its side. He received a hard look from Essec, “Let’s move, we don’t need to give his friends any time to find him like this.”

Right, back to Valevyinellin. JOS felt like tearing himself to pieces over the whole thing. There was nothing he could’ve done. He wasn’t fast enough, well enough armed, experienced enough. Who was he kidding, he’d failed his confidence most. Something not unfamiliar to him, JOS would force Essec to teach him anything that he could convince the Haw-Kow to teach. Not a single doubt, a strategy began to form . Everything it would take for him to grow. That never again would he recognize being this self.

It’s what generated him so much favor in the Servitude Colony. Instead of shrinking like others, JOS spent valuable time picking up new skills, learning more effective methods. He remembered the approach of his fifteenth cycle, how angry been to still be so deep in.

Reality checked back. Giving JOS the ideal team, along with the closest person he’s ever known, his hard work had payed off.

Nerves subsided he set his mind back in the moment. Returning to Valevyinellin as one piece.

———————————————————————————————–

Back aboard, Vahl couldn’t resist, “I just lost ten thousand because you didn’t get skewered.”

“Thank by the by,” OhkBD offered JOS and NaN a hand to shake, a third placed in front of Vahl expectantly.

NaN grabbed the hand and shook exuberantly, JOS grabbed it reluctantly. Vahl batted it away, “Like lᴂr I’m paying up right now. You know you only get paid if they make it five cycles. If you die before that, then the money is mine.”

“5 cycles?”, Nan feigned bewilderment, “Can you both even make it that long at your advanced age?”

The hangar echoed with raucous laughter. The tension of the moment before non existent.

“Prepare for the gathering,” Voiyn’s command redirecting their focus.

“How do we prepare?” NaN asked. Eager to do anything to get JOS back on good terms quick. At least pretend that’s what he wanted to do. JOS hesitated back there. While he felt bad, he knew JOS well enough. He’d have to follow whatever new path his friend chose, guaranteed he would learn a bunch of crazy new things. Just thinking about it got NaN excited.

“Stay. Put.” Three voices chorused, Voiyn stood there. The look said everything, crafty lizard, ‘No one will be coming to save you.’ Or at least that’s what NaN wanted to interpret it as.

“You two are restricted on board with me.” Voiyn gave the final verdict.

He’d been planning this for too long, of course they wouldn’t be able to stay in their new omni suits. They’d have to get into their normal work gear anyway. “Yes Valegbosh!”, JOS saluted.

“Yes Valegbosh!” NaN followed as earnestly as he could, not wanting to appear to be scheming. JOS knew all about his intelligent personality. He just preferred if everyone thought he was simple, less pressure to do the right thing. Which right now, in his mind, was making sure JOS was happy. A bit of mischief is exactly what NaN had in mind.

“Have we been paid BD?”, Voiyn asked.

Spindly fingers furiously weaved complex motions in the nearby Brain access. “Looks like it,” OhkBD confirmed.

“Divide the earnings appropriately. You have three revolutions*. Be back for the final attendance. Go! Enjoy yourselves, it’s been a while. I will be negotiating with the Seven Hound’s Bounty. During our e.r. meeting we will discuss the perimeters of our next hunt,” Voiyn finished debriefing them. “Adjourned.”

The crew departed until it was only the two of them left. “What happened?”, he asked JOS.

“Nothing really, I just bumped shoulders with that thing,” JOS admitted.

NaN cackled, “That nasty thing really wanted you dead for it too.” He couldn’t help it, something about JOS always invited that kind of trouble. It’s why NaN could stand to be around such a rule-follower for so long.

“I’ll get Essec to teach me so it never happens a second time,” JOS was vim and verve.

“Sounds like fun,” NaN punched JOS in the shoulder. “It’ll be just like at the colony, except we won’t be guessing.” JOS shot an ‘are-you-kidding-me-you’re-going-to-do-this-too’ look. NaN winked back, “What are we going to do while the Double Dosca and Essec are out?”

“Probably complete the rest of our responsibilities. Then I was thinking about starting some physical training.” Already JOS was aiming to better himself. More reason for NaN to get his friends mind off the subject.

This is what always happened. JOS gets reprimanded, destroying his confidence. Then he tears himself down to atoms doing these “routines” all for the sake of some little mistake. NaN made it his duty as a friend to make sure his pralo had fun too.

“Work first,” he agreed. “I’ve got an idea for some training after,” Nan hid his dastardly grin.

 

 

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Act One | Chapter Two: Notan’s Pit | Episode Five: Welcome Return

Docking procedures confirmed, Valevyinellin was set to take its place in the mudball known as Notan’s Pit. For Voiyn’s Hounds, the closest thing to a terrestrial home. JOS’s prisoner, Rooioe Çör, remained fully restrained, especially his oral cavity. Uncovered, it was impossible to resist the urge to break one of his jaw hinges. Prattling on about how connected he is in the Corporations. He was the third catch he’d seen making such lofty claims. It’d probably be the third time no there would be no reaction against Voiyn.

“You’re going to help pay for these,” JOS jibed. Pulling on the collar of his omni-suit.

“Not a bad chunk either.” NaN leapt on the prostrated body, poking hard into it’s chest. “You’re lucky it was him,” pointing at JOS, “not me.” NaN winked, jabbing again, ego swollen.

The pedal exit door hissed open, the rest of the Hounds stood around anxious to exit the ship, no matter how briefly. “ You two better have all the credentials prepared on this one. We want it quick, we’d like to enjoy ourselves as long as possible.” Vahl’s voice impetuous, and alpha.

“Don’t worry about what we’re doing. We haven’t made a mistake to date.” NaN beat his chest right back.

“Call on me after you do, then we’ll talk.” Vahl threw up an obscene gesture, “Pull your weight first, you’ve got a long way until you’ll touch black.” OhkBD put the final word on it, “You’ll be near our age before you can even dream of erasing your debt at this rate.” The Double Dorsca crossed forelimbs.

JOS couldn’t help but repeat the image of OhkBD saying “..at this rate..” scanning him with those spindly fingers. He made a face thinking about it again. ‘One of these days you’ll change your opinion, we’re doing better at this than you ever did.’ JOS started building back his confidence.

“Get ready grubs, stay close. Bad things happen to things with soft flesh in in Notan’s Pit.” Vahl, malicious as possible.

Essec reassured them with a touch. “Anything reaches for you and they lose a limb.”

“Why you got to coddle the little ovellies*,” Vahl pushed.

“Do you remember how it is to be fresh out of the colony? Have your fun, they need to learn. But they’ll know they’re protected from things outside they aren’t prepared for,” Essec’s voice remained cold, and direct. Vahl didn’t make another sound as the crew exited Valevyinellin together.

JOS and NaN were advised to keep their helmets on to withhold their species, and more importantly their age from the waiting predators. Together they carried their catch one arm holding the magtray. A nasty smoke plumed in sheets of red and brownish yellow as Voiyn’s Hounds left the ship.

Vulgar gambling and excess occurred on the outside of his vision. He didn’t remove his eyes from the grime encrusted catacomb, and Voiyn’s back. “Voiyn’s got vekhæ*.” A faceless voice called out from some random corner, causing a lump to form in his throat. JOS did his best to avoid tensing up as the cavernous pathways erupted with vile calls, and a flurry of flying objects.

