After the Exodus

That is not dead which can eternal lie

July 23rd, 2008 - No Responses

The three men moved cautiously out into the street: Deacon leading, Silver and Casey watching the rear, all three with rifles at the ready. The static howls of the Scavengers echoed through the streets as they picked their way across the rubble blocking the intersection.
“They’re close,” whispered Silver. “I hope you’re good with that gun, Orbiter.”
“I do alright,” said Casey.

They made it across the intersection to the cross street, thankfully clear of rubble, when the first of the things came snuffling around the corner. Silver dropped it with a single shot that cracked and echoed across the town before Casey could even get a proper look. The next came at a run, all slavering teeth and deep-set eyes. Its four feet (or were they hands?) slapped on the cobblestones in an ungainly stride that still contrived to eat the distance between them at an alarming rate. Silver dropped that one too.
“Any time you feel like helping would be fine!” he yelled.
Casey swallowed back the bile that rose in his throat at the sight of the things and opened fire as a pack of them came into view all at once. He dropped four of them with four shots in quick succession, tearing through the bodies in a spray of blood so dark as to be almost black, but there were dozens of them and still more came. He shifted his grip on his gun and flicked a latch on the stock, switching to full automatic. The barrel spewed forth a torrent of bullets and the Scavengers dropped like flies.

After a full minute there were no more of the things and Casey eased up on the trigger, silence descending into the space left by the deafening roar. The static howls had stopped, and Casey allowed himself a small smile.
“Come on,” said Deacon. “I don’t want to hang around and find out if all that noise caught the attention of something worse.”

Strange Aeons

July 18th, 2008 - No Responses

Deacon looked up suddenly, cocking his head slightly. “We’ll continue this later,” he said. “It’s time we were moving.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Casey shook his head. “Now that that… thing… is gone I have to get back to my ship and try to call for a pickup.”
“It’s your funeral,” Silver stood and shouldered his rifle. “I ain’t staying around to argue.”
“Son, it’s dangerous to move around while there’s a Mote on the loose, but it’s even more dangerous to stay still when it’s passed.” A howl in the distance that seemed half static punctuated Deacon’s words. “The Scavengers are on the move.”
Casey sensed the edge of panic in the others’ voices that hadn’t been present before, and it brought him to his feet. “What are these scavengers?” he asked.
“If you want to live to hear the answer to that question, I suggest you run.”

Something Fhtagn!

July 14th, 2008 - No Responses

The shell of the building shook. A racking, sobbing shudder. There was a sound in the air that smelled like regret. Rubble and dust shook loose from the ceiling and showered over the three men, two scruffy and one clean-shaven, huddled in one corner.
“What in the hell is that?” whispered the clean-shaven one as loud as he dared.
“Christ, where you been, man?” yelled the younger of the two others.
“Don’t worry, son,” said the third, laying a hand on the clean-shaven man’s shoulder. “It can’t hear us. Can’t see us, either, not even if we were right in front of it. If we’re lucky it will keep moving and stay in a good mood.”
“This is a good mood? It slaughtered my whole team! Destroyed our ship!”
“It doesn’t know that. Doesn’t know anything except what it feels. What it makes others feel. And yeah, for a Mote I’d say regret’s about as close as it gets to whimsy.”

The feeling in the air was fading and the shaking growing less violent, and the clean-shaven man was beginning to recover.
“I… My name’s Casey. 3rd and 8th,” he shook the older man’s hand. “What division are you? Do you have a ship nearby?”
“Afraid not, son. The name’s Deacon, and this here is Silver.”
“Holy!” Silver had been slow to catch on. “Division? Ship? You’re from Orbit!”
“You’re not?” asked Casey, confused.
“Surface, born and bred. I ain’t never left the ground. Never even seen anyone from above, before.”
“Surface? Nobody lives on the surface. Not anymore.”
“That what they tell you up there, son?” asked Deacon. “You look old enough, if only just, to remember the exodus. What do you think happened to those who got left behind?”

Iä! Iä!

May 24th, 2008 - No Responses

In 2046, mankind struck out into space. It was not the thrill of adventure that drove them, nor the quest for new horizons. It was fear. Satellites and space stations were rafted together to form the foundations of Orbit 1 and first governments, then the rich, then anyone there was room for boarded shuttles and moved off the surface. The surface was no longer safe.

Something had been disturbed. Something which had lain aslumber for countless aeons, dreaming in the deep. People began to go missing at first, and then it was towns – gaping holes rent in the earth where once had been streets and buildings. It was clear, before long, that this was no natural phenomena. Things were burrowing, beneath the soil, tearing through rock like water. They could not be tracked, and so could not be fought. More towns disappeared, then cities. Mankind turned, in terror, and fled.