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Entry J - "A Day In The Life"
 
Old 05 Sep 2009, 00:31   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 9,807
Default Entry J - "A Day In The Life"

A Day In The Life


Part One

Even though she was in charge of the security contingent aboard the Vash'ya Il'Porrui Ka'mesa'myr, Shas'vre Kerala felt uncomfortably like she was in hostile territory. Word of the murders had gotten out, and dozens of tau just happened to be standing around in the corridors, gawking at the sight of a Kroot Shaper in chains.

Worse were the kroot, who were actively accosting Kerala and her squad. She felt a little sympathy for them, she guessed - after all, if it were a tau ethereal being dragged through the corridors of a Kroot sphere, any tau present would without a doubt have violently responded. At least the kroot hadn't taken up arms.

Of course, no tau ethereal would murder two kroot and hospitalize a third, either. Try as she might, Kerala couldn't rationalize what had occurred - the easiest explanation was that the kroot were as uncivilized as ever, petty and prone to unexpected outbursts of violence.

The Shaper wasn't making things easy for her, either. He continued to hiss and snap at the guards escorting him down the corridor, and went livid upon seeing members of Cadre Tash're. The only tau he didn't seem to hate was Kerala - at least the savages respected authority.

"Care to talk yet, Shaper?" Kerala demanded.

"Shas'vre Tash'var Kerala, I apologize for the violence I committed on your ship. You must take it as a grave affront. But I will not explain my actions until I speak with my kindred's shaper. You may even sit in on the meeting, I swear. But not till then."

"Same cryptic ui't dung, if you ask me," Ui'Kunas spitefully remarked. "We should just airlock him now."

Kerala did not respond. Regardless of how she felt, it would be unbefitting for a tau of her rank to outwardly agree with such a comment.

Silence fell over the team, until Ui'Kunas spoke back up. "Commander, you're not going to like this - I'm getting a report that the lift up ahead is out."

"That's too convenient." Kerala unholstered the pulse pistol at her hip. "Everyone, keep an eye out. It could be a set-up. We'll go around - take this side corridor to B-2, take that all the way to the brig. Let's go."

Kerala was relieved that the side corridor was empty, and a corridor hatchway even shut behind them, locking out the gaggle of angry kroot following them. But sure enough, there was a rabble of orange-and-red clothed tau waiting for her team in corridor B, maybe twenty all told.

The shas'vre lowered her pulse pistol, but didn't holster it. "Shas."

"Commander," one of them grimly nodded. "I see you're with the kroot."

"Yes." Kerala suddenly felt like she was in a slow, methodical dance. One which could end on any number of different footings, all unpleasant.

Behind her, the kroot hissed.

The opposing tau shifted a little. "About that," their apparent ringleader said, stepping a little closer. "We just got word that the third tau this scum attacked died. Me and these tau here, we're a little angry about all this." A murmur of agreement went up.

Kerala holstered her weapon, in what she hoped was a sign of good intentions. It wasn't like she was going to use it anyway; in this cramped space, melee would be more effective and less deadly. "Look, we're all angry about what the shaper did. But it isn't within your or my authority to decide his fate. We'll just have to wait till we get to Vash'ya."

Another Shas stepped forward. "Look, Shas'ui, she's not going to hand him over. We should just..."

With a glare, the ringleader cut off his subordinate. He turned back to Kerala. "Shas'vre, you know that if we reach Vash'ya, justice won't be served. The Aun will step in, make up some excuse, and this barbarian will escape the death he deserves. These tau... they're bond brothers, Shas'vre. We all go back further than our garrison duty on Ur'kam IV. We can't just let this go. Look... the security logs in this part of the ship have been accidently disconnected for the next few moments. The Kroot overpowered you and your guards. Me and my tau were passing by. We tried to apprehend the escapee, but the tussle grew violent. The murderer accidently died. We all go home happy."

The Shas'vre shook her head. "I can't allow that. However much I sympathize with your cadre, my duty is to the Swiftfire. I won't make a mockery of that by allowing revenge killings on my watch."

The impertinent shas'la stepped back forward. "Look, Shas'ui, I told you she wouldn't go for it," he said as he unholstered a pulse pistol at his side. "This is our chance."

Kerala realized she had only one more moment to maintain the engagement's initiative; if she didn't respond, she'd be unable to dictate the kroot's fate - and he would be murdered, on her watch. On instinct, she lashed out, reaching forward and grabbing the shas'la's hand, jerking his arm forward to her. Just as quickly, she brought her other hand, palm open, down on the arm; the sound of the bone breaking was drowned out by the Shas's sudden scream of pain. His pistol clattered to the ground, bouncing behind Kerala unused.

The opposing tau stared at the shas'vre, shocked and deflated by her controlled show of violence. Kerala had upped the ante and proven just how far she would go to protect her prisoner. None of the tau assembled wanted to consider the next option - tau murdering another tau.

The shas'la dropped to the floor, moaning. "One of your tau has broke his arm, Shas'ui," Kerala snarled. "I recommend you take him to the medbay. This Kroot will not be killed on my vessel. Am I clear." It wasn't a question.

"We were afraid you'd say that." Kerala started - the statement had come from behind her. She turned around in time to see Shas'ui Kunas stoop down, pick up the pulse pistol, and shoot Shaper Sagnh Baidar Sher twice in the chest.


--- --- ---

"What in the Auns' name were you thinking?" Kerala was trying to control her voice, unsuccessfully. She had never been so angry in her entire life. She and Kunas had fought, bled, lived together for tau'cyr. They had led assaults and repelled boarders, they had shared breakfast and lunch, they had drank and laughed together.

And this is what it all came down to. Rank betrayal.

"Why'd you do it, Kunas?"

"For the greater good," Ui'Kunas said quietly. "It was the only way, and the best way to resolve the situation."

The same response, a dozen times in a row. No personal entreaty, no angry outburst had elicited a different answer. Kerala resisted the urge to slam Kunas' face into the table. Before her anger got the better of her, she stormed out of the interrogation room, leaving Shas'ui Kunas chained in the harsh blue-white light.

Outside the room, having watched through double-sided glass the entire time, was Ui'Tash'var O'ran and Ui'Vior’la Mont’yr. "Status report, team leaders."

Ui'Mont'yr sighed. "I have security detachments, including a dozen kor'vesa drones, stationed at all of the access points to Bay Two and Bay Four. We're doing our best to keep both Cadre Tash're and the kroot kindred isolated and confined to their own parts of the ship."

"My team is aiding La'rua Mont'yr," continued Ui'O'ran. "Forgive me for not consulting you, but I also took the additional step of issuing from the armory non-fatal riot gear."

For the first time in a while, Kerala smiled. She liked O'ran - the young team leader was quickly rising through the ranks thanks to her independent thinking and leadership skills. O'ran was the closest thing Kerala had to a second-in-command.

"And Kunas' team?"

"Confined to their quarters, as you requested," Ui'O'ran said. "A pair of kor'vesa are guarding that entrance way, as well."

Kerala nodded. "Well done." She turned back to the wall, looking at through it to the bound figure of Ui'Kunas. "What are your thoughts on all of this?"

Vior'la Mont'yr growled. "It isn't fun, suddenly 'guarding' the tau you were training with a dec ago. Hard feelings, all around."

Tash'var O'ran nodded her head in agreement. "My team reports that they feel like they're stuck in the middle - both sides see our tau as protecting murderers. And it doesn't help that one of our own pulled the trigger."

"On that note - O'ran, have you uncovered..." Kerala stopped as the hatch behind her slid open, and a Por stepped through.

"Commander, this is Por'vre Rial'sia," Ui'O'ran interjected. "He was part of the Por delegation station on Ur'kam IV; his file says he has experience in interrogation and debriefing interviews. When your own interrogation proved fruitless, I took the liberty of asking him to come down here."

After a moment of thought, Kerala decided to be pleased with the Ui's initiative. The request made sense, after all. It hadn't just been Cadre Tash're stationed on Ur'kam IV, but a whole colony, with each caste, excepting the aun, represented. A high-ranking por could be very useful in getting answers.

"I hope I might be of some assistance, Shas'vre, Shas'uis. There are rumors flying all over the ship - that the kroot have staged an uprising, that their shaper was murdered, all sorts of things."

"Well, it's about as bad as you've heard. The Kroot shaper assaulted and killed three tau belonging to Cadre Tash're. We apprehended the Shaper and were bringing him down to the brig for questioning, when a gang of Fire Warriors from Cadre Tash're stopped us with the intent of taking revenge on the Shaper. In the ensuing argument, one of my own team leaders - Shas'ui Kunas, there before you - shot and killed the Shaper."

"That's unfortunate," said the Por.

"Aren't you the master of understatement. I need to know why he did it."

"Well, I'm just speaking as a classically trained psychologist, but has it crossed your mind that he was acting on some sort of cross-caste identity? Surely he must feel that killing the murderer of tau Fire Warriors was, on some level, a just and noble act."

"He's said as much. Call it a hunch, but I'm not entirely convinced. Just talk to him and see what he says. Shas'ui Mont'yr, will you guard the..."

The Por'vre gave a little tut. "Please, Commander, I don't need an escort. The tau is clearly no threat - in fact, given the sense of shame and betrayal he must feel he's inflicted upon his own cadre, I dare-say having another shas in there will only dissuade him from speaking."

"If you insist."

The Por nodded and stepped into the interrogation chamber, the prison door sliding shut behind him.

Kerala and her team leaders watched as the Por sat down across from Ui'Kunas. After a moment of silence, the Water caste interrogator started speaking.

"I hear you killed the Kroot shaper." His voice was soft and low, filled with remorse and empathy.

Shas'ui Kunas nodded. "It was the only way."

"Your teammates wonder why you did it."

Kunas nodded again. "Of course they do. I don't expect them to understand, not yet. Maybe in time, they'll see how my actions were always in support of the tau'va."

The Por nodded knowingly. "Of course, this cycle of violence hurts us all. It must end somewhere, friend."

And from within his flowing robs, the Por drew a combat knife.

"Oh holy Aun," Kerala gasped.

Ui'Kunas was completely unperturbed. "I know. No individual tau must be allowed to bring ruin to the cadre."

The Por slowly walked around the table. "Go with the Aun, brother." With one smooth motion, the Por brought the knife across Kunas' neck, cutting his throat.

And then, even as Kerala and her team were bursting into the interrogation room, he brought the knife up to his own neck.
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Old 05 Sep 2009, 00:32   #2 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Posts: 9,807
Default Re: Entry J - "A Day In The Life"

Part Two

"This has had to have been the worst day ever."

Shas'vre Kerala sat slumped in a chair, nursing some Aun-awful alcohol Fio Ra'kles had produced. It tasted like cleaning solvent smelled, but apparently the gue'la liked this 'amasec.'

Beside her sat Ra'kles himself, puffing away on one of his contraband death sticks; Kerala could see its bright, burning ember in the darkness of the room. He nodded in agreement.

In front of them were three cadavers - the Kroot Shaper, Ui'Kunas, and Por'Rial'sia - each bathed in a cylinder of white light. The three dead from Cadre Tash're were being held in Bay Two, with rest of their cadre.

It was morbid, the two of them smoking and drinking in a room filled with dead kroot and tau, but Kerala didn't care. She had needed a quiet, cool place to sit and relax; this was as good as any. It wasn't like the room's occupants cared.

Kerala felt like weeping. Actually, the only reason she wasn't crying right now was because she had been doing just that on and off for the past eight decs. It wasn't just that Kunas was dead - though he was, and that hurt terribly - and it wasn't just that he had betrayed her - though he had, and that hurt just as badly. Much of her emotion and shock stemmed from the simple fact that she had seen a tau easily and dispassionately take the life of another tau.

It was bred into a tau from the beginning: tau shall not kill tau. It was the first thing a tau learned in the younglings' creche, the first all-important rule of taukind. That didn't mean it didn't happen every now and again, but it wasn't supposed to happen. It was dangerous, destructive. And it was wrong. Just thinking about what she had witnessed made Kerala nauseous.

Ra'kles puffed on his cigar and shock his head. "The por cut his own throat, just like that?" He shuddered. "Damn, that's terrifying."

Kerala envied Ra'kles. It was an open secret among the crew that he was well and truly off-kilter. She wondered if he bribed his way through por psychological examinations. He seemed to be handling the events of the past rotaa disturbingly well.

"On the bright side," Ra'kles said, "in two rotaa, this won't be your problem anymore. We get to Vash'ya, someone else deals with this mess."

Kerala thought about that for a long moment. "I know that, but... but I can't help shake the feeling that instead, I've got just two rotaa to figure out what in the Auns' name has happened here."

Ra'kles finished his cigar and dropped it to the floor, crushing it under hoof. A cleaning kor'vesa would take care of the litter. "Well, if that's how you feel... talk about it, then. Go over the facts with me. Maybe we've both missed something the other hasn't."