Maintaining his poise was key, not to be intimidated. His helmet took a blow from something orange and slimy, obscuring the left part of his vision. There were red chunks of something biological in the ooze. Hopefully this would be a once through experience. With a reputation, respect would be given freely, rather than tolerate this.

The rest of his confidence stemmed from the three at his back, and it was he who made pulled the lever. Remembering the takedown set his shoulders back, confident and bold. He followed right. Into the teeming marketplace, a motionless glace around showed beings of all types. Trading, and engaging in what would certainly be considered “illegal” in front of a corporate official. Concerns like those were best left elsewhere. One wrong look could see him with a slug punched through his cranium.

As they moved further into Notan’s Pit the jeering crowds died with the lack of a reaction. NaN, and he had held firm. The Hounds continued their march to The Grand Lair, Notan’s private entertainment compartment. As Voiyn described it on the way in, “The richest hub in the Pit. Listening is how we stay ahead.” His ears would stay hyper vigilant, even if he had no idea what was being said. JOS would do his best to latch onto anything he could grasp.

At the end of the market would be a descending helix, leading to insect maze that made up the asteroid-made livable. Reaching the bottom, the six plus one were lead into a vaulted domed space, filled with immaculate scenes of debauchery at its most refined. On grand display in the center of the room, on decorated platforms; a female of some beautiful lethal species, and a male strong, and powerful looking. Both in chains, linked to a torture mechanism meant to keep their bodies suspended. All gold.

Very off putting against the shifting colors in the semi-translucent floors and ceiling.

She was being decorated. Pierced with lavish jewels, skin marked with knife and ink, all in a seductive display for the sinister creature atop the throne with a perfect view of the bizarre spectacle. Across from her the male was being encased in some precious alloy, a slow process so that the metal would bond to the exoskeleton without damaging its internal organs. JOS had heard about ancient practices like this, they sealed the body to have the energy protect them for eternity.

It was so unbelievably quiet. The realization of the sound proofing somehow made it much more twisted.

“Ah! Welcome Voiyn!” The creature JOS could only guess was Notan, rose taking small devices out from around his neck. Overfed, what used to be muscle was now oozing flesh between plates of natural calcium on his front and back. Loud and over dramatic, his gesture caused his blubber to jiggle. “I see you’ve go my coñnä*. You’re so quick, I’ve got a lot of trust for you.” JOS repressed the sick feeling, watching the crusted fold jump and crack apart as Notan stroked his leader’s ego. Or, the constant hanging yellow drip from the corner of his mouth.

“After all this time doing work for me. I think you deserve a better opportunity. Something one pack could never do alone, a very big hunt.” Notan stood nearly as tall as Voiyn, but danced around him like some small excited thing. “Direct from the corp head hunters, right off the top of the list. 719,000,000orn.” Notan exposed his thick, herbivorous disgusting teeth in a snarl as he stepped up onto the platform, dripping the molten element down his slaves front. Drinking in the silent scream.

Never moved in either direction, Voiyn replied,”Sounds worth hearing about. Though I don’t think my two newest are ready, yet. Since they made their first catch, I can’t tell them no if they want in.” Voiyn paused, looking over NaN, and him. “I am sure you have another pack in mind for us. Before that I would like to ensure our payment.” Voiyn maintained his posture.

Notan’s thick, encrusted finger motioned across the pavilion to a half-moon shaped ethylalch* station and lounge. Seating five shadowy figures. JOS followed the stub across each of the unique faces, all races unknown to him. Every one of them equally dangerous.

“Seven Hands.” Vahl mouthed quietly behind them.

“If we must. The price is too large to pass.” Voiyn responded.

“Good,” Notan purred,”you’ve always been my number one, because you understand so well how my business operates.” Pure, disgusting, honey.

“Have your technicians relay the appropriate link to us on the V-alg Comm.” Voiyn ended the conversation, moving towards the exit. “Don’t forget to include a new magtray in my earnings. You’ll thank me.”

JOS stayed in step, feeding of the confidence exuding from the being before him. Returning up the dank passageways, to the Valevyinellin. He couldn’t help but think how amazing the Vocal-Algorithmic Communication system is. Instantly translating communications into Mean Language, being the commonality between all languages know to the V-algComm’s database.

Distracted by his thoughts, his shoulder met with a passerby’s. “Gxbo fule pukoda siōp.” JOS barely blinked, and Essec was there, between him and the other. All he could really see were the wall stained rags around the creatures shoulders, Essec’s back took up the rest of his view. His eyes couldn’t help but focus on the hand ready on the thin blade behind Essec’s back.

Ovellies – babies, younglings

vekhæ – cabin boys, whipping boys

coñnä – forced submissive partner

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Act One | Chapter One: A Pack With a Mission | Episode Four: The Hunt

