[Futurama] The Robot Devil’s deal with Leela was a bluff
If you watched the classic “the devil’s hands are idle playthings” you know the robot devil was able to get his hands back by making a deal with Leela: she gets new ears and he gets her hand - in marriage! Unless fry gives back his hands. the more you think about it, the more you’d realize it is kind of a bluff. In pre-comedy central seasons, it was illegal for a robot and a human to marry and being in a relationship was taboo. So legally, the robot devil would have way to marry Leela and confine her to hell. I guess you can argue that he meant spiritually, since the robot devil is well, the robot devil. It’s the same way how in the 90s, it was still super stigmatized to be LGBTQ so in South Park, Satan has several boyfriends and nobody points it out. But he’s a robot so he’s bound by some rule set. On top of that, Leela is a human mutant, not a robot. If she wants to leave robot hell, she can because she isn’t legally bound there the same way a normal robot would be. It wouldn’t be easy but she could. She does have calculon’s ears that episode, but that doesn’t make her a robot. She’s a human with a robotic implant. If Leela fell off a bridge and the robot devil rebuilt her with robotic parts and brought her back to life, I could see the deal working out. Why don’t the characters point it out? he’s the robot devil so most everybody wouldn’t incur his wrath, human or not. And if hermes’s words are anything to go by, some of the crowd could assume it’s part of the show. You’d be rude to interrupt and you’d be stupid to speak up. To top it off, most people in the futurama world are idiots or lack common sense, especially Fry. He was put on the spot, so he wouldn’t think that deeply about the deal. Just “OMG this dude might take my girlfriend away!”
The Robot Devil’s ultimatum in The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings was a bluff
I know it sounds headcannony, but bear with me. In the pre-cancellation seasons, it was a known fact that robosexual marriages were illegal and considered taboo. Fry got flag for dating a version of Lucy Liu who just happened to be robotic. You can argue the robot devil might be exempt from that, considering his position. Tbh at first I thought it was like how in South Park, because LGBTQ people were still super discriminated, Satan is a friendly dude who has a lot of boyfriends. But the robot devil is well, a robot, so he is still bound by some ruleset. Also, I don’t think that just because Leela had calculon’s ears meant that she suddenly became a robot. She was a cyborg, at most, or somebody with futuristic hearing aids. So she wouldn’t be confined to Hell. She could leave, but it’d be super difficult. The marriage wouldn’t work legally and it wouldn’t work spiritually because it was clearly under duress and Leela was tricked into it. In any religion, nobody can be forced to take a holy vow under their will. Now, why doesn’t anybody try to fight it or say it? In the world of futurama, most everybody is an idiot, first off. Even somebody like fry might not know he could bring up the fact that the robot devil is lying simply because he was an idiot put on the spot in front of hundreds of people. And if they don’t know, they could assume the robot devil besting fry was part of the show. On top of that, he’s the robot devil. It’d be foolish to try and challenge him or question him.
A big thanks to the 2055 of you who took a moment to complete the recent golf 2020 census. This is a tremendous response and should provide a reasonable sample size among active users of this sub. Caveat: while my IRL work has a lot to do with digital media and numbers, I am no data scientist or Excel whiz, so I'm sure this isn't quite as good as it could be, but it's all I have time to do with now! So without further ado, here are the results (and I have made the data available here if anyone wants to take a peek or slice and dice it for themselves). You can view natively in your browser, or simply click the 'download' button in the top right. I might edit this later with some more findings, but that's enough for now! I'll be really interested to know what you think. What results surprise you? What results were you sure of? Please post and discuss your feedback! 1. How old are you? The average age of golf is 30.01 years. It's also the most common age selected in the census with 144 of you identifying as exactly 30 years old, 135 of you identifying as 31 and 134 identifying as 28 years. The oldest respondent is 72 (and has a handicap of 5). The youngest respondent was 13, which is the minimum age to have a reddit account, which is why I cut it off there. The two 13-year-olds identify as being off 12 and 6 handicaps. Just 108 of the sample size are teenagers, representing a mere of 5.26% of respondents. 2. What is your gender? A whopping 98.2% of us identify as male and just 1.1% female. I knew this sub was heavily skewed to men, but that's a LOT more than I expected. 3. What is your relationship status? 41.9% of this sub is married, 29.7% are in a relationship and 27.5% are single. The average handicap of married golfers is 17.0, single 17.5 while golfers in a relationship are 18.4, suggesting this latter category is prioriting other matters in life :) 0.8% of married golfers and 1.1% of both single and golfers in relationship are better than scratch players 4. Where do you live? 79.7% of you live in the United States Canada is second with 8.1% and the UK third with 4.4%. The top 10 is:
There are single representatives from Antigua, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Greece, Grenada, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Romania and Thailand. 5. In which US state do you live? Here is where the Americans among us live:
The states with the fewest golfers are Delaware and Montana (2 each) while Vermont and Wyoming each have 4 representatives on golf according to this census. 6. What is your current handicap? (rounded to the nearest whole number) According to this census, the average handicap or golf is slightly lower than 17.5 (slightly lower as there are 20 players who identify as better than scratch, but were counted as 0 for the purposes of this average). 7. Recently,my handicap has been... 1262 (61.35%) of you have been reducing your handicaps lately - well done! 8.81% of you need to stop the recent rise in your handicap 29.84% of you are remaining relatively unchanged/consistent 8. My status as a golfer is... The vast majority of us (96.15%) are amateur players/weekend hackers while there are at least 8 current professionals among us, 3 former pros and 68 aspiring pros 9. What would you say is your preferred brand of club? I appreciate this question didn't suit everyone, as putters are different to irons as wedges are different to drivers - you might like a brand in one club, but loathe it in another. Without wanting to make this survey too in-depth, I think the below table is a decent snapshot of golf's preferred club brands (and really sorry I forgot about the PXG crew!)
# that express it as 'favorite'
Obviously a lot to unpack here and there a LOT of variables. Of particular interest is the love for a now defunct golf brand (Nike) ahead of leading brands such as Srixon and Miura. Also, there is a noticeable drop-off from Ping to Cobra and an even greater one from Cobra to Cleveland. When you isolate the data to those with a 0 or better handicap, the results look like this: TaylorMade (9) Titleist (7) Callaway (3) Mizuno (3) Ping (3) Cleveland (2) Miura (1) Nike (1) 10. Do you prefer to mix or match? 19.57% prefer to match your sets while 80.43% don't mind what's in the bag, as long as it works for you. 11. What brand of ball do you primarily play?
Number who play it
Whatever I find in my bag or the woods
12. Do you think the ball you play has a significant impact on your game? 37.59% of you think it's VERY important 19.40% of you don't think it matters at all 43.01% don't mind, as long as it's a ball by a 'leading' manufacturer 17/20 of BETTER than scratch golfers said that ball choice is critical. The only surprising thing about this is that it wasn't 20/20! The average handicap of players who suggest ball choice is very important is 14.16 (down 3+ whole points from the overall golf average) and if you include the BETTER than scratch handicappers as zero, that falls to 13.85. 13. What is your position on iron covers? 57 of you (2.77%) use iron covers 821 of you (39.97%) of you think these 57 people should be openly mocked 1176 (57.26%) of you think these 57 people should do whatever they like :) 14. Do you drink alcohol while golfing? 17.96% of you don't see any difference between a golf course and an open bar 29.60% of you drink and play some of the time 24.74% of you drink occasionally 27.70% of you never drink while golfing Of the 29 zero or better handicappers among us, 11 never drink on the course and 5 drink most of the time! 15. What is your preferred tee time? 40.55% of you enjoy gettingup at the crack of dawn for an early morning tee time 27.46% of you like a morning slot, but without the early wake-up 14.41% of you would rather play in the afternoon 13.00% of you enjoy finishing the day with twilight golf Just 4.58% of you prefer to tee off at lunchtime 16. What is your preferred way of getting around the course? 45.13% of you prefer driving 32.18% of you are card carrying members of the push cart mafia 22.69% of you mental bastards prefer to walk and carry 17. Are you a member of a club? 71.23% of golf are nomads 23.81% of us are full year members of a club 4.96% of us are members of a club for part of the year 18. Have you ever had a hole-in-one? 10.18% of you have an ace to your name 89.82% of us are still searching for that elusive milestone! 19. Who do you prefer golfing with? 76.53% of us would rather golf with our friends 12.03% most enjoy playing with family 10.37% prefer the solitude of a solo round 1.07% of you most enjoy the company of strangers 20. Hot or cold? 67.53% of you would prefer to play in roasting hot conditions 32.47% would rather play in the freezing cold 21. What is your biggest pet peeve on the course? Here's how you responded to the pre-defined answers:
# of you who most hate this
Lack of course care
People who hit up on you
'Put me down for bogey' guy
People who litter
And here are some of the best 'write in' answers!
All of the above in equal parts (this was a popular response!)
The 6-foot gimme guy
Drunk golfers (refer to question 14)
Finding out the greens have been cored
The 10 practice swings before a duff guy
This is technically littering, but cigarette butts and sunflower seeds
Starters who don't properly manage their time sheets
Angry players who swear, throw clubs etc.
22. What do you consider to be the best part of your game? 34.95% of you are best with an iron in your hands 31.44% of you are magicians around the green with a wedge 16.84% of you feel most at home on the greens 16.77% of you love to step on to the tee with the big dog 23. What do you consider to be the worst part of your game? 45.62% of you aren't confident with driver in hand 20.25% of you least like putting 18.55% don't strike irons well compared to the rest of your game 15.58% of you are most uncomfortable with a wedge 24. Assuming you had not achieved either, would you rather... 68.01% of you would rather play a whole round to par or better 31.99% of you would prefer to write a "1" on your score card 25. Which shot produces the most pleasure for you? An utterly PURE mid/long iron right out of the sweet spot (40.12%) Ripping a booming drive down the middle of the fairway (30.62%) Reading the break and hitting the ideal weight on a putt (11.74%) A pin-point chip/pitch to tap-in range (9.54%) Crushing a wood off the deck (4.67%) Splashing out of the sand to a few inches from the cup (2.58%) A perfectly judged bump & run (0.73%) So that's all of the questions with pre-defined answers, which was much easier for me to dissect than the qualitative answers to come! With upward of 2000 responses, I can't depict every answer, so have done my best to group them and provide some outlying humour and interesting responses. 26. Who are you picking to drain a 20-foot breaking putt to save your life? By far the most popular response was "Tiger" or a variation of it (including "2000 Sunday Tiger" or "Young Tiger" or simply just an emoji and there are so many variations of TW, Eldrick, El Tigre etc. that I am not going to tally them up - just trust me on this, he is far and away the top choice!) A lot of you would back yourself for the putt. Some because you legitimately think you will make it, others because they will feel more motivated than anyone on earth while others wouldn't consider burdening another person with that responsibility! So here's the list I've generated with everyone who had 5 or more mentions.
Tiger Woods (714) - not including the aforementioned variations of his name, so I suspect that more than half of you will have chosen TW in some way, shape or form
Jordan Spieth (121)
Jack Nicklaus (83)
Phil Mickelson (82)
Dustin Johnson (76)
Rickie Fowler (62)
Justin Thomas (58)
Jason Day (49)
Kevin Kisner (31)
Bryson DeChambeau (26)
Colin Morikawa (20)
Brad Faxon (18)
Kevin Na (17) - and two said "just so he can walk it in"
Steve Stricker (16)
Rory McIlroy (15)
My dad (13)
Dennis McCarthy (12)
Anyone but myself (11)
Happy Gilmore (11)...uh oh, Happy learned how to putt!
