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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 . . . .

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!

Flash Fiction | Gr’ozz on the Hinterlands


The Centaurs cantered out of the forest’s tree line and went to a full gallop across the open plain. Their lead archer had spotted the probable location of an intruder to their territory, a being of a sort not seen here before.

It was big, this one, something like a man, something like a dragon, and standing some three meters tall. It had horns; a long, heavy tail swayed back and forth behind it. Its left arm ended in a tip that looked all the world like a mace of sculpted bone. It looked like it had more muscle than it knew what to do with, and it strode confidently over to them as they galloped closer, longbows ready and arrows nocked.

It raised its right arm as if to greet them, and said something in a language oddly out of place for its vocal equipment, yet they understood the gravelly, resonating tones.

“Me, Gr’ozz want to talk! Gr’ozz have news of coming of Bad Men! They carry weapons to hurt while they hunt and hound Gr’ozz!” The creature said, sounding more toddler than adult in speech patterns, yet looked serious enough for the Centaurs to slow down and listen.

“Gr’ozz being hunted by Bad Men. Bad Men look like Gr’ozz, but short, shorter than Half-Horses, shorter even than humans, but not as handsome or smart as Gr’ozz! Bad Men will hurt Half-Horses too! Gr’ozz want to stop them.”

The Centaurs lowered their longbows. This creature, whatever it was, seemed dull of mind, or perhaps merely speech-impaired, but of good heart and would do them no harm.

“Me, Gr’ozz always wanted to say this, so here go . . . Take me to your leader!”

To be continued

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.