JOS watched the heavens become swallowed by the opening above as the eased into the ships depths.
“Activate tracking, and set friendlies.” Voiyn growled.
“How?”, JOS couldn’t figure it out.
“Fix your pupils to the target icon in the upper right.”
He’d hardly noticed the images in his peripherals. JOS focused on the dot inside of a circle.
Non-Combatants Target
Looking into the blackness the brain continued.
Team Target
A quick shift of his faceplate towards Voiyn, the computer generated outline lagged to keep up with the subtly of his vision.
Hold
Selected
More?
Turning to NaN made his magboots click audibly. Both targets set, he peered back into the darkness.
No Target Selected
Continue?
“Yes.”
Tracking Activated
Select New Target
The text blinked, shifting into the upper left field of his vision. Aware of the menu icons, JOS took a moment to gain some familiarity with them: Screen Customization, ‘After the mission.’, Vision Modification, Audio Modification, and Target Tracking. He Opened the Vision mod menu first: Standard, Infrared, and UltraViolet. JOS activated the Infrared.
Everything went black, except the onscreen images. He stared hoping to watch the screen change, to his chagrin he blinked. Activating the Infrared imagery. JOS gaped as he viewed the elaborately etched tunnel the descended into. Beautiful and terrifying images of titan-like creatures, of a more alien origin than the craft they were searching. Locked in combat, consumed by flames.
The lift ceased. Before them a tall door, the etching of two opposing giants seeming to keep the door locked by way of their contest of strength.
“NaN, are you seeing this?”
“See what? Black.” NaN’s voice dripping in sarcasm,”There’s lots, and lots of black.”
“Why are you so slow?” JOS asked no one,”Go to the Vision Mod menu and turn on IR.”
All three stood in silence while NaN adjusted his sight.
“Woah…”
JOS watched NaN as he surveyed above. Remembering their purpose JOS was surprised by Voiyn’s patience.
Voiyn slipped the device from his shoulder again, placing it up against the only smooth space along the side of the door. Roughly the same size as the device. The same glow appeared, only now the figures in the door seemed to ball up their hands. Rapping the same sequence, the two appeared to pull the door apart.
Beyond the entrance lay a vast empty space. A pile of wreckage discarded in the corner. Some other Pack had picked the ship clean of any and all technologies. It was a near guarantee the only thing of value was the living being within these walls, and the vessel he used to get here.
JOS wondered how one could escape a Pack. Voiyn’s Hounds would’ve give chase to the ends of The Vale if NaN, or he attempted the same.
“Spread out. Stay equadistant on my flanks. Weapons ready, look for any heat he’s left behind.”
Simultaneous clicks as all three detached their weapons. JOS looked to see the stun stick in Voiyn’s massive grip, a heavy 17(weight). Too bad for anything on the receiving end. He ventured out to the left, the enormous cavity opening into a circular hemisphere, eventually leveling of into a straight line. Making sure his position was in line with the other two.
Nothing to see but the ornamental imagery surrounding them. He passed through the black limit of his IR mod scanning everything dutifully, “Nothing to see on the left.” JOS announced.
“Same here.” NaN checked in.
They continued in silence, JOS examined the walls looking for any mechanism to open, glow of any kind, and trying to take some sort of knowledge of this lost race. Definitely fascinated, and dedicated to war, many of the images of clashing dichotomies; vessels, infantry, creatures in single combat. Once he could afford his own, he’d have to get an ImageryCollector.
UltraViolet might reveal something different about the artwork, he surmised. JOS flicked his eyes to the vismod. Blinking, again set the new modification, the light was brilliant and deep blue and black, certainly bringing out an incredible new quality to the art. Revealing motion in the application of the UV reactive substance.
“I’ve got a faint lock on his ship mixed in with the trash, and a trail of just glowing blood going back into the ship.” NaN called, forcing JOS to drag himself to the opposite side of the hangar, he switched the mod back to IR. His breathing felt sharp as he tracked the five hundred units, while trying unsuccessfully to make no noise.
Joining the other two, Voiyn gave JOS a hand sign to maintain silence. He tiptoed the last few steps behind NaN to the right of the entryway. Voiyn opposite, ready to watch their rear, he used the device, JOS notice the just barely glowing pool at the foot of the door. Voiyn manipulated the panel, causing the door to groan open. JOS scrunched his face as they lost their surprise. The moment the door was wide enough, NaN slipped in, JOS stayed right on his heels covering the left.
Every step on time with their heartbeat. Focused and calm. Corridor width, seven units. Height, five units. No heat signatures yet, “See any doors?” After a hundred units, JOS had to ask.
“I’m looking at the same things pralo. Are we missing anything boss?” NaN replied.
“You are performing excellently. Continue forward.” The reptile commanded soothingly.
A deep breath, JOS returned his focus to the long corridor ahead.
“Get that?” A new trail of blood.
“Yep.”
Adrenaline kicked in, JOS could feel himself running. His mind still, focused, body reacting instantaneous. Every moment dedicated to seeing a limb, or some other recognizable shape giving him the signal to squeeze the lever sending the being into a severe electro-paralysis.
Two-hundred units down.
Three hundred.
The drops of blood became more frequent, glowing brighter, they continued along in the grey blackness of the corridor.
Twenty more units and the blood veered off behind a bulkhead. A fresh smear on the compartment control. NaN palmed the panel, opening the door. As one they entered the room. A concert of movement, practiced as young boys while they were supposed to sleep. Just like the games back then, only real.
JOS caught a couple of empty hand prints, bi digit, multi-limbed. His pace increased, feeling how close he was to bearing down on his first. Blood, rushing intently. All nerves screaming for the moment, his vision lit up white with what looked like a limb.
Sure of his sight, his suit confirmed the life signs, and range.
<span A million lights buzzed in a chaotic sphere of light. Temporarily overloading the IR cameras. Once the lights dimmed, JOS took off to pin down the catch. Three limbs out of each shoulder joint, a thin creature. He placed his magboot on the thing’s middle while NaN and Voiyn set to restraining all those arms.
“The went perfectly. Well done, both of you. You didn’t give him an opportunity to counter you. You both are definitely riding on the next lethal hunt. Very smooth.” Voiyn complimented, “We need to get him back to Valevyinellin. Electro-paralysis after a grievous injury can cause vital systems to shut down in some species. Not worth a whole lot but experience if he’s dead.” Voiyn gave his congratulations.
Getting the creatures body back to K8 would be simple enough. Jumping back to the K8 would be the only place they needed luck. Voiyn made it clear that he would handle the task. “You pups need to learn to orient yourself in space still. This thing’s not even heavy.” As he reactivated the lift, sending the giants back to combat.
“Can you show me how to operate that?” JOS pointed at the device Voiyn had been using to unlock the ship with.
“The Ancient’s Key.”Voiyn mused,”One rotation. You will probably have your own.” Soundlessly they rose back up into the brilliance of the Vale.
JOS took the response as yes. Somehow it seemed Voiyn was saying more than that. Surely if there was other meaning, it would reveal itself in time. The K8-Blackstar looked intimidating hovering so close. Imagining being the focus of the death machine sent a chill. The lift reached the top, automatically sealing the handmade ship. ‘I still can’t believe we just pulled that off so well.’ JOS still high on his endorphins, shocked in mental disbelief.
“You’re going to have to use me as your outboard hand holds.” Voiyn motioned the two over, positioning himself for their benefit.
NaN went first this time, JOS stay right behind him, he swore he heard the distinct sound of the stun stick going off, or maybe it was Voiyn leaping off after them.

Comeback next week for the start of Chapter Two, come to Notan’s Pit your new home from home maybe?

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Act One | Chapter One: A Pack With a Mission | Episode Three: Breaking-in

K8 successfully traversed the contraction. JOS looked out of the viewport to see the hulking, angular remains of an Ancient’s ship. The biggest he’d seen this intact. Voiyn went into a flurry of action, stopped, turned to face the compartment. “K8 has an amazing sensorial array. First, infrared.”, he instructed.

Poomph!

The ship rocked on invisible threads in the sea of nothing, as the IR drones launched from it’s belly. Ten shells in all, each containing five probes. Have a unit in size, and as black as the void, it was impossible for JOS to follow as they worked.

“No external heat, loiñl*must be defending inside. Don’t die little monkie…” Voiyn silenced the tiny OhkBD with a jab from his talon. In the immediate silence after, the whole crew could hear the strain on the synth-metal plate. Seriousness returned, somehow JOS didn’t feel as tense anymore, like the atmosphere had thinned.

“Then we use Boomers.”

Two thumps, each an audio emitter and receiver. By pumping out ultra low frequency to ultra high frequency waves throughout the ship. Creating a three-dimensional model of the entire structure, excluding air tight compartments. Data streamed into K8’s brain, and began to form into a map from the holoprojector. JOS watched the map draw itself in greater and greater detail. Finished it was like nothing he’d ever seen.

Elaborate corridors in circular designs, weaving throughout the ship in complex, even overlapping, what he could only assume, corridors. Much of this floating rock remained internally intact, a nearly functional structure.

Voiyn unstrapped, standing from the pilots seat. Walking up to the projection, examining it carefully. The crew stood, following Voiyn’s lead, JOS tried to understand the design before thinking about looking for something out of place.

What do you see?” Voiyn’ too close voice startled JOS.

Circles. Paths. A ship. His mind tumbled, he took a breath, gathering his thoughts in the process, “I see a very complex design, like a catacomb intended to house life. Determining what’s in these sealed compartments will give us a better idea.” JOS completed the idea.

