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    Not complete. Will be added to constantly. Also acts as Glossary and notes for the Gai'talar setting. PLACE NAMES Gai'talar: The first known given to the world. An old name often used in academic circles. Equivalent to modern english using Gaia or Tera to refer to earth. Each Language group has its own word to refer to the world but this is considered the universal name. The Exact translation of the word is not fully know. Te'( insert name ) : Te' is the prefix to indicate a star. The races of gai'talar knew stars were distant balls of incandescent gas for thousands of years. It is unsure who discovered this. Te'naas: The name of the star Gai'talar oribits. This is the formal name for it. Many people just call it " The sun" in whatever language they speak. The Blood star/ Blood moon: a hypothetical 3rd moon that people of certain magic affinities feel and see. Used as a symbol in old magic texts. Is invisible to most people so it is commonly regarded as a myth or is so irreverent to their lives that it is just not thought about. Mostly considered a magical phenomenon and not an actually celestial body. Kurinessa/ the white moon: The closer of gai'talar's moons. Hesken,Ulvalter, and werewolves all howl at it sometimes. this frightens or annoys other races. It has the greatest effect on tides so it is considered very significant in Lutrondae culture. The Black moon/ Char'tem'hjerl: the second of Gai'talar's moons orbit farther out and reflects little to no light. Many cultures regard it differently, the Valparet dislike it and consider it bad, the Lontracant use it is a symbol for for rest ( Lontracant inn signs all have a black moon on them ) and the Hesken and Fanock think it is a damned nuisance when star gazing as it just creates dark spots in the sky. Some culture refuse to give it a name so will just say " the black moon" or " the other moon " when talking about it. Chir'tiris: The lost city that is the supposed homeland of the Skitritch. Many consider it to be a myth. Despite its relatively recent destruction ( 70-80 years ) the location was kept secret from most species. This was just seen as a eccentricity of the Skitritch by most races but it was a means of keeping pirates away from their main trade hub. The Lutrond kingdom knew where it was so they were the only pirates to ever plague the city. After the mysterious fall of the city all skitritch took an oath to never reveal its location to anyone even their descendants. The Lutrond kingdom did send several ships to loot the place after it reportedly went dark. None of those ships returned. A small scout vessel was sent months after ward and did return. After the report to the king all crew of that scout vessel were executed and the king declared publicly the city never existed. A fleet of mages guild ships did explore the city and save many documents and artworks from the city and opened a public museum about it. Despite this the public at large disbelieve in the city's existence. The actual location of the city is unknown and strange things seem to happen to people trying to find it again. They disappear or seem to lose memory of ever wanting to find it. Lutrond: The coastal kingdom of the Lutrondae. This is considered the origin of their species. The Wild Continent: An unexplored land that is the source of many legends. Mages guild: A world spanning organization of magical learning and craftsmanship. Artificer's guild: Wizards that specialize in building magic based technology but also does research into non magic based physics and chemistry. Paerkehar: Largest and most prosperous of the fanock nations. Earth: The name that humans gave to their origin. Kelthgeka: A mythological continent that is said to drift through realities. Has influenced many cultures by becoming parts of sayings and legends. No one knows who named it but the name is the same in every culture. Is different from the Lost Continent but those that don't believe in Kelthgeka claim they are the same thing but with added mythical elements. A 700 year old account of a Valperet expedition that encountered it on accident is considered credible because they didn't go ashore as that was not their destination but a follow up expedition found nothing there. There is a tale of a skitritch who swam out to a hesken ship when they encountered a mysterious island that shouldn't have been where it was. He claimed to have been from a ship lost 20 years prior but says he only spent 3 months on the island. Refused to talk about what he saw on the island. He was taken to a hospital at the next port but released hours later and he disappeared before he could be questioned. SPECIES Thethen: The name given to Mysterious first civilization. It is known that this is not what they called themselves. The word derives from " Thet theo thehn" translated as " The ones that came before" Nothing is known of what they looked like. Most that is know about them is from left writings that conspicuously never describe them. No Art depicting them has ever been found. Every species has a theory that they are descendants of this race. Lifespan: Unknown. Rapa-Putamlian: An as yet undiscovered ancient race of very technology advanced culture. They were contemporary with the Thethen but are completely unheard of by the Time of the other races. Their only impact is tales ancient tales of Flying cities though by modern times on Gai'talar these are considered either legend or belonging to the THethen. Some of their artifacts still exist but are considered of unknown origin or thought to be Thethen. A statute of one of the species has been obtained and taken to the Mages guild but no one knows what it is supposed to be ( Featured in story Old Memories New Chances). Rapa-Putamlians look like red Pandas to humans who remember the animals of earth. Skitrtich: Rat like species that stand approximately 4.5-5 feet tall. They are agile, fast and suited to climbing. Have taken well to sea trade so they are most common in maritime settings. This name is what they call themselves in their own language. Other Races have different names for them and range in tone, from the Hesken calling them " Sketlans" an affectionate term meaning " little ones" to the Valparet calling them " Vermampt" or " Vermin ." Unlike other races they don't have a designated homeland but did at one time. Lifespan: 110 years Human: Extra dimensional species that arrived mysteriously on Gai'talar. In most societies they are seen as outsiders and distrusted. A human language has become the trade language since human appeared all over the world suddenly so many populations learned this language and it became a useful way to communicate between the species, lacking sounds that were particular to a species or unpronounceable by any Race. ( You know what humans are like ) Life span: 100 years. Humans have higher instances of Lactose intolerance than other species. Humans brought with them knowledge of enzymes, intestinal bacteria and other advanced knowledge. This knowledge was recorded and passed around by the mages guild so the world at large think these are mage derived facts and disbelieve they were learned from humans. Ex: When humans came to Gai'talar viruses and bacteria where known as being pathogens that cause disease, but through information relayed by humans and experimentation it was confirmed that some bacteria are beneficial. After this information was passed down it was lumped into just being something wizards found out and the human origin is ignored or forgotten. Even many humans have no idea they brought vast knowledge to the world. ( Place holder ) Varulv /werewolves : Appear to be human but can transform into wolflike creatures. Manifested 1 generation after humans arrived on gai'talar. Origins are unknown but there are many theories concerning them. Each culture has a different name for them but the English or Swedish words is universally understood. The Swedish word was adopted so readily because of the wolf like Ulvalter already having Ulv in their name so many cultures already had half an idea of what it meant. The Ulvalter don't like this this as they take great steps to stay away from werewolves and don't like that world might be comparing the two. The ulvater instead call them Djarlman a portmanteau of Djarlendt ( hesken ) and human. Werewolves can tell each other by smell but other races can't even those that are known for their keen senses of smell. When in human form a werewolf will smell human to every other race. Their scent only becomes distinct when they are in beast form. This beast form is distinct enough for werewolves to no be mistaken for Ulvalter or Hesken. Some werewolves have a fully wolf form that looks like a gigantic wolf and these are sometimes if rarely mistaken for being normal wolves. Even species with weaker senses of smell can detect the difference from beast form werewolves and normal wolves. Many theories about the origin and purpose of werewolves exist but none have confirmation. It is know that the bite or scratch of a werewolf will not transform another despite what human legend says. All werewolves are born. Ulvalter: Wolf like species related to the Hesken. Far more reclusive then the Hesken. They are also far more tempremental and aggressive but are slightly smaller and not as strong or have the same endurence as the Hesken. Lifespan: 250 years Ulvalter and Hesken are chemically inter-fertile so they can produce fertile offspring with eachother so they are technically one species but have enough physical and behavioral differences that they are considered distinct. Hesken: The Common name dog like people that thrive in cold climates. They tend toward being large and stocky of build though all body shapes are present i the population. They are larger than many other of the races standing 6 to 6.5 feet tall. They are known for their friendliness and endurance. Their Friendliness has made them seem like pushovers in the past but they are considered the world's best fighters with a balance of speed, strength, cunning and their outstanding endurance has made them the strongest military force in the world but their disposition has been according to many the only thing that has stopped them from conquering the world. There were incidents in the past in which other races tried to take advantage of them through slavery and this ended very poorly for the slavers. Their skill at farming coupled with adaptation to cold climate means they tend to get fat but this is well accepted in their culture but this is sometimes viewed negatively by other societies. They make outstanding farmers and laborers but are also well represented in academic circles due to their dismissal of notions regarding class or species based caste stratification. This has also made them one of the more accepting societies. Certain maladies documented in other species never appear in hesken. Cholesterol build up in arteries and diabetes have never been observed in Hesken and they have a low incidence of heart disease. As the causes of these ilnesses are increasingly understood the lack of them in a race know for being on the fat side remains mysterious and is not understood even among Hesken medical professionals. They are closely related to the Ulvalter. Lifespan: 250 years Lutrondae: The name of them sea otter like race that are most at home in coastal waters and kelp beds. They are the race most home at sea. The sea trade has put them in competition with the Skitritch and has led to a general sense of hostility between the two races. This isn't totally universal as some populations of the two learned to coexist. Their body proportians are somewhat different than the other races on gai'talar. Their legs are shorter and bodies slightly longer giving them a slight awkwardness on land but and advantage while swimming. Because of this they tend to live close to water and even wealthy individuals preffer living close to the ocean or among the docks. Have even been seen to build homes underwater using air pockets in living spaces. This makes having other species as visitors hard so it is less common outsiide mostly Lutrondae controlled territories Lifespan 190 years Lontracant: River otter like cousin species to the Lutrondae. They Don't have the same cultural disdain for Skitritch that their sea dwelling relatives have. This lack of hostility is reciprocated by the skitritch. The Lontracant often act as intermediaries when dealing with Skitritch. Their body proportians are somewhat different than the other races on gai'talar. Their legs are shorter and bodies slightly longer giving them a slight awkwardness on land but and advantage while swimming. Tend to live close to water such as lakes or rivers or on boats. Boat decks are considered akin to the front lawn so a lontracant climbing up the side of your ship on comming on deck is considered socially acceptable to them while other races find it a tad invasive but rarely react violently because this behavior is well known and Lontracant tend to not be hostile so are often regarded with annoyance instead of suspicion when they do this. Lifespan 190 years Valperet/ sionact: Fox like species that is known for wit and cunning. They are often considered the intellectuals of the world. They are at home in the realms of politics and academics. The Hesken are also an academically minded society so this has bred a sense of civil competition between the races, though some individuals ignore this attitude and work together in the pursuit of knowledge. Species has 2 language groups and thus have 2 common names for their species lifespan 230-250 years. The 2 cultures have different racial stereotypes about them and are still thought by some to be different species despite what the evidence shows. Sionact were freed from forced servitude to the Valperet 900 years ago by the hesken. this resulted in a persiting attitude that Sionact and hesken get along more easily than Hesken and Valperet. Some Valperet actively hold a grudge against the hesken while others openly criticize this grudge claiming it is pointless. Alo: another foxlike species. This species is at home in the frozen polar regions and thus have had much contact with the Hesken. The societies are on friendly terms and often cooperate. Even though they maintain different languages the two cultures have considerable overlap in stories, legends and culture. Since they share territory Alo and hesken can usually undertand each other's language but usually do not attempt to speak the language of the other even though they are capable of doing so. An old unspoken code of respect states that each is to use their own language when speaking to each other so neither is forced to change behavior to accommodate the other. This doesn't always work out and if neither is capable of communicating they bother switch to English or one will speak the others language. Children of both species find attempts of the other to speak their language comical and may be the origin of the unspoken code to just use their own language but learn to understand the other. Lifespan 230-250 years Drakkar: A legendary race. Their existence is unconfirmed and often contested. Life span unknown. Fanock: Large eared desert dwelling fox race. lifespan 200 years. Odd occurrence regarding their life spans is they will Die the moment they reach the age of 200.5 years regardless of how healthy they are. Why this occurs is unknown but it is general accepted. The day they reach 200 they start setting their affairs in order, paying off all debts and trying to make amends with anyone they have wronged even if the day before reconciliation seemed impossible. Their attitudes can change completely and they will try to rectify any wrongs they committed even if they did not think it was wrong up until then. This 6 month period is called " the Clarity " Baagh-raj: The tiger like people that live on the far side of the Fancok territories. Had less exposure to the rest of the world then the other races but that is not for a lack of curiosity. Until recently open hostilities between Baagh-raj and one of the 3 Fanock kingdoms kept them within their territory. Now that those hostilities have lessened the Baagh-raj want to start exploring the world and have the rest of the world visit them. They like other societies had an influx of humans 500 years ago but got comfortable with them much more quickly then the surrounding species. Strangely the language that those particular humans spoke normally wasn't much different then what the Baagh-raj spoke so they quickly reached mutual understanding. It also means the Baagh-raj never learned english as the trade language as other races had. Since the only other language they encountered was Fanock ( which Baagh-raj have trouble speaking ) they will have to learn other languages from visitors while visitors try to learn from them. LANGUAGES Human languages: Trade language/ English: the most common language brought to Gai'talar by humans. It appeared in some many places in the world when humans came that mulitiple disparate races of Gai'talar learned it to comunicate with the new comers that it became convenient to speak to other races. The trade language has the benefit of not having sound that any known Gai'talar race is incapable of producing. Arabic: Spoken in small pockets in Fanock territory Farsi: Spoken in small pockets in Fanock territory Hebrew: Spoken in small pockets in Fanock territory Hindi: Spoken in Baagh-raj territory and oddly seems to be the same language as what the Baagh-raj already speak. Minor differences in word meaning do occur but it seems to be the same language. Canid Languages: Djarlendt: Considered guttural and barky by many of the other Gai'talar species this Language is the main language used by the hesken. There are multiple dialect some harsher some more musical but all mutually intelligible. ( Closest human equivalent would be Germanic or Scandinavian languages ) Most confusing aspect for non Djarlendt speakers has to do with " Emotive Conjugation" Alteration of a word to add an emotional aspect to it. This can result in single words conveying complete sentences or thoughts. Ex: Just saying the word "song" Conjugated in present temporal tense and Positive emotive tense would mean " This song is Lovely" while conjugating it in past temporal tense and negative emotive conjugation would be "That song was terrible." There are about 5 emotive tenses: Positive, Negative, Ambivalent, Apathetic and UnConjugated also called neutral. Some Dialects of Djarlendt drop emotive conjugation and just use vocabulary to express the emotion of the speaker. Djarlendt also has a Negated tense that can be applied to any word but whether or not it makes sense. In written form it is a little stroke above or through the word. The method for saying something is not the case is to only negate the word or concept in question, not every word in the sentence. The Djarlendt and Ulval writing system has both phonetic symbols and pictographic symbols that convey an entire concept. Djarlendt has gender in the language but it is only applied to something that has a personality. Applying gender to an inanimate object would be funny to Hesken and Ulvaltar. They would either think you thought the object had a mind or that you were taught the language wrongly as a joke. High Djarlendt: the hesken language before many of the complicated rules were cut back or simplified. Is still mostly intelligible with modern Djarlendt as not all of the complicating rules were removed just lessened in use. Such rules would be the aforementioned emotive conjugation which remained and turning entire phrases into single aggregated words. Ex: "Glvecht'kleoucht" meaning something like " I promise terror in return" is made up of "Glvecht" word meaning "i pledge/i promise", " Kle " The negative emtoive conjugation "klet" which means 'in return/ or in consequence of/ reciprocated' when emotively conjugated as " Kle " it usually means ' in revenge ' and finally the word "eoucht" which translates to "Terror" In more modern hesken the phrase would have been more word as "Glvecht" ( i promise ) would be "Gle vecht" 'Gle' ( 'I' in neutral ) 'Vecht' ( promise ) *what ever consequence is promised* and 'Kle' ( Revenge or 'unpleasent in return' ) Most native Djarlendt speakers would understand the high form even if it takes longer to piece out or is cumbersome but new learners of the language would be confused by it and Djarlendt is confusing enough already. Most High Djarlendt is translated for other races directly into English as English is not only widely spoken and understood but also flexible enough to convey the odd things that can come from High Djarlendt when it jams too much meaning into dense packages. Ulval: same language root as Djarlendt it shares the same sound palate and is still considered Mutually intelligible with Djarlendt though some words are different and speakers can not fully communicate. Also far less complex grammatically. A phonetiic shift in the past has led to distinct accents between the languages but it is never considered a big enough deal to for the speaker of either to try and change or correct it when learning the other. Urullul: The name for the form of howling communication that is instinctively used and understood by Hesken,Ulvalter, and werewolves, even untrained individuals of these races can comprehend it somewhat. It lacks some features of normal spoken languages and can be rather vague and unspecific in it's pure form so other languages are sometimes woven into it for specificity. One extra feature is built in distance counting and number of times it has been relayed. If a canid individual hears it they know instinctively how far away it is and if they relay it will add the distance and number of times relayed to the howl. Used to be used for pack hunting before civilization. The non canid races find this language creepy and some cities discourage it's use. ( Yes this is a Ban Awoo reference ) Vulpine Race languages: Valperet: ( Pronounced Val-PE-ray ) is a language spoken by the Valperet culture. The Valperet and the Sionact are the same species but they are different cultural and ethnic groups so they have different languages. Nasal in pronunciation but is most suited to the size nasal cavity of the Valperet. it is considered unusual when other species try to speak it as they have different nasal cavities and thus sound different no matter how much practice they have in speaking it. Ogharm: Pronounced ( Owarm ) is the language used by the Sionact Ethnic group. Is considered a lovely in not high class language. Contains saying that refrence entire stories and are often incomprehensible unless you were raise in the culture. Example: saying " I left it in Chimmra " would mean that they intentionally stopped paying attention to something and it goes missing but they didn't actively throw it away. The meaning of this is there was a now considered mythical community called Chimmra which existed off things people didn't want anymore so people would leave things for them to Take. It has now come to mean you didn't want to deal with something anymore and it went missing or became not your problem. Another example is "Tummrin used to know." Which means no one knows and something is so old there is no way of finding out what it means. Absolutely befitting the phrase no one knows who Tummrin is or where, when or how the saying came into being. other examples " Even Gwellin liked tits" meaning you can be into more than one thing. This saying came from a Bishop who wrote hymns and pious poetry but also drew porn. This saying has been adopted into almost every language but it started as a sionact saying. Lellia'al: The language spoken by the Alo. This language is considered musical and sweet sounding by most races of Gai'talar. When spoken harshly or aggressively that musicality remains but can become disconcerting. Writing system is mixed phonetic and pictographic similar to Djarlendt. The pictographs are the same between Lellia'al and Djarlendt while the phonetic alphabets are different. Fanock: The Language of the large eared desert dwelling fox people. Oddly similar in sound to middle eastern languages from earth though no common roots exist. An English speaker may mistake it for an earth language of the middle east but a fanock speaker would not be able to understand any earth language of the middle east were they to hear them. This Does not preclude them Learning such languages. Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew as well as English came through with the Humans that appeared in Fanock territories. Fanock is written vertically and can be read in either direction leading to a type of poetry that changes its meaning depending on the direction it is read. For normal use though a 4 sided diamond marks the start of a sentence and a cube the end. Other languages Chir'kikkimissi : A chittering and squeaky language used by the Skit'ritch. This language is often spoken very quickly and it tone sensitive. This language is notable for being difficult for other species to produce. For this reason all Skit'ritch also grow up with the trade language so they are able to communicate outside their species. Chir'kikkimissi while hard to speak is not considered overly hard to read when printed as their lettering system is phonetic and grammar is straightforward. There exists a Chir'kikkimissi cursive that is very hard to read as letters become less distinct and it is written very small. This is rarely used and when it is used it is more often done to irritate someone than it is for any other purpose. Not even Affluent skitritch commonly write in it. When keeping journals or diaries that are for private use and the writer wants to make causal perusal harder they use the cursive form of the language. This can lead to the writer not being able to read their own writing though. Lontremic: This is the language used by the Lutrondae and Lontracant. also somewhat squeaky. The two cultures have different idioms so sometimes idiomatic phrases are avoid when speaking between species. Both species use the trade language. Written form looks similar to cuneiform of earth as a reasult of how it is written. Lontrimic is written on wax or clay with a special stylus. If written on clay it is dried and fired to and glazed to make it permanent. If Written on paper or other mediums they are treated with wax or lard in a special waterproofing technique that makes durable water proof books that withstand time and wear very well but are rather flammable. Both races that use this language tend to put Libraries under water. Unity Signs: A type of non verbal sign language inspired by American Sign language meant to be a full and meaningful method of non verbal communication. Specifically crafted to not use any features any present race of gai'talar lacks. So movable ears and tails are not needed but sometimes used for emphasis if the user has them. The depth of this language is meant to make up for all the historical short falls of the Ancient sign language. Is sometimes mistaken for Casting signs. American Sign language: A sign language brought from earth and preserved by the mage's guild. Still used among some humans. Alchemist/ chemist sigils: While not a true language there exists a set of universally understood symbols for elements and chemical compounds. Because of the Mage's and Artificer's guild these symbols are standardized and well understood by anyone who works with chemicals. Instead of having 2 letter symbols for chemical elements that are derived from an old name for them instead this language comes up with a symbol that is understood throughout time and culture to denote an element. The Source for these symbols can range widly from just using the Hesken Pictograph for Iron to a newly made up symbol for a more recently discovered element. Some Symbols are taking from human chemistry books that came through with the humans when they arrived and some are from magical texts that are so old no one knows their origin. Each culture will have different names for the elements but through education have a unified set of symbols for them allowing scientists to communicate. Human Periodic tables are also used because humans discovered or synthesized some elements before their world was lost. Periodic tables from Gai'talar differ in that there are elements that are completely magical in nature and are distinguished from normal mundane chemicals. There is also a Symbol that means, "magically charged" that can be added to a normal element to denote a chemical or element that has been altered by magic. Unknown origin languages: Viatorem: A language who's origins were lost to time but it is still spoken and taught in academic settings. Oddly enough some human words seem to be related to it even though it far predates humanity's arrival on Gai'talar Kzo'fck: An ancient language used primarily in ancient magical texts dealing with the outer realms of reality. Texts range from summoning outer realm creatures to banishing them and healing afflictions caused by them. Kzo'fck is not a widely used or studied language even in magical institutions. Many don't know it exists. Flute speaking: A musical code used for communication that can relay basic information and sentiments. Despite it's name it can be done on almost any musical instrument. Humans can even use this language well by whistling. Messages can be hidden in songs or melodies or the messages can be played plain as day. Ancient 'universal' sign language: A simple and very limited form of sign language used to communicate between species for thousands of years. Its simplicity and lack of depth meant that it was only of limited use. The signs were sufficient for simple commerce. One could say " want 4 tons iron " but could not be used to ask if someone is ok or if they need help. This weakness meant it was quickly abandoned when English/ The trad language came along as it allowed for connection beyond commerce and for more complex dealings with in it. Dream speak: A seemingly coherent language that people speak in their sleep. Has been observed in every species all over the world. Even when compiled and words separated out no one knows what these words mean or how the language is structured. People that speak or sing in this never remember what they were saying and more often then not don't remember doing it. Those that can recall 100% of the words they spoke while dreaming don't know what they mean. Dialect: A regional variation of a language. Each language has some differences that accumulate due to influences present in the area the speaker grows up in. A few Examples of this is the Lontrimic dialects used by the Lutrondae and the Lontracant are different enough that certain idioms don't carry over into the other dialect or that the Ulvaltar language and Djarlendt have sound shifts and slightly different grammar. The Trade language of English will have different dialects and you can almost always tell someone's upbringing from how they speak english. The seafaring or dockside dialects have far more contractions than Mercantile or Scholarly English. Also Djarlendt itself has different dialects for normal speech and ritual use. People who sing Hesken funeral songs soften their consents taking a lot of the edge off the language. Some languages will even have simpler grammar structures made for new learners. Some languges strangely don't build up dialectic differences. Sionact is one of these, no matter the location or influences around them the sionact language doesn't change that much, instead Sionact speakers learn the other language of their neighbors and speak that while their own language remains unchanged. Valparet is similar but strict schooling and measures are put in place to keep Valparet from splitting into dialects. Another mechanism for dialects is that races learning another language will add features of their own language to the one they are learning. Examples: Skitritch children when they are learning english will speak really quickly, Hesken children will start compounding words that shouldn't be and Valparet will be very nasal even with languages that don't call for it. CONCEPTS OF MAGIC Affinity ( Magic ) : A talent or predisposition toward a specific type of magic. That type of magic will come more naturally to the caster. Bio-thaumaturgy: The type of magic that specializes in altering the physical body. Healing magic as well as magically inflicting maladies fall under this type. Like all others this type of magic is neither good or evil it depends on how it is used but is often seen as holy. Magitech: A blend of magic and technology or technology powered by magic. A Boiler the derives its heat from magic instead of coal is still considered magitech by most people. Ritual magic: Magic that is performed by a ritual such recitation of words, writing of runes or hand gestures. This is akin to a magical computer program that is activated to make a certain effect. They take less mental manipulation of magical energy and are used for to cast things more difficult than the cast is usually able to do. These were made by many ancient cultures and so one language or writing system is employed to use them but they can only be performed in the language they are set in. Ex: A Lontracant ritual can not be performed in any other language than Lontracant. The Art of creating and crafting Rituals is closely guarded and is not an easy feat. Sometime Invokes outer beings for a purpose. Casting signs: Finger or hand movements used in ritual magic, these are akin to keystrokes at a computer to enter commands. People who learn these casting signs can tell what a caster is trying to do even if they have no magical talents. Outer Beings: Creatures from extra or outer planes of reality. Range from the utterly vicious to the slightly quirky. Are recognized as a source of power by many cults. Realms: The catch all term for the different but connected worlds or planes that are accessible through magic. Shadow Realm/ the place echoes: This is a mirror of what happens in the physical world, a shadow of it, this is where most but not all ghost would reside. Is neither good nor evil in nature though many vile things reside there. Also considered the dream world but this is contested. Astral realm/ ethereaum: The realm that houses a vast array of places manifest. Can also be mirrors of the physical realm but are connected to greater vastness of things. It is theorized that this is where souls go after death unless something causes them to go elsewhere. Le Verld/ physical world/ Mundus, Miorgar : The physical world were laws of physics are consistent and life arises. Also just called Gai'talar Intent magic: This is a type of magic performed entirely through thought and will power and the manipulation of energies through thought and focus. Someone with an affinity will perform that magic type easily through intent even if they have difficulty with other types of magic. This requires no speaking or movements though many casters will move as it help focus their intent. The moments are simple gestures and not complicated affairs such as ritual magic calls for. Heritage memory: A rare magical manifestation of remembering all the history, stories or language of a culture. This culture is usually but not always that of the person who it manifests in. These are memories of how events actually occurred and not always how history records them so sometimes these individuals are seen as being very inconvenient. Artificer: Someone who specializes in imbuing magic into devices and technology. Also talented in crafting. Holy magic/ Sacred flame: Magic sourced from the creator of the universe and Deity of all Gai'talar's religions. Has grown more an more rare. Speaker Of the Sacred Flame: Sense 1: This is an extremely rare manifestation in which the creator of the universe can speak directly through someone or tell them to do things. The Speaker can even be completely taken over to perform a task. They usually don't remember this task and awaken after feeling no ill effects from whatever they were doing even if they were up all night doing intense physical labor they do not feel tired or sore the next day and think they just fell asleep. This state can last a long time. One of the most well known Speakers of the flame created an orphanage and ran it for 4 years before waking up in an unfamiliar city in a strange country and not remembering what had happened. Skills he picked up such as cooking and medicine mysteriously remained. Often called True speakers to differentiate from the title. Speaker of the Sacred flame Sense 2: A title give to priests who show holy affinity or have attained very high rank. Some churches such as the Alo and the Hesken will never bestow this as a title. Other titles are used in its stead and the term is reserved for sense 1 individuals. Totem animal: An ik'sophant species that is held sacred to an individual. It is not required that the totem animal be the progenitor species of the individual. A Skit'ritch may have a wolf as a totem animal. Totem animals act as magical scouts or guides for Spirit magic practitioners. Spirit singers/ Soul song: A mysterious type of magic that is not as well understood as other practices. Sometimes the song doesn't come from a person, it can come from a place or object. Can manifest in actual sound ( Vibration of air molecules ) and sometimes it manifests purely inside someone's head and can not be reordered or perceived through methods of sound recording. ( Gai'talar has simple sound recording and playback technology like Phonographs ) A milder manifestation of the later form can come in vague feelings. The are Called "memories of the Melody" and it has become a common turn of phrase to express a vague emotion that is not explainable. These can be positive and negative. Spirit Singers can also influence people with song though this is not full control. Examples range from whipping soldiers up to fight to calming them down and reminding them not to get too carried away. Some Spirit singers disguise themselves as regular Bards and play at pubs to make random people feel better. They Most openly perform at funerals and can help give closure to the grieving. People who specialize in this are called 'grief singers' or 'chanters of Lament' and are the most accepted form of spirit singers. Some villages also have dedicated Spirit singers who's job it is to keep certain types of supernatural entities at bay or to move on. Soul trap: A magical device that holds the soul or ghost of a being. Used in trapping dangerous spirits by ghost hunters. Soul Traps can also be made of living beings. Some magic users have soul traps worked into their own flesh and use it to hold someone's soul for greater power or because they are not ready for that person to die. Most magically inclined people can see the state of the soul trapped and so determining if they are holding a person that is not ready to move on or if they are holding a soul against its will is a simple matter. The Make of a soul trap can also tip off people as to its intent. When made one way it allows a soul to stay there for as long as it wants but nothing stops the soul from leaving. When made another way it traps the soul of the person but is delicate and can be broken by and outside force. Reborn: A soul that has been born into a new body. They can usually remember their past lives or learn to remember them. Memories are no guarantee that you are a reborn and not everyone who thinks they are actually are. Sometimes people with mental illnesses think they are reborn. There are methods of checking but not everyone is comfortable with them. The most well know and Documented Reborn was an ancient Hesken wizard king who was born again 5 thousand years later into a poor Sionact household and retained his memories and powers but never tried to amass power and regain his position because he was happier with the new family. He died of old age with a large family and it is thought that his soul passed on, though some claim he is hanging around as a ghost watching over the surviving members of the family. Focus: See Focus in significant objects section. concepts of culture: Religion: "Church of the Sacred Flame" The main religion of Gai'talar. Every disparate culture recognizes The Sacred Flame somewhere in their past and so it is considered the universal constant factor in Religion. The exact Nature of the Sacred flame is sometimes up to debate but most recognize it has an intention and is beneficent. Sometimes the Sacred flame picks agents to perform specific tasks in the world. ( See: speaker of the Sacred flame in magic concepts section. ) Differences have built up between the cultures regarding certain particulars of Doctrine due to each culture shaping their particular church through their saints and through their own cultural lens. Examples of this range from the Valperet thinking that each species has their own afterlife to the Lutrondae and Lontracant thinking their is a realm of punishment for wrong doers called " The cold deep." Some Sects have theological elements that others don't have and some sects are Species restricted or treat parishioners from other species and secondary. Unsurprisingly the Hesken founded the most egalitarian denomination with each race having equal standing and the belief in a unified afterlife. Their notions of morality don't flow from punishment or command so they incorporated a code of ethics separate from their sacred writings and have even called into question the conduct of their own saints. If they think a saint had a flaw they openly admit it while in many other denominations you are dissuaded from doing this. The Arrival of humans has upset some Denominations of the church of the Sacred Flame as they are outsiders from another universe so religious based prejudice is an issue. Humanity has made their own small branch of the Church of the sacred flame and incorporated elements of earth religions into it. Sometimes their is tension and disagreements between the establishment church and folk practitioners who have slightly different customs. Saint: Saints are People known for their devotion to their religion On Gai'talar this term is preserved for people who do great things in the name of The Sacred Flame/ The light. Each species has a Cannon or set of Saints who did great things in their region usually before the cultures started mixing. Each Species Mostly learns about their own saints or the saints revered in the area they live. Not All people recognized as saints are loved by the Establishment of the Church. EX: Some Saints like Saint Gerund Advocated the celebration of love in all forms even between other thinking species, which at the time was considered extremely controversial. Gerund Stated that Friendship, comradery and even love should not be restricted by species only by Consent. At the time of this writing friendships between species were considered as outlandish as Romances Between them. Saint Gerund was also know for his extreme brutality on the field of battle that contrasted with his preaching of kindness and caring in society. The Hesken However understand his Credo to mean " Be gentle with all during peacetime, but if someone declares you an enemy destroy them." Saint Gerund's species is in debate as He is revered by Hesken but all the writings on history stated he was Not a Hesken but never say what he was. No descriptions exist of Saint Gerund and when questioned firmly there is no proof that Gerund was male as is presumed. While Gerund's status as a saint is not in question very few churches mention him in sermons. While the Recent, Saint Vaarouge the fearless is Widely Lauded despite having fewer holy deeds and no writing at all to his name in comparison to Gerund. Paladins: Knight priests in service of the church, despite multiple Denominations of the church existing their is only one Holy order of knights and they come from all species and are not beholden to any one sect. This has caused some tensions as each denomination tries to sway the Leaders of this holy army. This Army used to be part of the mage's guild, and formed when holy magic users congregated to share teachings and ideas and slowly became their own entity. Their ideology is more focused on service and less on influence so they often are rather uninvolved in politics. They gain most of their funds from the establishment churches who support them out of tradition and in hopes of gaining their favor. Ik'sophant / NullSapiens: The term for any non saipeint animal. These animals are the non thinking base type and often considered the forerunners of the intelligent races. Each race has a corresponding Ik'sophant species that they hold dear such as Lutrondae being fond of normal sea-otters or the Alo holding Arctic foxes in high esteem in their culture. Ulvalter sometimes run with packs of wild wolves. Each culture has different relation to their Ik'sophant species: Lutrondae would be gravely insulted if you try to sell them otter pelts: Ulvalter will defend wolves as their own kin, Valperet don't think much about redfoxes at all and the Skit'ritch find rats to be little more than a nuisance. The terms are derived from the Viatorem language Nullsapiens meaning zero thought and ik'sophant from Sophant meaning thinking or wise being but negated by ik' which means not in the most widely used hesken language. Ranihm/ ne'mode/ Race caste : The Race based caste system which some societies adhere to. This dictates that certain races are destined to fulfill certain rolls. Ex: Because of quick wit and nimble tongue Valperet are considered perfect for intellectual, administrative and mercantile rolls and are dissuaded from labour intensive jobs. Hesken with their amazing endurance and strength are considered good farmers, labourers and soldiers. Lutrondae and Skit'rtich are considered good sailors and fisherman, the downside to this system is that negative stereotypes occur such as Skit'ritch being considered sneaky and theiving since they are small and quiet, Valperet being greedy cheats who trick people into bad deals, or that Hesken are only good for dumb labour and combat. These stereotypes are often racially motivated and not necessarily accurate. The Skit'ritch don't steal at any higher rates then other species, but be better at it and Hesken of all class brackets are far more likely to be literate than other races. Valperet are no more likely to cheat than any other race but their salesmanship skills make them an easy target for accusations. Humans fall outside this hierarchy and this is another for of prejudice that they face. Fra Velk: Anyone who actively rejects the Race Caste. This is consider a political label in most countries. It means Free person in Djarlendt. The term used to be used when slaves were set free by hesken warriors. Hesken culture has a deep abhorrence of slavery as Hesken were considered the best slaves if they could be controlled. This term is loaded with historical baggage in some countries and is well loved in others. UlvalRasa: English equivalent of Ulvalrasa is " Going Berserk " This is the violent rage state that Ulvalter and hesken can enter when in combat or cornered. It is considered extremely Distressing to witness a hesken enter it as it is so unlike their usual gentle and friendly behavior. Also since hesken are stronger then Ulvalter, Hesken can do far more damage. This state can be triggered at will and controlled if the individual is trained properly. In rare cases other species can enter this state through training or magic. VelkSjel ( Velk Syel )/ populame: Literally people soul. This concept is that of your cultural identity but is the term is meant as holding pride in your culture without denigrating the culture of another. It is a personal expression of your culture that you do not impose on others or allow others to impose upon you. Since the concept is so heavily centered on personal expression any harm you do to another person even if it is an expression of your culture is not considered VelkSjel. This concept was thought up by many species but the Valperet and Hesken words are the most popular. Not every society holds this ideal. Joik/yoik, Evocation with the voice, shishral, Gra'jul: A type of singing that is the direct equivalent to Joiking as Practiced by the Sami people from earth. " As an art form, each joik is meant to reflect or evoke a person, animal, or place. " Wikipedia. Several Gai'talar cultures have this type of singing. Is often thought to be the origin of the magical practice of spirit singing or Vice versa. Among the Alo and the Fannock it is called: Shishral but no one knows why they use the same word as both languages had the term long before they had cultural contact. Hesken and Ulvaltar call it Gra'jul. Humans or other english speakers use the Sami term joik/yoik or call it "Evocation with the voice" The Lontracant species has this style of singing but has no special word for it. Sometimes people are unable to tell if someone is trying to spirit sing or are just Yoiking. Sometimes the Urullul is lumped into this type of singing but Hesken and Ulvaltar consider them to be completely different things. This has led to some places outlawing this type of singing because they mistakenly associate it with the Urullul which most species find disturbing. Sports Stutzel: A type of wrestling that is meant to be playful and fun to watch as well as a martial sport. Mostly done in small areas like pubs or backyards the two contestants hold a stick behind their back and push against each other with their chests, stomachs or shoulders and try to knock the other out of the ring. Humans often call it "Belly Bucking" because a similar sport existed on earth by that name. Stutzel is not confined to one species or gender. It is Hesken in origin but had spread to other cultures pre human contact so each culture may have their own rules for it. Berfock: A Hesken sport that is akin to Sumo wrestling. Goal is to get opponent out of the ring or onto the ground. Can be achieved through brute strength or wit or a combination of the two. Punchies/ spofist: Playful fist fighting. Can become rather rough. Almost every culture has sport by the same name. Spofist was one of the few pre human contact words or concepts that spread and was understood by the whole world. There are very few rules. The goal is to just playfully fight not knock the other person out or injure them. When initiating this game it is supposed to be clear this is play-fighting. That is the number one rule. Sometimes people use this as a prelude to mating or dating but this is not universal, there is no expectation that any Spofist match will turn romantic. Thumb Wrestling: A game from earth in which you clasp hands and try to pin the other person's thumb with your own. Considered a children's game by humans it has become popular with bored sailors in dockside pubs. Arm wrestling: While it existed on earth it also existed on Gai'talar since history began. Unlike Spofist there was no universal word to describe it. Is suprisingly popular with Hesken women as it is a strength based game they can still play while pregnant. ( Pregnancy is the few universal bars to women participating in sports on Gai'talar and games that can be played while pregnant are considered life savers to female sportsmen. ) Competitive net mending: While not quite a formal sport bored fishermen will race each other on how fast they can mend nets. People actually watch them and beyond all reason it is growing in popularity as a spectator sport. Mace ball/ kruck co: A Hesken game in which clubs or maces are used to hit a a ball or stone back and forth. It is like a mixture of tennis and baseball. Started out as a game for soldiers it became popular as a way to train hand eye coordination. Archery: Bow and arrow used competitively Spear throwing: Spears thrown competitively, usually uses hunting or fishing style spears and not combat spears. Not Popular in cities due to lack of space. Fencing: Competitive sword fighting. Name is used for sport fighting with every type of sword. Brainoux/ zikrikik: A form of competitive poetry. The Valparet and Skitritch both came up with it independently of each other. While not Usually considered a sport it is a popular pass time that can draw big crowds. Is somewhat equivalent to a Rap Battle. Parkour/ chetzenketch: A discipline using the enviroment or surroundings to move swiftly through a space. The only difference between Parkour from earth and the skitritch idea of chetzenketch is that chetzenketch has combat maneuvers and training built into it. Alo, sionact/valparet and Skitritch are considered well suited to this discipline due to their light weight and agility. Hesken on the other hand are not light in weight but have the agility to perform it but must be more careful in doing so as they are more likely to damage the environment they are trying to traverse. Hesken must train more to be accomplished at it. Humans also have to train for it and are not considered as naturally gifted at it. chetzenketch is considered a standard part of skitritch childhood as it prepares them for life at sea and for the foibles of skitritch architecture where jumping roof to roof is considered normal and little rope to walk or climb across are considered normal. Fomendus: A Lutrondae game played under water in which a stone must be carried to a goal. Rules are like underwater football played in 3 dimensions. Only the otter like races play this game. ,Significant Objects: Gates: Magical gateways constucted by a long gone race. These are of various types and sizes and levels of complexity. These are usually found in Thethen ruins and are thought to have been constructed by the Thethen. No one living on gai'talar know how to work them, some organizations try to activate them while others figure out how to break or deactivate them. Belt knife: Many Gai'talar cultures have a tradition of carrying belt knives. The knives can differ greatly due to culture and function. These knife types have many earth equivalents. In some town and cities Belt knives and Fire arms are restricted. The Hesken prefer heavy bladed work knives similar to a Seax or Bowie knife. Men and women carry the same types. A male and female owned knife have little to no distinction. These knives are meant to serve both as tool and as weapon in emergencies. These can be passed down in families but are usually made by the owner in late childhood. Both boys and girls make their own blades as Hesken have a pretty egalitarian attitude. Non Hesken living in Hesken controlled areas are also allowed to make them as a right of passage. The Alo carry smaller work knives similar to a Finnish Puuko men and women carry slightly different types differing mainly in decoration. Fanock don't carry a standard type but most if not all carry some type of knife. Usually suited to whatever they wish to use it for. Skit'ritch sailors all carry short bladed knives suited to maritime work. Families of Sailors will also carry them as a reminder of their family members at sea. A widow or widower will carry their own knife and that of their spouse should the knife be recovered. If both parents are lost at sea then the remaining children will inherit them if they are old enough to have knives. Guns: Firearms have become more developed and wide spread. Often augmented with magic. Stunners:Usually An electron thrower that can stun or numb the muscles of a target. though other methods of non lethal firearms are also called stunners. Thermal ( weapon ) : A weapon that uses concentrated beams of heat. Comes in many sizes from hand held pistols to ship mounted cannons. Do no damage other than heat, if the target is insulated from extreme heat then the weapon has no effect. Magical Focus: There are many tools used to focus and amplify magical energies. Allows for more efficient use of energy but not all magic users need them. Almost any object can becoeme one if properly modified. Here are a few. Rod: A wood or metal rod that has been augmented to serve as a magical focus. Is favored by people who expect to have to fight using magic. It is Sturdy enough to be used as a striking or blocking implement. Orb: A magical ball or Orb ( though it can be other shapes like a pyramid ) that levitates and moves with the users will. It can emit magical attacks and effects from it leaving the user to do something else with their hands. These are not as popular because of the mental effort and constant focus needed to control it. The benefits of it are the user can see through it and distance is pretty meaningless to orbs. They are usually strong enough that they are are near impossible to break. A full martial art focused around using an orb as a offensive and defensive tool in place of fists. The draw back is that some mages can send haptic feed back through the link connecting the user. Wand: The classical magic wand. Is light and maneuverable but is the most fragile option so it is not as popular outside strictly academic institutions. Imbued Knife: A knife that has been modified to channel and amplify magic. Is useful because it is both a tool for physical work and magical work. Sword: Some mage knights imbue their swords to act as focuses so they can switch seamlessly between casting and swordplay. They are falling in popularity but are still around. Staff: The traditional and oldest form of magical focus. Is versatile in that it can be used as a weapon, a tool and as a magic focus. Cane: similar to a rod but made to act as a walking implement when not used in magic. Can and rod fighting techniques are a little different. Ring: A ring used as a magical focus. Is not usual particularly powerful but is portable and concealable. Knuckles: Bras knuckles modified to be magical focus. these are favored for fighters who mix magic into fist based martial arts. Gauntlet/glove : A glove or armored gauntlet modified to be a magical focus. These are not as popular as they are harder to make them light. It take an expert artificer to make a simple pair of leather gloves act as a focus.
