Cruel Parodies | The Dalazinnu


Vanakkam. With this installment I give you another sapient species, the Dalazinnu of Gods of Terra, the rulers of the Sodality, beings uplifted from alien animal stock by an extinct psionically aware branch of humanity known as the Kamuza. The Dalazinnu ur-species were pack predators native to the Kamuza homeworld possessing a bent for restricted cannibalism (restricted, otherwise they would quickly become extinct), and a strong sense of obedience and loyalty toward leadership in small groups. I’ve drawn as inspiration the official Traveller universe’s Major Race the Vargr, creating something out of a nightmare compared to the amicable and relatively benign if freebooting “Wolves of Space.” 

Both species have difficulty in organizing in large groups, though the Dalazinnu come from uplifted big cat analogs, and have a nasty temperament. True social darwinists, and far exceeding even political Libertarians in this, Dalazinnu believe the strongest and most ruthless should rule. Pack leaders gain and keep their authority through force of arms, all four of them, and great big nasty teeth too! 

Wait, WHAT?! Four arms?! 

They’re based on a bilateral hexapod body structure, with two legs and two pairs of upper limbs, one with powerful muscles and thick, heavy  claws, and above it a smaller, more delicate pair of arms meant for fine manipulation and weapon use. The lower, stronger pair of upper limbs is heavily padded and may be used as forelimbs in quadrupedal sprints while chasing prey.  

Dalazinnu look roughly like a nightmarish cross between a bobcat and Tyrannosaurus rex, standing about 2.5 meters fully erect, with large tufted ears, patches of downy fur mixed with red scales, and three eyes, the central one a modification of a unitary gland in the forebrain. The tail is heavy, not very flexible, and used for balancing the body while standing or during sprints on either two or four limbs.  

The Vargr are concisely described here. 

Dalazinnu are notoriously ill-tempered, and are psychologically unable to see aliens as anything other than enemies or slaves, having originated as slaves themselves before turning on their masters who bred them as soldiers. Dalazinnu are endothermic and have ravenous appetites, and will resort to eating captured enemies and slaves who disobey them. Dalazinnu have vision ranging into the near-infrared and acute hearing with a register threshold ranging into the ultrasonic. Their vocal output also ranges into the ultrasonic, and they have developed hearing aids for their slaves to better hear questions or commands when issued.  

Dalazinnu have a range of genders along a spectrum, and can hormonally shift along that spectrum that as needs dictate when numbers are low. A group of roughly 2000 or more can easily serve as a sustainable breeding population on a newly conquered world.  

The Dalazinnu have enslaved a species known as the Chadameer, who serve as their chief scientists, technicians, and go-betweens with aliens, due to the extreme levels of hostility Dalazinnu exhibit toward other species. A subpopulation of Chadameer with a tendency for recessive genetic traits also serves as telepaths, and are used as the chief interrogators and diplomats for other species. 

You do not want to meet one of these things, much less a squad of them during combat operations, and the Sodality is known as a rogue state in the Local Galaxy. It is also effectively leaderless, due to the dominant species’ reluctance to organize on large scales. This is universally regarded as a Good Thing™, but the other powers of the Local Galaxy keep a close eye on the Sodality…. 

….Just in case! 

Mongo Fiction | Languages, Schmlanguages!


How could it be? 

The chances of three hundred thousand words in three unrelated languages sounding alike and meaning exactly the same thing, despite no contact made between the civilizations that spoke them, civilizations separated by billions of years . . . how could it be?

Then again, how could it not. I’ve noticed that that humans alone can generate quite a few phonemes, but only a limited number, and there are thousands of languages in the history of humanity. 

I must consult my tables, but I’m convinced that the likelihood is surprisingly high, more than it might seem. It would be very surprising if there were no such coincidences, something which so many are far too dismissive.

This has spurred a search for me, the search for a language sharing no features, even coincidental ones, with any other language. What’s the probability of that? Let me find out!

Good luck. I’ve a feeling I’ll need it to crack this case. I’ve got an extra-temporal murder to solve. If only I can access the files in the Magnum Librarium, I’ll have the data I need. 

This depends on a lot, but with the data, this case is as good as cracked, and the suspect identified.

Then comes the easy part: nabbing the perp before anyone else gets killed!