“Good. This time we don’t though. Throughout the Vale, there are a decent amount of these. Zepzhyr, half-alive. Two have been converted into Pits.” Voiyn lectured, “These seven compartments,” His touch leaving red chevrons along one side of the vessel, “are our secondaries. Getting to these can prove difficult. He’s probably in the main hangar.” Voiyn tapped the huge hollow spot on what he assumed was rear.

“How will we get in?” NaN asked with a little too much confidence.

“We have a few choices. Best to enter through the manual hatch from outside.” Focusing his talons to a point, he touched the external portion of the projection. Expanding his fingers, magnified the image. He then spun it a quarter-turn, revealing a flat panel JOS assumed was the entry point.

“The hunt start’s here.” Voiyn assured them, “Go below, and prepare. I’ll meet you in the depress. Essec, con. Vahl, guns. Disable only. You two,” Voiyn motioned to JOS and NaN, “grab a 5-dij* immobilizer. There should be two Twister-AP6’s for you.”

Neither cared if there were more instructions or not, bolting to the common compartment in the first curve of the ship. Then slid down to cryoprison/armory. Amongst the various immobilizers were two shoulder stabilized, hip shot weapons. Bulky and strange. Cylindrical cartridges were lined next to the weapons.

Both reached for their own, first the Twister which attached to the magtag along their spines, followed by their ammunition, securing the cartridges to their belts.

“Pralo, this is real.” JOS almost yelled.

“I know!” NaN barely restraining himself.

“If you die… so will I, to kill you a second time.”

“You first.”

Both roared, any nerves had been lost.

“Ready?”

“Ready.”

JOS, and NaN pulled their matching helmets from the nearby rack. Sliding them on the suits gave a temporary glow, as it sealed itself. JOS watched the suits computer analyze his body composition, physical diagnostics, and personal biometrics.

SYNC? The suit asked

“Yes, now.” JOS demanded, it felt nice.

Lines of code scrolled past his eyes.

SIGN?

“Fligar*.”

“Ragilf*.” Came from NaN. Using the call-signs they’d created cycles ago, just for such a moment. Their secret identifier, so they’d always be aware of the other, even if they were enemies.

Excitement bubbling, the two went to exchange glances. Frozen by the shock of their appearances. Both stared into the reflection of themselves off the mirrored surface of the angular face shield.

“Pralo…”

“I know…”

JOS let out some air.

“Let’s get ‘im.” NaN slapped JOS on the back of the head.

A final embrace, the two ascended to the common compartment, cocksure. No words along the way. Waiting for them in the depress, Voiyn stood fully regalia. Rather than the basic oblong helmet, Voiyn’s elaborate headpiece was as or more foreboding then the being himself.

Sharp, black horns protruding out of the back. Golden, grotesque teeth formed a sinister smile across the face. JOS had to force through the momentary lurch of fear it cased.

“How d’you activate the external audio.” NaN’s amplified voice causing enough feedback to double over JOS, and Voiyn. As JOS reoriented himself, he saw NaN fly into the back of the compartment from the great reptile’s slap. “No outgoing coms for you.” Voiyn snarled, JOS suppressed a laugh. Continuing, “The control mechanisms are opposite your aural cavities. Left, “ he demonstrated on NaN,”outgoing. Right, external receiving.”

JOS inserted his index into the device, and audible click was followed by a ringing. Clearing up, he could hear the hollowness of the space, as NaN picked himself off the wall.

“You three done? I’ve been ready to drop you for six circuits now.” Vahl sounded agitated.

“Depressurize.” Voiyn not losing control for a sphere.

“Depressurizing now.”

JOS’s nerves made his body feel like an automatron. Aware of his actions, and consciously deciding them. Only, his body performed the in-between. Coupled with the depress, every part of him felt foreign.

“Compartment depressurized.”

“Open up K8. JOS, NaN, stay close. Emergency situations are the only reason you should leave my side.”

“Valegbosh.” Chorused the youth.

Opposite the entrance, a portion of the bulkhead silently slid into itself revealing the external plate shielding. A hiss as the shielding detached and swung into the void. The behemoth sat before them. JOS had never seen an object so large. It’s entirety had to be close the size of the whole Servitude Colony, he couldn’t even see the ends.

“Jump. Magboots first. Directly onto that smooth octagon. On my lead.” Voiyn gave them a parting flick of his digit. Effortlessly, Voiyn took the outboard handholds, JOS followed, NaN came out, positioning himself like his comrades. “Watch closely.” Voiyn lifted his body perpendicular to the ship. Aiming with his feet, he pushed with his arms. Nice and gentle, Voiyn glided across the hundred unit gap. Imitating, JOS pointed his feet, one last check before he leaped. NaN looked good to go.

JOS inhaled deep, pulling himself to K8. Watching the point where his heels met, he exhaled and pushed. Sensationless motion caused his mind to race as he watched himself fly straight for Voiyn, already landed and waiting.

Closer, and closer, until he heard the definitive click from his magboots attaching to the surface. Looking up, NaN had another ten units before touching down. Relieved, JOS threw out some encouragement, “You look as graceful as a pxois* dancer.”

Unable to receive a response, JOS imagined NaN’s contorting features trying not to laugh. JOS barely contained his own.

“NaN, outgoing coms on.” Voiyn commanded. “Hereforth, your life is threatened, focus yourselves accordingly. Anything trapped in a corner is likely to fight o the death to live.”

“Valegbosh.” the crew responded.

JOS watched intent to learn. Voiyn unslung a rectangular device from his shoulder, placed it against the far edge of the panel on which they stood. “Step back.”

JOS and NaN moved back to the outside edge of the octagon. Placing a hand on the device,Voiyn became basked in the fluorescent blue glow emitting from his hand’s outline.

The center of the ‘access hatch’ fell into itself. “On, quick.” growled Voiyn. Both maneuvered awkwardly onto the platform. Voiyn fingered the device in an apparently random series. JOS’S eyes were fixed on the dazzling light. “Let’s make these easy orn.” Voiyn disconnected the box, and slung it back up on his shoulder as the platform descended into the heart of the floating giant.

Loiñl – an insult something like scared baby.

Pxois – an dancing entertainer whom has no skill or ability.

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Act One | Chapter One: A Pack With a Mission | Episode Two: Target Locked

“Your debt has been increased by 9,107 orn*.” Immediately followed the greatest news in his life. Before JOS had an opportunity to protest. Voiyn continued, “Acquiring them took time. Your omni-suits have taken time to earn. To date your earnings sum 9,107 orn. Now that you have them. Earn your place in my Horde.” Voiyn looked deep into JOS with those eyes. Releasing him, JOS felt relieved when his gaze focused on NaN.

The cool chill of excitement went down his spine when Voiyn stood his full 2.7 Units. His taloned gauntlet motioned for Essec to stand.

“This is as close to a ceremony you’ll get, we don’t really do fancy.” The smoothness of Essec’s fluid articulation put them both at ease. Even as he reached for the matte black cubes stacked in the corner of the compartment, every action minimal, sliding them across the metal flooring with is foot. A black Unit-Cube* at each of NaN, and JOS’s feet.

No longer would they be stuck being hangers-on aboard the ship, cleaning while the team did the important work. The fact OhkBD stayed onboard, felt more like a punishment, “Open them.” Essec instructed further.

JOS stared. At a loss for words. His first new thing, ever. And of all things an omni-suit!

Excitement overpowered reverence as JOS’s fingers eagerly undid the synth-metal* locks. Somehow his hands were moving on their own, lifting the lid. Inside, a really folded omni-suit, azure with white accents on the joints. Off to the corner a matching helmet, the vyinellin’s wings wrapped the crown, lined with white on an equally azure background.

“Wake me up, before I believe this is real.” NaN broke his focus. “You wouldn’t wake up if we tried anyway.” JOS quipped.

NaN glared for a sphere, suddenly his attention shifting down, “Pralo*, we’ve got matching suits.”

“We are ‘brothers.’”, JOS performed the two finger sign of a joke, the whole room snickered.

“If you’re going to copulate, please do so elsewhere.” OhkBD was probably going to focus on that the rest of the rotation. JOS rolled his eyes at the thought. Not even OhkBD’s dung flinging attitude could ruin the mood.

“Prepare yourselves now.” Voiyn commanded, scanning the rest of the circle, he ended the e.r.* council, “Adjourned.”

The black body slip felt tight and comfortable. JOS wiggled his toes feeling the silky material between them. “Who’s fantasizing now?” He shot NaN a look. “I can believe it, I didn’t think they’d ever let us off this thing except pick up garbage until we paid ’em back.”

“When he said our debt increased… I nearly blacked out.”

“Voiyn’s got a sense for funny pralo.” NaN smirked.

“I’m really starting to believe you about that.” JOS laughed to himself, thinking how the great reptiles timing was perfect. Totally aware of how intimidating he is, using it to create humor.

He’d left the omni-suit folded on top of its cube. Bending down to pick it up was like opening the case. The rough looking material felt strangely smooth as he admired the design and placement of white throughout. JOS slipped his limbs through the opening feet first. Then filling the gloves to the finger tips, the suit still seemed big.

Confused, but unrelenting JOS did up his mag tags. Attaching the final mag tag the suit shrunk. “Look!” NaN looked just as he finished his own, “What?!” Nan exclaimed incredulously.

Both suits fit to their bodies. JOS watching in amazement as the nanotech sealed the suit to the elements, it was beautiful. Matrices of light, twisting and twirling, making the suit its own self contained environment once the helmet was attached. Resisting the urge, JOS slid his feet back in his magboots.

“What a chance! Imagine if all those quovora* could see us.” JOS said, half to NaN, half to his reflection in the helmet.

“What if bÆW were here.” NaN laughed. JOS snickered instantly, imagining the poor boy who was terrified of everything. A giggle slipped out despite the empathy he felt for poor youngling still probably stuck in the Juxl Colony.

Dressed and ready, the two clasped hands grinning ecstatically, picking up their helmets and proceeding below to the hanger deck.

Like when they first arrived, JOS was unable to keep his eyes off the K8-Blackstar. The strange curve that made-up it’s crewspace and cockpit. The strange “personnel hold” that jut straight out into a beveled point matching the one under the cockpit. Lit well by the hanger lights, the K8 managed a bluish black shine, with accents of orange on the outboard equipment. Once in the void only sensors could see it, if they were strong enough.

OhkBD demonstrated how powerful the sensors needed to be to see it. The average ship might catch it if physically close enough, the K8 would destroy anything within the kind of range required. She was an invisible murderess in the dark. JOS was on edge from the excitement, as NaN and he approached the boarding lift.

“The order taken from Notan’s Pit is a Capture-Only hunt.” Voiyn began the prehunt assignments. “All experienced hunters will take support. You two, with me. Should you perform well, and follow instructions. One of you may get to take him yourself.” JOS was paralyzed, caught up in the thrill, his eyes locked into the amber slits of of Voiyn’s.

“Our target,” Voiyn spoke directly to NaN and him, “is a detprize*, caught trying to escape from the crew he was bought by. We’ll get the most orn for the least damage to it. Our chase may seem easy. Don’t underestimate anything fighting for its life.

“We are!” Voiyn started.

“VOIYN’S HOUNDS!” ,the crew finished, even the miniature onscreen OhkBD on the operator console.

“OhkBD, set our navigation to the last know location.” Voiyn ran the pack.

“Yahdah*, co-ords set, transferring with overlaps of most likely locations the little gærg is sneaking about.”, the lanky creature’s cackle sounded choked by the systems audio.

The sector began to draw itself in the center of the K8’s crew compartment as the data was organized. Their target’s estimated location appeared in a translucent gold sphere. K8’s a red sphere, everything else in blue. “We’ll jump here,” Voiyn’s golden, claw tipped finger pointed,”below, away from our standard orientation. Should he run. We push him into Essec and Vahl. He’s piloting a single man transport with basic defenses. If he is scared, you two disable his ship. No one get hurt for this one.” JOS heard a strange note in Voiyn’s voice. Was it, care? JOS refocused.

“Let’s go get your first.” Voiyn clapped both boys shoulders hard on way to the operator’s seat. Essec and Vahl were already in their jump seats facing center, along the bulkhead. Understanding the procedure JOS, and NaN took their seats as well.

Engines whined in a tinnitus ring as they strained to get K8 off the ground. JOS was beside himself feeling the positive g’s pushing on his body, as they exited Valevyinellin’s body. Essec winked reassuringly with his amphibious, hazel-grey eyes.

Far enough from the ship, K8 contracted. Gravity pulled from in front of, expanding the space behind it. K8 pulled itself across the “shortened” space from their current point, just outside the target’s sensor range.

*orn – currency throughout the Vale.

*synth-metal – an atomically configured carbon molecule mass, can be shaped into practically any shape, and any hardness science can allow.

*Unit-Cube – literally 1 Unit Cubed, standard size for storage containers.

*e.r. – early rotation the first 1000 Circuits of a rotation.

*quovora – those who are easily forgotten

*detprize – a typical bounty, usually a recently acquired crew member who escape their purchaser.

*yahdah – Roger!

To be continued next week…

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Acid, Action, Author, Chapter Four, Fiction, Mini Series, New, Novel, Original, Sci-Fi, Sci-Fy, Science, Science Fiction, Scifi, Scify, Scyfi, Writing, Zach, Zach Acid, ZachAcid, Zacid

Act One | Chapter Four | Episode Seventeen: Brief Reprieve

“Prepare Valeviynellin to accept the K-8,” Voiyn refused to betray his injury.

“Docking bay opened Valegbosh,” OhkBD’s voice came through the comm.

NaN eased the sleek black vessel into the gaping bay doors. Voiyn hovered, wounded, behind him as he landed the prized ship. As the landing gears touched down NaN leapt from his seat to take Voiyn to the much more suitable examination compartment.

Voiyn stopped him, engaging the same communication panel, “OhkBD, Vahl. They will be on us soon. Transfer all power to our defenses.”

“Understood,” OhkBD replied, than Voiyn allowed NaN to help him limp off of the docking ramp.

Voiyn was heavy to move. NaN was dragging him through the empty hangar bay when the thought occurred to him, “How is JOS?”

“He’s stable. He suffered some bruising, and broken cartilage,” Voiyn said. “We’ll see him in the examination compartment.”

