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Diary of a Krell

Diary of a Krell

The work was tedious… but she was lucky to have it. Better here than in the scavenger parties, out in the intense cold, risking death in furs and ancient breathing gear, going further and further out to find ruins which hadn’t been totally stripped. Work meant extra food, and young… or, at least, young that stood a better chance of living long enough to walk and choose a name.

Essential work. Stripping the edible leaves from the plants from the greenhouses and cutting away the tubers from the roots. Largest to the bins for mush, smaller ones to be sent back up as seed. The very smallest bulbs could be left for the juveniles to eat raw…however hard she hit, she couldn’t stop them taking a few to ease their hunger, and they seemed so small… six or seven was old enough to work, but some could still barely walk upright yet.

Must be strict… it should go with the rest of the waste; to the worm vats. A relentless cycle… Plant waste to worm… Worm to food-rat… food-rat to Krell… and ‘soil’ back to food-plant. Unless things go bad, like the time of the blight, when the mush ration had been cut by five eighths and the ‘meat’ had been the barely-processed worms themselves, flavoured with the tang of decay.


End of shift. She roared at the work crew to stop their tasks, cuffing a few, setting the younglings squealing. She was like a mother to them… none she recognized. She’d know her own by their family-scent, but nothing was familiar. Her oldest would be…. Nearly five now? Probably still in the wormery then, picking through the filth with their small, still unfused, digits for the squirming little red strings of protein.

This close to the outside, the tang of pollution could make it through aging seals and taint the air, despite the slight over-pressure. As long as the pumps operated, they could survive. Not forever though…atmospheric oxygen levels were dropping measurably. The scavenged wood from dead trees, for the charcoal filters, would probably run out long before then anyway.

She left the chilly top-outer levels, moving through the crowd as upright as possible, uncomfortably so, but necessary to make headway. The heads of bigger Krell rose, then fell in submission when they saw the badges of rank and family tattoos. A work-leader was not to be casually pushed aside by any dumb labourer in this clan… She could hold her head upright because of what was in it, even if her lack of muscle made the effort tiring.

Journeying into the depths of the building… her ancestors had been quite well-off, a complex nearly at ground-level and near the air/light-well. Back then, the space her pack claimed had been for a single family. Merely a few eights of adults, in the space where several eight-squareds lived now… Lost luxury.

Approaching home she relaxed, acknowledging a few submissions with a flare of her nostrils. Family scent…welcoming. Her pack-master was in the communal area, so she paid her respects before a quick visit to her family quarters. After checking her pups, still safe in the care of her sisters, and freshening with a little water from the condenser, she was ready for her adventure. A visit to the star-base, to meet her mate, and perhaps see the new aliens!

On the journey down, she passed a few starved-looking outcasts. Maimed males who had misjudged a dominance challenge, and lost badly. Females who had chosen their own brood over supporting that of a sister. Lacking family or pack, they existed by hunting wild-rats and selling the leather and pathetic items they’d scavenged from the abandoned above-ground levels. She traded a dole-chit for a faded book, as much to save it being turned into mulch for food-fungus as any interest she had in the pictures.

Descending the steps onto the platform of the underground station, she studied the wall-map, to check the tunnel for her destination: ‘The Aerodrome’, they had called it, back when Krell had travelled the whole world in days… floating under giant swollen bags of gas. More lost secrets of her forebears.

Into the barely-illuminated tunnel. The habitations had been built on higher ground, and the walk was easy; slightly downhill, the metal and wood of the track long gone. Other tunnels would be a nightmare of predatory rats and feral outlaw bands. Some led out onto the surface and, it was said, on to other cities. This tunnel though was frequently used, and would be safe for the short journey.

She ignored several other travelers, wary of making an inappropriate response in the poor light. Finally she made her way towards the guards at the checkpoint, arms wide and head low in submission. While checking her credentials the leader barged her in a rough, suggestive, way, which she ignored. Probably a newly-dominant male, seeking a pairing, although hard to be sure in the armour, adapted from a fitting made generations ago for a bulkier warrior, masking it’s wearers scent.

Beyond them, Kegadur, her mate, was there to greet her. She cringed submissively to him – courtship had established their relative status, and she felt too insecure to flirt in this unfamiliar place. He handed her tinted goggles, and aided her in donning them, avoiding the straps covering her ear holes. She looked quizzically at him.

“Obey! You’ll need them. At least at first”.

Trudging upwards… daylight ahead. But it wasn’t outdoors. Just another concourse and doors leading out… into a brightness more than she had ever experienced.

