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Krystabald and the Hermit

Krystabald was soaring through the Penoxion nebula in his Kreutz S-9000 at three times the theoretical speed allowed by the LGCPA (Local Group Civil Protectorate Agency). It was quiet, all indicator lights were blinking in harmonious way, and he could just relax on his stomach and let his new tentacle-tail massage his back.

It was a wonderful bargain, a treat long overdue after all his space adventures. It was grown from the stem cells of an Ralexian salt worm. The rugged, yet soft material did wonders when he needed his back scratched. Not to mention the wonders it did to his more private parts…

Those pleasant thoughts were interrupted by the blaring of the ship's alarm. “Object in path, advice course correction.”

“Stop the racket and do something about it, you miserable waste bucket!” He screamed at the panels in front of him, but then he remembered he sold the AI to the CyberSlavers on Gibson Alpha.

“Stupid digital piece of shit.” he muttered as he corrected the course and spe…

The Messenger, part 1

Running comes easy to me. At least it used to be like that. Part of being a soldier is running circles in full body armor around the walls of the city, your trusty weapon and shield by your side. But for me it wasn’t simply part of the training; it was the best part. I like the adrenaline rush, the resistance that my legs give as I push them more and more, my heart pumping at ever faster rate, my lungs expanding to the limits.

And I can outrun my peers easily, I’m the fastest in the entire regiment. And that’s the main reason why I am in the current situation. Running not only for mine, but for the lives of thousands. I am running for ten miles already, unarmored, barefoot. Ten miles is a milestone, the mark when my body no longer cares it’s running, and just surrenders to my will.

I can cover three times that, and more. And I had done it, many times. The only obstacle can be boredom. I’ve found that once my mind wins the battle against the rebellious organs, it reverts to the trivial…

The Messenger, part 2

I’m part of the First King Brigade, the chosen ones who were destined to be victorious against the scourge that had taken the smaller neighboring kingdoms in one swift move. ‘We are Syngenia, the land of the Ascended Ones,  descendants of Malakir the Great, and we will not fall prey to some bug infestation!’ - King Simon shouted at the Palace Square, before his five brigades and the common folk that managed to gather around to witness them. And his speech was supported by cheering from the crowd and the warrior roar of the fifty thousand soldiers. I shouted too, feeling the battle cry of my mates in my bones, filling me with optimism and lust for victory.

And we marched and galloped towards the northern border, full of determination, full of arrogance, full of the righteous power bestowed by the Ascended Ones. And we were cheered by the farmers, housewives, and the children ran besides us, often reaching up to touch their shiny heroes off to fight against the terrible enemy that threa…

The Messenger, part 3

I am now running away from Wegrand, sweat starting to leave my forehead and threatening to invade my eyes. I take the towel from the belt to wipe it off, reminding myself that the real heat is yet to come. It was still two to three hours before the worse came, though, and i had plans to be in the reach of the capital by then. I take a sip from the water and increase my pace slightly.

My thoughts again, are not on pleasant things. I am thinking about the burden on my left side, placed there to balance the water I carry to the right, but just heavier enough to feel my body compensating with each step. It wasn’t causing me fatigue, but it felt weird… like the pouch was somehow heating my left hip.

But I smile at my stupidity. Whatever I am carrying, it cannot be hotter than the great ball that heats the whole planet and it just happens to be at the same side. I shrug off the feelings, and I try to think about the barmaid at the Gentle Giant. Maybe I could finally make a pass on her, and …

The Messenger, part 4

By barrage five, I was back at ranks, trying desperately to catch my breath. Being long distance runner doesn’t mean I can sprint well, I liked using tactics, calculating every breath, every heartbeat. Sprinting was more primal, more chaotic that I am comfortable with. I turned around and saw the wall of flame that had escaped from - whole field of fire, and, it seemed, it was right where we wanted it, as I heard a human scream following an inhuman screech. For a moment we all felt elated, we could all feel excitement filling our bodies. We seemed to have made a victory, we seemed to have beaten the enemy at least once.

And beating it once, meant we could beat it again.

But then, from the flames emerged a six legged shadow, then another, then another, then another, then another... and the excitement quickly changed place with panic.

The six legged shadows were moving quickly through the grass, their hisses audible even over the roar of the fires. The initial shock had passed, and th…

The Messenger, part 5

This was a time to run, not to contemplate the Philosophy of Ascension. I will make sure to relay my concerns and doubts to the Anavasi priests, once my mission is complete. Now there is simply not enough energy for my mind to ponder such questions.

The sun now has full reign over the stone road below my feet. My left side is radiating, I am sure of it. I can feel a slight warmth in my stomach too, slowly massaging my innards, and not in a good way. I hope it doesn’t come to a time when i would have to release my bowels on the run. Not that anyone will think less of me, considering what I am doing here, but I would not like to meet the King in that state.

Ah, it’s good to still be able to think of banal thoughts. I slow just a bit my pace, so I can be able to take deeper breaths, calming myself as much as I could under the circumstances. I’m suddenly aware of the life all around me, the bird’s song from the trees lining the road, their gentle flaps of the wings, the dance of the leav…

The Messenger, part 6

‘Fear is is a natural process, always irrational. Overcoming fear means overcoming irrationality. Fear is is a natural process, always irrational. Overcoming fear means overcoming irrationality. Fear is is a natural process, always irrational. Overcoming fear means overcoming irrationality….’

The litany seemingly does nothing to alleviate my anxiety of losing my strength and perishing before finishing my mission. I turn around, and seeing absolutely no one that could help me, no living thing even except the butterflies and the cicadas, I force my mind to continue revisiting the days of the siege.

We thought that the cockroaches were our only problem while the enemy was busy dousing the fires before them. For a day, we were right, and then something started coming out of the ground itself.

They were giant crabs, but not crabs exactly, as one of the pincers was much larger than the other. It was built for digging, we realized in horror. We immediately organized a defense around the emer…