Together they limped their way through Valeviynellin eventually making it to the compartment. The door slid open rousing JOS from his sleep whom stared in a confused dazed at the image of the great reptile being helped onto the long table. Purple fluids leaked from the hole in the lizard’s golden omnisuit. NaN found himself confused about what to do for his savior after getting him to the room. He began looking through the storage for anything for biorepair. Piling all the objects of his finding upon a service tray.

Unloading close to the entirety of the room that he could fit he rushed back over to the prostrated Voiyn.

“Wha.. going on?” JOS grumbled.

NaN shushed him, and waved to tell him to ignore them. NaN looked at Voiyn sympathetically, eyebrows scrunched in concern. “What do I use?” his voice was struggling to fight his building anxiety.

Voiyn forced himself onto his arm to see better. NaN watched, trying to guess what he was looking for despite his complete lack of experience. Voiyn glared at something, NaN started touching things within the radius of his vision. Voiyn grunted his disapproval until NaN finally touched what he wanted. Pulling the tool out, it was reminiscent of some medieval torture device. Some congealed substance was frozen out of the nozzle, and there was a trigger on its hand grip.

“Stick it in. Then squeeze,” Voiyn said, in pain.

NaN did as he was told, the thin device went into the hole with ease. Then violently expanded causing Voiyn to groan. At the squeeze of the trigger NaN felt some resistance as the device was backed out of the bloody hole. There was a viscous milky substance left behind. Already he could see the synthetic material bonding to the surrounding flesh.

“Woah… that’s insane,” JOS slurred in NaN’s ear.

NaN didn’t allow himself to scare. “Are you gonna live?” he asked. Then added, “Or am I going to have to care for you ’til you become geriatric?”

“I’m okay, I feel like I’ve been smashed in a compactor,” JOS didn’t seem to comprehend the other question. “More importantly, what’s wrong with him?” he asked.

“He received a…”

The door slid open revealing two concerned alien faces. They pushed through into the compartment together. “What’s wrong?” “What happened?” “Is it going to be lethal?” “Voiyn do I need to beat this little thing?” “What’re we gonna do when they arrive?” “Fight, what else?” “How’re we going to fight them against without Voiyn?” “Same way as always you ovelie.” “But…”

“Silence your foundling wining,” Voiyn snarled.

The whole compartment became instantly quiet at the sound of the Valegbosh’s voice. “Valh take NaN to the guns. OhkBD keep the ship functioning. Keep all of our defense batteries on maximum. JOS get back on the exam table.”

Hearing this was enough to rouse the Pack to action. Instantly Valh grunted toward NaN then walked away into the belly of Valeviynellin. NaN was quick to be on his heels not wanting to be left behind. He overheard OhkBD fussing over a disinterested Voiyn as the door slid behind him.

Valh was half a corridor away, NaN kept pace. He’d been on the weapons deck before, however had never had the opportunity to fire the Graelos, rapid firing six-barreled legiteon guns with a projectile the size of his hand. Any successful shot would be devastating for any erstwhile ship on the receiving end. Adrenaline made his heart race as he winded into the gun deck just behind the hulking Vahl.

“We don’t have time to go over the specifics. Get in that seat,” Valh pointed to the leftmost seat. NaN obliged. “The left sick, pull to reload. Right stick, rotate to aim, pull out to fire. The harder you pull the faster it shoots. Do not pull it all the way out, you will eventually burn the barrels.”

NaN sat in the black seat, which lifted him on hydraulics sensing his weight. The controls stayed level in front of him, he seized them. The ships brain recognized his prints, activating the view screen and loosening the controls. NaN swung the weapon around to feel out the controls.

“They’re comin’. Follow the targeting glyphs with the trail reticule,” Valh called out to him.

NaN sat nervously, a cold sweat filmed on his hands.

A white glyph appeared from the left side of his viewing screen, NaN breathed in deep. Breathing out he steeled his nerve, and began to fire on the incoming ship.

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK

The most important piece for any historian of the fluxDominion. Written by Toretia Wailxl the personal assistant to the mightiest of Supreme Leshers, Umixquios the Grand. About his life and how he became the Grandest Umixquios in Preshood history.

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Author, Chapter Four, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Science Fiction, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Four: Vexed | Episode Fourteen: Rescuing NaN

The Kal’rax Fnerckt, Gort’ekl’s ship, glinted off in the distance. Voiyn could track it with onboard tech signal or no. His ship, the K8-Blackstar, pierced through space inexorably towards the Seven Hounds Bounty. Primal maternal instinct raged through his changing asexual physiology, not only were they part of his crew, but he had imprinted on the fledglings. Being that he had not mated as a male in over thirty cycles, he remained both sexes at the same time. This maternal desire gave him focus, therefor he was not, currently, rejecting the emotional torrent that flooded his reptilian nervous system.

Voiyn’s hands made microscopic adjustments as he approached the rear of the enemy, staring directly into the fire-red exhaust ports. Not for a microsphere did he tamper with his speed.

Within the thousand unit killzone of their hull Voiyn commanded, “All weapons engage in targeting lock.” Multiple overlapping reticule glyphs appeared in his optics, he paused a moment before launching the fusillade. “Disengage all lethal weaponry,” commanding the ships brain reduced the locked on glyphs to three. Without moving his eyes from the back of the Kal’rax, Voiyn red the still active weapons list in the bottom right peripheral of his vision. His trusty hook, electromagnetic disruptor rockets, and a jamming sentinel. Swipes with his foreclaw highlighted the third option projected into his eyes. A squeeze from his left hand and two sentinels thumped out, self propelled, immediately attracted to the heat produced by their target.

A blast fired, hitting one of the drones, exploding it in a corona, the second with luck attached itself to the top of the boxy ship, laying as flush to the metal skin possible. If it took damage, so would they.

Realizing this the same golden beams began firing upon the K-8 intermittently. Deftly, Voiyn maneuvered around the aim of their ships autoturret’s algorithm, as he waited for the jamming device to effectively kill all sensors aboard the Kal’rax Fnerckt. For a moment the golden beams continued firing into the same point in space.

Taking advantage of the wayward turret, Voiyn flicked his talon to the electromagnetic disruptor rockets, and squeezed. Carbon based fuels emitted a orange glow as the fired pair streaked for their target. For the first time since the chase began Voiyn backed off the throttle. Anything within five-hundred units of the blast, that required electronics to function was about to go limp.

Coruscating energy rushed outwards in visible overlapping spheres, the Kal’rax disappeared as it was engulfed inbetween their expanding diameters. Voiyn watched cautiously waiting for the apex of the effective range. Less than a hundred units away from the the tip of the K-8’s fuselage the energy field was unable to keep its integrity, scintillating into nothingness. A jerk of his right hand gunned the engine forward, his hook all ready to fire at his command.

Getting the K-8 lined up on her left wing, on the boxy modified runner’s right. Firing, the barbed cables into its side, winches whined as they pulled the two ships together. Then came the ssekhratess, the gap between the two ships less than ten units, the oversized, spiked piston jut out, piercing the hull of the other ship, its gem like spear folding open to create a permanent, airtight, connection. Until Voiyn decided to sever it.

Red, green, and purple warning lights, and alarm klaxons signaled all of the obvious, they were under attack. Except one. To NaN these were all but warnings or alarms, these were symbols of hope. Suddenly, the ship went black, like a tomb.

