Author, Mini Series, Science Fiction, Writing

VALE HOUND Episode Zero: Prologue – The Vale

         A remote region of space.

         Littered with the debris of some ancient battle.

          Forgotten by those who’d fought it, the scattered result of gravity implosions that are assumed to have ended whatever war this was. The distortions in space slowly collecting the remnants into ghost worlds at the center of the gravity wells. Currently more akin to an asteroid field, rather than organic material, made up of the ships destroyed in the conflict. Inhabited by bands of scavengers living among the fragments of the past.

          Lording over these Packs throughout the Vale, are the corporations. Five of them own the salvaging rights over an equal section of the coveted territory. Together they make up the Board for Surveying Ancient Technologies, a glorified meat processor of recyclable materials with the promise of a huge find. Once a team could claim a valuable, intact, artifact they would be elevated to the position of administrator within the Corp. of that section, where the easy life was promised.

          Independent researchers have tried to calculate the average lifespan in the Vale. Inconclusive, the results speculate between 37-58 cycles. Born into indebted parents, children are levied against their parents debt, accumulating their own cost-to-live debt. Manage to earn back the debt, and the child will be introduced to civil society. If unable by 15, a pack of hounds will buy the young ones debt, enlisting them until they’ve earned back the remainder of their cost, generally between 15-20 cycles.

          A volatile way of life, well enjoyed by those living it. Young boys in the many Juvenile Servitude Colonies are sold the dream of making their name amongst the legendary Vale Hounds, the Valegbosh. Heroes, celebrated and dramatized by the Board of Surveying Ancient Technologies. Characters whom have made important discoveries, or subdued huge rare bounties from one of the many interstellar criminals camping in the seclusion offered by the Vale.

          Thriving beings from a great many sectors have worked to make the region more hospitable. Establishing colonies using salvaged materials, and wreckage from the living quarters left intact off the dead behemoths of war. Given new life as satellite communities, mangled floating messes on the outside, with makeshift armoring, pleasantly dubbed Pits. Between three and five hundred Pits are estimated throughout the Vale. Each it’s own law, and source of revenue. Suited individually to the interests of those who operate, or own the Pit. From Pit to Pit the community is represented differently: from bazaars, to luxurious lounges, to dens where all carnal desires may be met.

          Wild and free, yet bound by the constraints of the corporations, therefore the borders of the Vale. Around it’s 307.762lightcycles* border, the Board of Surveying Ancient Technologies has a satellite grid intended to search out any lifeform who attempt to leave before repaying their debt. Not only does it act to keep those enslaved within, it all allows the Corporations to keep out any unwanted “authorities”, or individuals that draw too much attention.

          Occasionally, the corporations will commission new vessels to be subsidized to the various Pit Alpha’s running their Pit. Due to the infrequency of these commissions many hunter ships have been pieced together, ingeniously, with whatever could accomplish the job.

          Pit Alpha’s receive large packets of requests from the corporation in control of their particular sub sector. Depending on the request, depends on the Pit Alpha selected, the only know holder of a list of all Pit’s and their leaders are hidden within the upper echelon of the corporations. Pit Alpha’s distribute the jobs amongst their favored of the Vale Hounds within their influential territory.

          Vale Hounds generally operate out of a specific Pit, it isn’t uncommon however to find Hound’s hopping between Pit’s. The promise of more, and better paying work is a temptation for many. Breeding intense rivalries between the packs, and shady cloak and dagger transactions.

          Scavengers have ten a liking to mind altering substances to pass the time between hops, and long stints without work. Most are produced for individual use because of cross species tolerance.. Though, lack of purchasable product leads some to imbibe exotic substances with potentially fatal effects. Surprisingly very few deaths occur from these overdoses, usually the creature in the practice of use is well educated on the physiological effects of the substance they produce. Ready to expel the substance from any user not prepared for its effects.

           Religious organizations have found a place among some Pits, where one species dominates the census. Yet, it’s been difficult to gain a foothold spreading their word due to the extreme diversity present in the Vale. Multitudes of beings have also brought their own unique religions as well, creating an open tolerance for religious independence.

           Pits typically gain revenue from the Packs collecting bounties, and completing scavenging quotas. Some are known to profit primarily from slave fighting tournaments, and gambling houses. Seen by the inhabitants as part of their corrupted lives. More distractions for them to forget their position as indentured servants. Some enter themselves as an attempt to win the large purses for the champion of these lethal gladiatorial tournaments. Certain Packs force new enlistees to prove that they are worth the price the Vale Hound paid for them.

* * *

          Voiyn’s Horde is one of these scavenging Packs. Voiyn Valegbosh leads one of these Pack’s in the South South-Western subsection controlled by Notan’s Pit. Jxul Juvenile Servitude Colony having just released a group of young ones for enlistment, Voiyn has successfully has bought the debts of two underrated, spirited humanoids for a relatively low price. Being of an ape-like decent, they would prove adaptable and quick to learn. As a second-rated scavenging crew, it was important for him to acquire indispensable workers at every possible opportunity. Teaching them would take time, but it would also take a long time to earn off the debt owed to Voiyn.

*Cycle: the time it takes for the average inhabitable planet to travel around it’s star.

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