  2. How they all came together

    It was the first commercial space launch in years, but the purpose was purely scientific. No one on board was going to make 'Colewalder and Phip Propulsion', 'Pentadyne industries' or any of the companies involved in this any money. On board were 3 scientists and 3 civilians how where going to orbit the planet for 6 months and test the living accommodations aboard the new exploratory vessels that where being produced in the new rush toward the stars. They were basically comfort testing the vessel while ground crews monitored them and the equipment remotely. These 3 civilian volunteers had been hard to come by, society at large was still skeptical about going back into space after the failed efforts 25 years ago left a batch of 10 prospective colonists to die of system failures on their nearest planet. it had taken a month to get there and a month for a rescue vessel to reach them but by then it was too late and the world had watched. So while many people wanted to try again it had been hard to find people who were willing to drop everything and give it a go. But they had found 3 and each had their reasons. There was a former accountant who had just quit his job and decided he wanted to go to space. There was an unemployed photographer who had walked in with all the cash he had and signed up, and there was a young woman who decided that furthering space colonization was more important than marrying and settling down. Those are all the details they gave out to the reporters anyway. The Truth was that there was more to them than they let on. They all secretly thought about how they came to be here as the engines rumbled to life and they were pressed against their seats. Renard Flemoux had been standing outside of his highrise office building. He was looking down and felt he had no choice but to jump. He had somehow lost track of millions of dollars and spent months tracking it down. Now that he found it he knew how hopeless it was. The money had been taken by the Coo who happened to be the Ceo's son. The thief had done it in such as fashion as to have plausible deniability and lined up some scapegoats. One of whom was Renard Flemoux his reputation would be ruined and he would most likely go to jail. So now he was standing outside of his office building looking down. He was still frozen but felt like down was the only way out. He had brought his briefcase for some reason. He didn't know why. He was standing there still feeling the wind on his fur and wondering if it would hurt. He heard a window off to his left open he looked over to see a bear in a business suit, rolls of fat poking over his suit collar. He had no idea who that was he thought it was probably someone who worked at the business that they shared the floor with. " Just stay right there, you don't need to make any rash decisions, i am going to come over just stay right there for a minute." The bear said in a comforting tone then popped back into his own window. Renard looked down and thought about jumping before the bear got there. His heard pounded in his ears and he could hear the wind whipping in his ears as if he had already jumped. The it all stopped, his heart beat, the wind, the sound of traffic far bellow. All these things cut off as if by a knife and filling that sudden void was the gentle notes of a flute. He turned around to see a 20 something raccoon in a well worn hoody standing behind him and gently playing a sweet melody on what looked to be a homemade flute. Instead of a tinny whistle the notes were clear and and sweet and were piercing Renard's heart like a dagger, all the heart pounding fear and despair was pushed aside by the tender notes. He had a sudden urge to look down but when he did he didn't see a place to end his life he saw little smears of color that were people going about vivid and interesting lives, his eyes darted around and he took the city in with a sudden new wonder. His eyes suddenly caught the far off forests and the trees so distantly swaying. He vividly began imagining all the birds flitting between the trees and singing with no care in the world. His eyes wandered up the hills and mountains till he caught sight of the mountain top space port that had been refurbished for the rumored second go at space flight. His eyes kept going up and he stared into the blue sky. The melody of the flute filling him and making him feel like he was being carried upward toward the stars hidden by the blue veil of the sky. He knew that his future lay not plummeting toward the ground but hurtling toward the sky. The music suddenly stopped. He turned to thank the flute player and compliment him on his beautiful playing but he was gone. There was no sign of the young raccoon. Just a blank ledge. Actually there wouldn't have been room for another persona anyway. he was taking up the whole ledge. He was standing just outside his open window. The flute player would have had to be in his office but he remembered him being on the ledge behind him. No matter. It was time for a new plan. He turned back and waited for the wind to pick up then he opened his briefcase. All the papers and the documents flew out into the wind, some of them were sensitive but Renard no longer cared. The door to his office burst open and the bear, huffing with effort, Renard looked back still shaking his briefcase out. " Oh sorry if my dramatic resignation gave you the wrong impression, the only suicide i am committing is career suicide." He stepped off the ledge and started filling his briefcase with the things on his desk he wanted. " Wait, what?" the bear huffed. He was well dressed and was probably high up at the company next door. " Oh my boss's rich brat of a son stole some money from the company and was setting up some of us little people to take the fall, so fuck em' i am quitting and sending out all the evidence to... well pretty much everyone." He said all of this while tapping commands into his palm top, sending the relevant info to everyone in the company and even a few news stations. He cheerfully removes his tie and offers the panting bear his chair. " Have a seat, don't worry about breaking the chair, i am done with it. I would toss it out the window if it weren't a hazard to any below." Renard said casually. The bear sat and the chair made for Renard's slender fox frame creaked as the large bear sat down. He was starring wide eyed at Renard as he detailed a brief account of how the skimming had been done. " Anyway sorry for scarring you, you seem a decent sort, not everyone would even lift a finger to stop a suicide they would have just watched." Renard explained as he shut the briefcase around all the things he wanted. " Well now i am going to tell my boss to go fuck himself then i am going to space, tata." He walked out the door leaving the bear in the nice suit starring goggle eyed at him as he caught his breath. The bear raised his hand and waved and said " Uh, good luck and have a nice day." in a confused voice. Renard had run into his boss in a hallway and explained The boss's son had been embezzling and that he was a fuckwit, the boss was a fuckwit and that he hoped to never hear from them again. He didn't wait to let the astonishment slip from his boss's face he just strode to the elevator and made his way down. There he called a cab and had it take him to the train station where he caught a train up into the mountains and into the space center where he volunteered. After 8 months of training he was strapped into a launch vehicle. He was grinning with pure simple joy the whole time the extra Gs slamed him back into his seat as he hurtled toward the sky. He wasn't on a grand tour of the universe or anything but he felt like he was on his way to contributing to something larger than some CEO's pocket book. He hoped whatever happened, what ever part he played he would contribute to society as a whole. Next to him the almost awkwardly tall and gangling figure of a cheetah sat pressed back into his own chair. He was also thinking of how he had come here. Pauly Canmendy had been out of work for nearly a year. He was backed up with debt and only had a hundred buck to his name which were all in his pocket as he tracked down a man who would end it all for him. He had read on some forums about services for clients with exotic tastes. He read on and found one of the providers was near by. He had arranged to meet that provider. He sat in his tiny apartment bedroom and waited for that service provider to come up. He was hoping that the provider could "accidentally" arrange so he didn't come back from the experience. He Had sent out some vaguely worded emails who's meaning would be clear afterward. " I am taking a trip and if all goes well i won't be coming back" It read. When he turned up missing he hoped no one came looking. He had paid off his rent, his loans and everything and was left with the hundred bucks in his poket. He had closed most of his bank accounts but left one open because by that time he had run out of energy to tie up loose ends. He thought about doing it now just to have it done with but he couldn't summon up the energy. The Buzzer rang announcing he had a visitor. He checked the time and saw it was right on time for the service provider. He Hit the door control and let the provider in and minutes later he heard a knock at the door to his tiny apartment. He opened the door to let his end enter. Inside came a Tanuki, maybe 6 feet tall decently muscled but with a belly that hung out below his plain white shirt he wore under a leather vest. Unlike the picture he wasn't decked out in a bondage harness, chaps and a leather collar but his outfit was much the same in tightly fitting bluejeans and white shirt that was stretched with his girth. He supposed some people would have found his type wildly attractive but Pauly felt nothing at all. He came in wearing a cocky grin that was vaguely predatory but as soon as he entered and looked Pauly up and down it melted off his face. At first Pauly was wondering if he was disappointing in his prey but the look that replaced it was of gentle pity and compassion. He clearly felt sorry for Pauly who now that he thought about it wasn't hiding his dejected expression. " Ok, so i want you to do your thing, but i don't want to come back from it, here is a hundred..." he began explaining in a dead voice but was cut off when he felt strong arms grasp him and pull him against the big belly. He thought it was about to happen and he couldn't wait for the darkness to take him away from his troubles. Then he noticed the Service provider's hands weren't griping or pulling him toward his doom. The strong arms were wrapped around him in a hug. Pauly felt the tanuki place his chin on top of Pauly's head. He thought about Objecting, to struggling to demanding he do his job and end it all. But it had been so long since anyone had given his a hug. He just sat there and let it happen while his eyes misted. The Big tanuki began rocking him gently and Pauly's eyes began to blur and close. He knew he wasn't falling asleep but seemed to go straight into a dream. He saw his Apartment building receding as he slowly pulled back into the sky. He saw the whole continent lush and green, then farther he saw the whole world covered in oceans the most vibrant blue he had ever seen, white clouds dotted the planet he pulled back farther and passed the moon then the small objects that drifted around it. Then he seemed to pick up speed and was rushing passed stars and for the barest moment he saw all the planets and moons in them he felt himself hurtling passed vast distances of space until suddenly he felt his feet touch the ground. He was starring up at an alien sky, no atmosphere clouded the view of the luminous clouds of gas and dust that hung in the sky like dancing clouds of fire and ice. Stars shown in the small clear patches of the sky and they glimmered like piles of diamonds dumped on a jeweler's black velvet cloth. The Planets sun was up and slightly behind him and he watched his shadow creeping as time flew passed seeming to slither over the rocks that were red and blue-green with Iron and copper oxides. The far off hills were all dotted in stunning patterns of these oxides and seemed to mirror the colors in the sky. Time seemed to jump and he saw buildings spring up, first simple prefabs, then buildings made of native rock, then a small town with people walking about in suits. Those people weren't like any species pauly had seen back home. He realized he was seeing a colony spring up. He could almost smell the collective excitement. The Hope and the years of struggle to get there. He liked it. He wanted it. He Needed it. He remembered the rumors of his own world's push into the stars and knew he needed to be part of it. He awoke, or at least came back to himself, he was laying on his bed and wondered if it was all a dream but he saw the fat tanuki sitting next to his bed counting out money. He saw he was peeling of hundreds as he counted, it wasn't Pauly's money. The fat tanuki placed the wad of cash down above of pauly's phone which was displaying directions that must have been programed in by the Tanuki. Under the phone was an application form for civilian service in the science division of the multinational space agency. The Tanuki set the bundle of cash on top of the form. " Application fees." The tanuki said not turning to look but feeling Pauly's eyes on him. " You can only take a small bag, i suggest the Ferickson pro 5 and any lenses for it. It is most versatile but has good quiality for it's size." " Uh i know, i am a photographer." Pauly says. He got the impression that the big Tanuki guy was mother henning him. "Right, well take pictures that are out of this world." The Tanuki returns then gets up. " Hey man, can i get your name?" Pauly asks. he was sure he had seen the guys name when he had contacted him to end it all but that felt like it had been so long ago. " Uh, its Stopher." " Well thanks Stopher, for the shift in perspective." pauly says and hold out his hand. Stopher takes it and shakes it. " Think nothing of it. You might want to ask some of your friends to watch the stuff you don't take." The Tanuki says then just Vanishes with a 'Shwaa' sound. Pauly immeadiatly takes this moment to make a few phone calls. After a few minutes and saying " I'm going to space!" more times then he can count he packs a small bag and his Ferickson and heads out the door With the forms in hand. He runs into some people in the hallways on his way to the stairs and anyone who asks where he is off to he answers with. " I'm going to space!" A bus ride and a train up into the mountains he is in the application center with only a few other people. He Fills out his forms and idly chats to some of the examiners as he does so. He is just so glad to be cheerful he lets anything spill out of his mouth. He talks about the things he saw in his dream, he with ought knowing how rattles off coordinates, and features. He is so busy with the forms he doesn't notice one of the doctors frowning as he listens. This doctor slips out of the room and doesn't come back until Pauly's is finished filling out the forms and forks over the application fees. He is just sitting in the waiting room and and tweeting out selfies of himself with things in the waiting room. He hadn't felt like being stupidly excited in a long time and wanted to bask in it. He was so absorbed in this he didn't notice the doctor comeback in and emphatically point toward him and whisper into someone else's ear. " he knew they were there and we hadn't even finished decoding the data, it took 13 minutes after i asked about it and he was right, there is an extraterrestrial colony at the coordinates he was babbling about. I want him in the program any program. just keep him around." When told he had been accepted he grabbed the doctor in a hug and took a selfie the pic showed his grinning face and the startled looking doctor, written with all caps. " I AM GOING TO FUCKING SPACE!" Pauly Now sat grimacing but still extacik as he was squished into his flight chair. He was thinking about all the things he wanted to photograph. Hell he would take pictures of a toothbrush as long as it was in space and he was about to be somewhere where everything was in space. Namely space. "sssssppaaaaccceee" he muttered out against the extra Gs. The Female Shiba inu in the seat next to him gave him a quick glance as she expressionlessly sat and absentmindedly calculated their distance of the ground by dividing the stated velocity from the pre-flight briefing against the time she counted. She was as excited as the other two but kept that excitement in the back of her mind. She was Former military so had an air of professionalism that the other two civilian testers lacked. She admitted their wide eye wonder was amusing and endearing. She was also glad to be off the ground. She concentrates on the mission and does not let herself be distracted by her past. She simply counted. The Shutter felt didn't take her by surprise. The Launch assist stage Separated and made its way back down. It would land at the dessert complex one continent over from where they launched. After a small pause she felt the engines of the Main Vehicle start up. A flash of something made her look over. A monitor had turned on and it was showing a veiw from one of the external cameras. What she saw on the monitor shattered all the discipline she had. There on the monitor lay the planet curving away beneath them. She had a moment of of speechless awe. She had come up here to escape but now she was looking at the wide expanse of the world and she felt that her reasons for coming here had been misguided. She should have been thinking about this. The tall cheetah who she always thought was a bit of an Idealistic idiot always going on about space and how cool it was had realized something she hadn't. Namely that this was amazing and worth it for its own sake. She Felt a shortlived moment of shame but then dismissed it because she was changing her mind with new information. She was learning and there was no shame in that. She forgot to track the stages of their mission and just looked over at the monitor. She was so Absorbed that the voice over the com telling them they could unbuckle and move about the cabin Startled her slightly. Everyone took advantage of this, the fox accountant tentitvally at first and the cheetah photographer with enough enthusiasm to send him self bouncing of the bulkhead. He seemed unphased by it and soon made his way toward the monitor that stood in for a window. They were in a passenger compartment that could hold 6 but the other 3 seats had been removed for this test, instead being replaced by 3 crates secured to the deck. The Scientists and crew where in the cockpit. Instead the company had put 3 crates of micro satellites that were also being tested. They were self deploying so theoretically you could just shove the crate out an airlock with the lid off and they would sort themselves out. Half way through their test stay the crew would test these by deploying a crate in different manners. The passengers were most likely just going to watch. Right now the crates were providing an anchor for the Fox accountant to hold onto as he got used to the micro gravity. The Accommodations they would be staying in had variable gravity provided by plates of some kind of new material that could provide up to 1.5 G of gravity. There was only enough of the stuff to put in the living quarters. The Door to the cockpit opened and out came one of the pilots to check on everyone. He was in the latested generation spacesuit which had been adapted from a Military design of full body armor so it looked a little intimidating despite being painted blue and white. The Helmet was molded to follow the muzzle of the wearer and made of high impact ballistic plastics and fiber molds. Thankfully the eyes had been left visible through a clear visor, unlike the base it was modeled after. The Orignal Red Knight Arms M7A2 hazardous environmental combat suit was an intimidating monstrosity and some effort had been made to make the non combat pressure suit model look less arch. It had only been partially successful. The Pilot peered at them all. " Everyone doing alright? No Chunder blunders to scrape off the walls?" he asked cheerfully. " Who can vomit at a time like this?" the cheetah asks gleefully as he floats slowly in a pinwheel fashion. " Oh lots of people actually. It is one reason we asked you to leave your helmets off for the ascent." The pilot says. " Why is your suit different from ours?" Renard asked as he gently let go of crate he was hold onto to float gently in place. " Oh, yours are newer, they were made from scratch to look more friendly, this stuff is retooled combat gear, one of the Partners in of "Colewalter and Phip" has an arms company so this is their first attempt at space suits. Yours are their 3rd. Cheaper, more comfortable and most importantly doesn't make you look like a storm trooper." " Cheaper?" the Fox asks, the cheetah is too busy playing in the micro gravity to pay attention. " Well a lot of the cost of these come from the armor plating which is kinda overkill for most of what we do. Your suits have the amount of protection needed for non combat stuff." ( To be continued )
  3. Who is who. What he is looking for.

    I am interested in developing a pen and paper RPG that will be set in a Sci-fi setting and be centered around exploration and establishing colonies. It is still in development and i will be sharing some of the concept art when i get it uploaded.
  4. Growing up.

    Fvarbrand Turs, felt out of place and awkward. He had just turned 20 and he felt different from a year ago at this time. He had been lean and slender 12 months ago, with rusty deep red fur he had looked very unlike everyone in his village and he was mostly left to study uninterrupted. Now he was a thick mass of muscle and fat, he still had a relatively narrow shoulder span but now he was was thickly muscled with a sizable round belly. He wasn't used to it. The worst of it all was his high clear voice had roughened and deepened. His parents had told him this would happen but he had no idea it would be so quick. Puberty had hit him like a ton of bricks as the human saying went. He honestly should have seen it coming, his appetite had spike to near that of his father's and he had been finding things strangely lighter than they should be. He hadn't noticed his clothes tightening because his uncle had been making and giving him new clothing all the time so now that he looked down at himself and realized his shirt was a little tight from the straining of his newly developed stomach he was a little stymied. Hesken Puberty did mean that people, especially men started putting on weight, it usually took a few years for them to develop the hefty midsections that was typical of his race but he seemed to get it all in one season. He had thought he would stay slender for a while. Now that that wasn't the case he was starting to see why males in their 20's and up started buckling their belts off to the left, it was in preparation for their tummies to grow out and for the buckles not to be hidden under the sometimes astonishingly large stomachs his people could grow. He typically would have absorbed all this growing up but he was living in a mostly Alo settlement, there weren't that many Hesken around and he had only really saw them when his uncle or father traded with Caravans passing through these mountains. His uncle and his mother were small by Hesken standards and he had no idea if his father who was much bigger was typical or overly large when comparatively speaking. He awkwardly Dressed tugging the slightly tight tunic down and belting on his equipment pouches but trying to do it under his stomach before he realized he was supposed to do it off to the left. The Common wisdom his mother told him was to wear it on the opposite side on which you wore your knife. Fvarbrand didn't wear a knife at all which was uncommon for both Hesken and Alo but he was right handed so he buckled it to the left. He sat there and felt weird. Other than his deep red fur he didn't really stand out from the Alo he grew up around, now he was nearly a foot taller and larger in every sense. He realized this must be normal for Hesken and it wouldn't have been as much of a problem growing up around his own kind but he just didn't see any other like him around. He Felt suddenly very different and out of place. The thing that would make him constantly out of place though was his voice.It wasn't that Alo had that higher of a pitch tot their voices but hesken were know to be on the deep side and it made speaking Lellia'al the musical bright language of the Alo sound strange. The main problem with his voice cracking and deepening is his singing. He was an apprentice spirit singer and he had shown imense talents with his high clear youthful voice. But now his voice was deepening and changing and he didn't know when it would stop. He was on his way to see his teatcher who was returning after a long absence to learn new techniques and bring them back to teach. She had been gone 8 months and he hoped she didn't scold him for his changes. He finished dressing putting on a hood and coat, then stepped out into the new winter. He felt weird, he felt like everyone was staring. He felt... he felt... he felt too hot. He usually had to tolerate the cold but walking a bit through the village he suddenly wanted to throw off his hood and coat. His father had never really bothered with a coat unless the cold was extra harsh. He has even seen his father walking around town shirtless, his ruddy fur making him stand out against the snow. walking and feeling like he was sat on top of a cook fire he thought about this and realized something, His father just never really got cold and the Alo never treated his father strangely for his size. Maybe it was a matter of him getting used to himself and not the community getting used to him. Fvarbran felt a little better, then realized his singing voice was still ruined. He looked glum then heard some giggles. He looked up to see some Hesken, a whole troop of them. There were some girls about his age and they were looking right at him and giggling. They were also Fluttering their eyes at him and doing some of the things he had seen his mother doing to his father when she was feeling romantic. He felt strange looking at them. His head cloudy and and off. He Grimmaced. He didn't want to have to deal with " Those feelings" that people in puberty felt. The Alo, dealt with those feelings so he had grown up hearing the older kids say that at a certain age you started looking at the opposite sex or even sometimes the same sex differently and things got complicated. There were gestures and hints and rituals all revolved around mating he didn't want to deal with. He wanted to study his craft. He was focused on singing to soothe the spirits and to comfort the grieving. He stone faced moved on until he was caught by the arm. He was turned to see an alder looking man, in definate adult years, he smelled of booze and was wobbling. He said something in slurry Djarlendt. he thought it was " You got a problem with my daughters." "uh no just thinking to myself..." Fvarbrand timidly stammered out. trying to disarm the situation " you sound like a weak little shit i should..." the Drunk slurs and something in Fvarbrand lashes out. " Glvecht'kleoucht!" Fvarbrand snaps out in a sudden aggression a word he didn't know but when he said the word he had a mental image of crushing the man's beating heart between his teeth as he crushed the man's fingers like twigs. The Drunk stumbles back and most who hear the word recoil, or looked shocked and horrified. One man Leans down over to the drunk and smacks him on the back of the head. " What have i told you about getting drunk and threatening people?" The new man demands of the drunk. Not waiting for an answer Fvarbrand turns and marches of half in confusion and half in the new aggression he felt slip over himself when he shouted the word. He now mulled over the word. The more he thought about it the more he knew it. It was Djarlendt, the hesken language, and it was an older word that was layered with the Emotive congigation and aggregated from smaller words. He knew what it meant but he had to tease it out into more common language. The one word was an entire phrase, something modern Djarlendt didn't normally do because it got complicated. "I promise terror in return." He Hoped this was just part of Puberty as well. He had never been one to be aggressive. As he started hiking up the mountain trails out side of town he again felt off in his body. He was expecting to have to work to move his extra bulk up the trail but it felt even more effortless then before when he was barley thicker than the skinny Alo. This was odd to him. He supposed it was all the muscle as well as fat he had packed on and again thought of his father who was never really awkward because of his size and was actually a good runner when the village held festival days during the summer, when they would hike down into the valley and play games with Alo who lived in the valleys instead of the mountains. Races were a common game and his father loved participating in them. He was usually not the absolute fastest but he was often close to it. He wondered how his mother would fare in such games. She wasn't much for the races but she would compete in the knife throwing games and was even trying to get more Alo women to play the axe tossing. Which was hard because Axe throwing wasn't as popular as a whole anymore. He strode along feeling how weird it was to ascend so easily but also how off it felt when he stopped or changed direction. His body wanted to keep going in the direction his new muscle mass had pushed him and any changes in speed or direction weren't harder they were just more noticeable and he had to think about it more. He came to a section in which he usually just climbed the rock face as a shortcut. He stood and looked at it then down at the new mass of fat he had on his belly. He wondered if he could still climb. He tried to think back to his father again. Then he realized he had never seen his father climb anything. His uncle Climbed trees but his uncle was pretty lean and pretty much had nothing in the way of a stomach. He had heard hesken climbed things from idle talk but he honestly was having a hard time imaging it. He came to a conclusion. He was just going to try it. He got his footing and pulled himself up. Then fell off. He landed on his feet and stared at the wall wondering what happened. It wasn't that he wasn't strong enough to pull himself up. It was the opposite. When he pulled himself up he had shot upward and kept going more than he thought, he also felt his new ample midesection hit the wall but squish and act as padding so when the rest of his body slamed into the wall it didn't hurt, but moments later he felt his stomach pressing him away from the rock wall and being startled by going up more easily that he though he wasn't holding on. So he stood there and thought. He also stood there boiling. In annoyance he undid his coat and took his hood down. That felt a lot better. He decided to try again. It Felt awkward and weird but he climbed the rock wall. He had the feeling that he would have to just practice and come up with new techniques and muscle memory. He stood facing his teacher's house. She wasn't sitting on her porch facing the rock wall to greet him but a quick glance showed she was sitting looking down the trail that he would have taken if he hadn't climbed the wall. She also wasn't alone, there was another figure with her, larger and bundled up in a coat. He called out in greeting, it wasn't unsual for other people to be up here so the other figure was not concerning. They both looked over His teatcher breaking into a smile, the other figure was too shrouded by the hood. No muzzle poked out from the shadows of the hood. He wondered what race had such a short muzzle. " Bright Morning Fvar, i am surprised you didn't take the trail." His Teatcher said brightly. " Why? i always climb the wall." Fvarbrand asks. " Oh i am old enough to have seen Hesken puberty enough times to know that their new size takes adjustment. I also suspect you are too hot, you most likely won't need a coat for days like this. Go ahead and take it off. " He Does so and instantly feels much better. The winter Air on his fur felt amazing. He came over and sat on the ground near the pair. He was still wondering what or who was under the hood of the stranger. After sitting down he spoke a greeting to the stranger and extended his hand palm up to perform the formal up close greeting the Alo typically used. The Stranger extended their hand as well and Fvarbrand's ears went upright and rigid in startled shock. The stranger's hand was hairless and held vertically palm facing the side instead of down to meet his upward pointing palm. After a pause the stranger's hand, hairless and dark brown with no claws, turned palm down and rested on Fvarbrand's. They both withdrew their hands but Fvarbrand's ears where still paointed up in surprise. He had no idea what species had hands like that. " Oh i forgot, my student has never seen a human before, Fvarbrand this is David, he is a human...." She stops when Fvarbrand frowns at his name. " Oh, Mrs. Saykia, i believe my name is considered a tad threatening in the hesken tongue, I think that is why your student is frowning." The figure says in accented Lellia'al, muffled through something over his ( or at least Fvarbrand thinks this is a male ) mouth. At this statement Fvarbrand stops frowning and his ears relax. As he was indeed frowning at being told that the stranger was named "Your grave." His Teatcher didn't Speak any Djarlendt as there was little need for it here and most Hesken switched to Lellia'al when they found out she couldn't understand them. Master Saykia was never judgemental of how hesken soundened when they spoke Lellia'al. She had always said she had no right to judge as she couldn't make any headway in learning hesken language so they were one up on her. She looked surprised at this explanation. " What does it mean?" she says abashed. " 'Dey ved' means 'your grave' it is what you say to someone when you are about to kill them and leave their corpse in whatever place you are, and it is even worse when used as a name as it implies the person saying it is going to eat your corpse afterward. " " Maybe call me Dave then. Does that mean anything?" The shrouded figure with the deep voice asks. " Yes, it means 'paving stone' but it is not considered rude in any way, so saying that is your name won't get you punched. What if anything did other hesken say when you introduced yourself." Fvarbrand asks. He was curious how people in other lands reacted. " Oh most in the Cities knew about David as a human name so it never became a problem. When traveling, I did get a few odd looks but and an admonishment that i shouldn't threaten people. One Ship captain laughed at me and said ' i would like to see you try' before realizing i had no idea it meant anything. He told me it was a threat to say ' my Name is David' you are the first to actually explain it though." The Wrapped up figure said. Fvarbrand nodded and sat hoping he would continue but that seemed to be the end of the explanation. He sat a moment longer. " So is there a reason you are joining us today?" Fvarbrand asks and gets a moderately reproachful glance from his Teacher. The visitor just chuckled. " Friendly but blunt and to the point, Hesken are much the same down south. I am here to teach vocal techniques, most likely to you, Mrs.saykia mentioned one of her students would be hitting puberty and needed to be taught how to use their deeper voices." The Visitor comments. " Good, cause my voice change has hit me like a dave to the head." Fvarbrand says with a slightly strained smile. He was trying to make light of it but he really felt like he was talking with someone else's voice. Almost as if he was speaking with his father's voice. His Father never sang and sometimes didn't speak much at all. Fvarbrand loved to use his high clear voice and sing at the trees and the grass or the snow on the mountains. It had been watch had attracted the attention of his teacher who had taught him how to sing so that even restless spirits could find peace in his song. Now he wasn't sure how to deal with anything. His body was changing, his mind was changing he was having weird and confusing thoughts, his temper was chnaging, the snapping at the drunk this morning hadn't been the first incident. While it seemed that Alo kids became tempermental as they grew up as well his father had always told him to be careful because he was a lot stronger than all of his friends and thus he could do far more damage with his temper. He had thought he would never have to deal with it because he was always so laid back, accommodating and even a little timid. Now he could easily imagine himself throwing someone through a wall. He didn't know how to handle this newfound aggression so he sang then his voice had cracked and roughened. He just wanted singing back. " Well First off, your voice will continue to change so be aware of that, you can still learn but you will have to be flexible. Also the higher ranges are not fully lost to you, there is something that humans call Falsetto, where you sing outside your normal range. Also you may try singing in languages made for deeper voices, i have heard hesken sing beautiful songs in their own language which takes their deeper voice into consideration." The Visitor spoke, but the moment he stopped Fvarbrand pounced on something he had said, he had been waiting for him to finish. " Tell me about the high voiced thing!" Fvarbrand exclaimed. After a pause the visitor begin running him through some voice exercises. Fvarbrand followed along and continued to practice after the human stopped. He kept at it and only stopped when he noticed his teachers were staring at him. He kept going but listened into his own voice and payed less attention to what his throat muscles were doing. The moment he hears himself he comes to a complete stop. He was singing in a higher voice alright. It was a woman's voice. It was Mrs. Saykia's voice but coming from his throat. He had no idea how he did that. " Vjyesti?" he exclaims after a moment. The Djarlendt word meant " What?" but in this context it was more of an exclamation of confusion. "ummm as impressive as that was, i am here to teach you to use your deep voice. So lets try that some of that. Sing for us with your current voice." The guest teacher instructed. Fvarbrand gave out some cracking faultering notes. With each he got more and more irritated. " Gle'Kvsteck mjullont fe'brenick!!" Fvarbrand said angrily. " I don't think i want to know what that means. Try again, but don't be mad at your mistakes learn from them. " The human said. Fvarbrand tried again, he concentrated on his voice and what his muscles were doing and didn't pay attention to what he was saying. He didn't notice the 2 figures of his teachers leaning away from him slightly. He also didn't realized he was no longer sitting but was instead thrashing and punching the air in an aggressive dance. He waved his fist and stomped his feet in patterns on the ground. He was shouting as much as he was singing. Neither of the sitting figures understood a word he was saying but they got a sense of gleeful aggression, like he was happily daring someone to fight him because he wanted an excuse to pulp someone's head. His voice was filling the space and echoing off the mountains. This display was brought to an end when the singer barked out harshly in Lellia'al. " Violence is a game and the score is kept in gallons of blood spilled." Fvarbrand Bellowed out into the valley then began Howling. His head was thrown back and he belted out a startlingly loud Screaming howl that sent shivers up everyone's spine. Then he sat down on the ground before flopping onto his back and laying on the ground panting. After a moment he spoke. " What just happened and why am i on the ground?" Fvarbrand asked. " That was rather interesting don't you think?" Mrs.saykia says with a bit of a laugh. The Human sat there silently bundled up against the cold for a minute then spoke. " Well i have no idea what that was but it was impressive. What was the howling part though." The human asked. At this Fvarbrand clasped both his hands over his mouth in shock. " That is something that Ulvaltar and Hesken do, all of the species instinctively understand it, but i have no idea what it was supposed to signify. They can get rather embarrassed about it." Mrs.saykia says. Fvarbrand just lays there catching his breath deeply embarrassed. Before anyone can say anything else they hear a call from the mountain trail. The 2 teachers look down the trail and someone is waving and calling up. They seem utterly frantic. " There is trouble coming the village wants us to go there right away." Saykia says. Fvarbrand's embarrassment evaporates as he jumps to his feet. He jogs down the trail as Mrs.Saykia and the human Dave follow. Fvarbrand beats them down into the village to see everyone is gathering at one of the roads leading into the village. All the hunters present have their bows or guns out and are staring down the road. Fvarbrand sees his father, shirt off and face covered in white ash one side and black on the other in a traditional if hurried war display. He is carrying a large sledge hamer as a weapon. His Mother is also present, she holds his father's sword in one hand and a hatchet in the other. His parents are front and center, facing the road as the 2 biggest people in the village. He catches sight of his uncle, a normally quiet and gentle man up on a rock with a large war bow and quiver full of arrows that looked to be made to fell people not game. The Hesken trading caravan gaurds had taken positions infront of some of the houses that most likely sheltered the young and old you couldn't fight. Everyone was grim and looked prepared to fight to the end. " What is happening?" Fvarbrand asks a woman with a lumber axe and a determined face. " Ulvaltar warband, not one of the nicer tribes, heading up the road toward here. They fired on the scouts that asked them their business. We sent runners to the Snow hunter clan for help, lets hope they come cause there were hundreds coming according to the scouts." she outlined. It was the chief's daughter, a healer by trade but she took up weapons when needed. The fact that she had meant that this was dire. " Scout coming. He isn't being pursued. " The enormous Hesken merchent who lead the caravan said as he peered through the scope of a lever action rifle. He looked a little out of place in his fine merchant clothing and silly looking top hat among the simple Alo villagers but Fvarbrand gave him credit for not hiding away. Everyone waited tensely as the scout drew closer. He was walking instead of running and seemed to be in little hurry. When he drew closer he shouted out to the line of defenders. " They have turned back." the scout called out. This caused a murmur of confusion. The confused talking continued as fvarbrand made his way forward, he didn't really want to, fighting wasn't something he enjoyed the thought of but he was stronger than his alo neighbors so he was more useful in front. He Didn't really think this was over despite what the scout said. Soon he was in front. " What do you mean they turned back?" he asked the scout, a man his age he used to play hide and seek with a few short years ago. " Well some weird singing started echoing through the mountains and the war band froze when they heard it, i am guessing that was you. Anyway after the singing and howling they turned around and double timed it back toward the forests except for 4 who are continuing this way and should be here soon. Whatever you were doing just scared nearly a hundred Ulvaltar armed to the teeth so much they ran away." the scout says speaking to fvarbrand but loud enough for everyone around to hear. " Wait so that singing was Fvarbrand not them?" one of the hunters off to the left asks? Fvarbrand claps his hands over his mouth in obvious embarrassment. " Yes everyone heard it dear," his mother tells him. Before he can start to appolgise for scaring everyone he catches sight of 4 figures walking aruond the bend. it is what is left of the War band. They Looked mean but unsure of themselves. Fvarbrand started to feel weird. He wasn't really afraid of a fight anymore. Weirdly he seemed to be craving it. He got really tense and locked eyes on one of the four. He stared at him with a seething aggression. For some reason he really wanted to kill the guy. Just him, he didn't care about the other 3. The scout saw his change in expression and looked back then retreated to the line and took up a position. Fvarbrand just stared at the guy and was certain he had committed a terrible crime and that he needed to stop him from committing more. By this time they had drawn closer, close enough for his mother to call out. " What do you want Kellund?" she calls out. " Is that anyway to address your father?" The leader calls out, he suddenly isn't as weary but has a taunting aire. Fvarbrand Starts. If this was his mother's father then his mother was Ulvatar not hesken, which in hindsight made sense, she and her brother, fvarbrand's uncle had always been on the small side for hesken but would be average for ulvaltar. But why was this relation shocking? No he was shocked that his mother was related to this guy in particular. Fvarbrand didn't care he was part Ulvaltar, he cared that he was related to this asshole. " I am here to kill that fat fuck you married and take you home." The Ulvaltar warcheif taunted. " You are a fucking idiot you know that?" Fvarbrand hears himself speak in Djarlendt. The war cheif sneers at him then freezes. " Shoot-" the warcheif iis cut of when Fvarbrand feels himself explode with anger. He bellows and the four stumble as if hit by a hammer. Favrbrand stomps ominously up to the prostrate figures not knowing what he is doing but knowing he needed to be doing it. He ignored the shocked voices of his parents. he came to stand over the Warcheif who just lay there trying to get up but his muscles were twitching and trembling with whatever Fvarbrand had made explode out of himself. He reached down and tor open the War chief's shirt and exposed a sigil on his chest. Some of the nodes of the complex sigil were glowing. Fvarbrand heard whispers in his head telling him what it was and he knew now why he hated this guy so much. The sigil was a soul trap. As he looked at each glowing node he saw a face and a history. A young alo woman, an Ulvalter man who was the previous chief and great grandfather to Fvarbrand, a child that was the youngest brother of this fiend. He needed only hear the whispers to know none of them were there willingly. He Felt his heart pound and resonate witht this new magic. Favrbrand new how to use it. He knew how to break it. He reached down. " What are-" The war cheif's voice cut off and he screamed out as the sigil on his chest flared and smoked. One after another he felt the presence of the souls of the trapped move on. Soon there were none left. " I am going to kill you now." Fvarbrand said coldly. One of the other Ulvaltar got her muslces working enough to draw a knife. Favrbrand yanked it out of the woman's hand. " Why thank you." Fvarbrand says then plunges the knife into the War cheif's heart. " Now leave and take that with you." Fvarbrand ordered Pointing to the corpse. Then he walked back toward the shocked line of defenders and didn't bother to look at the 3 shakily getting to his feet. He had other things on his mind. Memories. He Remembered before he was born, he remembered what he was before he was born. He had been the oldest daughter of the Cheif of the Forest dwelling Ulvaltar who called themselves "the shadows amongst the trees." He or she had been a spirit singer for the tribe and had helped raise her little brother when their mother had died. That little brother had repaid the kindness by poisoning her and trying to bind her soul to his flesh. He had failed and instead slit their father's and youngest brother's throats and taken them into his trap. There was lengthy time of being a mere wraith and watching the fiend take a wife and have kids only for those kids to flee far from him. She had followed the children as a ghost and was silently by their side as they journeyed far and eventually settled in an Alo Village when the daughter of her brother had set her eyes on a hesken man living there. Somehow she had been drawn somewhere and next thing was a baby growing in the womb where all her memories went to sleep. They were awake now. "Favabrand how did you do that?" Mrs.Saykia says from the line of defenders where she had. Instead of answering her he walks up to his mother. " You needn't worry, the mother that saw you off so long ago wasn't in his trap." he said. " How much do you know?" His mother asks suddenly looking not shocked but confused. " I think our son is a reborn my love." His father whispers. " ohhh ummm yes. I think i am" Fvarbrand is suddenly back to his shy self. " I think i was your Aunt before you and uncle jep'tuum were born" he continues. " Anyways they are gone, i need to get back to my lessons." He says nervously and walks off to join his teachers he begins to explain to them what is going on. " Well i remeber puberty being confusing enough normally growing up but our son is in for a weird one if he has to deal with being a ghost born anew." Fvarbrand's father says to his wife. " hopefully our next kid will have and easier time of it." His wife says. " When are we going to tell him?" His father asks. His wife pats her husband's large belly and Just smiles at him. A clear nonverbal " not yet."
