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Story (C) Tales from the Fleet

Discussion in 'WildStar Fan Creations' started by EldritchSandwich, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Okay, here we go. I'll just be posting little short stories and serials here as inspiration strikes, so I have something to do. Feel free to comment. Or heck, write something yourself.

    Ladies' Night

    "How do the yellow ones move again?"

    "The yellow ones are Bantas Roses. They can move two spaces in any direction, but they can only move diagonally if there's another piece in the way."

    "And the pink ones can jump over other pieces?"

    "Which pink ones?"

    "Those."

    "No, those are Phantom Lilies. They can move any number of spaces side to side, or one space up or down, but you can't move one if your opponent just moved one. The bright pink ones with lots of petals are the Silver Vex, they're the ones that can move any number of spaces horizontally or vertically and can jump over other pieces but can't move to the outermost spaces on the board."

    "Why are they called 'Silver Vex' if they're pink?"

    Tirra flounced back in her chair in irritation, long red ears quivering. "Ooh, it's like you don't even want to learn to play!"

    Before Lacey could assure her room/squad mate that she did indeed want to learn (and would the Aurin just be kind enough to repeat the last fifteen rules she'd blown through) the hatch creaked open, followed by the familiar sound of a Granok slamming her forehead against the frame and then cursing about it like it didn't happen every single time she came through the door.

    Lacey straightened in her seat, but knew better than to salute. Tirra stayed in her casual position and waved daintily. "Evening, Spur. I was just teaching our baby psychic to play Transcenda."

    The broad-shouldered Granok frowned, because that was the only facial expression she knew how to make. "What's Transcenda?"

    Lacey groaned, scrubbing her tattooed palms across her eyes. "It's like chess, only you have to share your pieces with your opponent and she gets to make up rules as she goes along."

    Tirra stuck out her tongue, and the slabs of rock Spur had where lesser species made do with eyebrows descended in confusion. "What's chess?"

    "It's like gamok, only you take turns and you use little pieces on a board instead of people."

    The looming Granok sniffed skeptically. "Then it's not like gamok."

    Lacey leaned back with a groan. "It's not like chess either."

    Tirra let out a wounded huff. "Here I am, trying to share my culture in the spirit of mutual cooperation, and what do I get? Abuse and unappreciation. How typical."

    "That's not a word."

    "Anyway," Spur ground out before Tirra could snap back, "I came to tell you to get some rest. We got an assignment tomorrow morning."

    That made both women lean forward. "What kind?"

    "Grocery shopping. Scanners picked up some little planet supposed to be covered in edible algae."

    Tirra's nose wrinkled. "When you say 'edible,' you mean..."

    "I mean if you can keep it down, it probably won't kill you."

    Lacey licked her lips. "And when you say 'covered'..."

    "I mean wear your thick boots."

    Tirra leaned back and shook her head, in the process sending waves of red hair whipping around her face. "Golly, Corporal, how do you always get us the best jobs?"

    "You'd rather everyone on the Fleet starve to death?" Spur snapped. Tirra immediately averted her eyes, tail curling around her knees dejectedly.

    Lacey sighed. "C'mon, Spur. You know she didn't..."

    "Yeah. Sorry kid. We just...we all need some sleep."

    Lacey just nodded wordlessly as Spur closed the hatch behind her. When it was closed, Tirra crossed her arms. "Must've had another fight with Daddy."

    "Hey. She's got a lot to worry about. C'mon, let's get some sleep. You can try to teach me again after we get back and my brain's had time to recover."

    The pale, dark-haired human gave Tirra's hand a reassuring pat before sliding into the narrow bunk hanging from one wall of the tiny compartment. She'd just closed her eyes when the bunk got a whole lot narrower.

    Lacey's eyes shot open to find Tirra lying next to her. She cleared her throat. "Is there, um...something wrong with your bunk?"

    Tirra shook her head even as she buried it in Lacey's shoulder. "No, why? Would you rather we sleep there?"

    "Is there a...particular reason you're not over there?"

    "It's too cold. You're warm," the Aurin muttered.

    Lacey blushed as Tirra's tail curled its way around her knees. Before she could say anything, the Aurin was asleep. The young Esper just leaned her head back against the threadbare pillow and sighed.

    Just another night on the Fleet.
  2. ruff_ethereal

    ruff_ethereal Well-Known Cupcake

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    I love your use of chess to illustrate the cultural differences between the Exile species. Personally, I love how Tirra described the absurd and delightfully strange rules of Transcenda. Though I will probably never learn how to play the game, the mechanics, the designs of the pieces, and the names, my stars, the names, fascinate me. The bit about Gamok and how the big differences made me laugh.

    Spur's entrance was hilarious. I like that bit about how her banging her head on the top of the hatch happened every single time, with the exact same result. The part about her rock eyebrows had me giggling for some weird reason.

