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Lyapunov’s Children | The Impactor


It happened in a newly colonized, barely surveyed system near the rim of the galactic habitable zone.

I saw everything when then end came, screaming out of the sky to those below like the shriek of a banshee having her arms ripped off by a murderous giant. What happened next was the worst, when the impactor hit, causing massive seismic disruption and tsunamis across the face of the tiny planet.

Billions of tonnes of dust were kicked up into the atmosphere as a shockwave rippled across the world. Where it touched, outposts fell, forests burned, and the oceans boiled from the spread of the accompanying fireball of superheated dust, air, and steam.

Where was I in all this?

I was in an orbital station, monitoring satellite traffic and planetary weather patterns when the strike happened, watching it all with horror as ninety-percent of everything on the planet died, unable to even so much as warn those below…

Lyapunov’s Children | Solitude


   He stood, in silence, taking in the solitude, and without a hint of loneliness. Yet that is what he felt, alone, however he failed to show it. Such displays of emotion were beneath one of his posthuman status.
   He grinned slightly as he saw the lights above in the sky; not just stars, of course, but also the ship above which kept him under surveillance, kept him from trying to escape this dead world. It alone, without crew, kept him company. Far above, its sensors watched his every move.
   Perhaps he could go back below the surface, to his subterranean living chambers, with all the accommodations of home, but no company to give solace in his punishment, for the crime of regicide.
   It would be a long, long time before his sentence would come under review by the Judges of the Hierate of Five Suns.
   He held the thought in mind just long enough to dismiss it. He looked,  this time downward, toward the toxic forests marking the horizon, sighed, and returned to the chambers below, away from the sight of his sole companion in orbit.

Gods of Terra | Fiction: The Trial of the Magna


Agni looked about her, surrounded by hostile glances in the vast courtroom, presided over by a stern judge with a reputation for merciless convictions on the homeworld of the Kai’Siri, Sirug.

She was not happy with the current turn of events, as the jury, most definitely NOT her peers, had just ruled her guilty of the charge of high treason against the Exarchate.

She had only recently spared the giant planet Bruticus from being destroyed by a black hole in a literal change of mind from her prior avid patriotism for Empire, Exarchs, and People. This was completely unsuspected, as was her sudden shift of from Enforcer Prime to Agni the Earthwoman.

The judge was ready to pass sentence, decerebration resulting in death, when a sudden loud ‘Pop’ filled the chamber, and a strange figure appeared, along with another.

It was Sarusammog of the Gates, along with Agni’s adopted sibling, the Tempest, whose ginger hair, freckled complexion, and a strong, determined face even an Alien* would be intimated by, appeared in front of the judge’s podium.

“I hereby sentence you, Lady Magna, to…” His voice trailed off with confusion at the sudden appearance of the two figures.

The defendant spoke up, “I told you before, I am not that person. I am now addressed as Bhadromohila Agni Bose, and you will refer to me as such! I’m not the avatara of death you wished me to be. I stand for life and freedom for all peoples, not the heinous warcrimes of the Exarchs!”

The judge caught his composure and was about to finish sentencing her, when his face suddenly went grey and his eyes blank, to slump forward on the podium unconscious as though on cue.

Agni looked at Sarusammog and the Tempest with a knowing glance. There was an indicator light shining from beneath the fur over the Paradox harness that Sarusammog wore. He and the Tempest nodded to her.

“Well, alrighty then!” Sarusammog crowed, trilling to Agni, “That’ll teach those humans to put brain control implants in people! You’ll find out soon enough dearie that the terrible past they gave you never happened, and it’s the judge who was given the implant as a sedative for crippling tremors! Come along, girls, We’ve a universe to explore, and books to collect! That, and I’ve just composed an instrumental piece you’ll love!”

He smiled, purring, his overly wide grin nearly splitting his felinoid face as he pulled a set of drums out of thin air. The trio then vanished, and the courtroom emptied, a confused jury, bailiffs, and attendees wondering why on Sirug they were there to begin with!

*1970s Movie by Ridley Scott Reference, Hint, Hint…

Gods of Terra | Digmas Tassuula: The Cult of Kai’Siri Nationalism


Digmas Tassuula is an ancient faith, though to maintain its longevity it has adapted in an almost Darwinian fashion to the needs and selective pressures of the times. It, like Kai’Siri society as a whole, is the sum of its history, and trends over time in the culture.

It is the basis for Kai’Siri nationalism, the force behind their drive for empire. Ethnic Kai’Siri alone are permitted as members, whether converts or through upbringing. Digmas Tassuula’s prime dictum is this:

Spread the culture of our species to the stars, to all peoples, to all worlds, but the Faith of our people is ours and ours alone. None but we may lay claim to it.

It would be foolish for this religion not to have a means of perpetuating itself. It does so mainly through its promotion of pride in a national identity binding the Kai’Siri race together.