  5. We were not Alone

    ( 11,000 years before Human arrival on Gai'talar ) Teyanni from Elpa had always wondered what lay beyond his land. He had always asked, even as a little kid what the hunters saw when they ventured out from town, how far they went, how much farther was there to go. Was anyone else out there? He was never satisfied with the answers he was given. The elders were never satisfied with the questions he asked. When he grew up he became a hunter and ventured into the wild. He was merely an ok hunter, he caught enough to feed his family, his wife and 2 children with enough to pass around but he was no where near the huntsmen his people thought he should be for game was not what he was after. He wanted to explore. After 3 years as a hunter and 3 years of him writing sketching out and telling people what he saw, the elders of his people came to him and told him he would get his wish in a way. He was to pack up and set out and not return for 5 years or he could return earlier when he found something worth bringing back. The Way they looked at him they expected him to never come back. They most likely hoped he wouldn't. His Questions had gotten other asking questions. They wanted to know as well and there was talk among the other hunters of stockpiling meat and preserving it for their families and going to see what was beyond the mountains while others talked about trying to explore what was on the sea. The Elders didn't like this and Teyanni became a symbol of this. The way they looked at him when they told he he would go told Teyanni they wanted him gone to remove his talk and to make his inevitable non return a warning to the rest of his people. He had packed and said goodbye to his wife and young children. He had cried, and many of his freinds cried with him. They knew what the elders were doing. Erannisio, the most skilled hunter their village had told Teyanni one of the elders had told him to follow Teyanni for 4 days then put a spear in his back. Eranssio said he would go out, but he had told Teyanni and his family that he had not promised to murder him. He was going to walk with Teyanni for 4 days, return and slap the elder during the evening prayer when he got back. Eranissio wanted the light that ran through the universe and through their hearts to know what he had done and why. He Promised this. That had been 2 years ago or more. Teyanni wished Eranissio were here now because he ran for his life, panting and outnumbered. His Thin white body showed through the tears in his clothing, his hide coat was in tatters and there was something pacing him through the woods that was toying with him. He saw wolves talking and chase him but beyond he saw other forms. He guessed at what they were and had always wanted to see them but never like this. Teyanni knew that his people had non thinking cousins who ran on all fours and living in snow and burrows. His People never hunted them as they were considered sacred. He had wondered if other creatures had civilized cousins who made tools of stone and houses, who told stories and danced and loved and questioned. As he ran through the forest pursued by wolves and larger shadows he had his answer. He had heard some of their calls and howls, howls more complicated than that of the wolves. He Also heard what he thought were laughs. He Ran and ran and knew that they were wearing him down to play with. He had to come up with a different plan. All he had on him was a pouch with a prayer statue ans some medicinal herbs and a stone knife. He had lost his Atlatl and spears, he had lost the skin on which he had marked his way. He knew that standing and fighting was out. He looked left, and right, looking for another option. He saw it, they were trying to heard him deeper into the forest. He saw another way and he knew they didn't want him to take it, one of the larger shadows flitted through the trees between him and an open patch of snow covered rocks. Beyond it was more forest but he suspected there was a reason they wanted to keep him away from the the clearing. He took a chance. Suddenly changing course he used all his speed and agility and made a sudden 90 degree turn and sprinted for the clearing. This Caught his pursuers of gaurd and he heard them snarl and growl what must be curses. His sudden change took him close to one of the large shadows and he caught a breif glimpse of it. It Looked like a wolf the same way he looked like a white fox, it was startled but made a grab at him but he ran passed it. He heard it begin to run after him. In a few feet he was out of the trees and into the clearing, running full tilt knowing he was exposed but hoped his bet about them not wanting to enter the clearing held true. He stumbled over a rock under the snow, but instead of falling flat he reached out his hands and scrambled forward a few feet before the pain in his foot caused him to collapse. Not wanting to be face down in the snow when the wolf person came on him he rolled and pulled his little stone knife and made ready to fight even thoght he was laying on the ground. He stopped and looked in puzzlement. He had made it maybe 30 feet out of the woods and the wolf thing had been right behind him. But now it was only halfway between him and the forest. He saw it in the full light of Kurinessa the white moon. It was Dark grey of fur and it was much bigger than him, its lips pulled back in a snarl showing large sharp teeth that could easily crack through his bones. But it was trembling in fright. Its head looked left and right scaning the forests on the other side of the clearing then scanning the snow all over the clearing before locking in on him. He stared at Teyanni intently but it still seemed to quiver in fear. It lifted a foot to Advance on him a mixture of murderous intent and dread in its eyes. A howl from behind Teyanni made it stop in its tracks again. It was a warning but taunting sound. Then Came something that Teyanni would never expect. A drum. The Drum thumped and seemed to fill the sky. There were many drums pounding in unison. Then the voices came. They sang loudly and were filled with strength. The Language was strange and harsh, he thought it was the same language he had heard the wolf things using but this time they sang in clear harmony instead of coming in cruel growls from the shadows. Strangely Teyanni wasn't made afraid by these voices. The wolf creature on the other hand looked terrified. He saw the gleaming of countless eyes from the forest behind the wolf creature. All of them seemed to shrink back and the singing. The wolf creature drew a knife and slashed at the air and yelled into the night. He had no idea what was said but even tears unfamiliar with the language it sounded frightened. Suddenly the wolf things eyes locked on something and widened. Continuing to scoot back trying not to use his injured foot Teyanni was making lots of noise with crunching snow. But he wasn't moving far. He took a risk and made a quick glance to the side to see what the wolf creature was looking at. It was another Wolf creature and it was walking casually through the snow staring at the other wolf person with a disconcerting cold smile. It Appeared to be a woman, but muscular and confident. Despite having no weapons in her hands she looked like she wanted to fight. Her smile Didn't change when the wolf man who had been perusing teyanni practically screamed in high pitched terror at her. Teyanni took his eyes of her and put them back onto the male who was positively quivering with fright. With a sudden movement the wolfman whiped out a sling and hurled a rock at Teyanni with immense speed and skill. Teyanni jumped. The Stone never reached him. Suddenly out of nowhere there was what looked to be a teenage boy, he was one of the wolf things but he had the unmistakable look of youth to him despite being nearly Teyanni's size. His hand was gripped in a fist. He looked over at the Wolf man who had pitched the stone and opened his hand showing he had caught the stone. The Drums and singing still filled the air as the youth who was wearing some sort of cloak or cape dropped the stone and removed the garment and in a swift motion had layed into over Teyanni. This seemed to utterly in-sense the creature that had persued him and he loaded another stone and threw, but this time at the teenager. The Teenager didn't move, didn't reach up to catch it, it just stopped. The Boy just lowered put his head forward and seemed to be glaring. With a startling crack the stone that had stopped in mid air was streaking back the way it came. It hit Teyanni's persuer in the head and kept going as the head crumpled into bits of blood and bone and sprayed away and back from the impact site, the stone striking a tree in the forest behind, the crack and creak then fall of the tree was mirrored in the slump and collapse of the now headless body. All the eyes in the forest that Teyanni was perused from vanished into the darkness. He was left alone with the 2 figures in the clearing and the Dwindling singing. Teyanni Tried to speak but he just let out a high pitched squeak. The crunking of snow under feet made him look around. Into the clearing walked many of the wolfmen, most armed with clubs and spear throwers but none were raised, in fact many were being put away, hung loosely from strands or placed in hooks on clothing. Most were looking at Teyanni but there didn't seem to be a hint of hositility or tension in their posture just curiosity. Teyanni was unsure what to do, they were all bigger than him, even the women so he kinda just huddled under the boy's cape and looked around frantically. One of them reached out to touch Teyanni but still filled with panic and adrenaline he batted at the big hand with his tiny fist and let out frightened squeal. The moment he did it he thought it was the dumebest thing he could have done and huddled down with his ears laid against his head. The one whos hand he slapped away withdrew the appendage and raised it open palmed before putting it behind him. The Female next to the man that tried to touch Teyanni elbowed the guy and said something in a scolding tone. He didn't understand the words but he could guess at the meaning. She was admonishing the guy for scaring Teyanni. The Wolf people were surrounding Teyanni and squating down but were not leaning or looming in. At his feet was the Teenager next to the woman who had squared off with his pursuer. The Teenager was saying something in the coarse language that he had hear his persuers use. Teyanni starting to think again was considering that he maybe had crossed into the territory of a different tribe of the same species, one who were at least for now not interested in running him to ground before slaughtering him. In fact they seemed like they simply curious. Some of them had been saying things but he didn't realize they were looking at him, he now looked and they paitently laid their hand on themselves and said something. Multiple of them were doing this but not saying the same thing. Names he realized. They were trying to show him they all had names. He Repeated Their gesture and said his name. This seemed to please them. He doubted they would try and learn his name if they were just going to kill him. The Teenager said Teyanni's name then pointed at his own ankle then at teyanni's and made a bending hand gesture. He guessed at what this meant, he lifted his good ankle and smacked it with his tiny fist. Then he lifted his other ankle which was visibly swollen now and waved his hand at it without touching it. Two of the muscular wolf people went off to the nearby woods and there was the sound of tools on wood and another 3 started spreading out hide and woven cloth. Tyanni didn't know what for. Soon the two came back with saplings and laid them over the hide blanket and folded them. Then Teyanni saw what it was. A stretcher. Teyanni suddenly felt his injured ankle go numb. He looked down to see the woman who had squared off against the now headless attacker was holding her hand over his ankle and the air was shimmering a little. All sensation from the appendage went away and she begin touching and binding it with polished bones and leather strips. Teyanni grinned at this, his people had healing magic but it was agony everytime it was performed, some people didn't survive the shock. Some in his tribe ignored Healers and did what the wolf woman was doing an splinted injuries. But Never had he seen a Healer deaden all pain first. Certain Bark teas could lessen pain slightly but this was amazing. While he was staring at his foot he felt large hands gently lift in and place him on the stretcher and the teenager tucked the cloak around him so he would stay warm. Soon they Picked him up and began running into the forest and between the trees. The Speed was amazing but his exhaustion was catching up to him and he fell asleep in the warm stretcher. He Blearily came awake as he felt the rocking and swaying change. He was being borne down a cliff side toward a wide beach. He saw people milling about on that beach but no signs of dwellings. He soon found out why when his bearers stopped climbing and walked into the cliff. He had been so busy looking at the beach he hadn't seen the hole in the cliff face. Inside was a fire pit and some beds. Some of the beds were occupied some were empty. He was Gently laid in an empty bed and covered with a blanket. Many of the people in the beds sat up and sniffed the air smelling a new scent. One began to talk but was silenced by one of his stretcher bearers clamping his hand over the speaker's muzzle and giving him an admonishing look. Teyanni drfted off to sleep again he was still exhausted and so dropped out. He woke up about after sunrise, it wasn't the sun that awoke him though, it was the distant singing. Same language as the wolf people but this time the tone was gentle and reverent. It also seemed to be coming from far off. Teyanni rolled out the bed stood and hobbled to the cave entrance and looked down on the beach. He saw a semi circle of people facing the sun and singing. Now that it was daylight he saw the beach was littered with piles of stones, arranged and stacked to be visible from the sea. He wondered if they were markers for Canoes. He scanned the beach more and then started when he saw the boats. These weren't simple canoes in which one or 2 people could paddle around and fish. They were long and had seats for multiple pairs of people and some cargo space in between. The people went out on the sea Farther than Teyanni's people. The Boats were made from wood likely gathered from the forests he had ran through but the techniques in which they were made so large were beyond him. He wondered exactly where he was on the world. He Also wondered where Elpa was. He had found something amazing but he felt hollow not being able to share it with his people. He also wanted to go down to the beach and explore. If he couldn't go home he could go on. Actually he couldn't go on, his foot was hurting again and he was up on a cliff face. He did see little trails people were using to walk up and down the rocks but with his ankle he would tumble after a step. On of the wolf people saw him looking and asked him something then shaking her head and waving her hands pointed at him then down and the beach. He got her drift but didn't know how to tell her yes. So he pointed to himself and then at the beach. She obviously got it because she came over and effortlessly pick him up and carried him to the beach. When set down he stooped and picked up some drift wood to use as a walking stick but another wolf person came over with a shorter pied with a fork in it and motioned putting it under his arm as crutch. He accpeted the piece and used it to limp the beach wishing he know how to say thank you to people. He Stared at the rock sculptures and looked up a the simple figures carved into the cliff faces and filled with charcoal or some white pigment to stand out. They were big. Big enough to be seen from the sea. He looked out to see and indeed saw what looked like boats far out. They were marking landing spots. Teyanni's people never went far enough from shore to really warrant this. He Hobbled farther then came to a halt when he recognized something. A Group of men and women were using a charcoal piece and sketching on a blank sheet of wall, but these weren't meaningless markings or stylized art. He Saw what looked like a coastline and some patches of trees and a spot on the coast that had the marking he had just seen on the wall. There were other spots with other markings and the map ended at some mountains. He hobbled over desperately and spoke earnestly but doudted they understood what he said. They turned to look and the biggest one present held out his charcoal stick. Elated Teyanni took it and after boosting himself up on some rocks started sketching. All sat and stared. He was drawing what was on the other side of the mountains. He even rubbed away a portion of their drawing and sketched in the trail he had used to moved through them. He got so wrapped up in sharing he didn't stop to think if this was a good idea. He finally drew a little marking of huts were Elpa was. There was a section of missing coastline between the mountains and Elpa. He was thinking what to do about this and how to show he didn't know what was there. He was startled by a finger poking the empty section and saying something. What ever he said brought a cheer. A loud one. He turned and it looked like there was a large crowd looking at the map. They noticed he stopped and ran off but all seemed to be busy, preparing boats and gathered things. They looked like they were ready to set out in force. " What have i done teyanni thought?" 3 months later on the coastline by Elpa: The Large predatory pinnepeds that kept the Alo from venturing far out to sea were amassing on the beaches. They were working their way Closer to the beach side dwellings that the small group of fishermen lived in. They had never came in such masses before. They moved up the beach and bellowed. The men of the fishing settlement had out their small spears and formed a barrier so their families could escape. They knew the wouldn't be making it off the beach. They were all terrified. One of the fleeing women, a new mother holding her newborn turned back to see her husband one last time. Then she saw something on the sea. Kyacks but enormous. In it were figures working paddles. At the head of the lead craft Stood a small white figure. The Figure made an unmistakable arm motion. A small AtlAtl spear flew toward the shore and hit one of the giant sealions that filled the beach. Then the air was filled with spears, big ones, ones no Alo could launch. She looked harder at the boats as the large figures threw another volley and the back bunches of the massing sea beasts were skeward and let out bellows of agony. The men on the beach saw this as well. The front had stopped bellowing and were looking in confusion. One of them in the front line still advancing mouth open suddenl sprouted a hardened wooden spear point through its open mouth and fell dead. The Boats had landed and were large figures poured off them but leading the charge a small white figure with a stone knife. He was followed by a hulking muscular horde of grey and brown furred figures that poured up the beach and began to utterly slaughter the sea lions. Bypassing the carnage the small white figure though somewhat blood stained approached the confused fishermen. " I am Teyanni from Elpa, i have found out amazing news." The figure exclaimed. "what?" asked one fisherman in confusion and not curiosity. " We are not alone!" The Alo exclaims. Over the next months the visitors that brought Teyanni home lived near the Alo. They taught them what they could and in return learned what they could. The language barrier was an issue at first but but the big beings could produce roughened versions of words and seemed to be as bright as they were big. They Taught healers how to numb pain, and learned from the alo healers how to mend wounds quickly. The Combined knowledge meant that healers could now take away pain before they healed an injury and it was simple painless and far quicker. Maps where drawn and exchanged and the Alo learned of the Various tribes of these people who called themselves Ulvaltar. They told them some were mean, some were scared and some were curious and friendly. Their tribe was called Djarl. While all this was happening Teyanni was glad to be back with his family, and to learn that the elders would no longer interfere with him or those who had wanted to explore. It turns out when Eranissio had confronted the elders at the monthly ceremony under the full moon the village had become so furious that the cast out 2 of the elders from power and had replaced them then gone on to explore farther into the woods then ever and had found sites for 4 more villages. Now They had through these big wolf people access to the seas. They also learned the world was much bigger than they thought and it was so big the wolf people had no idea how much farther it went. But the most exciting news for both of these peoples were the answer to the question they had always wondered about. They found out they were not alone.
  6. All recorded in my scroll Your first faltering steps Your first stammering words A question you asked the universe and your tears when no one answered Your tiny steps lingered in the sand As the first markings came from your hand you wrote your questions out on the beach You looked up to us to say a word back You sang to each other when no one could talk Oh you lost children who built piles of rock Sculptures on the beach for any out to sea to see You watched many long years to for another eye to catch yours And when you gave up again you sang instead of weeping into the silence. You walked the world, searching and questioning With tools and power in your tiny hands With unwavering will you shaped the lands and brought nature to heel But with each thing you saw you asked that one question that made us weep for you That terrible that haunted us long ago Each thing that breathed each pattern in the sky each strand of grass that swayed this heart shattering question asked again and again. "Is anyone there?" And with each deafening silence Hang your head you did not But instead sang to each other in the dark.
  7. BLFC

    Biggest little Furcon Grand Sierra Hotel and resort
  8. Simple Boyfriend time (Porn )

    Officer Tyler McGuffin was putting yesterday's weird incident at the lake behind him. He was sitting on the bed of the decent top floor apartment of his rich boyfriend but again liked how the decor was simple serviceable middle range stuff and cleared off all the creepy magic things that were here during his first visit. He had told him a brief account of what happened at the lake but didn't go into much detail and really didn't want Stuart to star explaining some creepy ass shit about other worlds and magic. Tyler wanted such things to stay at arm's length even as they seemed intent on getting into his life. No Right now was for simple Boyfriend time. He kept this in mind when he noticed his chubby wuffy disrobing and noticed he was wearing Body armor under his suit and was securing a rather powerful pistol into a drawer. He knew Stu had been up to something and his over the phone yesterday but let his cop suspicions go for know. He could poke into it later. Stuart was looking sheepish at Tyler's glance taking in the body armor. They were saved from any temptation to talk about it by a knock at the door. The Pizza guy most likely. Stuart went to get the door, Tyler heard some of the exchange, the pizza guy nervously commenting on the body armor and Stuart giving some disarming excuse about it being paintball gear, then generously tipping the Deliveryman. Stuart came in barring 3 large pizzas, they most likely wouldn't eat them all right now but instead have cold pizza for breakfast. Stuart set the pizzas down on the bed next to Tyler then swiftly retreated to the closet where the sound of unbuckling and unzipping issued. In a minute Stuart came back without the body armor and without a shirt on. Tyler Grinned at this, he liked seeing Stuart's ample belly and it was most likely a sign they would skip all the talking and go into some serious cuddle time at the very least. " Hey there officer, is something up?" Stuart says in a line as cheesy as the pizza before leaning over to plant a light kiss on Tyler's nose. Tyler reaches up and strokes Stuart's arms and as he returns a not so light kiss. " Something is definatly coming up.... oh man Stu i missed you." Tyler says as he pulls the Wusky in for a hug. They Were in an open relationship so it wasn't just lust that made him crave Stuart's company, it genuine affection. Lust was certainly present but it wasn't the driving factor. He slid his hands from Stuart's back where he had been embracing him as he leaned over to kiss around to his from where he took his husky's nipples between his thumb and fore finger. The light pinch made Stuart chuckle into Tyler's mouth as he continued to kiss. The Making out was interrupted when Tyler caught scent of the pizza and his tummy growled. " we should eat," Stuart says patting the fox's not so small belly. He opened one of the pizza boxes and Tyler gratefully reached in and grabbed a slice. He Gobbled it down in not time, and was going for another just as stuart was sitting on the bed on the other side of the boxes and taking his fist bite. He was grinning and looking over at Tyler inhale the Pizza. " What? i am fricken starving." Tyler says with his mouth full. He Gulps it down. " Besides after watching you double fist burgers last week you are the last person who gets to snicker at how anyone eats." Stuart is still looking over with a slight grin as he finishes his first piece. He chews the swallows. " Actually, i am hungry for something other than pizza." Stuart says and makes a silly face with his tongue sticking out as he takes another slice. " Oh how subtle Mr.Phip." Tyler says rolling his eyes but fully enjoying the foreplay banter. That was one of the things he liked about Stuart, despite his high financial status he was kinda just a normal guy that you could get together with to be drunk and stupid with before having sex. Tyler was starting in on his 3rd piece but taking it a bit more slowly, He also accepted a beer Stuart offered him. He also noticed that Stuart was eating a little faster. He was most likely getting food in his system before he switch gears. This was confirmed when he chugged his beer in one go. The Large husky let forth an impressive belch. " I love how much of a pig you can be sometimes stu." Tyler chuckels and feels his nether regions twitch and his pants tighten. Grinning stuart gets of the bed and comes to kneel in front of where Tyler is sitting. Without a word he unbuttons Tylers pants and pulls them off, taking the fox's underwear with it. Stuart puts one hand on Tyler's chest and rubs, tickling his left nipple through the thin shirt the fox is wearing then he pushes him so Tyler lays back. Tyler happily lays there, lazily munching a pizza slice and putting his beer down on the floor near the bed. He feels himself harden as stuart's meaty hand squeezes his sheath and work it till the fox is fully erect. " Oh fuck...." Tyler moans out and looks down toward his groin only to see his dick smoothly vanishing in Stuart's muzzle. The husky's mouth went all the way to the scrotum and pressed farther. He was trying to get as much down as he could. Tyler let his head fall backward and he just stared at the ceiling panting as Stuart's head began bobbing and hungrily working away at the fox cop's dick. He wasn't being delicate about it either this was an intense blow job, Tyler felt the Husky's mouth slamming into his groin and causing his body to shake and jiggle with the impacts. As he lay there and enjoyed the service tyler lazily finished the slice of pizza he still held then put his hands behind his head and lay there eyes closed and basked in the sensation and loud slurping noises that in any other context may has sounded a little gross. After a few minutes he began making pleasured grunts and saying things that he would be embaressed about if he spoke them alound in any other context. " Awe yeah take the law into your own throat..." was the only thing he remembered saying as it was right before he went over the edge. He Wordlessly panted as he came and felt Stuart's mouth press tighter down and his throat work as he swallowed everything that his lover pumped into his throat. Tyler Felt himself soften as stuart pulled his head back on off the fox's dick. " I hope theres more where that...." Tyler says sitting up slightly and looking over his panting body. He caught sight of stuart stand up and slipping off his suspenders before undoing his pants. The husky steps out of them and tossed them aside standing there now fully nude. Stuart's impressive belly didn't hide the fact that he was fully hard and his cock was clearing his sheath to in readiness. It was a lovely pink against Stuart's white and grey fur. Tyler was already at the edge of the bed legs hanging off so he just splayed them open. Stuart was making to open some lube but tyler spoke up. " Let be a little rough tonight, go in dry." The fox said before splaying his legs further and relaxing. He felt a warm mass press against his anus then let out a long gruff growling moan when it pressed harder and he felt himself part around it as it slid into his depths. " Oh damn i have missed bareback for you, it just isn't as fun with anyone else..." Tyler said as basked in the rush of it. " Oh, anyone i need to worry about competing with?" Stuart asks playfully as he takes a light, slow and shallow rhythm to start off. he can always speed up and go harder later but right now he wanted to enjoy being with Tyler. " Oh, not really, just a guy at work, he and his boyfriend had me over one night." Tyler says enjoying the lazy pace. During this stage they could catch up and talk while still enjoying love making. " They said to extend the invitation to you when i got the chance" " Who was it?" Stuart says as he gently Caresses tyler's thigh, squeezing and pulling every so often to ad a little surprise. " Gavin McChance, youve seen him, Big fox, bigger than me, but always light on his feet." Tyler says deciding to wrap his legs around stuart's waist and squeeze a little. It Was the best thing in the world to have in inside and Tyler wanted to experience it forever. " mmmmmh oh yeahh.... that the guy with the twin in the same department, your boss always mixing them up?" When Tyler gave out a noise that was an affirmative mixted with a grunt of pleasure. Stuart coninue " Oh he is a cute who, i wouldn't mind playing with him, would be better if you were along though." " Why's that?" Tyler asked playfully, he knew the answer but he wanted to hear it. He was also sure Stuart wanted a chance to say it. " Because i love you... and you were totally fishing for that... hon." Stuart says finishing up with a quick thrust that took Tyler by surprise causing him to bark out a laugh. " Ok enough sappy stuff, rail me like you know you want to. We haven't been together in week and i want you to put your wait into it phip." In response Stuart chuckles then grabs Tyler's feet and firmly pulls them from behind his back to splay out at the husky's shoulder level he grabs Tyler's ankles then begins steady long strokes, making sure to put some of his body weight down on Tyler at the end of each pump. Tyler growled with pleasure at each stroke, and breathing in time to the thrusts, breathing in each time Stuart pulled back and out each time he pushed his throding cock in deep. Tyler's breathing sped up and Stuart sped his pumping up. Soon the appartment was fiilled with noise as the mattress creaked and and the 2 men grunted and huffed. In moments Tyler bellowed in pleasured as he felt Stuart's knot expand and Fill him, he clenched and tried to accept all his husky had to offer. Stuart was more quiet, letting off a long and slightly growly " MMMMmmMmmmhmmmmm," as he happily blew his load into the man he loved. Tyler actually like the odd contrast of his loud climaxes and Stuart's generally more quiet contented rumbles of pleasure. He Felt Stuart slip out but didn't look up to see what he was doing, he heard the pizza boxes shifting then he felt Stuart's heavy frame flop down next to him and then cuddle in. He happily let his man cuddle him in and just basked in the afterglow. " So officer fox. what do you want to do next?" Tyler hears whispered in his ear. " Honestly my huskywusky, you can do anything you want next." Tyler pants out tiredly, his head going slightly fuzzy but he was sure he wasn't done for the night. He Chuckled as he felt Stuart's tongue press against his cheek. Stuart was laying there and thinking the next thing he wanted to do was pull out a ring and ask Tyler McGuffin to marry him but he knew if he did it would make things kinda weird. Tyler had said before he wasn't ready for that. so instead Stuart leaned in and whispered. " Ok then, I want you give it do me doggy style, but this time i wanna wear your cuffs." he answered before nuzzling up close. " You got it tubbs." Tyler says and pats Stuart's ass. Tyler was defiantly looking forward to spending the rest of the night here.
  9. What happens on Risa

    ( a startrek fanfic to serve as writing practice ) ( will be continuously updated Each new chapter added here. ) The night was just setting in and the torches were lit. They shone on the white sand and dimly glinted off the gently lapping sea. There were toned and athletic people in bathing wear just packing up to head inside Bright happy couples with no care in the world. The breeze was gentle and scented by the sea, and Captain Shoniqua Bezi was bored out of her mind, Her deep Mahogany features tense and mildly sour. Well not bored really. More restless and dissatisfied. She had gotten an order to take some shore leave after averting a major diplomatic crisis over mining rights. There had been a minor exchange of phaser fire and some mild damage but her diplomatic skills had prevailed and she had diffused tensions. This heroic calm and aplomb coupled with 4 years of continued service had attracted attention to the fact that she hadn't left her ship in those 4 years for anything but assignments. The higher ups had decided she needed a break. But that break was just giving her time to mull over her life and realize that she wasn't as satisfied with starfleet life as she had thought. When she was in the thick of duty she didn't think about and now that she was not preoccupied with her routine she had her full mental resources to consider all the things that were missing in her life. This is not the first time by far she had contemplated this and she now knew why she kept herself so preoccupied with duty. The fact that she was half Betzoid and could feel the joy and carefree bliss all around her only emphasized she didn't feel it herself. She wished she could just pick a guy and make with the casual romance and enjoy herself but she had a policy of not dating within starfleet and just her luck it seemed the entire planet had been invaded by starfleet vacationers. many of those smiling happy couples she had spied were Starfleet. The single men wandering the beach showing toned abs? Starfleet. Hell she even saw a few captains she recognized and wondered if they had brought their entire crews. Even the ones she didn't recongize had the clean trim trained good looks of a potential starfleet member. Frankly she was starved for options. " Come join the summer banquet" a smiling Risian interrupts her morose reverie. She intentionally smoothed out the tension lines from her brows before turning to acknowledge the young eager Risians hostess. " thank you i could use something to eat." She grabbed the towel she had been sitting on and decides to focus on the routine of life to shut out the nagging dissatisfaction. She made her way across the the fine sand to the large circular structure with an open roof that served as a multipurpose entertainment facility. She had caught a play there earlier and now it was being set with small tables with a ring shaped food prep station in the middle people could watch as the chefs created exotic delights from hundreds of worlds. " i am afraid seating is limited so you may have to share a table." The hostess says. The tables were spaced so there was plenty of room between them for servers to pass each other and there were lots of them but it was most likely that the hostess said this as an encouragement for single guests to mingle. Shoniqua had a look around. there were two tables with only a single male occupant. At one a muscular man with flowing blonde hair sat, his chiseled pecs visible because he wore no shirt over his tanned hairless muscular chest. He had a perfect cleft chin and a sensuous half smile as he caught Shoniqua's eyes. There was a horga'hn statue on his table promising a wonderful time. The other was a meaty man in an open overly colorful Risian shirt showing off the ginger chest hair and giving all his attention to a large plate of food. She made her decision. " Mind if i sit here?" she asks. The meaty man looks up. " sure go ahead " he gesture to the seat across from him. " this isn't a private affair" " I don't know you looked like you were getting pretty intimate with that Andorian sushi" she joked bad. " i will endevour to make my dinning experience more public appropriate " he responds. Defiantly not starflleet and has a sense of humor, Shoniqua thinks to herself. Maybe this evening can be interesting after all.She pulled out the chair and sat and swiftly a waiter came and set down a plate of tropical fruits as a starter. A strange prickle on her neck and a sense of anger had her glance over at the other table with the blonde Adonis who was looking over sulkily and just turning away from looking at her. " That reaction seems a little over the top for choosing another table to sit at" The chubby red haired man says. " I'll say." then she paused. " You felt it too?" " uh yeah, i inherited some telepathic and empathetic abilities. Hard to say where from, i am from really mixed heritage. " he responds shyly. Now that she thought about it he wasn't giving off much in the way of an empathic presence. Like someone who has habitually learned to shield their mind. At first glance he looked to be human, long red hair and goatee gracing a pleasant round light skinned face. he had no brow ridges or spot or anything really to make him appear other than human. This guy was defiantly interesting. She deecide to splurge and ordered a Ktarian chocolate puff alone with her main course. They talked about various things, food, cultures of the alpha and beta quadrant which he seemed very curious about, various occurrences in the galaxy and finally he asked about starfleet. " How do i know you aren't a Romulan spy?" she said playfully so she would not have to talk about her ship or starfleet on her vacation. " Do i look like a spy?" he returns with a chuckle. " The best spies don't look like spies." She retorts " Or the best spies look like spies and have people over think it and dismiss them as spies because they think the best spies don't look like spies" he responds. " that sounds like something a spy would say" " Would a spy be caught dead in this shirt?" he retorts tugging at his loud open shirt. She finally looked at his shirt. It was red and it was covered in what looked like Gorn wearing hula skirt and flowery leis. They were dancing. It was the most preposterous garment she had ever seen. " Alright you got me. The shirt proves you are not a spy." She paused " where did you get that shirt any way?" " i got it here on Risa, most of my clothing was not suitable for this warm environment so i just got what i needed here." " You didn't pack any tropical climate clothing? To come to Risa?" she asks. " Well i didn't have any, in my culture we don't wear any clothes in this type of environment." He says with a shrug. Now isn't this interesting. That ruled out many of the humanoid cultures in the alpha and beta quadrant as most had clothing of some sort even just for sun protection even if they had different standards of modesty. Coupled with his interest in and apparent lack of knowledge of local cultures he must have been from somewhere pretty far off. " Tell me about your culture. You have been asking about others a lot but you haven't talked about yours till now." " not much to tell really. We don't have much bearing on the galaxy at large, we kinda keep to our selves usually." he responds a little nervously. " but you mentioned you were of mixed heritage, so they must mingle some." He paused for a moment " I am not a usual case. " the paused made her wonder if he was spinning the truth or thinking of an ackward truth. With his mind as shielded as it was she couldn't tell from empathic impression which it was. Instead of pressing the subject they went to other topics like science. This though raised her curiosity even more. The large man mentioned he didn't like transporters much because they were uncomfortable and that he preffered Trajectors or portal spawners for place to place transport tech. Shoniqua searched her memory, she had heard of Trajectors from studying the logs of the USS.Voyager after it returned from the delta quadrant. A race called the Sikarians who looked completely humanoid used Trajectors but there was no indication that they were empaths. She really wanted a Tricorder to scan this man. She had no equipment on her at the moment so she would have to settle for just conversation. She tried to figure out what he was doing in this part of space. Not that she thought he was up to no good but he wasn't from around here but clearly not a part of any official diplomatic envoy. " So what brings you to Risa?" That sounded nicely conversational. He paused again " A friend from here asked me to come do something for him." " like pick up some souvenirs " She didn't need empathic powers to see the somber sadness in his eyes when he responded. " No. i wish it were that simple." He looked so suddenly downcast that his obnoxious shirt with dancing Gorn and nearly finished plate of tropical delights served only to amplify the melancholy he suddenly put off. Their meal was pretty much finished and they had been conversing for a while. It was getting late and all the food was making her sleepy. She reached over and lightly touched his hand in a comforting gesture. " Well if you ever feel the need to talk about it here is my contact number." She wrote her personal contact info on the disposable napkin that came with dessert. " It doesn;t have to be tonight if you don't want." "Uhh, thanks maybe tomorrow some time. I should be done with it by then" They both stood then. and said their good nights then parted ways. She took a small skiff to the cliff side rooms she had secured. And showered before bed. She dressed in sensible sleep wear. Partially from long habit of serving on a starship and partly because she had an uneasy feeling. Partly that she was being watched or that someone was lurking near by. It was a similar to the mild uneasy feeling when she looked at the blonde Adonis who was at the other vacant table. She half wished she had a phaser, and half wondered if being in starfleet so long had made her paranoid. Puting the unease aside she lay down and was asleep in no time. She vaguely remembered a weird dream where she was commanding a ship made out of Caramel and standing down a chocolate borg cube, that had a squirrel nibbling on one of the corners , when a sound stired her from her slumber. she came awake swiftly ready to face any danger but a moment of listening she realized it was someone standing out on the cliff singing. She sat up to listen. The song was not the kind you expected on Risa. It was moving but mournful. There was a slight quaver in it but one that sounded more like a practiced technique then that off an amateur faltering. There was nothing but a gentle breeze so the words were coming in clearly, but the universal translator wasn't rendering them into anything she could understand. She popped open a tricolor and began recording the sound. It was comming from a lone voice. one that sounded male but would seamlessly hit higher registers. The only parts that were being picked up were being translated were the risian names Teeranf TuYurra and Sindal TuYurra. She lookd at the padd she had linked to the tricorder and it was trying to render the sounds phonetically but was having little luck. If technology wasn't working she reached out with her other senses and felt a dim sense of greif but also...release. The song though was full of greif and respect even if the words were completely incomprehensible. Her eyes began to tear up a little. The words what ever they meant were so mournful. There was a pause. It was silent. Then came the sound of a lone drum, with a slow beat. But something was weird. the drum sounded like it was in her heart, in her head, a strong slow beat that flooded her with strength. Her mind also started to perceive images, pulses of light over images of amzing landscapes. She saw an icy mountain gleaming in the sun, a vibrant jungle swating in the wind, a snow covered forest on a platue that suddenly gave way to the rolling seas, she saw flowers grow in a simple back garden that over looked this forest, a sun moving through the sky, scenes of a small log cottage that faded between a Risian style building and some other more simplistic style. The images flowed and changed and the voice sounded like it was coming from inside her. The images rolled on. The fogblanketed forest gave way to a beach with deep blue water lapping the rocks then suddenly to a night sky with alien constellations. She had a vague memory that she was learning those constellations and looking for home. The pulshing lights and words rolled on spurred on by the drum, the forest gave way to a vast city out on the sea, large towering buildings glinting in the clean sunlight. The city smeared then she saw a large shpere encompasing 3 fourths of a star with a blue marble of a planet in the middle of the gap, clouds of gleaming space habitats. A sense of speed, a sense of going home. The Drum pulsed on. There seemed to be other sounds all in her head. like music of the universe and like songs that came from no throat. And she had an impression that contrasted with the strenghth from the pulsing drum of being old and frail and carried in strong fuzzy arms. There was nothing romantic about it but it felt tender and kind. it felt like someone strong was finally carrying her home. A darkness then a rushing through indistinct space. The sense of being mingled among the love of your life, then the sense of the both of you being cast into the wind and settling in the sea of home. There was the sensation of lapping waves and of a gratitude. A very clear thought entered her mind " Thank you for bringing me and my love home from so far away." Then Shoniqua Bezi came back to herself. Her throat was a little horse. Had she been singing? She could still hear the drum. it was winding down and was accompanied by the soft crooning of the lone voice, bringing the experience to a close. Released from the strange embrace she was overcome by curiosity. She still felt a distant singing in the back of her mind but instead of letting it lull her she rushed out of the little room and out onto the cliff trail. the trail was well maintained so she had no troubles traversing it even in her bare feet. she neared the cliff but slowed when she saw a large figure. It was the size of a man and stout of build. it was wreathed in shadow but she could see that the head was somewhat animal. The shadow turned toward her and moved slightly. Unafraid from long training and a driving curiosity she drew near. she closed the distance and came face to face with the singer. It was the fat redhaired tourist guy from dinner. he was dressed now in nothing but a kilt or skirt made of section of leather that were embellished and worked with complicated patterns and pigments. Around his neck he had a necklace that seemed to be made of leather and copper triangular pieces with blue inlays. He also seemed to have metal coils in his hair. He was completely shirtless showing off his obvious bulk. In his hands was a decortated runedrum and what looked like a container resembling a horga'hn. As she drew near he was replacing the lid to the horga'hn shaped container. it clacked like it was made fired of clay. It was also decorated like no horga'hn she had ever seen on Risa. It was covered in colored dots and geometric shapes of colored glaze in a vaguely artdeco pattern. " Was that you?" she asks breathlessly. " was what me?" he asks looking like he was caught doing something he shouldn't. " that singing or chanting or whatever, it was beautiful, what was it?" " Umm yeah that was me, sorry if i woke you" " but what was it?" He hesitated " oh just fulfilling someone's wish" she looked and him squarely in the face and gave voice to the empathic hunch she had formed seeing all those images. " Laying someone to rest on their home after they passed on yours?" He grimaced a little " Yeah, I take it you felt some of their memories?" " Felt!? i freakin saw them! Where was that dyson sphere?" He look startled by that. " Ummm.... my home." " Come to think of it how did i see all that so clearly i am only half Betazoid i have not been able to do more that pick up what people are feeling." The large barley dressed guy shrugs. " No idea, maybe you are more sensitive then you think and i dropped my guard while performing the rite" " anyway this is getting awkward so catch." He says suddenly before he tosses the horga'hn shaped container at her. She deftly catches it but as soon as she looks back to ask him what the hell that was for she sees only empty air. after coming back with a light and a sensor kit with a camera she clearly takes pics of his footprints and does a scan of the area. She can't detect any signs of transporter activity and yet no life signs. She had the odd horga'hn in the room and pictures of his foot prints to prove she was not imagining it. She expanded her search area and found another pair of prints. They were far larger then the others and shaped more like and animals with hints of claw marks. They formed two small circles. wait not circles. It looked like a figure 8. Wait not a figure 8. It was an earth symbol called a lemniscate which was used to denote the infinite. In one lobe was a triangle pointing toward the cliff and in the other was a triangle pointing the opposite way. Looking at the symbol made by these odd footprints she felt a sudden echoe of the singing and the flowing she felt when she had seen all the images. She rubbed her face and decided that she would ask her father about this to see if other half Betazoids experienced such weird things visions. Maybe she would have her CMO give her a full scan when she got back from vacations as well. She finished documenting everthing then went back to the room. In the morning she decided to take the horga'hn do one of the shops and see if she could determine the style and source of it. As she fell asleep the thought came to her that this was far more interesting then a beach vacation. Even with all the weird stuff going on she was having fun. Chapter 2 The gentle sunlight crept into the window of the cabin near the cliff. The sweet sent of night blooming tropical floors was just dying away and the jungle was covered in morning dew, risa was coming gently alive. Captain Shoniqua Bezi awoke with the first sun and the song of the large tropical Risian wild birds. She quickly showered and got dressed in practical clothing. She was brisk and driven. Last night's odd encounter had given her a mystery to solve. After she was dressed she took the horga'hn the chubby red haired man had tossed her as a distraction and took scan and pictures of it. She filed them together with all the recordings and a brief report together and then sent them off to a friend with starfleet's department of Xeno Anthropology and then a copy to her own science department marked low priority. While collecting the pictures and scans she found traces of dust in the cavity of the horga'hn shaped container. she collected samples and took scans of it. It appeared to be ash with traces of organic molecules. There seemed to be fragments of DNA but her tricorder couldn't piece them together. She sent these scans along with the rest of the information. She packed a bag with her padd and tricorder along with the strange Horga'hn. She grabbed a strong Raktajino and made her way to a shop that had a resident sculptor. She was the first one there and after exchanging pleasantries. she brought out the strange horga'hn and asked the sculptor: " What can you tell me about this?" She handed it over and the sculptor looked it over. Even the shop's clerk, a young Risian girl who couldn't be much more than 19 came over to look at it. " Well first off the workmanship is very good, the stylization is more intricate than that of the horga'hn we make for tourists and the technique seems to be that of about 200 or so years back. The Forms are defiantly Risian of expert form, the material seems to be non Risian in origin, i don't think this type of deep red clay can be found anywhere on Risa. But these patterns on of these glazes, these aren't Risian at all but they are beautifully done. Some of these inlays are actually melted glass instead of glaze. This was defiantly made by a Risian or someone taught well by one, and it has definite influences from another culture, it was made off world for sure." The Sculptor looked up at her. " Where did you get this if i may ask?" Shoniqua hesitated then told the truth " It was given to me by a man i met last night." This elicited a smile " I take it he was after jamaharon?" The sculptor asked referring to the Risian sexual rite of pleasure. Unabashed by this she responded " I don't think that was on his mind, i got the idea he wasn't familiar with the concept or much of what it meant. If you look closely it has a lid and opens into a container. As far as i am aware that is not usual." This revelation seemed to perplex the sculptor, though if it was the opening of the piece or the suggestion that someone was unfamiliar with jamaharon she couldn't tell which. " well maybe if you run into him again you can explain the concept to him. Otherwise he might cause some confusion. I can't tell you anymore about it sadly." "Don't worry i will." She responded and packed it up and went on her way toward a communication center to make some calls. She had no luck at the Comm center, her parents were out somewhere so she downloaded a selection of anthropology texts to her Padd and went to read them on the beach. She hiked a little to a secluded Lagoon where she could research and delve into this mystery. She wasn't alone by any means but there were only a few people in the lagoon. Most people swam on the main beach were the sun and surf. This lagoon was tree shaded and cooler. some cooler weather species such as 3 Andorians were swimming in the shaded waters. She sat and brought out her padd and sat and then started doing a computer image search for the shapes and designs on the on the odd horga'hn. Some partial matches were found. The Closest was art Deco from earth but there were enough differences that it was most likely not made on earth. She kept looks through what the partially complete search results. *Beep* Her padd just chimed and notified her of a 95% match. It was a picture and small report of an mysterious object found on a small child that was presumed dead in a shuttle explosion on a new colony but the child was found alive half a mile from the blast zone. His parents who were with him in the shuttle were alive but unconscious next to him. They had treated wounds and were layed on a pile of leaves. The child was wrapped in a blanket and was gripping a necklace made of black clay disks with intricate designs in colored glaze on it. The Designs were almost identical to what she found on the the horga'hn shaped container. The Child was too young to say exactly what happened but he did talk about a " Teddy bear man." The rescuers dismissed this but she though back to the animal like foot prints and the shape she saw in the darkness before the chubby red-haird man came from the shadows last night. The thought that she was searching for singing space teddy bears on a vacation planet didn't dissuade her cause kirk was running into weirder things a century or so earlier. A Loud splash made her look up casually. There was a large spray of water as someone entered the water and the other swimmers clapped and whistled. Someone must have jumped from one of the trees into the deep part of the lagoon. She was about to go back to her reading when a voice behind her spoke " you should focus on more pleasurable matters while on Risa." came a confident sensual voice. She stood up and quickly about faced and turned to face the man behind her. It was the blonde Adonis from last night, the one that had seemed mad when she sat elsewhere. She focused her mind. Why she hadn't she sensed him coming? There was just a mental buzzing, like bees or... or static. Somehow he was generating empathic interference. " Um, I will just had to do..." but he had closed the distance and was reaching up to stroke her cheek but she scooted back a step. The Blonde man's face darkened. She didn't need empathic talents to tell he didn't like to be rejected. He was about to start forward angrily when a voice from behind her toned " I suggest you respect her disinterest." One of the Andorian swimmers, a lean young woman a zhen or shen stepped forward and looked ready to come to her aid. She is firm and confident and looks like she will fight if she had to. The blonde man didn't look dissuaded, he looked more angry. " Are you wearing an empathic inhibitor? Cause those things are really annoying." A familiar male voice came from the lagoon. Out of the water comes the chubby red haired man. The huge splash must have been him. He doesn't appear hostile or like he is about to fight. He only looks mildly annoyed. " Why do you have a hypo spray in your other hand?" the chubby man says. From his angle he, behind and looking up he has a veiw of the blonde man that the 2 women in front of him don't have. The fat man in the water raises his hand makes a flick and the hypo is yanked from the blonde man's hand and it thumps into the fine white sand. The Blonde man looks startled then determined he turns and runs back down the path then beams away. " What was that about?" the Andorian woman asks? " Wish i knew?' Shoniqua chimes in. She reached down and picked up the hypo. It was not of a make she was familiar with. Shoniqua scanned the vial. It was full of Anesthizine. The Andorian looked over shoniqua's shoulder at the tricorder. " That guy was up no good it seems." The andorian turns to her swimming companions who were now heading over. " Hey Sohl call security. " The swimming companion gave an affirmative. While everyone was waiting for Risian resort security to arrive Shoniqua decided to ask some questions. " So you are telekinetic too?" She asks the chubby man stepping out of the lagoon, hands on hips with a wry but also steely determined look. One she had used to shake the confidence of many people across the negotiation table. " Seems so" he answer non nonchalantly. " I guess it is fortunate that you are, whoever that was could have sprayed a cloud and knocked out anyone close by. Must be why he was so brazen despite there being 5 people here" The Andorian woman puts in. Soon 2 Risian hover bike officers arrived to take statements. The whole thing took 45 minutes, everyone gave a breif statement with questions and their name. Shoniqua and the Andorian woman gave their statements to a Risian female officer while the mysterious redhaired man and the 2 other andorains spoke to a male officer. Shoniqua tried to listen in on what the chubby swimmer had to say, trying to catch a name or his species. She couldn't hear anything though. The officers wrapped up and left. Not taking any chances Shoniqua whiped out her micro holoformer and scanner combo and snapped a few shots of the red haired guy. " What's your name? You didn't say at dinner last night." " Name is Johnathan Doe" " oh please you are going to have to do better than John Doe" "Ok it is I'hava Fakename" he shot back flippantly. The Andorians looked on at this exchagne puzzled and amused. Must have thought there was some one night stand drama occurring. The Chubby man collected his towel and strolled barefoot into the jungle, away from the main resort building. " What species are you dammit?!" " I am a Common Nonofyourbusiness" He called back while walking away. She started scanning his receding back with her tricorder but the reading came back as utter jibberish scanning as having 14 hearts one moment and none the next, while saying he was... she looked again. The scanner showed that he was make entirely of Glucose. " May i ask what that was about?" The andorian woman who came to back her up asked. She told the truth. " I think he is a species new to this area of space, as any memeber of starfleet does my curiostiy is peeked but he isn't forthcoming." She paused. " He also threw this to me last night" She pulled out the horga'hn. "Ohhh my." one of the Andorians laughed. " Yeah yeah laugh it up, it wasn't like that, he tosed to me and vanished while i was distracted, i get the feeling he doesn't know what it meant." The Andorian who came to her aid however looked at it intently. " May i see that?" She held her hands out. The intent look and aire of shocked familiarity coming off the woman made shoniqua hand it over. After staring intently at it. The andorian pointed to one design, an oval with pointed ends and a green circle in the middle " This is the unblinking eye of the Cosmos. I have seen this. " Startled by this Shoniqua blurts out " Where!" " When i was little back on Andoria, i got lost one night as the ice gave way and fell into a a dark passage. I wandered around trying to find my way back to the surface, after a few hours i got exhausted and had to sit down. i was calling for help and after a while someone answered me. Don't know what they were doing down there or what species they were, but they found me and gave me their clothes to stay warm and sat with me for a while. He. I think it was male, lit a flare on a spike and stuck it into the ice. It acted like a campfire and kept me warm in conjunction with the jacket he wrapped around me. He had a bracelet on his left wrist. It was like this, all colorful and bright. I asked him about it and he responded in very old Andorian that this was the Eye of the Cosmos, that looks back on all that is with love and wonder. The eye wants to know about everything and everyone, how they laugh and sing." She Paused " I got sleepy and he started singing. I couldn't understand the words but i dreamed of stars and gleaming planets with promise of new things and people. When i awoke he was gone and some rescuers were lifting me up. I still had his coat which was made of some type of animal fur and the spike from the slow burning flare was still there. I tried to describe him to anyone i could but they couldn't tell me for sure what species it was." A pause " Actually those dreams are what encouraged me to join starfleet, but i went into security instead of the sciences." Excited shoniqua asked " Can you describe it to me?" " About 2 meters tall, short snout, covered in fur with dark patches around the eyes, heavy build. Had sharp teeth but i didn't see much of them, only brief glimpses when it talked. Yellow eyes, gently rounded ears that had a few earrings in them. It had big feet with clawed toes, it also had claws on its hands but they looked like they had been blunted, Oh and a short tail. It's fur was mostly shades of brown." another pause " it smelled kinda funny, the human expression 'like a wet dog' would be apt. I guess it was the melted ice wetting the fur on it feet, it wasn't wearing shoes which i found weird cause it had some sort of pistol that looked pretty advanced but it was walking around a frozen planet without shoes on." Shoniqua thought back to the animal like shadow she had seen last night. " interesting. How long ago was this?" " maybe 15 earth standard years, i was pretty young. Anyway i am not sure how it relates to the guy who was just here he looked human to me." " I have some conjectures about that" shoniqua mumbled? The Andorian woman didn't seem to hear. She was starring at the designs lost in thought. Before she could ask any follow up questions her padd started beeping stridently. She picked it up and saw it was a call marked important. She hit answer . " Shoniqua, I am bringing a team to Risa right now, this is big! We will be there in a day or two!" Dr. Terrence Sommerset stated excitedly as soon as she hit answer. The sounds of rushing an preparation could be heard in the back ground. " Your message, the stuff you sent, WOW, they couldn't have come at a better time, we found something like it a few days ago on earth, and on vulcan they were ancient! Will give you the full story when i get there." He suddenly hung up. before she could process that, another message came in, it was from Starfleet. " Hello captain, your discovery has caused some excitement we have decided that this is worth investigation, the Gatlinburg is on its way to Risa and you will be Briefed when your ship arrives." " What the hell?" She exclaimed. The Andorians were looking up in amazement, they had apparently heard everything. " So much for a Vacation." Shoniqua Bezi mutters. Chapter 3 She was supposed to have another week off as per the directive of her ship's counselor, a genial old Bolian man, and the workaholic captain had started to get into the idea. She had met someone interesting who was an amusing enigma and was having fun delving into the mystery he represented. After some thinking on her feelings she decided that it would have been more interesting if he continued play coy about his origins giving her something to dig into. Now it seemed it had become official starfleet business and she was going to have to go back to being in charge and she could just send teams to dig into this guy's activities. And that just wasn't as interesting as cracking the nut herself. If this were some holonovel he would have been tall dark and handsome in his mystery instead of pale, fat and somewhat flippantly unforthcoming. Also that odd vision and mental sensations of last night would have been more erotic or sensuous if this had been a romance story. Instead it was wondrous ,strange, and maybe a bit spiritual. Part of that expereince was why she was so driven to find out more. Was spirituality like that? She had little experience with spirituality so who knew. She would have to ask a more spiritually inclined species. Her friend Dr. Sommerset had an assistant who was Bajoran so maybe she could ask what spirituality felt like. Now that she thought about it she wondered how much she could tell Sommerset. The situation was going to get complicated. Well she had almost a 20 hour estimated time before her ship arrived, so may as well get some more relaxing done. Or more digging into the mystery same difference. Maybe she can find out more about the guy who had come after her with the hypo spray as well. What the hell was that about? She decided to ply some of the other guests for info, she quickly came up with a cover story about the red haired guy leaving something of his that she was trying to get back to him. That was a good excuse to pry into his activities. She made her way to a decently populated bar area. Drunk people would most likely share more information. She made it not too conspicuous what she was doing, she chatted with other vacationers about this and that. She even talked to another starship captain a little and almsot got sidetracked talking about the flexibility of different ship classes. She eventually remembered her mission. " Hey have you seen a heavyset man with long red hair, most likely wearing a red shirt hawaiian or Risian tourist shirt?" " Did it have dancing gorn on it?" The other woman captain, a hispanic woman with a weightlifter's build asked wryly. " Uh yes it did. How did you guess?" Shoniqua asked. " My younger brother helped him pick up the shirt. This big red haired guy is looking around like it was his first time on Risa and he was absolutely dying in totally inappropriate clothes. He was wearing this tough looking leather jacket and heavy fabric pants with these armored boots. In fact i think there was armor plates in the jacket and reinforcement mesh in the pants, he looked like he could survive a war in that get up, but it is the middle of the day in summer on Risa and he was sweating like mad. At first i thought he was going to cause trouble then my brother who had a few." she paused " He was maybe as tipsy as i am now so i am one to judge" she remarks before sipping her drink, some kind of greenish beer, " anyway he was looking a little grumpy and sweaty when my brother goes up and starts flirting with him, he was really friendly despite his appearance like a klingon motorcycle ganger, and admitted he had no knowledge of the local customs and so had no idea how to dress, He mentioned that he came here to do something for someone, but wanted to stick around after it was done and enjoy the scene. My brother was getting some vacation clothes for our parents so he brought this guy shopping, with us." She drank again. " I think this one is my last" the Hispanic captain remarks to herself. " So he comes with us and gets new clothes including the one with the dancing Gorn, we got one for my dad too, he bought a bunch of shirts and shorts and changed into them in the changing room, then went back to his ship to drop off the clothes." " He has a ship here?" Shoniqua asks " Oh yeah. it was a sleek looking thing about the size of a Runabout, He mentioned wanting to find lodging other than his ship cause he had just spent forever in it to get here. But he wouldn't tell us where he had come from so we didn't press." She pauses. " Man i went into way more detail then needed. Why are you asking about him if i may ask?" Shoniqua was ready with the line " Oh i had dinner with him last night and he left something of his, i am just seeing if he needs it back." Flawless delivery she thought to her self. This was kinda fun. " Could you tell me where his ship is, maybe i could leave a note of drop his stuff off there. " " Sure i could show you, i need to walk off this beer anyway" They walked toward a sight to site transporter. " This will be faster than last time he wanted to take a hover taxi, said transporters were really uncomfortable. Guest docking bay 4 tree top level, sunset section." The woman told the transporter pad's command mic. A quick shimmer and they were there. " It is just this way at the end of this row, 'the sunset section' what a strange name for a docking bay, i get the resort is trying to be all vacationy but this is a little much" The other Captain prattled on with the unfiltered ease of the slightly intoxicated. They stopped in front of a speedy looking vessel with a silvery hull. It was indeed sleek, it almost looked like a fighter craft but runabout sized. it didn't really have any markings on it. " Wait i can't be that drunk, last time it was white with blue patches. This is defiantly the right place and right ship unless there is another just like it, but it was white last time." " Are you sure?' shoniqua asks. " Yeah, look." The drunk human pulls a padd out of her purse and flicks in on then hits some commands. There is a picture of the same type of ship but it is indeed white with blue markings. " I took pictures cause it is a cool ship, i kinda wanted to see who made it" The human captain thumbs through the pictures, a shot from the back, from the side, a shot with a man shot must be her brother standing near it. Before either could say anything, the distinct whine of a disruptor rings out. At the same instant a blue-green wall of energy form flashes into place behind them. They both whip around fast enough to see a green beam being stopped by the oval shaped wall of energy. The beam streams steadily against the wall and moves as it is swept over the wall of light. Shoniqua and the drunk captain do wait to see if it will hold, they run and take cover behind the ships. When they leave their place standing at the back of the sleek vessel the wall of energy vanishes then reappears infront of where they are hiding. When it does so the questing energy beam, suddenly unimpeded by the shield hits the back of the silvery ship. The beam splashes against the hull of the ship and scatters breaking up and reflected away from where it struck. When this happens there is a shout of surprise and the beam stops. They both hear a transporter whine and a section of shadow glows blue then is gone. " Well someone is pissed" the Hispanic woman says Then adds " Was that an automated reactive personnel shield? I had heard them proposed but they still were in development last i heard." Shoniqua decided to be straight with her fellow captain. " I suspect the big redhaired guy isn't from around here and he may represent a more advanced civilization then we are. I was looking for info about him to report to starfleet." "Do you think he would shoot us to keep it a secret?" the now not so tipsy captain asks shoniqua " No, he has just brushed me off when i ask about it, he isn't forthcoming but i never got the impression he was at all desperate to keep it a secret he just won't say where he is from." She paused. " there was this other guy a handsome blonde man who has been acting pretty strange, pretty angry actually but i have no idea how he fits into anything" They Called resort security and reported the incident. They arrived minutes later already on their way after detecting weapon's fire on a planet where there should be no weapons. There was no questioning the series of the events each gave their statement and the security sensor data was called up and filed with the report. Resort security advised her do switch rooms and a wait for further information. They were a little out of their league actually and were relieved that she informed them her ship was on the way. She didn't tell them she wasn't leaving after that and didn't inform them of what was going on regarding her later mission since she was unaware herself. The Hispanic captain who was now sobered up completely promised to ask her brother more about the red haired man but she was going to be more on the look out for anyone meeting the description of the blond man, though that could be anyone of a thousand people she admitted. After that resort security walked her through the process of arranging new lodging and having any belongings moved to the new place. She was sorry to lose the cabin near the cliff. she liked the view but was pragmatic about the situation. She was moved to the other side of the island after arguing with security. They felt she should be moved to a different island but she convinced them to let her stay on this one just farther away from her last lodging. She advised that the report should be relayed to her ship and to star fleet. They settled her into the new lodging. A hotel room that was on a small peninsula with an area of dense jungle behind it. The hotel had better security then the cliff side cabins. Her ship and answers to just what was such a big deal were still 16 hours away so she was going to get acquainted with the area. She would have to be satisfied with what ever she found out when her ship arrived. She went to the hotel bar, that would be relatively safe being so public. She Grabs a seat at the bar, orders then looks over. And there he is chugging a huge tankard of beer. The redhaired guy. He finishes and ask for another then feeling her eyes on him turns toward her. " What are you following me?" He asks accusatory, beer foam still clinging to his mustache. He was wearing a blue hawaiian shirt with abstract patterns instead of the Gorn shirt. " Was about to ask you the same thing but you seem to have been here a while" she indicated all the different glasses in front of him. " You know him?" the barman asks. " He has had quiet a lot to drink and it would be better if he had a friend around when it all hit him." " I kinda know him. But not all that well." " don't worry i am not about to try and pilot a ship or anything." He responds to their muttered conversation. " Speaking of ships, i just saw yours, interesting system it has." She needles a little to see if she can sense any reaction. He seemed calm and unconcerned." So that was you? Aren't there penalties from trying to cut your way into people's stuff with disrutors? I thought weapons weren't allowed here. Also there were people nearby you could have hurt them." He was halfway through another tankard of beer this one a deep amber. " Wasn't me doing the shooting. You have some kind of automated reactive personnel shield. it shielded me and another person from the beam. Interesting piece of tech." She answered back. She was concentrating hard on picking something up from his mind, hoping that the alcohol had weakened his mental defenses. They hadn't. All she could tell is that he had a mind and was right there. " Yeah i have a bunch of nifty stuff on -tev-, no i am not telling you about them. Anyway who was shooting at you? That moron with he empathic inhibitor?" Shoniqua blinked. He had just used a word that the Universal translator couldn't translate. He had been speaking in federation standard English until that one word. the translator had no context clues in order to translate it. she was guessing it was the name of his ship. " Your ship is called Tev?" She asked deciding to press it. " Uh no. That is a Pronoun for something genderless. I think the closest federation language has is Hir though i am not sure. " Interesting so his language has gender neutral pronoun... " Why is that interesting a bunch of languages have them?" he said, Shoniqua was shocked. she wondered if he was reading her mind and... " Yes i am reading your mind." he responded. then he responded to the bartender who must have been thinking something himself. " No it isn't rude, i thought she was stalking me so i am performing threat assessment." Shoniqua called on the techniques she had been taught on Betazed in childhood and closed off her mind to outside readings. She had to concentrate on it. " Anyway thanks for the service" he put down a few strips of latinum " I am off elsewhere " He got up and walked into a nearby bathroom. After a few minutes she saw a skinny bolian man walk out of the bathroom and head away Shoniqua waited at the bar for 30 minutes wanting to press the matter, she might not get another chance at questioning him before he ship arrived and if he had something to do with the reason they were interested in her report of last night then she was duty bound to find out all she could. She was so intent on waiting that she too late realized something, she had never seen the bolian man enter the bathroom just leave it. Had he gone in before the red haired guy? She decided to check for herself. She walked into the unisex bathroom and checked the stalls. All empty. She went back out to the bar and considered the possibilities. He maybe beamed out, which was within the realm of possibility or he had somehow left unnoticed. Could he have been the bolian? If so he had changed skincolor and lost a good 90 kilograms in those few minutes. The possibility he was a changeling crossed her mind but they couldn't read minds or were telekinetic as far as she knew. This this new development could explain why starfleet was so interested as to pull her ship of its previous assignment. The Dominion war and the bluegill invasion attempt had made the Federation cautious when it came to species with natural infiltration potential. Not that seemed to be the motive here but the unwillingness of the mystery man to reveal anything even his name was super suspicious she made her way up to her new room and decided to report this new possibility. She took the turbo lift up to her floor then briskly walked to her room. She did a quick check of the the bathroom and closets to make sure there was no one lurking. The incident in the garage had made her understandably cautious but she decided that taking precautions wasn't giving into fear. She wasn't going to stay boxed till her ship arrived but a few steps like setting up a small transport inhibitor and checking her surroundings was prudent. After that was done she opened a channel to her ship on route from her padd. " Hello Captain what can i do for you?" Her first officer a tall Andorain responds as soon as the channel opens. He is sitting in the captain's char and leaning back comfortably stroking the arms of the seat in an obvious and exaggerated manner. " I see you are enjoying my chair. I have some potential news to pass on. I think...." She stopped suddenly when she heard a noise come fromt the open bathroom. A white shimmer and 2 figures appear, one the handosme blond man pointing a disruptor at her the other looks like an a robot. It could not even be called an android as it looked barly humanoid. " Hold on commander it seems i am being abducted. " she comments then without warning she flicks her wrist and send the padd spinning toward the blond man's face. His smug grin didn't even have time to slide fully off his face before the padd struck him. There was a crack as it strck and the man's arm with the disruptor pistol jerked. The weapon discharged sending a green beam into the wall and ceiling. Shoniqua wasn't far behind the padd. With honed reflexes from starfleet training and from her mother a starfleet security officer, making sure she took self defense since she was a child. Her fist slammed into the blond man's face before he could recover and bring the pistol to bare on her. There was a satisfying spray of blood from his mouth and nose. She brought her fist down from his face to hit his hand and knock the weapon away. Then she shoved him back into the robot. He went tumbling back and fell into the machine but rolled off to the side. he shouted " Grab that bitch!" Shoniqua pulled back a few steps to where the disrutot had landed. She knelt and picked it up swiftly bringing it to bear on the advancing robot. The robot opened its padded grabbing appendages that it had in place of hands and started forward. Shoniqua fired the disruptor and struck the machine in the should joint. The arm burn't off and clattered to the floor. The Robot still tried to advance but a second shot to its chest burnt a hole and caused it to collapse. She turned the weapon toward the cursing man laying on the bathroom floor. He noticed and franticly hit a control on his arm and with another shimmer of white light was gone. A loud knocking came, hotel security was paying close attention to this room and the weapon fire mush have sent them running. " Open doors" she called out to the hotel computer. Security personal came rushing as she dropped the pistol on the bed. Once they were sure everything was secure. " Um i would like to have a word about the COMPLETEY USELESS TRANSPORT INHIBITOR" " I am sorry maam we will have it checked out. In the meantime can you coming us to answer a few questions we need to sweep this room for evidence." A tinny call of " Captain, Captain are you alright?" came from the padd she had called her ship with. The security officer spoke to the padd on the floor, " she is unharmed and will be kept safe at the security station." " We will relay the video and audio we collected on this side of the conversation. Helm ignore all speed restrictions and go to maximum i want us at Risa Pronto." They escorted her to the lounge of the security office and had her run through the story. They communicated with the other officers that had shown up the other 2 times and decided that she was safer off the planet. It was determined that the small transport inhibitor was working perfectly and that whoever was after her had a sophisticated system to over come it somehow. The remains of the robot were a puzzle because no one knew what make it was. it was simple enough and had little processing power but some of the components showed it was pretty advanced in pieces but not meant to do much beside grab and restrain. Since whoever it was might be able to divert a transporter beam the decided to shuttle her up to a Starfleet vessel that was here in Risian space undergoing repairs. On the ride up she silently stewed in the sheer annoyance of being attacked while on vacation and having her little investigation interrupted. Well her own ship would be here before long so may as well use the ship's computer to perform better searches and analysis. The shuttle broke the cloud layer and headed toward a small spot of light in high orbit. As the shuttle drew closer she saw that it was a Vesta class, it was large and elegently curved and shining like a jewel, representing the values of science and exploration that it was designed for. The name on the front was the USS.Phrygia. As they approached the docking bay she also saw that one side was dark and had patches of damage. One Naccele was dark and only half there. It looked like it had been split cleanly in half lengthwise. " What happened there?" she spoke aloud. " um i have no idea i wasn't there." The Risian shuttle pilot said. " sorry talking to myself" She assured him. They landed and Shoniqua disembarked, there was a brief exchange of information between the 3rd officer and the pilot then the 3rd officer introduced himself. " I am lieutenant commander Lewis Sheldon, i heard you have been having some trouble with a stalker on the surface but your own ship is on the way. We are having some systems problems but they are being fixed as we speak. We can set you up in a guest room until your ship arrives." " I would hate to be useless is there anything i could do?" " I am not sure, we have a few teams and some experts from the surface working on it. Maybe ask the chief engineer she is working on restoring the sensors in astrometrics. I was going to head that way myself after this, maybe you should come along and see what you can do." Some Crewmen took her belongings to the guest quarters, the new report of the attack she had faced had all been transmitted to starfleet on the way up. In the turbo-lifts they discussed the damage. " So who attacked you? from outside the damage looked pretty severe. " Shoniqua asked. " Oh we actually weren't attacked, at least we don't think so, this strange anomaly appeared and hit us while the shields were down. cut one of our warp nacelles clean in half and it emitted some kind of tendrils that burned the hull. Luckily any breaches were minor and we didn't loose anyone. But the sensors and power grid have been acting odd ever since. We got life support wokring 20 minutes ago after it behaving oddly since the incident. We also have this anomalous substance left from it that has been making repairs difficult, it seems to effect people it they touch it or are near it too long. Nothing dangerous as far as we can tell but weird." They got off and headed toward astrometrics, the door was deactivated open and people were bringing parts in to replace damaged components. From the open door she heard the small murmor of voices and... singing. It was a clear deep male voice that was obviously well trained. She felt a tingle in her head. She was doing more then hear the singing she was feeling it. Without knowing it she started singing along. "Unda attingit Te et abducit Te in profunda Sicut es unda" Commander Sheldon looked over at her " What is that from, i swear i have heard it before somewhere." Shoniqua snapped out of it " I actually don't know, i felt like i had heard it before and the words just came to mind when i heard the singing. " The entered Astrometric and shiniqua stopped dead when she saw the back of the person singing. It was a wide back, one wearing a blue hawaiian shirt. The singer had his head shoved into an opening and was working to remove something. A Caitian was taking the damaged parts and setting them in a box. The singing stopped when the man, and yes it was him the chubby man from the surface, when he pulled his head out of the oppening holding a large shard of a teal crystal. " This should help with..." he whiped around to face her. " Would you quit showing up where i am!" He exclaimed peevishly. Everyone in the room stopped and looked at them. " I take it you know each other." then he continued. The caitian spoke up, he sounded annoyed as well. " Don't disturb our guest tech hear, he is the only one who seems to know what this blue stuff is and how to handle it. Without his help we would have been baked by own life support system so if you two are having some sort of lovers quarrel keep it to yourself till we are done." Shoniqua thought of laying into him but realized she wasn't in uniform so he had no idea she outranked him. " Captain Bezi, this is Lt.Commander Bf'vess Feven our cheif engineer, Bf'Vess this is captain shoniqua Bezi who will be staying with us till her ship arrives " Whether this would have been met apologies or further irritability. 