    Excellent work portraying the desperation of Exile life. I like the "Which means..." section of their "grocery shopping" mission. (Very creative term all in itself, man .) The part about the current definition of "edible" had me in stitches.

    Do I smell lesbians? I smell lesbians. Either that, or friends with no concern for personal space. Either way, I would love to see more of it.

    Thank you for posting this. I always enjoy the creativity of this fandom, even though the game hasn't even been released yet.
  3. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Hee, thanks ruff! At the moment it's mostly just 'Aurin seem to me like they wouldn't really get the concept of boundaries.' But then I have been known to dabble in femslash in the past, so we'll see what happens.
  4. FluidD

    FluidD Cupcake-About-Town

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    My aurin also had no concept of boundaries, she likes to hug rock people while shes naked. Take that whichever way u see fit.

    Nice story man, makes me want to go add another edition to the ole' journal
  5. InnocentCivilian

    InnocentCivilian "That" Cupcake

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    I don't normally read fanfics, even ones which are short stories (because I'm lazyyyy), but I read this one!

    Ruffethereal pretty much summed up the awesome things about it ^_^. The dialogue where we learn how 'gamok' works is soooo slickly written :p.

    Either you put a LOT of effort into making this, or you're a naturally-gifted wordsmith (or both :eek:). You're not really pedantic like some other people can be with their writing, and you come up with snappy, clever and entertaining ways to describe things which another person might do in a more mundane or straightforward way.

    Great job! :laugh:
  6. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    A Day's Work

    The thing about being an Exile was that every facet of one's grim and dingy existence could be described as in some way military, but not without a big old 'ex-' on the front. Everyone had a rank, but no one saluted. You had a commanding officer who gave you assignments, but then you came home and got drunk (or more) together. Everyone carried a weapon, but only about half of them were actually in working order.

    And everyone had a uniform, but no two people had the same one.

    Lacey's, for instance, was ash gray leather and showed off her tattoos while giving the unmistakable impression that anyone caught staring at them for too long would regret it. Tirra's, to put it bluntly, looked like something one might see on a pinup calendar with a theme of guerrilla insurgency. And Spur's, well...that much armor looks good on anyone.

    The ships in the drop bay of the Pint of Bitter were the same way, a mix of pods and shuttles and salvage boats that each would have required a specialized mechanic even if they weren't all constantly falling apart. The drop pod that belonged to Recon Team C, nicknamed the Bearcat, was kept in better repair than most. This was partly because the women of Recon C took pride in their work, and partly because they wanted to spend as little time in the hangar as possible.

    "Hey look, boys, it's the lovely ladies of Team C." The sneering, too-handsome-by-half human sizing up Lacey and Tirra as they walked into the bay was Diego Casper, the esteemed leader of Recon B. He would have preferred to be the esteemed leader of Recon A, and spent most of his time taking it out on Recons C through F. He leaned back to address the other members of his squad. "Ain't it funny how the girly team always gets sent out to pick up the shoppin'? Wonder why that is, boys."

    Tirra snarled in a way that suggested she was about to offer a rebuttal that made use of her teeth, and Lacey just grabbed her arm. "Come on. We've got work to do."

    "Yeah, you're right, I'm sorry honey. Y'all gotta get back in time to come over to my quarters and cook me some of whatever you're scrapin' up. Guarantee I'll make it worth your while!"

    Lacey ignored the mocking laughter and just tugged on Tirra's elbow again. When the hand smacked the backside of her leather pants, she ignored that too.

    When they reached the Bearcat, Tirra flounced back against the hull of the pod as dramatically as she could. "You should just let me bite him!"

    "You think we're getting bad assignments now?"

    "Well...you're an Esper. Couldn't you...make him think he's covered in bugs or something?"

    Lacey looked down, hand rubbing the back of her neck. "I don't...use my power like that."

    "Like what? Defending yourself? Giving some skin-tail a taste of his own medicine?"

    Lacey sighed and leaned back next to the pouting Aurin. "Ti...I just don't want to get involved, okay?"

    "Involved with what?"

    Lacey straightened up. Tirra just wondered how a seven-foot tall woman made of solid stone could sneak up on them like that.

    "Nothing. Are we ready to go?"

    Spur nodded curtly. "Just about. Just waiting for..."

    The other Granok's entry into the hangar was much less subtle. Captain Grayback was more than a head taller than his daughter, wearing twice as much armor, and permanently scowling. He drew to a stop across from the pod, and all three women stood a little straighter. "Corporal. Ready for departure?"

    Spur nodded sharply, hands behind her back and chest thrust out and looking even more like a statue than she usually did. "Yes, sir."

    The captain just nodded too. "Good luck."

    "Thank you, sir."