Lyapunov’s Children | Traveller’s Luck


So, this is it, he thought. His vessel came nearer the event horizon of the supermassive black hole, larger than the orbit of Earth, so large the tidal forces were minimal. But this close the time dilation was enormous, the universe past the accretion disk seeming to speed up as subjective time slowed down. 

It was almost there. 

Transition. 

He saw the universe flash almost blindingly bright, then fade out, darkened, just before crossing the threshold. Now, it was too late. 

The universe behind him had died, and he was nearing the singularity, or was he? It looked strange, like a spinning white tunnel. This was wrong. This was against all expectation. This was against all sanity. He was still alive, not crushed into a dimensionless speck with his ship, and still the tunnel kept going. 

The radiation count was just below the limit of his ship’s shielding, and climbing quickly. Terrific, he thought. He would survive one thing only to be killed by another. Not so fast. He found himself spat out from the tunnel with a sudden lurch, the blinding horizon of a white hole behind him. 

Things looked even stranger in his new surroundings; oddly colored luminaries in the distance, complex, shaped like fractal structures, curving, spiralling, and twisting in ways impossible for a galaxy in his own region of space. But he was a taikonaut, and the unexpected was his domain in the dangerous job of space travel. 

Coolly, he smiled, and directed the flightpath of his ship to the nearest orbital bodies. He would make use of his predicament in this new realm, this, what seemed to be a new universe in itself, not just a new region of his own. 

Maybe he would find a way back, maybe not. Survival was the key here. He would find whatever might pass for a habitable world here, and at least attempt to survive, successful or not.

Mongo Fiction: Evicted


The clawed octopoid towered over the comparatively tiny human standing defiantly at its feet. With its waking, a wave of madness had swept the planet, and this world looked as though it would meet its end. But still the lone human stood there, waiting.

“I know you can understand me, just like last time. We both know I can speak with anything that has language, so I’ll warn you just once: leave. This planet is protected, and you are not welcome here. Maybe come back in a billion years after the sun brightens and the oceans have boiled away on their own. And I know how you’re causing the madness outbreak, you fraud. ‘Cosmic Mysterium Tremendum,’ my ***! You’re using a planet-wide psychotronic disruptor network, which I’ll just shut down like so.” The human clicked his finger, as a wave of blue light rippled across the planet, shorting out the network of alien devices as sanity returned to the suddenly lucid but bewildered humans, those who did no serious harm to themselves or others under the influence.

“Get off this planet, you charlatan. I’ve got worlds to create, not pretend gods to unmask!”

The octopoid stood silently for a few seconds as others of its race gathered nearby. Then, it began to unfurl massive membranous wings, of the sort that could ride the solar wind, and soared skyward as its fellows followed suit. In minutes, they were gone. This world would survive, at least for a little while longer.

Humans nearby gathered around the man from a distance, terrified by the fact he had the power to stand down Old Ones, but grateful that he had saved their lives and minds.

The man glanced at them, saying, “You’re all safe for at least another few million years, until the next alien catastrophe ambles along, or you get smacked by an asteroid. But don’t get used to it. I only sent him on his way this time because he once tried to cheat me in a game of cards. I hate cheats.”

Mongo Fiction | Scream


 

Author’s note: Though light on actual profane language, this piece can seem a bit graphic. It’s meant to be, for the Gods of Terra universe is a dangerous place, and the new character introduced here dangerous itself. The Last Dance will return on the 12th for its fourth installment.

An apparition stood above them, enshrouded in cold blue fire, its face locked in a rictus grin of madness, its eyes lit bright blue from within as its silent voice shrieked in their minds. “A god? Me?!” It said mockingly to one of the terrified humans as though addressing them all, “What on this pathetic waste of a planet would one like me have to do with godhood?”

Several of the onlookers trembled as they clutched their useless weapons.

“Gods are such a limited, outdated concept from outdated philosophies. Gods need supplication. Gods need faith. Gods need believers. I care nothing for these! You’ll find nothing divine nor perfect here, I’m afraid. I prefer to call myself the First, but you can just call me Scream. You hear me in your minds, little monkeys, don’t you? Believe me, this planet is doomed—you are doomed. But I’ll make things easy for you lot. You get to die first. I’m merciful that way. The rest on this sorry excuse for a rock will die slowly and miserably as I tear it apart by myself. I am sick—sick to death—of weaklings dominating the narrative for my species! I’m the First, and soon, the Only!”