Bare and unprotected, should choke, then freeze… but no. Not quite what it seemed. Warm… the air was fresh and barely scented. Shading her eyes, dazzled even with the goggles, she looked upwards. The sun was just discernable as a brighter area in the eternal rolling grey of the cloud-cover. Many tiny, far brighter, sources regularly arranged around the firmament provided the illumination, and in places reflected off an otherwise nearly invisible layer, high above the buildings, between herself and the sky.

“Environment dome. Supported by the pressure. Some heating from greenhouse. Rains sometimes, when the humidity builds, and the temperature drops.”

She feigned understanding, and felt the glow of pride for her mate… a technician… an alien word, for a worker with the aliens.

“I show you to my… boss. Work-leader who directs me as if nearly equal…”. Barely cringing he called to a nearby group of warriors, one of which turned to face him in response. Not Krell after all… aliens. It approached, the others taking protective flanking positions, shockers held at the half-ready.



Curiosity overrode her instinct and she glanced up to study the figure. Pale… unhealthily thin. Like an overgrown pup, with smooth, barely callused skin. Tall for a Krell, maybe as tall as a hu-man. Uncomfortably, upright, It’s stance declaring challenge to all around. Lacking muscle, it should collapse and snap bone… but as she studied, she realized that the armour was a machine, supporting it, the faint whirr of motors as it moved.

It addressed her in a heavily accented, formal tone. “Greetings, wife of Kegadur. I am, Gramangata I greet you. I would have you perform a service. Please devour this foodstuff, and tell me of your… feelings for it”.

She glanced at Kegadur, disconcerted by a dominant coaxing her to feed, as if she was a youngling, seeking his reassurance, given by a nod. The alien peeled off a thin coating… covered in writing of all things… a memory from the books came. This is how it used to be. Food, all the same, with writing, and pictures. It broke off a small portion into it’s… hand? Four digits! It passed the piece to her.

The being observed her intently, as she raised it to her lips. She could tell interest in it’s face. Not so alien after all. As commanded, she took the lump into her mouth, and chewed.

The sensation was incredible… Richness and intense flavour… overcoming conditioning she forced herself to address the creature directly, lowest to highest.

“Sir, this food is…nothing like I’ve ever had before. It’s the best thing ever... What is it?”.

The… Ulian turned to Kegadur. “Make a note.. initial reception for the fish flavour - highly positive”.


by
Paragon





 
News
Is open for business...
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Meklan Unleashed on Mobile Bay

Mad Dewiek scientist Dr Kala released a number of Meklan on the busy world of Mobile Bay in the Yank system. Thousands of civilians have been killed in what is treated by DEN warlords as an amusing practical joke. Rather than take any responsibility for their affiliation’s reckless behaviour, a DEN lord rumoured to be half-meklan himself quipped he would nuke the planet whilst another merely saw it as an opportunity to test some of his greener troops in combat. Surprisingly, the KAS planetary defence force was up to the job of repelling the insidious incursion. Questions remain whether further meklan are stored elsewhere on the planet and whether anybody will challenge the Dewiek’s lack of care for the lives of innocents. Probably not, given how even the mighty IMP are now cowering from a fight with the DEN (see inside this edition).


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Who is behind the AFA?

Following the large scale holiday attack by the AFA against the FET the question of who is behind the attacks has been raised once again. What is clear is that the AFA is using ships that were transferred from the GTT to the IMP. The organisation and expertise of the operation also reduces the pool of potential candidates. Few can go from commanding a handful of broadswords to half a thousand warships and significant army logistics without a long stint in one of the more combative affiliations. With the DEN’s allies the HEX in close relations with the FET and no recent history of animosity between the aliens and FET, at least since the departure of former one-eye big-bun Norozov, it would be a bizarre turn of events if they were behind these attacks. Frankly, there’s no point dancing around it. The IMP are clearly behind the AFA. The question is what can anybody do about this move of significant Imperial resources to a black-flag agency?


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Fox Effects Fantastic Turnaround

With his feet barely under the table, Xavier Fox has managed to dramatically turn things around at the GTT. With year-on-year sales figures up by 23%, manufacturing up 42% and ship production increased by 36%, the megacorporation is running at full steam with noticeable impact on local economies across the Stellar Empire. Political analysts also note that after a period of retrenchment following the disastrous leadership of Ike Krieger, investment in defence is at a five-year high. After such bullish growth, the trick will be for Mr. Fox to recruit C-level executives fast enough to match his ambitions. It is notable in temperament, the current crop of GTT politicals do not exhibit the monomaniacal xenophobia of their predecessors and have resisted repeated provocations by the DEN to enter a pointless spar before they have re-established superiority against the foolhardy aliens.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Felini flounder in Winter against superior Dewiek forces