    "Familial affection at its sappiest," Tirra muttered. Lacey elbowed her in the side before Spur could turn around.

    "Let's get going."

    None of them looked back at the retreating captain or the other recon teams; Lacey, Tirra, and Spur just piled wordlessly into the pod, bracing themselves to spend the day wading through knee-deep algae.

    Part of being an Exile, after all, meant that whether it was glamorous or not, you always had a job to do.
  7. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Oh, and thanks, everyone. :)
  8. ruff_ethereal

    ruff_ethereal Well-Known Cupcake

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    "The sneering, too-handsome-by-half human sizing up Lacey and Tirra as they walked into the bay was Diego Casper, the esteemed leader of Recon B."

    Pardon me, what?

    Otherwise, interesting look at Exile life. I would have preferred a little more interaction with the Exiles, more emphasis on the shabby state of everything (loved that comment about every ship needing their own specific mechanic, falling apart or otherwise), and generally more to this chapter, but I see that this is the kick-off point to some interesting matters and events.

    I like the character building moments here. Interesting work with Lacey's reluctance to use her Esper powers (or can she even use them in the first place?). I really want to see what sparked this reluctance and the very rational, intelligent choice of ignoring the sexist pig.

    Hilarious work with Tirra. I like the contrast between her and her teammates, and demeanor that is not unlike my dog: unfriendly and rabid to everyone except a few choice individuals. The bit about her armour being more for show, however unintentional, sort of threw me off. It speaks about her character, yes, and about my current perceptions of Aurin, but somehow, it's placement there caused this slight jam in the flow.

    So I see Spur has family on-board. This should be interesting. I like how she ups her game when her father's around. Speaking of Captain Grayback, I would have liked a more imaginative telling of him. Something more "Show" about his permanent scowl? Maybe something of a quip from Tirra like "So was his face carved like that when he was born?" or some such. As it stands, being told that he is the no-nonsense military commander is sort of boring.
  9. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Yeah, I know I'm starting off pretty sketch-like, but mostly I'm just trying to keep the posts fairly short and introduce the basic concept before I get into the details. Rest assured, the details of Lacey's background and Spur's relationship with her father will come up a lot later on.
  10. InnocentCivilian

    InnocentCivilian "That" Cupcake

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    My personal favourite line in this new instalment. :3

    It's actually quite a nice observation on your part that there seems to be something of a loose rank system among the Exiles and that the Granok seem to be the most militaristic among them.

    I also really like how you conclude each of your instalments with a 'day-in-the-life' sort of way. It seems like a theme that may run through this series, even against the backdrop of whatever epicness is going to occur.

    Also, Diego totally needs to get what's coming to him. :p
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  11. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Hazard Pay

    "Chadh!"

    Coincidentally, Spur had managed to put her tungsten-sheathed boot down into a particularly deep pocket of algae at just that moment, and so actually ended up with a reason to say it. Not that the scowling Granok thought of it as a particularly happy coincidence.

    Tirra, who had somehow managed so far to pick her way across the shallowest parts of the swamp and was thus only slimy and blue-green up to mid-calf instead of to her knees, turned to face their superior. "What's it mean?"

    "It's slang for the goronga."

    Tirra blinked and turned to Lacey with her fluffy red eyebrows raised. Between trying to corral her not-entirely-reliable Scan-Bot and trying to keep the living muck from sucking her boots off, the human could only spare a shrug, so Tirra turned back to Spur.

    "All right, I'll ask. What's a goronga?"

    Spur waved her off. "Y'know, the...private body part...that not being made outta solid stone, you probably don't have."

    Tirra and Lacey shared a (vaguely horrified) glance until the human cleared her throat and turned back to the Scan-Bot, which was currently hovering a few feet above the algae taking readings and causing ripples. "Anyway. Ti. What about yours?"

    "Right. Um, I guess..." The Aurin glanced around as if her mother were lurking just out of sight waiting to pop out and yank on her ear as soon as she said it. "Melabora."

    Spur either couldn't or didn't bother to hold back a snort. "Doesn't exactly sound dirty."

    "Well it means..." She stroked nervously at the fur on her tail. "It means 'to burn the forest down.' As in the Dominion are a bunch of filthy, smoke-sucking melaboradae..."

    The Aurin's hands were balled up and her shoulders were tensed, until Lacey reached out to take the former and gently stroke the latter. Tirra smiled tentatively and pressed her forehead against the wiry human's in silent thanks. When they pulled apart, Lacey's cheeks were pink and Tirra's smile just widened. "Your turn. What's the dirtiest word in Humanese?"

    Lacey rolled her eyes. "Well...I guess it's probably..."

    Whatever it probably was was drowned out by the shrill beeping of the Scan-Bot. Lacey turned to the display, and her eyes narrowed. "The tanks are full. We might want to get heading back."

