Mongo Fiction | Gr’ozz on the Hinterlands: Conclusion


The centaurs moved in formation to take best advantage despite their small numbers. Gr’ozz was with the chief, and seemingly tireless as the long stride of his massive legs helped him easily keep up with the centaurs’ four on only two. Gr’ozz’s gills let him breathe silently despite his need for oxygen, hardly making a sound in the cool night breeze.

Gr’ozz suddenly had an ill feeling, like something would go wrong, and he had the wisdom to show it, gesturing his misgivings to the chief, who nodded gravely, for he felt it too. Still, to let the enemy advance was the greater danger, so on they went.

Suddenly, their eyes adapted to the night, was the painful glare of floodlights in their path. The enemy knew they were coming. They had been expected. Through the glare, they could see the enemy in formation and ready to attack, gauss weaponry with depleted uranium slugs aimed at them, reptilian lips under helmet-shrouds pulled back in serrated-toothed smiles clearly not expressing good intent.

“Me, Gr’ozz will burn you, Bad Men!” roared the dimwitted reptilian giant, fully twice the height of the Dragons, as he opened his mouth wide, and spat forth a stream of superheated flame, hot as the atmosphere of the sun. He incinerated three squads of enemy troops before they could pull back and regroup. The centaur chief drew his massive steel longbow and with his fellows, fired into the enemy formation, as orders were shouted to subordinates on both sides.

Dragon troops fell as heavy, steel-tipped arrows mowed down the front line while those to the rear took their place and began firing. Now it was the centaurs’ turn to die. Then Gr’ozz went berserk, rushing into the enemy formation with his bone mace flailing, broken bodies in crushed armor plating falling with each swing. Behind him, the centaurs had pulled back, and though having taken losses, fought like devils as the Dragons tried to target them with gauss rifles.

Gr’ozz had effectively lost it, crushing and burning Dragons as he drove into the enemy ranks. It seemed as though he would win as the Dragon formation became increasingly chaotic. That is, until they played their ace. A heavy armored vehicle had entered the fray, a Dragon assault tank, aiming its main cannon array at the centaurs.

“NO! You not hurt half-horses!” roared a berserk Gr’ozz, “Me, Gr’ozz will save!” He dove forward, placing his massive body between the cannons and the centaurs, and took the brunt of the shots to his own midsection, falling backward, prone and bleeding, but not before preventing what would have been certain death for the centaurs. At the instant he was shot, he had crushed in the turret of the vehicle with both fists, effectively putting it out of action.

The Dragons pulled back in full retreat, as the surviving centaurs continued firing into them. In moments, all was quiet, as the centaurs gathered around the fallen giant.

Gr’ozz opened his eyes, not yet glazed over. “Half-horses safe?” He rumbled to the chief.“Yes, they’re gone, for now. We’re safe until they bring a larger force. You did it.” “Me Gr’ozz am happy. Gr’ozz do good. Now Gr’ozz to go to sleep forever . . . .”

Motionlessness, a brief hiss of escaping breath, then silence.

Gills stopped opening and shutting. Eyes were now blank and staring into eternity, dead eyelids closed by semi-equine fingers as a sign of respect. “He shall be remembered in story, in legend, as the Great Scaly One, slow in mind though quick in cunning, first in battle, and of hearts three sizes larger than most.” The centaurs gathered ‘round, and gathering brushwood, set Gr’ozz upon it, lit it, his body to be consumed by the flames as the centaurs, voices lowered and chanting a litany for the dead, tossed rare herbs into the immolating giant’s pyre to send him on his way.

Goodbye, Gr’ozz. You were fun to write about, but for you, this is The End.

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Mongo Fiction | Gr’ozz on the Hinterlands, Part 2


“Me, Gr’ozz say that Bad Men carry weapons more scarier than bows! Much more scarier!” Gr’ozz rumbled to the centaur chief’s council around the campfire that the war party had lit to frighten off predators at night. “Half-horses in big danger! But Gr’ozz want to help, maybe help drive them off if lucky!”

“How many have you seen, Scaly One?” the chief inquired. The humanoid vocal equipment of the centaurs would not permit them to pronounce Gr’ozz’s name properly, which sounded like a bull elephant trying to trumpet in a quartet with three asthmatic crocodiles.

“Me, Gr’ozz seen many, lots of squads, with big, big weapons, big tanks and guns! Kill many small armies!”

“I have fifty troops with me, Scaly One. With bows we can take out the troops, but any war chariots will be a problem. But you have no ranged weapons, and surely you cannot take them out with just bare hands,” He gestured to Gr’ozz’s left arm, tipped with a mace of sculpted bone grown from his arm, “We MUST arm you with something more your size that can take them on at range. It would be suicide to go head-to- head!”