The FEL have managed to get their asses kicked by the DEN yet again after provoking the definitely “not cute or cuddly” Dewiek in the Crossley system. The furry punching bags had bought a civilian flagged outpost in the system, without permission or under certain conditions depending on who you ask, and then had the gall to reinforce this error by positioning warships in orbit. The famously patient warlord Halvor did not buy the story these heavy hull armed ships were merely transports and sent a pack to clear the orbit. The mouthy yet green Felini fleet commander Pr'prz fancied his chances against what looked like a light complement of DEN warships and ordered his own warships to engage in the neighbouring Winter system. The result was predictably a wipe out of the FEL forces consisting of forty-seven capital warships at no loss to the DEN. Once again, a series of calamitous decision making resulted in Felini lives being wasted by a leadership barely fit to clean a litter tray. The otherwise untested Halvor can now claim some victory ale although with his penchant for picking on creatures as weak as Gracians, it’s not exactly clear how much glory this new breed of Dewiek warrior can claim against the legends of old.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Dastardly Dewiek Disregard Yank Neutrality

The governor of a MRC outpost in the Yank system reports that a 400-hull DEN warship called Grey Hunter Axiom entered orbit of Spritzer and opened fire with weapons of mass destruction (WoMD) against a platform, outpost, ground party and ship. Reports indicate significant casualties to Kastorian personnel both in space and on the ground. The KAS Junta is gruffly warning, with a slightly indifferent air, that everybody better stay out of the sector of the outpost for their own health. It is unclear what measures the KAS have or will take against the DEN on this matter. Such a breach of Yank neutrality has in the past caused the Dewiek to froth at the bit against the Empire for their disregard of ‘civilised’ norms. Their current silence on this matter speaks volumes.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Yenni-bodies Pirates?

A PIR outpost was miraculously discovered by an IMP freighter, of all things, in the Yanni system with several Javelin class warships in orbit. After noticing the IMP freighter and seeing the public post by Jack Jones on subspace, the PIR decided to flee and leave a combined force of IMP and FET forces to capture the outpost. A brain damaged three-year old commentator who still believed in the goodness of people and Santa Claus was quick to commend the IMP on their good work, dismissing those who thought it no more than a convenient clearing up operation signifying* completion of operations in the nearby FET claimed systems of Graydown, Canth and Onissian by IMP puppet Edward Lowe. Meanwhile, the Wolf Lord Lyceum summed up the view of many when he screamed, “What is this amateur b*llshit?” into an uncaring universe.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Crowe Coups Self

The IMP Viceroy Tiberius Crowe has finally achieved something in his unremarkable tenure by relinquishing even the semblance of wearing big boy pants and instead, appointed Jack Jones as Patrol Commissioner, salty spokesperson and policy maker for the Empire. Crowe will now join CIA Director Laton in riding the special bus to work where the two of them will enjoy long pleasant afternoons sipping cups of tea. Actually, just tepid fruit-scented water as neither of them can be fully trusted with a hot kettle. Occasionally, they might be visited by equally dynamic war “veteran” Admiral Bridge to enjoy mimes presenting the latest comics from the Howl. Meanwhile, Jones is putting pressure on the FET and will soon no doubt find a pretext to deploy his vast mercenary forces against anyone else who is seen working too closely with his most hated of enemies, the HEX.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

Around one hundred DEN warships have launched an attack on a small GTT destroyer squadron of forty ships in the Daggern system. Two GTT ships were destroyed and another fifteen suffered noticeable damage. CEO Xavier Fox issued a restrained but angry statement demanding the DEN explain themselves. Highlord Aadolf’s buffoon-like response amounted to “Dewiek be Dewiek, let’s drink and forget about it.” Cold comfort for the dead crew onboard the GTT ships and their families. Especially, as seems likely at this time, the Empire will settle for some bloody money instead of retribution.


 
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The Worm Turns

The FET have reduced relations with the IMP to neutral. Sneezy boss Cu Chulainn took the bold step of putting 1 and 1 together by linking recent mercenary attacks in their systems with the IMP scouts seen loitering for some time and refusing to move. Even bolder, hints that they believe “a certain Imperial citizen” is responsible for Edward Lowe’s entire underhand operation were voiced loudly enough that the handsome but hard of hearing Tiberius Crowe had to take note. He was seen grappling in trademark fashion with his skin tight jacket, pulling it down over his partially concealed middle-aged girth, as he sat to issue a terse public statement. Exactly who this citizen may be was left unnamed and no news channel subject to Imperial laws would dare unmask the villain. Luckily dear readers, we are not subject to phony Imperial laws. It’s Jack Jones everybody. Jack Jones, butcher of Naplians and fancier of silver long johns.


 

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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic