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Diary of a Krell

Diary of a Krell

The work was tedious… but she was lucky to have it. Better here than in the scavenger parties, out in the intense cold, risking death in furs and ancient breathing gear, going further and further out to find ruins which hadn’t been totally stripped. Work meant extra food, and young… or, at least, young that stood a better chance of living long enough to walk and choose a name.

Essential work. Stripping the edible leaves from the plants from the greenhouses and cutting away the tubers from the roots. Largest to the bins for mush, smaller ones to be sent back up as seed. The very smallest bulbs could be left for the juveniles to eat raw…however hard she hit, she couldn’t stop them taking a few to ease their hunger, and they seemed so small… six or seven was old enough to work, but some could still barely walk upright yet.

Must be strict… it should go with the rest of the waste; to the worm vats. A relentless cycle… Plant waste to worm… Worm to food-rat… food-rat to Krell… and ‘soil’ back to food-plant. Unless things go bad, like the time of the blight, when the mush ration had been cut by five eighths and the ‘meat’ had been the barely-processed worms themselves, flavoured with the tang of decay.


End of shift. She roared at the work crew to stop their tasks, cuffing a few, setting the younglings squealing. She was like a mother to them… none she recognized. She’d know her own by their family-scent, but nothing was familiar. Her oldest would be…. Nearly five now? Probably still in the wormery then, picking through the filth with their small, still unfused, digits for the squirming little red strings of protein.

This close to the outside, the tang of pollution could make it through aging seals and taint the air, despite the slight over-pressure. As long as the pumps operated, they could survive. Not forever though…atmospheric oxygen levels were dropping measurably. The scavenged wood from dead trees, for the charcoal filters, would probably run out long before then anyway.

She left the chilly top-outer levels, moving through the crowd as upright as possible, uncomfortably so, but necessary to make headway. The heads of bigger Krell rose, then fell in submission when they saw the badges of rank and family tattoos. A work-leader was not to be casually pushed aside by any dumb labourer in this clan… She could hold her head upright because of what was in it, even if her lack of muscle made the effort tiring.

Journeying into the depths of the building… her ancestors had been quite well-off, a complex nearly at ground-level and near the air/light-well. Back then, the space her pack claimed had been for a single family. Merely a few eights of adults, in the space where several eight-squareds lived now… Lost luxury.

Approaching home she relaxed, acknowledging a few submissions with a flare of her nostrils. Family scent…welcoming. Her pack-master was in the communal area, so she paid her respects before a quick visit to her family quarters. After checking her pups, still safe in the care of her sisters, and freshening with a little water from the condenser, she was ready for her adventure. A visit to the star-base, to meet her mate, and perhaps see the new aliens!

On the journey down, she passed a few starved-looking outcasts. Maimed males who had misjudged a dominance challenge, and lost badly. Females who had chosen their own brood over supporting that of a sister. Lacking family or pack, they existed by hunting wild-rats and selling the leather and pathetic items they’d scavenged from the abandoned above-ground levels. She traded a dole-chit for a faded book, as much to save it being turned into mulch for food-fungus as any interest she had in the pictures.

Descending the steps onto the platform of the underground station, she studied the wall-map, to check the tunnel for her destination: ‘The Aerodrome’, they had called it, back when Krell had travelled the whole world in days… floating under giant swollen bags of gas. More lost secrets of her forebears.

Into the barely-illuminated tunnel. The habitations had been built on higher ground, and the walk was easy; slightly downhill, the metal and wood of the track long gone. Other tunnels would be a nightmare of predatory rats and feral outlaw bands. Some led out onto the surface and, it was said, on to other cities. This tunnel though was frequently used, and would be safe for the short journey.

She ignored several other travelers, wary of making an inappropriate response in the poor light. Finally she made her way towards the guards at the checkpoint, arms wide and head low in submission. While checking her credentials the leader barged her in a rough, suggestive, way, which she ignored. Probably a newly-dominant male, seeking a pairing, although hard to be sure in the armour, adapted from a fitting made generations ago for a bulkier warrior, masking it’s wearers scent.

Beyond them, Kegadur, her mate, was there to greet her. She cringed submissively to him – courtship had established their relative status, and she felt too insecure to flirt in this unfamiliar place. He handed her tinted goggles, and aided her in donning them, avoiding the straps covering her ear holes. She looked quizzically at him.

“Obey! You’ll need them. At least at first”.

Trudging upwards… daylight ahead. But it wasn’t outdoors. Just another concourse and doors leading out… into a brightness more than she had ever experienced.