    Spur groaned. "I figured you'd want to stay and study this fascinating algae."

    "This fascinating algae seems like the only living thing here. And I can study it when it's in a storage tank instead of my socks."

    Not one to complain about getting out of anything even close to water, Tirra just spun back toward the pod with a contented sigh. Then she spun back again with a somewhat less-contented shriek.

    Spur's sword was in her hands with a decidedly unladylike roar in the time it took her to process Tirra standing on one foot, clawblades waving frantically above the surface of the bog. "What?!?"

    "It moved!"

    There was a pause, then Lacey hopped back and even Spur flinched as the algae suddenly began to bubble.

    "What's going on?"

    The question was directed at Lacey, who was furiously stabbing at the display on the Scan-Bot even as her tattoos unwittingly began to glow blue with psychic potential. "I don't know! Just don't move!"

    Tirra swallowed. "Um...could I ask a really, really terrifying, nightmarish question?"

    "No." "No!"

    Tirra swallowed again anyway, eyes flitting back and forth every time a new ripple appeared. "If the algae's the only living thing here...what does it eat?"

    Lacey and Spur shared a wide-eyed stare, and the Granok tightened her grip on her sword. "Oh, you gotta be kiddin' me!"

    "Calm down!" Lacey's eyes were back on the display. "According to the scanner, the algae's just breaking down sulfur and chlorine. Probably from th..." She blinked. Then she cleared her throat.

    "From the what?"

    "Lace?"

    The human licked her lips. "Okay. So, I'm going to say a word. And then after I say that word, we're going to run back to the pod very fast. Okay?"

    "Lacey, from the what?"

    Lacey winced. "Geysers."

    In the expanse of algae between them, there was a muffled pop. The only one to react in time was Spur.

    Even then, all she was able to say was:

    "Aw, chadh!"

    ...

    Johannes Edger was the mechanic assigned to the Bearcat. This was less because of his engineering skill, which was passable at best, and more because the pod was almost as old as he was and he was the only one left who even knew what model it was.

    Still, the fat, grandfatherly old man liked his job. His girls, as he thought of the crew, always took care of their ship, leaving him with nothing more demanding than light maintenance and the occasional paint touch-up. What was more, since he'd never had grandchildren (his only son's interests lying rather decidedly elsewhere) he felt rather protective of the young ladies of Recon Team C. It made his old heart swell to see them strut down the ramp after a successful mission.

    Or, in this case, to see Spur's head pop out furtively from around the edge of the hatchway. "Edger. Is Team B still waiting for clearance?"

    The old mechanic scratched at his nose. "Well, no. They left for perimeter patrol about...an hour ago?"

    "Oh, thank you, merciful ancestors..."

    As the crew stepped down to the deck, his eyes went wide. All three of them were wet, slimy, and decidedly blue-green from head (or in Tirra's case, ear) to toe. Spur swiped a hand across her eyes, revealing the gray stone and furious scowl underneath. Drawing on his experience in the field of being married for fifty-two years, he didn't say a single word.

    Spur let out a snort, and Edger once again said nothing even as bubbles bulged from the team leader's nose. "Edger, call the captain, please. Tell him we'll be a few minutes late to the debriefing."

    "Right. I'll...right."

    He gave Tirra and Lacey a sympathetic smile as they sloshed miserably past him, Tirra's fingers trying to run comfortingly through Lacey's hair but mostly just combing away handfuls of gunk. "It's okay, she knows it's not your fault. Let's just go take a shower."

    Lacey's slouched shuffle immediately straightened up. "You don't...you mean showers."

    Tirra rolled her eyes. "Well, how do you expect to reach that spot on your back all by yourself? Or me to make sure the base of my tail's clean?"

    Lacey, who couldn't seem to say no to the Aurin even when she wasn't covered in half an inch of blue slime, just let herself slump all over again.

    Back on the Bearcat's little patch of hangar, Edger was smiling and rubbing his pudgy hands together. "All right now, sweetheart. What say we get you cleaned up too?"
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  12. ruff_ethereal

    ruff_ethereal Well-Known Cupcake

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    Great as always. Had to admit, I was kinda lost with that amusing scientific fact, and it took my brother commandeering my Binary Beast for Borderlands for an hour or three, plus a re-reading to get it. I have to say, scientific and subtle filthy jokes are a class all on their own.

    Once again, I applaud your use of culture and culture differences. The Granok "filthiest word" was hilarious, in that I have no idea what that part looks like, but simply knowing what it is made me laugh. The Aurin I was confused with till I realised that no, they aren't using the same dual-purpose as the Granok.

    The panic and the set-up for "uh oh, carnivorous algae" was confusing, as I said earlier, but once I actually got it: nice work. I like how Tirra is just as hyperactive in the face of danger as she usually is; the image of an adorable Aurin female flailing about making loud noises is stuck in my head. Thank you.

    Edgar was another brilliant addition to the cast. I loved the one and only reason for his assignment, and the fact that he gets off so light compared to the others thanks to our trio's great care when it comes to their ship. The bit about life experience from marriage was standard issue, but no less nice.

    You're... you're just not trying to hide it anymore, are you? I have this to say about Tirra and her oblivious sexual harassment: thank you. The Aurin always strike me as a very communal people, and seeing the innocently filthy escapades that rise up with their reactions with us humans always makes me laugh, among other things.

    "You don't... you mean showers."

    That... okay, I giggled like a little girl at that. Tirra? You are my personal favourite now and forever. However, I have to admit, you would only be half as good without Lacey to bounce off of.
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  13. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Meet the Stalker

    Character: Private Tirra Nearfire

    Race: Aurin

    Q: Thanks for letting me do this interview.

    A: Hey, no problem! My squad mates are so gloomy all the time, it's nice to sit down with someone who actually wants me to talk!

    Q: Your squad mates? Tell me about them.

    A: Well, Spur's in charge, and I guess she's pretty good at it. Better than I'd be, anyway. Although she does seem to yell at me a lot. I guess it must be hard on her, with her dad and everything. Combine that with being a Granok, and I guess it's no wonder she's always in a bad mood.

    Q: Right...who else is in your squad?

    A: Just Lacey. Oh, Lacey...she's a real sweetheart! So quiet, though, and she blushes all the time. I'd tell her how cute it was, but that would probably just make her even quieter.

    Q: You, uh, seem to like Lacey a lot.

    A: Oh, I love her to bits! She's like the sister I never had. Well, except I don't really think of her like a sister and I actually have six...

    Q: Wait. You have six sisters?

    A: Yep. And three brothers.

    Q: Is that a normal size for an Aurin family?

    A: Well no, not really. But since we joined the Fleet and everybody has to conserve resources, most Aurin couples decide to only have the one litter.

    Q: Um...right. Anyway, back to your squad. What exactly do you do?

    A: Well, the Recon Teams do anything that needs someone to leave the Fleet for a while. Our team usually ends up getting food or fuel, which I guess is better than being cooped up on the ship all the time. I kind of wish we got to do some of the more exciting stuff, though.

    Q: Like what?

    A: Well, Teams A and B go out to map new routes. If a Dominion patrol gets too close, they even go make up a distraction so the Fleet can get away! But I guess the captain doesn't want Spur to get hurt or something, because we never get to do that kind of stuff.

    Q: So you want to fight the Dominion?

    A: Well...I mean, I guess I'm better at hiding and making things than I am at fighting. But if you're asking whether I think we should make them pay for what they did, then you're damn right I do!

    Q: You mean what they did to Arboria?

    A: We...we can all feel it, you know that? I mean, it happened before I was born, but Aurin can feel the sensations coming off all sorts of living things, and that includes each other. That means the memory of watching the forest burn...it gets passed down. Even though I wasn't there, I know what it was like...

    Q: I...I had no idea. I'm sorry.

    A: Most humans don't really understand. I think Lacey does, though. She never talks about it, but it seems like she's feeling a lot more of people's pain than she lets on. Maybe that's part of why I like her so much...I just wish she felt like she could tell me about it, you know? Sorry, what were we talking about?

    Q: I think we can probably wrap up for now. Thanks for your time.

    A: No problem, it was fun! Hey...I don't suppose you know how to play Transcenda...
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  14. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Underway

    "Ah! Nothing like the vast expanse of the universe stretching out in front of you, is there, Vexler? All those foreign stars shining forth, crying out to be gathered to the supple bosom of the Dominion! To suckle at the teat of justice and enlightenment after so long wailing into the unfeeling vastness of the black and terrible void."

    "Indeed, sir. Most evocative." Even if it were possible for a Mechari to look anything other than flatly uninterested, the one standing at attention next to the captain's chair probably still wouldn't have.

    "We should count ourselves lucky, Vexler. To be granted the opportunity to not only see the true majesty of the universe, but to forge out into it to secure the glory of the Dominion, now and forever!"

    "Exactly what I was thinking, sir."

    While the middle-aged Cassian in the garish black and red uniform continued to rant at his similarly-liveried attache, the two younger, more practically-dressed humans stationed at the front of the bridge just tried to ignore him.

    The red-haired Kepler leaned in toward his navigator. "How exactly did we end up crewing for Lord Silk-Petticoats, again?"

    The tall, dusky brunette tried to hide her smile. "You mean given how much respect you usually show our commanding officers? I can't imagine."

    "Is there a problem of which I should be made aware, Officer Atero?"

    She gave the pilot a sharp glance, then cleared her throat. "No, sir. Officer Kepler and I were just wondering, sir, why a high-ranking nobleman such as yourself would take on such a dangerous mission," which meant 'we were wondering who you pissed off to get exiled to a tiny little scout ship whose mission's basically a joke.'

    Captain Tyrian's chest puffed out authoritatively, or at least authoritatively enough given the circumstances. "Well, when one has had personal contact with the Emperor as I have, his patriotism and selflessness can inspire one to great deeds of heroic action," which meant 'they all said she was the Emperor's niece, but I just didn't listen, did I?'

    The captain cleared his throat. "Has our late arrival made herself known?"

    Atero checked her comm screen for the sixth time in as many minutes. "No sir. She should be arriving from the station any time, but she hasn't checked in yet."

    "I don't check in."

    Three pairs of eyes snapped around to the muscular, voluptuous Draken suddenly filling the rear hatch while one pair of ocular cameras stayed stubbornly forward. The Draken put on a slow, lazy grin as she stalked around the perimeter of the bridge, talons clicking on the decking and tail swishing seductively behind her.

    "So this is the best they can do. Nice."

    The captain cleared his throat. "Huntress Sorcha. I am Lord Adonis Percivan Arcosta Tyrian, Captain of the Crippling Blow. My aide, Vexler. It is a pleasure to have you aboard."

    The huntress just hummed dismissively as she circled around to the two humans trying to focus on their stations. "Which one's mine?"

    "I'm...sorry?"

    "The male has better shoulders, but he stinks of fear. The female smells like she might fight, which isn't always a bad thing in a body slave. I suppose they could duel to the death..."

    Kepler's eyes went wide and Atero swallowed as a long, delicate claw teased its way down the back of each of their necks. "Tell me, which of you has the stronger neck muscles?"

    Captain Tyrian cleared his throat. "I'm afraid they won't be dueling to the death, Huntress, as Officer Kepler and Officer Atero are both quite indispensable for the operation of the ship."

    "Hmm, well, I suppose they can draw lots, then." She turned her predatory gaze on the captain, and thus didn't see the other two humans collapse against their consoles. "So. I'll be helping you hunt down the Traitor Fleet, is that it?"

    "Yes, we'll be sweeping the outlying systems of the Glittering Ridge and moving inward toward the core."

    "Just one little ship?"

    Tyrian puffed out his chest again. Opposite Sorcha's feral smirk, it didn't really have the same impact. "Even the most compact Dominion ship is more than a match for that hodge-podge of hundred-year-old scraps, Huntress."

    "Really? I've heard tales of the Exiles taking on pirate fleets and merchant caravans. They're good hunters, Captain."

    "Better than you, Huntress?"

    Sorcha's smirk widened. "You know, I like you." She brushed past him on her way toward the hatch. "Try to play my pride again, and I'll like you with sauce."

    As she swayed her way down the passage to the crew quarters, Captain Tyrian swallowed. And crossed his legs. "Take us out, Officer Kepler."

    Kepler and Atero shared a glance that asked whether it was too late to get reassigned to a garbage transport. The pilot took a deep breath. "Aye, Captain."

    "This promises to be a most...fascinating adventure, doesn't it, Vexler?"

    If it were possible for a Mechari to sigh, Vexler probably would have.

    "Indeed, sir."
  15. ruff_ethereal

    ruff_ethereal Well-Known Cupcake

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    With regards to Tirra,

    I love this girl even more. I positively adore the common trend of Aurin OCs being tiny, unstoppable engines of pure joy, with seriously broken mechanics underneath the colourful exterior. It's an old trope, yes, but tropes are tools; they're not inherently bad, and neither are cliches.

    Yay for her practically admitting the intentionality of all that adorable, hilarious Les-Yay that's been going on for these past few Exile chapters. I laughed when she off-handedly mentioned that complimenting Lacey would probably make her even quieter.

    Hip hip hooray for Aurin litters! My idea of aurin reproductive systems is that they never stop at one, lump sum or installment. I like that ten children constitutes "the one litter" and now I am positively horrified when I realise that many of them probably died on Arboria.

    Yay for horrific implied events in tragic backstory?

    Thanks for the idea of aurin being connected on a deep, psychic level. I should have known with their seeming abundance of espers and emphatic relation with the trees on Arboria. Now that I literally see the idea spelled out for me, I shall steal it and use it for my OC, the socially inept Lifira!

    Transcenda. I really, really want to see the pieces of this fuggin' game now.
  16. ruff_ethereal

    ruff_ethereal Well-Known Cupcake

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    With regards to the Dominion chapter,

    Hooray for the other side of the equation! Not that the Exiles are boring, but you can only have so much of the same thing before it starts getting old.

    "Indeed, sir. Most evocative." Even if it were possible for a Mechari to look anything other than flatly uninterested, the one standing at attention next to the captain's chair probably still wouldn't have.

    This sentence was really confusing. I didn't get it at first read, but got the joke thanks to context.

    I love Captain Tyrian's hilariously pompous, over-inflated view of himself in spite of the reality. His flowery manner of speaking and the lack of subtlety he has with every aspect of his life (save for paraphrasing unsavoury events) is very endearing, if only because he's an amusing douche.

    I should have probably mentioned his metaphor earlier. The appropriate yet extremely dirty (but not really, because breast feeding is just uncomfortable if you choose to be uncomfortable about it) and incredibly strange comparison was brilliant, confusing, and literally laugh out loud hilarious. Thank you.

    The conversation between Kepler and Atero had only one kink: you should have named Atero outright. I got confused when Captain Tyrian spoke up. Otherwise, excellent means of establishing their personalities and the "How We Got Here" in less than three sentences.

    The translation and the paraphrasing were very funny. I like the appropriate Dominion style manner of speaking and the translations of all the formality. I especially loved how Tyrian put his stubbornly cavorting with the Emperor's niece in spite of all those warnings.

    Wow with Huntress Skara. The name could use a bit of work, methinks; something more to the lines of Sorcha? It's a subtle pun on her being so flaming hot you'll get burnt, which you will, and by burnt, I mean grievously injured and muttering "worth it."

    "I don't check in."

    Can you say "hubba-hubba"? 'Cause I did.

    Nice swing back to comedy with the name of the ship. He really must feel confident to have such a gloriously named ship like that.

    Excellent establishment of who Skara is with her "Who's mine?" scene. I personally found that hilarious. The visual image of both officers being so incredibly tense, along with her strangely attractive criteria, and the mix of draken philosophy with that duel to the death for a "body slave" were all excellent.

    Skara's smirk widened. "You know, I like you." She brushed past him on her way toward the hatch. "Try to play my pride again, and I'll like you with sauce."

    I'm sure that your appealing to one of my stranger fetishes was totally unintended. Still, I must thank you. From a story perspective, excellent building of Skara's character and quirks with just dialogue and action.

    I laugh at Vexler's woes. To be a humanoid being without the full range of human emotions; truly a tragic and extremely hilarious fate.
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  17. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Ah, so many words!
    Something tells me someone's spent a bit of time on TV Tropes (a shame I'm sad to say I share ;)).
    Please feel free to steal as many of my ideas as you like (that goes for anyone). The more people steal it and run with it, the more likely it is to end up canon :D!

    And who knows, maybe some day I'll actually go the trouble of writing out rules for Transcenda. I already know the basic setup, it's just a matter of thinking up all the pieces...
    I was actually having a lot of trouble coming up with a good name for the Huntress, and Sorcha's awesome. In fact, if you don't mind, I think I'll steal it and make a little edit...
  18. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Garden Party

    Like most ships in the Exile Fleet, the Pint of Bitter had a garden.

    This might sound uncharacteristic or even frivolous until one considers - or has a defensive, excitable Aurin botanical engineer explain to one - that a starship is a closed system. It has air and water that need to be purified, it has nutritional needs that have to be met, and most importantly it has a crew that need something pretty to look at to keep them from going crazy and going skinny-dipping out the nearest airlock.

    This last reason is why most ship gardens on the Exile Fleet were constantly crawling with Aurin. Of course, by mathematical and bureaucratic coincidence, the Pint of Bitter had only one Aurin aboard.

    Lacey knocked on the frame of the hatchway leading into the small domed compartment at the top of the ship, hydroponic troughs and planters overflowing with greenery. The red-haired Aurin crying in the middle of them looked up.

    Lacey smiled. "Thought I might find you here." Tirra scrubbed furtively at the tear-tracks on her cheeks, which Lacey graciously pretended not to notice in favor of the tray she carried in. "I brought you something to eat."

    "Thanks." Tirra sniffed. "What is it?"

    "Mush."

    Tirra's button nose wrinkled. "What kind?"

    "Mushy."

    "My favorite."

    Lacey set the tray down and slid to the deck across from Tirra, watching as the redhead began to tentatively scoop up the yellow-gray slop with her fingers; as the Aurin had often said, utensils were for species who didn't get along with their food.

    When Tirra paused to lick her fingers, Lacey pursed her lips. "Is everything all right, Ti?"

    Tirra blushed, an unprecedented anomaly at which Lacey couldn't help but stare.

    "I'm fine. I just...I think I might be a little homesick."

    "You know...there are shuttles going across the Fleet every day. You could just go see them."

    The Aurin let out a snort. "Oh yeah, the rest of the litter would love that. Here comes puffed-up little Tirra, running back to Mama with her tail between her legs..."

    "But half your sisters still live with your parents."

    "Yeah and the ones who don't, we're saying that we could take care of ourselves." She sniffed. "I'll be fine."

