[GZG] [GZG Fiction] The Watcher 1 of 4
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 22:21:38 +1100
Subject: [GZG] [GZG Fiction] The Watcher 1 of 4
Now for a brief taste of the other side of the action. This text
includes a healthy (maybe heavy handed) salting of alien words. I have
tried to make their meaning clear (without actually saying "this means")
in the text. It may not have worked 100%. If that kind of fiction annoys
you skip it - you have been warned ;)
Derek should have posted the update to our website by the time he goes
to bed tonight. As part of that tere will be a glossary for those who
want to know but still feel lost.
When its up you'll be able to get to the glossary and all the new
stories and photos by going to the link below and then hitting
New Guardian Archive of the Mars Campaign
That will be it for a while. Back to work on Thursday.
"...and there's those new boys over in the 71st, I reckon if we had some
of their kit they'd be no questions about being stuck on sentry duty so
long. We'd be front line against those alien f..."
"Don't you ever shut up?
"I don't reckon so Sarge, Pete don't know the meaning of dem words"
Si'Buk had been listening to these beings for many riosh now. Watching
their position with interest. They were perplexing. Chittering like
Luot, lazing by the path, bright against the dark of the vegetation,
like Tusi flowers on a bed of Yuas.
Si'Buk coursed with the feeling of being this close to them. The chill
that came with Ro'Kah lacing along the limbs and filling the torso.
There was sheer enjoyment at getting this close and not having the rash
actions of others spoil the moment, something the freedom of being a
Kra'Bna allowed. It was unusual for an elder to remain in the frontline
fighting arm of the Kon. That was for Doo's who felt the Ro'Kah keenly
and were yet to bear young. Si'Buk had always been unusual though, from
hatch day forward. Not a Sia'Na, yet still able to control the Ro'Kah,
even when a Doo's. It had perturbed the other Si'V, particularly the
Si'V'Kon, they had not wanted such a disturbing individual among them,
had gladly acquiesced to the idea of Si'Buk joining the Kra'Bna. As a
member of the Kra'Bna Si'Buk had often been alone, had the freedom to
explore things, satisfy insatiable curiosity without being endlessly
reminded of customs and taboos. It had been with great sadness that
Si'Buk had recognized the early signs of her final metamorphosis to
Sho's, accepting that retirement from the Kra'Bna was customary when one
became an elder and could not normally be avoided. Despite the initial
misgivings Si'Buk had made numerous attempts to retire. First there had
been xenology, then archaeology, then philosophy, but in the end there
was always another mission that needed Si'Buk's unique skills or
extensive experience. Inevitably these missions would lead into
campaigns and another vaosh of service would pass. In the past she had
found herself tire of the military life as soon as the foe was exposed,
understood and, as required, removed. She had no time for the
distasteful internal struggles of the Xia'Zan any more, or the Tia'Vak
they caused. Even the Fe'Lon no longer captured her imagination,
commerce was not a discipline she'd found attractive for long, though it
had ensured her Sho'sosh would be without want. This new foe, these
kaa'zes, remained intriguing. They had proven to be a perplexing mix of
financial drivers, unpredictable impulses and opaque loyalties that made
little sense. The most disturbing for the Kra'Bna had been her report
that their Do' could work together in mixed units! Single Do' units were
often seen, the differing Do' wearing different robing and armours.
Apparently little different to the Kra'Vak'Do' formations; but
worryingly Huu'Mon units had been observed where individuals of many
hues, many Do', freely worked together as an integrated unit. This
practice was occasionally practiced by Kra'Bna operatives, but generally
it was a rare and distrustful practice that the Kon generally condemned.
The frequent and casual use of it by the Huu'Mon was unsettling and
fuelled the perception that they were base kaa'zes.
Even the word Huu'Mon was new and strange, which made it galling for
many Kra'Vak. The Fe'Lon and Za'Va'Sku had been known for many Doosh.
Their names were based on how they referred to themselves, but they had
meaning. They had found a befitting place in the Kra'Vak lexicon. Fe had
become the name for all trading and commerce throughout the Zha'Kra'Vak.
Za had been the term for biotechnology as long as Si'Buk could remember.
The name Za'Va'Sku was an elegant and accurate description of the
appearance of the developing form of one of their bioconstructs. But
Huu'Mon was meaningless. Too new to mean anything, well anything other
than a divisive topic and irritation when conversing with nest-bed
members Si'Buk reflected. Not all agreed on what should be done about
this foe. Some thought they were little better than an horrific
infestation to be eradicated. Others were not convinced, fearing
religious opportunism and a political push to focus attention on a
discernible enemy in an effort to end the Doosh of mistrust and strife
of internal conflicts and Tia'Vak. Si'Buk had yet to make up her mind.
Her concentration was broken, by a slight vibration in her susi. Lifting
it up a little Si'Buk turned her head slightly and flicked her eyes down
over the tiny display. It showed it would soon be light. Time to find a
hiding place and rest, the coming night promised a good hunt.
She silently retraced her steps, backing away from the Huu'Mon. Pausing
occasionally to taste the breeze and check to see if she had been
discovered. A few riosh and she was safely away and free to search more
quickly for a suitable sus'ok. It did not take her long to locate one of
the many Ko'Ns excavated to provide cover for the Si'V'Kon when they had
first landed on this unpleasantly cold and dry world. Many of these
covered pits had simply been abandoned once the area was taken, but
others had been reused during the more recent Ti.
Another keo passed while she sat perfectly still letting the last
moments of the night wash over her. Slowly cocking her head first in one
direction then the other she tasted the air, felt the vibrations soaking
up from the ground and riding in on the wind. She was searching for the
merest of hints that she had been discovered. Testing again and again
before she was satisfied only the tiny ran'es scuttling nearby would
witness her entry into the Ko'Ns. Moving with lightning speed she pulled
open the cover and dropped down inside.
The small space was longer than wide. At a quick guess it was vao long
and sho deep. Whipping her susi over the dust she found a ral. Pushing
on it gently it popped open to reveal a small stash of Yuas'sen. Not her
favourite, but she had consumed much worse. She did not know when next
she would have easy access to runat. She could go many tuosh before
growing ill, her body beginning to shutdown without this micronutrient
to catalyse cellular reactions. It was unlikely she would be away from
the Kra'Bna'Kon that long, but experience had taught her never to pass
up an opportunity. Better to eat now than run out later, no matter how
unappetizing Yuas'sen seemed.
Reaching into another recessed cut into the wall of the Ko'Ns, Si'Buk
activated a panel, bringing up a small readout. She was pleased to see
that the small space still contained most of its reserves. Even with all
the dust and cloud cover in the air outside she was still getting
sufficient ruozat to maintain her metabolism at very healthy levels.
There was no real need to call on the reserves to bath in the pleasing
warmth of it and she would not waste the precious energy now. She had
simply wanted to verify that a source was available. Should she be
severely injured in the coming hunt it was unlikely she would reach the
Kra'Bna'Kon so she would have to withdraw here instead. With the help of
this artificial source of ruozat her body would be able to deal with
most moderate injuries. It would be much more painful than if she had
access to the support of the Kon'Kr'Lat facilities. That did not deter
her. It was part of the risk and it heightened the challenge and thrill.
She had faced it before and was still alive. It had not been all smooth
going, on more than one occasion she had come very close to becoming one
of the krs'au. Luckily so far the only real result had been that she had
lost a few Doosh off her vaat. The texture of her krans had hardened and
thickened, like the Krn'Tes who lived under artificial ruozat in the
Kra'Vaka'Kia'Kon ships as they patrolled the void for many Doosh. She
did not mind looking older and dying sooner however, her experiences
were worth far more to her. It had not helped her reception among the
Si'V'Kon, who distrusted all the members of the Kra'Vaka'Kia'Kon for
their appearance and altered growth rates, but the Kra'Bna did not care.
They recognized such fears for the trivialities they were.
If she miscalculated and any wounds she sustained were beyond her
abilities to treat alone she was in trouble. If she could not then make
it back to the Kon'Kr'Lat facilities then her death would be slow and
painful. To a point she could cheat death with a concentrated dose of
radiation, the ruozat bands, that activated reserves of runat in her
system and gave her body a short term pulse of materials that let it
redirect her vital system requirements through any undamaged sets of
organs - the benefit of an organ redundancy that was an ancient
evolutionary relic of a radially symmetric ancestral species. With this
respite her damaged organs would have the chance to repair.
If the wounds were more serious however then her body would need expert
attention or it would begin to shutdown. In some cases it was possible
for a Kra'Vak to survive this, to awaken to find one of their internal
partitions had been isolated and the necrotic tissue expelled, the
redundant systems picking up the extra load. This was a traumatic
outcome even if the individual did not die. The expulsion of the
necrotic segment would leave a calloused scar the length of the main
body and it was rare for the Kra'Vak to return to full health. In past
ages, before the advent of high levels of technological support, these
sorry individuals would survive the initial wound only to be expelled
for their family Do' and exposed like some malformed squalling Ano's.
The more likely outcome for a badly wounded Kra'Vak that did not get
help was that they would slip into a coma. Without a steady resource of
runat the body's waste disposal mechanisms would shut down, eventually
causing toxic shock as the body tried to age through its entire set of
remaining metamorphoses one on top of the other. If the injured Kra'Vak
had sort shelter before passing out, the decline would be more rapid, as
deprivation of ruozat for extended periods of time simply hastened the
depletion of runat. Kra'Vak in this state were not given any aid, it was
a social taboo to try and save an individual in this condition. The
agony they suffered while unconscious left their mind in a vegetative or
psychotic state even if revived. While the vacant shell of a Do'Sah was
abhorrent to Kra'Vak cultures and no Kon tolerated their existence, the
psychotic form was even more reviled. If a Kra'Vak became Lo'Ro'Kah they
lost all inhibitions and not even Sia'Na could control them, they could
be deadly to all around them. Individuals that were afflicted in either
way were considered to be lost, never to reach divine release - a
horrifying prospect that Kra'Vak could not countenance.
Retardation of this form was also symptomatic of a rare genetic syndrome
caused by recessive defective alleles. More recently it has also been
caused by a new and exceptionally virulent neurological pathogen.
Witnessing the expression of these symptoms was unnerving to all
Kra'Vak, because of its serious religious connotations. Members of the
Xin'Dau'Do', the most technologically oriented of the Lo'SVas'Do', had
also reported that any Kra'Vak falling into the susi of the Huu'Mon also
suffered this awful end; starved of what they needed most their bodies
betrayed them. Si'Buk had sworn by her Va'Do'An that she would never
share such a fate. She would end her life through the ritual of Dau'Tna
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