Bare and unprotected, should choke, then freeze… but no. Not quite what it seemed. Warm… the air was fresh and barely scented. Shading her eyes, dazzled even with the goggles, she looked upwards. The sun was just discernable as a brighter area in the eternal rolling grey of the cloud-cover. Many tiny, far brighter, sources regularly arranged around the firmament provided the illumination, and in places reflected off an otherwise nearly invisible layer, high above the buildings, between herself and the sky.

“Environment dome. Supported by the pressure. Some heating from greenhouse. Rains sometimes, when the humidity builds, and the temperature drops.”

She feigned understanding, and felt the glow of pride for her mate… a technician… an alien word, for a worker with the aliens.

“I show you to my… boss. Work-leader who directs me as if nearly equal…”. Barely cringing he called to a nearby group of warriors, one of which turned to face him in response. Not Krell after all… aliens. It approached, the others taking protective flanking positions, shockers held at the half-ready.



Curiosity overrode her instinct and she glanced up to study the figure. Pale… unhealthily thin. Like an overgrown pup, with smooth, barely callused skin. Tall for a Krell, maybe as tall as a hu-man. Uncomfortably, upright, It’s stance declaring challenge to all around. Lacking muscle, it should collapse and snap bone… but as she studied, she realized that the armour was a machine, supporting it, the faint whirr of motors as it moved.

It addressed her in a heavily accented, formal tone. “Greetings, wife of Kegadur. I am, Gramangata I greet you. I would have you perform a service. Please devour this foodstuff, and tell me of your… feelings for it”.

She glanced at Kegadur, disconcerted by a dominant coaxing her to feed, as if she was a youngling, seeking his reassurance, given by a nod. The alien peeled off a thin coating… covered in writing of all things… a memory from the books came. This is how it used to be. Food, all the same, with writing, and pictures. It broke off a small portion into it’s… hand? Four digits! It passed the piece to her.

The being observed her intently, as she raised it to her lips. She could tell interest in it’s face. Not so alien after all. As commanded, she took the lump into her mouth, and chewed.

The sensation was incredible… Richness and intense flavour… overcoming conditioning she forced herself to address the creature directly, lowest to highest.

“Sir, this food is…nothing like I’ve ever had before. It’s the best thing ever... What is it?”.

The… Ulian turned to Kegadur. “Make a note.. initial reception for the fish flavour - highly positive”.


by
Paragon





 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Stellar Empire Re-United ***

Celebrations were held across the vast territories of the Stellar Empire as the two-halves represented by the governments of the Imperials and Caliphate determined to unite. This followed almost inevitably from the assassination of the Caliph, a crime that has gone mysteriously unresolved. The old Caliphate ministers were ‘retired’ and at first it seemed the Imperials had managed what had alluded them for decades.

However, just as orders to claim systems for the IMP went in some places, conflicting orders to claim for the CIA came from Laton. In other systems, it seems overwhelming civilian support lies with the defunct CAL government and there are a number of CIV and CAL bases that seem to have not heeded the CIA nor IMP orders. With all the Caliphate's armaments now in the CIA’s hand and no political leadership in the old government, it seems inevitable that the civilians will be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

A muted and cautious response from the rest of the galaxy was only to be expected given the formation of a new unrivalled superpower. The chilling effect on public discourse as the Imperial war machine taps into the substantial, if stunted, economies of the former Caliphate will surely be felt for years to come. Does this mark the 'end of history' as we know it?

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * KAS v IMP/GTT v FLZ * DEN v MRC * FOCed by IMP * BHD v DEN * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Imperials Declare War Against Flagritz ***

A declaration of war came last week after an unsatisfactory reply to Imperial ultimatums that the FLZ accept resolution of the previous war. J. Jones issued the following proclamation, "We hope this reminder will prompt them to rethink the status they removed them selves from and come back to more peaceful co-existence.” Doublegood, Viceroy, doublegood!

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * Species Guide * FEL Barter With GIants * High Times &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Orion Spur Special Edition ***

Explorers of the galaxy rejoiced as knowledge of a new periphery became common knowledge, revealing charts to forty star systems. The Orion Spur is connected to the massive Coreward Arm with rumours that the locals of the Monument system at the heart of this new periphery may have been responsible for the collapse of the HarCorp civilisation.

We have in-depth analysis and information about the new periphery inside this special issue of the SSS.

Also inside this issue of the SSS: * Naplian Liberation Front Reality Show * FLZ v FEL * Mercs in Graydown * DOM Scare Stories * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Hoedown in Graydown ***

Wimbles in the Graydown system have come under repeated attacks by mercenaries. The Wimbles having already lost two outposts have had their ships come under attack by boarders. The Wimbles are pointing a hairy finger at the GTT whilst the DEN are itching to get their paws in.