It gestured, and its captive audience collapsed to the floor of the cave, forever free of the screaming in their brains, their fear—and their lives, in several heaps of charred and unfleshed bones. It thought to itself: Good to be rid of those smelly little piles of human trash, messing themselves at the very sight of me. I think it’s time to do likewise with the rest of the hairless apes on this world as well!

Mongo Fiction: Going Bananas


Mwelph winked at his partner, the two of them ready for another heist in this rough and tumble town of two thousand. They had snuck into the alleyway between the bank and the general store at two in the morning, having made sure that the lone security guard at the tiny savings and loan establishment was securely intoxicated with Centaurian brandy, and so out of commission.

Mwelph and Brast were new in town, having ridden in on Wednesday, and ready to ride out of town in a night or two also on Wednesday.

Wednesday was the name of their ship, a cheap, run of the mill saucer-shaped craft patterned after old movies from the science fiction of the ancient mid-20th century. All they needed was a Robby the Robot prop to complete the ship’s decor and they could make guest appearances at science fiction conventions.

But here they were looking for cash, and lots of it. Mwelph opened his picks, a set of quantum keys used to quickly run through all possible combinations for the banks security lock, and to deactivate the alarms that had been placed for just such intrusions as this.

The two were overwhelmed by the amateurishness of the security measures, but he and his partner kept their silence as they made way to the vault once entry was made. Another type of quantum key was placed on the vault. This would be a tough one, with quintillions of possible combinations needing a much more complex array of q-bits to calculate the superposition of all. Seconds flashed by as billions, then trillions, and after a minute of tense waiting, the final quintillions. Then silence.

Something was wrong.

It had just stopped, but the door wasn’t opening. No, wait! Now it was!

A faint squeak of poorly lubricated hinges sounded as the vault door swung open, and a billowing fog oozed into the room, with a faint light showing from within. What the hell was this? His radiation counter was going off. Something within was giving off a lot of radiation.

Mwelph blinked as he looked into the vault. Not believing what he was seeing, he blinked again. Bananas. The entire vault was filled from floor to ceiling with bananas. There were apple bananas, ice-cream bananas, cooking bananas, but not a single cavendish in the lot. All of these were from the banana groves of the planet Mindallax. A sign was posted inside, over the stacks of produce in the vault: “Keep your stinkin’ paws off these, you d**n, dirty humans!”

What the h*ll was wrong with these people? Bananas as money?!

Then he and Brast remembered that the natives of this planet were descended from uplifted Terran gorillas. No, not brutish, hulking humans, but literal effing gorillas with slightly above human intelligence, for whom this was a valuable form of barter currency as well as a tasty snack.

The two would-be bank burglars quietly closed the vault and dejectedly snuck out the way they came in, kicking themselves all the way to the spaceport as they left this forsaken planet and went to seek better targets on economically sane planets – that didn’t use produce as money.

Mongo Fiction: The Hungry Visitor


It was three in the morning as Daryl chanted the last words of the incantation, sure that this time he would summon a mighty agent to avenge the loss of his job.

Fire him from work, would they?!
The visitor stepped through the lattice of swirling green vortices into this world. It then

reached behind itself, toward the opening, and closed the portal behind it.

Swirling green vortices spun, faded, and blinked out as the figure approached, claws glistening with slime and feathery moth-antennae flailing, its insect-like eyes adjusting to the light, as if the illumination was painful, causing it to wince at first upon entering the room.

Daryl got a good, long look at it, as it shambled toward him.

Grabbing him, it gestured again, this time opening another gate, and, dragging him along screaming, strode toward it, anticipating.

The visitor was hungry, and this would be its most recent meal in a long, long time.

As it walked through its gate the visitor thought to itself. Why is it always morons who summon me? Once, I was called forth by some idiot in the 1920s who wanted to become a millionaire. Another, by this imbecile in the 1970s who wanted immortality!

Sigh . . .

An ultra-terrestrial’s work is never done. But on the other hand, slow-witted summoners are quite tasty when braised in a little blue wine sauce!