Emergency powered life systems clicked to life, a faint hiss could be heard as the recycled air flowed through the ship.

The Seven Hounds Bounty was driven insane, a maelstrom of cursing and shouting could be heard beyond his cell door. Their chaos gave him more hope still. The crunch of metal piercing metal was the next odd sound. The ships gravity synthesizers down, NaN could feel the shift as he collided with the bulky door. The same death-like silence followed, even the crowd beyond had become completely still. The vessel stopped moving, his mass continued in the same direction, floating away from the door.

Near him, from the other side of the bulkhead came the most ungodly sound as the alloyed metal plating of the hull was punctured, and then peeled back. Disturbing as the noise was to hear, it could only signify one thing. They had been borded.

ssekhratess – Piece de resistance

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK!

Unfortunately Pubslush as a company has tanked, and any contributors will be receiving their money back. Thank you everyone who contributed!!!!!!!!! I will be launching a kickstarter, and probably a gofundme as well in light of this event. Stay tuned.

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Author, Chapter Three, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Science Fiction, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One| Chapter Three: Entanglements | Episode Thirteen: The Chase Begins

Voiyn maxed his thrusters, directing Valevyinellin roughly with his hands towards the triangular glyph on the display being projected into his ocular lenses. That is where the young one would be found. All three of his hearts beat in a discordant rhythm signifying his high levels of stress.

“Any word back OhkBD?” he snarled each word unconsciously.

“Essec has only just replied, he said tht he will do what he must to ensure the safety of the monkey,” OhkBD replied.

“Then there is nothing else we can do. Save chase down that flakhassh*,” the curse hissing through his razor sharp, poisoned fangs.

Essec was in a fit of rage. ‘Calm,’ he reminded himself, ‘calm.’ Still, he couldn’t help but feel a slight bit of blame, both of the pubescent apes were proving to be worthy crew and he’d grown an attachment to them as they sought to earn their place amongst Voiyn’s Hounds. Having completed his own, personal, business in the Pit, he’d received the news as he was returning to the ship no longer awaiting him on the docking level. Feeling even more powerless, being stuck in this hive of the unclean. Furthering his distaste in the situation, he now had to cavort and barter with the likes of Notan. A creature given to excess that was foul in every dimension of the feeling.

Alas, how else could he aide the young, and aide him he would. Shrugging off his ego in the matter, he stalked swiftly through the Pit crowds back to its lowest sanctum, the den of the Notan creature. Traveling down the sloping spiral he couldn’t help but gag at lease twice at the thought of its pheromone stench.

‘Think,’ he quit the cycling disgust in his mind. ‘Essec, you are being relied upon to find a way to retrieve your ValeHound’s precious property. What can you offer a creature, not wanting for anything, without committing to it any living organism, nor the Valevyinellin, or K8-Blackstar?’ All the way down he pondered this considering everything of value he’d ever owned or come across. After his lengthy descent, he grimaced coming to a conclusion. There was one thing that he could hold for last, he hoped it wouldn’t come to a point where he needed mention it.

— — — — — — —

NaN awoke in slow motion. ‘Probably some drug cocktail,’ he surmised internally. Everything felt sluggish except his mind was still running fulll speed. He couldn’t help but be surprised at how much redundancy the Seven Hounds Bounty had used to restrain him. ‘Though,’ he supposed, ‘I am unaware of their ships docking point on the Pit, or the layout of this ship. What was her name again?’ He remembered hearing the ghastly females name just before he blacked out.

“Xyxila!”

That was it, but from from an even more alien voice than he could remember.

“Voiyn has gained a lock on our location, and is bearing down on us as we speak!” The voice was deeper but seemed to have difficulty speaking in Pit Standard. “I warned you of this! We needed a clean get away!” There was a sharp smacking sound from beyond the synth metal plating encasing NaN in the dark room. He refused to move a micro unit, gathering as much information for as long as he could maintain the charade. Who knew what kind of biometric sensors were in place watching him.

“Valegbosh, I searched him furiously,” her voice sounding almost girlish, even pleading. “The only object I recovered of the thing’s body was a simple datacard, nothing more.”

“Where is it?!” the first voice demanded. NaN began to wonder how long it could sustain it’s roar.

“Here,” a pause. “I’ve already had its contents whipped, I was going to salv…”

Another smack rang out silencing her.

“I told you to destroy ANYTHING found! That reptile is extremely clever! If we lose our cargo it will befall YOU to pay the price of the bounty WE’D have extorted!” A pause for a couple heavy breaths before the deep voice continued, “Xyxila, you have disappointed me farther than I could have ever dreamt possible, get to your armed station! No doubt his could cost us more than this foundling primate.” A tense silence followed.

“NOW!”

NaN couldn’t believe his luck, JOS had to’ve gotten back to the Valeviynellin not long after the Xyxila woman threw him in the black compartment in which he found himself. Knowing Voiyn was hunting him down completely changed his perspective on the situation. ‘Come and get me,’ he thought, full of hope. ‘I’ll take whatever punishment is coming for being late you big, scaled, softy.’

— — — — — — —

“The tracking signal from the datacard has been cut off, but long range spectral scans have them within range of the Blackstar. How should we engage?” OhkBD asked, all business for one rare moment.

“You take the piloting console, I’ll take my ship. Combined we will get our boy back,” Voiyn was terse, each word hissed, ending in a growl. “I also wouldn’t mind giving them an intimate lesson in how Voiyn Valegbosh does things.,” he was pure venom.

Voiyn quit his controls, lumbering gracefully back into the depths of Valeviynellin to the hangar housing his precious ship. He’d spent the last sixty cycles of his three-hundred and twelve, modifying it to suit his every need in combat and bounty capture. The ssekhratess* it’s boarding clamps. There was not a ship within The Vale that could escape its grip. Three-Unit thick cabling with eight pointed claws would jolt a diamond shaped punch, which doubled as the boarding ramp, creating an airlock from any location on the ship he wished to board.

Entering the hangar he called out to the ships brain, “Prepare to lift off. We’re getting our teeth bloody Blackstar.” Without touching the ship, the K8 began its start up automatically, lowering the assault ramp to accept its pilot. Voiyn practically ran into the cockpit, which was just his size. “OhkBD, open the hatch,” he commanded to the technical officer while taking his seat in the markedly similar piloting apparatus. Rolling his right hand forward inside the blue holographic sphere, the ship whipped around on hundred and eighty degrees. The same action from his left shot the ship out of the opening bay doors, barely large enough to fit the K8-Blackstar through. Now he would prey upon those who would do harm to his team.

Flakhassh – Carrion worms that largely feed on excrement

ssekhratess – Piece de resistance

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THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK!

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Author, Chapter Three, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Science Fiction, Writing, Zach Acid

Act One | Chapter Three | Episode Twelve: Enraged

Voiyn put the young one down to sleep. Wasting no time he informed the others of the small amount of information he’d been able to gather from the broken words. Vahl and OhkBD were in the main hold awaiting Voiyn’s return with the two boys to observe their prescribed punishment which was forgone after the proceedings. Unfortunately he had to disappoint because of the significant investment that had gone into acquiring those two apes.

“OhkBD get to your position in the cockpit. Prepare Valeviyenellin for launch,” Voiyn was sure to snarl, expressing his need for urgency, “Vahl get to the guns. We need our disabling munitions locked into place.”

“Are we going to need Essec? he’s still offboard,” OhkBD asked meekly.

“Reach him. Inform him that the black haired one has been taken by the Seven Hounds. We need to get out of this rock and onto their scent if we wish to retrieve him in one piece. Request that he speak with Notan about this matter. He has permission to tempt the yüel* with anything short of this ship, my personal transport, and anything living to get him to force his hand in the matter,” Voiyn couldn’t remember needing to say so much in a long while. OhkBD diverged on his way to the cockpit, while Voiyn went to prepare for a fight. His Omnisuit had been modified over many cycles to allow him total freedom of movement within the grip of the Void. One-hundred and twenty circuits of life support, was enough time for any operation.

He would gladly show these scum what it is like to put themselves against a true Valegbosh. One whom earned their title with their own blood, rather than by standing on piles of dead, with none other to claim it as with Poichal Nrkthah*. Foul defiler of the noble title Vale Hound.

Sealing his suit with his golden helm, he moved with jarring speed to the cockpit. There Vahl was in his seat, optics fitted against his sclera, guns at the ready, “Non-lethal’s loaded Valegbosh.”

“Excellent.”

OhkBD was in his control position, multiple arms flying furiously between his multiple input devices. “BD, find their ship first. If there’s no trace search all bandwidth channels for the foundling’s datacards. That is what they’re for correct,” Voiyn posed rhetorically. “Twenty beats ahead Valegbosh,” OhkBD gave his affirmation of the command. Voiyn finishing his preflight checks lamented the empty chair, but Essec would serve a more functional purpose. Then sat in his own command console, inserting his hands into the blue and red orbs respectively and began to lift the Valeviyenellin off the deck.

An unsolicited com-channel opened on the display projecting into his eyes, “Not even going to let me know you’re leaving,” Notan’s overfed voice oozed through the audio outputs against his cranium. Voiyn restrained his anger, the pay for this next one was too great, “The crew you hired to accompany us has taken one of my crew, and my personal property. From your noble house no less. I have placed a high value on the young one now in their possession it is imperative that he is returned to me intact. My best, Essec,” he made sure to hiss the name with menace,” will be speaking with you shortly. If all you need is a farewell. Consider this farewell for now. Have your men open my docking hatch. I swear to return the moment I have retrieved what is mine.”

“Then I wish you good fortune Voiyn Valegbosh,” the sickly voice cut off. It was all he could do to resist the primal urge to sink his poisoned fangs into something. Being pushed into a corner made Voiyn into something to be feared.

“Let’s go get our young,” Voiyn felt the maternal urge of his reptilian asexuality taking over, as he willed the barrier to close off his ship to the living Pit. He spun the ship around towards the porthole leading out of the rock. Klaxons rang outside the ship, and caution lighting signaled that the space was being opened into the Vale. “Do we have them yet?” Voiyn demanded.

“Lock on the datacard has been successful, they’re moving quickly,” OhkBD spoke as fast as his hands moved.

“Put it on my screen, I’m going to chase them down. They’re going to remember why we remain unmolestable in this Pit Territory,” Voiyn caught the reticule on his optics, pointed the Valeviyenellin at it, and blasted out of Notan’s Pit in wrapped in the fiery cloak that scored the docking bay he’d left behind in a flash.

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK!

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Author, Chapter Three, Mini Series, Novel, Original, Science Fiction, Writing

Act One | Chapter Three | Episode Eleven: Rude Awakening

JOS was lost… somewhere. Though there was no real way to be sure of where. His head felt as though it’d been split in half, and some beeping sound kept getting louder and louder in the darkness. He then came to the realization he was being shaken by something, . Not just by the vibration from his waist, but a sincere rocking motion, and a voice that was impossible to discern through all the other senses he could make no sense of.

Where was NaN, the need to get back to the ship, Voiyn would murder them if they were late. Knowing NaN he could be anywhere.

No.

He should still be with JOS, but something was telling him that he wasn’t. This terrified feeling grew within him, grew like the violence of the shaking, and the beeping that rose to a siren. He opened his eyes to see a blur of lower extremities. Once his eyes focused on the spot where he remembered NaN was, except there was nothing, no trace at all. JOS could’ve sworn there had been restraints on him. Now he was only surrounded by a crowd, and free to move. The beeping persisted, causing his head to ache ever greater with each pulse.

His datacard!

JOS lurched up too quickly, he had to catch himself before he passed out. As the space around him stopped spinning, he could hear a creature asking, more yelling, “…ARE YOU OKAY!?” in a shrill tongue. He nodded, hoping to satisfy the being. He slid his right hand down to grab his datacard to turn the thing off.

Before shutting it down he remembered to look at the time. There were only ten circuits until he had to be back on Valeviyenellin. He examined the routes available on his card, he was still at the bottom of the central spiral, which he observed had returned to the open position. He sprang to his feet, again nearly collapsing, he bent his knees to catch himself, it didn’t stop his head from throbbing, but there was no time to examine any wound, let alone coddle it. JOS took off as fast as he could up the spiral in the direction of the ship. His body felt more labored than what he was used to. His sense of urgency drove him to fight the pain screaming from his frontal lobe. As he rounded the corner to the diameter arm, he noticed that his eyes were half open, and his vision was tinted red. In spite of this he continued down the arm to the Pit’s circumference. He ignored the disgusted, and offended looks of the passersby, as he rounded the final corner.

Finally on the circumferencial pathway he could see the hangar where Valeviyenellin was. JOS bolted at this marvelous sight, he had to get back, he had to tell someone. Bodily fluids were dripping everywhere, sweat, blood, snot, the parts that ran in his eyes stung, he was a complete and utter mess. Voiyn was waiting for them at the ships entrance, first with a look of anger, searching for the two, then their eyes met. He became confused,, which changed instantly into worry as he moved in JOS’s direction.

What Voiyn had seen was the boy he’d taken in, or some purple and red version of him, sprinting full speed towards him. The soft birthmarked face was broken and bloody, the sweat changing his fair skin into a shiny red. The sclera surrounding his eyes had even turned the color of his blood, and his olfactories were crushed flat. Then he realized the other one wasn’t there, this caused him to worry the most.

JOS could feel his legs getting numb but he had to tell Voiyn about the Seven Hounds Bounty woman, how she kidnapped NaN. As soon as he reached the great reptile he collapsed. Strong arms caught his weight. Despite all his wanting to say something, only fractions of syllables could escape his lips, the rest was winded gurgling breath. It took all of his concentration to even remain conscious at this point. Concern for his friend was the only thing keeping him from slipping back into that place again. Then his friend could be anywhere.

He tried to relax, now that he was safe again, and slow down his breathing. Being carried helped, as they crossed into the ships center he willed himself to say one broken sentence.

“Woman… Seven Hounds… NaN, taken,” the strain was finally too much. His goal had been reached and he slipped comfortably off into the dark of his mind. Floating weightless on a sturdy cloud.

It is my very great honor to bring you the first book from the fluxDominion,

THE CARNAGE OF PALTOCK!

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