The Shas'vre sat her glass down and straightened. If she was stuck thinking about it, she might as well spend the time constructively.

"Alright. This morning, at .93 Ol'Rotaa, Shaper Sagnh Baidar Sher accosts three tau from Cadre Tash're in Bay Four, Subchamber C. Violence ensues - two of the tau are killed, one is mortally wounded."

"Still don't know why?"

"No, and that gorram bugs me. Knowing that would probably crack this whole mystery open. But the kroot are refusing to talk to any of us now, and Cadre Tash're claims ignorance."

"You know, they say that Kroot Shapers sometimes know things they shouldn't."

Kerala rolled her eyes. "Who is this 'they?' And what kind of things?"

"I've heard," the fio continued, careful to drop the word 'they', "that some are even psychic."

The shas shuddered. "Psychics."

There was a long pause after the mention of psychics. Kerala had fought one many tau'cyr ago and barely lived through the experience - some damn fio had thought it'd be a good idea to capture a human psyker and run experiments on him. That same fio had been crushed into a little ball right before Kerala's eyes. In fact, that was where Ra'kles and Kerala had first met - he had been a fio'la on the research team. Didn't make the memory any better, though.

Eventually, the fio'vre started talking again. "So, what next?"

"Alright, okay. At 1.02 Ol'Rotaa, Shas'ui Kunas and I arrive at the scene. We begin to escort the apprehended shaper to the brig. At 1.38OR, we are stopped by two Fire Warrior teams from Cadre Tash're. They want to kill the shaper. I say no... and then Kunas shoots him anyways."

Kerala glanced over at the Shaper's corpse. Two high powered pulse rounds to an unarmored chest didn't leave much to look at.

"Was Kunas in on the murder attempt, or was he a lone gunman who seized the opportunity?"

Just talking about Kunas almost brought Kerala back to tears. "Isn't that the billion credit question. He claimed the latter, but I don't see how. It was on his word that we detoured, and someone disabled those cameras. There's no electronic log of it - they were wiped quite nicely - but he had the access codes to do something like that."

"Of course, he was immediately apprehended after he shot the shaper..."

"Meaning it probably wasn't him that wiped the logs."

"Dead on." Fio Ra'kles thought for a moment. "Meaning we've got multiple tau in on it, and in communication. Any proof of a connection between Kunas and Cadre Tash're?"

"None, none at all. Kunas has never even been to T'olku before. I had Shas'ui O'ran go back over the logs and track where Kunas had been since Cadre Tash're has come aboard. Three rotaa ago, he and his team were invited down to Bay Two to have supper with one of the la'rua from Cadre Tash're. That's it."

"Damn. Okay, what next?"

"We hold Kunas in the brig. He claims his actions were in support of the greater good. Ui'O'ran calls in this Por'vre Rial'sia, who says he can talk to Kunas. Then Rial'sia kills both himself and Kunas." Kerala choked back a sudden sob. "Almost ceremonially, at that."

"What's this Por's story?" Ra'kles asked, compassionately ignoring the shas' breaking voice.

"Head of the Por contingent on Ur'kam IV. Responsible for psychological examinations. According to his file, he was the sanest man in the room."

"Of course, when you know how things work, you can game the system." In the darkness, Kerala thought she saw the fio smile knowingly.

"Exactly," Kerala agreed, beginning to pull herself back together. "For all we know, he could have been completely crazy."

"Sure looks that way. You know, during his autopsy, I saw that the por had undergone the ta'lissera. Had the scars on his chest to prove it."

"Really? It's rare, really rare, for a por to do that. Any idea who with?"

"None. His file doesn't say." A pause. "You know, Kerala, a por with bonding scars, a combat knife, and homicidal-sucidal tendencies... I think we're in some deep ui't dung."

"Don't I know it." The whole episode raised too many unanswered questions - too bad it was suddenly her responsibility to look into the turbulent life and death of Por'vre Rial'sia.

"Speaking of bonding, Kunas' team must be taking this really hard."

Kerala squinted. "What do you mean?"

"Kunas was bonded with his team, too, and recently. Come on, you're his 'vre. Surely you..." Ra'kles trailed off when he say Kerala's face. "You didn't know."

"Sure as bloodfire I didn't know." Kerala was on her feet, marching toward Kunas' cadaver. She jerked back the sheet covering the body, revealing a tau who looked strangely at peace in death. His chest was covered in one long cut, dipping from his shoulders toward his chest in one long, crescent shape.

"How long ago did they bond? Can you tell from this?"

Ra'kles had walked up beside her. "The cuts were thoroughly cleaned and treated after they were done. They've healed up a significant bit, but that could be from time, or from the careful application of healing ointments and salves. Tau healing technology is pretty good at that, these days. The best I can say... sometime in the last kai'rotaa, maybe even just a few rotaa ago."

Something clicked inside of Kerala's head. She grabbed the sheet covering the por and jerked it back. The por's chest was cut in a similar crescent line. "And how long for his ta'lissera scars to heal?"

"Oh, the por's... he's had those for probably a tau'cyr, at least. They're old. No way these two were bonded in the past few rotaa."

"Oh." Kerala sighed, a little disappointed.

"But... now that you mention it," Ra'kles pondered out loud, "their behavior is in keeping with bond brothers, ceremonial killing and all. And the cuts are superficially similar."

"But that makes no sense. The por was obviously a member of some ta'lissera team for several kai'rotaa before boarding the Swiftfire - the ta'lissera isn't just something you do, with strangers you've just met. And it isn't like its normal to induct new members into your ta'lissera."

"Unless..." The Fio trailed off.

"Unless what, Ra'kles?" Kerala felt a pit of apprehension open in her stomach.

"Well, historically, the ta'lissera has been a bonding ceremony, yes, but it was also a blood oath. During the Mont'au, it seems alot of warriors clans used it as an induction ceremony, or a rite-of-passage into adulthood. So, it isn't completely unheard of, for a ta'lissera to induct new members."

"But uncommon."

"In this day and age? Oh yes. Rarely happens - usually only because one of the members is gifted with the Mark, and outlives all of his companions."

"So, if we are dealing with something like that, it's a throw back to..." Kerala hesitated to say it. "To the Mont'au."

Both tau considered the ramifications of this statement. The Mont'au, the Time of Terror, the terrible period before the Ethereals. When all of taukind almost went extinct by its own hand. Any herald back to that period could not be good.

