Gods of Terra | In Hiding


The Fractus held his hand to his forehead, feeling the pain of an oncoming stress headache.

In his world at the edge of the universe, closed off from conventional spacetime, he sat at his workspace, ready to do his task of creating a new universe from a tiny fraction of the old.

He was anxious at the danger posed by his actions, not in themselves, but in the attention they would draw.

The Kai’Siri were still looking for him, as their most dangerous foe, for the death of the starship’s crew on the vessel where he was deployed for his first and last mission on their behalf.

He was afraid that they would gain control of him once again. He feared enslavement. He meant to avoid it at all cost, save that of the death of his universe of birth.

So he hid, and to this day, he hides still. And he waits.

Gods of Terra | Paradoxed! Pt. 2


Sarusammog tied its arms in Gordian knots, the equivalent for its species of folding them impatiently as the human fought to suppress signs of fear.

“I, I, I…” The thief stammered, beads of sweat forming on his troubled brow. “Awfully conceited to refer to yourself three times in a row, don’t you think?” Saru growled, ears folding further back. “Well, I’m waiting! Answer for yourself!” Its rear pseudo-legs were tapping the floor with annoyance.

The human finally mastered his terror, enough to speak coherently and to not soil himself. “I’ve got family I need to support. My children are sick, really sick, so I came here to get something that my clients will pay enough for me to afford a cure for them. They mentioned this collection. So I went through channels to get what I needed to come here. Please! My kids are dying! They need help!”

The Tempest suddenly teleported into the chamber on summons from Saru, initially annoyed, until Sarusammog told her what was said. Saru had done a quick brain scan of the would-be thief. Everything checked out. The human was telling the truth to all indications, a fact related to the Tempest on her arrival.

Tempest avoided eye contact as she read the human’s body language, feeling his fear almost as her own when in a bad spot. There was the time she had taken a friend, the Mirus, back in time to the end of the Permian era on Earth, to meet aliens intent on averting the extinction- level event that would come, to prevent the rise of humanity hundreds of millions of years later.

They survived, but Tempest had not foreseen the environment at the time, and was almost killed by the atmospheric chemistry and heat exhaustion until the Mirus coached her in turning on her hypershard’s life support fields. Long story short: the mass-extinction happened as it should have, while the aliens were destroyed, and the two returned to their respective times.

“Well, I have an idea. Don’t delete him . . . not just yet, you big fluffy!” She whispered something in Sarusammog’s ear, and its face lit up with an absurdly wide grin, this time genuinely amused.

“Oh, my! That’s capital . . . an absolutely capital idea! Do it, girl, and I’ll be ready to hear your story about it when you’ve returned for lunch!” Saru was beaming as the Tempest stood by the human and said, “Drop the comics. Just drop them. You won’t need them to pay for anything. Here’s what Saru and I are going to do, for you, not to you! You’ll never need to have gotten into this mess in the first place. Your children are as good as cured, better even!”

“Okay big guy, paradox us both when I loop back in time. I’ve already figured out the coordinates to the right time and location. Logged in and locked on target!”

Sarusammog touched a stud on his Paradox harness as Tempest and the human vanished from sight.

This would be an interesting tale to hear when she returned from that node of the space-time manifold. He sighed as he put back the graphic novels with meticulous care, still in their dust- jackets, and turned to leave the library, no longer angry, and proud of the ingenuity of the Children of Terra.

He had chosen a Herald in the Tempest well, and wisely!

The End.

Gods of Terra | Paradoxed! Pt. 1


The alarm sounded. From the ship’s library, it cried, more than a billion automated voices screaming an alert in over a billion languages at once. It was as meant to be heard by one triggering it as by the ship’s master, Sarusammog of the Gates.

It roused from a sleep filled with dreams of concerts and hours upon billions of hours of perusing its massive book collection in research. For that contained books from all over the universe, from nearly every age of history. And somehow, a thief had gotten in and put his grubby mitts on some of them.

That called for a good paradoxin’ to the offender.

Saru got up, yawned, stretched its six noodlly arms, and caterpillared into the hall on the long trek to the library portal at the end. It wasn’t pressed for time. The library was vast, and labyrinthine, and the would-be book purloiner would easily get lost in it. Only Saru, and its Heralds, the Tempest and the Agni, knew their way around in it. The Tempest especially would spend time, some of it measured in imaginary numbers, all of it interesting. She’d pore over stories written by long extinct species, and those yet to exist in her own relative timespan.

Sarusammog finally reached the portal, and looping through, entered the terrifying and awesome expanse of the library, stretching onward in all directions, and seemingly lit by its own stars.

He is . . . there! It had found the thief, in block C, level চ, shelf Σ. The miscreant was hunched over a reading table, stuffing a small pile of graphic novels from a world gone for three billion years into a sack. Oh, please, comic books? Saru thought to itself, Can’t he even have the good sense to leave those alone. Tempest will go through the bulkhead when she hears of this. Those are all hers. Imbecile.

“Ahem!” it cleared its throats, sounding like pack of asthmatic tigers hacking up giant monster hairballs, and cracked six sets of knuckles as the shocked purloiner suddenly looked up and realized it was there.

“Those just happen to be from my Herald’s private collection, fanboy. Do you mind telling me how you got in here before I pronounce sentence?” It purred menacingly, its far-too wide grin nearly splitting its face as lips curled upward, its teeth showing in a smile clearly not intended to express good will. Its ears were folded back with annoyance, whiskers flush against the face.

The thief was human this time. That was rare. Humans didn’t often have the technology to get in here. Probably indigo market infiltration systems stolen from one of the older surviving species in home-time. Saru upgraded its opinion of the man’s intelligence. Getting hands on stuff like that took brains.

On the other hand, Saru was widely known in the Local Galaxy for deleting those who stole its books from existence, so its assessment rose only slightly. One can be otherwise smart and still be a special species of stupid to try a stunt like this…

To be continued.

Lyapunov’s Children | Hope


I was there when the end came, seeing the carnage firsthand as a soldier on the battlefield when my squad met its fate, and only I survived to tell of it.

As terrible as things were, I was lucky, so perhaps I’ll make it through the month with enough food to wait out the arrival of the rescue drones, as long as I conserve my rations and avoid the Corporation’s mechadacoits that this planet is crawling with.

I’ll also need to evade their cyber-hounds, but there’s a good chance of succeeding in that with the proper scent masking. I’ve the right vegetation to do it with, and plenty of time. I’ll stink like hell, but I’ll get through this in one piece.

At least that’s the plan, so I can make this work. Here’s hoping the rescue drones find me soon.

Lyapunov’s Children | On The Wind From The Sun


The ship raised its sails, gossamer expanses of fabric, molecule thin, stretching outward from the tiny hull for kilometers in every direction as the masts deployed. The sun shone bright behind it in the sea of stars as its crew prepared for the maiden flight of the newly christened vessel. Countless motes of light, electrons, protons, and atomic nuclei in the void struck the vast web, once the sails, now hundreds of kilometers wide, stretched outward like the petals of a lotus. Slowly, the ship gained speed from the subtle but relentless pressure, on its journey to the outer system. The crew within finished launch protocols, then went to the view ports to see their home one last time before departure. Ever further away, the planet receded in the distance as the ship made its journey,

…As it travelled on the wind from the sun*.

*paraphrase from Carl Sagan

Editorial Fridays by Troy David Loy 2.6.17 Gods of Terra Notes n Thoughts on the Magna


Agnishatdal The Ezine

The third of the four wielders of the Prime hypershards is perhaps the most complex, with a tragic past and a bright future in store for her in further fiction.

The Magna was a particularly spirited adolescent girl living on a farm in what is now known as West Bengal, India. That is, before she was taken by the Kai’Siri and made into a weapon of mass-extinction with not one, but two hypershards.

She was born Agni Bose, with a hyperseed, an undeveloped, nascent hypershard in her brain.

This unfolded and grew, like origami sculpture, as she did. It was a unique, uncorrupted one which the Kai’Siri used to track her via the shard’s terahertz emissions.

This was also to prove instrumental in gaining her freedom.

She lived her entire old life on Earth unaware she had even it, but it was only with the implantation of one of the…

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Gods of Terra | Chadameer, the Fauns


This post is for a version of the Chadameer species existing in the Gods of Terra setting. I’m also using them in a book collaboration with the prolific Sharmishtha Basu, which will be announced in detail once the book goes live online. Enjoy.

Chadameer (chadəˈmēr)

General Description:

  A species of capriform humanoids, also known as “Fauns” to humanity, conquered and enslaved by the Dalazinnu Sodality as their chief scientists, engineers, technicians and emissaries to other species. Chadameer are bipedal, bimanual, and have an endothermic metabolism with a closed circulatory system and 2 two-chambered hearts. Chadameer are long-lived, having almost twice the lifespan of a human, but mature slowly and have a low birthrate, restricting their numbers and under the present set of circumstances, a factor endangering their survival as a species. The beings are unimpressive, standing an average of 1.45 meters tall and massing less than 40 kilograms. The head is vaguely goatish, though with a large cranium and in both genders adorned with four horns and a short beard. The digitigrade legs end in four-toed hooves and are quite nimble. The arms end in hands with two fingers and two opposable thumbs. The body is covered with short fur ranging from whitish to almost black, generally in neutral tones, and the tail is thin and whiplike, used primarily for communicating emotional states. Chadameer have good hearing, exceptional depth-perception, and an excellent kinesthetic sense useful for climbing and balancing on uneven mountainous terrain. The species has eight lungs, several stomachs, and a unique geodesic rib structure that makes the torso more resistant to injury caused by blunt trauma.

  Some Chadameer are telepathically gifted, and these are often genetically “tagged” with black and grey striped coats and silver beards, but are also frequently prone to recessive genetic traits.

  Faun young are born sexless, but upon maturity assume either a male or female gender, apparently by choice, which they retain throughout their lives.

  Chadameer typically wear robes, tabards, equipment harnesses, or nothing, and use hearing aids tuned to ultrasonic registers to permit them to hear everything their Dalazinnu masters say to them, question or command, to reduce the likelihood of beatings that come when orders are not heard by those spoken to.

Psychology:

Chadameer have eliminated aggressive traits from their psychology by altering their genome, rendering themselves incapable of intentional violence toward intelligent beings. The species has a paralyzing horror of space-flight because of a vague and ancient legend of “death from the stars,” of something that lives “out there, in the void between worlds.” This horror has never been named or otherwise specified, though all Chadameer legends refer to it in tales of those foolish enough to venture beyond the solid ground and skies of their homeworld. Terror of this “death” has been more than sufficient to keep the Fauns on their homeworld, reluctant enough to leave it as to cause them to go into a state of shock when forcibly removed by spacecraft. A few of the Fauns, in particular, those with unusual mental powers, are not afraid of space travel and indeed, are often addicted to the effects of Maelstrom travel, to the point of eagerly volunteering for off-world assignments at the behest of their masters. Such Chadameer are considered insane by their fellows and closely watched for signs of mental aberration. Many of them cannot properly care for themselves, but are still considered useful by the Dalazinnu, as they are frequently employed as interrogators, messengers and diplomatic agents when their masters deem it necessary to question or parley with aliens.

Society:

The Chadameer are children of a dying world, and themselves a dying race, due to their low birthrate, their abuse at the hands of the Dalazinnu, and the poisoning of the ecology by rampant industrialization and their masters’ initial bombardment of the planet before its conquest. The Dalazinnu consider the Fauns to be a disposable commodity, and are even now looking for another technically advanced, militarily vulnerable species to replace them when they become extinct.

  An underground movement has arisen among the Fauns that seeks to reverse this trend, freeing their race from the yoke of their masters by genetically sabotaging the races they have uplifted for them, subtly altering them to turn on the Dalazinnu. This has already begun with such behavioral flaws in slave races as the killing rage of the Maktathuun when losses are taken, the tendency of the Tenebruuta for recklessness when bored, and even attempts to reengineer the genes for aggression back into their genome. So far, the Dalazinnu haven’t caught on just yet, but some of the brighter ones may become suspicious of their servants if the subversives play their hand too soon, which they just might as time for their species grows ever shorter.

Chadameer History:

The Chadameer removed their capacity for violent aggression and lowered their birthrate as a means of making them less likely to commit racial suicide by war or overpopulation. They also lost all desire to explore space, and technology with which to do it in the event that led to the legends of “death from the stars.” At some distant point in the past, they began to explore their home star system, and missions were sent to the other planets and moons. One such mission, however, brought back a strain of lethal microbial life to the homeworld that somehow survived the decontamination protocols, and a deadly plague swept across the planet, nearly destroying the Fauns until an antibiotic was developed to stop it. The social backlash was severe, resulting in a ban on space exploration, and the destruction of the remaining such technology, leading to the legends, and the “fear.” This was reenforced yet again, when their first sentient alien contact, the Dalazinnu, bombarded the planet, and took the Chadameer as a slave race, using them to create more slaves by cloning and uplift, and new weapons technologies to conquer still more territory.

Chadameer Telepaths:

These unusual individuals are considered to be both useful and dangerous. They are afflicted with a rare psychiatric disorder which is genetically cross-linked with such recessive traits as their distinctive grey and black striped coats. The psychotropic drugs used to treat their mental symptoms also serve as the catalyst that triggers and maintains their latent talents, especially telepathic ability, which makes them an asset to their Dalazinnu masters, who use them as go-betweens with aliens, whom the Dalazinnu are psychologically unable to relate to as anything but slaves or enemies in direct personal contact. These Chadameer are the first, and usually the only, Fauns met by most aliens, and are often led by a Dalazinnu master with an unusual gift for self-restraint. Without their drugs, these rare Chadameer are also without their powers as well as subject to rapid swings between fits of aggression and depression. The Dalazinnu use them as their primary interspecies diplomats, when dealing with aliens in a nonviolent manner is absolutely necessary.