Ben Crenshaw (10)
Brandt Snedeker (9)
Webb Simpson (9)
Matt Kuchar (8)
Ian Poulter (8)
Brooks Koepka (6)
Arnold Palmer (6)
Tommy Fleetwood (6)
Jim Furyk (6)
Jon Rahm (5) - would have been a lot more after last weekend!
Patrick Reed (5)
A special shout out to....
The 6 people who would choose my mom (clearly good putting is not hereditary)
The 3 people who said "The Club Pro Guy"
The 2 people who said Michael Phelps
The 2 who said Batman
The 1 cool cat who said Carole Baskin
The 1 who nominated Rick Shiels because he "prefers some risk"
And the wise guy who said "a robot designed for putting" (see: 2000 Tiger)
27. If you could change one rule in golf, what would it be? Another one where I made it pretty difficult to analyse and display the results! But here are a few of the top answers (in what I interpret as order of popularity), and please feel free to access the results yourself if you want to sort through them all.
Lost ball to become a drop at nearest point of relief for a one-shot penalty instead of reloading for three
All hazards/OOB to be red stakes for consistency
Be permitted to ground your club in a bunker
Relax dress codes (including allowing tour players to wear shorts)
"Gallery Balls" whereby amateurs receive a free drop for a 'lost' ball that is definitely in play
All players should receive relief from fairway divots
Any drop/penalty should just be one stroke (a LOT of you think all OB should be treated as a lateral hazard)
A certain number of mulligans per round (most said one, but some of you want up to 3 per nine!)
Actual enforcement of penalties for slow play and/or a shot clock
Be permitted to lift, clean and place on all fairways
Free relief for things like ree roots, fences etc.
Drop height... some of you want it lower (ankle) and some of you want it back to the waist!
Change number of clubs permitted in bag (interestingly, half of those who suggested this want fewer and the other half want more - there doesn't seem to be a universal consensus)
That inconsequential and accidental touches of the ball or sand should not result in a penalty
Allow rangefinders/slope in competitive play
Preferred lies within one club-length no nearer the hole on all grass and bunker sand
Flagsticks should remain in the cup 100% of the time
Overturn the ban on anchoring
Slightly bigger cups
Stymies should be permitted
While sorting through these responses, it became apparent just how difficult it is to please all golfers. On one line, someone says "Collared shirts compulsory" and on the next, someone says "Collared shirts optional!" And finally, this one tickled me... "If you are not on the green and can run to your ball and play another shot within 5 seconds, the first one shouldn't count!" 28. What is your hottest/most controversial golf take? Another one that's impossible to really depict succinctly, so here are some interesting responses, copied and pasted exactly as you wrote them!
(most) old people ruin the game (gatekeeping & arrogance towards younger generation)
"Annoying fans" are necessary to grow the sport
18 holes per game is too many
70% of people should be playing from the red tees. Move forward
Alcohol should be banned on the course
Alignment lines on balls should be banned
All private clubs should have a public day
Amateur golfers on YouTube do more for attracting new people to the sport than pros on TV
Augusta as a course/club is overhyped. If it wasn't for the exclusivity and the masters itself, it would be considered an average course
Bad golfers should be relegated to non-ideal tee times
Blades make you a better golfer because you can feel where your misses are on the face
Breaking 80 isn’t impressive if it’s not from the tips
Brooks is more annoying than Bryson
Bryson and brooks are likable, talented guys
Bryson and Patrick reed are good for the game (several dozen more Bryson takes!)
Carts should only be used by people with mobility issues
Corn Ferry far superior to European tour
Dress codes are stupid
European Tour is more difficult than the PGA Tour
Everyone cheats, somehow or some way
Fairway shots are most times harder than shots out of the rough on low quality courses
Fedex Cup should be match play
Fitting is the biggest scam going. It is a sales tool and nothing more.
Getting married ruins the promising careers of young pga pros (see Jordan, tiger, rory, rickie, DJ)
Gimmes are acceptable and should be reasonable encouraged in social (non-competitive) play
Gimmes suck and hurt your game
Glove should not be removed during putting
Golf courses are a waste of resources and land
Golf decorum means something and isn't designed to be purely elitist
golf fans are the worst fans of any sport
Golf isn’t fun to watch just to play
Handicapping is a participation trophy for bad players
Hazards should not be raked, they are hazards
Hitting Fairway Woods off the deck is far easier than off the tee
Hole in one's aren't that special
I don't like Phil Mickelson
I don't really mind slow play
I don't think you should mark your ball on the putting green for the other golfers. Putt around other balls.
I love golf but hate golfers
I'd be on tour if I was given 1 year to train, a new fitted set of clubs, and had no obligations to anything outside of golf (this respondent is a scratch player)
I'd like to see a tournament with separate tees: womens/champions/PGA, all competing for the same $/trophy
I'd rather hit a great drive and double bogey than dink my iron a few times and par
If Bryson was black people would focus on the fact that he is changing the game and advancing it rather than focusing on his minor blunders he has had and blowing them out of proportion.
If you can’t shoot under 100, you have no business being on a regulation/championship 18 hole golf course
Instead of rolling back the ball, ban the use of tees
Iron covers aren’t terrible
Irons should be labeled with loft not numbers
Leaving the pin in to putt is better than taking it out
Men can learn way more from watching the LPGA than the PGA Tour
Mulligans are stupid and you cheat yourself out of an actual score
Music being played from the cart should not be distracting during a random weekend tee time. We aren’t on tour.
No discount should be given if the greens are aerated
No one should take more than one practice swing. Just get up and hit the ball.
Nobody wants to see pros play ridiculously tough courses where the winner is -1.
Older men at golf courses prove millennial aren't the entitled generation, its the 50 to 60 old dude who is
Pace of play is less of an issue than people make it out to be in the amateur game
PGA tour broadcast juices yardages for casual fans
Players on the tour aren’t too long, it’s cool to see what they can do with the same equipment as us
Playing forward by a set of tees doesn't make you less of a man
Playing more rounds will help you improve scores faster than range sessions. Rounds are what get scored, not repeated hits off turf.
Practice swings don't work and are generally pointless
Prime tiger wouldn’t go on that run he had today against this new talent
Pro Golfers should be able to play through noise and heckling
Pro V1s are overrated and mainly used by people for placebo
Pros are playing for millions of dollars they are allowed to be entitled and whine
Pros should carry their own bags
Putters over $100 are a waste of money
Rowdy fans are alright
Ryder Cup is better than any major
Scottys are not overpriced
Scrambles are a horrible way to play golf
Shafts don't matter for most golfers
Solo golfers do not have the right of way as long as the group ahead is meeting course pace of play
Stepping on someone's putting line makes no difference
Take the driver out of the bag. You’ll shoot better.
Tee boxes based on handicap not age/gender
The British Open is more prestigious than the Masters
The top 20 LPGA players could make bank on the men's tour if they could tee off from 100 yards ahead
The US Open is a better tournament than the Masters
There are like 5 people on the subreddit qualified to give swing advice
Tiger doesn't care to win again
Unless you are a 10 handicap or better, the ball you play does not matter
US Open should only be played at public golf courses
Waiting for the group in front of you is not hard or annoying
Womens golf is more entertaining to watch
Yelling fore does nothing. You’re on a course be aware of your surroundings.
You should have to have a license to play golf. Nothing crazy just take an online class that would go over basic rules and etiquette.
29. What is the best golf course you have ever played? Have aggregated the most popular answers to the best of my ability, capped at 6+ responses.
Pebble Beach (17)
Chambers Bay (16)
Half-Moon Bay (15)
Torrey Pines (13)
Whistling Straits (12)
TPC Scottsdale (11)
Bethpage Black (10)
Arcadia Bluffs (9)
Wolf Creek (9)
Tobacco Road (8)
Pinehurst #2 (7)
TPC Sawgrass (6)
30. What is your bucket list course that you are yet to play? Again, a lot of variations here which made it tough for me to sort the data, but have done my best to sample a Top 10. I was very surprised to see Augusta behind St Andrews and so far behind Pebble but I suppose people subconsciously don't vote for courses they have no legitimate way of ever playing. I'd be interested to see these results if I re-phrased the question to "You have a free, no questions asked tee time anywhere in the world, name your club..."
Pebble Beach (433)
St Andrews (200)
Bandon Dunes (119)
Pinehurst #2 (61)
TPC Sawgrass (49)
Bethpage Black (35)
Torrey Pines (22)
Whistling Straits (22)
Wolf Creek (21)
31. What is the ONE thing golf administrators ought to do to encourage more people (particularly young people) to play the sport? This was a genuinely encouraging list of 2000+ results to read though. We often read about the 'doom & gloom' aspects of the future of our sport, but there is a vibrant and dedicated golf community out there thinking of ways to perpetuate interest in the sport and keep the flame lit for the next generation. Again, here's a sampling of what I would consider to be the most popular responses.
Make the game less cost prohibitive (this is a big one - everything from clubs to green fees to beers)
Open 'masterclasses' or free clinics from pros at ranges and local clubs (another big one)
Shorter courses (9 or 12 hole)
Heavily discounted beers for 18+ players
More facilities like Top Golf
A greater focus on 9-hole game, tee times, handicap structure etc.
All clubs should have a dedicated youth program
Allow interest free payment plans for things like memberships, clubs etc.
Alter rules to make it less elite/proper ie. mulligans, preferred lies etc.
Allow kids (U15) to play free (and rent clubs free), or at heavily reduced rates
Alternate course routing that allows you to come off whenever you like, not necessarily play 18
Kids play free with a paying adult (ensuring pace of play is maintained)
Relax the dress code and 'traditional' golf culture ie. be far less elitist
Twilight 9-hole beer leagues, aimed at young professionals looking for something to do after work
Carving out tee time blocks for 'beginners' so they don't feel pressured
Similarly, these blocks might be "free for all" in terms of attire, etiquette etc. so if a 14-year-old shows up in a hoodie, carrying 18 clubs and wants to have two mulligans from every tee, it's completely fine!
Introduce golf to public schools through gym/PE classes
More tech in carts and ability to connect bluetooth (with limited volume)
Change the nomenclature of "women's" tees to "beginner" or "forward" tees
Close the course one day a month for beginners, with teaching pros on the course and range
Pace of play is important, but if newbies feel intimidated they will never come back
Encourage mini games within a round for kids ie. straightest shot, nearest to pin etc.
Engage with local community/government to identify talented (possibly minority) athletes who would otherwise have no access to golf and get clubs in their hand
Decrease the emphasis on score - make it FUN and about the process, not the end result
More social events BEYOND golf in local clubs to build the golfing community rapport
Improve the professional tour TV and online products
32. What is the best tip, or piece of advice you have ever received that's improved your game? This one is just too crazy to aggregate, so please view all responses (in column AG) here :) But I will list EVERY bit of advice provided by our scratch or better players.
Only hit shots you know you can hit
Just keep playing
Don't think, just do
If you chunk chips, focus on using you left (right handed) hand more than your right
Focus on the next shot
Get a lesson
You're not good enough to get mad
Slow tempo always creates a better shot
Tempo tempo tempo! 90% of my bad swings are rushing at the top and hands getting ahead of my body
Hammer the nail
You don't control the outcome, focus on the process
Bowed left wrist
Being mad is ok, being negative is not
Ask quetions of people who are better than you
Focus on the shot you have now, not the one you just hit
Swing on a plane
Eliminate the double cross
Play your game
Before all else, hit the center of the face
Aim small, miss small
Learn how to properly manage the course
The only shot that matters is the next
Rotation is the wrong word, you're not supposed to rotate
Relax your grip
Accelerate THROUGH the ball - let the ball simply get in the way of your club head’s swing path
33. If you had the attention of EVERY SINGLE PLAYER in the world for 10 whole seconds, what would you say? Again, too much for me to break down, so you can see all responses here in column AH, but here are some of my favorites and some of the more popular ones!
Fix your ball mark
Hurry the fuck up
One practice swing is enough
Leave the flag in
Pick up your fucking trash
Have more fun on the course - it's a game after all
Enjoy this game while we can - it's truly a privilege
Accommodate the new as when you are gone, they are all that are left to carry the game
Grip it and rip it
Focus on contact before power
Sam Snead's win record is B.S.
Thank you for making me feel like I'm not the only person obsessed with this game
If you love golf, take new people golfing
Be considerate to players of all skill levels and work to grow the game not alienate newcomers
Keep your tempo up through the chip shot
Yelling "FORE" could save someone's life (including tour players)
Your ego doesn't exist, let it go
Don't be a dick, treat the game/courses right, and if you're going to suck, suck at a faster pace
There's always someone worse than you
You don't practice enough to get that mad
You aren’t as good as you think and that's okay
Go get fitted, it will pay for itself many times over in the long run
Be ready to hit your shot before it's your turn
You hit the ball 15 yards shorter than you think you do
At your best as a pro, you’ll never be half as good as Tiger's peak
It's our job to grow the game.
Jim Nantz, please come do the color commentary for one my rounds
Take some damn lessons and stop buying $500 drivers
Stop giving yourself gimmies, put the ball in the hole
Smell the roses, enjoy the views
Golf is hard
All of you sandbaggers are going to hell
Hurry the fuck up, and stop spending a minute perfectly adjusting the line on that 15 footer for bogey
It's our job to grow the game
ONE FUCKING PRACTICE SWING
Thanks again for your input! I might edit this later with some more findings, but that's enough for now!
Kickstarter Roundup: September 6, 2020 | 25+ Ending Soon (including: Cafe Chaos : The Odd 1s Out) & 50+ New This Week (including: Streets)
What this is:
This is a weekly, curated listing of Kickstarter board game projects that are either:
newly posted in the past 7 days, or
ending in the next 7 days (starting Sep 07) and have at least a fighting chance of being funded.
All board game projects meeting those criteria will automatically be included, no need to ask. (The occasional non-board game project may also sneak in!) Expect new lists each Sunday sometime between midnight and noon PST.
The Megan Board Game Table This Project is about the Megan board game table family. The innovative gaming tables designed and loved by thousands of gamers. // Has raised £282,651 of £30,000 so far. (~942%) ☑
ENDANGERED ORPHANS: HOUSE OF RATH New boogeyman. New orphans. New gameplay. Once again, the orphans are running for their lives—this time in the House of Rath! // Has raised $109,531 of $4,097 so far. (~2673%) ☑
Is That Banana Loaded? (TM) New dice and card game. Steal the Gold from the Goblin and get Home, but beware other players will battle you with their crazy weapons. // Has raised £383 of £200 so far. (~192%) ☑
The Squire - Hardwood Dice Storage Companion Magnetized, modular and multi functional, add what you need for your adventure and store your treasured dice set in it for safekeeping. // Has raised £6,100 of £1,500 so far. (~407%) ☑
Cretaceous : A Dinosaur Hunting Adventure Take on the role of mercenaries sent back in time to capture dinosaurs. Will you bring back the biggest prize in 65 million years? // Has raised $3,336 of $5,800 so far. (~58%)
Dining with Dracula A family-friendly blood draining worker placement & time management adventure, where Dracula’s relatives compete to inherit his empire! // Has raised $33,678 of $25,000 so far. (~135%) ☑
"IZAYOI" Board game Made in Japan - 十六夜小町 As an artisan, collect beautiful wakomono(Japanese accessories), but don't outdo your master. An easy to play, yet strategic board game // Has raised ¥1,982,615 of ¥100,000 so far. (~1983%) ☑
New Osaka : Battle to Rebuild Prosperity In a city still ravaged by Kaiju, your Corporation needs to fight, utilize its workers, & manage its resources successfully to prevail! // Has raised $9,156 of $8,000 so far. (~114%) ☑
Two Trumps and a Lie Card Game Can’t tell the actual Trump quotes from ones that are completely made up? SAD. But hilarious! So let’s Make Game Night Great Again! // Has raised $31,450 of $10,000 so far. (~314%) ☑
As You 'Wich A Hilarious Game for Sandwich Lovers // Has raised $15,083 of $10,000 so far. (~151%) ☑
3 - 8
$20 / $47
Autofarmer: The card game A competitive card game about growing cannabis. Withstand nature and opponents in the merciless world of danky dank weed growers. // Has raised $1,497 of $15,000 so far. (~10%)
2 - 4
$12 / $34
Baseball Wars 1 on 1 card game great for ALL ages No boards, graphs, pen/pencil or dice (Just cards, instructions included) Multiple ways to play // Has raised $83 of $25,600 so far. (~0%)
$20 / $28
Birthright: Tactical Strategy Card Game Humans, Dwarves, Goblins, and the Undead war to claim the throne by moving cards on a board giving a whole new dimension to card games. // Has raised $2,800 of $35,000 so far. (~8%)
$40 / $72
BOMBS: the card game. a print and play card game designed to play with friends and family. // Has raised MX$1,459 of MX$2,000 so far. (~73%)
2 - 5
$2 / MX$66
Carbon City Zero: World Edition Carbon City Zero: World Edition is a collaborative deck-building game, in which players develop a sustainable city. // Has raised £8,172 of £4,000 so far. (~204%) ☑
1 - 4
$20 / £34
Chokomannaro - 2 games in 1 - Cute little chocolates invade our world but they bring an awful secret with them. Find out what it is by playing Chokomannaro // Has raised €408 of €6,000 so far. (~7%)
Dungeon Coin A microgame that fits on a coin. Die & Retry in order to finish the dungeon. // Has raised €1,114 of €200 so far. (~557%) ☑
$5 / €6
EETENKI / 詠天記 -The Queen Himiko Chronicles- A Made in Japan board game in which you are a shaman leading a small country, aiming to become "Himiko," the queen of ancient Japan. // Has raised ¥339,209 of ¥2,000,000 so far. (~17%)
2 - 4
$95 / ¥11,307
Father Christmas Kidnapped! A print, cut and play cooperative Christmas-themed boardgame with a fun story to read as you play. // Has raised £2 of £250 so far. (~1%)
GROWL: Madness and Plagues 3 bites turns a human into a wolf... this is madness! // Has raised $28,267 of $15,000 so far. (~188%) ☑
4 - 10
$5 / $26
Ivion - The Herocrafting Card Game Play out the brutal climax to an epic story in Ivion, an immersive 2 player experience. Craft your hero and reach for glory! // Has raised $16,886 of $28,743 so far. (~59%)
$39 / $99
Lark A Game of Challenge & Chance // Has raised $4,685 of $10,000 so far. (~47%)
Mayflower Pilgrims card game A quick-to-play game recreating the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and their first year in New England // Has raised £119 of £2,500 so far. (~5%)
1 - 5
$27 / £24
Mercado de Lisboa A thinky filler game by Julián Pombo and Vital Lacerda with artwork by Pedro Soto // Has raised $91,865 of $25,000 so far. (~367%) ☑
1 - 4
$34 / $30
MFL International - Mini Football League Playing American Football at home without demolishing the apartment! MFL is a board game that requires tactics, skill and strategy. // Has raised €1,598 of €10,620 so far. (~15%)
$70 / €73
Perfect Earth: Orangutans A unique board game for the entire family, about the impact of deforestation on the Orangutans of Borneo and Sumatra. // Has raised €2,552 of €25,000 so far. (~10%)
Philosophia: Floating World An epic sandbox adventure set in feudal Japan. Philosophia: Floating World is a fully simultaneous deckbuilder for 1 to 6 players. // Has raised £29,857 of £24,000 so far. (~124%) ☑
1 - 6
$92 / £74
Political Pandemic Panic Board Game Race your friends to become president amidst a global crisis in this game of absurd jokes, deception, and dumb luck. // Has raised $1,497 of $25,000 so far. (~6%)
Rebellion A Social Deduction Party Game // Has raised $1,983 of $10,000 so far. (~20%)
$25 / $86
RIFTFORCE Elegant deck construction and tense hand management packed in 1 box. A duel game from an experienced team with 3150 possible match ups. // Has raised €15,271 of €10,000 so far. (~153%) ☑
$30 / €30
Rules. A 3-4 player party game where you follow, change, enforce, claim, and break the rules. // Has raised $2,401 of $4,000 so far. (~60%)
3 - 4
$20 / $25
Rurik: Stone & Blade (Reprint & Expansion) Seize your destiny and claim the throne! The first expansion to the critically-acclaimed Rurik: Dawn of Kiev, a euro-style board game. // Has raised $114,062 of $50,000 so far. (~228%) ☑
1 - 4
$39 / $70
Shards of the Jaguar Shards of the Jaguar is a "dungeon-deduction" game, where you play the heroes and the dungeon as well, by setting dangerous traps. // Has raised €14,067 of €20,000 so far. (~70%)
2 - 4
$54 / €49
Solar Rage Un juego de mesa de 2 a 4 jugadores, que combina batallas espaciales con la gestión de recursos. // Has raised €1,449 of €5,000 so far. (~29%)
2 - 4
$24 / €31
Streets An urban tile laying game for 1-5 players from the designer of Villagers. // Has raised £161,886 of £29,500 so far. (~549%) ☑
1 - 5
$31 / £37
Tails of Conflict Cats battle dogs in this fast-paced deck-building card game of adorable animals! // Has raised £2,317 of £10,000 so far. (~23%)
2 - 4
$39 / £44
The Pet Cemetery Chain cards together to outwit, outplay, and race your friends to the end in this light 30-min pet monster themed board game. // Has raised C$9280 of C$10000 so far. (~93%)
2 - 6
$30 / C$58
There's A Yak On The Track! There's a Yak on the Track! While Rocco the Rhino works to move the Yak, you try to steal as many of the train cars as possible. // Has raised $704 of $15,000 so far. (~5%)
#hmm means that something about the project seems a little off. Buyer beware kinda thing.
#lolwut is reserved for projects that seem like copycat games or campaigns put together with little thought. Check 'em out for amusement.
#take tags are for projects that have been restarted for some reason, with the number indicating what iteration we're currently on.
Did I miss something? Particularly something new in the last 7 days or ending in the next 7 days? Let me know in the comments and I'll add it in. ## Tip Jar If you enjoy these lists, maybe toss me a buck now and then. Signing up for a free AirTable account via my referral link can help, too. Plus, it's swell!
Preface: This story takes place in a world that I am currently writing a “book” on which is based on a Hearts of Iron IV match. So, credit goes to Paradox Interactive for this alternate history scenario, I think? If you don’t like any members of the Axis faction or their ideologies on display, even a warped and diluted version of them, then I recommend not reading this, or at least, don’t go down to the comments to complain about it. However, if you have any feedback or constructive criticism then I will happily accept that. First|Previous|Next Map ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Divided They Rise Part 9 (Ward) I awaken in a different room than before, my digestive system suspiciously full. This room is sterile and clean, almost to an obsessive level. There is nothing in here but white, and a giant mirror for a wall in front of me. I look around. No door, every wall is the same in every way except for the mirrored one. The roof above me is high, too high. I try to find a proof of recording devices or audio output devices, nothing. The more I look in any direction, the more it seems it stretches on to eternity. I reach my hand out to make sure that these are just optical illusions though. My hand touches the wall. Good. I say in my head. I’m not crazy. I wait for a few moments. No response? Come on A, I know that you're waiting for me somewhere in there. Not gonna seize this opportunity to mock me? Silence answers me. Suddenly, every surface, save for the mirror, lights up, brightening up the whole room. I am temporarily blinded by the abrupt radiance of light. I wait a few seconds, covering my head with my hands, before my eyes begin to adjust to the brightness. “How are you doing today, Subject?” An alien voice calls out from the silence of the whitewashed void. “Why am I here?” I respond. “Answer my question first. Then I will tell you.” It sounds monotone, but not robotic. A researcher then. “I am startled.” I finally answer it. “Interesting… Now, I want you to extend both of your arms to their maximum length.” I stretch both of my arms outwards. However, usually I would stop when I start to feel the strain of my muscles, but I don’t. So I keep extending them until my tendons are stretched to their limit. I notice an absence of pain and tiredness. “Good, good…” The disembodied voice says. “Now, please stand up to full height, while maintaining that pose.” I do so. Again, I stretch to the maximum limit of my muscles. Again I feel no pain or exhaustion. By this point I am standing on the tip of my hooves, arms almost stretching out of their sockets. My legs are extended beyond comfort, I bring them together to squeeze out as much height as I can. For some reason, I want to see how far I can stretch. I want to keep going. As I pull my hip muscles, I hear a series of unsettling pops from my waist. “Well then…” A sliver of surprise escapes its voice. “Okay, you can relax now.” As soon as he says that I feel my whole body collapse. “What did you do to me?” My voice carries less agitation than I should be feeling. Upon realizing this, a thought crosses my mind. I press a finger to my wrist. I count seconds and heartbeats at the same time. One minute passes. Two minutes pass. Then three. I add up my pulse then take the average. When I find out where I am standing, and realize that I am unusually calm. “What did you do to me?” I repeat, attempting to sound aggravated, but failing. “We simply mapped out your brain and suppressed certain areas. This is just like when you were in your cell. Except we are testing different areas in a different environment.” “Only this time without the AI?” “AI? …We haven’t used anything like that on you yet.” “What? Don’t lie to me. You sent an AI to go probing in my head the last time I woke up.” “And what was its identification?” “…Adriana.” “I’m sorry?” “Her name was Adriana.” “That’s not an identification. Artificial intelligences do not have names. At least, not here. Did it not give you an identification number?” “No, just a name.” “Interesting… wha?whatwasthat?… sure…oh...okay…willdo… Subject, were you holding up a discussion with this entity known as Adriana?” “Yes…?” “I see… yeah...hedidsaythat...whowasonduty?…oh...okay...wellbringhimin...what?...mymmic?...oh...” After that the audio cuts out completely. Soon after, I begin hearing a slight ringing in my ear, as if an explosion went off near me a while ago. “Subject.” It returns as quickly as it went. “After you held a conversation with this entity, did you vomit?” “Yes.” “And then a guard walked in. Correct?” “Yes…” I feel my heart beat start to slow as I recall the last things I remember while conscious. “And then you passed out, yes?” “...Yes.” “Okay… Okay. yes?...thisishim?...okayso...what?...again?...whatdoyoumean...oh...ohforfu-” The audio cuts out again, and the ringing returns. It remains this way for several more minutes before it talks again. “Ok, Subject. That ends today’s testing. Thank you for your cooperation.” I am not given a chance to respond. The world becomes blurry, everything is rushing around me. The last thing I feel is my body falling. All I see is white… Even as I drift away. ____________________________________________________________________________ “Heeeeeey…! Waaaaaard… Wakey wakey… Yoah! Wake the fuck up!” I spring forwards, gasping for air. I am back in my cell. Everything is the same. “Hey! You back yet you four-legged brother muncher?” “What are you?” I ask A, a satisfying level of suspicion and hate behind my voice now. “Really? We’re back to square one now? Did you seriously puke your brains out or something?” “Answer. The question. Adriana.” “Hey, you used my proper name! About time. Huh, alright. Let’s do this again. I’m an AI that is keeping track of you. My employers are the Xeno Research Agency of Integralist Brazil.” “What if I don’t believe you?” “Then what the fuck else would I be? A ghost that is haunting you? As far as I know, you didn’t have a conscience till yesterday when you got spooked shitless. Twice.” “The researcher said that they are not using any AI on me. What is your identification number?” “Dude, seriously? Fuck off! That’s like telling me to strip in front of you so you can get a good look at me. Ew. No.” “And what am I going to tell the researcher to confirm to it that I am talking to an AI? I told it your name already and it said that their AIs don’t use names.” “Ok, firstly, yeah it does suck that some people still use us as tools and shit like that. But secondly, who the fuck is the researcher that you keep talking about? Didja get a girlfriend or something while you were passed out? Ooooh tell me, what did she look like!” “I think it was male. But the voice was to… alien, and too monotone for me to pinpoint what it was. Also I didn’t see it. I was stuck in a purely white room with a giant mirror for a wall. Nothing else in there except for me.” “Huh, that does sound like the research rooms we have here. But, uh, nope. You’ve been right here, locked in your cell ever since you passed out. I would know, I was with you the entire time. Seems like you got a pretty good imagination though. Anything else happen?” “I was told to stretch my limbs to their breaking point. Strangely though, I didn’t feel any pain. In fact, I was unnervingly calm. Something was wrong with me but I never figured out what it was.” “Hmm. Now that I check you over, you do show signs of stretching. Woah. Hey, why are your hip-bones dislocated?” “What?” I try to raise one of my legs. However, I soon find that the joint of my leg misses its socket and just lifts upwards with the rest of my leg. “WHAT IN THE ALMIGHTY CRACK IS HAPPENING!?” “Ohohohok. OK! Shutthefuckup and let me get medical!” I lower my leg back down, I can feel the bone just slide across the socket but not enter it. Several seconds of confusion later and my cell doors drop down at amazing speeds. Several lanky figures rush in, pulling a rather large hover pad of some sort. One of the figures kneels down next to me by my makeshift cushion. It gets just above me and we make eye contact. Then, it jabs a couple of its small fingers into different sections of my body. The last thing I feel is incredible numbness as I am hoisted onto the hover trolley and am rushed… somewhere. ____________________________________________________________________________ I look around, trying to take in my new surroundings. Medical. I think to myself. Everything seems just like one would expect from a medical facility. Even though it is vastly different from what I am used to, it is clear that this device attached to me is keeping track of my vital signs. There is a thin tube injected into my arm that is slowly releasing liquid into my body. I remember researching primitive technologies that did this. They mostly had medical applications. There also appears to be a large privacy curtain around me, and I am actually laying down comfortably. How did they manage to get a bed to match my physiological structure? Oh, right. They cut me open and just looked. Wait, but then how did they make it? Why don’t I have one in my cell? I pause my questions to take another look at everything. It is all so sterile and clean, but not to the extreme of the research room. Everything looks like it has seen a fair amount of use, but is still being maintained to high standards. “Damn… You catch on quick.” I am suddenly hit with confusion. That is A’s voice, butnotin my head. Immediately after, the large curtain that surrounds me is pulled back. “Hey mother fucker! You’re alive!” She shouts excitedly. “You have… a body, A?” My confusion only grows. She doesn’t even look mechanical in the slightest, she looks just like a human, I assume. “Course I got a body, dumbass. What, you think that a voice as good as mine doesn’t have some good looks to go with it?” She strikes an exotic pose and makes a strange gesture with her face. She is quickly pushed off balance by a hand from behind the curtain. That person then pulls the curtain back even more to reveal themselves. Before me stands a tall, lanky human wearing layers of finely woven clothes. He has a sharp looking pair of pants on, a simple shirt, some woven cloth hanging around his neck, and a large white overcoat of some kind. His mouth and nose is hidden by a face mask, and his eyes tell me a story of many sleepless nights. “Hello, Patient. I am Dr. Everton Toledo. You specifically are in my care. Supposedly, you want to be referred to as Ward, yes?” His voice strains from exhaustion. He looks at me over a set of glass attached to his face. It’s not even secured though… “Yo. Ward. Answer the Doc.” A cuts in. The doctor responds by lightly punching her in the side. She giggles as a response…? “Ward appears to be the easiest means of identifying me. I assume that you are not familiar with Qua’Vinchi identification rituals, are you?” “Don’t bluff me with that bullshit, patient. We got data on your people. You use names and numbers, not rituals. I’ve got enough assholes and loonies to deal with here, just tell me what you want to be called.” “Ward will suffice.” “Great.” The doctor responds. “So, what do we have here…? Muscles stretched beyond safe limits, a number of ripped tendons, and all of your leg bones have popped out of their hip sockets. Nice. So, uh, care to explain to me how the fuck you managed that?” “I was told to stretch by a researcher in one of your research rooms.” “And I thought we suppressed your ability to lie. You actually believe that you were in another room when we have no data or records of you being transferred? Let alone any experiments onmypatient,withoutme knowing?” “Um… Yes? Yes.” “Alright, I’m talking to whoever was on shift last night. Ward, was the last thing you remember passing out?” “Yes, both times.” “Both times? But you were conscious when you got here… Oh, the white room. Ok, I am taking notes.” The Doctor taps on his data pad for several minutes. “Hey, Ward. How are you feeling?” A leans into my face. I threaten to bite her nose before I answer. Damn, almost got it. “Not even close.” She responds. “Alright… I feel tired. And I would say that I’m hungry, but I’m full.” I place a hand on my lower abdomen. Actually, I am empty. “Well, yeah. You vomited out your guts last night, remember?” “Yes, I remember.” “Okay.” The Doctor inserts himself into the conversation. “You will be cleared to return to your cell by lunch time.” “And how long will that be?” I ask him. Again, a satisfying level of irritation to my voice instead of the unnerving calm. “Well… Our biological sense of time is all but fucked, being on a different planet and all. But our clocks are telling us that you got about… four hours left.” “Common?” I look at him expectantly. “Uh, what? What’s common? Oh, Common Time, ah. No. Terran time, Earth time.” “But right now is breakfast. Want anything from our menu?” A chirps in. “What do you have?” I remain slow and cautious. “Enough coffee to kill you. And enough fruits, cheese and bread to bring you back to life! Ok, stay right here, I’ll go get you a menu!” With that, A runs off out of a door, and into someone. They then begin yelling at each other just outside of the room. “That is your coworker? Do all AIs act like that? Furthermore, what is with her body?” “Uuuuuhhh… Shut the fuck up I’m going back to work?” The Doctor is incredibly suspicious as he slowly, and dramatically, closes the curtain and slips away. I wait here, lying in the most comfortable set of cushions that I have ever touched, for a few more minutes. Occasionally, minor medical staff check up on me. Sometimes they change a thing or they just look over data, but I don't talk to them. I simply grunt at them to get them to go away, so I can return to my peace. “Waaaaaaarrd…! Ooooooohhh Waaaaarrrdd.” Oh no. Please universe, just mere seconds more of peace, I beg you! “Hey! What is that supposed to mean, huh? I got you a menu!” A just pushes past the curtain, not even trying to part it, and hands me paper wrapped in plastic, covered in symbols and lettering. “I can’t read this A.” I state plainly. “Well I can. Just point to an interesting picture and I’ll tell you what it is.” I look up at her with slight disbelief, annoyance, and disappointment. I then point to a little ceramic bowl with a tiny loop attached to the side. It has a liquid in it that appears to be steaming. The surface of the liquid has a strange design on it. “What is that?” I ask plainly. “Ooh, good choice. That’s a cappuccino. Oh, nice! We even have a good quantity of Ethiopian beans!” “What is that and why is it special?” “Ethiopian beans make the best and strongest cappuccino.” She emphasizes each word while still managing to talk quickly. “Ok, but what is this, ‘cappuccino’?” “What is your people’s most essential meal?” “Nutrient stims?” “Ok, um. Uh, take one of your stims, multiply it by 50 and that is a cappuccino. Coffee is Brazil’s most important cultural aspect.” “Alright, but what is coffee?” “Coffee is any liquid stimulant that uses caffeine. Cappuccinos are a type of coffee.” “Well then why didn't you just say that instead of… whatever that is?” “‘Cause I already downed a gallon this morning?” I just notice that A has been physically vibrating. This concerns me greatly. “You are telling me that you have consumed a large quantity of liquid caffeine? Are you alright?” She gives me a visibly restrained smile while nodding vigorously. She then begins hopping in place. “I’m fine.” She says as she speeds up her vertical movement. My concern is not permitted to grow any farther as I feel a small syringe enter my neck, and the world turns to white. However, it remains white. I blink, then I get up. There is a large mirror in front of me. Well this doesn’t make any sense… “How was your trip to medical, Subject?” A monotone voice calls out from the white void. No. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ First| Previous| Next
The Hermes had returned into Zoka Resh’s orbit. She had not been designed to function as a surveillance vessel, but placing some quickly built telescopes into one of her hangars and letting terrans manually observe the surface yielded satisfactory results. Major Thomas was on the bridge, when the Houkan Ra hailed them. “This is Major Thomas. I’m currently in command of the Terran Diplomatic Cruiser Hermes.” “Greetings Major. I’m Admiral Xem.” Zokosh introduced herself, because it was the polite thing to do. “I was worried about Captain Hayato and his team. Did Duke Xem really capture them?” Zokosh’s ears looked a bit limp, while she was expressing her concern. It was an act, but she had been worried about them before she got the intel. “Thank you for your concern, Admiral. Luckily Duke Xem’s information has been … incorrect.” Explained Thomas. Zokosh suppressed a smile, when the terran was searching for the right word. She found it amusing that the terrans tried not to call it a lie. “That’s a relief.” Zokosh’s ears raised a bit. “May I ask what your further plans are?” “Well, we won’t leave our people behind. So we have sent a diplomatic note to the palace, requesting their release.” Zokosh could not hide her amusement and smirked a bit. “You did not call his bluff?” “Well, we did. Just not directly. We asked him to release them within a week and deactivate the cannons. So that we can safely pick them up.” Thomas smirked faintly as well. “What are your plans, if he doesn’t comply?” “Oh, I’m sure the cannons will be ‘deactivated’ within a week. And if they aren’t, we will teach Duke Xem that this shield won’t save him from us.” ++++++ Hayato’s team has been stranded on the surface for a bit more than a day. It has been quiet so far. Neither the Empress nor the Duke were doing anything to resolve or escalate the situation, at least as far as the terrans knew. Because the team on the ground needed a name, they picked up on Alex’s joke and called themselves ‘Hogan’s Heroes’. The vote had been almost unanimous, only Hayato was against it. But he was also against ‘Hayato’s Heroes’. The team had no idea how much of the catacombs they had mapped out, but they found numerous exits. They were only able to examine a few of them. Some had been blocked by a concrete slab and others were located on busy parts of the city, at least the sound of people and traffic suggested that. They would return to those exits during the next night. Dimitri and Alice were exploring the endless dark tunnels. Even though they could see almost perfectly fine, Alice pretended to be afraid of the dark and explained to Dimitri over the net what kind of monsters could lurk around the next corner. Just like Lorraine has consumed everything that fell into the genres cyberpunk and film noir, Alice loved horror movies. Suddenly Dimitri stopped. A moment later Alice stopped as well. Both were listening to the faint sounds echoing through the tunnels. “What was that?” Asked Alice over the net. Dimitri noticed that she became better at ‘pretending’ and smirked a bit. “Dunno. Wanna investigate?” He looked at the splitting tunnels in front of them. “Maybe we should split up.” He poked her with his elbow with a victorious smirk. He was the one who had to listen to all of her imaginary monsters. Now that she was scared of her own stories, she deserved to be teased. “That’s not funny, Dimi! Maybe it’s hynian vampires or werewolves.” Dimitri laughed on the net. “What is a vampire gonna do? Suck your coolant out? And hynian werewolves? What do they look like? Do they get fur everywhere while their head gets bald and they grow human ears?” Alice pouted. When he describes them like that, they were not really that scary anymore. The two of them continued together and snuck slowly towards the source of the sound. The closer they got, the clearer individual voices became. They sounded like hynians. The two Marines readied their rifles. If it was a search party, they might surrender after a few shots. The noise of terran guns would be deafening within these tunnels. Luckily the voices did not sound like they were looking for someone. Alice and Dimitri could see a light shining out of a doorway. Both of them turned their shell color completely black, before Dimitri peeked around the corner. He saw about a dozen Hynians around tables with maps or communication equipment. The guns in the racks on the wall looked just as worn out as the rest of the equipment. None of them were wearing military uniforms, but Dimitri noticed that all of them were wearing green brassards on their right arm. Dimitri pulled his head back and looked at Alice. “Looks like your monsters are rebels.” He winked at her. “We have to wait for a full moon, to see if they are werewolf-rebels.” “Crétin.” Replied Alice while trying her best not to laugh. “Captain, what are we going to do with them?” Asked Dimitri. “Try to make contact with them but don’t scare them.” Replied Hayato from a different part of the catacombs. Alice and Dimitri silently moved away from the doorway. When they decided that they were far enough they ‘put’ their grey uniforms back on. After that they activated their face displays and holographic rank insignias. Alice also illuminated her white hair. Then they started talking in the real world, while strolling towards the gateway. Dimitri kicked some pebbles along the tunnel. Just in case the rebels would shoot at them, both marines activated their shields. When they reached the doorway, the rebels had grabbed their guns and were pointing them at the terrans, who held up their hands and waved. “Whoops! Calm down, we’re the good guys. Well, if you are against the Duke, that is.” Explained Alice in a friendly tone. Dimitri wondered how she managed to speak Hynian with a french accent and why. “We are the ones that came here to investigate the bloodline of the Empress.” After she had said that the insurgents looked at each other until one of them flicked an ear. He must have been some kind of leader. “Calm down everyone. I have heard about those machines. I think she tells the truth.” The other hynians lowered their guns, while the leader stepped forward. “I’m Dekash, I’m in charge of this group. Nice to meet you.” “We are Lance Corporal Alice and Lance Corporal Dimitri and we are currently stranded. I assume you are working against Duke Xem?” Dimitri attached his rifle to his harness and pointed at the name tags that switched slowly back and forth between latin and hynian letters which resembled the pronunciation of their names. “That is correct. We have been gathering equipment, since the rumors that the Duke assassinated his Holiness the Emperor have been proven. Now that the Duke’s fleet has been destroyed and the planetary shield has been activated, we think our time to rise for the Empire has come.” Dekash’s patriotic explanation earned him the acclamation of his fellows. “Looks like we’re on the same side.” Said Alice while she put her rifle away. “We might be technically neutral, but we see it as our right to facilitate our rescue. If that involves supporting your side of the conflict we’re fine with it.” Dekash’s ears perked up in surprise. “Can you decide that on your own?” “We are in contact with our commanding officer. Captain Hayato is also on his way to see how we can work together to reach our goals.” Explained Dimitri. ++++++ Hayato and Dekash were looking at the map of the catacombs that was overlaying the map of the city. It turned out that the terrans had only mapped out 15 percent of the catacombs and that there were multiple layers in some places. The map also showed the four FLAK-towers which were distributed over the city. Of course there were more all over the planet, but other rebel teams would take care of them. The cannons that protected Hikakesh, the capital city, were the most important for the terrans and the rebels. “You want to destroy the cannons, so you can leave the planet and we want to destroy them, to let our Empress come down to us. Sounds to me like we should work together for the time being.” Suggested Dekash with a bright smile. “I think we’re complementing each other rather well. If I understand correctly, most of your people aren’t trained fighters and we do not have the equipment to destroy the cannons. Since our goals align I see no reason why we shouldn’t work together.” Hayato agreed. “I think we should create four teams, one for each tower. Each team should consist of three or four terrans and a few of your people who know how to get in.” “That sounds reasonable. I think three of my men for each team would be enough to get you in and plant the charges.” Dekash was a bit surprised how fast Hayato had agreed to working together. He would have been more cautious, if he were working with rebels. After agreeing on the cooperation, they started to plan their assault. ++++++ Alex's team was the one with three terrans. Her team would attack the tower where Dekash expected the most resistance. Dimitri and Tanya were the two other terrans. The three Hynians were Kosh, Ukez and Pezek. Alex had thought that all hynians were cute, those three guys could not be called that. They looked more like calling them cute would start an old-fashioned bar fight. Pezek’s right arm had been replaced by a mechanical one. It looked fairly decent, but was moved by servos and hydraulics. Polymer muscles might be something the terrans could sell in the future. Kosh was clearly one of the oldest rebels. Alex put his age at around 50, if he were a human. The cuts in his ears made him look like an old street cat that had gotten into too many fights. Ukez was the techy of the group. He was working as a blasting technician in his day job. “I’m Alex. I'll be in charge of this team.” Just as Alex started introducing herself, Pezek interrupted her. “Why isn’t he our boss?” The Hynian with the artificial arm asked, pointing at Dimitri. “I won’t follow a little girl into battle.” “Oho? That’s mighty tough talk for someone who wants to fight for his Empress.” Alex walked up to the Hynian, who was half a head taller than her. Then she put her index finger against his chest. “You should think before talking, big guy.” Pezek hissed annoyed when she poked him with her finger. When he tried to punch Alex, she dodged, grabbed his arm and leveraged him over her shoulder. The hynian coughed when his back hit the ground. Alex looked down on him and sighed. “And here I thought you would be a cool guy with that arm of yours, but you are just as shitty as that piece of junk.” After she had said that, she let go of the mechanical arm that was now bent in the wrong way. Dekash had heard the commotion and had walked over to them. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think that something like this would be an issue.” “I’m sorry as well. I wanted to teach him a lesson and kinda broke his arm. He’s pretty much useless now.” Alex explained. When Pezek opened his mouth to protest, he was silenced by Dekash’s and Alex’s angry glances. At least he was smart enough to shut up and go somewhere else. “I don’t think you’ll be able to capture the tower with five people.” Dekash said with a worried face. “How about I join them?” Asked a hynian woman wearing loose clothes over a skintight suit. Dekash was startled when he heard her voice behind him. “Miresh?! I told you to not sneak up on me. Why are you even here?” Miresh moved silently past him and looked curiously at Alex. “My last assignment was boring. Destroying FLAK cannons in the sticks? I’m overqualified for that shit. So I came here to help you instead.” The young woman was a head smaller than Alex and looked up to her with her two artificial eyes. Dekash hissed faintly. “Fine. Corporal Alex, this is Miresh. She is … an oddball even among rebels.” “How rude. I’m super normal! And it’s not my fault that everyone else is just boring.” She turned back to Alex and smiled. “I’m fine with following orders from a robot lady. I’m not so good with rifles, but I’m great at gathering intel.” Miresh looked at her with big eyes while pressing her ears flat on her head. “Please take me with you.” Alex had the feeling that Miresh had used that look many times to get what she wanted. ‘Well, if she wants to sway me by being cute, I guess I’ll play along.’ The Terran smiled and gently put her hand on Miresh’s head. For a moment the Hynian looked annoyed by that. Alex would have missed it, if she had been limited by biological eyes. “How can I say ‘no’ if you ask like that.” As punishment for trying the cute route on her, Alex scratched her between the ears before she removed the hand. Dekash flicked his ears in a resigning motion. “Well, with her we can count your team as complete. She is more capable than Pezek. So don't worry about it.” “Woohoo, the Commander has praised me!” Miresh giggled, but was almost instantly silenced by Dekash’s glance. After he had left, Alex resumed the briefing. She had found Miresh’s and Dekash’s interaction strange from the beginning, but that right now was really suspicious. While Alex was introducing the terran team members, she looked at Miresh’s eyes again. They were on a completely different level to Pezek’s arm. ‘Why did he react so conspicuous when she called him Commander? Her outfit is also way too different from the rest. Are we missing something going on?’
[first] [prev] [Last Night Terror] [SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE ME UP!] [next] Dambree left the house, through the window as one was want to do when avoiding a parental unit's notice, and snuck across the yard. She jumped over the short fence and hurried down the alley. She was dressed in soft cloth, a pair of soft pants made of blue cloth, a shirt of blue that had short sleeves and left her belly-furr exposed, and a pair of soft shoes. In the last year she had seen the Overseers flee the system and leave the entire world empty of their presence, then the hairless primates called "Terrans" showed up and wanted to do trade. It had been an exciting, heady time, and she had loved every moment of it. Over the summer she had met a male Hesstlin named Alkree, and despite her male parental unit's admonitions of 'no daughter of mine...' regards dating, she had still carried on through private chats and messages. Alkree was handsome, older, and had a ground vehicle and a job overseeing agricultural robots. That's why Dambree was sneaking out to meet him even though her parental units would disapprove of her sneaking out at night, her bare midriff, and the fur dye she had on her cheeks and the tips of her ears. She exited the alley and walked to the corner, waiting for Alkree just like they had agreed. She checked her datapad and saw that Alkree had left a message that he was on his way. **I'm here** she sent back. After a few minutes Alkree pulled up in his ground car. A black car with narrow headlights and a roomy passenger cabin. Alkree popped open the door and she slid into the car, looking at him. He was tall, lanky, with a stripe of shaved fur on the top of his head and down his neck. He had metal piercings in his ears and had dyed the tips of his ears, around his eyes, and the tip of his nose black. He leaned over and licked the side of her neck and face, making her giggle, then handed her a bottle. She opened it and sniffed at it. Uddlevent fruit liquor. "Thank you," she said, sipping it lightly. She handed it back and he bumped noses with her before taking a long drink off the bottle. "Where are we going?" she asked. "How does Shalpeenea Bluff sound to you?" Alkree said, turning smoothly onto the side-road. Dambree nodded, taking another sip of the alcohol and gulping. The Bluff overlooked the agricultural fields and the city both and was a well known spot for boyfriends to take their girlfriends. The thought made her fur prickle just to think about it. Alkree put his hand on her thigh and she giggled as he rubbed the soft cloth up and down her leg. The car moved up the incline up to the bluff as she sipped at the sweet liquor, taking three or four sips for every drink that Alkree took. She was feeling a little light headed and tingly across her ears and face when Alkree parked the car so that they could see the robotic tenders in the agricultural fields below and the lights of the city beyond. The evening was giddy for Dambree, the attention that the older Alkree was paying to her, the lights of the city beyond and the robots moving through the fields, and the alcohol all combined to make her head swim. She was looking up through the windshield when she saw the streaks of light in the sky. A few, then dozens, then hundreds. She moved her head, looking closer, as the streaks seemed to slice across the indigo night sky. Her arms were over her head, out the side window, and her shirt bunched up under her armpits and against her throat. Some of them were at weird angles, where the streak disappeared and only a slowly growing point of light was visible. Alkree took that time to pull her shirt off over her head, tossing it into the passenger seat beside him, and when she looked up even more shooting stars had started. There were bright sparks erupting to life in the sky that quickly went away, clusters of them, of all different colors. "Shooting stars," she said, starting to sit up. Alkree moved his head, cursing, as she turned in place, shuffling her knees because her pants were down around them, and stuck her head out the open window. She laughed, feeling light headed, and opened the door, kicking out of her pants as she climbed out of the car and looked at the night sky. HEAVY METAL INCOMING! roared out from every flat surface, every speaker. Many people winced, a few cried out in fear and confusion and pain. Alkree mumbled something and followed her as she stared up at the sky. She wasn't the only one. Several vehicles couples had gotten out, although most of them were fully dressed, all staring at the sky and pointing at the streaks, the twinkling of sparks in the sky, or the steadily growing bright dots that were seemingly dropping down. "Get back in the car," Alkree said, pulling on her arm. She pulled away, pointing at one of the bright dots. "What do you think it is?" "Who cares?" Alkree said. He grabbed her arm and pulled at her again. "Come on." One of the balls of light suddenly streaked forward, roaring over the cars, making all the Hesstlin duck and scream. It hit in the trees right behind, a ball of fire reaching up to the sky and the impact making the trees wave back and forth. Hesstlin were yelling, wondering what it was, wondering where it came from, some wanted to run toward it, some wanted to leave right away. Alkree adjusted his black vest and stepped toward the woods. "I'm going to go see who crashed a flitter," he said, looking over his shoulder. "Unless you can think of something better to do." She shook her head, looking back up. She lifted the bottle to her mouth and took another sip of the liquor, the movement absent minded as she watched streaks pass straight over them. She looked back in time to see Alkree and some other males and females go into the woods. She sighed and looked up as she took another drink, flickering her ears nervously. HEAVY METAL IS HERE! roared out over the speakers and from all around. More bright flashes appeared up in the air. She squinted, trying to make them out. After a minute she looked down and saw her pants laying behind the car. Suddenly reminded she was outside in her underwear she moved over and bent over to grab her pants, laughing as she almost went headfirst into the ground. There was a loud groaning noise that vibrated the air, so loud, deep bass she could feel vibrating her bones. It was followed by the snapping of wood and bright searchlights began to sweep the woods, casting shadows on the vehicles. One male Hesstlin and his girlfriend got in their car and took off, leaving behind a cloud of dust. There was a bright red light and screaming sounded from the woods. She turned around in time to see several Hesstlin run from the woods, screaming. One was a female holding onto the stump of an arm. She got to the car, stumbling and whining, and the male helped her into the car. Cars were starting up as Dambree looked around. "Alkree?" she called out, suddenly nervous. There was more bright red flashes and trees started cracking, falling to the side, and even more floodlights began to pan around the forest. The male Hesstlin ran out of the woods, tripping and falling when he tried to jump the ditch and misjudged the distance. He scrambled up to her, his vest torn, a couple of his metal studs torn from his ears. His eyes were wild and it was obvious he was panicked. Dambree looked up as a bright light suddenly shone down from the heavens in flash. She saw a spreading light in the sky that slowly went out, staring at it befuddily, wondering what it was. Alkree grabbed her, pulling at her. "Get in car, you stupid pup," he shrieked. Dambree yanked back, her eyes filling with tears from his tone and his words. There was a crashing of breaking wood behind her but she was staring at Alkree with her eyes wide with hurt. Alkree's eyes somehow widened even further in horror. He stepped up to Dambree and grabbed her, backing up, holding her at arm's length, his hands tight enough around her upper arms that it made her cry out in pain. "Not me! Not me!" Alkree screamed. A bright red line went up and down Alkree's face and Dambree could see it on the back of her arms. Dambree's foot hit a rock and she cried out, crumpling as her leg collapsed. She looked up just in time to see it happen. A long tentacle with five graspers around the end snaked over the top of her, the tentacles made of dark metal, ringed every handspan or so, and the end of the tentacle settled on Alkree's head. The graspers flipped down, holding his head securely. Alkree screamed and there was a crunching sound that reminded Dambree of a food chopper trying to digest a large thick tuber. She stared as his screaming turned to gurgles and suddenly his eyes sucked into his head. The graspers let Alkree go and he fell silently to the ground. She realized that the top of his head was gone, to reveal an empty skull slicked with blood. She rolled over and looked up, her eyes widening. The thing stood on six stilts, ringed metal legs with wide flat pads on the ground. It was a wide oval, three stilts per side, and had rough looking mechanical sections on top. There was a dozen glass or plasteel or crysteel bubbles on the top, machinery visible inside. Three of them were blue, lit up, and she could see what looked like brains with tubes and rods and wires stuck in them. One of the dark glass bubbles lit up with soft white light, revealing bubbling liquid, rods, crystals, wires, and other devices inside. The big machine vibrated, the tentacle pulling back and retracting into the flat black oval at the base. Dambree scrambled backwards, over Alkree, not even noticing as a red light came on, flashing, and a red line went down her body. The red line suddenly widened into a grid and she blinked as the red light in her eyes suddenly flashed. HEAVY METAL IS HERE! Suddenly thundered from every surface, from every speaker. The machine shuddered and Dambree saw a brain lifted up on a black metal rod as thick as her wrist. The tubes, wires, rods, and other things suddenly stuck into the brain and the machine shuddered again. Her head hit the car door as the rod retracted from the bottom of the brain and the crysteel glass globe suddenly lit with a blue light. She suddenly knew what was going to happen to her as she kicked her feet. Dambree turned, climbing into the car, sobbing to herself. Around her every other Hesstlin was getting into their cars as four more of the stilted machines came out of the woods. Something larger, much larger, in the woods, let out the loud bass cry, making the metal and plastic of the vehicles vibrate. The windshield shattered onto Dambree as she sat up in the driver's seat. The keys were still in so that the satellite music player could keep going. It was only giving out atonal shrieks, warbling up and down the scales in a random order. She started the car, put it in reverse, and hit the gas. The tentacle, reaching for her, smashed the door off with the scream of tearing metal and the clatter of shattering plexglass and plasteel. The car hit the stilted machine, not budging, and she threw it in forward, hitting the accelerator. The little car whirred, the batteries driving the electric motor, as she turned onto the road, her foot holding the accelerator to the floor. She looked behind her as lights shined in the back window. At least three ground-cars were behind her. She saw an aircar take off only to be destroyed by a bright streak that turned the aircar into debris falling from a ball of fire. Someone slammed their car into the door-less driver's side of hers. A tentacle reached out, punched through the roof of the car that had just pushed hers to the side, and yanked the female passenger out, pulling her screaming into the darkness. Dambree was weeping as she slammed the other car back, then, at the bottom of the incline, made a hard turn into the argicultural field, pushing the car through the stalks of mellitgrain. She looked behind her and saw at least four of the stilted machines chasing the cars that were still fleeing the bluff. Panicked, she slapped off the lights, uncaring if she hit something in the dark. She couldn't see through the stalks anyway, they were slapping against the hood and vanishing under the body. The car was bouncing and jostling, alarms ringing from the dash, warning her she wasn't on a recognized road. She looked behind her and saw it. The big one. It was at least six stories high, heaving itself up on hundreds of insect legs. It had segmented eyes that glowed purple, its jaws covered by mechanical tentacles that whipped around in a frenzy and bearded by more insectile legs. It had what looked like greasy looking blisters that, as she watched, two flying machines crawled from and fluttered their legs, drying the metal and crystal. Whimpering, she looked forward, trying to ignore the immense bass roar from the huge machine. YOU BELONG TO ME roared out in her head and she winced, crying out, as pain spiked through her head at the authoritative words. Faintly, dimly, she heard another voice. This one raised in wrath and defiance. EAT A DICK! she heard faintly. She drove through the stalks, in the dark, whimpering, wiping blood from her nose, as she sped away from the site where only moments before she had been sighing and trembling as Alkree had made her body feel new things she'd never dreamed of. Dambree saw the flask of alcohol rocking back and forth on the seat and reached out with one hand, pawing at it, until she managed to get it. She ripped the cap off with her teeth and took a drink. Not a sip. Three long swallows. She wiped her mouth as the car bounced onto the road. She yanked the wheel, the wheels slid out, she overcorrected, then overcorrected again. The car spun in a circle and she managed to get it back onto the road before she drove too far half in the mellintgrain. She kept the pedal to the floor, the wind, colder now, blasting in through the windshield, through the empty doorframe. The car kept beeping, warning her she was going too fast, as she pushed it almost to fifty miles an hour. She screamed and pounded on the dash when it slowed her back down to a safe thirty. She could see cars ahead of her, heading out of the city, out of the suburbs, and cars behind her, following her into the city. The woodline of the Bluff was on fire. HEAVY METAL IS HERE! sounded out again and sparks shot from the dash. Dambree looked up from the dash just as a low flying aircraft shot by her. Lasers pulsed from the bottom, white with a red core, and the vehicles in front of her exploded. Dambree hammered on the dash more and the car rewarded her by having the warning cut off with a squawk and the electric engine humming faster. She was almost up to fifty miles an hour again when several more low flying aircraft roared overhead. These ones didn't shoot, instead the slowed down, turned around, and matched speed with the cars behind her. As she glanced behind her and looked, tentacles slammed through the roofs of the cars, pulling out the screaming occupants. She could see blue flashes as crysteel globes on the top of the vehicle, mostly hidden by crude looking armor and mechanical parts, started lighting up with an interior blue glow. Crying, she swerved onto her street. Two machines were tearing into houses, pulling the screaming Hesstlin from their hiding places. The screams stopping, the graspers opening, the bodies falling, and steam rising from their emptied skulls as the bodies crumpled onto the carefully manicured lawns. She didn't bother with the driveway, driving right up on the lawn. She left the engine running as she jumped out, running to the house. The door was locked and she hammered on it. Five houses behind her a machine started ripping into the roof. "MOM! DAD! OPEN THE DOOR!" she screamed. Someone screamed as they were dragged from inside the closet. A body pulled from beneath the bed was released. Crying she moved to the middle of the lawn, ran forward, and threw herself, shoulder first, against the plas door. It shattered around her and she ran into the house. "MOM! DAD!" she screamed again. Her mother came out, peeking around the corner. "We have to leave! Now! Come on!" Dambree screamed. Her mother, her ears flat against her head and her eyes wide with horror, shook her head, her mouth moving with no sound. Dambree ran forward, grabbing her mother's arm, and did something she would have never ever thought of, in all her long fourteen years of life, before this night. She slapped her mother. Hard. "GET THE LITTLES!" Dambree screamed. She didn't know she was mostly deaf. Her mother scampered away, yanking over the bedroom door. Dambree followed her, seeing her little sister under the bed. She grabbed her sister by the hair when her sister tried to pull back, dragging her screaming sibling out from under the bed. Her mother had her youngest sister and her little brother by their pajamas, standing in the middle of the room, staring at her daughter, who was only wearing her waist and groin modesty clothing. "LET'S GO!" Dambree yelled, thinking she was speaking normally. Her mother mouthed something, but Dambree was already running. Two stilters across the street were tearing into a house only two down from Dambree's. Directly across the street two fliers were tearing apart the roof. "DON'T LOOK!" Dambree yelled, physically throwing her little sister through the empty windowframe and into the back seat. She turned and grabbed her baby sister from her mother, repeating the action, then again for her little brother. "GET ON THE FLOOR! COVER YOUR HEADS!" she yelled. She ran around to the driver's side and slid behind the wheel. Her father stood on the grass, staring at her. His ears were pink with anger at seeing his daughter unclad. "GET IN!" Dambree yelled. Her father shook his head, mouthing words. Her mother was mouthing words, pointing at her own groin then at Dambree. A tentacle came down, grabbing her father, lifting him up. Dambree's mother jumped through the empty windowframe and into the vehicle. Dambree hammered down the pedal, punching the car into forward, and sprayed grass as she pulled a sliding curve back onto the street. A tentacle tore a hole in the roof but missed anything else. More streaks were coming down from the sky, which was lit up with flashes and streaks of light. They punched through sky, burning their way to the ground. Dambree didn't care, she just kept her foot on the accelerator. YOU BELONG TO ME! rang out in her head. Her siblings cried out in pain and fear. Her mother clutched her head and cried out. Dambree screamed with the reply. EAT A DICK! The car sped into the night. [first] [prev] [Last Night Terror] [SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE ME UP!] [next]
[first] [prev] [Last Night Terror] [SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE ME UP!] [next] The day was almost perfect. Warm but not hot. Humid but not damp. A steady breeze that came from the south, across the forest, to curl around the base of the bluff before slipping up past it. It had rained that morning, but by noon the dampness had all burned off. Off in the distance a ship lifted off from the spaceport, too far away to feel or hear the rumble but close enough to see the twinkle off the metal as well as the contrails as the ship made for space. It was the last days of spring before it would become summer. The trees were fully green and purple, the leaves having opened and grown from the buds. At the base of the bluff, beyond a short strip of trees, was a village. Smaller than most settlements on the planet, it had the distinction of being the first. The buildings were rude by most standards, quick-shelters put in place by nanites under the guidance of beings working in a hurry. The plas was painted rather than formed with color, the glass nano-forged smartglass rather than properly manufactured, the doors plasteel rather than the carved wood of the other doors of the world's houses. The people that lived there were proud of their homes. They had been the first of the people on the planet, like the village the houses were the first of the houses built. They had taken the risks, left their world, and stepped from the massive converted cargo vessel piloted by a crazed primate with the unlikely name of Max-o-Milliions to the firm earth of the world. One house was slightly apart from the others. Not because the being who dwelled within it was shunned, not even disliked. As a matter of fact, the owner of the house was quite popular and many who dwelled on the planet, and the other planets that were part of the planet's alliance, viewed the owner of the house as one of the most important of their people. Not that the owner of the house felt that way. She was a solitary being. Content to watch the hatchlings exercise their wings, watch the pubescent play, watch the adolescent dance, and watch the adults go about their lives. She lived a quiet life, with only a few visitors now and then. One was feared by everyone in the small village. Grey of skin and sharp of tooth, with eyes that never blinked and bore directly into another's soul. A predatory creature feared by all, of the genus homo-litigatus, that was avoided by all. The being often visited the small village to meet with the solitary figure that dwelled within the modest house. Occasionally laughter was heard and many of the village wondered what could be so amusing to such a fearsome being. Another visitor was a Terran, of the genus homo-sapiens, a recruiter for the Terran Confederacy's military. It was infrequent, but the villagers noted it always seemed quite formal. The last visitor was Dulcet, usually in a robot body fashioned to appear as a Terran. She was of the genus homo-digitalis, a digital sentience that acted as the village's doctor. Many had noted that Dulcet often visited the little house late at night, or early in the morning, staying for an hour or more before leaving quietly. The solitary being was often seen planting flowers, kneeling down in the dirt to coax living things to grow as if it wasn't their nature. Her feathers were in good condition, which relieved those who worried about the solitary being, and she moved with a certain surety that showed confidence. But she seemed sad to the chicks and hatchlings. The spring morning was a nice one, almost perfect. Adolescents were challenging each other to jump from the top of the bluff and soar on the warm breeze, adults were chatting in the village market square, and the chicks and hatchlings were all peeping. A car moved up to the solitary house, the electric engine a soft hum that went virtually unnoticed although many of the adults stared at it. It had Terran Confederate Space Force markings with two uniformed Terrans driving it. Hatchlings, chicks, and moltlings all stared as one of the humans got out, tucking a folder under its armpit, and moved to the door. The human knocked, the sound loud in the quiet, rather than ringing the bell. To some of the adults watching the three spaced knocks seemed almost ominous. When the door opened many more turned to look. The solitary Akltak, known for planting flowers and living alone, was dressed in military formal wear. Those watching could see medals and adornments on her uniform and several matrons were startled at the fact she wore a pistol belt rather than a sash or belt around her waist, the belt weighted down by a mag-ac pistol. The Terran handed the solitary Akltak the folder, opening it up and holding it in one hand. With the other the Terran provided a writing implement which the Akltak took with a strange formality, signing the folder. The Terran took back the writing implement, closed the folder before tucking it close to his side, then stood up straight and saluted the solitary Akltak. The female Akltak, all knew her name, stood up straight and returned the strange salute. She then moved to the back of the car, waiting for the Terran to open the door before getting inside. The Terran got inside the car, which turned around, and drove back to the spaceport. The little house sat empty. Rather than seeming abandoned or forlorn it seemed to wait, as if it knew its owner would return. The people of the village wondered why the owner of the house had left. Why it had seemed to so formal. And why she had been armed with a pistol. A moltling asked Dulcet, who simply replied: Citizenship is a heavy burden. ---------------- "Captain on deck!" the Terran called out. "At ease," the female Terran snapped out. She turned to the lift and made a motion. "Join me if you would, Commander Longflight." "I thank you, Captain Drakovich," the Akltak female said. She was no longer in her dress uniform but rather she wore a standard adaptive camouflage armored vac-suit. At her waist was her mag-ac pistol, the same as the Terrans on board the TCSFN West End Girl, which Cheekeet touched with her fingers to remind herself of its presence. When she had first been aboard a Terran warship he suit had to be built by the fab units on the ship, all non-standard, made by the ship's engineers. Now it was a standard uniform for Akltak service members. And, she had to admit, a lot more comfortable. "I was a little nervous about taking the position, Captain," Cheekeet said honestly, staring around the bridge. The lights were muted, the displays were simple and precise with very few buttons or switches. She noted quickly that there were backup controls if the touch-sensitive console failed as well as locked slide-out keyboards and controllers. Backups for the backups before the backup bridge takes over, she thought. I learned the hard way why that is needed. "Well, the West isn't like your last volunteer posting, I'll admit, but she's a fine ship with one of the best crews out there," Captain Drakovich said. "You're record as a Gunnery Officer speaks for itself. Although, if I may ask, why did you select returning to the military when the Citizen Recall went out?" Cheekeet thought for a moment. "I want to help. The Lanaktallan, the Overseers, they were a bad enough threat with their boot on everyone's neck, but the Dwellers, they consume entire races, destroy entire planets," she shivered. "I imagined that happening to the little worlds I managed to acquire for my people and could not sleep." "A good reason," the Captain gave a laugh. "A better reason than why I joined up in the beginning to be honest." "Oh?" Cheekeet asked. She noticed that several of the bridge crew had a knowing smile as if they were anticipating a joke they enjoyed to hear. The Captain laughed again. "My mother said I'd never be anything in life even if I did sign up for Citizenship, my father said that he'd rather be lashed in the town square than watch me waste my life in as some faceless bureaucrat. Jokes on them, I joined the Navy." Cheekeet didn't quite get the chuckles. "Well, how about I give you a tour of the West and then show you to your cabin, Commander," the human smiled. Cheekeet just nodded. The holo-pic in her pocket, an image of the little moltlings flapping their wings to strengthen them aboard the Dulcet forever ago, seemed to feel warm and heavy as she followed the human back into the elevator. ------------------ Cheekeet moved into her quarters, unsealing the front of her duty-uniform. She had to press the tab at the top three times to let it know she wanted it to unseal, a safety precaution that Cheekeet wholly approved of. She shrugged out of it and took a moment to fluff up her feathers. That was something she found gratifying. For the Unified Military Council any avian species had to submit to having their feathers chemically and surgically removed. The Terrans said "Here, try this on" and, to use their worlds, cruised with it. She stripped down then stepped into the fresher, enjoying the sonics, then stepped out to move next to her bed. As a Commander as well as the Gunnery Officer she rated a slightly larger than normal room. While many might have found it cramped, she found the sheer luxury of the space almost unbelievable. Terrans build everything massive, she thought to herself as she slowly used the cleaning tool on her feathers. She had to admit the ship was impressive. Listed as a heavy attack frigate, the ship boasted missile launchers, C+ cannons, mass drivers, torpedo launchers, heavy energy weapons, and, of course, meters thick warsteel armor. Heavy sublight drives, three different types of superluminal drives, and, of course, graviton drives. Cheekeet hated to admit it, but she found the vibration of a deck under her feet, specifically the vibration of a warship, to be comforting. She knew she should feel bad. She was going to be fighting her former home civilization. But it had been a civilization where moltlings were hatched into debt and poverty, where their own culture was illegal, passed down through oral histories and quiet tales rather than any way it could be traced. She queried the ship's computer and when she found the media she wanted in its library she had it display it in midair in the middle of her small room. The young Akltak female, performing the Dance of Sorrow of Summer's End, would have been quietly disappeared had she performed it in her homemade costume and uploaded it to GalNet. Instead, she had uploaded it to SolNet and been an instant celebrity. Billions of beings watched the young Akltak's SolNet three times a week shows on how to perform dances, how to make hand-made costumes, and how to sing songs taught to her by her great-grand-mother. Cheekeet watched the video, watched the young Akltak dance, and reached down onto the bed and touched what she had sat there. What she had kept under her pillow since she had moved into the little house. "I'll keep you safe, little one. I'll keep all of you safe," she whispered. Beneath her wingtip feathers the legend CNV Jesse L. Brown gleamed on the barrel of the mag-ac pistol she had kept under her pillow. -------------- Ast'Lar, the Postal Most High of N'Koo, was well known to be a clever N'Kar female. She stood on the starport landing pad, shielding her eyes from the sun, and watched as the lethal looking black Terran ship landed and cut off its engines. She rather liked the sound the engines made, they were pleasing. Behind her stood her assistants, nearly two dozen female N'Kar, all wearing their Postal Service hats and anxiously waiting for the ship to open up. The ship would contain grav-pallets loaded with bags stuffed with correspondence. Literally millions of letters would be on the ship. The cargo door on the ship slowly lowered, revealing one of the tall Terran primates in the oddly patterned uniform. Beside her the former Overseer, a Lanaktallan by the name of U'urmo'ot, shuddered nervously. "You are sure he isn't going to suddenly attack and devour me?" the Lanaktallan asked, his voice quivering. Ast'Lar had discovered that U'umo'ot was not a brave person. "No, U'umo'ot, he has come to peacefully deliver the mail," Ast'Lar said. "Are you sure you need me to stay? I could return to Unified Council Space. I had only arrived a few weeks before you started to receive mail," the Lanaktallan said. "No. You must be present to witness that the Terrans are delivering the mail from the prisoners they have taken," Ast'Lar said. She sighed again. "You are an important part of this system, U'urmo'ot." The Lanaktallan made a quiet noise of distress as the Terran walked down the ramp with a datapad. U'urmo'ot was proud of himself for holding his patty as the Terran walked up and held out the datapad with a sudden motion that surprised U'urmo'ot and made him want to scream. "Put your thumb here, sir," the Terran said. U'urmo'ot shivered for a moment then jerkily pressed his thumb. The dataslate beeped and U'urmo'ot made a noise of fear as the dataslate showed his face, his thumbprint, and his identity. U'urmo'ot - Lanaktallan - Unified Council Witness -VERIFIED "May I go?" U'urmo'ot asked. Being this close the Terran frightened him. "You have to witness the mail being taken off the ship and then being loaded back up and sign that we loaded it all up," the Terran said. U'urmo'ot made a noise of distress but stayed where he was. "Pardon Mister U'urmo'ot, Terrans make him nervous and he is afraid that you will punish him for the actions of his people before our planet surrendered," Ast'Lar said, staring up at the Terran as she pressed her own thumb against the dataslate. "If you would like to wait in your office, Mister U'urmo'ot, and watch from the window, I understand," the Terran said. "I would rather hide in my closet," U'urmo'ot said quietly. "You have to be able to see us move the mail, sir," the Terran said. "May I watch through a drone from my closet?" U'urmo'ot asked. The Terran sighed and looked at Ast'Lar who nodded. "Very well, sir. I can make that accomadation." "Thank you, Terran," U'urmo'ot said and galloped away. Personally he was proud of himself for not letting go of his patty until he was safely in the bathroom. "He seems nice," the Terran said conversationally. "He bribed his way into this posting as Most High so he could stand on the dock and fish," Ast'Lar said, shaking her head. "He is not a brave being and offered to leave, but he is the least objectionable of all the Lanaktallan who were here before we surrendered." "Makes sense," the Terran said. "Well, we better get to it." "Indeed," Ast'Lar said. U'urmo'ot watched through the drone, wishing he was down at the dock practicing his fishing, as hover-pallet after hover-pallet was taken off the ship, the bags counted, and then the bags of outgoing mail were stacked onto the ship. When it was all loaded up U'urmo'ot reluctantly moved out and pressed his thumb on the dataslate before galloping away. As the ship sealed back up the Terran turned to Ast'Lar. "A question," he asked. "Yes?" Ast'Lar said, smiling. "Have your people recovered from the medications they were putting in your food and water?" the Terran asked. "Yes, it was difficult for us. The return of our fur was hard also," Ast'Lar admitted. She looked back at the office, where U'urmo'ot was trotting out with a floppy hat, a vest with fishing gear attached, and a pole over his shoulder. "Although, I think, the sickness was worse for him." "Oh?" the Terran asked. "He has no family, not as we do. He is alone, yet they made him stay here to act as the witness to this mail. He is intently lonely," Ast'Lar said. "I feel for him and I wonder about his people." She watched the Lanaktallan gallop down the street. "He is a prisoner here just as much as our people are a prisoner of you." -------------- DEAR: Uln-Var, Revered Mother More N'Kar have arrived, taken prisoner by the Terrans. Some of them are being specially treated as they had the unfortunate experience of fighting against the humans, who ignored their fire to wade through and take the weapons away from them and yell at them until they cowered. According to a Terran I spoke to, they were able to discover the worlds our people have been forced into guarding and are doing something called 'surgical strikes' to free our people. This both shames and gladdens me. The females are allowed to spend time with us now. Not much, overseen by the Terrans, but still, we spend time with one another. Many of them grow afraid and hide behind Terrans at odd times. The huge primates are a source of comfort to these females and I worry for them. I have finished constructing a resort for them. I had to be careful with the designs, avoiding bright colors and lavish bedrooms. I learned what a pleasure dome is. It was frightening to find out. I had asked a Terran, who was relaxing and fishing near us, and I saw his eyes begin to burn. A cold amber filled them, then a red fire that seemed to not only fill his eyes but his very soul. He told me, in cold terms, what it was. Despite the red fire in his eyes he did his best to comfort me at the thought of what the females have gone through. I asked him if I could join the Terrans in crushing the Lanaktallan, in obliterating their people from the universe. He told me it was forbidden, that we are to be considered non-belligerents. I wish I was Terran sometimes, Revered Mother. To have the power to crush my enemies, to punish those who have wronged our people, to feel their flesh crushed beneath my fists, to pull the trigger and see their lives splatter onto the sand. I now see a therapist for these feelings. I wish I could come home, or home could come to me. I wish the war was over. I have included three pictures. One of the sunset, one of the sunrise, and one of Kle'Var and I sanding the beams of the boat we are building. I love you and miss you, mother. Respect and Honor: Del'Var, your male child. ----------------- Del'Var, faithful and true male child It is with joy I write to you that our planet has surrendered to the might of the Terran Confederacy. The Overseers have left the planet in accordance to the surrender agreement, although the Most High U'urmo'ot has remained to witness the mail exchange. The Terrans are a fearsome but emotional people. When they heard the stories of what had happened to our people, the Terran military officer we surrendered to began to show amber in his eyes. Things are changing, Del'Var. I cannot tell you how, lest someone who should not may read this, but great things are happening. Let us just say that you and the others will not be out of place when you return home, with a full pelt. Remain faithful, my male child. Things may be dark now, but there are glimmers of light in the darkness. Your letters are a constant wonder. Your grandmother loves the pictures you send. I love you, my child. Mother -------------- MANTID FREE WORLDS HOW many EPOWs? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRSOLMILINT 43,494,212 and counting. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TRAENA'AD HIVE WORLDS My god, that's an entire species. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- AKLTAK GESTALT What will you do with them? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOLMILINT What else can I do with them? Keep moving them to the planet, give them medical care, and hopefully keep someone from planet-cracking their homeworld. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TNVARU GESTALT Are you going to move them? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOLMILINT Eventually. I mean, now they surrendered. It's a complete shitshow. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- RIGELLIAN COMPACT How bad is their home planet? ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- TERRASOLMILINT It's fucked. Not as bad as the Leebawians, but pretty bad. We're talking Elven Queen bad. The algae in the seas are dying and most of the fish are dead. ---NOTHING FOLLOWS--- MANTID FREE WORLDS You'll fix it. You always do. [first] [prev] [Last Night Terror] [SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE ME UP!] [next]
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