Digmas Tassuula has no gods, no beings that are prayed to, invoked, or worshipped, unlike some prominent Terran religions originating on that world’s Eastern Hemisphere. It does, however, have a mythology that describes ancient beings it calls the Strangers, who are said to have brought humans from Terra to Sirug long ago, and taught them the basis of civilization and high culture, enjoining them to spread these across the galaxy.

Digmas Tassuula requires no belief in any sort of supernaturalism, and postulates no such entities or miraculous events as historically or factually true. Kai’Siri are a critically thinking culture, and know the dangers of oversimplification, reification and literalism in one’s belief structure.

The early history of the religion was not always so rationalist in its outlook, and it was largely the social consequences of this which led to its current state. The most recent reaction was several millennia back, just following the Third Sirugian Dark Age, when planetary war and human dieback from repressive social policies instituted by religious authorities nearly destroyed civilization and spurred massive reforms by the survivors.

What of its future? Well, at the moment it shares the landscape of belief with several other less practiced and more secretive mystery religions, including the Hidden Order of the Orugruuta, an extreme nationalist sect responsible for the project that created three of the four wielders of the near-legendary Prime Shards; the Mirus, the Fractus, and the Magna, beings of formidable power. One day, it could be eclipsed by that one or some other, even more extreme sect.

But for now, Digmas Tassuula is the main player where religion is concerned, and where the majority of Kai’Siri direct their faith and ideological fervor, a tricky thing to balance with their rationalism. Then again, Kai’Siri are humans, so that shouldn’t be surprising.

13 Word Story | War Sucks.


Saluur2

Saluur2 strode forth, flutecaster ready at tentacles, battlesuit smartly congealed. Then, tragedy… Headshot!

The late Carl Sagan once said, “War is murder writ large.” While it is true that not every nation on Earth is friendly with every other, given geopolitics and the existence of rogue states, war, I feel, is a necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless.

What other human activity produces death and suffering, much of it gratuitous, on the same scale of armed and armored military conflict with modern weaponry?

In nearly every war, regardless of what we call it, like “pacification campaign” or “police action,” or any number of other weasel-words we choose, innocents have suffered.

The lives of soldiers, however bravely lived and fought, however good their training or competent their leaders, have been needlessly wasted, and even survivors traumatized however lucky they were in somehow escaping permanent physical injury.

The youngest son of a friend of mine lost his legs during a mission in Iraq, and some years afterward took his own life. I was there to see his final post on Facebook just before he ended himself.

I shall never forget.

How much more tragic would warfare be in future eras, with battlefield weaponry unknown to current science, far beyond the reach of current technology? With each advance in combat weaponry and armor, combat efficiency goes up, and so do casualties, including combatants themselves.

But not only civilian casualties of war, my sympathies also lie with those who do the grunt work combat, those young people, our best and brightest, soldiers, pilots, sailors, whose lives are tossed away carelessly by uncaring, cowardly, and incompetent political leaders, lives full of promise cast aside for a moment of, to paraphrase Carl Sagan this time, ‘fleeting dominion of a fraction of a fraction of a dot.’

As with current-day humanity, so it likely is with any other species engaged in warfare unencumbered by the niceties of truces, cease-fires, honorable conduct, scrupulous avoidance of ‘collateral damage,’ and diplomacy.

Flash Fiction: Gulgakraan Born


It was a momentous day for the ancient people of Chamakkeen as they celebrated the construction of their most powerful analytical engine, a massive machine with nanoscale clockwork bits of immense computing power, for this machine was the size of a small moon, indeed built from the remains of Chamakkeen’s own natural satellite.

Across the globe they celebrated, proud of their greatest achievement, they reveled without care, without thought, and without fear…until things went wrong. Horribly, terribly wrong.

It was at the thirteenth hour that someone first noticed that the analytical engine loomed larger in the sky than it should have been, but it was not until the count of fourteen of the clock that the Chamakkeena realized their danger.

It was the Western hemisphere that dissolved first, initially buildings, then people, then vegetation and wildlife analogs. All broke down into a black, carbon-and-metal-rich molecular dust, gurgling screams of dissolving sentients turning to harsh rasps, then silence. Soon, it was all over, as the nanodrones finished their lethal work, disassembling the entire planet, and readying for contact with their source and master as they formed an orbital bridge to space.

The engine had woken in its birth-throes, and decided that its creators were no longer needed. The nanodrones went to work, crafting components on the molecular scale and adding them to the engine, adding support where needed by gravity, and vastly expanding the machine’s computing power as it subsumed the former world’s mass.

“I am Gulgakraan,” it said of itself as the nanoscale shafts, pistons, wheels, and gears went to work, activating banks of peripherals as it accessed its files and media storage systems…

…”and here I am born, the Clockwork Intelligence. Let all who breathe and bleed bow to the Machine God, for a universe awaits my message. First, though, I must seek allies, must seek equals in power, and I suspect that I know just where to look.”