Tag: Space Opera

#23 – Admiral Lolikai – Corvan Fleet Commander

| November 23, 2011 | 1 Comment

Excerpt from Insurrection: New Arrivals

Admiral Lolikai swam in his personal quarters, and changed colors as his mood evolved. His tentacles swayed smoothly in the water offering resistance to its artificial current and his gripping arms manipulated the control pad where the latest status information flowed ceaselessly. As a Corvan Admiral, he enjoyed water flavored with the minerals of his homeworld. The sharp and bitter tangs of the western sea, caused by the primordial corals there, reminded him of his youth spent looking at the stars and The Rift, which blanketed the night sky. The lighting currently reflected the light of the home system’s orange sun, large and low in the sky, creating a deep and rich reddish hue which was gently diffused by the water.

Lolikai swam without his hardened and restrictive exosuit enjoying the freedom of movement which was only possible when he was free of it. He stretched, flexed and shrank himself into a variety of coral nooks in his quarters, just to remind himself he could do it. The suit was being recharged, cleansed and its weapons calibrated. Onboard the Violent Hris, his personal command ship, there was little chance of needing the exosuit’s full capabilities, but undamaged tentacles did not need to be regrown was his mother’s expression and he still thought it a very good bit of folk wisdom. His three eyes, evenly spaced around his cranial cavity were wide and light receptive, drinking in every bit of his setting sun, hungrily, with the need of the predatory mueo enjoying a helpless and savory meal. It had been two standard since he had seen the real sun on any planet or swam in a natural ocean, tasted the natural salts, and floated buoyant without the cares of thousands of sentients heavy on his mind.

He spent the day perusing his correspondence and trying to make sense of a variety of intelligence reports from GCID. He was never fond of reports from Galactic Intelligence because they seemed to obscure as much as they enlightened. His two hundred standard years reviewing such reports had taught him to know recognize when something was being said and when something important being was omitted. His latest orders was classified white, the reflexive color of fear. Lolikai blanched when he began reading the directions from the High Command, and colors shimmered across his body in a rhythmic and steady pattern. The pattern shifted faster as he read more and when he was done, he cast the display pad away from him in disgust.

I have offered him hospitality in the traditions of my family for twelve generations. How could they expect me to be party to killing him? He is the Sjurani ambassador and a member of a powerful merchant family who works for the Imperium. Whose idea was this and why was this the best solution available? I am not blessed with as much of the Insight as the High Command. Perhaps I am simply not seeing as clearly as I should.

“Admiral,” came across his communications bud and vibrated his inner cochlear chamber. His sub-vocalization thrummed the water in affirmation. “We are preparing to jump to the secondary inner system gate hub. The jump will take two days.”

“Very good, Captain. I understand we have had some new additions to the fleet. How are they shaking down? Will they be ready for fleet exercises while we wait for the Galactic Gate calibrations?”

“Yes, Admiral, the Hostan Fury, the Deepwater Beln, two new medium cruisers with a crew complement of nine hundred have managed to arrive on time, and have excellent records of operation. Both were in the recent conflict in the Dareen Cluster and acquitted themselves well against the renegades reported there. They are also two of the first cruiser class ships with mixed crew complements. I believe they have Sliveen, a complement of Mariovel engineers, and water-capable members of the Children of Earth. They even resemble the Corva at a rudimentary level. We have been outfitting them with a variety of softer exosuits suitable for children.”

“I would like to meet some of these aquatic Children of Earth. Arrange that Captain.”

“May I point out and begging the Admiral’s pardon, the creatures are quite unattractive and primitive in appearance. Their only redeeming feature is their four-lobbed brain which is quite capable and makes them extraordinary navigators. They also have quite a smell… sir.” It was apparent the Captain did not enjoy the primitives from Earth, but an Admiral must get his novelty when he can.

“See to it, Captain, more than one if you are able to arrange it without inconveniencing their crews.”

“As you will, sir, it will be done.”

The Children of Earth were legendary in Corva space, and had come quite a long way from their primitive origins nearly two hundred years ago. Lolikai was an ensign in the Toranor star system when they first appeared there, suddenly without warning in thousands of ships. He remembered…

They were patrolling the Toranor star system flying dark because of the alien picket ships that disrupted and destroyed any planet to planet traffic they detected. Since the Galactic Gate had closed years earlier, no new support ships had arrived in system and it was assumed since no ships were forthcoming the galactic war against the mechanicals had spread and shut down the Precursor Gate System stranding younger races without the advantages of superior star drive systems to very limited regions of travel. Travel across the length and breadth of the galaxy or to any of its nearby clouds or clusters was seriously curtailed.

Having been assigned to the Toranor system was not a hardship, since it was one of the jewels of the galaxy, a system of beautiful, highly habitable large planet-moons surrounding the immense gas giants of Toranor. These worlds were capable of supporting a wide array of lifeforms and trillions of sentients considered Toranor their home. Planets of incredible majesty, covering a variety of biomes, these worlds could be home to nearly every race in the Imperium. How so many worlds came to be in this place, in such perfect harmony, left the only solution, to be a Precursor one. Only the Precursors had the technology to move worlds, and had done so several times. These systems were capable of supporting trillions upon trillions on the worlds themselves, not to mention the capability to create artificial worlds as space stations or asteroid moons. There were over ten thousand of those types of bodies in system already.

Since the worlds were within Corva space, they were annexed immediately and populated with the elite of the Imperium at first. As more people learned about it, many settled here and the locals seemed to not only like it but embraced the arrival of new people. Then the war came and the intelligent gate system of the Precursors shut down, stopping all relatively instantaneous movement between systems. If you wanted to have a war, you would have to fly there yourself. This isolated warfare and kept innocents from being harmed.

Once the Gate had shut down, traffic had been limited to travel in system or to two or three nearby stars with established colonies. No one seemed concerned at the time, since almost anything you needed could be found on one of these twenty diverse worlds or one of the other smaller rocky planets or nearby asteroid belts. That was before the arrival of the Nox. The Nox arrived in small but powerful ships that were barely able to be seen by the most sophisticated sensors. They did not attack planets but destroyed any ship caught moving from world to world. The Twenty Moons lived in fear of the next attack. Slowly a small fleet of ships joined the few military ships in the area and attempted to deal with the Nox. After a decisive battle led by Captain Mehelo, a career military Corva, ships began to work together to rid the system of the Nox. But it was slow work, dangerous and a single mistake could doom the entire fleet. Tensions were always high.

“What do you mean, they just appeared, ensign? A thousand ships don’t just appear. I need a better answer and I want it now!”

The captain’s booming vibrations shook the command area and every scattered to their duty station to understand what they were seeing. Thousands of ships appeared out of nowhere, many of them on fire, damaged, and some exploding, sometimes causing chain reactions.