4 voices started to sing. " eyes eyes in the dark, watch in wonder at our spark, light the way and look back upon yourself..." The man with the crystal in his meaty hand into a container and shut the lid. The voices of a female vulcan, a young male betazoid, a female Deltan and captain shoniqua bezi, cut off. " What was that? " the Deltan asks blinking. LT. commander Sheldon looks around at everyone. " As you can see this stuff can cause problems for more than electronic systems." the red haired man says. " It effects telepaths and empaths first but even non telepathic people will start to feel it, it seems harmless but it can cause people to forget to eat. It is dangerous in subtle ways so we should make sure we get it all. " The large man in the tropical shirt, which was buttoned up for once, flicked his wrist and a series of holograms appeared from a plain looking leather band on his wrist, it looked like a sensor map. " There are 2 small pieces on this deck, they don't seem to be in any systems but lets get them." He hurries off fallowed by some work crew. Sheldon is still looking puzzled, " i didn't hear words but i get the impression that song was about the universe looking back at itself through life. Am i telepathic?" he seemed to be talking to himself. Bf'vess shrugs, " Lets get the rest of it then have it contained and studied later, right now i want my Phrygia back to normal." He walks off hurriedly to catch up. " May i ask why our...guest tech, reacted the way he did when you came in?" " Long story but i met him on Risa and had dinner with him, then that night as i slept a feeling like what that crystal stuff elicits swept over me when i was awoken my some singing, it was him and he was performing some kind of ritual and seemed abashed when i saw him doing it i asked questions he didn't want to answer, I have run into him a few other times and he seems to not want to reveal much about himself or his species. He seems to be telepathic and telekinetic. I am surprised he is being so forthcoming here." The commander nodded " He seemed shy at first but when he found out our ship was in trouble he started talking us through repairs then when we found the blue stuff he volunteered to come help us and warned us not to touch it, not that he needed to say that cause some of the crew that did touch the stuff acted odd and it even incapacitated some of them. Ensign Ritzo's daughter touched a tiny bit of it and now she spends all of her time playing piano, something she used to hate to do." " Make note of everything he does, the Gatlinberg is on its way here because of a report i sent to the Federation Anthropological society, that report includes him, also Dr. Terrence Sommerset is on his way though i don't think he is connected to the starfleet's interest. It is going to be a mess when everyone all dogpiles everyone else for information." They begin making their toward the direction the work crews went then see the chubby man walking back toward them, he seems to be escorting a Vulcan civilian and a young Vulcan girl. The Vulcan Child's eyes seem to be wide in puzzlement and surprise. " Something wrong?" Sheldon asks. " A fragment of unknown martial is embedded in my daughters sternum we are on our way to sick bay to have it removed. This man advised against transporters so we are walking." " I wish us to hurry this feels unusual and is quite Disconcerting " The Child says. Her eyes are wide and she is displaying a rather un-Vulcan expression of pure astonishment. The large man speaks " She is showing amazing discipline in fighting the effects but she is in a pretty alarmed head space so we should treat her right away." " Why build a network of wormholes then not use it for more than 50,000 year?" The child asks out of nowhere suddenly turning to look at the chubby man with a mildly accusatory expression. Everyone was mildly starteled by this non sequitur. " First off i didn't personally build them and second i don't know." he answers back calmly. They bundle into the turbo lift, Shoniqua rushes in at the last moment to listen for any further potential insights from such exchanges, leaving Commander Sheldon behind. The ride is silent for a few minutes. " The other captain is trying to eavesdrop." The Vulcan girl says. " I know." " Close your thoughts so she doesn't hear them, also don't tell her i told you" The vulcan child adds. " You are speaking aloud, she knows you told me." He responds casually. " oh, well don't tell her anyway." the vulcan girl says. " I won't" he respond indulgently. A few moments of silence. Then the child says " Your species has too many languages." before the door opens and they all start walking to sick bay. When they enter the doctor, a female Denobulan is preparing for the surgery, a bio bed and an over head arm with a scanner are in place. There is a small privacy screen for patients to maintain some semblance of modesty " Just disrobe behind the screen, and put on the surgical gown. We will do a quick scan then remove the ....." " I believe there are things about the substance the fuzzy one has to share before you proceed." The vulcan child commented, voice calm and collected despite the overwhelmed expression on her face. The device that looked like a leather braclet on the chubby man's wrist made a small chirp. He brought it up to his look at it and a read out appeared with strange writing but it looked like some sort of waveform with a graph next to it. One bar of the graph was flashing despite it being very short. " It would be a good idea to remove it now, something bad will happen in 45 minutes if we don't." The fat man says grimly. He puts in some commands into the holographic display and a small containment box appears on the table. Before anyone can comment on the advanced tech he blerts out " Yeah yeah, my wrist tool is amazing lets talk about it later. Right now lets remove this shard immediately. " " First we will need to scan..." the doctor begins. " No active scans while it is in her, at least not with your equipment, it could react badly. I will synch my scanner to your read outs, we need it out now it will start to hurt soon if we don't." " It has begun hurting already." The girl says in a disciplined tone then add " so fast removal would be preferable." Looking a little strained. A few comands and flick of the wrists later there was an image of the fragment on the medical monitors. "No tissue damage, it is as if it just appeared inside her sternum" the Denobulan doctor commented. As he applied a fast acting local anesthetic. " It did most likely, this stuff is used in altered phase states in some devices so it may have." " Just take the damn thing out already " the young vulcan patient said impatiently. The child's father raised one eyebrow at this. " I am going to try something, it will tingle only a little." said the large man. " I am the doctor you will do nothing without my permission." The Doctor said sternly. But by the time he was finished the fat red haired flexed a few fingers and the piece shimmered away then reappeared a foot above the patient's skin. The large man put the small box he had replicated earlier around the floating blue fragment. He closed the lid then set the box down. " Now listen here you... " the doctor began but was interrupted when a chirp came from the wrist device and the containment box began shaking. The Graph was back and the flashing bars was raising. " That shouldn't be happening..." the large man says. Then he turns to Captain Bezi and commander Sheldon " Call the engineer and tell him to weigh the other crate down or it will start flying around engineering." Before either could comply the small box shot to the ceiling and left a sizable dent before sliding along the ceiling making a horrible screeching of metal on metal. " Today is not my day." the vulcan girl says mildly as she covers her ears. The small box falls to the floor and finally stops. " What the hell was that?" Shoniqua Bezi demands. " What is that stuff why is it doing that?" " I can see why you were so eager to remove it but you said we had 45 minutes earlier, that was only 5." The doctor says staring at the line scraped into the sickbay ceiling. " That would have been unpleasant" the Vulcan says laying on the surgical bed passively, also staring at the scraped ceiling. Chapter 4. " Now that we have a moment of calm START EXPLAINING! " Shoniqua Bezi, said forcefully. " Well with the charge building up in the substance i was able to phase shift it and remove it through the skin and bone without having to cut it out. Which is good cause hitting this with a laser scalpel could have been bad." " That is a start now, WHAT IS THAT STUFF, HOW DO YOU KNOW ABOUT IT, WHAT IS GOING ON, OH AND WHO OR WHAT ARE YOU?" Before he could say anything, which it looked as if he wouldn't anyway, the large man's wrist device beeped again. A hologram of an alien word appearing above the leather band. Completely ignoring Shoniqua's demand for answers he brought it up his face and pressed the flashing word. A holo screen appeared and there was a woman's face on it. " To any Danuakeen in the area, my engine is damaged beyond my abilities to repair. I am slightly injured so assistance would be appreciated." On the image a strong featured woman with slightly pinkish skin and dark brown patches of pigment around her eyes was mildly grimacing, that grimace was likely caused by the several gashes on her scalp and forehead that were dripping blood down her face. Her ear was severely cut up as well, these injures were not life threatening but calling them slight was inaccurate. They must have hurt like hell. " I have received your distress call, i will send my ship remotely to rendezvous with your and tow it to safety. I will treat your injuries in my med bay, or i could hop over there and try and treat you there if you wish, i am currently on a Federation ship." The woman waves her hand, " Nah i will wait for your ship, there is no room for anyone else here, that is why the hubby ain't along to treat me." The Denobulan doctor who was behind the large man in the tropical shirt, peered over his sholder and put in " This is the CMO of the USS. Phrygia, we could bring you over and treat you here immediately if you would like." The woman, face covered in still flowing blood smiles " That is sweet of you but i prefer to wait, no offense but your transporters are pretty painful, i will wait and..." her face twitches, then grimaces, she looks down, and swears in an untransaltable stream of growly syllables. " My water just broke, i think i will ARAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH" she exclaims mid sentence, " I think a visit to an AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH alien sickbay sounds good at the moment" And with that the screen blinked off and the woman appeared in the corner of sick bay in a shimmer of purple light. She was grimacing and leaning against a bio bed. She seemed to be dressed in heavy clothing that had hints of armor padding, Shoniqua remembered the drunk captain describing the large redhaired man's clothing as looking like something you could survive a war in, and this had the same look to it. With a bleeding scalp, shreeded ear, and tooth baring grimace, she actually looked like she had just stepped out of a war. The Denobluan doctor doesn't even blink at this but instead starts giving orders to her staff to prepare for delivery. A nurse went over to help her onto a bio bed as the doctor and the large man strode over. The woman ignoring the nurse jumped onto the nearest flat surface, a recovery bed and with surprising spryness for someone so pregnant she unaided and removed her pants, they were flung onto the floor and landed heavily in a heap. Something was happening to her skin, it was rapidly changing color in places. The nurse began scanning the patient with a medical tricorder. Shoniqua hoped the readings were more clear then the ones she tried to take on Risa of the large man. The vulcan girl had gotten up off the bio bed she was on and was putting on her old clothes behind the screen, she came back out just in time to hear the pregnant womane bellow as another contraction hit her. As the vulcan girl looked on as the contraction hit, a terrifying thing happened. The woman changed shape. What was once pinkish skin became greyish brown fur, the woman's mouth lengthend into a snout and the patches of pigmant around her eyes became a black mask like pattern of fur. The vulcan girl drew close to Shoniqua and in a calm tone asked, " Is this not consistent of the earth werewolf from mythology?" she paused " Or is this consistent with child birth." The discovery of a Vulcan with a sense of humor wasn't shockign enough for Captain Bezi to take her eyes off the proceedings. The woman on the table that had seemingly turned into a giant racoon thing brought he wrist up to he face and slamed her fingers into a metal bracer that was on her left arm, a holo display openened up and another voice piped from it. " This is Doctor... Tebby what's" The man on the other side of the conversation was cut off when the woman shouted " SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GET YOUR FAT ASS HERE NOW IT IS HAPPENING! " " I am on my way, homing onto you now." within moments some kind of portal opened in the sick bay ceiling and a large hairy form dropped out of it. Commander Sheldon hit his combadge and raised an intruder alert, but the form was a blur till it stopped at the side of bed with the in labor woman. He seemed to be the same Raccoon looking species. Commander sheldon looked up at the portal on the ceiling, it had edges ringed in purple energy and the center showed what looked like a living room at night, with a big glass wall window looking out onto a huge sprawling cityscape. As he watched the portal closed. Security entered sickbay moments later with phasers drawn. Comander Sheldon motioned to them to lower their weapons. The New comer was not paying anyone any attention. He was by the woman's side and was holding her hand. The nurse with the tricorder chimed in, " you are fully dilated begin pushing slow and steady. Breath and pu..." She was intrupted by a loud bellow from the in labor. Her fingers tightened in her husbands With a gush of blood a mass slipped out. The mass opened it mouth and let out a cry. It might look cute when it was cleaned off but it now looked like an angry blood covered animal. it wasn't so much crying as... yess it was yelling. " GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH" bellowed the baby and " ARGEWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHHH" chimed in the mother as another contraction wracked her body. A second mass slipped out. This one began flailing and yelling as well. It was a quick but very violent birth. One more contraction and the placenta slid out. It didn't scream, But the new borns did. The mother breathing hard unzipped her jacket and threw it open, she was not wearing a shirt underneath. The Angry masses crawled over their mother's body and then found her brests and begin sucking. It was only at that moment that they stopped the angry bellowing. The mother was no longer bellowing either. She was laughing weakly. " I should have asked for drugs, that sucked...." She then closed her eyes and her head fell back to the table. 3 people began scanning. The chubby man with his wrist device, The husband with his own, and the nurse looking startled with her medical tricorder. " Um... she is asleep." The nurse says cautiously. " No internal bleeding, her pulse and blood pressure are returning to normal, and the babies are both biologicall male." The husband sais reading off his own devices." Now we have to discuss names when she wakes up." " Ekli and Tekli" the Vulcan girl says looking supremely traumatized and such a violent delivery. The Husband stops and looks at her. He then scans her with his wrist device. " You have traces of Canticlium in your blood stream. I like the names by the way, yes good strong mythological names." The wide eyed Vulcan turns to her father who is observing all calmly except for raised eyebrows. " I think I am not going to have children father." The young vulcan girl says in a calm rational voice but with a wide shocked expression. She then walks out into the hall and her father follows after her. " The levels of Canticlium in her body are safe, if anyone is worried, she will have heightened telepathic senses but that is all. I recommenced against trying to remove it or exposing her to ceetain hyper or subspatial frequencies, her is a file that might be useful. Now if you excuse us... i have to figure out how to get home. " " My ship has a portal spawner on board, you can link up with yours at home, we should fix her scalp injuries first though." The man in tight tropical shirt says. " Yes lets." The two began to treat the bloody scalp wounds with tools summoned from their wrist devices. The denoblan doctor assisted as best as she could, holding some of the devices and examining how they work. They seemed to be all recognizable instrument such as dermal regeneraters but they were fitted with looked like tractor beam emitters to pull the skin into place before the cuts were healed. While the were doing this Shoniqua Bezi took a few moment to scan the blood left over from the after birth, she even ordered some of the nurses to keep the placenta and preserve it for examination. No one objected. " I must apolgise for barging onto your ship uninvited, i got rather excited by these events." Said the new mother's husband. He seemed to be completly nude. " Not a problem." comander sheldon said cautiously. Securtity was still there at the ready but their weapons were put away. The Sick bay doors opened and an asian woman walked in coughing and looking flushed and sniffling loudly. She sees the large nude fuzzy intruder and stops dead at the sight. " Doctor i am not getting better, in fact i am worse i am hallucinating living tanuki statues." The woman says to the Denobulan doctor. Having finished with the new mother's scalp treatment goes to the sick woman. " They are actually there, but you do sound worse, come over and lay down lets have a look at you." The doctor lead her to a bed, the woman kept staring at the Tanuki like aliens. Shoniqua Bezi hearing a new word to describe the newcomers decided to take note and look it up. The nude husband was thanking everyone and apologizing to everyone for intruding. The chubby man in the tropical shirt put in a few commands into his wrist device and another portal oppen up on the wall, they awoke the sleeping mother and had her walk through it into what seemed to be a ship interior. The nude husband picked up the discarded pants and walked through behind her. " We got all the substance out of the systems of your ship, if people come by and claim it just say 'Article 7' and they shouldn't be too pushy if you try and keep it. Now i am going before thing get too awkward." He stepped through and was gone. " now some peace and quiet..." a message came through all their com-badges. " We have been given orders from starfleet to not let the Aliens leave the ship, detain them if possible." " Now they tell us." Commander Sheldon mumbles. He hit his badge and reports " Inform who ever sent that order that they left before the order was received and remind them we as representatives of the federation are not in the habit of abducting peaceful visitors. " There is a pause then over the com comes, " Uh i am told that everyone should put together a report and then transmit all internal sensor logs." Chapter 5. Now that the utter insanity had stopped Shoniqua was shown to guest quarters. Her ship was still hours away but she decide to start collating all she could now. She quickly showered and ate then took the sample of materials she had collected from the horga'hn shaped container to the lab. She was still dressed in civilian attire but wore a combage so she could venture into official areas. She did find an unused lab and started her analysis on the organic powder. In minutes she was presented with a read out and unlike everything else that had been happening it was clear and unambiguous. The Substance was a mixture of wood ash and bits of Risian DNA from 2 individuals. One of the genetic donors was male and the other female. She thought back to her time on earth visiting her human grandparents and had a good idea what this meant. Her grandfather had been a spry man even until 120 then he seemed ready for the end, he could not travel anymore. That last visit he had asked her for a favor. "Shoni, i ain't got much time and i always wanted to do 2 things but i put them off too long. First, when your mother got married i always wanted to go see Betazed, and i always wanted to go home and see Mars again. When i am gone, take half my ashes to Betazed and spread them somewhere beautiful, and i want you spread the last of my ashes on top of Olympus Mons." A wide smile broke out on his Dark wrinkieled face, that smile that was the sweetest and most playful thing she had ever seen growing up. " Then i want you to take the urn, fill it with those spring loaded snake toys, go to Vulcan and take them to Retired Admiral Verak son of Koss, and have him open it. I told him i would prank him when he least expected it and i mean to do it." She had done as he had asked her. She had taken it to the Admiral's home and presented it to him. Verak had jumped at first then stared her dead in the face and said, " This was David McKing's idea was it not?" He had the closest thing Vulcan's ever got to a smile on his face. Verak had reloaded the spring snakes into the urn and put it on his table. " For Curious grandchildren " was all he had said afterward. Thinking back on the scene on the clifftop on risa, one that over looked the sea and was a spectacular view the chubby guy may have been fulfilling a similar request. She also thought back to the odd empathic impressions she had gotten. The sense of being brought home from far away. The sense of a promise being fulfilled, and .... wait a moment a new memory of sensation. It could only be described as " Let us experience the wonder of our home throught your fresh eyes." Now that she actually sat and thought on it. There hadn't been one set of emotions. There had been 3. 2 had felt relif at home coming and the other was sad but dim as if behind a wall of armor. She thought back to the chubby red haired man's drop in mood when asked why he was here. He was fulfilling a duty like she had been after her grandfather had died. She turned her thoughts inward even more and considered. Why has she felt and seen so much if he had such a sheilded mind. Then her eyes popped open. The images and feelings she had felt that night when he was singing. Those weren't his thought and memories. Those were someone else's. She remembered reading about Dr. Leonard McKoy who had carried the Katra of spock in the late 23rd century. It is very possible that a mentally advanced species could do the same to other people. She knew that the chubby man had poessed some empathic senses, was most likely telekinetic and seemed to be experienced with a mineral that effected telepaths. She made notes of all her conjectures and then moved on to the decorated horga'hn bringing it out and conducting a more thorough scan of it. The resaults were clear but not terribly illuminating. It was reddish clay, but from an unknown world but had no qualities that made it jump out. The decorations were a mix of glazes and melted glass. The patterns where the most remarkable things about it, they were clearly not risian and computer searches turned up only partial style matches the most notable being art deco and the one closest match was unknown necklace that the colonist child was found with, after the mysterious incident at the new colony. There was no further data on that. She brought that report back up. Then realizing something brought up the story the Andorian woman had told her after the near attack by the creepy blond guy at the lagoon and how she had described the thing that had given her its coat. The Woman giving birth had shape shifted into a hair covered animalistic being, the husband that had come through had looked the same and had even been compared to a mythological creature. She read the report of the colonist child that everyone had dismissed. The kid had said they were saved by a "Teddy bear man." She checked the note she had made in sickbay for the word the sick woman had said when she saw them. It was Tanuki. She also remebered the distress call the pregnant alien woman had made, she had said 'Danuakeen.' The words were vaguely similar. She searched the ship's database for them. She got a hit in no time for one of them. The computer chimed in through her padd " Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus, also known as tanuki in Japanese, is a subspecies of the earth fauna known Asian raccoon dog. These animals were regard as supernatural spirits or monsters in Japanese folklore sometime malicious and other times beneficent. When mysterious events occurred Tanuki considered a viable cause. " The file showed a picture of a round eard quadroped with mask like markings. It looked rather like the Raccoons she read about as a kid. She had never seen either one of them in person since she grew up starships and Betazed. She hadn't visited earth until she had joined the academy and by then fuzzy little animals were not one of her points of interest. Looking at the picture now she realized she maybe should have, the adult male that had come through the mysterious portal that appeared on the sick bay ceiling looked awfully similar in markings and feature configuration despite being 2 meters tall and bipedal. After clicking the next page her blood froze slightly. The next page was further on mythology and it had pictures of jolly looking statues with round bellies, happy grins and large testicles. While not exact the resemblance between the aliens and these statues was too striking to be coincidence. This suggests that these thing had been on earth thousands of years ago. She had remembered what Dr. Sommerset's message had said when he said he was on his way to Risa. That designs like the ones she had submitted had be found on earth and Vulcan. Maybe that was why star fleet was so interested, an unknown species that had been kicking around this the Alpha and Beta quadrant since before most species developed warp would be interesting indeed. But why not just say so? There might be something else going on. They had fantastic technology, the portals, the anomalous physic stones, shape shifting, maybe star-fleet intelligence was trying to rule out if they posed a threat or not. But then if they were a secretive infiltration type of race why bother popping up to help people in danger like colonists from a crashing shuttle, a young Andorain girl lost beneath the ice, or a malfunctioning star fleet vessel. The Door opened and Comander Sheldon came through. " Captain Bezi, i have been told to tell you that Your ship will be carrying some admirals who will debrief you on all that you have found and that you should get some rest after you compile your findings." " That might be a good idea. A lot has happened and i could use some sleep." She began packing up her padd and samples. Then a thought struck her. " where did you grow up commander sheldon?" Shoniqua asked. " On earth. Mostly in North America. Why?" " I was wondering if you had heard of 'Tanukis' and what you know about them. the comupter has some info but i feel like there is more." " Ah i see where you are going, technician Sato compared the aliens in sick bay to them. I know they are native to japan and are a subspecies of Raccoon dog. My niece has one as a pet and it is a trouble maker. " " Do you know anything about their genetic history? The computer doesn't have their genome on file as far as i know." Shoniqua asked. Sheldon paused. " Well if you are wondering if the aliens in sick bay are some how related to a species on earth the analysis we ran on the blood and placenta left over shows that the Aliens didn't have any genetic ties to earth life, though they are DNA and carbon based. The odd things is that some of the nucleotide sequences were flagged and set off an alert. But no one not even the captain can view the alert for details. He is rather pissed about it. If he wasn't spending most of his time helping the work crews fix ship's systems he would be giving command and earful." Shoniqua's personal padd, beeped. It was a text message from Captain Martinez, the vacationing captain that had shown her the ship of the red haired man. in fact the message was about the ship. " Saw our red haired friend's ship leave an hour ago but now it has come back. This time it was black but changed to matte white when it landed, that explains why it was different that time i showed it to you, its hull plates are chameleonic. If you want to talk to him again he wondering around the beaches of nenihat island." " So it seems our red haired enigma is sticking around Risa for now." Shoniqua comments " Am i the only one who is perturbed by that order to not let them leave we received shortly after they left? How did command know they were here and why won't they explain even tot he captain the reason for wanting to detain them?" Sheldon asked. Shoniqua answered " They haven't bothered explaining to me why my ship has been rerouted here and why the messages i sent to the federation anthropolgical society concerns starfleet at all. Dr. Sommerset is on his way but i don't think he is operating with starfleet on this. in fact i should call him and tell him something is going on but hell if i know what that is. Since when has a strange species visiting this part of space peacefully gotten star fleet so riled up? Frankly i was curious for personal reasons at first but now Starfleet's interest and secrecy about said intrest just strikes me that something is really wrong." " I agree, something else is going on that we know nothing about. I hate to think that the changelings and the Undine have us so worked up that we are distrustful of the unknown." Sheldon says almost to himself. " Well from all i have seen of these tanuki like people is just a reluctance to give out details, if they were trying to hide they are either terrible at it or they aren't trying. One of them shows up without hesitation when his wife goes into labor and makes no attempts to hide his nature and even amicably thanks us for assisting his wife even though we didn't do much. Another one comes to a damaged ship and helps repair damage caused by an anomalous substance which he doesn't hide his knowledge of and even assists us in removing a piece from a child even though it gives him away after he attempts to disguise himself." " Yes It might be the fact that they are disguising themselves at all that has people spooked but i can see why they would do it, they don't want to answer questions about themselves so make themselves look inconspicuous and non threatening, but they dropped all circumspection when others were in danger and helped or accepted help in the case of the new mother." Sheldon confirmed. Then asked " What was the ginger guy doing on Risa when you saw him." " Ginger? isn't that a spice?" Shoniqua asked. " oh it is an earth term for people with pale skin and red hair. You have never heard it?" Sheldon asked. " Nope Grew up mostly on Betazed, never heard the term before. Any way on Risa he was mostly eating, drinking and swimming the times i sat him, the only unusual thing was he was performing some kind of religious ceremony where he sang and was emitting some kind of psychic presence but i don't think it was very strong and it was mostly made up of a feeling of loss. I saw no signs that his thoughts were effecting people like that blue mineral was. Basically he was acting like any other tourist." She considered for a moment "In fact the only odd things that happened were this other guy kept being a creep and was possibly trying to abduct me but our hefty friend intervened on my behalf one of those times so i get the distinct impression if there is some threat he is not part of it." " so aside from his telepathic nature, you see nothing threatening about him?" " Well if he sunbathed shirtless it could blind someone if they looked too long." was her sarcastic answer. Commander Sheldon chuckled. " Today has been overly eventful, i have been assailed by an unknown man 3 times 2 of which involved disruptor fire, i witness a rather violent alien birth that, my personal mystery that was little more than a fun vacation mystery has turned into star-fleet's business, and starfleet is being less informative then our mystery 'ginger' alien. And i am going to be grilled by a bunch of admirals in 11 hours, I think i need to sleep." With that Shoniqua retired to Guest quarters she had been assigned earlier and laid out on the bed and without even taking her shoes off went right to sleep. In sleep her mind was restless. She saw quick glimpses of things, jungles of black foliage that would have looked grim and foreboding if it weren't for vibrant blue flowers and what looked like a humanoid couple having a picnic. the scene blurred and briefly caught a glimpse of what looked like an engine room, she got the sense that she was shoved out of it that dream into somewhere else. At first she didn't seen anything then the scene came into focused. She saw 2 large red and eyes. The eyes were surrounded by darkness, a shot of fear ran through wondering what exactly was staring her in the face, Before she could think to struggle or flee from thsi mental age she heard... a giggle. 2 tiny furred hands reached up and grabbed onto a short snout. The tiny hands pulled and shook the whole time she heard the giggling. The scene came into focus some more. It was the face of one of the Aliens that she had seen in sick bay that day, it looked like a different individual but it was defiantly the same species. Its fur was all black and its eyes were red but those eyes were...smiling. " good morning my special little girl." The words were nothing she recognized but she somehow knew what they meant. She felt large arms wrap around her and lift her, she started to get a sense of the body she was in.... she was a baby and this was her daddy. She wondered panicked if this was some barried memory had she always been one of these things, was this a.... " Who is that?" you heard the male alien daddy say. Before she could wonder who was being asked, the dream vision shifted again. She was in a vague void, not longer in the baby's body, but looking at the large fuzzy black creature with the giggling baby in his arms. He was eyeing her up and down, shoniqua wasn't sure if it was because this was a mental projection or if indeed this man was 7 feet tall, be he towered over her and was a bundle of fat and dense muscle. Despite his massive size he didn't seem threatening, just curious. A few moments of intense but not uncomfortable scrutiny followed. It felt as if the being was looking through her very being at not at her body but had the same casual cursory feeling as if you caught someone look at you for a moment after you made a noise in their presence. No more than a simple glance. But one that took in her entire mind. " You don't have the ability to do this on your own, so i am guessing you have no idea how you are inside my daughter's mind." Came the thought from the large being. " No, i have no idea how this is happening, I inherited telepathic and emptahic powers from my father's species but half betazoids aren't really capable of this." " My some individuals of species are fully capable of this, and it is possible my little girl is one such individual, my apologies for this then if it is disconcerting. Actually this is unheard of, even the most naturally talented babies usually can only enter the minds of their parents or other members of our species when they are older." " What is your species anyway? Where are you from i have seen some others of your species but they won't tell me things." She had not meant to include the second part but it seemed she had little to no ability to filter her thoughts. She realized it was because she was asleep, her brain literally was not fully operational at the moment. " Wanderers most likely, they mingle with other cultures but try not to harm or alter them. You shouldn't worry about them." " This is a most disconcerting feeling " Came another thought, Shoniqua 'looked' if that term could apply to a mind-scape, at the new thoughts, it was a transparent image of the Vulcan girl that had the blue material removed from her earlier that day. " Ok little one it is time for you to let them go." the large Alien father thought. This was only meet with the mental sensation of baby giggling. Which was interesting to experience on a full mind scale, as if the universe itself was laughing while you were in it. " I request that you stop that." The vulcan girl mildly " Where am i and why am i a shuttle craft?" Came a thought that sounded like Commander Sheldon. Shoniqua's perception shifted and she beheld a type-9 with 3 rank pips on it, 2 gold one black. " Someone replaced the warp core with a banana, no wonder my ship isn't functioning." Came another thought. The blank space of the mind scape was replace by the USS Phrygia's engine room, indeed in place of a towering warp reactor was a single floating banana that was slowly spining in place. Next to it a man in a captain's uniform that was neon orange with green stripes. The adult Alien was looking rather alarmed at all of this. " I think it is time to stop this." He looked down at his suddenly empty arms. " Does your child know how to replace a Warp core?" Says the man in the ludicrous captain's uniform. He looked as if he was part Klingon with mildly ridged brows and fore head. And he was holding the baby alien in his arms, the child playfully biting at the loose fabric of his sleeves. " Why am i asking anyway this is obviously a dream." The part klingon says. " Yes but who's dream is this?" the vulcan girl asks. " Well i am going to say it is my dream, but each of you will claim it is theirs and we will be stuck here debating pointlessly. " Puts in the shuttle craft Sheldon. " This is an unprecedented occurrence in telepathic projection, all your species shouldn't be able to join such a complex link like this with a 1 and a half year old child, Also return my daughter." the Large blackfurred alien says looking a little alarmed. The part klingon captain with the obnoxious uniform replies, " I can not release your daughter because i am the one held hostage by her." Indeed the child had somehow clambered on top of his head and was perched there leaning forward her little claw paws covering his eyes. The large Alien went blurry and turned slightly blue, his face hard with concentration, then suddenly everything faded. Shoniqua opened her eyes blearily and looked up at the guest quarter's ceiling. " What the hell was that?" The ceiling didn't answer. She was rather glad it didn't. Chapter 6 Shoniqua looked at the time. She had slept 8 hours. Despite the weird occurrence of the night she wasn't tired. She had no idea if that was just a dream or if there was something psychic going on. There were about 2 hours before her ship showed up with some undisclosed Admirals who were going to ask all kinds of questions. She decided that if she saw anyone involved in her dream if they experienced any of the dream. Best chance do meet them would likely be in the mess hall. She showered put on a uniform and went do the mess hall. Not only to check with other people about her odd dream but she was pretty hungry. When she walked into the sleek and clean lounge area that served as a mess hall and recreation area she wondered if she was still dreaming, out the window she saw a Klingon bird of prey. Not just any bird of prey, but one that must have been over 200 years old. It was the kind that Flew against the NX-01 back in the days of Archer. To go along with the ship there was a klingon sitting at one of the tables, Lt Commander Sheldon and a man in a captain's uniform were sitting a table with the mugs and padds scattered around. What made her wonder if she was still dreaming was the man in the Captain's uniform was the same part klingon she had seen in her dream. " We picked up readings from the anomaly as it hit us but the data is near useless, the file is heavily corrupted by the system failures that followed, so i can't say if this matches your pattern Vav'IrneH." The captain adressed to the klingon using a familial term that Shoniqua thought mean uncle or grand-uncle. Lt-commaner sheldon looked up and saw her. " Good morning captain Bezi, your ship will arrive in 2 hours. And a Dr. Sommerset and his assitant also arrived looking for you but i belive they are resting right now." Everyone else at the table looked over to her as well. The Captain stood and shook her hand and introduced himself as Dean Hoskins as she approached the table, the klingon just gave a respectful saulute. She had a hunch and decided to voice it. " Good morning, this may seem odd but did either of you dream that Sheldon was a Type-9 shuttlecraft?" The two looked starteled. " And the warp core was a banana?" Sheldon asked looking sudenly pale. The Captain looked over startled at his 3rd in command. " Perhaps somehting other than a dream transpired?" The Klingon asked picking up on everyone's shocked expressions. His thick eyebrows were raised in an almost vulcan like expression of curiosity. " As if we did not have enough mysteries on our hands, now we are having shared dreams on top of mysterious spatial rifts, shapeshiting alien mothers and unexplained orders." " It might have been that blue stuff that we recovered the ginger guy that helped us remove it said it can mess with pyshic phenomenon" Now the Klingon looked starteld " Did this blue stuff glow and make people hear music in their minds?" " Why yes it did. I think we are about to have some answers eh Vav'IrneH." Captain Hoskins asked. The Klingon instead of looking upset by this suggestion and slight acusation just shrugged. " i hold no secrets, vIn, the substance you describe might be Canticiculum, and it can indeed cause such shared dreams but usually with a trained mind behind it. Do you have any left on board? " "We do indeed." Sheldon put in. The klingon opened a scanner. " Is it sheilded because i don't detect any." Shoniqua looked at the read out. It wasn't klingon. But she had seen it before. " Are you a shapeshifting species of bipedal cannid possibly called a Danuakeen?" Shoniqua asks Bluntly. The Klingon ignores the question and keeps scanning. " It is quiet possible he is, i have always thought he wasn't klingon when i was growing up, you never aged queit right." " You were a very perceptive child dean." the Klingon says with a little smile. He put the scanner away. "Yes i am, and i am going to surmise that you have run into others quiet recently?" The nonchalant reveleation came off as a major anticlimax for Shoniqua but she pressed on. " Many odd things have been occuring and members of your kind seem to be involved." " And questioned individuals have been... less then forthcoming when asked?" The man disguised as a klingon asked. " Why yes, they have been." Shoniqua confirms. " That is the code of the wanderers, When a wanderer comes into an area they try to have as little impact on it as possible but are allowed, even encouraged to intervene if someone is will be harmed. Consider it akin to the prime directive but less strict, honestly with a society as technologically advanced as the federation hiding is not really necessary but many do so anyway. I am surprised though that you don't know much of this, there was a Danuakeen openly serving in starfleet in the 23rd century." This revelation shocked everyone present. Sheldon started a search on his padd. Nothing came back relating to it. " What was his name?" Sheldon asks trying to find a new angle to search from. " It was Metik Sull or Sull Metik something like that." Shoniqua and Sheldon both start a query of the database from their padds then are meet with a sharp tone. " This information has been restricted." The computer intones. "What?" they both ask as they look at each other. The Psudo klingon shrugs. " Don't look at me, You would know more than I wou...." Suddenly alarms on the Kligon's padds go off and the ship suddenly goes to yellow alert. "What now?" Shoniqua Bezi exclaims, seems like as soon as she is about to get answers something happens. "Bridge to captain, we are picking up another anomaly." " This doesn't looks normal at all." the Klingon imposter says looking at his padd. " I am going to my ship and i will try to seal or slow down the event horizon." " What is it Vav'IrneH?" Captain Hoskins asks. " A wormhole but it looks unstable and it could fracture spacetime " The Klingon says then he lift one of the padds he brought on board and speaks into it. The language isn't klingon or federation standard english but the translator renders it comprehensible anyway. " This is a general high priority alert unstable fissure opening up in Risa system i will need any ship with a portal spawnwer drive to help me stabilize it." Almost instantly a familar voice responds " I am sending my ship on auto pilot, use these codes to access the drive systems. It has a " a section of the sentence is untranslatable so it comes to the listeners as gibberish " so it will be safer if no one is on board if that happens. " The voice continues. The Imposter Klingon turns to Captain Hoskins " Tune your shields to this, and emit this from your main deflector, it will keep space a little more stable around the planet." Then the false klingon vanishes. No transporter effect, no portal, no shimer, just a small sound and the klingon is gone. The ship out the window turns and heads toward a small glowing point that was not there before. " This is Captain Hoskins to Shuttle bay, prep some shuttles to follow the old Klingon Bird of Prey and be ready to lend assistance if necessary, also scanner running the whole time i want to know what is going on." Moments later some small shuttles fly after the bird of prey. " This could be why command is so intreseted in this species, if they have tech that can detect, create and close wormholes that is worth learning about." Shoniqua observes as she followed the captain and 3rd officer to the turbo lift. " Honestly if the admirals abroad don't start explaining some of the weird commands we have received i might decide to let my Klingon side do the talking. Since the incident with the first anomaly we have been ordered to do blood screenings and interrogations of some crew members, My second in command is confined to quarters on starfleet's orders and i am tired of my questions being ignored. " He Grumbled as they sped toward the bridge. This was a new and shocking revelation. Before she could follow up on that they arrived at the bridge. They exited quickly. " Report!" Captain Hoskins Barked out. " It appears to be similar to what took off half out warp nacelle but far larger and of substantially longer duration. It is also growing in size rapidly." A beep sounded. " Captain the Klingon Vessel has reached the anomally and is emitting a stream of what looks like neutral verterons from it main deflector. The Growth of the fissure is slowing." " Captain a small object is approaching fast from the planet. It looks like a ship." Tactical calls out. " On screen. " Both captains order. Then they just look at each other. The screen Shows a small ship familiar to shoniqua. She had stood next to it when she had been shot at down on Risa. This time it was a reflective silver but turned a shining Bronze as they watched. It was fast and slleek and was quickly passed them and heading toward the new light in the distance. As soon as it was passed them it blurred then zipped toward the light. The Screen also showed space seeming to flex and ripple in patches. " That was a micro warp jump, it has reached the fissure." " We are ready to begin emitting the frequencies your Grand uncle gave us" Sheldon says from the engineering panel where he had been consulting with the officer standing there. "Proceed ." Captain Hoskins orders. After a few button presses the ship shutters gently with power and outside the warps and ripples in space stop instantly. " The second ship has begun emitting a high frequency beam of charmed spin verterons exotic particles of and unknown nature, the fissure has stopped growing and is reducing in size slowly." " Hail the pos'targ, lets see if there is anything more we can do to help. " On the veiw screen the old Klingon is sitting at a console setup where the captain's chair should be. " What is it?" the false klingon says without looking up. " Anythign elese we should be doing?'" the captain asks ignoring the grumpy tone. " Actually yes put out a message warning ships to not warp travel withing a 5 kellicam radius the anomaly, warp feilds can draw discharges from fissure but they are short range. Also i got word from a few other vessels, they will be warping in and trying to help close this cause 2 ships alone may not be enough." " What is this fissure uncle?" Captain hoskins says. While Shoniqua starts backing up and collecting sensor laogs, then cross refrencing them against known wormholes. " I am not totally sure but it llooks like the tempory wormholes used in long distance travel but it is behaving eratically. It is not natural and i have no idea what kind of malfuction in Portal spawner would cause this, either someone is doing this on purpose or it is an error so rare it is unheard of. " The Klingon says looking up finally. " I had picked up micro fissures like this and have been investiogating. thus me being in this part of space. " " Is this like the Subspace fissure the Hekarans scientists demonstrated in their warp corridor?" Shoniqua asks. The false klingon thought for a moment. " Similar in initial effect but different in cause and specifics. It is like the wound caused by a knife and the wound caused by a disruptor, both are wounds that can be lethal but their causes are very different. " " I am picking up 3 quantim slipstreams heading for the fissure sir." " one of them is sending a message, ' i am not here to cause trouble ' it reads." Says the coms officer. " They have emerged from slipstream and are now converging on the Fissure. " " On Screen." 