Pleasantly rotund Wolf Lord Lyceum reported the destruction of one mercenary ship, a Corsair class explorer called "Eye of the Chosen" which had earlier dropped off ground forces flying the banner of "God Hates Wimbles.” Which God and why he or she hates Wimbles has yet to be revealed. We suspect its corporation-loving Mammon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Sargasso Update * Wakerians * Naplian Liberation Front * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Breaking News: Caliph Samuel Assassinated ***

The nominal head of the Caliphate, Samuel has been murdered in broad daylight at the starbase CAL Sidon in the Fortress system. The allegedly mad zealot was on his way to meet representatives of various civilian factions when a shadowy figure *cough*CIA agent*cough* shot him dead.

The CIA issued the following statement to the SSS with a customary nudge and a wink: "In these difficult times, as we come to terms with the loss of Samuel, we are taking things one day at a time.

"Samuel was not only our Caliph, but our leader during the Second Civil War which laid the foundations for the Confederacy after he left the Human Empire and settled in the Darkfold. It is truly a sad day and one that will be marked in history as one of many great leaders who were cut down in their prime.

"We will strive now to look to the future, whilst remembering our past”

Speculation is rife that this is the first step towards a unification of the two-halves of the Stellar Empire. Others are more hopeful this is a return to the Confederacy or the mark of greater separation with the Imperial bloc. Time will tell what nebulous motives the shadowy puppet-master Laton turned out to have had and which alien faction will be blamed for the Caliph’s murder.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * HEX / FET Invade Sargasso * Magnus v Nevets Fight! * Dewiek Black Hole Disaster * FLZ Correction * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** STOP PRESS: Felini Victory ***

In an unexpected development, the FEL have scored a decisive victory against the FLZ. Destroying or maiming some 20 Flagritz Baseships in the Onwards system.

What is more remarkable than the victory was there was no subsequent comment by Crazy Uncle Flagritz. We might need to have a lie down now.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN and FEL * Valhalla Fighting Pits * RIP smacked * &etc


 
***** Christmas Special Edition *****

*** Ho Ho Ho ***

Welcome to the SSS Christmas Special Edition! We the Editors have put together a nostalgic pudding treat intended to delight and tickle even the scroogiest megacorp executive. So gather your cubs, squidlets and larvae for some silliness and song. Time to catch up with some classics from years gone by, raise your glasses and drink your gluttony and shame away!

Wishing you all a merry Christmas free from Krampus Jones's invading armies!

The Editors


 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Claws Out in Valhalla ***

In a bold rebuke of Crazy Uncle Flagritz’s attacks in the Avalon system, the cunning Felini Nevets ordered a hit on a FLZ outpost in the Valhalla system. Claiming miscommunication with his warships, the mischevious Avatar cocked a snook at the washed-out Dewiek warrior in charge of the system whilst claiming an important victory in the often one-sided conflict against the FLZ.

This isn’t the first time the foxy Feline has masked daring-do in the shroud of incompetence. It remains to be seen whether this turns out as disastrously as the time when the FEL had to pay the costs of a war started by Prince-turned-meklan LiQuan.

Meower-in-chief Chamiah apologised for the incident in a public address laced with snickering subtext and unconcealed laughter when she got to the bit about the unfortunate loss of “5 FLZ Warships in Onwards.”

A second incident in Valhalla was reported the next day with mardy Magnus complaining he wasn’t getting his claws in on the action. Could this be the pithy ploy that puts the cat on the mat?

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Merc-y Wimbles * Valhalla Fighting Pits Get Weird * Profile of Lyceum Amaguk * &etc


 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Nun on the Run ***

Alleged cosplayer Carmilla D’Morenta got the vicars in the Brotherhood all hot and bothered when she made a run for it. Possibly tired of being tied up by the reverends and denied the love that dare not howl its name. With a sizeable, almost unbelievable, bounty on her head, the barking sister took refuge with the Dewiek Elder Nation.

In possibly the shortest chase in history, the BHD managed to strike a blow for oppressed collars everywhere when they squared off with the naughty doggy-wannabe at the Valhalla stargate. The cheeky chaplains blew their hyperdrive at close range and both the BHD and DEN flagged ships were reported to be lost in space.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN Ban BHD * Ulian * FLZ in Avalon * Valhalla Fighting Pits * Interview with Carmilla * And more


 

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