    Lacey patted Tirra's knee gently, and the Aurin gave her a curious glance that made her squirm. "What?"

    "I was just thinking...you know all about my family, but you never talk about yours."

    Lacey shrugged awkwardly. "There's nothing to talk about. My parents are on the Palladium, I don't have any brothers or sisters..."

    "Yeah, but...you never talk about how you grew up. I want to know what you were like as a kit."

    "Look, there's really not much to tell. I was born, I was raised, I trained to be an Esper, I was assigned here." She briefly met the Aurin's earnest gaze from beneath her eyelashes. "I'm not as interesting as you think I am, Ti."

    Tirra just held her gaze with a smile. Eventually, she broke it with a yawn, and Lacey cleared her throat.

    "Anyway. The real reason I'm here is that Spur was looking for us. One of the fuel tankers had an exo breach, started venting crystals into space. We go on pick-up duty first shift, so..."

    "Right." Tirra looked slowly around at the lush greenery , a stark contrast against the yellow-brown metal and faded caution labels of the bulkheads. "I think...is it okay if I just sleep here?"

    When her head came to rest against Lacey's chest, it confirmed that what she'd really meant was 'is it okay if we just sleep here?'

    She was out before Lacey could offer an opinion one way or the other. The human sighed, but not too much. She pushed Tirra's floppy ear out of her face, leaned back, and tried to make herself comfortable.

    If this kept up, she'd have to talk to someone about completing the garden with some grass...
  19. ruff_ethereal

    ruff_ethereal Well-Known Cupcake

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    Have I ever mentioned that your explanations always manage to be extremely hilarious, along with your asides? The bit about having a defensive, excitable Aurin botanical engineer to explain made me giggle, and "skinny-dipping out the nearest airlock" is now one of my new favourite phrases. Keep it up with the incredibly amusing and bizarre images, good sir.

    It's also interesting, and a very amusing coincidence indeed, that Tirra is the only Aurin in the ship. I can't wait to see what you do with this.

    That was adorable. I love how you make a joke out of the less than ideal chow on the Exile Fleet, and spin it into an incredibly heartwarming moment along with a funny bit of Aurin eccentricity.

    I love the mention of family, and how Tirra is very open about hers but Lacey, as always, is very closed about her own life. I like the contrast between the two in every single way; they bounce off of each others differences and make them even more striking as characters. The Foil effect, in other words.

    All this Les-Yay, I can't... nah, just screwing with you! Keep it up! This particular brand of romantic cuteness is one of my favourites, the Free Love and The Clam dynamic. I particularly like how Tirra can swing from super hyperactivity and nonsensical happiness straight into blissful unconsciousness, 9000 to zero in no time flat.

    I also like how you closed off this chapter with a rather amusing predicament for Lacey. Ah, dirt; you don't exactly make as good of a bed as nice, soft grass.
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  20. EldritchSandwich

    EldritchSandwich Cupcake

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    Meet the Warrior

    Character: Corporal Spur Grayback

    Race: Granok

    Q: Corporal, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

    A: Uh-huh.

    Q: So you're the leader of Recon Team C. What can you tell us about it?

    A: We do our job. And it's the reason you can afford to sit around askin' people questions for a living.

    Q: Right. Thanks for that. Can you tell me a little about the women under your command?

    A: Well, there's Private Nearfire and there's Private Lacey. Nearfire's...well, an Aurin. Not sure what she's doin' on a Recon Team, actually, but she does the job. Lacey's competent and respectful, which is all I really care about, but as a bonus she keeps the Aurin in line.

    Q: Really? I've heard rumors that Lacey has some sort of dark past...

    A: 'Dark past?' Where the hell d'you think you are? Ain't a lot of sunny childhoods growin' up on the Fleet.

    Q: On that note, I understand the captain of the Pint of Bitter, Gran Grayback, is your father.

    A: Is there a question in there somewhere?

    Q: Well...what's that like?

    A: Oh, it's super! Sometimes when I'm really good, Daddy lets me sit in his lap and fly the ship like a big girl! Are you kiddin' me?

    Q: Um...well, I just meant...there must be a lot of pressure on you as the captain's daughter.

    A: Oh, right. Of course. And here I thought the pressure was from bein' a Recon leader with the lives of everyone on the Fleet on my shoulders.

    Q: Well, I mean...that is a very prestigious position.

    A: What are you saying?

    Q: Er, nothing, I...

    A: Listen good, you little chadh, my father never handed me a damn thing! I got here the only way a Granok ever gets anything, and that's by standin' up and takin' it!

    Q: I...

    A: You think I haven't been hearin' this <REDACTED> my whole career? I do the job, and I do it better than anyone! That not enough for you?

    Q: Um...I think we're done here. Thank you for your time.

    A: Whatever. I got work to do.

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