3 more ships are seen pulling up to the fissure, all emitting something from there deflectors. One seems to be an unmarked Romulan shuttle, while the other 2 seem to in a similar Style to the Sleek ship that came from Risa, one is bigger and the second looks to be a sleek fighter. All 3 have taken up positions around the roiling fissure and are sending out streams of energy. The fisure flares then changes color and begins to dim. " At the current rate the fissure will collapse and close in 3 hours, the spatial distortions put out by the fissure dissipating." " sir i am picking up a communication from one of the new vessels, it is the largest one. They are requesting to allow those aborad to evacuate to the plent incase of catastrophic system failure." " Tell them it is ok and that they don't need to ask permission" Captain Hoskins says. He then turns to Shoniqua. " Perhaps we can get clear answers from these new comers, maybe have anyone you know on the surface keep an eye on them while we show them the bright face of Federation hospitality." " Send a message to The planatry government explaining what is happening they might be concerned" Shoniqua added. " In order to close this fissure we are going to have to push all of our systems to the breaking point, can we get some geurentees your crew will allow us to repair our systems unmolested? " Everyone turned startled at the new voice. There was a undisguised Danuakeen suddenly standing at back of the bridge. Security made moves to intercept but the captain waved them down. " We are not in the habit of harassing people that come to our aide, we will provide any assistance we can...." The captain answers " Mom, dammit mom don't board someone's vessel uninvited, that's rude." comes a deep male voice from a little communicator the Border has clipped to her arm. "Those assurances? " the woman asks coolly. " Ma'am no one on my crew will bother you while you are on the planet or replacing your systems." " You aren't threatening them are you mom? Mom leave them alone they aren't a threat..." the voice from the communicator chastises. " Prove my son right and stay out of our way" she says ominously turning to walk away. In doing so she was a little too overly dramatic and didn't watch where she was going and smacked right into the door jam of the turbo-lift door. She let out a stream of curses and then vanished with a faint Shwa sound. " Uh we are being hailed but one of the ships." says the communications officer staring at the place the woman had been. " Put it through" Captain Hoskins orders " Uhhhh sorry about that, my mother is kinda paranoid and dismissive of other species" Says the same male voice. No Visual was coming through and they just watched the 5 ships adjusting their formation and emiting their various streams. " No need to worry, she wasn't that threatening, is there anything we can do to help?" " Uh no just keep emitting the stabilization harmonic in case anything happens, and don't worry if our ships begin to malfunction our drives weren't really meant for this but our safety systems won't let them blow up or any...." The transmission cuts out abruptly. " Sir the vessel speaking to us just lost their coms array to an explosion. I am still reading his life sign and there is only minimal damage." " Looks like they are risking their ships if not their lives to help" Shoniqua observes. " Disguising themselves and wondering around our space only to drop all pretense when others are in danger is unusual behavior but not threatening. I hope to get more answers from my 'uncles' when things calm down." Captain Hoskins says. " Sir hail from The Gatlinburg, they are 45 minutes out and want a report on what is going on here, they instruct over a Secured classified channel in private for your eyes only." " Ok i will fill them in from my ready room, try not to remeber all the secret classified things that are happening out the windows. Sheldon you are in charge." Despite his jokey words his voice had a layer of anger beneath it. Shoniqua didn't need any empathic powers to know he wanted answers and was itching to wring them out of command. Shoniqua was a little miffed that whoever was in command didn't want to talk to her as well, it was her ship. " Those ships are putting out an impressive amount of power," The science officer says almost to himself. " They are putting off a lot of heat and radiation as well" says a young woman manning the tactical station " I am no engineer but it looks like some of them are starting to suffer from whatever they are doing. " We are being hailed by the smaller of the new ships sir" " Put it up" Sheldon orders. In a small window on screen a tannish brown furred face comes up. " This is the pilot of the Detwem may i come on board, the radiation is starting to reach dangerous levels may i come on board your vessel?" " You may, we will beam you over." " Transporters can't get a lock. And lowering sheilds with that much radiation is unwise. " " Don't be upset i am coming about my own way." the undisguised Danuakeen says. There is some rustling and sound of materials bumping against each other " Commign over" The channel closes. Before anyone can process this, a tall lanky figure with a back pack appears in the middle of the bridge. The Figure has its hands raised and his face and presence are nervous. This individual does not have the disciplined mind of the mysterious ginger man. The science officer turns and casually scans the new comer with a tricorder. " Mild radiation residue of his clothing suggest he be treated for exposure. " " Umm ok," the nervous figure says. He is obviously the same species that had come into sickbay last night but he was much thinner. Despite having a small pistol and a decently large knife on his belt he looked frightened and his presence was not in the least bit aggressive. Shoniqua spoke up. " Uh why don't you follow me to sick bay, we can treat you for any exposure or injuries." The scared Danuakeen began walking toward her arms still up when a sudden flash caused everyone to turn. The ship he had just left disappeared into a silent puff of particles and debris. The dackpacked visitor jumps and whips around. " MY SHIP!" he cries in despair. He covers his face for a moment then puts his hands firmly back in the air. " You don't have to keep your hands up." Shoniqua tells him. " Um what?" the asks distracted and confused. " Will will most likely ask you to surrender your weapons but you don't need to keep your hands up." " uh ok." he puts his hands down and allows himself to be lead off to sickbay. Chapter 7 After Decontamination and a brief check up the Danuakeen visitor was offered guest quarters but he declined. He had opted for of going down to Risa and joining the others of his kind staying there and had requested to be shuttled down and preperations were underway to accommodate that. He remained nervous and timid the entire time and Shoniqua couldn't help but feel sorry for him. He seemed so harmless. The Gatilinburg was just minutes from arriving so she prepared to go through all the debfreing that she had been told to expect last night. She had heard that the shuttles that Captain Hoskins had sent out had taken up station and were now emitting the same stabilizing frequency that had been provided the Phrygia and that this was taking pressure of the dauakeen vessels shrinking the rift. It was already half the size it had been at first. The Romulan shuttle had ceased it efforts due to system failures and it was being brought on board for repair. It was a relief to find out it belonged to the Romulan Republic and not the Tal Shiar. She had just collated all of her observations of the danuakeen so far and was ready to present them. " Captain Bezi this is Admiral Mot, We have new orders for you, turn over all of your data to the Gatlinburg and then you will return to Risa to make further observations of these visitors. This should be considered undercover so go in civilian attire, for all outside are concerned you are just continuing your vacation." " Acknowledge sir." Now what was this all about? She sent all the files to the Gatlinburg with a few taps on her padd, then about faced toward her guest quarters to get civilian clothes on. They had seemed antsy to debrief her then suddenly when they have the chance they send her back to the beach? She quickly redressed in her civilian clothing, even replicating a new hat and blouse. She figured if she was going to have to snoop on the ginger guy she may as well have some different clothing to make her less recognizable. That was about all she could do actually. She made her way to the shuttle bay when she had finished dressing. On the way She had collected a stronger tricorder and some other sensor devices as well as an image amplifier and sensor package that was used to survey wildlife. She also packed a discreet type 1 phaser. She had not forgetten the attempted kidnapping. Upon arriving at the shuttle bay she caught sight of the skinny nervous Danuakeen. He was waiting by a shuttle and looking absolutely terrified. What he was looking terrified at was Dr. Sommerset and his Bajoran assistant. The Assistant was gently plying him with questions like " Where are you from" "what is your name" and other such things. His expression was more befitting someone with a phaser to their head. " Shoniqua! " he exclaimed when he saw her he came over to shake her hands. " Those pictures you sent were amazing, we found the same glyphs of the eye in caves dating back.... whats wrong, you have that i don't want to tell you somehting look." He said catching a flicekr of her expression. She knew he didn't have any empathic abilities but he sure as hell seemed like it some times. " Things have gotten weird since you then, stuff is happenign and i am not sure about it myself but starfleet is having me look into things related to it. I am not sure i am allowed to share anything." " Oh come on, this is world shaking the glyphs predate anatomically modern humans, you can't hold out on me Shoni." Before she could let him down herself the com rang out " Dr. Sommerset, you and your assistant will come to the conference room for debriefing on deck one." " Now what just a bloody minute, i am not going anywhere until i have answers." " I don't have answers to give you." shoniqua admitted " We can gather information by what questions they ask us " His assistant pointed out finally turning away from the terrified alien. " Yes we can, but when we are done with this i am going to find you and ask you more questions then is entirely civilised, please have answers for me then." Said Dr.Sommerset. He nodded to the Nervous alien then marched off toward the turbolift. " Well then load up and we will ship out" Said the pilot, a young male Xindi arboreal. The Frightened Danuakeen wordlessly picked up his backpack and boarded the shuttle, sitting down and staring at the opposite wall. Shoniqua followed him and sat on the other bench in the shuttle but offset so he wouldn't have to look somewhere else. Being next to his intense unsheilded anxiety was unnerving. She read him well enough to know trying to talk to him and put him at ease would make him more nervous. Instead she sat with her padd and sent some messages, one of which was to Risian security that she had been ordered back to the planet, and her plan to be less vulnerable while she was there, and sent the contact of admiral Mot if they had objections. She also sent messages to the people she had met that seemed to know little bits and pieces of this puzzle like the Andorian from the lagoon and the Tipsy captain that had been present when she was shot at in the garage. In minutes they were off and out of of the hanger. They were too far away to see much of the rift and how much it had closed but the Phrygia's science officer had sounded confident that the remaining ships had it under control. It was just the two of them in the shuttle and they stayed silent on the trip down. They set course for the last reported location of the Ginger man. Though she admitted it was a long shot since it seemed they could teleport around. Maybe there was a limitation. They arrived without incident and disembarked. The Skinny Nervous alien took off walking briskly away from the shuttle pad and toward the resort. Bypassing the greeters. " He Just lost his ship and barly made it out before it exploded, give him some space i think he is rattled" shoniqua said to one of the greeters, a young Risian woman who looked a little hurt by being ignored. While not entirely true the greeter seemed to take this explenation and immediatly felt better. Relief and compassionate understanding swept through her like a wave. Shoniqua followed more casually down the pier that the landing pad was situated on. She was going to have to scout around to see if she could catch sight of any of the visiters and ask around. it could take hours to determine where the were and if she could get close enough to observe them. She started putting together a plan to locate them on such a large planet full of vacationers. She walked passed an open air pier restaurant and immediately abandoned all of her plans. There sitting in a huddle were a mass of furry bodies all sampling from a table fool of food. Also at the Table was the ginger guy, still in his human guise. Still wearing the same blue patterned shirt. So much for searching the island. She took an empty table and sat and watched them. Pulling out a small holoimager and sensor, one better then the one vactioners use. She snaped some images and scans. After a few moments the chubby ginger man turned to look at her. He gave her a mildly annoyed look then went back to eating and talking. After some observations it looked like a family. Someone who was most likely the mother of the 2 children who were looking around at everyone and everything nearby, an adult male who was likely the father of the children holding a baby who was trying its best to wiggle free from his grasp, The woman who had appeared on the bridge and had tried to be vaguely threatening, and last but not least the skinny nervous one who had rode down in the shuttle with her. He was not looking nervous any longer but was looking doe eyed at the Chubby ginger man. She knew that expression, he had a crush on the other man. They all seemed so utterly harmless. " Move or say anything and i will kill you here." she heard as she felt the tip of a pistol touch her back. The sun was behind her but no shadow of her attacker was visible. She knew that voice. It was the Blond guy who had it out for her. She calmly considered what to do next. She saw the gibger man turn to look in her direction alarmed, he obviously was picking up on her predicament. " BUBBY NO!" She heard before she saw a brown streak flying from the table toward her, before she could react a loud BAMF rang out as the brown blured sailed over her head and collided with something close behind her. The pressure from the pistol vanished as she heard something hit the ground hard. She stood and whipped around. There on the ground or actualy a foot above the ground was the baby alien that was earlier struggling to get from his father's grip. The thing would have been adorable if it weren't for the grolwing and scratching it was doing to some unseen figure. After a snarl and head shake the air shimmered and the situation became clearer, someone was wearing a stealth suit and was having pieces of it ripped away from them by the frantic attack of this fuzzy alien baby. " Get off me you little bastard!!!!" The now slightly visible figure moved its hand toward the alien. In another blur the alien moved from what ever part of the body it was attacking and grabbed the shape of the hand and chomped down. There was a green flash and a beam that flew harmlessly into the air. What should have been a simple bite from such a small pair of jaws instead produced the unmistakable crack of breaking bone. Blood poured forth and with a clatter an Orion disrutpor pistol hits the ground. Soon she heard the crowd approaching and some Risan security officers heading this way. " Bubby please stop!!" one of the Danuakeen cried out distressed. The Risian security officer arrived just as the figure staggered to its feet with the baby still clamped onto it hand. The stealth suit failed and the figure was visible. " Get on the Ground!" the Security officers demanded. Instead of complying the figure hit a device on its belt and current flowed through the remains of the suit with a buzz. The baby let go and fell toward the ground. Before the baby landed there was a shimmer and the figure transported away. The baby Danuakeen landed on all fours and sat down looking around. When the figure was gone the security officers put away their stunners and relaxed. " you ok ma'am?" one asks " Yes i am fine." She replies " oh no what did you do Bubby?" the Distressed father cries. " he saved my life that's what he did." shoniqua says. One of the security officers scans the blood. " It's him." "what's him?" the alrmed father says hurridly picking of the child. " Everythign is ok, this DNA sample matches someone were are looking for, your er.. child isn't in any trouble. " says the security officer. The Baby is now sniffing around Looking for something else to get into and seems to have forgotten that it had launched itself through the air and bitten an opponent 3 times its size. After some assurances the father takes the baby back to the crowd of fuzzy aliens and they sit back down at their table but non start eating again. The security officers then turn around and leave, waving a scanner about as if actively searching for something. This takes Shoniqua aback. they didn't seem interested in a statement. Soon she hears someone else approaching and turns to face them, it is an asain human man who is making staright for shoniqua. " Captain Bezi, may i join you?" he then sits down as if he was sure she would say yes. " If you turn out to be some other obscure and complicating factor to my day i am going shove you face first into a warp reaction chamber." Shoniqua says grumpily before taking a seat and facing him. " Now say what you have to say, i have things to do." Unconcerned with her words, in fact he looked a little amused. " No i think you will be interested. You are after answers regarding our large fuzzy visitors over there, i am looking for information on the man who gas been trying to abduct you. You aren't the first person he has shown an interest in but unlike them, you are still around to share what you know." The Man replied smiling. " Do go on." Shoniqua says. " I Detective Lu Hang Shei, but you can call me Lu, and this man has been abducting people from multiple planets but he is suddenly very active on Risa these days, 8 people have gone missing in the passed week here on Risa and there had been 4 abductions on betazed before that, one of which left a DNA sample. It was only after Risian security ran some blood they found in the hotel room of a Certain starfleet captain that i had a lead on him and headed to Risa. From what i just witnessed he is still around and has not given up his interest in you." " So you wish to know what i know about him to discover his motives. Tell me are you working with the Risian security force or are you on your own?" " I am cooperating and sharing any information i gather, but i am independent in that i don't actually work for them and can do things they might not find legal." Lu answers " I see, and the thing you are not telling me?" Shoniqua asks with an outwordly innocent smile. " You are perceptive, one of the people taken on Betazed was my husband." Lu answers with a seeming casual ease. Shoniqua drops all of her combative attitudes after feeling the unchecked pain of that statement. Even though Lu showed no outward distress he was terrified, sad And absolutely telling the truth. " I'm sorry for your loss, what do you want to know in order to catch him?" " First i want you to give me any observations you have of him then i will question the specifics." " Ok, I first saw him when i went to dinner, The open air restaurant was pretty crowded but i think part of that is was an effort to get strangers to mingle on the part of the establishment, there were 2 tables avalible with only one person at them, one with the man you are after..." " So you have seen his face?" Lu interupts intrigued. " Yes i saw his face, may i continue?" " Yes go ahead" Lu responds. He seemed genuinely hopeful at the news that the abductors face was seen. " Any way, 2 tables, one had an attractive blond man with a cleft chin and chiseled abs giving me an alluring smile, and the other table had a fat redhaired man with a pile of food on it, I made my choice and sat with the RedHaired man, and that seemed to draw a rather negative reaction. At the time i thought he was just feeling injured pride, but Knowing what i know now, he may use his looks to draw in his target so he can lull them before he strikes. If You want another person to interveiw, the redhaired man i sat with and was present is that guy over there." She Points to the table with all the Alien visitors. " The man with all the Danuakeen was there?" " You know what they are?" Shoniqua asks excitedly. " Yes, my grandmother served on a ship with one during the Klingon war in the 23rd century." Lu answers. " Ok after i give you all i know about this abductor can you share all you know about the Danuakeen?" " Sure, though why don't you ask them in person?" " Starfleet stuff, it's complicated and don't get me started on the annoying details of it." Shoniqua's voice expresses to Lu exactually how put off she is by the situation so he doesn't press and just agrees to share. " After the Dinner i went back to my cabin, slept, then went out the next day, i later encounter the Abductor at a lagoon by the beach, he approached me and most likely was going to try to take me again as he had a hypospray. Several other people were present including the Redhaired man, so the abductor is brazen enough to attack in a crowd, The redhaired guy made a comment that the adbuctor was wearing an 'empathic inhibitor' so this abductor has access to some heavy tech, after he was foiled at the lagoon he transported away. The next encounter was in a shuttle garage where me and another person were fired on, i did not see the attackers face but i suspect it is the same guy. After that incident i was moved to a hotel that should have been more secure and given a transport inhibitor. This did not work as he still was able to transport into my room with some sort of capture robot. I was able to fight them off and bloody his nose, which is where the sample that brought you here came from. After that i took a shuttle to the USS Phrygia which is undergoing repairs in orbit. No attempts on me were made there. I came back planet side and have been her for ten minutes before he just tried again minutes ago in a public place." She pauses. " one more observation, each time these attempts took place, the Redhaired man was nearby but not nesscarily present. I think either A the abductor is watching him. or B Since i have been trying to get info on him is following him around to find me. " After a few questions and clarifications, Detective Lu made notes of all this including a recording of her statement. " Now your turn, what do you know about the Danuakeen?" Lu taps his Padd a few times then hands it over. On it is an old photo of of a bunch of fresh out of the academy cadets on what looks like their first ship tour. They were all in cadet uniforms and smiling toward the camera with that fresh youthful optimism that newly posted cadets exuded. One of them was round and fuzzy like a teddy bear. It was defiantly a Danuakeen. He was shorter then the ones at the nearby table standing only 5'5" tall and somewhat plump. He was light brown with darker brown around the eyes in the raccoon like mask most of the recent visitors had and his face was in a sweet gentle grin. And he was unmistakenly aborad a 23rd century Starfleet vessel. It was obvious from the drab bunks and panels in the background. Thius was proof that Starfleet had known about the species for a century but why did they care about it now all of a sudden. " That is a picture of when my grandmother got her first assignment. Those are all the cadet crewmen and as you can see a danuakeen was a member. My Grandma told me his name was Metik and that he was an interesting one. Look at the next file" Shoniqua hit next. She saw what looked like a still from a bridge internal sensor log. It was a gruesome scene, on it the bridge crew were fighting of Klingons in 23rd century military dress. Or at least they had been. The still showed more then one person on either side looking toward the science station with shock. She completely understood their reaction. There by the science station was the previously adorable looking cadet. His lips pulled back in a snarl showing teeth, face and uniform drenched in blood. The thing most shocking though was what he was doing. His left arm was forward just beginning to pull back. His hand was gripping a klingon face, not a klingon's head but his face. The index and middle finger embeded into the Klingon's eye sockets, the thumb thrust into the klingon's mouth. He was pulling and the image had captured the moment in which the the lower orbits and the maxilla were being torn from the head. She was looking at a 5 foot 5 cadet ripping the front of a klingon warriors head with his bare hands. The shear violence of it was shocking when you consider the first pic of a harmless looking cadet smiling with his new shipmates. " That is the most shocking incident, my grandma told me was actually really nice to everyone and very even tempered, but as you can see he was capable of extreme violence in combat. The captain of their cruise had wanted him to transfer to security because of his immense strength and speed, but he remained in the sciences. Grandma did say it was most likely because he was useless with a phaser and couldn't shoot worth a damn. Her words were ' he could fire into the ceiling and somehow hit the floor.' But give him a knife and his bare hands and he was the most dangerous thing on the ship. Apparently they ran into a few more of his kind once and they volunteered to help treat an outbreak of some disease at a research station since the virus just gave them the sniffles while it cause most other species agonizing death. That was went Metik left the ship, he stayed to cure and treat the research station and was picked up 3 weeks later by a different vessel and reassigned. Everyone at the station lived and was cleared of disease. The others of his kind just left after they were sure everyone was going to make it. That's all i know. " Shoniqua still thumbed through the files, as he told his story, no other pictures were shocking, mostly just photos of people eating. Exercising and one picture a wresstling mat and a burly andorian laughing as this teddy bear like creature holds him above his head with ease. The Danuakeen is sticking his tongue out at the picture taker. " Anything about shape shifting ?" shoniqua asks. Lu thinks a moment " Actually maybe. Grandma did tell a story about the cheif medical officer wanting this Metik to loose weight after his first exam and he would become thin before each medical check up and as soon as the doctor finished would immediately return to being chubby, even if the doctor was still looking. No one figured out how he did it but it annoyed the doctor a lot" " May i have a copy of these files?" Shoniqua asks Lu. " Sure," a few commands and those files were transfered over to shoniqua's padd. " Did your grandma ever talk about weird feelings when this metik sang?" Lu crakced a smile " Apparently he was terrible at singing and only ever tried once in a pub, everyone told him to shut up. Why do you ask?" " Oh nothing," Shoniqua answers. She was wondering if the weird singing thin was just a side effect of the blue stuff from the Phrygia and her dream from the Cliff house was because he had some with him. Detective Lu, dismisses himself and goes off to in his own direction. For a while shoniqua sits and watches the gathered aliens, They seem to be doing little of consequence. Some of them check their little wrist devices. Shoniqua can see what looks like a systems list and some bars displaying levels of something. The Baby which had launched itself at the attacker behind her was now all cleaned up, all blood from biting the stealth suited man was wiped away and now he seemed preoccupied shredding a cloth napkin with his teeth. After she looked at him for a few seconds he looked up and stared back at her. 2 others of the Danuakeen turned to look at her as well, one male and one female. The kid's parents most likely. She gave a little wave and looked at her padd as if she was reading. Though if they were all telepaths they were most likely unfooled, but seemed to not be troubled being watched. The padd she was pretending to read suddenly displayed a message. " This admiral Mot chap asked a bunch of questions about ancient weapons, We found no weapons just pictographs at our dig sites on earth and Vulcan. Not even pictographs of weapons. Anyway a vulcan college is on Risa and may want to talk to you but most likely will just talk to the visitors. I told her you suspect they made the Sculture you sent pictures of." So much for subtle observation. Shoniqua thought. Not that she had gone unnoticed but after seeing how gaurded The Redhaired guy got she doudted asking questions was a good idea. As she was sitting there contemplating this, she almost didn't notice the Danuakeen getting up. They Had finsihed all the food and were neatly staking the plates before being waved off by a waiter telling them not to bother. Shoniqua waited a little then began following them from a distance. They all set course for the beach. She follwed them across the beach trying to keep out of sight. She was pretty sure the baby one had her in his sights the whole time but she tried anyway. Soon they all stopped at a secluded lagoon with not many people. They all set down their belongings and rested on in the shade of some trees and watched the water. They stayed like this for a few minutes talking among themselves. Soon a cranky voice drew her attention from behind. She turned to see a couple pushing an old woman in a hover chair. The cranky complaining was coming from the old woman. " wanna go home.... see home.... japan in the moonlight....cherry blossoms " she complained in the weak confused tone of the the type of dementia experienced by the very old. " Gramma you are too sick to travel, try to enjoy what time you have left." said the woman near tears. Her empathic impression was that of despair at seeing a loved one so far gone. The couple drew near then passed Shoniqua and came to a stop when the saw the group of Danuakeen. The old woman also saw them. " Tanukis!" the old woman said in joy. The Group of danuakeen looked at her then put their heads together and whispered quickly. " obaasan, those aren't tanukis, they are people. " " They are, they are!" the grandma says emphaticlly. By this time almost all of the danuakeen stood up. The female that had Appeared on the bridge of the Phrygia didn't stand and just watched the people cooly. The other 5 adults and the redhaired human lined up on the beach, facing the old woman. Then somethign strange happened. The Sky dimmed, there was a bright full moon, earth's moon it looke like, The air smelled different, crisp and cold, scented with flowers. In fact there were suddenlt flowering trees and what looked like some sort of temple. Then the asembled Danuakeen begin to sing. " Sho(u) Sho(u) Shoujou-ji Shoujou-ji no niwa wa Tsu(n) Tsu(n) Tsukiyo da Min-na dete koi koi koi Oira no tomodacha Pon poko pon no pon " They were dancing in a sillly but unified fashon, moving only during syllables. "Makeruna makeruna O(t)-sho san ni makeruna koi koi koi koi koi koi Min-na dete koi koi koi" As they all said " Koi koi koi " they made a motion as if asking someone to come over. " Sho(u) Sho(u) Sho(u)jo(u)-ji Sho(u)jo(u)-ji no hagi wa Tsu(n) tsu(n) tsuki-yo ni hana zakari Oiraha ukarette Pon poko pon no pon " This time they all began drumming on their bellies, even the slender one who had been so utterly terrified on the ship, he was now singing and dancing and drumming on his flat stomach. Shoniqua now noticed something else, there weren't 5 aliens and a human, it was 6 Aliens, one of them was a gingery red and his large stomach was haning out of a blue tropical shirt. Well that confired it, the ginger guy had been a danuakeen all along and somehow was disguised. after this little performence the old grandmother was clapping, all demented crankiness and complaints gone. The Baby had somehow climbed up onto here hoverchair and was sitting in the old woman's lap. The couple that had been pushing the old woman in the chair were looking on in amazment. " Thank you for showing me home...." the old creaky but suddenly clear voice said. Then the old woman's eyes closed and her head slumped. The scene vanished and became Risa again. The baby Danuakeen in her lap suddenly became distressed and began whimpering, pawing at her chest as if trying to wake the old woman. " obaasan! obaasan!" the woman pushing the chair cried out. She checked the olld woman's pulse. " She's gone" The woman said calmly in resignation. The baby Danuakeen began crying and his father came and picked him up and hugged him close. The big red Danuakeen came over and began speaking, he sounded on the verge of tears himself. " I am sorry for your loss, i hope we made her happy in her last moments" " Yes you did thank you who ever you are." The woman said. Then the man who had been pushing the chair with the asain grandaughter finally spoke in a Betazed accented voice. " Something tells me this isn't the first time you have done this but you still aren't used to it." " No. i am not. Death is not something my kind feels often. " the Ginger furred Danuakeen said. Behind them the child in his fathers arms is wracked with sobs. The Big ginger creature turned to go but both people who had pushed the old woman caught him in a hug. He returned the hug but seemed a little withdrawn, his now furry face almost devoid of expression. After they released him, they called called to Risa medical and explained that their 150 year old grandmother had died and they needed to arrange to take her back to earth. The Big ginger alien wordlessly turned and walked off away from everyone else and sat alone facing the ocean. The other Danuakeen got the hint and didn't join him. Soon the gentle breeze carried singing to their ears, but it was muffled so the words didn't come through. Shoniqua wiped out the directed sound sensor and began recording but felt she was intruding on something very private. She wondered for a moment if she should stop and delete the file. She was almost startled when the baby Danuakeen stopped crying and began to vocalize something else. The baby was singing too. The words and cadance sounded the same as that carried on the wind. Soon 4 others of the Danuakeen began to join in. Now with several voices all harmonizing the words were distinct but still unrendered by the translator. " Olnahhh lenmeloaaaall memlenollleloy oyyy nyoll leigh yamneahnn...." they all sung in harmony. The Couple that had just lost their grandmother stared in awe at this. They were speechlesss by the somber beauty and greif in the words they couldn't understand. Shoniqua understood their awe, there was something arresting about it. The words seem to carry emotions that went from grief, to closure then to peace. " Come on i will help you back to the resort." Shoniqua volunteered gently when the singing stopped. Despite her assignment she felt like she needed to leave them alone for a while. " oh thank you." the woman said and they set off back toward the resort quietly. When they were almost there the betazoid man turned to shoniqua. " What species are they?" he asked. " We don't know, they are visitors and have not been forthcoming but have been vary kind so far, as you saw they have some interesting abilities." " Compare them to japanese folklore. Obbasan was right they do kinda look like tanuki's from folklore" " I know that part, your grandmother wasn't the first to make the comparison, though the folklore files we have on them are limited. what can you tell me about Tanukis?" " Well first off they are a real animal on earth, but in folklore they were tricksters who could shapeshift and caused mischeif, they like to eat and love sake. They sometimes drum on their bellies like they did during that song. That song they sang for Obbasan was about tanukis belly drumming at an old temple to compete with a priest. it is an old song." The woman explains. She pauses for a moment. " That is strange i don't really feel sad anymore, i have been expecting this but i didn't think closure would come this quickly. Do you think they did that?" " It is possible, the species has shown some physic abilities" shoniqua explains " They are immensely powerful, some of them anyway, they have very powerful minds but are not so different from humans or Betazoids, they seem to feel like we do but are in touch with something vast and powerful." the Betazoid man says. He pauses for a moment " at least that was the impression that i got from them" he adds. " even when they were singing the deepest part of their minds was shielded." " Thanks that is useful information." Soon Risa arrives and begins to puts the remains of the old woman in the back of a hover wagon. One of them Comments on the expression on her face. " Looks like she went peacefully and happy." Said one the medical team. The couple nods but doesn't elaborate. They wait the medical team is gone. " I didn't have the heart to tell them that she hated it here, she was just deemed too sick to continue back to earth. She wanted to see Japan before she went. If it weren't for those tanuki alien people she would have died cranky. " Before Shoniqua could respond the was a call behind her. She turned to look at the voice. It was Dr. Sommerset's Bajoran assitant and a dusky skinned Vulcan woman approaching hurriedly. " Captain Bezi, do you know where the visitors are, we have so much to ask them, we convinced Admirial mot we don't know anything for sure which is true, so he let us come down, we are going to ask the Visitors in person, oh do you know where they are?" The bajoran woman, no girl more like, she couldn't be a day over 18 babbled out excitedly. Chapter 8 " uhhh yes they are over there." Shoniqua said bewildered and pointed to the place where they last were " Oh would you show us??" the Bajoran asked and grabbed her hand and pulled her excitedly off to where she indicated. Baffled she let herself be lead, only sparing a single glance at the vulcan who was expressionless but in such a way that indicated she was used to this behavior. After a few minutes of trudging they came across the group of fuzzy masked creatures, instead of hanging in the shade the group was trying to get the baby to play in the water. The Baby Danuakeen was no longer sobbing but looked distracted and somber. A quick look showed that the gingery red one that had been here for days was not with the group. After a few moments of lloking around Shoniqua spotted him, he was laying on his back in the sand staring up at the canopy of a tree. He had not tried to resume human form. As she walked toward him she heard music. The Babbling bajoran seemed to pick up on the mood and was silent and followed behind. As they drew closer they saw that the music instead of coming from a radio was emitting from his left hand, presumibly from the advanced little device he wore on his wrist that looked like a simple leather band most of the time. His fingers would twitch and plucked what seemed to be holographic strings of an unseen instrument. The strings were plucked and stayed in the air vibrating but were also emitting feint light and color. Despite these beautiful little plays of light and color the melody and timbre of tune was somber. When they drew close enough his eyes, which she noted were a lovely purple and striated with silver, briefly darted over and took in their presence but then when back to staring up at the tree. That quick glance showed that those eyes, no matter their interesting and lovely coloration were melancholic and despondent. His finger were still plucking out a slow tune that sounded like a mix somber bells and guitar strings. " Umm... hello I am ...." the Bajoran began, she was cut off by a crystal clear, deceptivly high lovely but mornful. Oddly the single voice seemed to be harminizing with itself. Heyr himna smiðr hvers skáldit biðr; komi mjúk til mín miskunnin þín. Því heitk á þik þú hefr skaptan mik; ek em þrællinn þinn, þú est dróttinn minn. Goð, heitk á þig at græðir mik; minzk mildingr mín, mest þurfum þín; ryð þú rǫðla gramr, ríklyndr ok framr, hǫlds hverri sorg ór hjarta borg. Gæt, mildingr, mín mest þurfum þín helzt hverja stund á hǫlða grund; sett, meyjar mǫgr, málsefni fǫgr, ǫll es hjǫ́lp af þér í hjarta mér. Shoniqua stood stunned silent. Not because of the words, at least she didn't think so. But there was a rush of emotions and memories that belonged to someone else. "( She sat in the ancient church in iceland, listening to the choir sing in the language her late husband had wanted her to learn. It was one of the ancient song he had liked so much, a song he had jokingly told her she would have to sing at his funereal if he died first. Well the borg had made that a reality. His small survey ship he had been on had just happened be the vega system when the borg had appeared. She didn't even have a body bury, so they were inturing one of his old suits and a picture of their wedding day, the one in which she wore a traditional Kimono and he wore some supposedly historically acurate clothing from ancient iceland. She regretted she had never learned the song, she really wished she could sing it for him now....)" then the same person thoughts spoke but these were no memories " Well someone or something is singing them for us both now. How strange, she always thought it would go black and there would be nothing. Time to go i guess." They were bittersweet, and tinged with sorrow but closure. Strangely she knew whose they belonged to. But didn't know how that could be. She had died on this beach lest nearly an hour ago but she was hearing fresh thoughts. Shoniqua knew for certain that betazoids with all their psychic prowess had heard the new thoughts of the dead. This was world shaking if it was true. " Where you just singing to a ghost?" shoniqua demanded without thinking. The Bajoran and vulcan looked at her askance, obviously wondering what triggered that odd question. " didn't think your species could sense such things. " " Answer the question." Shoniqua demanded again. " I sung to what lingers after, the fragment which persists, the everlasting echoe that speaks its own words after life ends." He says without looking at her. " Stop being poetic and say yes or no" " I honestly don't know what ghost means, so how can i answer that. Don't tell me though, i really don't care about your language right now." came the Morose response. " Would you recognize it as pagh?" the Bajoran asked. This drew no response. " Perhaps you are familiar with the vulcan concept of Katra?" no response, but the vulcan continued " Or in its oldest for Kep'aatrayan " the vulcan continued. The purple and silver eyes flicked briefly. " I am familar with that term, it is close to what i am talking about. But again i don't care. Leave me alone. " It looked as if the questioning was about to continue but shoniqua put her hand up to stop the 2 archiologists. " I think we should give him some space, we can ask the others, they may be more in the mood to talk." She began leading them toward the group playing in the shallow water. Even though he had been non forthcoming before he had always be playful or just unconcerned, this time he fairly exude meloncholy. His mental defense were also lower, not gone and she could feel he was despondant and sorrowful, but it felt like it was about a lot of things not just an old woman passing away infront of him. Upon making there way one of the swimming frolicing visitors, a broad muscular looking male that was dark brown with a black underbelly turned to greet them. " Hello, I supposed you are going to ask a bunch of questions of us now. That is ok, you could have asked us at lunch. Oh don't worry you were pretty inconspicious but your mind wasn't." Shoniqua thought his freindly exuberence was a near mirror of the bubbly bajoran girls. Sure enough she responded in kind. " Hi, we would like to ask you about some archeological sites we found on muliple planets that we suspect were influenced by by your species. Could you give these a look? " " Sure." The Bajoran cheerfully showed him some pictures they had take from the dig sites. " Yeah these are made by my species, but not my culture, plus they are very old, i am sadly unable to read them, i couldn't even read them if they were in modern dialects. This looks like Verd'ellifal I am keffein. " " Could you Eulucidate us on what that means." The Vulcan asks calmly. " Oh oh Sure, our species has serveal ethnic, cultrual and lingusitic groups that arose due to variosu factors like local enviroment and geographic seperation, those different ethnic groups did start to mix when we modernized but never fully disappeared so we still run into thing like different languages and culture within our species. The Cultural and ethnic group i am part of is called Keffein." The large creature is so happy and casual with information that shoniqua wished she had run into this one on her pre inturpution vacation days. " I see, is there any of your number that can help?" The bajoran asked politely. " Oh yes, i married into a Verd'ellifal family, they may know some of what this says." He calls over to the group trying to encorage the baby to splash and swim. The hefty brown and tan man that shoniqua thought to be the baby's father looked up. He then stood up bring the child with him. " Ummm yes, what is it?" he asks shyly. He seemed a little nervous. " This, gentlemen thinks you might be able to translate these old markings we have found on our worlds, he suggests they belong to a cultural group that uses this language." " umm ok, i will look. " He take the padd and stares at it intently. " This is a very old dialect, and a ceremonial one, i think it is high Verd'rai, i only recognize a few words. Give, home, and....." " We now commend this world to the people to come, children of this soil and inheritors of this world, may they grow to be peacful and prosperous, we give ownership to their own selves and may no one try to wrest if from them." The baby recites perfectly in a slight sing song voice staring intently at the image. As soon as he stops speaking his eyes start to wander as he begins to fidget and squirm like any normal baby. " What?" his father stares open mouthed in amazment at his child who shoniqua was trying estimate the age of, but given the fact that he had never spoken before and had barly made any word like sounds was guessing that she had just witnessed something abnormal. The muscular dark furred one sighed and put a hand on the shoulder of the hefty one holding the wriggling child. " I told you, all the signs are there he was born a voice of the cosmos, You better start talking to that red guy to learn what to expect. " " Excuse me, but what other weird and potentially catastrophic thing is going on now?" Shoniqua asked. She should not have sounded so exasperated but odd things would not stop occuring as she searched for answers. " Ummm well, our species is an old one and we ummm... are a little more advanced Meta-biologically than your people are right now, but even within that high range there are born individuals with extra talents and only partially understood abilities. As you saw my son who is too young to talk just translated a very old inscrition in a dialect no one in his family actually spoke for 10,000 years into your language which there was no way he could have learned. This is not at all usual even for us." " Well what is usual for you?" Shoniqua asked. " Nothing much what is usual for you?" he returned cheerfully with a slight nervous laugh. Shoniqua didn't roll her eyes but she wanted to. " Does your species automatically start making terrible jokes when they become fathers?" asked Shoniqua left hand going to her hip as she cocked her head at him. " If you mean supreme artisinal well refined jokes, then yes." " That is nothing, the really old individuals can get cosmic in their puns, Prior Lenfine is unbearable. But i guess when you get that old boredom warps your mind." The muscular one says. " Who is Prior Lenfine and how old is he? " The Bajoran asks " Oh he is a priest i knew growing up, i am not sure how old he is but it is over 50,000 or so, he helped build the cathedral he serves in and it is a good 50,000 years old." Shoniqua's eyes widen. 