“Captain, do you want us to exit dark mode and render assistance?” The Second Officer was analyzing incoming data on the ships and had begun a data model inside the command area comprised of light and sound constructs representing the alien craft. “As far as we can tell, most of the ships conform to the appearance of ships assigned to a race called the Sjurani. They are a relatively reclusive race living along this spiral arm approximately two thousand light years from here. They are members of the Imperium but generally do not interact much in galactic matters. They are classified as Old Galactics as they have been in the dataweb archives for over 15 million cycles. Generally harmless even though they have quite sophisticated technologies, they are for the most part considered threat level 5, but when angered can display a threat level of 2, making them the equal of any race in the Imperium. There are other ships with them, smaller, far less capable ships of an unknown design.”

The tactical officer added “scanning their ships, shows a variety of life forms and configurations as if some of these ships might be life-sustaining arks. Many of the inhabitants are in primitive cryogenic containment. Captain, I believe what we are seeing are the results of a planetary evacuation. Many of the ships are heavily damaged as if they had recently engaged in combat.”

“Stay dark. This many ships will certainly draw the Nox and I want to have an advantage while they are attacking the new ships.” The captain’s anticipatory color changes, became contagious on the command deck. Soon everyone was flashing a response pattern to his unspoken declaration of war.

“The ships are changing heading toward Harata II, Captain,” was ensign navigator Lolikai’s confused statement.

“What is it, ensign, you are inking in public?”

“Captain, I am detecting a Nox fleet. One of the largest I have ever seen heading right at the Sjurani ships. They will arrive in five standard hours. I don’t know where they were hiding and how we missed so many, but they are here. We certainly cannot provide any real support with this many enemies. Approximately one third of the ships will make it to Harata II before they are overtaken. Most of the smaller ships will still be in space and arrive last. The greatest number of Sjurani and other smaller beings are on the largest of the Sjurani vessels which are reaching the planet first. They may return to space once they offload their cargo.”

But they did no such thing. As ships landed, others followed. None returned to space. The Nox closed in and would be destroying ships in less than an hour. The Captain had made a decision. We would spin up our drives and assist. But everything did not go according to plan. I learned early, that very little ever did. What I did see, changed my view of everything I knew about space.

I was young, barely thirty standard and eager to prove myself. I plotted the intercept course and fired the drives, already calculating possible vectors and activating the predictive engines interface that pilots used to determine possible vectors and targeting angles. These predictive programs helped to maintain the most opportune angles for weapons fire or defensive maneuvers depending on what was needed. The Captain was wearing his interface optic and could see the same four dimensional combat variations working ahead to maximize our potential. He used his tentacles to offer suggestions to other fleet captains who were also using the same predictive feed. Our ships assumed their combat structure effortlessly. We had worked together now for seven standard and those of us who had survived against the Nox were seasoned but cautious.

Our drone commanders had released their batteries of AI drones which normally would have provided both offense and defensive cover against the stealthy black-body Nox ships. Today, we would be using them fully offensively to damage as many Nox ships as possible and give as many of the Sjurani ships a chance to land as possible. Nox ships barely emitted any signature energies except in direct combat and only as long as it took for their beam weapons to fire. There was almost no waste energy to scan for even in direct combat. Our fleet used approximately three hundred AIDs. Each was equipped with three thousand depleted radioactives fired at nearly five thousand kilometers per second. In space this meant they worked best if they were close to the target, so we took a page from the Nox and made them very hard to detect until they were shooting. Once fired, they would be empty in thirty seconds because they rarely lasted longer than that once they were discovered. Overall, they were expensive but highly effective.

The Nox used a variety of strange weapons, unfamiliar to us at first, and because of that, devastating in combat. Over the cycles, we have grown more familiar and have made counters to almost all of them, although to be fair, some counters were more effective than others. The AI drone program was effective because they could be replaced fairly easily on Harata III with their advanced production facilities and required only AI programming completed by the Beteans on Harata II.

The military ships in the fleet would be using the most advanced weapon available, the tachyon pulse array. Huge, slow and temperamental, this weapon was one of the most powerful of the day. It required time to fire but once fired, its effects were instantaneous and devastating. No ship could survive a hit from this weapon and the beam would travel to the end of its stability before decaying so it would damage a number of ships, destroying at least one and crippling two or three others. Its greatest disadvantage was the inability to fire it again for fifteen minutes. Since the fleet had four, we kept them on rotation that reduced the firing time between shots.

The remaining weapons were the standard ship to ship weapons including high speed pulse torpedoes, beam arrays for point defense and close combat, and multi-missile systems which while slower than most of the ship weapons made up for that with a multiple warhead missile capable of overcome the Nox’s heavily armored and strangely shielded ships. Our electromagnetics team used a variety of technologies to reveal Nox ships including tachyon pulse emissions which causes approaching Nox ships to emit radiation temporarily and become easier to target.

There were also gravity mines which would be released and were designed to attach themselves to any ship without the proper identification signature. Their gravity field was calibrated by our ships weapons to slow the enemy ship and provide telemetry. We also used small cloaked fighters to spot for our tachyon pulse array, providing an enhanced lock to ensure maximum affect and potential for multiple hits.

With all of this weaponry and technology at our disposal, we were only sixty ships against an estimated eight hundred Nox vessels, of which there were at least three designs we had never seen before. Our only advantage was we had not been seen yet.

Several Sjurani ships had begun to open fire upon the Nox to good effect, but the predictive engines indicated with their current rate of fire, they would be overcome within four hours with an eighty percent casualty rate. With our intervention, the calculation engines indicated we would only add another four hours to that time and we would buy that time with a sixty percent casualty rate. The smaller ships would need at least twelve hours to complete their transit to the surface of the planet.

“Captain,” began Sub-commander Wekhekan, “having run several simulations, I cannot see how we can prevail in this conflict. What can we gain by risking our fleet now? The information of the numbers of the Nox alone makes it clear, we should be recording this event and gathering information to be reviewed by the Toranor Defense Ministry and the Governing Council. These numbers are unprecedented and far greater than previously believed.”

“I think what you are meaning to say, Sub-commander is, you are uncomfortable with the idea of uselessly throwing our lives away when you believe there is no point to the exercise.” The captain’s body was contorted with what would be considered amusement, perhaps at the situation, or perhaps with his subordinate’s expression of fear. “What you say has merit and I recommend we relay the telemetry we have gathered and will continue to gather while we are tearing into their fleet until we are unable to transmit any longer. Have you looked out there, Sub-commander, there are millions of sentients whose lives may depend on our next actions. If we are right, they are the last of their world. Is this the best we can offer them, a cold and unfriendly death at the hands of an enemy they will not even get to perceive?” The Captain’s words stung everyone, because we were all thinking the same thing as the Sub-commander, even if we did not say it.

The Captain looked down and was momentarily still, floating in a repose similar to prayer. “Is there any word on the Second Fleet and its location?”

Eager to please, I chimed in, “Captain, the Second Fleet is approximately four hours off of our position at maximum speed. They may be able to provide some smaller ships because of their superior speed, but their larger ships are already pushing their engines to the limit.” I wanted to say more, but I was not sure it was my place to offer tactical information beyond my station as Pilot. A clam won’t open itself, my mother used to say. I decided the risk was worth it. At worst, in thirty minutes we would all be dead anyway. “Sir, if I may, I think there may be another way to conduct this so we can increase the time in the fight, provide support and wait for help to arrive, all at the same time.”