"So..." Kerala said, connecting the dots. "We have a ta'lissera bound involving a por on Ur'kam IV, that chooses to, in the past dozen rotaa, induct a ship-board tau, and perhaps his Fire Warrior team. Why?"

Ra'kles was quiet for a very long time. Finally, he spoke in a very low voice. "Let's not forget that, whatever existed between Shas Kunas and Por Rial'sia, it was worth killing themselves to keep secret. And, since it was Kunas who killed the Shaper, it would not be an illogical conclusion to assume that the shaper had uncovered that secret."

"And if that's the case, then at least some of Cadre Tash're are in on this, too - the tau the Shaper confronted, for starters. Maybe the tau who accosted me in the hallway, though they could always claim that it was Kunas who contacted them and set-up the ambush."

The fio puckered his lips. "Whatever it is these tau are hiding, it was worth killing a kroot shaper and themselves to protect. And whatever the shaper found, it motivated him to attack and kill three tau. These... conspirators... have killed and will kill again. Worse, it isn't just us versus, say, Cadre Tash're - one of your own tau was in on murder of the shaper, and a colonist from Ur'kam IV was an accomplice, too. We don't know who to trust, and trusting the wrong people will get us killed."

"Which means going to Shas'el Tash're could be the last mistake we make."

"Right."

"Well... we could go to Por'el Vash'ya Ka'mesa'myr," the shas suggested.

"And what? Pin our hopes on him not being partisan to this ta'lissera and believing us?"

"Well, fine, Rak'les, what do you propose?"

"You and I... we're the only two tau we know we can trust. No one else, not yet. I mean, by the Aun, I don't like the sound of this - but if this... this conspiracy knows we're on to them, they could even have members who don't bear the scars. You know, infiltrators. That's what I would do. We two, we go right now and see the Kroot. Their shaper had some inkling of what was going on - maybe the rest have an idea, too."

"That sounds like... the safest plan. Let's do it."


--- --- ---

Stepping out into the corridor, Kerala immediately felt that something wasn't right. It was more than a dec into the night rotaa - there should be tau moving around, but not this many. And especially not fully mobilized la'rua from Cadre Tash're, completely armed and armored.

A flustered-looking Ui'Tash'var O'ran ran up to Kerala and Ra'kles. "Commander, you're not going to like this."

"That's the story of this rotaa. What in the Auns' name is going on here?"

"That's just it. I don't really know - none of us do. We've been locked out of the command interface. Shipboard security operations have been handed over to Cadre Tash're."

"What?!"

"That's not all. They've fully mobilized, and Shas'el Tash're ordered our tau back from guarding Bay Four. I think they're preparing for an assault against the kroot kindred."

Kerala gaped. "Why??!"

"Like I said, commander, we're not in the loop. But the rumor is, that the kor'el uncovered proof of a kroot mutiny being planned."

With a mental thought, Kerala pinged the ship's main A.I. hub, asking it for the location of Shas'el Tash're. A response displayed on her implanted HUD, and Kerala started to run.

The three, Kerala, Ra'kles, and Ui'O'ran, burst into the command-and-control center moments later. "Shas'el Tash're!"

The Shas'el turned and smiled. A battle scar ran across the right side of his face, tugging the smile into a sinister grin. "Shas'vre Tash'var Kerala, how kind of you to join us. We could use your aid in planning our assault - I suspect that the Kroot have guessed our intentions, and any insights you have into alternate attack routes would be invaluable."

"So, it's true, then? The Kroot were planning a mutiny?"

"Undeniably so." It was Kor'el Ka'mesa'myr; in her excitement, Kerala hadn't noticed him standing beside the Shas'el. The captain turned to a nearby kor. "Please, show the shas'vre the collected footage."

The shas'vre's internal HUD chirped as it received a direct download from the ship's A.I. Footage from Bay Four flooded into Kerala's skull, with suspicious activity on the part of the kroot specifically highlighted. The kroot were clearly ill-at-ease, but it went further than that. They had begun issuing arms throughout the bay and identifying fire points for the tau's shipboard drone defenses, as well as finding defensible positions within the bay itself. All suspicious activity for an ostensible ally of the tau.

And then the surveillance systems to Bay Four went down a dec ago. "So, we don't actually know what they're doing right now, or have done for the past dec?"

"Not at all."

Kerala continued. "So, it's not really 'undeniable' proof then, is it?"

No response was forthcoming.

"And I wasn't immediately informed of the security outage?"

The Shas'el sneered again. "And you didn't immediately notice?"

"Shas'el, are you trying to imply..."

"I'm not trying to imply anything, Shas'vre. Five tau are dead today, three of them mine, and another a colonist I counted as a friend. One of your own Shas'uis was involved in a murder. That's a terrible track record. More to the point, I don't think you are cut out for this job, and I'm glad that the kor'el had the wisdom to let me take command of this shipboard operation."

"I think," the kor'el interjected, "I think what the Shas'el was trying to say was that this situation calls for someone with more combat experience than you currently possess."

"That said," the kor continued smoothly, ignoring the tension in the room, "you have unrivaled insights into the layout of this ship. I dare-say you know its inner workings better than I do. Shas'el Tash're could use your expertise."

Kerala waffled, stuck between a rock and a hard place. She suspected that the shas'el, had perhaps even the kor'el, had ulterior motives for attacking the kroot, thought she didn't know what those might be. At the same time - it did appear as if the kroot were in the process of planning a mutiny.

"Commanders," she finally said. "I'm certain there's been some sort of misunderstanding. After all, their shaper was murdered today - they undoubtedly feel threatened. Let me go down and talk with them. We'll go from there."

El'Tash're shook his head in disgust. "And give them the opportunity to take a hostage, one who knows the tactical abilities and layout of this ship? I think not."

The Shas'vre made up her mind. "I am of the opinion that this military operation is ill-conceived and will result in unnecessary bloodshed. However, it is not unlawful, and as a Shas, I am bound by my word and honor to aid in its successful completion." Kerala took a breath. "Where do you want me and my tau?"

The Shas'el flashed his sickly smile again. "Excellent. You and your team will lead the first attack, breaching the main hatchway into Bay Four."

Kerala flinched. "Commander, will all due respect, the kroot have undoubtedly fortified that corridor. I can think of a half dozen better ways to circumvent any defense's the kroot have established, all that will be less hazardous for me and my tau."

El'Tash're narrowed his eyes. "Are you refusing a direct order, Shas'vre?"

"Commander, it's like the kor'el said. I understand this ship better than you or your tau. My cadre would be more useful leading your fire teams into the bay through access hatches and the ventilation system. Throwing me and my tau into the meatgrinder is the last..."

"I don't have time for this," El'Tash're snapped. "Shas'vre Kerala, you are hereby stripped of all command privileges and confined to quarters until we reach Vash'ya." He turned to Shas'ui Tash'var O'ran. "Are you capable of executing my orders, or must I find someone else?"

Ui'O'ran paled, but dipped her head and brought her hand across her chest in salute. "Yes, Shas'el. My team can be ready within the quarter dec."

Tash're turned to two shas from his own cadre. "Get her out of here and to her quarters. I don't want to see her again for rest of the journey. I've got a mutiny to put down."
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Old 05 Sep 2009, 00:32   #3 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Entry J - "A Day In The Life"

Part Three

Kerala sat, alone, in her quarters. Being a shas'vre, she was granted the privilege of a small room all to herself. It had always been more than enough space for her: a bunk that folded into the wall, a table, and a small holographic display unit, perfect for planning the Swiftfire's rotaa-to-rotaa activities.

Had been perfect for planning, Kerala reminded herself. The Shas'el had acted completely irrationally - cutting her out of the planning loop, refusing her military expertise, and then conflating her dissent with insubordination - but he was still a superior officer. After he had finished with her career, Kerala doubted she'd be keeping her position as security chief on the Swiftfire; she'd be lucky if she wasn't permanently blacklisted and left to rot on some backwater colony world.

And there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it. She was confined to quarters, guarded by two of Shas'el Tash're's tau, all while a veritable battle raged in the holds of her ship. Kerala punched the wall in impotent rage.

Outside her room, there was a sudden commotion: a small plink, followed by a shout cut short by the unmistakable sound of a photon grenade detonating. And then a high pitched whumpwhump, whumpwhump - four pulse shots, discharged at close range.

Kerala grabbed the heaviest, handiest item she could - the holographic projector on her desk - and hid beside the door, waiting to surprise the attacker. The door slid open and Kerala brought the heavy device down the assailant's head.

Only she didn't. The attacker had anticipated such a move and blocked the attack with an elevated forearm and then, capitalizing on Kerala's off balance, pushed back; the Shas'vre was now sitting on her butt, staring up at a pulse carbine.

The assailant immediately holstered the gun and took off their - or rather, her - helmet. "Shas'vre, we've got to get out of here," said Shas'ui Viorla Mont'yr.

Kerala looked behind her, through the open hatch. The bodies of her two guards lay sprawled in the hallway; each had a blackened hole punched in their helmet and chest. While they were stunned from the photon grenade, Ui'Mont'yr had executed them.

The Shas'vre was stunned. "You... you killed them. You killed them. You incapacitated them, then... why would you..."

Ui'Mont'yr dragged Kerala to her feet. "They're not tau, at least not anymore," she snarled. "Come on, I'll explain once we're safer."

On her feet, Kerala started to think a little more clearly. She nodded and stepped out into the corridor - and then stooped down, picked up one the dead tau's carbines, and whirled on the tau behind her. "Drop the gun, Mont'yr. Now."

Ui'Mont'yr did, sighing exasperatedly. "Please, commander, we don't have time for this. We..."

"Take off your armor," Kerala interrupted, advancing back into the room, carbine at the ready. "And open your jumpsuit."

"Have you completely lost..."

"NOW, Shas'ui."

Mont'yr unclipped her fio'tak breastplate, and then her fio'dr jumpsuit. There was no crescent shaped scar running across her chest. Kerala breathed a little easier, and lowered the carbine. "Alright, suit back up."

"What was that all about?" Mont'yr asked, quickly pulling back on her armor.

Kerala went to the hatch, keeping an eye on the corridor. "I'll explain later. What was this all about? What do you mean, they're no longer tau?"

"My team and I helped breach one of the sealed corridors running into Bay Four. We were on point - we broke through and neutralized any kroot we came across. Casualties were minimal. But instead of Cadre Tash're's team advancing forward... the bastards, they opened fire. On us. All of my tau are dead."

For the first time, Kerala noticed the scorch marks covering Ui'Mont'yr's armor, and the blue blood splashed over pieces of her fio'tak. "And you lived?"

Finished with her armor, Mont'yr went to door. "Dress in some of their armor, commander. I'll cover you. Those T’olkuan bastards crossed a Fire Warrior from Vior'la. They left me for dead - last mistake they ever made."

Kerala pulled off one of the dead's breastplates and started to put it on. Even with a hole punched in the front, it was better than just her fio'dr jumpsuit. "You're taking internecine fighting pretty well, Monty'r," she said dryly.

"I'm not thinking about it right now, Shas'vre, and I'd recommend you not, either. I don't care what they look like or who they were - now, they're trying to kill us. That's all there is to say."

"Why'd you come get me?"

"Right before we assaulted into Bay Four, Fio'vre Ra'kles contacted me. He told me you'd be relieved of command, and that he was afraid some sort of conspiracy was at work, pitting the tau versus the kroot. I didn't believe the second part, naturally, but..."

Kerala stood up and pulled the straps securing her leg armor tight. "Where is Ra'kles now?"

"He said he was going down to Bay Two to investigate something. No other details."

Kerala checked her carbine. "Then, that's where we're going, too. By way of the armory."


--- --- ---

Shas'el Tash're was no fool. He recognized the tactical and strategic importance of the armory to the mutineers, and had stationed guards to keep it safe. But his cadre was spread thin, both assaulting into Bay Four to quell the kroot revolt and sweeping through rest of the ship finding and neutralizing the remnants Kerala's cadre. As such, there were only two shas guarding the armory's entrance.

"Supported, no doubt, by a mobile security detail," Ui'Mont'yr whispered.

Vre'Kerala nodded; the advanced optics relay in Mont'yr's helmet ensured that, even in the dark, she would get the signal.

The two tau were hiding in a ventilation shaft buried deep in a bulkhead; the long tube ran parallel to and one corridor over from the armory. It was dark, well insulted from any thermal scans their enemy might run, and sufficiently large that they could crouch without being cramped. A perfect hideout, but one that couldn't suffice forever.

"How's the hack coming, Kerala? We've got to move soon."

Kerala nodded again, not looking up from her wrist display. Shas'el Tash're and Kor'el Ka'mesa'myr had activated the vessel's defense computer subroutines, even above and beyond the impressive firewalls normally in place throughout the ship's programming. The Swiftfire's hunter-seeker algorithms had easily deflected any attempt Kerala had made to hack the security systems surrounding the armory.

They weren't the ship's security specialist, though. The most obvious systems were locked out from Kerala's access - for instance, she couldn't open the armory's massive hatch or depressurize the corridor's atmosphere - but the shas'el and kor'el had made a few oversights.

For instance: there was no simply way the two tau could keep from being detected by the security devices spread throughout the ship. Indeed, the surveillance cameras had captured rai'kor of footage of Vre'Kerala and Ui'Monty'r sneaking around the side corridors of the vessel. And the artificial intelligence responsible for sorting and analyzing the security feeds had noticed as much. But the subroutines that allowed the A.I. to report its findings to the security staff had been disabled; the alarm had gone off, but it was mute.

Another oversight: the computer subroutine that reported the strength of the artificial gravity in the armory was poorly protected and easily edited.

"There!"

"You found a way to open the armory?"

"No. I'm going to get the guards to do it for us. Let's move."

Kerala slowly slid open the nearest ventilation hatch and silently slid through it. No acrobatics were needed; it was right on ground level. While Mont'yr clambered through the hole, Kerala crept up to the nearest corner, crouched, and pulled out a small microcamera. No larger than a ko'io seed, the little device let Kerala see around the corner without exposing herself.

The two guards were still there, but one had his hand up covering his ear, listening to something. "Shas," he was saying, "we've just got a report that the artificial gravity has gone offline in the armory. We're to investigate."

"Those snae'ta sensors are probably acting up again," his partner said, turning to punch in the access code to the armory. "I mean, there's no loss of gravity out here in the hall."

"Probably, but this is for the best. I don't know about you, but I want to be damn well sure kles'tak charges aren't floating around in there, bumping things. Let's make this fast."

The armory door slid open, and the two guards peered inside. "Well, everything looks al-"

From her crouched position, Kerala fired a short burst into the back of the tau closest to her. More aggressive, Mont'yr took a step out into the corridor, lined up her shot, and placed one carefully aimed round into the exposed fio'dr cloth surrounding the second guard's neck. Both guards collapsed to the ground, dead.

Kerala stood and sprinted into the armory, hurriedly glancing around. She quickly found what she wanted and threw it to Ui'Mont'yr. "Set this up, then we'll fall back to the vent shaft. The mobile detachment will be here in less than a rai'kor."

Kerala attached the microcamera to the wall across from the armory, and then crouched, covering Ui'Mont'yr. The second tau finished, and both scrambled back into the air vent.

Not a moment too soon. Down the corridor, the lift opened and a six-tau team of orange-and-red clad shas hurried out. Watching them with her microcamera, Kerala dispassionately noted that they were handling themselves just as Tau la'rua should: they advanced quickly but cautiously, sticking to whatever cover they had while staying out of each others' line-of-sight. Soon enough, the Fire Warriors had their backs up against the corridor wall, while their point man primed a grenade to throw into the armory and stun whatever attackers had infiltrated it. For a garrison cadre stationed on some backwater colony world, Cadre Tash're was good.

But not good enough.

With a press of a button on her wrist, Kerala detonated the antipersonnel mine Ui'Mont'yr had hidden under one of the dead guards. Mont'yr had angled the mine just right; it blew outward at an angle, into the waiting line of Fire Warriors. The powerful charge had been especially designed to pierce the cermite armor of an Or'es'gue'la, a Space Marine; it was a terrible, gruesome thing to see what it did to fio'tak and tau flesh.

"It's done. Taking out the security detail should have bought us a little more time."

Kerala and Mont'yr rushed back to the armory, ignoring as best they could the blood and gore spread down the corridor. Both tau moved fast and methodically; there was little need to discuss what armaments to loot. Photon grenades for disorienting patrols; EMP grenades for drones and other security countermeasures; shaped kles'tak charges for breaching sealed doors and hatchways. Though their fallen foes used the same ammunition and power cells as they did, it was a pain to slow down and scavenge supplies off of the dead, so Kerala loaded up on them, too.

"Too bad these aren't gun kor'vesa," Mont'yr said, pointing at a rack of DX-4 technical drones. "We could use the extra firepower."

"Yeah, I wish..." Kerala trailed off, an idea hitting her. She began to fire up the drones, one at a time.

"What are you doing? They don't even have shield generators in them - they'll just slow us down and make it harder for us to hide."

Kerala grinned, starting to hammer in instruction codes to each one. "Oh, they're not coming with us. I've programed each to take a grenade bandolier and start randomly dropping timed grenades through out the ship. That should confuse the bastards chasing us. And this one," she said, handing it a kles'tak charge capable of putting a hole in a Land Raider, "is going to be our back-up plan."

Ui'Mont'yr smiled back, clipping more powerpacks to her webbing. "You think too much, Commander, but you know what - I think you'd have made 'vre on Viorla, too."


--- --- ---

As they approached Bay Two, it was clear that the Kroot "mutiny" had devolved into a ship-wide battle. Fio and kor bodies littered the hallways, with an occasional kroot limb thrown in for good measure. Kroot slugs and knives left bodies to recover; pulse rounds against kroot flesh did not.

Up ahead, Kerala and Mont'yr heard the unmistakable report of a kroot rifle, followed by a salvo of pulse fire. After a moment, the kroot rifle fired again, louder.

"They're getting closer," Mont'yr concluded, crouching into a doorway. A moment later, she was proven right: three orange-and-red clad tau burst around the corner, shooting away behind them. They were taken completely by surprise by Mont'yr and Kerala's fusillade.

The pursuing kroot saw their prey gunned down in front of them, and wisely chose not to run out into the firing line. "Identify yourselves!" one of the kroot croaked out after a moment. "Whose side are you on?"

"We're not on theirs," Kerala said, keeping her gun sighted down the corridor. "The orange ones want us dead, too."

A tau voice sounded down the hallway. "Kerala, is that you?"

"Ra'kles?"

The fio said something to the kroot accompanying him, then stepped around the corner. It was immediately clear he had seen combat: there was blood splashed on his grey technician jumpsuit, with scavenged bits of kroot and tau armor cobbled together over his wide frame for protection.

The massive PX-12 pulse shotgun he carried was a pretty good give away, too.

"Where in the six sands did you get that?" Mont'yr asked, incredulous.

"Oh, around," Ra'kles smirked.

"Are you even authorized to be using that thing?" Kerala said, standing and approaching.