50,000 years old. She wonders if their years are like earth standard years. " Oh if you are wondering our years are 366 24 hour days long, i think one of your world has 24 hour days, right?" " That is correct, earth has a 24 hour rotational period based on a 60 count system of hours, minutes and seconds." The vulcan replies. " Oh ok, i should go to earth someday, Svei- er the red one was telling me about earth when he was there a while ago. I am sure things are different now." The muscular one had almost let the mystery man's name slip and she was frustrated that he seemed to stop himself. He must have picked up on her frustration, cause he seemed to jump a little after the irritation flashed through her mind. " Speaking of our red friend he has sulked long enough, we should try and cheer him up. Maybe he needs a good fight or something." the muscular one says. " I wouldn't challenge him Brecku, he seems in a bad mood and may not be gentle besides you can't even beat me in a tussel and i hardly train." The large one with be baby puts in. Before either could respond the baby with a swift unexpected wriggle got loose from his father's hands and was scampering through the shallow water toward the trees. " What the ?!" Shoniqua jumped, the little creature she had thought barley a year old had moved with frightening quickness. As she followed it with her eyes, she saw 4 of the Danuakeen, including the previously sullen red one where taking up positions in a line. They seemed to be joined by maybe 3 other resort visitors of other races. They looked to be performing the opening movements of some sort of exercise. " Looks like Sharisas convinced him to have a work out, and your son wants to participate." the muscly one puts in. " What form of exercise are they practicing may i ask?" Shoniqua asks the muscular one, regaining her composure. " It is a mixture of martial arts and stretching also mixed with breathing and mental focus." the muscular one responds as the hefty father jogs after his scampering son. Shoniqua was impressed with how swift both of them were, one for being so small and the other being so big. " like some form of yoga?" Shoniqua asks, thinking of the exercises she had seen in her ship's gymnasium. " I don't know what that is." the muscular Danuakeen answers. " Perhaps if we observe we can ascertain what it is and it is not." the Vulcan says calmly. They watched. The opening moves were simple, much like the yoga or taichi she had seen on earth and on her ship. The non danuakeen watched and mimicked, it was a group of youngish looking girls who looked like they were just going along for amusement. As shoniqua watch the exercises, she felt a pulsing, like a silent drum in her mind. The exercises grew in complexity, postures and stretches shifting into other postures smoothly. She was singularly interested in the large red one that had led her on such an interesting journey these passed few days. Despite his size he was as smooth and agile as the others practicing with him 2 women and the slender one male that had beamed onto the Phrygia. That was not the only reason she stared at him. Despite looking a little incongruous doing the balanced postures being as heavy as he was he seemed to be the loudest source of the silent drum in her mind. She felt intoxicated by it, and thinking back to that night in the cliff side cabin it was a similar euphoria as then. She unconsciously changed the pace of her breathing and it seemed be matching the movements she was witnessing. " Captain Bezi, may i ask what you are doing?" she heard Dr.Sommerset's Vulcan Colleague ask. It was only at that moment that she realized she was walking forward and begining to mimic the movements she had been watching. She stopped. "What? when did i start doing it?" she turned to ask and was already half way up the beach toward the group exercising in the fluid dance like postures. The tourist girl had tried to keep up but were halting and stumbling. They were giggling at their failures. This was just a fun little workout on a tropical planet. She wondered if they could possibly know how entrancing and mysterious the fuzzy aliens were being. " You are doing it again" the bajoran said from right beside her. Shoniqua turned to look at her and she found herself on one foot arms in some kind of fighting stance, her right leg pulled nearly up to her chest ready to kick. She was flexible from life long martial arts training so no straining muscles had distracted her. But as soon as the bajoran girl had talked to her she lost her balance and stumbled a little. Not falling but putting her foot to the ground quickly to maintain her balance. She then turned away from the group. " I can't look at them, i feel like i am being hypnotized when i do." She said. " Well i think they are all in some sort of trance. Even the baby one. he seems to be performing them in sync with everyone else." The bajoran said. Shoniqua could still feel the pulsing and the need to dance, she had to concentrate on not giving in and flowing with the beat she felt resonating in her blood. " Captain Bezi, return to your ship immediately, the hole is growing larger and something is coming through." Her communicator's chirp or its message brought her back to herself in a snap. " Acknowledged," she responded, then tapped her com-badge to one a new channel. " Gattlinberg, this is captain Bezi one to beam up." " We can't captain, what ever the thing coming through is it just put up a transport inhibitor" She heard her bridge science officer informed her. " Hey captain eavesdrop, portal spawners are still working, we could get you to your ship." She turned to regard the chubby red furred Alien addressing her, he was looking at his wrist tool that was displaying some data and what looked to be an image of something long poking out of the tear in space that the visitors ships had been closing. She thought for a moment. " What the hell that looks like a capture probe spike, but really big, that could sweep a content, who the hell would build that?" one of the female Danuakeen exclaimed looking at her own wrist mounted holo display. " Ok, Take me to the bridge of my ship its..." " Yeah the Ambassador class one i know." The Large red one said as he speed walked toward her while punching in commands on his wrist tool. Suddenly a round aperture appeared in the air above the white beach sand, it showed the bridge of her ship and her first officer was Firmly in the captains chair but there was an older man, most likely an admiral was standing in the middle of the bridge barking orders. The woman at the opps console whiped her he around at the appearance of the portal. Shoniqua jumped through the opening and she felt the large red Alien close behind her. " Captain on deck" Announced the con officer from behind shoniqua Security began moving toward the Chubby hairy visitor with the open shirt and board shorts. " Stand down he is with me" she ordered and they relaxed. Shoniqua wondered why there was so many security officers on the bridge. " Whoa, that thing has just stopped scanning Risa and now probing The vessels around it" Came the voice of her guest as he continued to work on his wrist tool. " Captain Bezi, why have you brought an alien onto the bridge!" The Admiral barked angrily. " Transporters are being jammed he offered me a lift" She returned in a clipped not entirely appropriate tone for speaking to an admiral. " It is scanning this vessel" The big creature informed everyone still working on his wrist device. "It has locked on, I think... it is powering up portal devices!" he suddenly shouts. " Prepare to repel Borders" Shoniqua's first officer orders as he gets up and grabs a phaser hidden behind under the console. Shoniqua remembering the type one she had hidden in her civilian clothing pulls it out just in time for a portion of empty air split open in front of her and a vaguely humanoid robot like the one that had attacked her in her hotel room advances on her. She fires without checking what setting it is on. This time the phaser seems to have little effect and it advances mechanically as she retreats from the opened hole in space. The Robot steps clear of the opening and advances on her. She sets the little phaser to as high as it will go and fires. It does nothing. Her first officer fires his more powerful type2 into the side of what would be a head but is a vague lump of sensors and receptors. This staggers it slightly but it keeps making for Shoniqua. And only shoniqua. She realizes it stays pointing toward her no matter how she maneuvers. It is fixated on her alone, to the point that when the red fuzzy alien comes right up to it and roughly shoves it back through the portal it didn't take its receptors off her at all until it stumbles over something and falls on its back. " See that node there, one of you shoot that, it is feeding power to the portal spawner on that side." The Furry alien says calmly pointing at an object on the other side of the portal. Shoniqua being closer stands next to him to see what he is indicating. She Sees a room full of glowing pads lined up in series of lines that reminded her of a museum, but nothing was on any of them. She Follows his pointing finger and spys a box sitting on the floor with cables leading to it. She took aim and fired the phaser at it and the portal shimered and vanished. " Really sloppy to leave that exposed, i am guessing whoever put this thing together didn't really think things through. Or this was never made to attack anything that can fire back at it." The fuzzy ginger alien says. Moments later another portal opens. The room is the same set up but this time there seem to be statues on the pads. They were of various species and some weren't even touching the ground. They were like people frozen in time. Before the bot that was on the other side made it all the way through, she fired on the box. The portal shimmered and vanished leaving the limb that had been poking through to drop to the bridge floor. " Where those...?" Shoniqua asks " People in temporal stasis? Yes they were, looks like we need to rescue them." Her hefty companion says. " YOU WILL EXPLAIN WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!" The Admiral bellows face red with anger. Before he can get an answer 2 portals open up and a bot comes from each. walking mechanically toward shoniqua. " As you can see these worker bots are pretty dumb and are just made to perform simple tasks, they have no combat protocols, and are a lot like things i played with as a kid actually." The Large furry alien says as he almost playfully shoves first one then the other back through the portals. " They will just keep on trying to follow their orders with what ever limited intelligence. I am guessing those orders are to capture your snoopy captain, though i can't say why." he says as he shoves both of the bots back through the portals at the same time. They had picked them selves up and had started through again while he was speaking. " Sir i am getting some readings from the devices hull, it looks like a series of replicators are making objects and placing them on the hull of the object. Sir they are weapon emplacements and they are targeting the ships that are still trying to close the rift." " OH SHIT MY SHIP!" with waves of his hands the bots crumple and break apart. " Why didn't you do that before?" The first officer says a little reproachfully as he scans the open portals with a tricorder, the phaser was still in the hand holding the scanning probe so he could go from scanning to firing in a moment. The Large red alien that really looked like it should be a holocharcter on some kids program ignored him as he muttered curses and punched commands into his wrist device. " The weapon emplacements are firing" The ops station called out. " Well fuck! They hit my deflector before i could engage evasive." " Confirmed one vessel has stopped emitting the particle stream keeping the tear from expanding.. make that 2. " Tactical calls out. " For Forms sake hail that thing and tell it to cease firing on our allies or we will open fire, in the meantime ready all weapons i have a feeling it won't comply" Shoniqua orders as she stares into the portals at the half full pads holding people stuck frozen in time. The portals closed. 3 more opened up and Shoniqua watched as bots walked toward her. " Can we block these things already?" She shouts to no one in particular. " We don't even know how they work let alone how to block them captain" Science reports. " Well if they are just after you, why don't we take you to where they can't reach? My ship has shields that will block incoming wormholes." ( to be continued )
  10. Song of the liberators, Translated from old Ogharm, Sionact historical Ballad. Loses some rhythm, rhyme and meter when translated * ( ) are implied or stylized words filled out in this translation. They Came a marching, feet stomped for days All who opposed them felt those boots, bones shatter freely From North of Glimsphenair, large angry forms under skies grey Shatter armies and frighten foes reeling, scared our people begged kneeling. Northmen tromped south. But off out knee the invaders us lifted, with freedom and joy gleefully gifted. Fat Northmen shattered ( our ) cages, chains that had been forgded fer ( for ) ages. Bowed they bayed us stand, trembling they took ( our ) hand. From the dirt large hands raised us, from servitude concurers saved us. Northmen tromped south. In battle frantic and wild, in peace gentle and mild, Sword and flame they brought, to then give restoration ( When ) sought War and Magic they taught us, Independence and self ( Determination ) they got us Masters we needed no more, freed by this unconventional sort o ( of ) war. Northmen tromped south. When Val'aray ( Valperet ) king Commanded "Stop" That their will and weapon they should drop, They scarce did understand, for through his forces and fortress's they ran, They, fat giants, crushed all who opposed, but scarce considered the surrendered foes. The Cruel king soon dead, Fat fingers crushed his head, Northmen tromped south. His sons spared their wrath, They turned back along their path, With Promises made and kept, we small people from then on in freedom slept For new king kept no slaves, but the promise with which his life was saved, Their swords and sorcries fled, and in peace the Val'aray ( Valperet ) mourned their dead Fat Northmen Marched back home. Though some o' them did stay, and together their and our children play. Crushed and burned land soon did flourish, for big hands the soil and fields did nourish. Some northmen south lingered, and with them ( we ) join our fingers. ( Join Hands ) When times grow dire, we take comfort in their ire, Ire that stormed for us and blew us free So it will ever be, that glad are we, that big northmen came south. ( Historians notes: 1 Despite fat being considered derogatory by most cultures at the time it was an accurate description of the Hesken. Even at the writing of this poem it was impossible to insult a hesken by calling them fat. There is also a possiblitiy that the Ogharm word here translated as "fat" means grand in scale as the same word was used to describe mountains and buildings as well as people. It may have been meant as a double meaning by the author. 2. This event or at least this account of the Event may explain why Sionact and Hesken are rarely on bad terms while some Valperet still resent or dislike the Hesken } 3. The Valperet histories of the time confirm much of this but are filled far more which account of the utter brutality shown in battle. Hesken Historians confirm the accounts of both freeing slaves and being utterly ruthless to their foes, even to the point of barbarity, saying it is consistent with behavior of the culture of 950 years ago. Dr, Kzerfeldt states " The Concept of being nice even to your enemies was not a prevalent idea at the time and would only start to become widely practiced 100 years later because of the writtings of several saints. My people in the past could be down right sadistic so i think it is fair to say the armies of the liberation may have been 'very not nice'." )
  11. The Incident at the lake

    7 Days before the Nightmare Valley incidents began. Tlyer McGuffin had a few days off and wanted to spend some of that leave time at the Lake. He had hoped he could Coax his " This is an open relationship but pretty serious" Boyfreind to come along, but it turns out Stuart had some corporate Business to attend. By his tone over the phone it sounded like he would rather be at the lake then whatever was happening. He had also heard what sounding like Stuart checking the workings of a gun. Tyler's cop senses had tingled and when he questioned what he was hearing, he had gotten answer that 'might' be true. " If I am going to have to dress up and prance around 'Red Knight Arm' like some suited ass i may as well use their indoor range, From what i am hearing one of the chemists wants to verbally incinerate me over something so some range time might be the best way to blow off some steam afterward." Stu had explained. It might have been true but, the combination of his police instincts and boyfriend bullshit meter had hinted that he wasn't getting the full story. He put all that aside for now. He sat by the lakeside, away from the little recreational lodge and docks where most of the swimmers like to congregate, leaning against a tree with his shirt off letting his not so small stomach catch some sun rays. He wasn't ashamed of his size, he had never been the thinest but years on the job grabbing quick meals and spending too much time in a squad car had filled him out a bit. He wasn't big enoug for the weight to hinder him much if at all but some some of the other swimmers had gripped about seeing "too many fatties" that day, and so he lay in the sun it plain sight to spite that person as well as enjoy the sun. This was a great place, the water was cool and crystal clear, the bottom of this lake being most rock so he could see all the way to the bottom. The lake was surrounded by tall trees and usually shaded except for times like now when it was high noon. The sound of people playing distantly was more of an ambient sound than distracting hubbub. There was a slight breeze and the large redwoods rustled pleasantly. It was serene in a way the nearby city never was. Don't get him wrong, Tyler loved the city life and its hustle and bustle but the gentle calm of the forests were a relief. It was like noise that amplified the quiet if that made any sense. That was why he jumped when he suddenly felt a hand grip his leg. He popped to alertness and took in the situation with a keeness years on the force had trained into him. Instead of being attacked or groped by a fellow swimmer he looked over to see a pitch Black wolf in tribal garb peering intently out at the lake. He had small copper bands on his ears, and painted marking made from crushed minerals and water to make a tempory paste applied for ceremonial purposes. The bands marked him as scout of some kind, explaining why his approach had been so silent, but his young age, maybe 19 or 20 and the fact the band looked like that of a novice scout, meant he was inexperienced. This why Tyler had checked his reflex to smack the hand off his thigh. The Poor boy was so intent on the lake he most likely didn't realized he had a handful of a portly policemen's thigh instead of a tree root. Something on the boy's left arm gave him pause though and filled him with questions. " Expecting Ghosts?" Tyler asked gently The scout jumped slightly and looked over. Then Looked down at his hand and realized his had was not resting on a mossy rock. The Boy silently remove his hand then braced it against a tree with a sheepish expression. The kind of expression that said "I am sorry for accidentally groping you" without words. But instead of acknowledging the embarrassment tyler's other concern persists and he asked again. " Are you expecting to fight a ghost? You have a spirit knife strapped to your arm." Tyler asked again and hoped the Boy spoke common. There were 2 full Kirfernav on the force with him and he could never pronounce any phrases they tried to teach him. He had also learned that Stuart's Kirfernav had a strange accent. Tyler's chubby love husky was Half Kirfenav so he was slightly exposed to the culture though Stuart seemed more comfortable with the Culture of the Old northern Barbarians that ran through his Husky side and couldn't tell them apart when he decided to mix them so he feared if he tried to ask any questions in anything but common he would sound like a lunatic. The boy spoke and all worries of sounding like a moron rushed out of the orange policemen. " Uhhh maybe. Yeah i have a spirit knife but i always have it. I was asked to check out the lake but not what for." The young man said, not looking as intimidating as night black fur and deep yellow eyes should have made him. Stuart's oldest brother had The Kirfernav yellow eyes so maybe Tyler was just used to them. Stuart's mother had Red eyes and she could look scary as hell at times. But this lad, just looked like someone told to do something and was tryring his best to do it without having all the details. A state common every species and culture the world over. " Let me guess, the great wise one, grandmother to many, gave you no details but commanded you do something of the direst of importance?" Tyler asked. The native wolf narrowed his eyes a bit but didn;t sound hostile or offended when he spoke. " Yes actually, though i wonder how you could know that." The Native said. " Boyfreind is half Kirfernav, Tu'auchset clan, and she pulls the same shit on him and never seems happy no mater what he does." Tyler answers. The wolf is now scanning the lake and the lakeshore and his ears are cocked to listen but he is still talking to tyler when he says. " Is it the fat one with the ponytail and grey eyes? What is her deal with him? He may look nothing like one of the tribe but he has always be pretty decent, he even hired that lawyer that kept Etonfiel chemical from building a pipeline through our land. No idea how he afforded that." " Yeah that is him, and he bought out Etonfiel chemical after that initial lawsuit that is why the racist ass owner never tried anything again." Tyler answers. Then he just realized he had no idea if Stuart advertised to the tribe he was rich. He always wore his shirt and jeans around tribal lands. Apparently The scout didn't know, because he looked back at tyler and raised his eyebrows. This didn't last for long though as they both saw somthing out of the corner of their eyes that made them whipe their head toward the center of the lake. There was a shadow moving along the bottom of the lake but it wasn't cast by anything. The Scout drew the spirit knife, off his left arm and gripped it in a slightly trembling right hand. He was most likely feeling the presence of the entity casting the shadow, The kirfernav all had an innate ability to sense Shadow and dark realm magic and could often tell the benign thins from the malevolent things from such places. The trembling hand told tyler this wasn't benign. " I am going to go to the cabin and warn everyone something is in the water, follow along shore and try and tell us how close to shore it comes." Tyler said suddenly taking charge. Looks like day of was on hold he had to serve and protect. The Shortest way toward the dock was to swim it insted of walking the winding shoreline. He jumped in the water and propeled his big body through the water with a swiftness that belied his size and spoke of contant exercise and adrenaline fulled urgency. The Tribes man didn't enter the water but he ran silently and swiftly through the trees toward the swimmers. As tyler was in the water he felt this eerie feeling that he had felt before when he had looked at some of the magical objects Stuart kept in his family home and out of the plain but spacious top floor apartment he lived in on his own. Some of the Stuff Stuart had when he enganged in magical things gave tyler the absolute willies and that is why most of them had been put into his parent's house when it was becoming clear that it was more than casual between them. This feeling he felt pulsing through the water reminded him of this Large book that had a series medallions made of silver and some black metal Dotting the cover. This was the eerie unease he felt when he looked at the black metal, but now instead of feeling large but distant it felt like there were whispers of it close by coming through the water. He Got to the dock and hauled his big body out and in a calm firm voice started telling anyone who was near to get out of the water that there was something potentially dangerous in it. Many looked at him like he was a loon and some gave him the finger. But Tyler noticed there were a huddle of people of all ages fast walking toward the shore and looking around at the water. They were to far away for it to have just been his words that had driven them out. Some people had felt it. " Hey man shut up you are scaring my kid." Complained a bear who was trying to get his uneasy looking son to paddle in the water. The very moment he said that the boy was ripped from his arms and pulled across the surface of the lake. He stayed at the surface long enough to shriek in terror before being pulled straight down by nothing that they could see and pressed against the bottom the crystal clear water showing his panicked struggles. Without hesitation Tyler dove into the water and swam down toward the struggling child. He knew he was getting close not just because of the crystal clear water showing him his progress he felt the dreadful unease pulsing through the water like greasy waves. Almost like a the pulse of rotting heart. Tyler also saw what looked like a tendril shape made of darker water. Just looking at this dimly lit stand made want to puke. But he swam on. Soon he felt the sickened heart beating in his ears out of sink with his own. He reached the boy and grasped him as the kid clung desperately to his hand. Tyler Pulled and the kid sliped from the patch of shadow. He pushed off from the bottom and was nearly half way to the surface when he felt a sickening sting arond his ankles he let go of the kid, pushing him up toward the surface. the kid got the idea and began franticly looking back down. The Bear kid made it to the surface but Tyler his vision going fuzzy saw another tendril reaching up toward him. Then he saw a shimmer, a shape of a hand it was like sunlight rippling through water but under water. It Reached toward him gracefully. But instead of grippinf his outreached hand he felt the ghostly but still some how very rough hand grab the sruff of his neck. It Yanked and the force holding his feet slipped away. His heavy body was dragged to the surface of the water where he saw a glimmering shimmerng shape forming in the water, It was indistinct but some how feminine and it was gathering the little bear to her tenderly. A moment later tyler's head broke the surface and he took a deep breath of air and gasping took stock of what was goign on. There towering above the lake was what could only be described as womanly figure, proud and powerful and strong, made of the crystal clear lake water. The sun shone through her but twinkled as if she were full of tiny powdered diamonds. She had the bear cub craddeled into her indistinct liquid boosom in a supremely maternal fashion. In her other hand Tyler McGuffin's body dangled as she gripped him by the scuff of his slightly meaty neck. he was held up slightly aboce the surface but could feel his feet and tip of his sodden tail drag the water as she strode with indistinct leg toward shore. Water flowed out from her in a conical fashion like a billowing skirt. Tyler got the feeling that he is being held this way, by the scruff of the neck like a naughty child, because she though he was being foolish for a grown man. As she stide proadly toward shore she can see that a life guard, a lean handsome coyote was swiming toward them with a rope tide around his ankle, they must have seen the shadow grab Tyler and all the swimmers looked read to have a touge of war with the beast. Now they were staring wide eye as this 8 foot tall figure flowed toward the dock like a glistening wave of diamond. She flowed up gently washing over the docks as she melted into the lake water. The bear cud was set down gentle where his father rushed to him and hugged him tight. Tyler McGuffin was flopped onto the dock without ceremony sliding a little on his stomach, pulling his swimwear down a little. He had a feeling the feminine presence that was still around thought very little of him for some reason and was laughing at his potential embarrassment. He wasn't much embarrassed and just levered up onto he arms and then stood up hicked his trunks up. He felt a vague sense the lack was annoyed when stood and spoke. " Ok lets move away from the water the shadow thing is still down there. We should move back before...." he was interupted by a shouted " WHAT THE SHIT!?" He turned to see a bulk of water bulged up and try to flow over the dock. Tyler heard a war whop that sounded Kirfernav and the scout, spirit knife drawn do a threatening dance between the mas of now inky dark water and the people on the dock. He was holding a pouch of something and the spirit knife and looked read to fight this thing alone. Suddenly a scream of " Stefan what??" and this mopy looking goth kid right next to Tyler, with heavy eyeliner and artifically bleached paterns on his fur,stepped forward as his face shed the apathetic sulk and twisted, became wrong some how, his cheeks too pointy and his bottom jaw seemed to warp and bend in the middle of the mandible, the teeth lenghtend to needle sharpness and his saliva turn black as his eyes rolled in his head. The eerie greasey caustic feeling of the dark creature and the dark place fairly bloomed of him. He lept forward before any could react. Tyler lunged but was to slow, the goth flew through the air, but not at the native wolf defending the crowd as tyler suspected, but at the mass of inky water, landing at the crest of this reverse bubble the clenched claws and weirdly wrong jaws sank into the water but held as if they sank into flesh. the Mad goth began srcabeling at the darkened water and the mas reacted as if in pain. Taking this opportunity the Native scout opened the pouch and threw the contents in a puff of red powder, some landed on the dock and some drifted onto the creature. the Creature made of inky water shuddered and recoiled at were the powder landed. Emboldened by this the Dark wolf lunges forward and slashes at the mas with the spirit knife. Where the blade touches the water there is a purplish flash, that seems to rip through the presence. The victory is short lived when a tendril of water forms and whips upward sending the you black furred wolf into the air and tumbling end over end only to splash down in the lake behind the mass. The mass twists and contorts trying to loosen the goth but it seemed his jaws were making the area around his mouth more solid and less movable. Almost everyone is falling back and running up the lake shore toward their parking lot but a few stayed and looked ready to fight so the others may flee. Tyler Stayed but he had no idea what to do, he had no magic talent he was aware of and he doubted punching or wresting to restrain the mass would do anything. He was a cop, he didn't know what to do, it was not like he could arrest the thing. He turned to the woman standing next to him a fit cougar in her mid 20's whose hands were raise as if she was going to beat the shit out of it even if it was just water. " I am going to go get my gun you gonna be good while i do?" " GO FOR IT AND YOU HAVE A NICE ASS!" She shouted then charged toward the mass. He jogged his fat but appearently nice ass up the hill toward his car, glad that he trained regularly even if he never seemed to shed a pound he packed on. He Sprinted up the hill got to his car and pulled the door open. " CAN YOU GIVE ME A RIDE I WALKED LETS GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!" some guys asked in a panic. Tyler pulled his gun case out and flipped it open revealing his off duty piece. It still had the little underslung stunner that most police issue weapons had and he hoped that it would work on magical water monstrosities. " Not leavin bro, sorry he said as he slammed a magazine 10mm FMJ ammo into the pistol grip and a battery into the stunner. He was about to turn and run toward the dock when he felt a pull. Obeying that pull but not knowing why he reached under the passenger seat and grabbed. There his hands found an object he was sure shouldn't be there. There shouldn't be anything under that seat. he Pulled it out and looked at one of the creepy objects he had seen the first night he slept in Stuart's Apartment. It was a short sword made with a bifurcated blade style. In style it was 2 snakes, one silvery white wrapped around another serpent that was the deep black metal he would find out was used in a lot of magical things. The handle was their intertwined bodies ending in a pommel made from the 2 snakes mouth's agape bearing fangs at each other Their bodies and tail forked of before running parallel and becoming the 2 blades. It looked like some sort of artistic wizard's large tuning fork. The First time he had seen it was on the wall in the Apartment bedroom. He had looked at it a moment, thought it was weird and then rammed his tongue down Sturat's throat and made out with him. He at the time had the odd feeling that the gemstone eyes of the serpent's heads, an deep blue sapphire on the silver snake and a bright ruby on the black one had been watching him made love and then slept in that bedroom. " Aw fuck more magic shit" says the guy and runs off. Tyler agreed but he didn't let go of the weird little short sword. He had never asked Stuart about it because he had never cared. He ran back toward the dock with his gun, belt of extra mags and the short sword he had no idea how to use. It is not like cop's were train in sword fighting. He sprinted back toward the dock where the woman made of water had reformed and seemed to be swiping at the shadowy mass. The young cougar woman who had complimented his ass was punching and kicking at any out growths that got near her, but they must have been more then just physical as the tendrils tremble and disassociated when struck. He ran down the hill which he should not have been doing gripping an unheated sword. He was puffing when he began running down the dock. He was fast, and he was still in pretty good shape, but he had still been moving ever since he swam over to warn the people. Still adrenaline spurred him on. He got back to the wide area that the few who had stayed made their stands. The Woman of water was lunging in for blows but staying back, the goth kid seemed to be wrapped in small dark tendrils of water but they tor with a sick wet sound as he moved ab bit viciously. The Goth kid's arms seemed to be longer and thin with creepy 8 jointed fingers that tor and scratched. The Kirfernav was back on shore and he was limping back toward the fight spirit knife in hand. Now that he was back into the fray he had no idea what to do. Getting a gun had been a stupid idea, but he felt he needed to defend. He open fire on the wattery mass, shots ringing loud and muzzle flashing firing deadly copper jacketed lead that did as much damage as if he tried peeing on it. He Ate through an 18 round mag in moments. he he the mag release and the magazine fell free, but then he realized he still had the sword gripped in his left hand and would need to put it down to reload. He tried something else. He flicked on the stunner attactmetnt that shot a bolt of coherent electricity that traveled down a tuned laser. He let loose with that, light bolts of controlled lightening struch the dark mass of inky water. It did something, just nothing good. The Bolts dissapated through the mass, but where still strong enough to zapp the twisted goth who let out a gurgling scream and was finally bucked of to land crummpled on the dock near Tyler. Tyler moved over hopinbg he wasn't dead. " Dude, what the fuck?" The crumpled twisted goth said in a rather normal voice. His gangly form untwisted to get back to his feet but a liquid tendril shot forth at him. Without thinking Tyler brougt the weird short sword down on it. Not in a chop or a strike or anything at all sword like. The edge was not even in ilne, he struck with the flat of the blade. He struck at the tendril instinctively like a policemen hitting with a baton. Because well he was a policemen and he hit things like that. The reaction from the shadow inky mass of water was astounding. Where the silver blade struck it sizzled and sputtered, the water vaporizing. The Black metal blade seemed to send out a shock of force and light through the tendril. Tyler paused for a moment shocked then did something he was told to never do in training, he swung widly not aiming to dissuade and attack but just wailing on a target. He swung wild hammer fisted blows with absolutely no finesse, he just advanced and hit. The Mass began to retreat beneaht the clumsy inexpert blows flashes of force and quick puffs of steam filling the air. Tyler started to feel weird. His body began to move wrongly, well wrong for Tyler McGuffin his fat arms began striking out in swift jabs, and feinting cuts that with elegance deflected attacks from all angles, he felt is legs move in ways he had never told them, with grace in a dance. His right hand gripping his gun felt more his own but he had these impulses. He fired of the stunner at certain places and poked and struck. He felt this foregein elegence guide him as he thrust and parried the tendrils. He to his own amazment was fencing with the rapid jabs of a creature made of darkness and water. The thing started to pull back, it seemed slowed and desperate to escape. This weird excitement slithered through him as if a duelist was ready to deliver a winning blow in a entertaining duel. It was like the feeling he got when he wrestled against Stuart and they kept score that one night before they had gone out after a drink and then both found themselves interested in the other, but this was arrogant and refined. He brought his left hand low and slashed up with the silver edge and then immediatly brought his arm down cutting with the black edge. The mass of water split open like a body and inside he saw the source of the mass. It was a heart. a misshapen beating heart. the sword split in two and suddenly each side was pinning the side of the slash open. The blade was out of his hands. With a head rush he was Tyler McGuffin again, overwight officer of the law. But he knew what he needed to do. he dropped his knees and picked up a new magazine and slamed it into his gun. With precision but little ceremony he took aim and fired into the pulsing heart, jerking the trigger but keeping on target till the thing was nothing but tattered flesh. He sat there in the kneeling position and stayed tenese and ready for whatever came next. What came next was the inkiness fading from the water and it falling into the lake inert and lifeless. No longer part of a creature but lifeless hydrogen and oxygen. Tyler body felt a weird rush fill his tense muscles and even after he relaxed he felt of sensations in his body. He figured it was his body coming off of the adrenaline rush. He stood and surveyed everyone. The Couger woman was rubbing her arms and doing a cool down routine but her eyes darted looking for other threats. The Wolf native was leaning against the lifegaurd tower panting. When he saw tyler look at him he gave a thumbs up to say i am ok. The Goth who had transformed was changing back to normal but it was unpleasant to look at and made horrible sounds of cracking bones and tendons. soon he stoog in shredded clothing and was rubbing his fingers and grimacing. " You ok?" Tyler asks. " Yeah. I guess. It didn't hurt but now it feels like my joints are still all twisted and stuff, my hands look normal but my finger still feel all long and stuff...." he replies twitching a little. Tyler reaches up to pat him on the shoulder and tell him he will be ok but when he raises his hand the weird sword is in his hand again. He jumps in surprise. So does the goth. " The fuck? it was just there when it wasn't before!" He stumbles back. Tyler lets go of the sword but it sticks to his palm. Tyler grimaces at it and shakes his hand but it stays as if glued. " What the hell is..." he is inturpted by a sense of being ripped in 2 while he body stays still. His vison is cast in 2 opposite directions and he has no idea as to what he sees in either. The he is slamed back into his own body. his had is still open than the sword falls from his grasp and sticks into the dock. he stares down at it quivering. It has a new feature though. Between the open hissing mouths of the serpents floats a jewel. It is glossy and deep red. He looks from person to person. " Is it too early in the day for whisky? i think i need a drink" Tyler says. he doesn't want to touch the sword again so he just stares at it. The Cougar comes over and picks up the sword obviously seeing he doesn't want to. She claps him on the shoulder." That was some weird shit, She is some weird shit, i think whisky is the most normal thing right now" The cougar says gesturing to the woman made of the crystal clear lake water still there watching them. Tyler feels like she is somehow judging them in the way some family matriarchs do. He gets the impression she still thinks he is a silly little man who is trying to hard to be macho. He almost feels like confronting her about it. He turns as if to be led away by the cougar then stops and turns. You know what enough with trying to pretend all this magic stuff isn't here anymore. They may have science and technology and be on the cusp of expanding into space and all that but this world is still one that is full of weird things. Why be shy about it? He turns to confront the woman made of water. " Thanks for your help but we no longer wage the war you once fought. Both sides lost. People define themselves." Tyler says staring intently. " Why are you telling a living glass of water about self determination?" The Goth says looking confused. " This is an old spirit, from before the age of choice, when your fate was chosen by the speakers. This spirit thought the fox oversteped his bounds by trying to save the child and thus shape his fate." The Kirfernav says. The cougar takes a confident stance. " Ah from the fate wars eh, we don't belive in that stuff because it doesn't work that way. Was never supposed to." The cougar announces The Figure draws up and puts it hands on its hips. Projecting authority. " What uhh urkgghghhhhg...." the goth says as his eyes roll back again. when they roll foward they are like peering into a star studded sky. The Goth's face smiles, but it is a smile more threatening than when it twisted into the monsterous fighting visage. " If you doubt listen for the spin of the time counter's top, time ticks on but the hands of the chess-masters lay shattered and stripped of life, this universe was never made to be your master's game and they found the pieces did not like to be prodded. All their vast works lay in ruins and their minds stripped and consumed. Worlds made and worlds shatter by the whim of their laws not the tampering of your players. so go now puppet and think on what it means to make choices. you interfered here because you weren't told who was to die, and you resented the other moving out of turn. But think now of choice and what it means to tell yourself what to do, but also think now of the consequences of those choices. You saw how we dealt with that born in shadow and desire. By all mean save all in peril in this lake but do so of your own will and hinder not those who do the same." The figure that speak's through the goth boy cocks its head. The figure made of shimmering water stays still as if listening. " The silence is maddening is it not? but now it means you must fill the world with music of your own making, or retreat to the broken hall of the weaver and pray their broken forms move anew." The boy blinks and his eyes are normal. he looks around as if to assure himself he is back. he then Crosses his arms and rubs them. He sets of an air of knowing what has just happened but doesn't want anyone to acknowledge it. The figure of water is still there but is smaller and it seems now frightened. Then it asks a question that shakes them all. " Then what hand moved the sword?" None can answer that. The woman melts into the lake and the scene physically returns to the sunny placid forest and lakes that it aught to be. "I think we need the whisky even more now." The cougar says. She isn't confident and cheerful anymore. She is also looking the sword up an down. " Where did this come from anyway?" They are slowly walking up toward the dock house an parking lot. The Sun is shining pleasantly and the birds have begun to sing again. Some people, the ones who hadn't run off to the parking lot but instead hid in the forest start to come out and loo around. They seem distrustful of the placid loveliness they see. None of them dare speak and only eye the group made up of a limping wolf Supported by chubby shirtless fox, a cougar in a bikini, and a teenage boy with his arms crossed tightly utterly withdrawn. " I will tell ya all i know, but first i think the whisky will be needed." Tyler mutters.