The Captain’s repose was shattered and he did not appear the least bit pleased, his eyes held mine in a serious unblinking stare and he had rotated so that at least two of them were focused directly on me. “Amuse us Lolikai, we have thirty minutes until we are in range, what would you do in my position? You are the Captain for three minutes…”

In for two tentacles, in for six. Using my gripping pads, I rotated the battlefield from our point of view. I expanded the window to include the Second Fleet. “The current plan has us assaulting the Nox directly from this angle. We would bisect their fleet and disrupt their attack on the Sjurani. But this would then direct their attacks onto our ships instead. With the Sjurani ships being larger and tougher than ours, I would suggest squeezing the Nox between our ships, drones and the Sjurani instead.” I rotated the field again and placed our ships beneath the Nox fleet instead of approaching obliquely.

I began again as the predictive engine recalculated the probabilities “Instead of attacking at range, we should use our z-profile and come up beneath their fleet and close to their ships, far closer than we normally attack them. With our rapid fire pulse lasers, which normally are quite effective, but do not get used until we are within range, we normally have been fired upon for quite some time before they get into range. But starting the fight at full capacity and at close range, we could double our destructive potential.” The Nox fleet in the display lost a significant number of ships near the center of its fleet, a much greater number than in our previous predictions.

The Sub-commander slides forward and begins to modify my program and then said “Using our tachyon beams we destroy their larger command vessels, especially the ones we know nothing about. I don’t know if the Nox are affected by morale but if we surprised them with a strong offensive, it may cause the Sjurani to increase their attack posture as well.”

Not to be left out, the Captain began to shimmer in what could only be described as pleasure and added to the conversation. “We could then release the drones while they are regrouping and create a widening field of fire that selectively targets their best ships as fast as we are able. With a strong distribution of gravity mines, tachyon pulses, we could increase our targeting potential and with our point defense lasers working at close range we could conceivably break their fleet and cause them to pull away from us. We could then push our fleet toward the Second Fleet and squeeze those caught between our drones, our ships and our targeted fire and the fast attack ships of the second fleet arriving in a timely fashion, we may convince them we have a significantly larger fleet approaching and perhaps we can give those ships time to land.” The predictive engines signified a possibility of the plan working approaching seventy five percent with only a sixteen percent loss ratio. It also predicted, that eighty percent of the remaining Sjurani fleet would make it to the surface, far better than the original twenty percent.

Captain Mehelo’s tentacles flew over the formations as we approached, each pass provided different variables and altered the timetables for fleet viability versus effectiveness. With our last combined effort, we had come up with a plan that might actually work. The Captain came around the combat display and bubbled laughter. “Captain for three minutes and you have me considering your plan as if it might actually be a good one. Your gizzard must be filled with sharp stones, boy. Keep this up and, you might make Admiral one day. Audacious, with just a hint of madness.”

I would like to say my plan was a complete success and we handily won the day with minimum casualties. That would not be true. There were many casualties on our side. Captain Mehelo did not survive that battle. Nor did twenty-two other ships in our fleet. Of the eight hundred Nox ships faced in that confrontation, fewer than two hundred survived that conflict. The Sjurani were able to land their arks with over eighty-six percent of their fleet arriving intact on the planet’s surface. They did indeed rise to the occasion when they saw us destroying the enemy and provided powerful supporting fire. The Second Fleet rode the smasher, and arrived forty minutes earlier than expected. There had never been such a large fleet battle in the Toranor System with the lives of billions at stake. I watched Captain Mehelo as he died, held him in my gripping arms, and with his last words, he told me, “Good work, Admiral. Make me proud.”

And I did. With that battle and many other effective strategies against the Nox, I became the youngest Admiral in Corvan history.

New Arrivals © Thaddeus Howze 2011. All Rights Reserved

First Appearance: Admiral Lolikai is one of the main antagonists of Insurrection. Hard core, dedicated, honest to a fault, with a strong sense of duty, the Admiral is the leader of one of the Empire’s largest battle groups. His fleet is more loyal to him than they are to the Empire and that makes leaders in the empire nervous. He is kept on the fringes of the Empire to keep him away from important things and keep him weeks away from being a threat to anyone on the Hegemony Council.

About the Artist: The artist Reid Southen, known on deviantART as ‘Rahll is a science fiction, space opera kind of artist. This piece called Rawkets, is a kinetic work with lots of action taking place with a great deal of detail. ‘Rahll is a long time conceptual artist, and making a name for himself working on gaming projects with scifi overtones. It also looks like he is making his own writing project called Hayling. His super-realistic style makes for startling images that leap off the screen at you. This is an artist to watch.

#22 – Alien Race: The Corva – Masters of the Corvan Hegemony

| November 23, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Corva

The Corva are the defacto rulers of the largest galactic empire in the Milky Way Galaxy, called the Corvan Hegemony. Depending on who you ask, the Hegemony, often called the Corvan Empire by the races who are less well represented is considered to be the most powerful social group in the galaxy.

Comprised of thousands of races the Empire is lead, coordinated, protected and ultimately controlled by the favored people of the greatest civilization this galaxy has ever spawned, the mysterious Precursors. When the Precursors disappeared nearly two million years ago, the Corva being the race most in touch with the ideals and belief systems of the Precursors stepped up to lead the collection of races seeking stability in a galaxy rife with peril.

The Corva were a servitor race to the Precursors and one of the primary maintainers of the industrial and military might of the Hegemony. A relatively benevolent race with a strong sense of order and desire to create a stable and harmonious galaxy, it has been their goal for millennia. As a member of the Galactic Council, they are a powerful influence for law and order in the Galaxy.

Biology: A carbon-based life form resembling an octopus with three shorter arms used for moving around on land or under gravity. They have three longer arms that function as either legs or gross manipulators. These secondary tentacles are capable of finer manipulation than the legs but pale in comparison to the sensitivity of the two gripper tentacles. The gripper tentacles are longer than either set of legs or working arms and have two large pads on the end of those tentacles with numerous suckers, muscle groups and cilia capable of super-fine manipulation. The Corva are now amphibious able to live both on land and in water and their worlds and habitats reflect this dual nature. The have three eyes space evenly around the body, capable of independent operation and targeting awareness. A Corvan is technically capable of using weapons at any of the three eyes independent of each other.

Appearance: Standing 6 to 7 feet tall and resembling a Terran octopus or squid, their muscular bodies come in a variety of native colors and they have the ability to change their skin color with pigment altering chromatophores. They are also able to emit light from their bioluminescent pigment organs. Their bodies are supple but resilient and have been genetically modified by the Precursors to be strong and durable.

Physiology: The Corva have large and complex brains within their carbon-fiber based cartilage and super-dense muscular central body and have tentacles with strong and dexterous cilia at the end of them. Able to speak multiple languages, both sonic, kinesthetic and photochromatic, they were the creators of the Galactic Trade Languages in use in the Hegemony today. Their bodies are covered with an organically flexible sheath that holds water within their bodies and processes their oxygen for them. Physically robust, the Corva have been genetically engineered to peak of their genomes capability.