“Ha! Me, Gr’ozz am good with fists; strong like elephant, wise like zen master, tough like steel. Plus, Gr’ozz use trick on dumb Bad Men that work every time!” “Then we may make it out of this alive, even victorious!” A scout had just entered camp and whispered something in the chief’s ear. The chief nodded and whispering an order to her, turned to the others.

“The enemy has set down for the night. It will not be the most honorable thing we can do, but we move out in an hour for a surprise attack. We need any advantage we can get. Scaly One, you will be with me and on approaching try to disable their war chariots, or ‘tanks’ as you call them!”

“That good! Gr’ozz can do!” “Then we ready within the hour,” the chief addressed all in the camp.“This is our only chance of stopping them, advanced weapons for not. Let’s not waste it!”

To be concluded . . . .

Mongo Fiction: Extinction


It had come to pass, that the sun’s plan for his people had not failed. But all was at an end. It was the day of extinction for the Race on this world as the sun grew large and red in the sky, taking up most of the horizon as it became bloated and hungry.

Its radius had already swallowed the inner planets, and this world was next. The solar shielding was collapsing, the only time bought for its survival, long since paid with ancient technology, expired. The wall of plasma and radiation raced closer, its surface cooled, though that mattered little to the planet as it rushed outward.

So, tentacle in tentacle, they faced the fire, as their world was consumed by the dying might of the sun, no more to be a land of songs and glory but only dust and death, the last vestiges of its spirit already spread among the stars . . . .

. . . To remember the world and the Race that once was!

Mongo Fiction: The Recognition


I recognized it instantly, the face unforgettable. It was once my friend, now made monstrous yet with unmistakeable resemblance to the human being it once was.

Tentacular limbs sprouted from its neck and torso, and its mouth gaped open and shut as though a fish passing water through its gills.

But friend though it once was, it seemed not to recognize me, and its dull eyes bulged outward, clearly resembling more those of a goat than anything human.

Then those eyes suddenly fixated on me, and suddenly its mouth stopped gaping as its lips moved. It seemed to know once again who I was, in a horrid instance of clarity, as it tried to form words, mouthing something . . .

And then it spoke my name as it pulled itself toward me along the basalt floor, as a tear formed from one of its eyes while the mouth opened its many jaws to feed.

Mongo Fiction: Transfiguration


There was something wrong with his skin, seriously wrong. Oh, not its shade, as his usual olive tones were the same as always, and no signs of his allergy were apparent

The wrongness came instead from its structure.

He stared disbelievingly at the thick, spiky hairs which had apparently grown from his arms overnight, like those of some monstrous insect. He had thought back to the drug ampule he had been stabbed with only the night before. It contained a new nano-drug using DNA taken from beetles, designed to transpose with human DNA and enact the changes not only genetically, but in phenotypical trait-expression as well.

It restructured his body over time with its army of injected nano-bots, like a sadistic horde of tiny surgeons with instructions to alter him completely, or put another way, to rebuild an engine while it ran.

And it wasn’t just the hairs, but the increasing hardness of his skin, as he was growing a chitinous shell from his fingertips, already beginning to spread across his hands and wrists, with no end in sight. It grew even as he looked at it in horror.

He looked desperately about, to try to bandage his hands and arms to hide his deformity. But the room was empty. They had locked him in a cell, he suddenly realized. They knew this would happen, and were using him as a guinea pig! They knew!

He looked about and struggled to his feet. He screwed up the courage to look at himself in the mirror at the other end of his cell. Oddly, his vision had fragmented into something grainy, with multiple images, and as it continued, he looked closer, trying to focus.

And so looking, he saw himself in full. And he screamed.

Mongo Fiction: The Simian


He said little in response, only a deep grunt to express his distaste for my slight human physique, not properly hand-walking as he, nor as hairy, and definitely not as muscled as he, this silverback just escaped from his torturers.

But distaste or not, he offered me a tuber that he had foraged from the rainforest floor, and motioned to the lake nearby as though instructing me to wash it before eating, a behavior he had picked up from the other, more wild gorillas, after he was freed.

Later, I helped him start a fire in a secluded spot. So I could teach him how to cook what he foraged.

As a primatologist I was required to keep tabs on him while he acclimated to the wild. The criminal sect that boosted his intelligence and tried to exploit his strength for their own purposes would still be looking for him, and me. So I kept watch over him, armed and ready, looking out for poachers.

This gorilla was almost unique, different to his wild fellows, and quite intelligent by even the prejudiced standards of humans.