  12. A pleasent stroll

    Mr. Edmund Patrick Nunez was out for a pleasant stroll. He was one of the few wealthy humans in the 3 tired city of Mid-port Mountain. The city had many names depending on the language you spoke but they all roughly translated into Mid-port Mountain. The City drew its name from being a city with a decent port and mostly built into and on top of a mountain that thrust up from the ground close to the sea. This didn't make it remarkable as apparently many of the oldest cities were built into mountains what made this City special was a natural cavern in the mountain that served as a guarded port for some of the wealthiest of merchant vessels. A feature that had inspire other cities to begin carving caverns into sea side mountains. It was a lovely city and he live in the highest reaches of it atop the mountain. But when time allowed he liked to venture into the lower regions. It was safe to do so as this city had very little in the way of street crime anymore. So he would take the wonderfully built fast tram that through the miracle of clockwork and gears could see people safely Down to the base of the mountain. It could also be used to Bring people from the lower levels up to the top swiftly but many of the rich people in the upper city, mostly Valaparet sneered at that possibility. He got off the wondrous piece of technology and walked into the humblest section of the city, Dock-town it was where the series of docks and wharves that sprawled around the mountain transitioned into homes and shops. He was very out of place here but people paid him no mind as he had been doing this long enough he was no longer gawked at for the most part. It was not that he was waelthy that drew looks, wealthy people sometimes came down here, especially Hesken who seemed to ignore class separation to a degree and so wealthy individuals of the species would come into the humbler parts. It was not his Species that had drawn stares, human sailors lived and worked in the city along side the other races, and it was not his size, being somewhat portly in his middle age as again Hesken males were also large in the belly from the time they started puberty on into old age. No it was the mix of all of these that used to draw stares. No one expected a wealthy human to come to this part of the city and go for a stroll. But he had done it often enough that now one one batted an eye. Some like the pub owner, that seemed to open up shop at this cool early morning hour would greet him cheerily. He Strolled along the wooden streets and idly watched some of the ships pull in. He hurried slightly to be out of the way of the rush of sailors who would bolt straight for the pub and a hot meal not prepared by whatever poor sot had been picked to burn the food for the voyage. The crews wouldn't be rushing to get rum in them as most captains still rationed out rum to the crew. No these sailors wanted good food. He paused to watched the sailors disgorge and rush toward their homes or the pub. One Skitritch sailor chattered out something in the language which human ears were ill suited to make comprehensible as a female sailor, armed to the teeth with a cutlass and a revolver opened her arms in greeting then embraced the child that jumped into her arms. It was a touching moment made only sweeter when sturdily built male skitritch slid up to embrace them both. He turned and continued his stroll taking in the lazy pace of the early morning activity. Taverns and Cafe's were opening in preparation for the rush of sailors that would come the rest of the early morning vessels arrived. The Taverns and cafes were bare-bones in comparison to the upper city but even this more humble bunch enjoyed their morning tea and coffee. He strolled on till he got to the next dock in which a relatively fine vessel was docked and its crew working loading and unloading but they were in no hurry and were relatively relaxed. This was starkly and amusingly contrasted by the argument that was taking place one of the gangplanks. A Hesken man that seemed to be the captain was arguing with a Lutrondae woman who had her hands on the shoulders of a young lad most likely her son, she was laying into the hesken captain who was a broad mass of muscle and seemed to have next to non of the extra bellyfat most hesken males had, he was tall imposing and peering calmly down at this little woman letting him have it with a tongue lashing. Next to the Lutrondae woman was a Lutrondae man who looked to be a sailor with the captain's crew, and by the way he stood next to the woman was likely married to her. " There is absolutely no reason for you not to take my son onto your crew, NONE, and your relucantce to do so makes no sense whatsoever! By the sea we need extra income in this house and he is at the pefect age to start pulling his weight, ye employ his father without problem so you know you will have some one to train him up right off. So you employ me son this instant!" The Lutrondae woman says in the tone of a scolding school mistress. " Thar be every reason for me to decline, de boy should be in school, i'd happily employ him after he had some schooling of his talents..." " Don't give me non of your edumacation malrky that you fat oafs but so much stock in, this boy needs to start earning his way in life and this is the perfect place to do it!" This whole time the boy is looking over the side of the dock in what seemed to be seething anger. He was tense and presented the sense he was about to explode. " Now honey let the..." the husband put in calmly " Hush up you, your too soft on the boy you..." " SHUT YER FECKIN MOUTH YOU DIM WITTED BINT!" The boy exploded litterally in a sense, a pressure wave seemed to push his mother and father back a step and the hesken captain's hat flew off as if driven by a sharp wind. " YE SEE WHAT BE HAPPENEN TO THE WATER? YE REMEBER THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THE HOUSE WHEN I HAVE NIGHTMARES? WHAT FECKIN FUCKWIT WOULD TAKE ON AN UNTRAINED WIZARD ONTO A FECKIN WOODEN FECKIN SHIP THAT IS ALL THAT STAND BETWEEN THEM AN A WATERY DEATH?!! LET ME GO TO THE FECKIN SCHOOL SO I CAN LEARN TO CONTROL ME FECKIN POWERS AND ME FECKIN TEMPER FOR FUCKING FECKS SAKE!" Came the boy's thunderous below. Which was impressive issuing from a lad of 10 or so. " NOW YOU..." the woman starts in. " Look at the water sweet pea, I mean it" The Husband putts in. He goes so much as to push her toward the edge of the dock. Her mouth drops open and she stares wide eyed. Patrick Nunez could only guess at what she saw ass there was a colmn of steam issueing from the spot the boy was starring at. He supposed the water was boiling. " Now, while it seems yer boy can already curse like a sailor, he does need training with his powers, he be a matter shaper and storm caller ain't mistaken? Yer lad is right while untrained he poses a danger to the ship but with schoolin he would bring in 10 times what yer husband makes. So lets make this deal, he trains for a year or three then he signs on with me crew." " He has yer temper and the ability to boil people's blood in their veins, so i think that him training before sailing is the better option my flower." The Sailor says in a soothing conciliatory tone. She turns to give her husband a scolding. " one to three years, ten times the pay." The captain puts in. And this seems to mollify her slightly. But she shuts her mouth and nods agreement when she catches a wiff of smoke. The Dock under her son's bare paws are staring to smoke slightly. " Alroight then." She says sounding nervous. " Roight, i'm off to school then." The Boy says firmly then steps off the side of the dock plunging into the water. There is a rushing sound and the captain pan his head following the boy's motions. He must have been traveling very swiftly in the water, far faster than normal swiming would allow. " Yer boy packs more firepower in hees fingers than the ship do wit all it's cannons, Learning to use it right is the safest thing fer him and you." The hesken captain says. " That be no threat, i set me mum's house on fire when i was that age cause T'wasn't trained, a fact she never lets me live down. Anyway enjoy your time together." The large captain puts in lightly. And then walks off toward the loading ramp amidship. The Lutrondae woman turns to her husband with a darkening look and looks about to scold him for something. But she is prevented when a crewmen on the deck of the ship shouts from up on the rigging " Tem, how ceen ye stay married to that collosal bitch?" Said an Female Lutrondae who seems to be helping a skitritch to mend a sail. Many ships kept sails despite having engines because wind is often cheaper than fuel. " WOTS THAT MEAN? " thw wife squawks Patrick Nunez suspected non of them actually knew what bitch meant and he didn't want to be the human they asked to explain it. So he strolled on. He went on quiet aways until he came to the section dedicated to fishing. Most of the boats left before sunrise but there were some smaller vesels here and there. Among these vessels still in port he came across something wholly worth his attention. There sitting on the docks working with needle and thread was a Hesken man mending fishing nets. He had not bothered with a shirt and he was wearing a leather garment that would be compared to a kilt with pockets. Patrick had never learned the name for the garment but he did know that often nothing was worn beneath them. They were a piece of basic work clothing that provide pockets and surface to set things on your lap. When the wearer splayed their leg the garment was pulled taught leaving a impromptu work surface. He was large like most hesken males and a charcoal gray and had a fine example of the ample tummies that helped their kind endure cold climates and make it through winters on little food. He on a crate and with calm assured movements sewed away at a net with a large needle. Patrick Nunez had no idea what he was actually doing to the net, mending it making it or whatever. He just wanted to drink in the sight of the man. He wanted to bask is his pleasant roundness and strong body. As he stared he suddenly became aware of not being alone. There was a Sionact woman hanging out her washing but giving the task little mind as she was also staring at the shirtless hesken. Patrick recognized the look in her eyes, it was the same appreciation as his. She must have felt him look at her because she turned her head to look at him then swiftly looked away and went back to her washing. He stayed only a few minutes more as if drinking in the scenery of the sea and not just the site of the mostly bare fisherman. Then he went on his way. He understood the washer woman's embarrassment, there were still taboos around interspecies romances and sexual encounters. It was not universal but some places frowned heavily upon it. Gladly it was not more than looked down upon in this city, he had heard some cities had strict laws. Still he set off instead of continuing to watch the large fisherman. He walked 2 blocks then turned and walked up the street into a mostly residential neighborhood. He had time to dally before the morning commuter trams began winding their way up and down the mountain which was his next destination. He had picked this neighborhood not only for its convenience to the tram station, all the roads coverged on it, but this was a Predominately hesken area and he was trying to get to know their culture better as well as... well as well as their bodies. He came to this neighbourhood expecting to look into newly opened windows and perhaps some of them doing morning chores. He stopped short when he cam across something else. There was a group of hesken from all walks of life, they were arrayed arround an open coffin, freshly made. In it lay a frail figure, pure white and somehow elegantly peaceful. The figure was dressed in a style unfamiliar to him in a red tunic with paterns woven into it. The Figure was ancient and must have passed from old age. He couldn't tell the gender of the figure but from the snowy white fluffy parts of its furn he could see he supposed this was an Alo. A species that shared a homeland with the hesken but physicaly were unlike them, where hesken were big and sturdy of build with lots of extra meat to keep them warm Alo where thin but covered in dense soft fur. The 2 species were from the same place but so different but got along so well. Their cultures where similar even if they had a separate language. The group was gathered and close knit in a respectful silence. Alone among them was what looked to be an Alo child he stood at the head of the coffin. All were still and silent until suddenly all the Adults began to sing. It was an odd contrast, this group of fat burly beasts of men let forth a gentle stream of sound in perfect harmony. It was in Djarlendt the hesken tongue but in a gentle dialect devoid of some of the harsher elements it usually bore. It filled the air as if it had substance, it seemed to settle and rest on on the nearby buildings and it echoed as if it where sung in a cathedral instead of the open air of a portside residential neighborhood. It was deceptively high and sweet issuing from those thick, tooth filled muzzles that were built to crush bones and sever tendons. It positively danced gracefully through the air, not seeming to be words at all but a painting of sound dedicated to the one they mourned. Patrick shivered as he felt it run up his spine and move through him like a wind blowing through thin cloth, gently stirring it. It was like they were calling up the departed to dance among them one last time. Their voices fell silent but the feeling hung in the air. filling the street as if it were an unseen mist. Then The long child started singing. It was a musical language unlike he had ever heard and despite the same sweetness of feeling Patrick could tell it was wholly unrelated to the harsh language of the heseken. It was like hearing birds sing in a snowy field. It Danced of the buildings like the song before but to a different rhythm and cadence. Even though it was a long voice it sounded like hundreds far off where joining in. He understood not a word of it but he knew it was an intensely personal goodbye. The song ended but again a feeling remained. The A lone voice picked up. Its tone hopeful. It also was not coming from the throat of anyone present. It Was a lovely female voice. He realized it was coming from inside his own head, his own heart, yet it filled the space around him as physically as it had when all those toothy muzzles had been open in tender song. There were no words but the meaning flowed through him as if he was hearing it spoken to him line by line in his own language. The song spoke of an end to suffering, of life going on and growing even after it ended, it spoke of returning the vessel to the universe and to biding all present a temporary farewell as it moved onward to where they would all one day follow. He felt as if the whole of the world was lifted upward and the atmosphere lifted with it. He was suddenly in the normal world after feeling like he had briefly set foot in another. He was somewhat shaken by the experience. He stood there and tried to regain his composure. The Group started to break up, some left immediately and walked away briskly. Others stuck around and spoke to each other. One of the Burly workmen type of the group placed the coffin lid on and lifted if effortlessly and placed in the back of a vehicle. and shut the doors gently then he hoped up onto the seat in front and drove off with the click of springs and clockwork driving it. One of the hesken dressed like a tavern owner picked up the child and and spoke to him in the Strange sing song language the boy had sung in and carried him up the street in a tender fashion. Like this was going to be his care taker for the time being. 3 or 4 hesken stuck around and seemed to talk to each other. 2 were dressed in shirts like factory workers and the 3rd was wearing some sort of plain robe. The 4th was coming Patrick's way he was decently dressed, nothing expensive but nothing of poor quality. " May i ask if you are alright?" He says in well accented English. " why yess i ah..." Patrick nunez went into the blustery sounds of an upperclass person completely at a loss for words. " I know encounters like that can be unnerving for those not used to it. You experienced something most humans don't, the Spirit song. If you are headed somewhere i can accompany you there until you feel yourself again." " Why yes, thank you to the tram station please." Patrick concedes and lets himself be led off. After a moment he regains enough composure to speak. " I have been learning a bit of Djarlendt culture but i must say i had no idea that the Urullul could be so beautiful." "That wasn't an Urullul, if we had been doing that we would likely all have been arrested. The Urullul is banned in this city. That was what in english could be called greif singing, i am not sure if you have a word for songs of mourning. The last thing you heard, or felt more like was a spirit song, the feeling that the universe is singing and bringing you somewhere else for a moment. The Woman who died was a famous Spirit singer and that was her way of saying goodbye and telling us to not be sad." His escort explains " A few of the men who walked off immediately will most likely not heed that last part. She was well loved in the community and they likely want somewhere to grieve in private. For some reason The Valperet don't like when we grieve openly in groups without some sort of ceremony. In fact i would like to ask you not to tell people what you just saw, the Valparet nobles seem to be clamping down on ceremonies for some reason." The hesken looks around. then leans in conspiratorially. " Look it is obvious you are wealthy and live in the upper city, keep your ears open as to why some of the noble families are discouraging worship outside of the church, Hesken in the upper city seem to be being excluded or ignored when they inquire and the Valparet families i am friendly with have no idea what is going on. So if keep your ears open and tell any Hesken in your social circles what you hear." His close presence and pleasant voice have helped shake off the odd feeling he was experiencing and he was getting back into a more pleasant head space. " I will, though i am not sure how much i can find out." Patrick says The pleasant musk of the man has made him set aside his unease and has begun to thrill him a little. Begin so close in and having far sharper senses of smell than humans Patrick was sure the man picked up on his growing desire. Instead of reacting poorl the man smiled and asked him a simple question. " Are you by chance off to the den?" The hesken says with a slight smile. Patrick Nunez's heart raced at the question, he was indeed headed for the establishment known simply as "The Den" a name crafted for plausible deniability as many people understood this to mean their homes. But for those in the Know, it was a place in the middle city in the extensive basement of a tavern. It was a secret place known to only by those with certain desires. The Desire to mate with members of other species. By the slight smile he was unable to keep off his face he gave his answer. " You can also tell anything you find out to the proprietor of that establishment." The Hesken man says. They arrive at at the tram stop shortly there after. Patrick finds himself greeted by the familiar group of factory workers he has gotten to know on these little strolls. He bids the other man Adieu and then joins the crowd. They are all familiar with him and so don't mind when he huddles in among them in the socially intimate manner that he was told was a cultural development borne from a need to conserve body heat. Whatever its origin he had the pleasant sensation of pressing against the warm bodies of mostly hesken males. Some of them knew he got something extra out of the huddle than they did but let him in anyway as they were a non judgemental lot. All activity was blocked out by the huddled body of the workers and their conversation. He listened carefully to them Speak Djarlendt and tried to pick up words. He heard a few he recognized and listened to the interesting grammatical feature of the language that added emotion to words adding to the meaning of a sentences. He Heard that sometimes they didn't add the emotional continuation to their sentences and spoke all words unmodified and then they would add them in the next. He understood only some of the simple sentences. Like " I am getting stronger." and later from the same person " I'm getting fatter" but with the positive added to the " I'm" and to " Fatter" He knew that there were certin times in which hesken took prided in gaining bellyfat usually before winter comes along. But Patrick also knew it was sometimes used as an expression meaning " I am doing well while preparing for something." This Patrick knew came from when they lived farther north and had harsher winters meaning they would be using stored calories more often and would try to gain as much weight as possible while food was available. This lead to many little sayings concerning weight not all of which Patrick understood. The Tram pulled up and he followed the huddle in. Inside they stood and continued to talk. Patrick listened intently and tried to pick out more. One man said something about his father's shirts but what about them he didn't know. He heard the Person the other was talking to also mention shirts. Then said something about armor. He was trying to expose himself to as much of the language as possible so was annoyed when a Lutrondae woman started grousing at a skitrich boy. He tuned out the exchange. He picked up more words. School, Study, fight, all in the same sentence but didn't know what it meant. The other responded in english " Me boy just turned 20 and he is putten on muscle and fat fast, the girls won't leave him be but he is so busy building things he hasn't got time for girls. Or Boys if that be his thing." That is something that patrick had always wondered about, most races on this world were so nonchalant about homosexuality and apparently had been for sometime before humans ever arrived on this world. But humans when they came had mixed attitudes on the subject some fine with it others hating it. There was a well recorded incident from 500 years ago of a human man attacking his son and his lover for being gay in the public square of a hesken town. He had tried to kill the lover with an axe. It was considered the first recorded time a Hesken killed a human. Appearently a nearby washer woman had intervened to stop the attack and the attacker turned the axe on her. She had, according to the account caught the axe and pulled it from his hand and hit him with the axes handle as a follow up. The blow had been so strong it had killed the man instantly, shattering his skull. There was a poem written about the woman, whose gist was it was possible to overreact against someone weaker then you, and the sorrow it brings. To the hesken the incident underscored how gentle they had to be with other races as humans were not the weakest, physically, species on this world so they better learn to be careful with how they treated people if they were to get along. Humans learned from this that homophobia was not well tolerated on this new world and that they better keep that in mind. The hesken where one of the races that was nicest to human when they first arrived and a reminder that this kind and friendly race was also far stronger then you could also be deadliest enemy made homophobia in Hesken and Alo territory vanish swiftly. It had also just died out in most places through other means. Patrick was lost in thought when the care came to a stop and one person got off greeted by a female voice from outside. " Your son works for the Dr." One of the workman that he was pressing against spoke. The vibrations of his voice being conducted through their contact was rather soothing. A conversation followed about alchemy and the others turned to listen. This conversation went on until it changed in tone to dire seriousness. He heard a deep voice talking about remedies to shadow viper venom and Patrick hoped he never found out what a shadow viper was. Then as if summoned by this thought a sentence Patrick didn't want to hear. " They have been sited in the woods and in the middle city streets." Says another of the workmen the one that had been talking about alchemy who was a few bodies away from Patrick. Patrick was headed for the middle city and had arranged this time to spend the night there. He really hoped he didn't see any of these shadow vipers. A deep voice gave out instructions on how to use something the speaker was giving them. They took these instructions seriously and and all listened. A silent minute passes and this is the factor stop, all the workmen that Patrick had been in the huddle with were getting off here. He felt their bodies move and shuffle as they passed him. It wasn't fully unpleasant but it was sad to have them leave. Even if he did get a somewhat sexual thrill from them he still felt a kinships with these men. They got off and left him with the 2 passengers on the far end of the car. A good look at one of them erased any thoughts of a boring rest of the ride. The 2 could not be more different an elderly Sionact dressed in a duffel coat. holding some parcels was sitting on the far side of the most glorious person Patrick had ever seen. He was snowy white making patrick think for a moment that this was an enormous Alo, but his familiarity with Djarlendt culture showed that while his tunic was similar in style to what he had head described as alo dress, the patterns on the short sleeves and the short sleeves themselves showed this was a Hesken, and he was big. Big even by hesken standards. He would tower over any crowd and he was as Half again as thick as most burly hesken. He also had a massive pillow belly that hung across his belt as he sat. Patrick knew he had to talk to this man about something. Committed to speaking but not yet knowing what about he greeted them. " How do you do gentlemen?" He asked politely and quickly took them both in again. He had it, a reason to speak. The Smaller Sionact nodded politely and looked uncomfortable but also as if he was thinking. Possibly thinking what someone as well dressed as Patrick Nunez was doing speaking to someone of his lower class. The Hesken just looked him swiftly up and down in a way he had seen many people of all classes do, this was a quick threat assessment and plan to react if attacked. He had seen Nobles do it, he had seen workers do it, he had seen the guard do it. The huge man in a second had taken in his size, posture, attitude, and armaments. After this quick assessment the large being speaks. " We fare well, how do you do this morning." The snowy white behomoth replied politely. Then with no hesitantion he follows up with "May i observe that you were accepted as part of the huddle despite Your difference of species, can i inquire about that?" So this would be easy. In his quick scan of patrick he most likely noticed the slight swell in the front of his trousers but and most like knew the answer but was letting him engage anyway. " I am very well and yes i often engage in the huddle with Hesken, they are far more accepting of humans generally even in urbane areas such as this, so i have learned their customs more readily, Plus as a species your kind seem to care less about class so i can find safety from miscreants among most any group of hesken." He answered completely truthfully But leaving out the other reason unspoken. He steps closer and continues " I see as far as blades go you prefer The Bowie Knife instead of more traditional Patterns, may i ask about that?" He asks having a good look on the huge knife at the giant's side. " Yes, I find the Bowie knife style of blade better for fighting, I like the hand guards often absent from traditional hesken pattern knives which are made to be tools first and weapons only if need be. Plus i can fully sharpen the back edge of the clip point giving me another cutting surface while leaving plenty of flat spine, The Bowie pattern makes for a knife more suited to combat but it sacrifices non of it's usefulness as a tool." He responds simply and clearly. He either gave lots of thought to his weapons or had been asked this before. Maybe both. He had taken some Martial arts classes that taught the upper class fighting styles and he had heard other species say much the same. He continued. " I see, makes perfect sense, the Bowie knife is a human invention you know? " He says to start a long conversation, it was generally excepted that Bowie knives were brought here by humans from earth but the fact is many of the features of the bowie knife had been recorded in history books pre human arrival so it was a topic they could discuss. The Lontracant, the river cousins of the Lutrondae had smaller knives very like Bowie knives. He was read for his discussion to begin so he could look at this man some more but the tram dinged and this is where he would get off to head to the den. He tips his hat politely and gets off hopping to see the large white figure again. And Fervently hoping that the large white figure showed up at The Den one night. He walks briskly down the streets His mind thoroughly on his destination. The encounter with the magnificent white figure with the piercing yellow eyes and flabby soft looking face had put him in need to be at the den post haste. He turned down a alley that brought him to the side of a positively huge stone building that housed a tavern and hotel, the alley wasn't empty there were some skitritch in it talking, but they paid him no mind and he in turn left them to their business. He came to a wooden door, a simple sturdy wooden door in the middle of the wall he knocked. There was no code knock or anything you just knocked on the door. it was the only door in this alley and deliveries of good didn't come in this way, they came on the otherside which also had an alley but it was wider an would be a street if it led anywhere. It only lead to a wall put there so people didn't fall off the cliff that marked the end of the building. The door was opened and a bored looking skitritch showed him in. No need for a password the little doorman Knew Edmund Patrick Nunez well. The Doorman wasn't being rude or anything he always looked bored. He had seen the little man look bored during a knife fight. Patrick knew the one thing that wiped the bored look of his face and she was currently out at sea. " Cheer up lad, she will be back in a week." Patrick said as the bored little man shut the door behind them. " I gave her my smile, so i will only have it when she returns it to me." He says rather poetically. In fact Patrick thought he actually was a poet. If he remembered this man had been born in a hard life but had a father that stuck by him and would steal books to read to the boy. He had grown up hard on the street but began writing poetry so impressive that a guard captain sent both the street rats to work at a school instead of going to jail. Patrick thought the man's father still worked as a librarian at the school. Patrick just tips his hat to the man and walks into a little bar. This Bar is separated from the rest of the grand hotel and tavern except through small hallways, they would not need to worry about prying eye or crowds. Inside he sees a Hesken man he had never seen before, he was holding s shotgun over his shoulder and chatting with the Sionact barman. " I'm telling ya i don't need it, nothing bad happens here, he has the best patrons on the continent." the Sionact says. " Then i will just pick it up when i next come by." The hesken says and leans over the counter and puts the shotgun, an impressive piece of steel and brass with sawn off stock and a strap with extra shells on it. there is a small thump and the hesken's hand come back empty, while he it leaned over he kisses the barman on the top of the head. He turns and walks out with a pistol on each hip and squeezes past Patrick, but giving the middle aged human's belly a friendly pat as he passes. " Hello there Mr.Nunez, get you a drink." The barman says. " Sure, Surprise me with something new." Patrick says he is always delighted to try something new. " Ah i got this Fannock drink, rather sweet, but it is potent." The barman pours the drink. " That your man, with all the guns?" Patrick says as he sits down and sips the drink. " Oh yes, that's me husband and he says he has a feeling something bad is gonna happen so left me light's fist, he names his bleedin weapons He must be really concerned because he love that shotgun to bits." The Barman explains " Oh and that little belly pat, he is a flirty one and may be askin you to join us one night." Patrick smiles at this, Hesken are kinda his thing. He was hoping that some would be here today, it was still rather early, not yet 8 am. As full as his day had seemed it had only been a few hours since he left his bed to take his round about stroll to here. It was still too early to descend into the Den proper as likely anyone down there would be sleeping still. So instead he sipped his drink and waited for others to arrive. " Since we can jump straight to the intimate details here, how does one usually include a 3rd? it is something i have yet to try." Patrick ask. " There are a number of ways, me personal favorite is to be sandwiched between them. I am not the real expert though you should ask Tillerand Hjulsteed, he is in a 3 way marriage, though he has a husband and a wife so half of his repertoire mightn't be your cup of tea. " " I have been meaning to ask, when 2 men marry how is it decided whose name is the family name, among humans the woman takes the man's name While Hesken add their spouse's name to theirs, how did you do it, when you married your husband?" Patrick asks with keen interest and completely shedding all manners relating to inter class communication. Here Everyone was to be considered on equal footing. " In my case he took my last name. Me man didn't have a family, he was found in the forest by a mage who adopted him. There is a tradition among some of the northern people that when you find a baby you don't put your family name on him until he chooses to take it, sometimes such kids never choose to take their adoptive name and just have a first name. That was Kollharve case, Mainly because it wasn't one mage who raised him but 3 so he didn't choose to play favorites. If he had taken all 3 his name wouldn't fit on anything. Plus one of them Was fannock and i never could pronouce his name." " No you never haven't mr. Okreen" Comes a voice from the shadows. Patrick Nunez sits up startled but the barman just rolls his eyes, " Hello oh one of the impronounceable name." A short slender figure steps out of the shadows. " I come because harv, had a bad feeling and he wanted me to give you stuff do ward off every evil known to me and such. Just take these." The black robbed figure with astonishingly large ears sets some books and silver curved knife. One was a small coppy of the hymns to the sacred flame, the dominate well more like only, religion of Gai'talar. " You know what to do, if it isn't driven away by praying stab it." The Figure says. " Though i take it the Skitritch who is sneaking up on me is more the stabby sort than you are?" Patrick had Barly noticed but the Bored Doorman was stealthy moving up from behind the figure. And if Patrick rembered correctly he was indeed skilled with a knife. " I will show myself back to the main tavern, i just walked down the little hallway so no magical grand exit." The Figure turns and walks off into the shadows but an opening and closing door shows that indeed his exit was mundane. " All of his foster parent's better not show up and leave me a weapon or else i will be buried in them. Lalenria would give me bombs, i don't want bombs in me bar." The Barman says and puts away all the things that were left on the bar for him. He pauses and looks at one of the books. " That was sweet, though, these are Saint Gerund's writings which command that love in all its forms is sacred. One of the first holymen to proclaim inter-species love valid if they both have thinking consenting minds. We have a drink name after Saint Gerund." " A tender heart did beat in the bosom of Gerund, and a bloody one beat in his hand." The Bored Skitritch " What does he mean?" Patrick says confused. Each species had their saints but no one bothered to learn them all. " One time Gerund ripped a man's heart out and crushed it in his fist. But the man in question was a genocidal despot. I think he would rather be remembered for his writing on love and love making." The barman said and put the book behind the bar. A knock sounded and the skitritch went to answer the door. " Speaking of lovemaking do you know if there will be a bard performing during tonight's activities or will love be our only song?" Patrick asked to divert his attention from the weird history of long dead saints. " Not that i know of, but who know who might show up. Besides i think some people such as yourself are not going to wait until tonight to start off festivities." He says playfully to Patrick. Before he can answer 2 gentlemen are lead inside one is a gentleman in the truest sense of the word, well dressed like Patrick but in more ornate Valparet style, he is heavy for a valparet packing on a decent belly for such a usually thin species and the other is Lontracnt sailor. The sailor took a seat at a table in the corner and within moments of him sitting he leaned against the wall his head dipped and he was gently snoring. The Expensively dressed Valparet caught site of Patrick Nunez and sauntered over pulling a seat at the bar and leaned in to speak with him. " Well hello, i had hoped to meet a juicy pear such as yourself today but the universe hasn't made me wait." " Drink sir?" The barman asked politely but was ignored The plump Valparet began to discus delightfully scandalous things that men of their size could do together. Leaving the sioncat Barman to clean glasses when the glasses where cleaned he had the option of fiddidling with the things behind the bar which were the books, the knife and the shotgun. He chose to pick up the knife instead of the shotgun, and was testing it's grip and how it slid in and out of the sheath. " A drink barman." the plump valperet says only to look over seeing the barman unsheathe a wicked looking curved knife. " Right away sir," the barman says then swiftly uses the knife to slice a piece of fruit which adorned a glass with and then poured in precise amounts of ingredients making sure they went over the fruit. He then presented a colorful drink with a slight layer effect, to the plump valparet who had lost all tenseness from seeing the knife and took his drink in a haughty silence. " Now if only we could find a 3rd, to suit our tastes.." Patrick Nunez says lustfully. The door opens and in walks a hesken sailor, he is wearing nothin but a short canvas vest and a pair of Burlap trousers that end above his knees. he is a plain brown and the only color about him is a faded green sash around his hips. Patrick and the Valparet grin at eachother and get up to pitch him a proposition. The barman smiles as it seems everyone was about to get what they wanted. " I hear me boy suspects trouble so i brought you these" A lilting female voice comes from behind and to the side. A satchel full of heavy round objects is droped into the Barman's hands. He looks over to see Master alchemist Lalenria TuSean grinning wide as she dropped as sizable bag of explosives into his hands. No one really wants to have their mad adoptive in laws to bring bombs into a bar, but here he was. The 3 men in the room were so deep in flirting they saw none of this. He just stared and his eye twitched as he contemplated barring that damn service door.
  13. Suggested tags

    It was suggested that a thread be started to suggest tags for the tagging system in addition to what is already present. In Genre i would add: World Building, Poetry, Song/lyrics, Mystery, Murder Mystery and, Codex ( if people want to make glossaries so readers can check up on a term used in the story they are not sure of, like i have. ) I might also add: Political, philosophical, observational ( those these can become lightning rods for controversy so their exclusion would make sense. ) As for a body parts list that was proposed in the discord i would add: Penis, Vagina, paws, hands, Belly, neck, arms, Biceps, muscles, tail, ears, ( Pick of these what you would like ) In Interaction i would suggest: Solo, masturbation, Combat, fight, ( Because not all stories will be porn or romantic in nature ) Some might want a Species Section but that could become insane rather swiftly. Ok feel free to add your own suggestions.
  14. The first step on a long path

    Sequel Story to " New Chances, old Memories" The Minister's first steps. The high Erl Carfenoux of Solimon, Minister of ecclesiastic affairs, son of the Conquering saint Vaarouge the fearless was pacing and wringing his hands nervously. The passed week had played on his nerves something dreadfully, His young daughter had been stricken with a strange curse that had caused all her luxurious light orange fur to fall away and her skin blister and bleed. He had used all his political pull and resources to obtain an artifact from the mages guild that might have helped her, the cost had been high. The Artifact had been stolen. This would have been the utter end of his hope but then two skit'ritch, ( a species he barely tolerated at the best of times) had burst in to the house with the Artifact and made their way to his daughter's room and done....something, something which made his nerves quake contemplate and now he was pacing the dining room in front of the large portrait of his great father trying to figure out what had happened. " Daddy you are going to make yourself positively ill with nerves, do have a brandy" His now hairless but seemingly cured daughter says from where she sits tended by the servents at the table and hungrily devours all the food she could to make up for her weeks of slow deathly consumption. She Didn't seem to be upset at all by what she had just been through and was eating as heartily as a hesken laborer after a long day working the field. Valparet such as himself and his daughter were the very height of society as dictated ne'mode, the caste system Carfenoux believed in so strictly, but he had no will to tell his famished daughter to eat in a more refined fashion. She had almost died, and most likely would have if it weren't for those....ruffians. With this thought he Glanced over toward the door to the foyer. It was closed but behind it stood the young human servant his wife had retained. Her eyes would be rolled into the back of her head and she would be standing bolt upright at the feet of the larger of the 2 ruffians who had saved his daughter, or at the feet of his body at least. Whatever he had done had killed him and the servent in some sort of trance had borne him away, wrapped him elegantly in a fine linen and laid his corpse in the foyer facing the door, where she waited. He wanted to tell her to go away but everytime he looked at her he was shaken to the core. He had heard his Valiant father talk of magic, and working along side of mages and had always told his son to respect those that wielded magic for good and to stay out of their way when they did something. Carfenoux was sure magic was at work and even without his father's words wanted to stay out of the servent's way. He also did not think he could ever set foot in the sickroom his daughter had been treated in again. While she was in there there had been a lingering unease. That feeling was gone now but the odd shadow or impression in the air of the larger skit'ritch, his arms open hung in the air, perceptible even if you had to look hard to see it. You knew it was there. It was like a stationary Ghost. And Ghosts were something that the Erl of Solimon never wanted to encounter. As he was glancing at the door to the foyer the door that led from the Kitchens opened and the high Erl Carfenoux of Solimon, son of the Conquering saint Vaarouge the fearless, nearly shrieked in surprised terror. It was the large Hesken cook who had stayed all night because he thought he might be needed. His arms were full of a serving dish of food, hearty dishes that in any other circumstances would have received him a stern talking to about fixing unrefined food. But it had all be whiped up last moment, and frankly he was in no state of mind to chastise someone who could so easily break him in half. His wife had hired him because he was an excellent cook but the man had always unnerved him with his sheer size and strength. In fact if he was honest with himself, and he was to unnerved to have the energy to lie to anyone even himself, all hesken made him nervous. In Ne'mode, the race caste they were considered to be perfect laborers with their massive strength and endless endurence, and all of this was true without a doudt. But he had also observed that they were very smart, the realm in which the Valperet were supposed to excel in, even the lowliest laborers could read seemed to quickly figure out if you were trying to mislead them. Such Observations made him question himself and he didn't like to do that. " The governess said the police and the Guild will be done questioning the boy soon, so made enough food for anyone that wants it" The large cook spoke, but in Valperet and not English which was usually used in this household to issue orders in this household. The Erl had no idea he could understand it let alone speak it. He had the uncomfortable realization that he had been able to understand all the private conversations he had wife his wife in the dinning room. The kitchen was close enough that any request for more food or wine could just be spoken aloud and would be heard and filled. That meant this massive chef had heard all the discussions of import he had with his wife and other family in the household. " yes thank you uhhh...." he realized he had no idea what the chef's name was. His wife hired him and did most of the speaking but she had been gone for 2 days looking to obtain rare medicines from her Brother who was a Doctor. He didn't know the human servant's name either. He knew no servant's name. " It is " the name he gave was guttural and completely unintelligible to the Erl "... sir." " I can't pronounce that, i will call you.... Bob" the Erl's completely hairless daughter puts in, she is wearing a sweet smile. The Large hesken returns the smile utterly please and charmed by the childlike honesty. " I am now called Bob, sir." " thank you Bob." the erl says. For some reason this mild exchange make something click in his mind. He just decided he was going to learn more about his household, and maybe his world. He Had a lot to learn. A strange sensation swept over him. He suddenly felt as if his valient father was smiling at him from the grave through the painting. He wanted to put this down to wishful fancy but he saw his daughter and the newly named Bob looking startled at the large painting on the wall behind him. " Is...is the painting actually smiling?" The Erl asks. " The Painting isn't smiling but Grandpa is" his daughter puts in. Looking above Carfenoux shoulder. The high Erl Carfenoux of Solimon, son of the Conquering saint Vaarouge the fearless decided it might be wise if he went back to being nervous. Chirvin's First Steps. The Wallet, watch and other personal effects that Chirvin's father had taken from the guild courier were laid out on the table in front of the inspector that was questioning him. Chirvin had put all them out there without being asked before he told the Valperet police inspector his story and that of the late Kirvcky. The Inspector had rougly cuffed him to a chair before demanding he speak. In the Corner of the room a robed figure clothed in the garb of a senior magister of the Mage's guild sat listening patiently. Chirvin wished he was telling his story to the wizard and not this obnoxious Valperet policemen. Chirving tried not to judge by race, some of the townsmen that had given him money or sweets when his father sent him out to beg for money and play off of sympathies were Valperet and they had often if not always been generous and sympathetic so he knew they weren't all bad as a species. But this inspector was living up to every negative stereotype of the Valperet that had ever been bandied about on the streets. He had an arrogant judgemental sneer and was looking down his snout stiffly at chirvin as he spoke. Before he was even half-way finished the inspector interrupted. " Your story is ridiculous, you think i am foolish enough to believe this nonsense? You are nothing but an uneducated street vermin who..." The insptector's rant was intercepted by Chirvin's brother wrapping his knuckle firmly against the table. Well Brother is still how he thought of it at least. Chirvin was an only child, when he thought back hard enough he knew that to be true, but at some point he had started to either imagine or hallucinate he had a younger brother who was quiet, intelligent and observant and noticed and knew things Chirvin didn't. He just seemed to be there, lending and drawing comfort from chirvin in times of stress or fear. But the Fact remains that if chirvin thought hard and recalled instances he was always physically alone with his father in the house. It is like he had 2 sets of memories that lined up but for one factor. In one Version his brother was there, making observations and helping Chirvin solve a problem, but then there were another set of memories, events happened the same but whenever Chirvin's brother did speak to someone other than chirvin, the words came from Chirvin's mouth, if he watched his brother pick up and play with a toy or some stones in one set of memories it was either chirvin's own hands or and this was confusing they acted as if they were being handled with no one there to handle them. This singular instance of his brother knocking on the table just drove home how confusing Chirvin's life was. To the Robed observer and the supersillious inspector there was only one Skit'ritch child in the room and he was handcuffed to a chair with his hands behind his back. To chirvin it was him cuffed to the chair and his brother wandering around the room seemingly unoticed by anyone. The First action he had actually taken was loudly knocking on the table and producing a sound when there could not have been one. " What was That!" The inspector jumped at the sound and sight of the objects on the table vibrate mildly. " As i have been telling you, there is some magic invloved that i do not understand, me telling you i have a brother who i can't name, was an instance of that magic that i don't understand and it was that brother whose existence i have been trying to explain who just struck the table. There is a wizard sitting in the corner of the room right now so don't pretend you are ignorent of the existence of magic. And before you ask yes, my change in dialect is a resault of this brother whose nature i have been trying to convey talking through me, he seems to do that." Chirvin expounded blithely. He had just said the words and if he concentrated he could tell they were coming from him, a part of his mind, but he also recognized that part of his mind as being his Brother. It seems as if his brother came from him in some way. " What is this.." the Valperet inspector begin confused at the eruidition of the street rat cuffed to the chair. " You be a right dumb shit ain't ya fucko?" Chirvin spoke in the common street and harbor dialect of the trade tongue that the world had picked up when the humans came so many centuries ago. This Drew a chuckle from The Robed figure in the corner who had been listening intently. The Look on his face the times chirven had glanced at him were ones of intent listening and dawning comprehension. At least he thought that is what it was. The Robed Figure was Lutrondae, The webbed handed seafaring race that had given skit'ritch sailors so many problems and were supposedly the species bitterest rivals for the sea trade. The Skit'ritch and Lutrondae were supposed to hate each other but both this individual and chirvin seemed completely uninterested in indulging in such hate. Chirvin thought to himself how he knew other people's dispositions so quickly and accurately and wondered if that was just street instinct or also some form of magic. " I am going to need to see more evidence of some phantom simbling before i accept such a thing " The Inspector says with his sneer returning at the vulgar words. " Oi will ye look at dat, the badge said sommit wise at last" Chirvin couldn't but put in mockingly. Strangely it seemed the lapse into street talk had comforted the inspector, put him back onto familiar ground. Chirvin also felt some satisfaction in mocking the policemen. He had spent his life as a pick pocket and the Police had always be an advisory if not always the enemy. " Why don't i perform some tests since, magic is indeed my field. Then we can get back to the rest of the tale." The Robed lutrondae says. " Proceed by all means" the inspector said. The Lutrondae mage stood up and from a pocket produced a coin. " Now Why don't you...." Before he could finish the sentence. Chirvin saw his brother deftly snatch the coin from the mage's hand and begin flipping and catching it like me a bored street enforcer. " well then..." The wizard say then gestures to the coin, that appears to him and the inspector to just be flipping then stopping and flipping again in mid air. " well iffin ye get that part, then good, stranger things be yet to come, can I talk now" Chirvin says impatiently. He was no longer in quiet awe or confusion he just wanted to get it over and have dinner. " yes, let us continue with your statement." The Inspector says. He is no longer sneering and is looking more evenly at chirvin. As chirvin tells the rest of the weird tale, the Inspector's face never becomes incredulous or condescending. He listens as Chirvin outlines it was Kirvcky who upon contact with the odd statue decided they needed to come here. It was Kirvcky who seemed to lead them into song that seemed to entrance everyone and that he led the way to the sick room and did the ritual that ended up curing the Dying child. " I was just along for the ride really." Chirvin concludes. " What of the men who confronted you at the gate and wanted to take the statue?" the Lutrondae asks after Chirvin's closing remarks. " What about them? The inspector men have them. " Chirvin puts in unconcerned " You don't seem to be afraid of them, you described the encounter as if you weren't afraid. Why?" The wizard asks. " I suppose you are trying to get to the exact nature of my preternatural abilities as is your field of interest." Chirvin asks, the turns to look at the inspector " Yes that be me brother talkin again, iffin yer wondering." The Valperet inspector nodes as if only assenting understand of a statement made by an equal. He seemed to drop all attitude and was nothing but respectful. " The theives, or the other theives i mean." the Lutrondae put in to redirect the conversation. " Well.... i just weren't afraid, seemed like there was no room fer it, and i like Knew what to do and i just did it. The music the statue makes in yer head kinda just let me move through it. Iffin you about to ask i don't be knowin what the statue is, me father and kirvcky were the ones that been told ter get it, and i don't know by who, they just call him the boss." Chirvin pauses for a moment Then suddenly seems to realize something " Whoever this boss is i want ter kill him for some reason, he wants to do something bad and i want him to not too." " Forgive me but i am going to try something." The Lutrondae said he then opened his hand and blew a plume of black powder into chirvin's face. The inspector began to cry out in protest. Chirvin was momentarily alarmed as the powder hit him and entered his nostrils. Chirven sneezed violently into his hands that he reflexively brought up to cover his nose. The Police inspector gasped as he witnessed the young skitritch's hands seem to smear into shadow as they pulled free from the cuffs, causing them to fall to the floor with a clatter. " well isn't that.. OWW" the Lutrondae begins that cries out as Chirvin's brother punches the wizard's left arm petulantly. " Man you little mental project hits like a Hesken." The wizard says rubbing the spot. " Seemed the most appropriate and immediate way to express my displeasure." Chirvin speaks but with the Vernacular and erudition of his fictional little brother. " And before you chastise i can't talk when the body is sneezing." The Lutrondae wizard smiles amused but also with a look of fascination. " You are by far the most powerful and instinctive user of magic i have seen, you are completely untrained but you can not only shadow slide but have a complete external manifestation of intent that is capable of its own instinctive action. That is 2 completely different affinities and you are using them at adept level." He is still rubbing the spot he was struck but grinning like an excited kid. " You be thinkin it be the statue that advanced me talents so quick?" chirvin asks. wiping the black pepper from his muzzle. " Not sure, that thing has been in guild custody for years but it has never made anyone more adept at anything as far as i know. Only person that paid it much attention was already really powerful to begin with and he would just draw the thing a lot and compare it to old texts. No one knows what it is." " Let us conclude the police investigation before we get excited about magic" " I think you have gotten as much as you are going to get from this one, question the thieves you apprehended outside the gates for links to the criminal side." The Lutrondae mage says. " Whatever ye decide can i have me sommit te eat first, don't care if it be prison fare i just want something to eat." Chirvin complains in what struck the inspector as a manner any normal child would. The adversarial gruffness was gone, it was indeed very late and if what he had said about his circumstances was true he may not have seen food for a long time. " Most true, let us adjourn for refreshment, we can talk about the whereabouts of this Boss and your father, after." " Oi thats right, ye gonna bust me father." Chirvin paused as if thinking then his face hardened " Go ahead and bust the cowardly fuck face." The rough tone of the street was back in the young boys mouth, but it was not directed at the inspector. As the inspector secured the evidence for documentation and eventual return to the owner he had the uncomfortable thought that a kid must go through some rough times to sound so harsh toward his own father potentially going to prison. Suddenly the inspector lost any sense of disdain he had been holding on for this boy, he may have been a street rat but his life had not been easy or his fault. The Inspector jumped slightly when he felt someone gently pat his hand as if to give comfort. But he had been looking at his hand and no one was touching him but he indeed felt a small hand touch the back of his. " wattcha doing, that for? He can't see ya, ya just gon give him a fright doing that" The young skitritch exclaimed. He seemed to be looking at something just to one side of the inspector. Where someone would be standing if they were patting the Valparet's hand comfortingly. The inspector still looked and even extended a hand looking for the source. He encountered nothing solid but he did almost feel something different about the air next to him. he withdrew his hand and with a stiffness that showed his nerves finished packing the things the child had laid out on the table. The Lutrondae mage just looked amused. They all walked out of the room in which the interview had taken place with the now uncuffed child in the middle and the inspector bringing up the rear. The inspector had to stop suddenly when Chirvin stopped and looked up at the ceiling sharply, his boddy tensed as if he was ready to spring off in any direction but he just look upward. " What ever sickened the girl still be up there. In the room above us. t'wasn't in her bedroom. " Chirvin whispers hoarsely. The inspector looked up at the ceiling and made note to ask what the room above was. They were on the second floor which contained the master bedroom, the child's room and some guest rooms. Most of the servents and the kitchens were on the ground floor, and the inspector knew there was a wine cellar. But he didn't know what was up one level. In fact if actually kind of hurt to think about the 3rd floor at all. " Something is wrong!" the inspector said clutching his head. " I didn't even think about this house having a 3rd floor but when i try to my head hurts." The inspector felt like he was about to puke at even wondering why he haddn't noticed the 3rd floor. It felt as if the more questions he had about it the more it would hurt him until he stopped. The Lutrondae mage stopped to look back at the 2. Then he looked up at the ceiling and grimaced. " Someone put up a glamour for sure. it is subtle but... mean. Now that we noticed it is set to cause pain to dissuade thinking. that part wasn't very subtly done cause all it does is draw our attention to it. It is vindictive. " The lutrondae mage says. " Nah look passed it, the sharp greasey feeling spot is what i mean." The young ratlike boy says. " Just think about walking down the hall and going to speak with the master of the house, only that." comes the educated voice of the phantasmal brother. As soon as the inspector chooses to think of this course of action the pain stops. He keeps this course of action in mind running it over and over in his head. Both the Boy and the inspector walk firmly ahead positively pushing the mage into forward motion as he was looking up and examining the magic that he had just been made aware of. ( To be continue )

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