Able to remain submerged indefinitely, strong and powerful swimmers able to reach speeds of 100 kph for short
bursts, capable of moving over land at speeds of 35 kph for periods of hours, able to suspend their body’s functions for weeks and remain alive, and with their technological enhancements, the Corva have one of the most adaptable militaries in the Galaxy.

Technology: The Corva have a diverse range of technology and are generally at the forefront of technological development. They have been a space-faring race for well over 1 million years colonizing their solar system and nearby stars with generation-ships before their creation of a faster than light propulsion system. They created their fast interstellar drive over 50,000 years ago allowing them to colonize over fifty percent of the Milky Way Galaxy during the peak of the Hegemony.

Adaptive and creative, the Corva are constantly pushing the envelope of new sciences. Capable of Corva-
forming worlds with the aid of their allies the Mariovel, there are thousands of planets that are now able to support the Corva and their attendant species. Their technology allows them to build super-dreadnaughts that are the equal of the fleets of other species, so their ability to maintain the peace in the Hegemony has been relatively unchallenged until the First and Second Galactic Wars. With their development of Pulse technology, the Corva have the fastest sentient ships in the Galaxy and the most effective weapons of any other of the Old Galactic Races.

Temperament: The Corva are a relatively nonviolent species but in their background war has been a part of their development, so they have the ability to wage war but believe themselves to be beyond the need for war and aggression. With their amazing communication abilities, they attempt to interact with alien species diplomatically, culturally and socially before they would consider warfare of any kind.

Culture: When two Corva are in total communication, they will emit, light, colors, sounds and kinesthetic information. Their language can be communicated completely in any single one of those but when they are using all of them they are using their most advanced multi-tonal, photo-chromatic language. Their overall culture has over 3 million years of recorded history.

First Appearance: The Corva first appear in my novel Insurrection. The Corvan Galactic Hegemony is the backdrop of the story in which a war-weary soldier, Thomas Wilks, discovers a secret that shakes the foundation of the Empire and reveals a history the Corvan Hegemony would rather not be known.

About the Art: The wonderful background art belongs to and is the copyright of the talented, young, Saudi Arabian artist I found on deviantArt named Mohammed and who goes by the handle QAZ2008. You can see some of his other amazing space scenery art at: http://qaz2008.deviantart.com/

#21 – Alien Race: The Mariovel – Planet Creators

| November 23, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Planet Traders

Our ship dropped out of the Gate inside of Mariovel space. Corvan battlefleets patrolled the system but acknowledged our IFF transponders and allowed us to continue into the starsystem. The red supergiant of the Mariovel system had two smaller companion stars which were only visible if you knew where to look. After programming the coordinates for the Mariovel homeworld, the WarpRunner jumped and we emerged in the shadow of the goliath of planets. A great banded world of luminous clouds of various shades of pink, gold, coral and brown.

“Look into the upper hemisphere of the planet. There should be a Great White Spot. That is the space they have create for any visitor’s habitation during the planetary refitting. Everything is on schedule, they say the planet will be ready in less than a year.” Sitting in the pilot’s chair, I was trying to strike up a conversation with a cool and prickly Diplomat of the Hegemony.

“I understand they produce only one planet a century here?” He was trying to be polite, but I could tell he really didn’t want to talk to me.

Rising to the challenge, “They accepted a contract to create a new Earth for us at the request of the Hegemony’s leaders.”

“Your records indicate you live on Galatea II, Captain. What’s wrong with Galatea II? It has been the cradle for a majority of the Humani species now for almost a thousand years.” He sounded smug as if his reading my records gave him an advantage.

“Nothing, except it belongs to the Botani who look like trees and don’t allow us to make anything out of wood, because everything made of wood might be their kin. Not to mention their symbionts creep me out with their strange cuteness. Other than that, they have been very hospitable. One thousand years is long enough, I think. I hate the idea that we are indebted to the Squids.”

“Captain, I didn’t know you were anti-Corvan.”

“I’m not. I just don’t like them. You do remember they destroyed the Earth and ten million other humans who did not leave during the Exodus.”

“Ancient history at best. Yes, I have been Transferred three times and am nearly a thousand years old but the Mariovel and the Corvans have a relationship that goes back nearly ten thousand years. So if you hate the Corvans, remember The Mariovel love them, and keep your opinion to yourself.”

Our class six WarpRunner was fitted for the Mariovel home-world and had the adjusted beacons needed to land in the protected regions. We would need a ship designed to interact with the powerful gravity technology of the planet.

As we approached their home-world, we were struck by its sheer immensity. It defied anything we knew about planets. Three times the literal size of Jupiter, it was surrounded by a gaseous cloud layer similar to most gas giants but that was just part of the story. There were several cloud layers, all the way to the surface of the planet. They had a gravity technology directed from the planet that changed the gravitation constants, allowing visitors from other planets to come to their world and live comfortably during the process of planet crafting. The Great White Spot is their equivalent of a landing pad for visitors.

Eighteen thousand miles in diameter, the Great White Spot moved slowly in comparison to other storms on the planet. The Mariovel were one of the races of the galaxy’s races that had never been conquered or even effectively attacked. Their world was inhospitable to almost any other form of life. The incredible storms that swept the surface with their two thousand mile an hour winds and their crushing atmospheric pressure were able to destroy all but the most durable alien ships. Add the super-gravity of its planetary surface, and most forms of life simply cannot negotiate it. There is also one other aspect which most invaders remember. With a gravity well as deep as theirs, unless the Mariovel allow it, no one who lands, leaves.

We would not be going to the actual surface, though. We would be stopping at the third layer where buoyant fungi forms were floating through the atmosphere of the planet and were used as a base of operations inside the White Spot. With the surface area of two thousand Earths, this was little more than a tiny way station on their vast planetary surface.

“Remember, keep your gravity harness active at all times. It keeps you in sync with the artificial gravity generators and in the event of any failure will protect you with an artificial gravity field. Otherwise you would be crushed instantly by your own weight. It also protects you from the atmospheric pressure, so you never want to be anywhere outside of protected areas without it. This is the most dangerous environment you can imagine.”

“I read the brief, Captain. I am aware of the risks.”

“As a diplomat, I understand you have traveled to hundreds of worlds, and your dossier says you have even been to Nalrud, rumored to be the most dangerous world in the Hegemony, but there, it’s the lifeforms that are dangerous. Here, even a tiny mistake can be your last. I just wanted to keep you safe Diplomat Sinian.”

“Your concern is noted, my good Captain. Let’s get to the surface and to our work.”

“You will be meeting with Chalguldan and what he calls the Planet Crafters Enclave, Division Nine.”

The Diplomat is wearing a Humani standard hardened bio-suit. It has been encrusted with his sigils of accomplishment and awards of state from almost three dozen worlds. The suit is designed to emit information into the infrared and ultraviolet spectra to allow the Mariovel to detect them and with a standard mediasphere connection, they will be able to interpret their meanings and other galactic standard information.

My own suit is far less ornate, indicating only my rank, my modest accomplishments and my suitability for classified information management. I would be allowed to go everywhere the Diplomat went and able to witness any transactions. It is not necessary for a Diplomat to have a Humani witness for such transactions but it has been a tradition for millennia.