"Come on, it's a shotgun. You point it at something. You pull the trigger. The something dies. Doesn't take much skill. Now, if I might introduce you to some of my new friends... these are Kroot Jassa and Mahendra. This is Kor'la Elan."

One of the kroot, apparently Jassa, stopped scanning the corridors and crooned at Mont'yr. "You led one of the assault teams into Bay Four, before the traitors turned on your team."

Kerala nodded. "My team breeched into subchamber G."

Jassa agreed. "A fine job you did. It would have been an honor to kill you in battle."

Mont'yr was uncertain how to respond, so Kerala stepped in. "And Kor'la, what is your story?"

The kor'la nervously jerked, the pulse pistol in his hand clumsily shifting and almost slipping to the floor. He was clearly not accustomed to fighting. "I was in the ship's communication hub. Some members of Cadre Tash're came in and asked us to accompany them down to Bay Two. They wouldn't say why... being in communications, I had heard the reports of gunfire... I didn't know what their plan was, so I just... ran."

Ra'kles laughed, slapping the taller and thinner kor on the back. "A well-developed sense of survival. We found the poor guy in a cleaning closet."

Mont'yr's eyes narrowed. It was clear to Kerala what she was thinking: He's a coward, and an unskilled one at that. He's a liability.

While they had been talking, the group had continued to move, carefully and methodically, down the corridor, keeping an eye out for enemies. "Have you or the kroot uncovered anything?"

Mahendra shook his quills despondently. "Before he died, our kindred's shaman warned us about some sort of darkness spreading among the tau on this vessel. A type of summoning, or corruption. He spoke in riddles, and then he got shot through the heart. We can't be of much more use."

"And all I've figured out," Ra'kles concluded, "is that it seems all of the colonists are on the side of Cadre Tash're. They've taken up arms, as well, and if Kor'la Elan is correct, it sounds like they've started replacing the Swiftfire's crew. Or even more ominously, inducting them."

"Alright... suggestions on what to do now?" Kerala asked.

"In my opinion, six of us are too large to make an effective guerilla group," Mont'yr spoke up. "And we're just decs away from entering the Vash'ya system. I think we should split up, staying close enough to support each other and flank any enemies we come across. We stay out of the way, find a communications device, and broadcast a warning signal."

The two kroot clicked a negative. "Before he died, our shaman charged us with finding the root of this corruption and ripping it out," Mahendra said sharply. "We will die before we break our word to him."

Ra'kles shook his head. "There's nothing I like more than living, and keeping our heads down seems like it's the safest thing to do. But... if this perverted ta'lissera spreads, it could be a threat to the Empire. I'm with the kroot. I might be a perverted old tau, but I'm just as willing to die for what is so obviously the greater good."

"Fair enough. The way I-wait, what is that noise?"

From all around the sound came the beat of dozens of hoof-falls. "Oh, snae'ta!" cursed Mont'yr, figuring it out first. "Defensive positions, now!"

Around the corner wheeled a horde of fio colonists, wielding pulse pistols and makeshift melee weapons.

Mont'yr and Kerala's opening salvo cut down down a handful, but there were more right behind them. Tired of losing men a team at a time, Tash're's loyalists had figured out where the "mutineers" were and had decided to throw everything they had at them.

"There are more behind us, tau," one of the kroot croaked. "It is a pleasure to die with you," he added matter-of-factly.

The kor'la's last nerve broke, and he ran blindly, foolishly, trying to get away. He was cut down by the flanking group of fio, coming up from the rear.

"Keep firing, keep firing, damn it!" Kerala shouted, taking a moment to throw a grenade into the coming swarm. And for a moment, it looked like they might hold; three tau and two kroot, back to back, each shot finding a mark. Ra'kles' pulse shotgun was particularly effective, ripping through the poorly armored colonists by the dozen.

The attacker's morale broke, and the colonists started to fall back. But it was only a feint: a photon grenade went off at Kerala's feet, and the rest was silence.
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Old 05 Sep 2009, 00:33   #4 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Entry J - "A Day In The Life"

Part Four

Shas'vre Kerala coughed herself awake; blood in her nasal passage was trying to drip into her lungs. Her head pounded, her ears rang, and a sharp digging sensation in her wrists and arms told her she was bound. For a second, she panicked, afraid the photon grenade had blinded her, but after a moment she realized she was being held in a dark room.

After another moment, Kerala's eyes started to adjust to her surroundings. From the looks of things, she was being held in the cargo hold of a Manta, empty of any materiel. Propped up against the wall was a figure of some sort.

"Mont'yr, Ra'kles, is that you?"

"Commander," Ui'Mont'yr said, "are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Kerala whispered back. "Some cuts, I'll live. You?"

"My head is throbbing from that damn photon grenade, but I'm pulling through it. Ra'kles, though..."

It took a moment for Kerala to realize Ra'kles was laying beside Ui'Mont'yr. "Commander," Ra'kles choked out, a wet rattling noise following them.

"Don't speak," Mont'yr chided. "As best I can tell, he's got some sort of puncture wound in his chest." Her eyes adjusting further, Kerala saw Ra'kles was laying in a large pool of blue blood. It didn't look good.

"Do you still have your wrist device?" Kerala asked. The real question was obvious: Can we still activate your back-up plan?

"No, they left all the armor but that."

"Same here. Bloodfire," Mont'yr spat. "My arms are tied, at the wrists and higher up. I guess I'll kick at them when they show up."

In a fit of wheezes, Ra'kles pulled himself up on one elbow. "I think... they left me for dead. They only... tied my wrists, and didn't search me that well." In a fit of cursing, the old fio pushed himself up, stepped through his cuffs, and then collapsed on his face. After a moment, he rolled over, and reached into his boot for a small, crafted knife. "One of the kroot... gave me this. Told me I'd know when to use it. ha. Mont'yr, you're closer... I'm going to try... to fray your bonds. Maybe you can surprise them."

Ra'kles didn't have long. Within moments of beginning, the massive rear hatch of the Manta began to open, and a tumultuous noise began to flood in.

It was the sound of a thousand screaming voices.

Brothers, the Swiftfire has been secured - the dissenters killed or captured. Here behind me, are the ringleaders of the resistance themselves!"

Amidst more screaming, a mixed group of bulky fio and shas - some sporting the red-and-orange of Cadre Tash're, but others, disturbingly, wearing the grey of Kerala's own security forces - lifted the three tau to their legs. It was only till they had drug Kerala outside that she was able to figure out what was going on.

They were in the Swiftfire's largest hangar bay. The ship's compliment of Barracudas and Mantas were against the walls, leaving a wide opening for a massive crowed of screaming tau. It looked like it was predominantly made up of the colonists from Ur'kam IV, though a sprinkling of the Swiftfire's kor crew was represented.

Standing behind the Manta and in the middle of the crowd was a large, hastily erected platform, upon which stood the speaker - Shas'el Tash're himself. Kerala and her friends were being dragged up to see him. With a start, she realized the two kroot that had accompanied Ra'kles were dead at Tash're's feet, their necks cut.

"Brothers!" Tash're was screaming. "Here are the tau that took so many of our cadre from us! How shall we punish them???"

A scream, louder than all previous, drowned out the rest of Tash're's words.

"Gorram bastard, you'd think he was a por vidhost," Mont'yr yelled over the din, at no one in particular.

Beside Kerala, Ra'kles had collapsed to one knee, breathing hard. His guards yanked him back up, but he took the moment to lean in toward Kerala, resting his body on her for support.

"Old friend," he whispered, "I don't think I have long. Just give me the sign."

Ra'kles was immediately jerked back, but Kerala had got the message. She gave Ra'kles an imperceptible nod.

With a hand wave, Tash're quieted most of the mob. "I know, I know, brothers. For all they've taken from us, I would love nothing more than to see them bleed out at my feet, like these savages here." Tash're kicked one of the lifeless kroot bodies for effect, and a howl went up. "But remember the words of the True Ethereal" - at this, a hushed silence fell over the congregation - "remember how he spoke to us, at our Fio'taun, and spoke of the greater good, and of the inclusion of all."

Kerala shivered, suddenly very, very afraid.

"Imagine, brothers, these dissenters - imagine their strength added to our own!"

"By the deserts, no," Mont'yr gasped. "There's no way in-"

El'Tash're laughed. "That's what everyone here thought, until I showed them the True Path, the Path of the One True Ethereal. You'll see, soon enough." Turning back to the mob, he lifted his hands. "Help me, brothers, help me call the True Ethereal! Add your voice to my own!"

The entire hangar bay was filled with a wailing summons.

And then, out of the darkness, loomed a figure of nightmarish proportions, grotesque and evil.

The didactic implants buried deep in Kerala's skull informed her immediately of what it was.

A genestealer.


--- --- ---

In a sudden moment of clarity, everything made a twisted sort of sense to Kerala.

Cadre Tash're, and the colonists on Ur'kam IV, must have encountered, and then been contaminated by, a genestealer infestation. Then, they asked for reassignment. They probably inducted the kor'el early on, "convincing" him of the unviability of Ur'kam IV. And once onboard started working their way through the crew, Shas'ui Kova included.

The one hitch in their plan was the kroot kindred that also happened to be onboard. Like Ra'kles had said in the autopsy room, some shapers - and definitely shaman - had psychic potential. They must have sensed something was wrong, and tried to act. It didn't help that Kerala's team had so obviously been infected, killing the shaper while under arrest.

And then, to keep things quiet, they had Kova killed, and the assassin kill himself.

Then they locked Kerala out of the loop, started a fight with the kroot, got most of the uninfected crew killed in an arranged mutiny, and inducted the survivors.

This really had been one of the worst days ever.


--- --- ---

"Now," Kerala breather. "Now, Aun-damn it, now."

Ra'kles, in a final, fatal moment of glory, surprised his guards by charging up and forward, toward the standing figure of El'Tash're. The massive fio barreled into the shas'el, tumbling them both to the ground.

In the same moment, Ui'Mont'yr broke her frayed bonds and pulled from her armor the kroot knife Ra'kles had left for her. In one swift movement, she stepped behind the guard in front of her and slit his throat. Then, without even pulling it off of his shoulder, she lifted the dying tau's carbine and opened fire on the genestealer.

For her part, Kerala swung around and kicked out, tripping one of the guards. His framed tangled up several of the others, and they all rolled off of the platform.

All hell broke loose in the hangar bay. The genestealer took several pulse rounds to the chest but, giving no care for the well-being of its followers, it immediately turned and began carving a swatch through the mob, trying to escape without further harm. The mob descended into uncoordinated action: some ran to cover the retreating genestealer, others tried to clamber up the platform and save El'Tash're, others simply ran for the nearest exits.

The last remaining guard on the platform, a member of Tash're's cadre, fell to one knee and took aim at Ra'kles. Kerala saw and started to move, a moment too late. The fio'vre shook from the shock of the shot and started to topple off - but not before his hands found purchase on Tash're's skull and twisted. The fio'vre and shas'el fell together, dead.

Ui'Mont'yr turned and gunned down the last remaining guard. Then she threw a wrist computer she had taken from one of the dead tau to Kerala. "Fall back to the Manta behind us. Maybe we can seal ourselves in there."

Kerala nodded, fingering into the wrist computer an override code, then programming it to contact the DX-4 drone that had, with its kles'tak charge, made it to the engine room.

A low rumble shook the entire ship, and then all hell really did break loose on the ship.


Epilogue

The por shook his head. "You heard the whole thing. Her story hasn't changed."

A kor spoke up. "My crews have been combing the wreckage. We've yet to recover the ships main databanks, but the genetic material we've found has been... peculiar."

A shorter female shas tutted, displeased. "She readily admits to plunging herself and her ship back into the Mont'au. Nothing, nothing at all, excuses that. Lock her away forever, for all I care."

From the back of the room, a smaller figure, stooped with age, cleared his throat. Immediately, the tau present had turned to listen. "O'Shaserra, you would too readily sacrifice a warrior of remarkable strength and endurance. I admit, she is otherwise unproven. But our coming phase of expansion needs every able body we have. On my word, I declare that Shas'vre Tash'var Kerala has passed her Third Trial By Fire. Have her and the other survivor placed in command of a cadre mustering for the planned annexation of Fi'rios."

The arrayed figures bowed. "By your command, Aun'o."
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Old 06 Oct 2009, 20:05   #5 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Re: Entry J - "A Day In The Life"

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) - 3.7/5
Plot, storyline etc. - 11.7/15
Realism/Plausability - 3.7/5
Interest - 4.2/5
Characters - 3.8/5
Ease of read - 3.5/5

TOTAL - 30.5/40

Comments-

-Interesting story, keep you glued to it and wondering until the end, what the Hell is going on

-Nice, Genestealer Cults make for interesting stories and this is no exception. Interest maintained throughout the story. Very few mistakes. Well written.
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