He would be one of the harbingers of a new species, he, among the first of his kind.

And it was my job to ensure his survival.

Gods of Terra | How to Reason with Broogh and Not Be Crushed Like a Fly


Magrithal71, scion of Dolpra566, was angry. For the first time in ten generations of Its line of descent, the Swarm had encountered another of its kind. Two mighty God- Thegns of the glorious Broogh race had met in the same target system, in inevitably rival fleets. The presence of each rankled the ego of the other, and this was intolerable. No two leaders could lay claim to the same system prior to plundering it for resources, as per ancient tradition as old as the Flow itself. Yet, they did. The arrogant interloper in Its territory was shameless, having already begun dismantling the outer system’s larger cometary bodies after being told — no, commanded — to leave at once. Their troops had already skirmished, and seemed equally matched. Surely, it was this fleet’s warriors who exemplified the might of the species, and Its leadership without peer! How could it possibly be that they be stalemated? Unacceptable! The rival Fortress craft faced each other in orbit around the target world, swarming with tiny craft each still the size of a human city. The rival God-Thegns sat immobile, each sequestered deep within their own Cathedral of Bones. Orders were formulated and relayed, ships maneuvered into position, and weapons primed. Each felt utterly convinced that they must destroy their rival, purge the defeated Swarm, and lay final claim to the system!

The Broogh are an alien species in flight, a fugitive race flowing across the galaxy in sublight-velocity craft for millions of years, destroying all they encounter and plundering conquered systems for resources to sustain their own existence. For the species, there is no concept of peace within their culture, and no need for a word for war. The Broogh think war to be synonymous with life itself, and the language reflects this. Broogh society is set up as an absolute authoritarian military dictatorship in which the ruling class, the gigantic, ingenious, and incredibly vainglorious God-Thegns, sit immobile in immense fortress vessels, surrounded by a Swarm fleet of comparably tiny starships, these still enormous by the standards of the Local Galaxy. Once, they knew of peace, and remained at peace, until the time of the Great Terror and the flight from their homeworld on the other side of the galaxy. And they’ve been on the run ever since, constantly fighting, dying, and knowing no other life but constant war.

This has given them certain values that make it possible to reason with them. These values if appealed to by action and argumentation can make attempts at diplomacy much easier. Broogh respect authentic shows of strength, but they also respect courage, for in their view, false displays of strength without courage are mere bullying, and that they find contemptible. They especially respect strength and courage in species smaller in size than they, as Small Ones in their tiny craft willing and able to effectively face them in battle are particularly impressive. Note here that Broogh are unimpressed by mere rhetoric unsupported by actions. Actions must come first, then argument to follow.

Prior to engaging an enemy, Broogh initially treat their foes casually, especially rivals of their own species. Long-duration fights with any foe will garner a sense of respect, for that means a tenacious opponent who will not die easily. Tenacity in battle will get you either a quick, painless death once defeated (a form of Broogh mercy), or if a stalemate or victorious, then an audience with the God-Thegn’s chief alien liaison officer. God- Thegns always deal with aliens through go-betweens, never directly. God-Thegn egos won’t allow it, as they find aliens insufferable and hubristic.

It’s also possible to garner respect from Broogh by showing them mercy, by assisting them in life and death situations, or by sparing their lives if they are at a distinct strategic, tactical, or situational disadvantage from a superior force. Broogh warriors are considered expendable, and left for dead on the battlefield if gravely wounded. A being who saves a dying broogh’s life, especially if considered a lesser species (nearly

everyone but Broogh), may be the recipient of a bond of honor and considered a comrade in battle by the one saved. This tends to happen when the warrior is left for dead by its own Swarm fleet, and no longer has any social ties to its own kind. It’s the closest a warrior will come to befriending an alien.

Broogh also value intelligence and good reasoning ability, as these make for good strategy and tactics in war. Even the Warrior class has some measure of these, though Warriors lean heavily toward being tactical savants rather than generally intelligent in comparison with the average human. Displaying good tactical and strategic skills will get you bonus points with Broogh leadership, including the Officer corps, and may make them open to negotiations, if not outright peace, then for a ceasefire or an alliance for the time being.

Broogh hate rival fleets, as some few might be infected by an alien intelligence called the Transcendent Meme, a sort of living idea, and others are simply Broogh Swarms competing for the same resources. There is also a personal dislike between God- Thegns, more a mutual clash of egos than anything else. So, if caught between rival Swarm fleets, it’s a good idea to align yourself with what looks like the stronger force.

Broogh are an intelligent and reasonable if alien species. So these methods of appealing to their inclinations may serve well to get you out of a tight spot with them, and can make them valuable allies if you do it right!