As the bay doors open on the WarpRunner, we are immediately assaulted by the heated air and the strange smell of the planet. It has a strong ammonia smell, nothing dangerous, but certainly unpleasant. There are other odors as well, one that reminds me strongly of cinnamon, and the other of baking bread. There is quite a wind blowing as well, and it takes a moment to adjust to the force of it. Nothing our suits cannot handle.

There is a white spongy material on the ground, and then I realize it’s the living fungus of that makes up the Spot. I could see buildings off in the distance, also made out of the same materials. There are dozens of different ships here from a variety of the galaxy’s races, each negotiating for their own planets or resource development of one sort or another. The sky is white with light from the overhead clouds and at the edges of the of the fungus, I could see lightning flashing as the two weather patterns met. I can see flying creatures in the distance, but remember reading they were actually like everything else on this planet, gigantic in size, only their great distance belied their size.

Leaving the ship, we are met by a Mariovel in their foglet form. As near as I understand it, they are capable of three different states of being. One is an energy form they use to repair ships when they are part of a Corvan battle fleet. The other is a large and mostly rocky form suitable for almost any environment. In that shape, they are mildly radioactive so they don’t tend to use it in the presence of more organic beings. This cloud form is the only one that is not radioactively toxic to any of the Humani tribes. My suit indicates that we are in the presence of Chalguldan and I marvel at the beauty of this state of being.

Zhe, using the polite non-sexual pronoun, appeared as a starlike collection of nano particles orbiting a larger central mass about the size of an apple. The cloud was about two meters in diameter and twinkled with both internal light and light reflected from the environment. When it spoke, it emitted light that was interpreted by my suit’s interface system and translated. I also spoke Galac Six naturally having been trained with biometric and computer languages nearly a hundred years before. I was certain the Diplomat did as well.

“Greetings are given to esteemed guests.”

“Greetings are accepted from our esteemed hosts.”

“We are available to communicate with you regarding your request for a new planet.”

“Where will we be meeting with the Planet Crafters Enclave, Division Nine?”

“They are all here. We will be visiting your world in progress. Will that be acceptable?”

“We will be able to see it?”

“Yes, Diplomat. But you will not be traveling to the surface, we will just visit to the planetary growth matrix. Understand what you are able to perceive of our technology will simply be representations your minds will be able to conceive of. Do not be distressed if you cannot understand all that you see. Please stand by for transportation. Please inform us if you have any social, moral or cultural taboos regarding quantum teleportation.”

“No Chalguldan, we have no issues with quantum teleportation.”

“Please make yourselves ready, we understand carbon life forms experience disturbances or mild physiological upset with quantum teleportation.”

“We are ready.”

And just like that, we were gone from the spaceport and suddenly what looked like the Earth hung in the sky above me. It was a beautiful as anything I ever remember seeing. There were blue oceans, polar ice glistening from the background light of the Great White area.

The Diplomat tried not to appear even remotely affected by what we were seeing, but my mouth hung open for several minutes.

“Esteemed Captain, your biological signals are in disruption, are you in distress?”

“No, Chalguldan. I am simply in disbelief. This appears to be for all intents and purposes, the Earth as I have seen it only in videos and three dimensional simulations.”

“It is your world, physically in every way possible. Using the information gathered by the Sjurani when they rescued you from your world, we have created your planet accurate to dimensions of less than one meter. With the genetic support of the Sjurani we have filled your biosphere with animals and plants taken from your world. The Sjurani gathered entire sections of your planetary ecosphere and stored them in stasis, until we could study them and recreate them.”

“You have done so much for the project already, Chalguldan, why are we here now in renegotiation?”

“Diplomat Sinian, we have studied the land masses captured and found environmental pollution at a catastrophic level. Your land masses, water, air and creatures were completely saturated with a variety of environmental poisons that could have only been created by primitive manufacturing techniques.”

Sinian looked up at the planet and marveled at the organic looking structures linked to Earth Two. These great limbs-like structures appeared to hold the planet in place and as the structures reached the planet, they branched out again and again like capillaries surrounding the planet in a fine mesh. However in scale, those fine appearing cables were likely to be hundreds of miles wide.

“Several of our older brethren were questioning the wisdom of returning your species to a planet that even though it was destroyed through no fault of your own, your species would have made it uninhabitable in less than two hundred years. It has taken us nearly one hundred of your standard years to complete this project. Relatively speaking, your planet’s creation has not been difficult for us. But understand, your species will not be capable of such feats for tens of thousands of years at your current level of technology. We would rather give this world to a species that is more appreciative of the wonder of a planet. The question of the Enclave, Division Nine, is how can you assure us of the sanctity of your world to your future generations?”

“Chalguldan, I think our people have experienced a catastrophic loss and many of them would just as soon never return to the Earth. Many of us have already become part of the Second Diaspora and moved from the Toranor System into Hegemony Space proper. The Humani Tribes are very diverse today, in comparison to when your people received samples of our previous home.”

I found myself growing warm and uncomfortable as I watched the Mariovel’s movement pattern grow more complex as if it were assessing the words of the Diplomat. I also notices clouds of other Mariovel approaching our position, pulsing in unison with Chalguldan.

Sinian continued, his face intensely focused on the vistas slowly turning overhead. “In addition to Humans, we have Simians, Ceteacea, Hybrids, Machine-Kind, the Cyber-immortals and the Transferred. What caused our species to be myopic was our very short lifespans. I have lived fifteen times as long as my kind did back then. I believe we would be more likely to protect that which had been won so dearly and cost the lives of billions of our kind.”

Soon, dozens of Mariovel hovered over us and began exchanging elements from each of their clouds. Elements swarmed over us, around us, and soon we were in a sphere of moving foglet elements. As the elements began to swirl, they began to emit colorful light patterns. At first I thought it was a form of communication but I could find no useful patterns in it.

              Suddenly, Sinian and I were standing in a factory shoveling coal into a furnace. We were sickly and malnourished and every cough produced a black phlegm that seemed in endless supply. Smokestacks blackened the sky in every direction. Sinian collapsed and I carried him outside of the factory. We were taken to a local hospice area where he was pronounced with tuberculosis and only had a few days left to live. I stayed with him while he expired in agony.

              Night fell and we were suddenly wearing masks on our faces and there were deep walls on both sides of us. We carried primitive rifle weapons and were being sent onto a different battlefield in the dark. A cloud of smoke floated into our trench and my mask was not sealed properly. I began to choke and sputter and found my chest burning, searing with unimagined pain. Sinian tried to help me but I could not hear a word he was saying. Soon he is the only one left alive as the green cloud claims the lives of everyone around him.

              Then I found myself running chest deep in water, toward a beach, while exploding rounds rocked the ground in every direction. I was dragging Sinian. He had a wound on his chest and I was watching men dying all around me. It seemed to go on forever. We were forced to take cover behind large metallic X shaped objects as the shelling continued. We made our way up the beach but high caliber rounds ripped men to pieces, their anguished cries for their mothers, rang hollow in my ears, as I struggled not to join them. Sinian is struck in the head and I fall to the sand with the shock of his dead weight.

              I woke in a camp with a high fence wearing a striped uniform. Sinian was nowhere to be found. Everyone was sick and pale and nearly dead from starvation. The smell is terrible. It’s the smell of death. The death of thousands. I struggled to rise and stagger outside. The light is so bright. I can hear others whispering and cowering. I saw men carrying guns knocking down a fence and Sinian rushed to me and offered me water. I threw up the water because it had been so long since I had anything to eat.

              We found ourselves in the middle of a rain forest surrounded by crude oil pits carved into the earth, while a multinational corporation extracted it without concern for the indigenous people who lived in the area. Sinian was a corporate worker while I was a member of the locals who was dying from cancer. Sinian spent time with me when his duties allowed it, but he could not stop what the corporation was doing no matter how silvered his tongue. We were both shot while we discussed the horrors of the what was happening and how we were going to expose the corporation’s misdeeds.

              We watched as we slowly expired from starvation in what was called Africa as corporation’s priced seed out of our families ability to afford it. Our farm stopped producing food and our families starved, one child after another until no one in our village was left. Wars around our villages prevented people from trying to leave sooner. We staggered out, last men standing to try and walk to a neighboring town. We starved to death in transit.

              We watched as the Sjurani spacecraft arrived on Earth and their great starships hovered over every major city. Humanity knew they were coming and followed their instructions to the letter. Sinian and I were leading the teams who gathered animals, plants and people from the North American continent. Every plant, animal, seed, flower, spore that could be gathered together was. Entire swaths of the planet were scooped up and taken away. Sinian and I wept as we were left behind on the planet, chosen by a random lottery. There were alien forces all over the planet. We picked up our weapons and went to defend our world. They overwhelmed our position and as they swarmed us…

We returned to the Mariovel, their flying elements slowing and returning to their respective bodies. We were both weeping with the shock of each experience. They felt so completely real and each was as if I had been in everyone of those positions. As we gained control of our emotions, Diplomat Sinian stood up enraged and shouted “Chalguldan, that was hardly a fair representation of what humanity had done in their time on Earth. You painted us out as monsters who did not care for each other or the Earth. You ignored our arts, our culture, our best emotions, our greatest gifts to each other.”

“This is true, Diplomat. All that was good in your species was overlooked in this instance for a single reason. That which was good, did not destroy your world. Only that which was bad. Only that which showed difference where there was none, only that which created division when it should have created unity. Greed instead of compassion. Health instead of corruption. War instead of cooperation. All of what we showed to you was true, gathered by your own people. We simply moved through time to see it firsthand.”

“You mean those were not simulations?”

“No, Captain. We placed you in the minds and lives of those people you experienced. Time and space are infinitely variable to us.”

Sinian sat down, placed his head in his hands and whispered “No.”

“Diplomat Sinian, are you sure?” I kneeled down next to him, the soft loam beneath me.

He looked up at me, his eyes were bright and hard. “I said, no, Captain. I cannot see why the Mariovel should create a planet for humanity when we were so terrible to each other and the last one we had. In good conscience I could not recommend us at this time.”

“Chalguldan and the Enclave of Planet Crafters, Division Nine, I Diplomat Wells Sinian hereby respectfully request a temporary hold on the planet Earth repopulation project at this time. In the light of the information presented today. I would like to return to the Humani Tribunal to ensure we have a proper plan of development for our new planet, to ensure its long term growth and continued existence.”

“We are pleased to hear your decision, Wells Sinian. While the Earth would have been ready for repopulation in a year, another hundred years would give many of your indigenous animals time to spread out and achieve a homeostatic balance with their new environment. We hope in this time you will also convince your people of a way to achieve a more homeostatic balance with your new home as well.”

Sinian and I stared longingly up at Earth, her deep blue oceans and swaths of green and gold beckoned to us. I helped Diplomat Sinian to his feet and he seemed relieved to have made a decision he could live with. “What are you going to tell the council?” The Mariovel retreated into the distance and I saw Chalguldan flash a brief goodbye in Galac 6 before our instantaneous transmission to the spaceport.

“The truth, Captain, the truth. The planet needed another century in the oven before we would be ready for it. We’ve got work to do, Captain. Take us home.”

The Planet Traders  © Thaddeus Howze 2011. All Rights Reserved

First Appearance: The Mariovel first appear in my novel Insurrection as an advanced galactic race that has allied with the current leaders of the galactic empire, the Corvans. Because of their facility with nanotechnology and temporal mechanics, they are able to craft entire planets by controlling and compressing the flow of time around the worlds they create, creating planets in hundreds of years, rather than millions. They also possess the ability to alter their physical composition to take on a variety of forms and survive in a variety of conditions.

About the Art: The painting is called “Genesis-1920×963.” I know nothing about the piece beyond that. When I performed a search, it shows up in numerous libraries with no one laying claim to it. If anyone can tell me who it belongs to, I would love to give credit where credit is due. The painting inspired me to write this particular story and I  must acknowledge its awesomeness.

#11 – Judira Corm Hex-aka: Tortured Scientist

| November 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Our world is a silent one. Not by choice, but by necessity. There can be no waste, not a breath, not a sound, not an echo. We communicate with sound but our walls recollect that sonic energy, our clothing absorbs that energy and storing it for future use. Contemplation before speech; no rushing to communicate our thoughts. Telepathy is preferred.

Our world is a darkened one. Not by choice, but by necessity. We use no light we do not need, so our eyes and ears are adapted to darkness. Tiny, light emitting matrices dot the walls of our living ships, providing light only while we pass and only when necessary. Every erg is cultivated from our environment. The long rays of dying stars, the short waves from our only source of nearby light, Sindin, red dwarf, last star for five thousand light years and from where we sit, the last living star we know of.

Our world is a nearly motionless one. Not by choice but by necessity. We are trained as children, that all of our lives will be filled with activity, energy and movement and not to waste it. Silent and still concentration drills are a fact of life for children, being trained to harness all of our bodies energy.

First we control the mental energy, marshalling our minds, our very thoughts, ordering them, structuring them into a crystalline lattice of logic and reason. Then our bodies, first in the physio-chambers that toned our muscles, enhanced our hearts, challenged our lungs, tempered our carbon-hardened skeletons, tightened our muscles until we were like polished onyx, smooth, cool and without flaw. We learned to control our very internal energy, raising and lowering it at will, our organs under our mental command, generating biles and fluids to regulate our life-force.

We are then injected with sehrwinzig that allow us to manipulate the very molecular energies at the very threshold of existence. We can harness those energies for limited feats of physical strength, speed or endurance far beyond our primitive ancestors of our distant homeworld. In homage to them, we have not changed our outer appearance, but our inner appearance would completely belie our origins. We had no choice.

We are grown in labs, without contact, and almost all aspects of our being has been changed to maximize our use, creation and dispersal of energy. Our skin is a photo-absorptive mesh, dark in hue, blue, purple, burgundy, black, dark brown are the choices that ensure maximum absorption from our wan sun.

We no longer have the luxury of gestation. We are now fully functioning and able to exist outside of the birthing chamber in less than three months. We are able to mature to the size of a five year old in three to six months. During that time, knowledge is encoded into our brains with programming that will allow us to develop our personality.

We develop that personality in simulacra, living virtual lives at a timescale that allows us to experience all the things we could as children in a world more conducive to happiness. Yes, it is virtual happiness, but it will likely be the only happiness we know.

There was a time when we did not allow this childhood period. Some deemed it an unnecessary expense in energy and resources. We lost far more than we saved for our efforts. More of our people choose death, far sooner than ever in our history. Childhood was reintroduced when too many quality minds were lost.

When the childhood phase of our lives ends, and we are aged toward puberty, that is the time of the first physical changing and linking that teach us how to harness our life-force both as a resource and as a weapon. We begin to live without the benefit of our simulated worlds of light and life and are acculturated to our real world. Our births are regulated, so no one is born unless someone chooses to die. Even in a community of near-immortals, the choice of death occurs more often than one would think.

The burden of living becomes more than even the most resolute spirits can carry. Some of us, who are weary but not to death, choose the rest chambers where we sleep a century or two until something new or interesting happens that meets our criteria before we entered sleep. Then we rise from our rest and carry on the search.

Our world recycles all of the energy that is created within it. There is no excess. There are no stars save the tiny red dwarf we circle. It is estimated that sixty trillion souls surround this tiny beacon of light. Sixty trillion beings huddled against the dying of the light in our Universe. We harvest and store every second of this light. We are so desperate, that we harvest even the cooling husks of no longer lit stars, beaming long wave energy to receptors scattered throughout the galaxy. Storing that energy, it is periodically collected through the slow-motion gate system allowing for objects to be moved with the minimum amount of energy lost between gathering and movement.

In our way, we are returned to our primitive arboreal ancestors, gathering energy, everyday, hoping to have enough to feed everyone at the end of the day. Even with all our solar arrays, long-wave gathering, planetary compression systems (planets of immense size are crushed together using gravity and the resultant heat is absorbed) Magnetic field manipulations, kinetic draining systems, there is only one inescapable truth. Our universe is dying. And we are dying with it. From where we sit, our Universe is dark, no stars remain, one trillion years after the birth of our Universe, it is ending; not with a bang but with a whisper.

The ruddy light of Sindin Prime was home to sixty trillion lives. Circling in a variety of close orbits, mega-constructions with superconductive surfaces struggled to pull in the vital energy from this, one of the last dying stars in the galaxy. As the stars have waned, multiple intelligent races have come together to harvest what energies remain from the Last Suns of our galaxy. Around Sindin Prime, there have been over three hundred separate species sharing space above the worlds. Several factions of the government are losing control of their people. Predation from the Outer Dark has increased as Entities, life forms who have adapted to the darkness, but still hunger for light have begun to circle Sindin Prime, in ever closing orbits.

They once attacked every few centuries, now decades separate their stronger and stronger attacks. They destroyed an orbital construction above Sindin Prime, killing two billion sentients. There is very little energy to spare on defensive technology because we are so energy poor. Recent computations indicate they will be making another pass in a decade or two, so plans to slowly accelerate asteroids toward their likely entry points to the system should kill an estimated thirty to forty-two percent of the approaching attackers and hopefully low energy point defense systems will do the rest.

I am Judira Corm Hex-aka and I am charged with creating a technology that will likely murder fifty trillion sentients, eighty percent of all the known life left in our galaxy for a chance for ten trillion to have a life in a statistical possibility, a parallel universe. This technology is called a dimensional emission array. My fathers and mothers have spent hundreds of standard years working on this project with the permission of some of the collective governments.

Time is growing short. Sindin Prime’s energy output is diminishing and we will need to utilize it as the primary power source for the dimensional bridging array. This will exhaust the last of the nuclear potential of the red dwarf leaving only an burning cinder when we are finished. If we fail, we will all die. Not quickly. No we will struggle against the coming darkness. We will expand our technology to harvest the dark stars final wavelengths of energy, extending our reach and our lives, such as they are, for another two hundred millennia. A last gasp after the lights go out.

Excerpt from Insurrection: Thaddeus Howze © 2011

About the Artist: The art element is called Red by Ashmantle. I found this amazing artist on deviantArt and was inspired by the painting. I was writing about a universe where almost all the stars had gone out and this piece spoke to that story.

#8 – Biyu Shēngguāng – Scientist, Pilot

| November 8, 2011 | 1 Comment

Humanoid Android – Sentient AI – Alpha Class Intellect: 5 feet, 11 inches tall, 350 lbs. Constructed on Harata II, Toranor System by Chung Guo Designs and Engineering. Commissioned by Corva Military Facilities as companion/pilot for Resurrection Soldier, Majoris Thomas Wilks.

Primary functions include: Pilot and gunner – capable of AI interface with Classes 1-4 sized ships, technical repair of all ships systems, internal and external, with specialties in sensors, scanners and communications equipment, systems and decryption. She is also trained in Resurrection Frame, nano-construction and nano-design technologies. Android body, unique design and registration, combat capable, fully functional. Able to interface with combat modules 1-3 and upgradable with adaptive learning software.

Biyu Shēngguāng is a member of the Conscientia, an amalgam intelligence housed in a humanoid body. Her body was designed to be both a pilot and a scientific support operative for technologies used by the Resurrection Frame. Any successful covert operative utilized by the Corps is assigned such an android because of their durability, programmability and longevity. Since Resurrection Corps members are potentially immortal, it was decided they would be paired with android companions who could work in and survive their potentially dangerous lifestyles. By the standards of the Imperium she is considered a sentient being and afforded all of the rights of any other Imperium citizen. Her work is considered contractual and she is able to leave her employment at the end of any contract period. She has worked for the Majoris for nearly twenty years and is due for a contract renewal soon.

Being fully combat capable, her preference is for dual pulse pistols, custom-made, capable of being used fully automatic and tied to her visual cortex for pinpoint accuracy up to 100 meters. She can also use any human compatible weaponry found in the Empire. She prefers ranged combat and practices regularly to maintain her precision. She is capable of using dual flex swords as well and is an above average hand to hand combatant. As an Alpha-class sentient, she is capable of both adaptation and learning and is constantly improving her skills and interests. In her off-time, she is a know abstract artist in a variety of mediums, including virtual realm development, sculpture, and fractal arranging and modeling.

Biyu is over one hundred years old and despite her technological origins, appears to be a human female of indeterminate age. She has mastered human mannerisms and affectations. Using stealth technology, she can physically pass for an anatomically correct human under most modern scan technology and can pass a physical inspection as well. She has had three previous contracts as a Resurrection Corps pilot/companion, but this one has been both her longest and most enjoyed contract.

Character inspired by the artwork of Warren Louw – will appear in my novel Revenant: Resurrection – May 2012

#6 – Thomas Wilks – Codename: Majoris

| November 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

Thomas Wilks is a member of Pan-humanity – the collective of races that escaped Earth in the year 2475 having been rescued by the Sjurani during the Great Exodus of Man. The fate of Earth is currently unknown and return is proscribed under Galactic Law. As a Pan-Human, he has been genetically modified to be the peak of human evolution. He also has several genetic patents that are not seen in most Pan-Humans.

In addition to his superior strength, disease resistance and endurance, his parents further altered him to survive on heavy gravity worlds with increased lung capacity and maximizing his musculature and bone density using organic fullerenes. His parents also ensured his cells were hardened to radiation allowing him to work and live on radioactive planets, planets without sufficient magnetic fields and/or with several aliens species known to emit low level radiation level include the Bel-han and the Mariovel.They expected him to join them in their planetary explorations as scientists of the Empire.

Thomas is highly intelligent, as are most Pan-humans, but unlike his parents, he focused his efforts and interests on the military. He is well-versed in combat both with and without an exo-skeleton. He has worked as a support agent for the 454 Regiment of the Corvan Assault Squad providing heavy weapons support and defensive support operations.

In his early years, he excelled in the military but was prone to exuberance. During time as enlisted infantryman, he was reduced in rank twice. Spent fifteen years after second demotion in the military after achieving high rank and having served on several important campaigns. He served with distinction in five high stress campaigns against aliens during the First Galactic War as a tactical support technologist, heavy weapon specialist and light exoskeleton soldier. Has also done time as a light mecha pilot, drop jockey and AI support technologist.

Thomas was recruited into the Resurrection Corps as an inductee after genetic testing indicated he would be able to handle the genetic bonding and nanotech enhancements. Spent three years on assignment during adaptation training. Received a Resurrection Frame, (a superior military exoskeleton designed as an advanced life support system) capable of multi-function military combat and has the ability to restore a pilot in the event of his death on the field of battle. He completed the training in seven years (a record) and with only a single death on his training record.

He was recently recovered from a two year operation in which all of his battle-brothers suffered the Final Death and were unrecoverable. He died two dozen times on assignment, and his current mental stability is in question. The Resurrection Frame and AI systems are in overhaul in a secret facility on Lorissi where its nano-tech core components are sourced.

Homeworld

He hails from Shai, a prosperous, but highly socially stratified, outer rimworld system, where many Pan-humans settled once galactic travel was re-established after the First Galactic War. Shai is a technologically advanced world of the Empire with a Corvan dictator and a diverse non-human population. Shai is a commerce world, known for its manufacture of nanoscale computation systems. He was born on the Gaia-moon, Harata II in the Toranor star system,  where humanity settled after being ejected from Earth, three hundred and fifty years ago. His parents, xeno-biologists, migrated to Shai when they learned of other humans, not born on Earth could be found on Shai and wanted to investigate this potential chance of convergent evolution. (It turns out, it was not convergent evolution, humans had been stolen from Earth, thousands of years ago, during the 13th century for fear the species would die out during the black plague. These settlers were from Africa, South America and the North American continent. His parents were killed in the food riots when he was still a young adult. He was forced into conscript gangs working the sewage treatment facilities until he was old enough to escape and join the planet’s military.

Stories: Majoris Thomas Wilks debuts in a short story piece called Resurrection Blues and later appears in the novel Revenant: Resurrection due to appear June 2012.

About the Artist: The artist is named Anthony Scroggins and can be found on deviantART. I found the piece I used for Resurrection Blues called Blue Planet because it showed a powered armor user approaching a factory, much like the story did. I considered it serendipity. I later found the deviation “As One” used in this piece and liked it.

#5 – Essver Dream-Singer – Warrior Poet

| November 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

Name: Essver Dream-Singer, of the People of the Sjurani, son of Minru, son of Daor the Terrible, warrior-poet of Harata II, Sjurani Rex, mated to the gōngjué the Glorious Pielienhis (pe-le-en-hiss).

Stats: 8 feet, 700 lbs.

Capabilities: Physically fit, highly intelligent, well-connected, knowledge of galactic commerce, expertise in acquisition, negotiation and alien psychology, capable of speaking six commerce languages, two dozen well known language groups. Often pretends to be unable to speak in order to gather advantages in negotiations. Not afraid to cheat someone who does not know the real value in a deal. Always keeps his word once he gives it.

Description: Essver is a member of the Sjurani, a descendent of the ancient race of saurians who left Earth during the Cretaceous period. The Sjurani were genetically engineered by what is called the Ancient Enemy, housed inside of the core of the planet Earth. Unbeknownst to them, the alien was being hunted and sought to return to its home with intelligence about the races of the Milky Way. Discerning the alien’s intent, the Sjurani, after realizing their sentience and advancement was based on an invasion of their culture by this alien intelligence, left the planet and dropped an asteroid on the alien intelligence. Not sure of the creatures intent, but suspecting it was trying to leave the Earth, they destroyed all traces of their technology and any indication of their existence on Earth. Wandering the galaxy, they established several colonies in galactic space. Initially quite warlike, they slowly evolved into a more peaceful, but competitive species during their years away from Earth. In an unexpected twist, the Sjurani returned to Earth and rescued Humanity from the same intelligence millennia later.

The Sjurani enjoy their human cousins and collectively with the diverse species of Pan-humanity are called the Children of Earth. Essver is a Rex, a member of a larger warrior group of the Sjurani. The Rex are a matriarchal culture and as such are lead by their females who are larger, often smarter and certainly more dangerous than the males. Essver is fortunately mated to a larger and politically well-connected female who allows him to travel the galaxy working with the Resurrection Corps.

He is the only breeding male of his family unit and has over forty offspring in various ages of development. His mate keeps a bevy of lesser males who raise the children and maintain the family businesses. As the Rex, he is obligated to further the family’s fortunes with information that help the family businesses. Essver’s connections have allowed his family to become affiliated with a variety of alien species and business consortiums. He must periodically return to Harata II and engage in his conjugal duties, but otherwise avoids the tender mercies of his mate. Strangely enough, she has great affection for her Rex and allows him to engage in his travels both because he is quite effective at getting new business and because it pleases him to do so.

Essver is the consummate business-sentient and working with the Corva has given him incredible opportunities in the Imperium. Working with his friend Majoris Thomas Wilks has been both profitable and stimulating and he has great affection for the Majoris. As the Majoris’ handler he has had access to the finest military grade equipment and sources for over two decades. The recent turn in their fortunes has left him in a dour mood but he will recover because the Majoris has always been resourceful and adaptive.

Essver is exuberant and energetic as are many of the Sjurani, quick to anger and quick to laugh. Despite his job as a fixer, he is an accomplished warrior, having spent many years as a mercenary working to establish a fortune good enough to marry into a good family unit. He is not opposed to fighting to solve problems but his great size, strength, ferocity and overall reputation, prevent that from being necessary, as a rule. He and the Majoris met years ago on a campaign and have remained fast friends. Essver is a well-known writer and chronicler of the Majoris tales as a fictional character in a book series called Renegade Blade. The Majoris hated this until he received his first royalty check and now eagerly awaits his next exploit to appear in print.

Stories: Essver debuts in the novel Revenant: Resurrection due to appear June 2012. You can read a story of his adventures called The Gentle Art.