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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





 
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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

A Detinus expeditionary force is being assembled to liberate slaves in the Twilight Periphery. Stung by the wit of the Wimble Dinash, Admiral Bridge is leading a personal and sizeable force against the newly constituted Flagritz Republic.

The Wimble Bake Off has new competition with the Dominion instituting a Master Chef competition in the Orion Spur. This is all said to be a cover for further land grabs and in preparation for a move against the Hive and Dewiek, tipping the balance further in the Stellar Empire’s favour.

Meanwhile, the Wimbles struck off a number of hapless Wimbles under their new rules. To cement their plan to align themselves with the Stellar Empire, they have offered the services of their new masters to the Emperor.

Several hundred thousand slaves have been released by the Flagritz Republic but the terms of their manumission are unclear. Millions more await their emancipation. Many have refused to accept freedom without transit home, especially those brought in from outside peripheries. Many reportedly were captured by the Stellar Empire from the Detinus Republic and then sold on to the Flagritz.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

The ship PRV HarCop Omega has been reported both in Orion and Corewards. This was the flagship of the former League Chairman, sacked from the role when the League went into administration and quietly disappearing beyond the edge of known space. It is thought that his return may have been for a clandestine meeting with his former contacts in Harlong and Coptuv. If so then he clearly has an agenda.

Unconfirmed stories that the Pirate King of The Pirate Holes and Million Islands is near completing research on the various larger ships his pirates have successfully captured over the past few years (big thanks to all the affiliations that participated in 'donating' ships). If the rumours are true it is likely a new armada of pirate ships using more advanced technology will be found in Corewards in the near future.

An supernova has been detected originating from just beyond the Transpiral Periphery. The rare event has created ripples in the subspace of the nearby stars. Nobody has reported any tangible ramifications but this is the first supernova in the current age of the Peripheries so esoteric scientists are excited by the prospect of grants to study the relatively nearby phenomena.
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

 

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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic