Archive for September, 2009

Setting up

Posted in mantinence on September 19, 2009 by lucheek

So, as you can see, I’ve decided to move Meribellian Chronicles onto wordpress. This way I’ll be able to have extra pages, and more customizalbe things that Livejournal offered. Right now I’m just figuring out how to use this new site…

I decided that when I finish a chapter, all the update posts will be condensed into a single post for that chapter. I guess that means I’ll have to do some editing, but ah well. I think it’ll make it easier to read. The chapters finished so far have already been condensed.

Wish me luck!

Chapter Four: Transformations

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2009 by lucheek

Narl pulled his head back. His nose ached and his hands were asleep. Blinking, he realized he had passed out with his hands in his paws. Narl groaned and stretched his neck.

“Sir?” A small, unconfident voice came from beside him. Turning sharply, he saw the little brown mrow beside him. The mrow must’ve wakened him up…how did he forget that so quickly…?

“Don’t call me that.” Narl growled.

The mrow turned his feet in the dirt. “We…we need you inside.”

He stared at the little messenger. He was weak, with frail slender arms and a sunken-in chest. This mrow, he thought, looked like so many other. Narl squinted his eyes and walked heavily into the structure.

“Finally!”  Kizo gasped. “You sleep like the dead.” The snip’s only response was a low growl. “We’re running out of food, Narl… no new supply ships are coming in and all of the stores at the plantation were blown up.”

These words from the scruffy Kizo, he realized he hadn’t eaten in days. A crippling pang of hunger shot out from his gut, into his arms. Narl could feel an unwelcomed sleep tightening on his mind. They stopped suddenly in the hall, Narl tightening all his muscles to force away the hunger. When he became to walk again, Kizo didn’t even ask.

“So…” He growled, letting the black-tip of his lion-esque tail sweep against the floor. “What do they think we should do?”

“We’re all waiting on you.” Kizo stopped, raising his hand to the crowd that stood before them. Narl’s eyes flashed open. There were so many…their eyes wide and hungry for information.

He was frozen. These Mrows, they expected Narl to lead them. I…I don’t know how to… His thoughts collapsed on top of each other in a tangled mess of growls, Narl stuck in the middle trying to get out. He just stared at the hopeful faces stretched in front of him.

At the top of the crowd were faces he recognized… the white fluffy Mrow from the Plantation, the one who lost his father. He was smiling. His blue-eyes were half closed in a calm, humorous expression.  The young frightful child from the plantation was there, too. His chest was puffed out and chin raised high. He wanted to be a hero…

Narl’s mouth curled up into a snarl. What was wrong with these idiots?! They saw hope…not the war.

“Narl?” Kizo pushed on the base of his neck. “Wake up.”

Forcing his eyes shut, he walked closer to the storm of people. He wasn’t going to give them any speech…he was too weak for that. No, just a plan. “Woman, children, the weak, wounded and elderly will stay here. The Gowaks at the Mines, no doubt, know of our presence and will be ready…so only the fittest will come. Not everybody will have a gun… and many of you are going to have to walk.” Narl remembered the lack of ‘Woks before and now they had more Mrows and some of the vehicles were destroyed. “…umm… is anybody here a medic?”

There was a single raised hand. It was a red, long-furred female. Her right ear was plated with three metallic bands, the mark of a professionally trained practitioner of medicine. She seemed hopelessly hesitant to reveal herself from the crowd.

“You’re going to come with us.” Narl barked, voice growing more confident. “I want a special group dedicated to protecting her…we can’t afford to loose you. Is there anybody else who has even a basic understanding of bandaging and first-aid?” More hands were raised this call, and Narl signaled for them to also be part of the invading troop. “We’re going to need to be fast. We’re over powered and every second we spend is a risk. We’re going to go there, quickly shoot down the Gowaks. Accurately…no firing randomly and let’s avoid exploding anything.”

He turned around and walked outside. Many of the crowd still stood, not expecting their ‘leader’ to end the plan so vaguely. Narl didn’t notice, or even care. He strided to were the ‘Woks were. A paw grabbed his shoulder, turning to see Chambo.

“Narl, sir-“

“Don’t call me that.” He grumbled.

“Narl, I’m working on attaching some of the rifles that we found at the Plantation to some Seawoks… it’s going to take me a few more hours to finish.” Chambo didn’t seem to be in awed by the white, scraggly mrow. He looked him straight in the eye- not with power, but with a calm friendship.

“I’m going to move out now…” He replied. “Some of the weaker mrows will stay behind with you…pull them in with your guns when you’re finished to help us.”

“Alright!” Chambo said as he turned to dash off in the opposite direction. The black mrow’s short, stubby tailed bounced as he ran over the rocks.

Kishi pulled the two-wheeled cart along the track carved into the rocky cavern floor. Her arms were straight out behind her, claws digging into the wooden handle bars as she climbed up toward the exit. The Leppa Mine… It had been her home her entire life, and the life-long home of her father. He was problem still around somewhere, seducing women every night. Kishi didn’t know, she tried her best never to associate with the man.

Leppa was a unique Meribellian mineral. It was a saturated-yellow color, speckled with grey and brown. The color was always slightly bothersome to her. It was too close to her own fur, golden yellow with brown banded ears and tail, with tabby stripes elsewhere. The similarity between the rock and her pelt represented the eerie, unwilling bond between Kishi and it. She was born in the mine, worked in the mine, and would probably die in the mine.

She grunted, heaving the heavy cart over some rocks that had fallen in the track. Leppa was part of the Trinity. The trinity of three minerals- Merr, Leppa and Pite- that was so important for Meribel. When Merr, a very dense red stone, touched Pite, a highly rare metal, the Merr would separate and blast from all its sides. However, this red blast was unbelievably attracted to Leppa. To place a Leppa ring on a block of Merr, and then touch it with Pite, would create a highly powerful, focused laser. This was how their guns worked, how they powered their space ships and the Swalu Transporter that allowed interplanetary flight, and how they powered almost every technology on the face of the planet.

It was legend that three different tribes of Mrows- a warrior tribe, a healer tribe, and a mystic tribe, brought the stones together to form the Trinity. It represented how one needed offensive, defensive, and mystical energies to create true power… Kishi really didn’t care for that legend though, or really any other story.

She hauled the cart to the mouth of the caverns. The gowak that stood at the top, who checked all the loads, smirked at her. “Hey, if isn’t my absolute favorite Mop!”

Kishi growled heavily as she poured the Leppa into a large bin.

“Oh come on Kishi,” The large-fanned gowak cooed. “You know I missed you.”

She never looked him in the eye. “Go bash your head.”

“Hey!” He hissed, slapping the striped mrow against the side of her face. “That’s no way to talk to me, Mop!”

Kishi growled again. She softly grumbled “Sorry.”

“That’s better.” He smiled wryly, consumed by his power over the slave. “Now why don’t you give me a kiss, eh?” He stuck out his muzzle.

She ignored the green crocodilian monster, pushing the empty cart back down the tracks.

“Hey!” He called, screaming. “You’re lucky I like you—or you’d be working with the shovels!”

Would rather work in the tunnels, digging the new caverns and waiting for the cave-in to kill me than see you all day long, Kishi thought dryly. Digging the tunnels was the punishment for the slaves at the mine. She had often heard stories from traded mrows that their old masters would beat or starve them as punishment. The Gowaks here didn’t have to do them- they would relocate you to the digging. It wasn’t a question of if you would die in a cave-in…but when.

The trip into the dark, dusty mine was incredibly easier than the one up. Hands tightly on the cart, she walked by the slaves pulling Leppa out of the rubble. They threw there rocks behind them, letting them land in one of the many carts that passed by.

“Did you hear…” One of them whispered to their neighbor.

Kishi rolled her eyes. She hated when the slaves gossiped…she hated how they felt better about themselves by talking about others as if they all weren’t grime-covered slaves.

“…About the liberation?”

She froze for a split-second at the words, resulting in a chunk of Leppa clacking against the track. Kishi caught herself and began to walk slower, like one of the older mrows.

“The Ship Port and the Plantation…an army of Mrows came; thousands…killed all the Gowaks…”

“Don’t talk like that!” The older, neighbor hissed. “You’re going to get everybody’s hopes up and then get yourself working in digging.”

“But Mama!” The first one whined. “It’s true. I heard it from the night keeper. They’re upping security and contacting Vanessa to help take back the plantation and port…”

“…are they coming here?” The mother whispered. Kishi could tell she wanted to believe that their bondage would be over, but she knew, logically, it would never be.

The younger one smiled, looking at a large piece of Leppa he had found. When he unearthed the stone, it revealed a bone of an old digger. His smile washed away, eyes fixated on the remains of a forgotten Mrow.

“Yes, Mama, they’re coming here.”

“From this point on, they’ll be able to see us.” Narl let go of the Driving stick on his ‘Wok, yelling to the mrows behind him. All the grumbling of motors quieted. “They probably know we’re coming, to…”

“Yah, they definitely do.” Kizo grumbled. He hadn’t turned around to face the others. His grey face, coated in dirt thrown up by the vehicle, looked down into the depression where the Leppa Mine and the Mining base stood. “Look, they’ve got a small-fit Lander in there.” Beside one of the gray structures, a conical shaped ship was nestled.

Narl turned his neck sharply to look at it. “…Reinforcements?”

His complaining scoffed. “Heh, I’m honored they thought they needed reinforcements to kill us.” 

Somewhere in the crowd, a makeshift soldier cried out. “Can we shoot them from here?”

Narl’s eyes snapped back into his robotic, commanding voice. “The ‘Woks with the rifles probably can…but the hand weapons can’t. Shooting from here would leave all those defenseless. I’m sure they have heavier ammunition.” He looked back down at the Lander. “We’re going to get closer in; mrows with rifles take the lead. We’ll take out their ship first, and then the Gowak quarters.” He was able to identify the slave master’s building earlier, with the help of a tom who had been traded from the Mines. Fortunately for the rebellion, the slave quarters and storage was in a separate building. “With any luck, nobody will have to set a paw on the ground.”

Kizo grumbled, “And maybe they’ll just surrender.” The white tom elbowed him sharply, and got back into position. He leaned forward on the driving stick, pushing the ‘Wok into the depression.

They had moved down for perhaps four minutes, when a thunderous boom exploded over head of them. An unarmed ‘Wok team rolled backwards with the vehicle, crushed under the rocks and machinery.

“Fire!” Narl shouted, almost using up all the energy he had in him from the foodless days. In unison, three glowing red lasers shot toward the cone-shaped ship. Half way to their destination, their trajectory changed. The energy bolts crashed straight into the ground, blowing a side a layer of soil and rocks.

Kirf!” Kizo shouted. “What the hell was-“

The Gowaks fired back in another roaring boom. As quickly as possible, mrows jumped out of their vehicles, dashing away from the fiery ruins.

Narl pushed all of his weight onto the ‘Wok, chagrining the vehicle closer. Startled, Kizo had to grab the edge of his seat to avoid falling backwards. The rest of the intact ‘Woks and foot  soldiers followed, ready to avoid the sudden shower of explosions.

Loud bangs and flying dirt erupted all around the lead group. “They’re aiming at us!” The gray tom shouted over the noise.

“I know!” Narl hissed back. He shot out his arm, pointing at the top of the Gowak’s Quarters. Three of the large reptilian beast were all crouching around some large gun-shaped object. Kizo jumped over the back seat and grabbed the rifle. Almost as quickly as Chambo’s marksmanship, he fired a large red beam up toward the roof. The thick energy beam flew out of the barrel, and almost immediately nose dived. There was a horrendous hiss as the laser pierced the hood of the ‘Wok, spraying Narl’s back with ember as he leaped out.

Both of the mrows got out of their vehicle, running on all fours to a nearby rock for shelter. “They’ve got some kind of force-field!” Narl almost gagged out his words.

“Force-field?!” Kizo hollered, not looking at his comrade but instead what appeared to be the Gowak’s horrible aim. “There is no such thing as a force-field!”

He wasn’t listening. Narl launched himself off the top of the rock. “Get everyone to get out of their ‘Woks and create a distraction!” He yelled, running away.

“Hey!” Kizo screamed to the white tom’s shadow. “There is no such thing as a force-field!!” He grumbled slowly, before beginning to shout at the others. “HEY! Everybody get off their ‘Woks! I said get off the ‘Woks!” Running up and down the ranks, he managed to dismount all of the mrows.

“Uuuh…” Kizo tried to form a plan. “Everybody- run this way!” The ragtag creatures followed him with great confidence. The mass stayed closely in front of the explosions, many mrows resorting to a primal four-legged run or stiff-kneed hop to edge away from the back of the crowd.

Narl crawled against the rocks, his chest and stomach dragging in the dirt. He rounded about the metallic building and found the ladder to the roof. Jumping over the first couple of rungs, he slithered onto the top. The three Gowaks had their back to the white Mrow, still hunched over the gigantic gun.

He pounced, slashing his claws across the back of one’s neck. The Gowak roared. His thick tail shot up, pounding Narl against the side. His claws screeched against the metallic rooftop, jumping back toward his neck. The monster flung his hand out, attempting to punch him, but Narl managed to grab on to his fingers. He sunk his teeth into the soft webbing between the claws. This caused the Gowak to scream, giving enough time for the mrow to leap back onto his neck. Narl used his teeth again, biting at the lump of the creature’s throat. Before the dead reptilian vessel had collapsed, the true Gowak melted into the air. Narl backed up, trying to find something to throw. He couldn’t just swat at the black form, or he would be possessed himself.

The other two Gowaks didn’t turn around to assist their comrade. Between the loud thundering of their cannon, they would yell. “Take care of it, Fresk! These mops are fast and you need to get to packing!”

The black Gowak dived toward Narl, who dropped onto the hot metal. He half-rolled, half clawed away from the pulsating glop. He swept his fluff-tipped tail against the ground, trying to find some loose shrapnel or anything to throw. He leaped, panicked, away from another charge by the Gowak. There wasn’t anything! Channeling all his strength into his feet, Narl jumped in the air over the creature, angrily trying to catch up. He spun his torso in mid-air, shifting his weight and landing him on a damp, cold body. Narl’s claws sunk into the limp Gowak tail. He ripped his shoulder’s around, pulling the tail off the roof. The bright, feathered flail whipped through the air and crashed into the diving Gowak’s true form. The black glob shrunk and imploded with in itself.

“What is taking you so freakin’ long, Fresk?!” Another crocodilian alien turned around. He lashed his arm off the side of the gun, grabbing Narl by the scruff of his neck. “Mop!” He hissed, holding the mrow above the ground. The Gowak flicked his arm, trying to fling Narl onto the ground.

Narl shot out his arms, piercing his lower arms with his claws. Suddenly, the Gowak found himself moving with the weight of his own toss. His stomach crashed down with a rumbling thud, neck barely extending over the edge of the building. The mrow’s feet thrashed in the air, before latching onto a gutter that ran about the side. Claws still dug into the reptile’s arm, Narl forced his knees bent and pulled the two over the edge of the building.

“What the hell!” The third and final Gowak screamed, watching the tail of his team mate disappear over the drop. The loud explosions had halted, at least two were needed to operate the gun. He stood up, fuming, and raced toward the ladder. His heavy foot steps clanged and dented the top of their quarters. “It’s one single Mop!” He growled, sliding down onto the dusty, dirt ground.

The Gowak ran around the corner. His vision was blocked by the black, true-form of his companion hovering in front of his face. The side of his head was suddenly tapped by a small pebble. The stone had slain the black glob, now disappeared. He could see clearly the white mrow, slightly bent over and panting. “Filthy little scum!!” The Gowak roared.

Narl stuck out his chest and ran. They were dashing in a small opening between the Gowak’s quarters and, what he guessed were the Mrow’s. The area was too small to give Narl any advantage with his jumping, and he tried to find his way back onto the open area.

With thunderous stomps, the bulky reptile was gaining quickly. He reached out his hand, trying to grab Narl’s black tail-tip, missing barely. Narl lowered his head and ran quicker, forcing his weight forward. In the charge, he almost ran straight into Kizo, who appeared around the corner.

“Whoa!” The gray mrow jumped out of the way of the mrow. Narl kept running. The giant, dark-green beast was quickly in front of Kizo. “Whoa!”  He tried to turn around, claws scarping against the dirt in an awkward backwards run. The Gowak roared and clamped his hand into a fist, thrusting forward.

BLANGBLANG!

Kizo’s grey fur was sprayed with red blood, and a sticky black mist that disappeared quickly after he could feel it. The remains of the Gowak fell sideways, head bending awkwardly against the corner of the building. Behind him was a yellow mrow, a girl, breathing heavily. Her hands dropped down, each clutching what appeared to be strangely-shaped guns.

“Wha…” He grasped for words. “Why do your guns work?!”

            Kishi leaped over the corpse. “Bullets!” She hissed. “We’re in a Leppa mine!”

            Kizo flattened his ears at the stranger. “So?!”

            She rolled her eyes, letting one side of her mouth raise and show some sharp teeth. “Do you even know how Trinity lasers work?”

            Narl’s head appeared against the wall of the building, peering into the thin passageway at the two mrows. “Come on—the rest of the Gowaks are in the slave’s building.”

            The gray mrow’s eyes flashed at Kishi quickly before he turned, starting to head off. “Wait!” He shot out his paw, catching Kizo’s chest. “Where did you get those bullet-guns?”

            “They left some boxes of them on the ship.” She replied. She lifted one hand, pointing the barrel of the gun at the conical space-ship.

Narl nodded and turned around. Outside on the rocky plains, scattered with burnt holes from the cannon’s fire, smoke and metal shrapnel from fallen ‘Woks, dabbled with blood and fur, the remaining forces stood unsure. “Everybody- onto the ship!” He barked forcefully. “Grab a bullet gun, into the slave’s quarters!” They followed him urgently, jumping into the open hull of the ship and picking the gun’s out of lined boxes. There were holes against the walls, suggesting an earlier struggle to make the resources available.

 Narl lead the group out. From the corner of his eye he could see the fluffy white mrow from before. They reached the threshold of the door, and Narl signaled for Kamisho to press against the walls. They did. Before Narl could give another order, though, Kamisho sprung out from behind the corner, stretching himself in the air. Some Gowaks hissed at each other. The white tom found himself heated with the gunshots, on managing to scrape his side. Landing, Kamisho rubbed the burnt skin. “Owch…” He murmured, quickly before dashing over to one of the enemy, and leaping over his back. Narl growled at the disobedience. He charged in, holding a gun up and firing openly. The other scared mrows followed behind him.

  “Ho-ho!” Kamisho cooed, running deeper into the swarm of frenzied slaves and Gowaks. He stopped in the exit of a corridor leading to another chamber. A Gowak held his claws clamped around the neck of an orange mrow.

“Put down your guns, Mop-meats! Or I’ll slaughter this one, and a million others!”  Kamisho smirked, and again bounded into the air. Almost in a pose, he kicked out his left foot, slamming it against the base of the back of the Gowak’s head. It fell over, snout crushing against the steel floor. “Let go of the pretty girl,” He murmured to the unconscious enemy with a smirk.

The orange mrow stumbled back a few steps, her bushy tail bumping into Kamisho. She was mutated, with large curling ram-horns growing between her ears. Her green eyes were wide with fright. Kamisho continued smirking. “Head out.” She nodded, mouth agape, and ran through the chaos with her head down.  When she was out of sight, Kamisho shot the fallen Gowak, and quickly again his true form as it rose.

Narl slashed at the knee of a particularly thick reptile. The plantation-worker roared, charging forward at him. Turning on his heels, Narl dashed away. He passed another Gowak, in a fire-fight with a mrow, and clawed at the base of it’s tail.  He was trying to lure the creatures into a single area to better protect the frightened slaves. It was working… He had two Gowaks on his tail, some of his allies chasing after them, and the rest of the workers after the mrows. The group was lead into the side wall of the building.

Narl stopped running and opened fire on the Gowaks. It was a mad rush of bullets coming from everywhere. With the loud booms and horrible accuracy of the bullet-guns, it was hard to see where you’re fire was going. Mrows and Gowaks fell backward, or just exploded into horribly torn chunks all over the place. Narl didn’t really know if he was hitting any of them…he just kept firing at any Gowaks and true-form Gowaks he saw.

The monstrous reptiles were outnumbered. The last one was blown away, finally. The corpse piled on the other giant beasts and crushed mrows… it was a mess. Narl just stared for a while. He was almost deafened by the silence. The scene made his back cringe in place.

“That’s not the last of them.” A course, female voice pierced the quiet. Kishi’s chest moved up and down with her heavy breath. It was almost eerie how she didn’t seem to be unnerved by the Gowak blood on her pelt. “The women… they’re down this way.”

He looked up. Come to think of it, Narl had never actually seen a female Gowak. They were considered too soft, too nice. Males of the species that showed that softness were killed—only those that matched the image of their awful ruler were allowed to live. But females were tolerated… Narl had seemed to hear that the females often thought of mrows as children, not slaves, because they were about the same size as Gowak-youth. He had never seen one of those either.

He was shaken from his train of thought by the hoard of mrows running past him, heavily holding their weapons. He stiffened his legs and followed the thirty or so others that remained. They snaked through hallways, similar to the one in front of the Ship Port captain’s quarters, until they reached a back entrance. The charging cat-creatures stopped abruptly.

They’re were two what Narl assumed were female Gowaks. They didn’t really look different, except they’re skin was brownish, with a smaller plume of feathers on their head and not any plume on their tail. The two were half-crouching against the sealed door, clawing it at it. One of them was reaching at the key-pad, wildly tapping at buttons hoping one would open the door. These Gowaks didn’t have any weapons, and were shouting something in some kind of native Gowak language.

The mrows stared at them, faces cold, yet paralyzed. Narl growled, shifting his weight from shoulder to shoulder and barging through the others. The screams of the two Gowaks got louder, and the tapping and banging more wild as he held his gun up to them. He shot twice for their crocodilian covers, and twice for their black forms. The shots echoed in the hallway for a couple of seconds before fading back into quiet.

Kizo had somehow gotten next to Narl. “…I, I don’t get it.” He mumbled gruffly. “The key-code was written on the wall. Why didn’t they press it in?”

Narl twitched, his ear pricking up. His eye shifted sideways, and he turned. He shouted at Kizo, even though he was only a couple of paces away. “They can’t read.”

The gray mrow held back for a bit, slightly shocked on the gruff answer. The other mrows easily let go their discomfort in the slain Gowaks, following Narl. When the tip of the last mrow’s tail had turned around the wall, Kizo snapped into focus and caught up. “What’s the big hurry!” He called, getting next to Narl. “That was the last one—“

“Not quite.” A thick, tall Gowak slid out from the corner. He rested the end of a bullet-gun on his arm, holding the barrel up with his claws.

Narl widened his stance and crouched slightly. “What!” He hissed. “Were you waiting for the dramatic moment to reveal yourself?!”  He pounced, grabbing the side of the gun with the tips of his fingers. The extra weight off set the Gowak. His thick tail whipped against the area, trying to find balance, as the Gowak let a mirage of bullets crack against the walls. Narl put his other hand on the gun, swinging his weight to leap onto the final guard’s face. “Shoot!” The mrow cried, tightly clawing into the flailing reptile. “One of you shoot!”

Kizo roared, jumping forward and firing a his gun. The projectile angled up, piercing the Gowak right through his gut. A black wisp leaped forward from the wound, streaming toward him. Startled, the boxy mrow flung his shoulders back, but was caught by the approaching blob.

As the Gowak’s bones smashed against the ground, Narl leaped off. “Kizo!” He hissed. His friend fell forward, awkwardly, and then quickly snapped upright. His feet slid out. The Gowak wasn’t used to a mrow’s legs, and fumbled trying to get balance. He spun around, claws out. The tip of the points cut across Narl’s face. “Ugh! Kizo!”

The possessed body jumped toward the group of mrow rebels, silently backed off from the area. He growled, trying to scratch in the air. The clumsy body was easily dodged. “What do we do?” Somebody screamed, jumping out of the way.

Kizo’s body landed poorly, skidding on his knees. He pulled himself up and stared at his lost body. Shoulders swaying, he ran through the confused mrows, arms ready to snatch up his gun.

BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

The grey mrow spiraled through the air, back bashing against the wall. The true-form of the Gowak poured of Kizo. Narl shoot again, gun by his waist as he crouched, disintegrating the beast.

“Oh my god!” The group of mrows pulled in closer to Kizo. His left shoulder was gushing blood, the arm completely teared back behind him. They could see his shoulder blade awkwardly jutting out.

“Somebody pick him up!” Narl screeched. “Get him to the Medic!”  He pushed his way through the crowds. “Now!”

A barrel-chested mrow slid his hand under Kizo and folded him across his shoulder. His legs were shaking under the weight of the full-grown male, but the mrow seemed more disturbed by Kizo’s blood-curdling scream.

Narl charged out, head forward. By the look in his eye, the other rebels knew they were to  follow him at the same speed. The mrows poured out of the building like rainwater, spreading across the rocky ground. The mrow carrying Kizo and Narl rushed past the crowds, toward a small circle were the medics had gathered.

“Andero’s light!”  The red mrow from earlier screamed, eyes fixated on the injured tom. “What happened?”

“No time for that!” Narl snapped. “Do something- now!” His voice sucked the wind out of him. He stumbled back, paw padding against the black spot on his chest. His feet danced awkwardly on the ground, before his spine let loose and he fell backwards. Another medic caught him.

“When was the last time you ate?” The mrow was whispering, but it sounded like a scream in his ear.

“I…I don’t remember.” He struggled, trying to stand up.

“What?” This was a new voice. “How has he been running around, I saw him take out some Gowaks alone-“

“Smell him.” The voice shattered Narl’s ears. “It’s adrenaline. When you’re about to die, or in a life-threatening situation, you’re abilities are heightened to help escape whatever threat… but that usually only lasts a couple of minutes…”

He drowned out the noise of the two mrows, focusing in on some barking orders from the silver-banded one. “We’re going to have to amputate! Somebody, bring me bandages and fire!”

Amputate? He thought… Kizo’s going to lose an arm. Narl’s body had recognized he was no longer fighting or in danger, and let itself pass out.

There was a grumbling for the top of the valley, and a legion of ‘Woks buzzed down the edge. Chambo felt his shoulder’s tighten. There was smoke puffing out of buildings, and the rotten stink of carrion over powered his nose. He was late, the battle was over. Swiftly, he let go of the steering-rod of the vehicle and jumped out, running toward the growing crowd around the medics.

“Narl!” He shoved himself closer. “Where is Narl and Kizo?” His green eyes caught the gray foot of his friend, twitching statically. Kizo’s body, however, was surrounded by a swarm of mrows, moving directly with purpose. Chambo saw Narl next, limply laying over a rock. “Is he okay?”

“He’s just passed out.” A mrow called back, breathless.

The black stub-tail let his body relax. Just like last battle…as soon as the violence was over, Narl would just conk out… as if a robot, whose purpose was completed.

~

Chambo leaned against the side of the Ship Port, watching as Kizo gestured with one hand as he talked. “There is no possible way that we’ll be able to pull something like that off in Vantessa.” Kizo’s movements were strange. He was not yet used to having no right arm to speak of, and looked off-balanced and awkward. “It’s one of the biggest cities on the entire damn planet.”

“I know.” Chambo eyes drifted off haphazardly. “Especially since the Gowaks there know of our rebellion.” Quickly after the battle at the Leppa Mine, one of the slaves there had reported that they saw a Gowak call up the official’s building in Vantessa. The rebellious mrows had lost the element of surprise.

Kizo collapsed down, stretching his legs straight in front of him. “How long do you think,” He stretched his torso closer to the black mrow, “until they send forces down here?” His voice growled.

Shaking his head, Chambo said hopelessly, “I have no idea. They might not even have to send any thing here.” The gray tom twitched his whiskers. “We have a finite amount of food and stocks. They might just try cutting off all our resources.”

“What about the plantation?” Kizo argued. “I thought the plan was we we’re going to eat those nuts…”

Chambo blinked heavily. “Have you ever eaten a Dray nut?”

Kizo grumbled. “No, I thought the just didn’t serve us any.”

“No,” Chambo cocked his head back. “Eating a Dray nut is like drinking saltwater, you’re better off not doing it. The Dray Nuts are harvested to be processed into a glue.”

He stretched his hand to scratch the back of his head. “Oh, well, great.” Kizo stretched his lips to show fangs in bitterness.

Elsewhere in the Ship Port, the now home of more than five times the residential capacity, Narl lazily opened his eyes. He was laying down in the actually bay on a make-shift bed of package packing. He let his pupils drift in the direction toward an itch on his arm. A crude feeding tube, made of a recycled cooking-baser and needle, was pricked in. A tom sat crouched beside him. “What… what the heck?”

The light-red, almost strawberry blonde, tom turned away from what he was doing. “Oh good…” He mused. “We’ve been giving you food through that thing.”

Narl glared at the feeding tube. “Kemuel…” He grumbled, recognizing the fluffy mrow from the slaves he once worked with.

“We we’re trying to keep you from passing out all the time.” He said, leaning over and lightly squeezing the needle. “Though I guess now that you’re conscious again, you can eat through your mouth.” He pulled out the tube.

Narl did feel better, but he still felt very weak. Not only did he feel to broken to make any significant movement, his mind felt flattened. It was as if somebody pulled away all his actual thought, like he was in a waking sleep. Narl didn’t allow himself to close his eyes though, staring intently until his mind finally came back in full.

“Where is Chambo?” He broke the silence. The budding medic turned sharply, keeping Narl from getting up.

“I don’t know if you should be walking.”

Narl grumbled, spitting, “I am not a cripple.”

Kemuel got up, looking down at the yellow-gemmed Mrow with intent. “I’ll go bring Chambo and Kizo to you.” Narl narrowed his eyes at him, but the light-red mrow walked off anyways.

“I refuse to be a cripple.” He leaned forward, putting his paw against his knee and pushing his back up. He unfolded his legs, spindly from malnutrition like most of the slaves, and stood up. As Narl suspected, he felt better standing tall. He waited quietly for a while, but it was not too long before Chambo, Kizo, and Kishi entered the area.

He looked at Kishi from the side of his eyes. Although no official names or ranks had been given to anybody, Chambo and Kizo had earned some superficial spot of authority. The tabby female, however, would not allow herself to be uninvolved in the rebellious efforts. She spoke first. “There is no way we’ll be able to take Vantessa.”

“It’s a huge metropolis already,” Chambo concurred, “and they’ve called in reinforcement. One of the Gowaks at the mine was able to send out a message.”

Narl folded his ears back at the news. His long tail bounced and waved, the black-tip sweeping from side to side against the floor. “Are they sending Gowaks?”

Chambo shook his head. “I doubt they will. They just need to cut off supplies from us.”

“My sister,” Kizo grumbled, staring at the floor, “is already feeling pains of hunger.”

His tail continued to lash around behind him. “We control the ship-port.” He stated dryly. “The passage of trade is under our own control.”

“I highly doubt they’ll be sending cargo ships are way.” Kishi said.

Narl leaned forward, make a generous gesture with his left paw. “Vantessa is an urban city.. they don’t support themselves. Without shipments of food and other supplies, from this port, they’ll die.”

“What about compact landers?” Chambo raised his head. “They’ll probably send those in, like the one at the mine.”

Narl growled. “The closest other ship port is in Talchap.” Talchap was a smaller city, to the west. “Can we shoot down the compacts?”

The other mrows stared at him, a little shocked. Chambo finally spoke up. “No, none of our guns could go that far up… We’d have to have some kind of ship to shoot down anything. Even if it’s smaller than a Floofnay.”

“Well, do we have any of those? Ships, I mean.” He looked at the group from the corner of his eyes.

The pause was even longer this time. “We have a deserted canyon, not some kind of armory.” Kizo’s muzzle wrinkled upward as if he was disgusted.

Narl stepped forward, ears pointed straight toward the amputated tom. “We have a ship-port! I expected a ship-port would have ships!”

“You worked with the ships directly.” Chambo said cautiously. “If you don’t remember anything like that, we don’t have any…”

Kishi flicked her tail impatiently. “If I might say, the mine has about five strikers. The overseer’s personal…he would take he and the others out on it sometime. Usually girls. Can only imagine where he was going.” Her voice was dry and serious.

Taking a step back, Kizo blurted. “Are you serious?” He let his shoulders drop forward, his one arm dangling feet above the ground. “What are you made of? Lucky dust?”

Before she could answer, Narl jumped into the throat of the conversation. “Strikers…” They were small, simple ships. “Could you modify those to be able to be run by mrows?” He turned abruptly to Chambo.

The black mrow closed his eyes, visualizing one of the small, personal crafts. “They just had basic controls… a steering rod, activation gauge, simple Swalu construct….” He opened his eyes again. “If I remember correctly, the things are pretty small already. Controls all real jammed together, I imagine you’d only have to move the chair forward.”

Kizo spinned on the balls of his feet. “Lucky dust!”

“But,” Chambo added. “Strikers are just personal transport craft… they don’t have guns or anything.”

“The name is misleading.” Kishi said.

Narl’s tail flicked violently, and he raised a paw. “So? You stuck a gun on a Seawok, can’t you stick a gun on these? Just remove them off the ‘Woks and reinstall them.”

“It’s not that simple. I’d need to rig up some kind of controlling device. I don’t think I have the knowledge to-“

“Find somebody who does!” He barked.

“Sir, but-“

Narl growled now, ears pressed back. “Do not call me that. I’m sure somebody knows.”

Chapter Three: Winding Siege

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2009 by lucheek

The massive crowd of Mrows sat in their places, three to a team. The faces were widely different. Some grinned in hope and excitement, others hunched over in fear. All of them, though, were ready.

            “Alright!” Narl shouted, burning his throat. “As soon as the Gowak’s see us-they’ll open fire. Be quick and be precise!” The response was a faded mumbling. “Let’s go!” He relaxed his legs and fell into the side chair, Kizo to his right steering the vehicle.  Chambo kneeled behind him, hands ready on the large mounted rifle. The rumble of the engine echoed through out the make-shift troops, and the ‘woks began to wheel out over the rocky terrain.

            Kizo drove steadily, slow enough to avoid large boulders or ditches. The sun, Ma, was low in the sky. About two hours remained of light, followed by two more of dusk. As they moved through the gray, dusty air, it was eerily silent. Chambo’s eyes began to wander, glancing haphazardly at Narl’s arm. It was covered by a filthy cloth stained with browning blood, and smelled strongly of it. No doubt it was from that brown queen… He could remember it. The monster killing her, and he leaping with out fear…with out anything. Just hate. Chambo opened his mouth slightly, but before speaking caught a glimpse of Narl’s yellow eyes. They were laced with sadness, a look as if he himself had just died. Chambo didn’t say anything.

            They rode in silence for forty more minutes, when Kizo spoke up. “Get ready. We’ll become in eyeshot-and gunshot-soon.”

            Narl’s glazed sadness disappeared, and he leaned over to shout to the others. “Ears up-Gun’s ready!” The mrows shot into stiff positions, latching onto the weapons.

            “There it is…” Kizo hissed, ears laying back. We’re all going to die. The white tom lifted his hand-gun, prepared. The gang of ‘Woks rolled closer to the huge sheet-metal plated building, surrounded with huge fields of brown stalks. They could see small flecks of movement, slaves busily pulling the stalks over and dashing about.

            Chambo leaned against the rifle, eye in the scope. “Should I shoot?” He aligned scope with a guard, hovering ominously over the field in a watchtower, pointing his own rifle just to scare the mrows below.

            “No…” Narl growled under his breath. “We will fire second.”

            “That makes perfect sense. Don’t kill them until they kill us.” Kizo grumbled, receiving a sharp gaze from the white mrow. He rolled his eyes and continued to drive forward. “…Shouldn’t they see us?” They could see the plantation in full glory now. It rest at the bottom of the canyon, the Revolution currently puttering down the side of the slow-sloping reddish rocks. Slaves ran from place to place, pulling and heaving the nuts. They would come in and out of a side-unit on the side of the building. It was the processor, where the Dray Nuts were ground into powder in the heavy sputtering machine, this area doubled as the slave’s quarters.

            Chambo kept his aim on the same guard as they approached. “Something’s wrong. There is no way they don’t see us.” Similar whispers followed from the other mrows as a blanket of uneasiness fell upon them.

            “Don’t shoot.” Narl growled again.

            Suddenly, slaves erupted out of the quarters. They were close enough to see their flailing and scrambling motions. A square-built Gowak followed, kicking off an Mrow from his shin and tossing it onto the ground. “What the…”

            CRRRRRAAAAAAARRRRSSSSS! Shrapnel flew out of the mushroom cloud like bullets. The smoke cloud quickly dissipated when a thunderous red flame burst out of what was once the slave’s building. Panic screams from both the plantation and the Shipport Mrows rang loudly.

            The explosion had distracted Chambo, who quickly spun the rifle back at the watchtower. The guard had his own gun pointed straight down the scope. “TURN!” He shouted. Kizo jolted the ‘Wok to the left, tires screeching on the ground.  A red beam flew past them by a few inches, destroying the ground below.

            “Fire!” Narl barked, holding up his hand gun. “Fire!” He shot off a few beams, all which disappeared before reaching the plantation.

            Kizo regained control of the vehicle, making a sharp turn. With all his power, Chambo spun the gun and fired at the tower. Similar beams followed from the ‘Woks behind them. Few of the red, shimmering lasers hit the towering structure. Others scattered, hitting areas widely away from the mark.

            Chambo held the trigger down, keeping a constant flow of energy on a metal leg. The guard tower crumbled, exploding as it reached the ground. The Revolution Army was close now to the main plantation. Some of the ‘Woks had wondered into the rows of Dray Nuts, while many were not navigating themselves around rocks-but the fleeing Mrows.

            Narl shot at Gowaks, just at the end of his range, chasing the scared slaves. Many of the fleeing creatures were headed toward the approaching ‘Woks. The message of the freedom fighters had most defiantly arrived.

            BRANG! The ground next to the wheel exploded, spraying rocks and clods of dirt into the gray driver’s eyes. “Chambo?” Kizo shouted. “What is firing at us?”

            He looked over the gun, green eyes scanning the panoramic scenery. “…I don’t see anything!” Chambo growled over the rumbling of vehicles.

            “Something shooting at us!” He screamed.

            Narl tossed the round hand-gun into his right rand, blasting a Gowak’s leg. “Hey!” He screamed, punching Kizo in the shoulder. “Steer!”

            He grabbed the joystick-like handle, flinging his entire body to the side. The Seawok flew up on two wheels. Another mysterious laser shot at the ground next to them.

            Suddenly, a cold substance scattered on Chambo’s back.  He turned from firing randomly, hoping to hit the invisible guard tower, to see his black fur sticky with blood. Small pieces of shrapnel clanged in the back of the ‘Wok. “Holy—“ Chambo hissed under his breath. The three-man crew behind them had been shot. A black hole of dirt, fizzing electrical remains, and clumps of fur and blood. His eyes lifted. Similar smoking holes spotted the scenery…at least half of the mrows who had left the Ship Port were not coming back.

            Chambo was knocked onto the ground. The side of his skull crashed against the metallic ground. A young mrow laid, legs flopped, on his chest. Kizo looked over his shoulder. “Hey!” He shared Narl’s punch with the striped child. “Chambo-get on the gun!”

            Burning a reptilian hand trying to reach into the ‘Wok, Narl turned to look at the mrow who jumped into their vehicle. The ragtag liberators had separated now. They were spread about the fields and buildings… Narl could see some of the Ship-Port workers fighting on foot.

            Suddenly, the ‘Wok was spun into the air with a loud blast. They fell out, spines crashing against the ground. Narl coughed, climbing to his feet. The white mrow locked his arm over Kizo’s neck, leaping away from the crash site. The remains of the small vehicle were shot again, exploding into a fiery blaze.

            “Where is that coming from?!” Narl barked, bearing his teeth at Chambo.

            “Ka…ka…I don’t know.” The black mrow’s head was shoved in to the rocks, pushed down by a white paw. The young mrow, fur dirty with soot, leaped over him and skidded on the ground near Narl, grabbing the handgun. He rolled over and shot a thick energy blast toward a window on the side of the building in one swift motion. It exploded, fire and fragments of Merr shattering out.

            The three adults looked at the spectacle, flabbergasted. The boy ran off with the other fleeing slaves, taking the gun with him. Narl got back on his feet and reached out his arm. “Hey! Get back here!” It was in vain, he was gone. He growled in irritation.

            “…I think that was the last of the Gowaks…” Kizo gasped, looking around.

            “Wrong, mop.” A huge, reptilian hand sprung out of the smoke, grabbing Kizo by the neck. He held the squirming mrow to his face. It was the same Gowak that had walked out of the slave quarter’s before it exploded. Kizo gasped, kicking his foot against his chest with little effect. “Heh.” The Gowak spit in his face and launched the mangy mrow into the distance.

            Narl sprung, claws ripping into it’s head-flail. “Graah!” The Gowak slung its tail up, bashing against Narl’s back. He held on, using his teeth to tear up the colorful appendage, toward the skull.  He tried desperately to get him off using his claws to slash blindly at his back.

            Startled by a sharp cut on the back of his shoulders, Narl was knocked onto the ground with a metallic whack. Another Gowak, he recognized as the phone-messenger, regained his normal held on the long rifle. Narl could see Chambo in his peripheral vision. He was lying cold on the floor, pistol-whipped by the same lanky beast. Eyes thinning, Narl jumped back into the air with his claws forward. The bulkier Gowak punched him in the stomach mid-leap, Narl crashing down to the ground once more. The unarmed, thick-shouldered beast was to the side, letting the thinner Gowak point his rifle at the mrow’s brow.

            “What…did…you…DO?!” The first one hissed, bearing his fangs. This one was no-doubt, the Plantation owner.

            Narl panted, feeling strangely as if he had done this before. He responded to the question with a throated hiss. The aggressive noise, somehow, was overpowered by a soft calling. “Dad…? Dad…?”

            Ears backed, he looked around. What idiot was still here…? Most of the other slaves- and even the liberators-had fled the area. Narl didn’t think on it long, taking advantage of the distracted guns man. He jumped on the rifle, pulling it down as he wrapped all his limbs around it. The Gowak shot a deep hole into the ground. Tugging at the gun, Narl leaped around, avoiding the Plantation owner’s fists. The weapon spun out of the Gowak’s hands, butt hitting him across the face and throwing the Gowak onto the ground.

            Throwing a powerful punch, the Plantation Owner let out roar. Narl leaped over the attack barely. He grabbed the rifle, awkwardly pulling it off the ground. “Raaagh!” The Gowak screamed, bashing Narl in the head. He was flung back, grabbing at the gun to keep ground, unintentionally sending a laser through the Gowak’s leg.

            “Aaaagh!” The beast fell down, grabbing the wound for a moment. “Mop!” He screamed in a deep, wet voice. Narl leaned back, on all fours, and thrusted himself forward. His teeth sank around the tip of the owner’s muzzle. He lashed his head sharply, tossing the mrow off while letting his teeth make deep cuts across his face.

Back-twisting, he was able to land on his feet. Narl was sick of being thrown around. “Raaaaaaaarrr!” He charged forward, claws unsheathed at the towering creature.

The Gowak spread his feet, but wasn’t expecting the mrow to slide on the ground. Narl rammed himself against his ankles. As inertia pulled his body along the rocks, he dug his claws into the beast’s legs. He was flipped forward, skull bashing against the ground. His already wounded leg snapped, blood spewing forth out of the growing wound. “Aaaaaahhh!”

The mrow jumped back onto two legs and dashed back to the fallen Gowak. The Plantation Owner continued to roar in pain, but as Narl got closer, his thick, muscular tail whipped across his face.

With a powerful crack, Narl was pounded into the floor. His ears were bent sideways, and he couldn’t hear anything over the ringing of blood gushing out of them. “M…mon…” He coughed, trying to push himself out of the dirt. It was no use. The blood in his ears and nose was pouring down his throat….it was getting harder and harder for Narl to breathe. He turned his head back toward the crippled monster.

The bulky Gowak tried to push himself up. He failed, falling down and spitting up blood. A shady figure appeared behind the creature. “Y….you…”  It was a young Mrow, not wounded or covered in dirt. Narl coughed, trying to tell it to leave. “You… you killed him!” The young, fluffy mrow screamed. “You killed Dad!”

Gurgling, the Gowak tried to raise its arm toward him. “You monster! You killed Dad!” The mrow screamed, voice hissing. He shot out his leg, kicking the Plantation Owner right on the temple. “You monster!”

The beast’s eyes fell backwards, and his body limped. The color of his skin faded quickly. Narl spit up blood, trying to push a message through. The fluffy mrow still stood over the dead body, crying and screaming at it. “Run!” Narl squeaked, too softly for him to hear.

From the bloody wound, a dark shifting blob rose. The Gowak’s true from pulsated quickly, as if agitated. It fell out of the air, racing toward the mrow.

“A-ahhhh!” The fluffy one fell backwards, scrambling at the ground. He desperately tried to get away from the black creature. His awkward flailing and pulling at the ground was hardly helpful. Narl hissed pathetically, trying to get enough air to get up. The blood swelled in his lungs, and he could do nothing more than cough.

The air flashed red, cutting through the thick brown smoke, and the Gowak was gone. Chambo let the rifle fall over on the ground and ran forward. He put his arm under Narl’s, lifting him onto his shoulder. He drug Narl and reached the stunned white fluffy mrow. “Come on!” Chambo said, urging him forward. He followed the black stub-tailed warrior out of the smoke. He drug Narl, who had passed out on Chambo’s shoulders, out.

“Good God!” A raspy voice screamed. Kizo jolted for them. “Where have you been?” His eyes passed over them, stopping strangely at the new comer. “Well-come on! Let’s get out of here!”

About half-way between the Ship Port, and the ruins of the Plantation, all the escaped Slaves and fighters gathered in a small flat between hills. Anybody that knew how cleaned and aided the wounded, while others had passed out from exhaustion or fright. Kizo, Chambo, Narl, and the mysterious Mrow were the last ones to reach the others.

Kizo scanned the area. His eyes stopped at a young, striped boy…holding Narl’s gun in his lap. “Hey!” He barked, ears folded back. “What were you doing?” This was no doubt the young mrow he had jumped into their ‘Wok seconds before it exploded.

Despite being a head-shorter than the mangy gray Mrow, he looked up without fear, but with bold confidence. “You couldn’t see the last Guns man. I shot him for you.”

He growled under his breath, slightly reluctant to agree the youngster had saved them. “That was dangerous…”

His golden eyes didn’t waver. “My name is Sia-I want to be a hero.” There was a slight grumbling from an mrow on the floor next to him, who looked away when Kizo tried to glance at his face.

“Well-Sia,” The gray tom replied. “I would like our gun back.”

As they talked, the blue-eyed, white and fluffy Mrow broke from the group, dashing toward a white fluffy female. She had orange-tipped limbs…and strange tentacle-like appendages dangling from her head. “Kamisho!” The female shouted. “Where did you go?”

Kamisho leaned onto his sister. “He killed Dad, Xof….He killed him!” The siblings continued to hug, both softly crying.

~

30 Minutes Earlier….

                     Kamisho flung the bag over his shoulder, quickly walking the nuts to the building. He weaved in and out of the other returning slaves. He walked slower that the others, who raced past him. The white mrow saw no reason to work himself into the grave any faster than what he was already doing.

                     The metal building was hot, steam from the processing machinery filling the entire construction. The metallic cots, pushed into the far corner of the room, were covered in liquid. As always, when the slaves went to sleep, they would be bathed in almost boiling water.

                     Kamisho poured the bag empty onto the conveyer belt. The nuts rattled along, toward the main compacter. The motions were almost mechanic…he did the same thing day in and day out. He turned and waved at his sister who, like always, was only a few steps behind him in the process. Xof waved back, pouring the Dray Nuts onto the machine.

                     “What did you do?!” A voice echoed across the room. The mechanical routine of the slaves was shattered in an instant. They all stood, scared. Gratsin, the owner of the Plantation and subsequently every mrow there, stood at the entry. “There are mrows on the hills…armed!”

                     A wave of gasps over came the slaves. Kamisho turned, staring at his sister. Some of the Slaves had been whispering all day. There faces changed, some lit up while other shut down completely, as they murmured. Was this what they were talking about…?
                     “I’m sure you thought you’d call your Mop friends, to come over and ‘free’ you?” Gratsin stepped closer into the crowd, arched over like an animal about to pounce. “That a couple of dirty Mops could take me down!”

                     Horrified, Kamisho realized something. He wasn’t talking to the entire crowd of slaves, but to a single one. Pushing his way past other stunned Mrows, he tried to get closer to Gratsin, to see who he was talking to.

                     At the bulky Gowak’s feet was a thin, off-white tom. His face was sunken with age, but his blue eyes were still bright and passionate. From his back, two bony prongs stood out against his shoulders. His “almost-wings.”

            “….Dad.” Kamisho whispered terrified.

            “Is that what you thought, you filthy mop?!”

            He took a step back, but continued to look the plantation owner in the eye. “No-I had nothing to do with this.” Kamisho wish he had his father’s courage, to stare with great strength straight into the beast’s eyes, but he didn’t. He was paralyzed with fear.

            “Liar!” Gratsin hissed. “Who are they?”

            “I don’t know.”

            “Liar!” He screamed this time, stomping his foot. “Tell me the truth! Who are they?”

            “I am telling you the truth.”

            Xof touched her brother’s shoulder gingerly, choking a whisper to him. “What is dad doing…?”

            Like a spoiled child, the bulky Gowak stomped his feet and began shouting louder to the crowd of mrows. “Fine! You damned, filthy idiots!” His hand, almost magically, produced a remote-control switch. “If you don’t want to be civil with me, they you don’t get to be at all!” His thick, clawed foot jolted forward, hitting the old mrow in the gut. Just as his strange mutations broke against the wall of machinery, Gratsin flipped the switch.

            POW!  Flames burst forth, ashes and shrapnel spewing from a hole in the processor. Nobody heard anything as the panicked screaming came with even more force than the explosion. Mrows ran out of the building, tripping and falling over their own feet, and being trampled over by other fleeing creatures.

            Kamisho, without thinking, leaped on to Gratsin’s leg. The Gowak didn’t mind the fluffy creature, instead running out with the rest. Once outside, he kicked Kamisho off his shin without so much as a word….and activated the true terror.

            CRRRRRAAAAAAARRRRSSSSS!  The slave’s quarters erupted into an unrecognizable pile of smoke and debris. Frightened slaves raced over the white mrow, some pulling burnt limbs behind them. Kamisho coughed, fighting to find oxygen in the smoke and dust. He couldn’t see Xof anywhere near him. He couldn’t see anything.

            The sound of lasers began: loud cracks and crashes as the red energy beams blasted their targets. Hanging onto consciousness, he pulled himself up and ran away from the smoke. The battle noises grew louder as Kamisho ran-but he didn’t stop. “Dad! DAD! Where are you? Dad?”

             

~

 

           

“Uuugh…” Narl blinked, slitting his eyes against the bright sun. His head was throbbing. Despite the pain, he pulled his torso up to look out the open Ship-Port bay doors filled with sunlight. “What the heck…”

            “Good morning, princess.” Kizo sneered from across the room.

            Narl growled. He rubbed his head on his temple, trying to ease the pain. “Where am I?”

            “The Ship-Port.” He walked up to him. “You passed out in the Canyon…we just put you in the back of a ‘wok and drove you back. I’m guessing you don’t remember the times when you woke up to cough up blood and who-knows-what.”

            The white mrow pulled himself up, legs shaky and weak. “No….Where is everybody?”

            “Outside.” Kizo said haphazardly, picking up a wooden splinter on the ground. “Chambo is teaching the, heh, ‘new recruits’ how to use the guns…”

            “What!” Narl shouted. The loudness of his own voice hurt his head even more. “Doing things without me…!” His strong footing came back as he darted out the door.

            The gray mrow shouted. “Well, excuse me, Emperor Narl! Humph.” Kizo turned away, rolling his eyes. Earlier it seemed like Narl was reluctant to lead the others. This sudden change of mood was a bit baffling.

            Chambo was pointing his figure, talking about aiming. Narl’s irate mood was stopped for a moment. When did Chambo learn all these things about guns…? He thought. Ugh, never mind that.

            He was interrupted before being able to speak. “Narl!” Chambo gasped. “You shouldn’t be running…I think you have internal bleeding.”

            “What are you doing without me?” Narl barked back. The black mrow’s audience grew silent, watching the two.

            Chambo pulled his head back “Err, you were passed out.”

            “So-so…” Narl’s ears fell back. He didn’t know why he was angry about this. In his gut, he could feel there was some reason, but what he didn’t know. “Just…Don’t do things like this without me!”

            “Ugh…” Chambo wrinkled his nose. “Fine. It’s not like we’ve gone to the Mines or anything.”

            Narl shuffled to the back of the make-shift class, sitting and thinking. The mines were the last thing in the Durop Canyon, the desolate rocky ditch on Meribel. The dry plains around were vast as well. The nearest city was Vantessa… one of the biggest cities on the planet.  He groaned, cupping his head in his paws.        What have I started…? This isn’t going to work.

 

Gashi held the base of his tail, twisting it back and forth. Six spikes that poked off of the very tip gleamed in the light of the sun. His eyes were dull and half-open. “Brother?” His younger sibling asked. “What are you going to do once we’re free?”

He scowled and turned to face the significantly shorter mrow. “Rot. The only way we’re leaving here is with a gun to the heart.” He growled and turned back.

Sia bit his lip. “Oh come on, Gashi. The Gowaks can’t hold us down forever.”

Gashi didn’t bother looking at him this time, but replied still following orders. “The Gowaks are extremely strong. We, however, our weak and stupid-you in particular. The only way we survived on this planet is their intervention, and it’s the only way we can survive.”

He laughed child-like. “Being stupid, eh? I took out the guard tower yesterday! We can fight them!” Sia closed his eyes, recalling how he helped Narl shoot down the elusive guard. He wanted to be a hero…

Teeth bared, Gashi whipped his tail around his back. The spikes slapped against his striped brother’s leg. He stood up abruptly, showing the strange spots on his elbows and knees. He was white, like Sia; with the same color brown perfectly circle spots, but a darker, almost black, tint in the center of the spots. Strangest of all, his gem mimicked the pattern enclosed in the brown ring. Gashi, in short, was weird. “You’re so pathetically stupid…”

Sia watched as his brother stormed off, heading back into the metallic ship-port. He didn’t always use to be this mean… Folding his arms, he turned away and scoffed. “Jerk.” He sat there for a little while longer, staring off into the scenery around him.

Chapter Two: Dawning

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , on September 19, 2009 by lucheek

Seni’s head was so pressed into her legs, her ears rested on top her knees. Her hands were as tightly pressed against the crowbar. Though her eyes were shut, she could tell her face was being shadowed. Gingerly, Seni turned up.

Narl, from on top the crate she hid behind, stared at her- his eye’s seemed flat, pale. He tried to speak, but his voice cracked a little before the words were understandable. “You’re safe now.” He offered her his paw. “They’re all gone.”

Seni, a young mrow barley an adult, held on to him and pulled herself up. She continued to hold to crow-bar with one paw. Narl didn’t offer anymore words. He walked slowly down the lane. The corpses drew her green eyes in with a mix of fear, and relief. The great huge monsters now fallen on the floor, crumpled like discarded pieces of paper.

In her awe, she almost ran into Narl. He had stopped abruptly. Eyelids hanging heavy, he bent down in a soft, tender motion. Seni gasped…it was the brown female, the one Narl had protected. She took a step back, afraid to offend him.

Narl didn’t even notice the spotted mrow. The back of his hand was against her cheek, and he lightly ran it down the entire side of her body, whispering something. His facial expression changed in a flash- from lament, to a fierce determination. Narl untied the blood-stained rag around her foot. Seni watched from over his shoulder, scared to say anything as he stared at the cloth.

He stood up in a jerk. Then, without even turning his head, tied the bloodied rag on his right arm, tightly securing it. Narl pressed ahead. She didn’t ask any questions about it…but followed his fast pace toward the quarters.

The other slaves, so tired, had slept through the loud shouts and snaps. Some of them were so tired, they would never wake up. The yellow-spotted mrow rubbed her hand against her palm. What would happen now?

Narl flashed on the light. Seni was taken off-guard, staring with a surprised look on the rising mrows from their unpolished wood boards. One of the wriggling mrows chocked out, “Where….where are the lizards?”

He didn’t even blink. “Dead.”

The writhing group of slaves’ eyes flashed open. Those who were strong-willed enough sat forward to stare at Narl. “But…” A wiry brown male squeaked, “How…?”

Narl shouted this time, learning forward. “I killed them!”

“You…” A deeper voice groaned. “You…you idiot! You lousy moron!” He turned his head sharply to face the other mrow- a grey, mangy tom. Offended by the lack of support, Narl glared at him with malice and bared his teeth. “They’re going to be angry! They’ll KILL US ALL!”

“Who will kill us?” Narl roared. “WHO?” He stretched his neck, pushing his face close the grey mrow. “They’re all dead!” Seni, with the other frightened slaves, watched the argument in shock from the shadows.

He leaned forward as well, throwing his arms back. “There are more! Those monsters rule this planet! You have sentenced us to death!”

Narl shot back. “Me? I have sentenced you to death? We are all ready sentenced!” He spread his arm, claws extended, waving at the others. “We are dying!”

Gingerly, a female mrow grabbed the grey-one’s shoulder when he opened his mouth. “Quiet, Kizo.” He shot a glance at her, but obeyed.

“These beasts are monsters. You know-“ He turned his head to look at the scared group, “You all know! Everyday one of our brothers does not wake up! Day in and day out, we follow them. Hoping that our loyalty will spark some goodness within them, and they will let us live.” Narl breathed heavily. “Well- there is no goodness! No matter what we do- no matter what we say, they…will…kill…us.”

He flashed a fiery glance at Kizo’s female companion. “They will kill her! However hard you work, if she is here she will be murdered!”

            “Bastard!” Kizo spat.

            In a strong motion, Narl shot up his right arm. The bloody cloth dangled in the gray mrow’s face. “They will- they have.” He took a half step, turning away from him. “Listen to me!” He barked, then whispered, “Learn from me.”

            “We are condemned. Our names are painted in blood…” The slaves huddled together, holding each other to shelter from the horrible words. “This station- this Shipport- is free! No longer do we have masters.

            But, we are not saved. As long as Gowaks are still alive on Meribel, we are not safe. No Mrow is safe. So-“ He barked, turning over his shoulder to glance at Kizo, “Are we going to cower here? Die, here, scared? Or- shall we rise? Take the power we always had, though often forgotten, and die, killing these horrendous viruses? Die- purging the world of their horrible claw, saving our children- and our life?”

            “I don’t want to die…” A small voice from within the crowd echoed.

            Narl furrowed his brow. “Good. Then you should work your hardest to fight it. To fight for life- for freedom. Will we die fighting for life?” He shouted, mouth opened wide.

            There was nothing but the heavy breathing of scared, frightened mrows. Huff… Huff… Huff.

            “Yes.” A black, muscular mrow shoved his way out of the crowd. His green eyes stared with determination, straight into Narl’s. “I will.”

            Seni blinked, turning to look at the black mrow. Turning forward, she chirped. “I will.”

            “I will.” Kizo growled.

            The other mrows, slowly changing from fear to the most faded hope, barked in unison. “We will fight!”

            Narl’s smiled at the corner of his lips. “You-“ He pointed at the black mrow, “Come help me move the bodies.” He nodded, following Narl out of the room. As soon as the tip of his tail left, the remaining slaves began to murmur. What was going to happen now, what were they going to do? None of them left their chambers, but stood motionless and muttered.

            —

            “I’m Chambo.” The black mrow said, heaving the Captain’s torso over his shoulder. Chambo was a muscular one, almost bulky, with a green triangular gem and a stub for a tail. He owed his strength to his former position as a slave; witch was to pull open the massive doors for entering ships. Narl had seen him at the side of the Ship Bay, but never really knew him.

            He didn’t look up, or respond to the comment. The two hauled the monster over to the garbage incinerator. When the revolving latch opened, the mrows tossed him into the flames on top of the seven other beasts. A few hot sparks crackled and jumped from between the scales, before the latch closed again.

            Narl turned solemnly. “Go back to the chambers…I want to get the last one myself.”

            Knowing fully well who the last one was, Chambo nodded and left. When he reached the Slave’s Quarters, he found himself witnessing the middle of a conversation.

            “The Gowak’s there are fully armed… They’ll always be on guard, on the outside.”

            “Yah and the Mrows there might panic if they saw us coming.”

            “We need to alert them, somehow….”

            “And earn ourselves even more guards?”

            The group finally noticed Chambo’s confused presence. Already been hand-picked by Narl, they instantly granted him some unofficial rank of authority. “We need to free to slaves at the plantation.” Seni mewed, stepping closer to him. “But we don’t know how.”

            The Dray Nut Plantation was northeast of the Ship Port, and one of the only three structures in the Durop canyon with the port.  Many of the slaves here had once worked for the huge farm, before being traded once they got less physically desirable. These mrows knew that the Gowaks here carried huge, sniper guns- not just the puny handguns of their former masters. 

            “And,” Kizo said, “If we just run in there, the slaves will panic. We will need their help if we don’t want to end up perforated.”

            Chambo took a step back from the crowd. “Why…why don’t we call them? The Gowaks don’t answer the communications, so it would be just to the slaves.” He mused.

            “Won’t work.” A gray female chirped. “I used to be over there. Beast answers the comm personally. He doesn’t trust ‘mops’ to relay a message.”

            “Maybe we can send a spy?” Seni shrugged. As she finished the sentence, Narl reappeared in the chamber.

            “To dangerous,” He spoke as if he had never left. “And how would anybody even get over there without being spotted?”

            A small mrow, barley an adult, spoke from the back of the crowd. “I don’t know. But we need to get the word out that ships can’t come in here…They’d be expecting to see the Captain.”

            Seni leaped forward. “Oh! I got on idea!” She screamed.

            Turning swiftly to push her off his shoulders, Narl hissed a little. The spotted mrow stepped back. “What is this plan?” Narl hissed.

            Seni’s tail swished from side to side. “They only save the audio, right? Not the visual?”

                        —

                        Kizo leaned over the flashing control panel. “Ugh…good thing none of the Calling controls were destroyed.” His eyes glided to look at the huge, crackling gape in the silver board. “Though we’re going to have to open all the doors manually now…”

            “Hush!” Narl spat under his breath. He turned over his shoulder at Seni, who was standing in the projector. Her ears and knees were wobbling. “Are you ready?” She took a deep breath and stiffened her self.

            “Uh-huh.”

            He squatted down against the wall, nodding at Kizo. The gray mrow pulled the coordinates and pressed a white button on his left.

            The screen began to hum and turned black. Seni bit her tongue, waiting.

            “Dray Nut Plantation at Durop Canyon, Code P5600.”  The screen had cut into a crystal clear image of the head Gowak there- a male with a long, plumed flail and some kind of swollen right eyelid.

            “Hello, this is an announcement from the Durop Canyon Ship Port and Service Station, Code S5600.” She spoke with a very rigidly rhythmic voice, though not quite monotone. “We are experiencing technical problems with our computer systems, and will not be able to have any ships enter our station for service or trade. All ships and vehicles will not be allowed inside. We will call you when our systems are restored. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

            The Gowak made a gurgling noise. “Great…uh, we’ll make note of it.” He leaned closer toward the screen, before the screen shut to black again.

            “Call terminated.” A robotic voice rang out before the screen shut off again.

            Kizo leaned back against the controls. “I think that went well.”

            “How long ‘till we call them again?” She asked.

            “Uhh…” Kizo turned to look at the buttons again. “I don’t know, let’s say in a minute. I’ll get everything ready though.” He got back to work on getting the projector ready for a call.

            Narl asked in a rather stern voice, “You remember what you said, exactly?”

            Seni nodded strongly. “Mh-mm.”

            “Good.”

            “Alright then…Get ready.” Kizo pushed back his ear, taking his paw down to his neck, before starting the call again.

                        The same Gowak flashed onto the screen. “Dray Nut Plantation at Durop Canyon, Code P5600.” He sounded slightly irritated.

            “Hello, this is an announcement from the Durop Canyon Ship Port and Service Station, Code S5600. We are experiencing technical problems with our computer systems, and will not be able to have any ships enter our station for service or trade.” Seni repeated the lines in the same rigid voice.

 She made sure not to stop as he began to grunt. “What the hell…”

“All ships and vehicles will not be allowed within.” Seni’s tail jolted straight. She had screwed up. With all her concentration skills, she managed not to pause in her talking. “We will call you when our systems are restored. Sorry for any-“

The swollen reptile apparently hadn’t noticed the one word slip up. He ended the call before she was even finished. Shaking, Seni turned over at Narl. “I’m sorry! Sorry!”

His eyes were a bit lowered, but Narl did not sound angry. “It’s fine. You should say ‘within’ next time.”

With a nod in agreement, she turned back toward the camera. Kizo initiated the call…

“WHAT?” The scratchy voice boomed.

“Hello, this is an announcement from the Durop Canyon Ship Port and…” Seni began the spiel again.

The monster threw his head backward, rubbing his head. “Oh for the love of…not this again!” The call quickly terminated.

As soon as the screen went black, Narl called into the hallway, “Are the signs ready?”

Chambo looked up from the thick sheets of paper, covered with a scrawled message in black ink. “Yes, sir.” 

His tailed twitched. Narl was not used to being called sir…but apparently, the other’s deemed it fit. “Bring them in. I think our next call might be the one.” The stub-tailed mrow nodded and carried them into the communication room. Kizo began to start up the link again. “Stay down until we’re sure.” He mumbled, receiving an affirming nod from Chambo.

The projector flashed on. This time, the figure was not a scaled beast, but a white mrow. “Dray Nut Plantation at Durop Canyon, Code P5600.”

The fact she had strange, slick appendages coming off the top of her head started Seni, causing her to start the robotic lines a little late. “Hello, this is an announcement…”

Glancing quickly to make sure that no Gowak was present in the background, Chambo held the sign over his head, adjusting his position so it was clear to the left of Seni’s head. The orange-eared, mutated mrow squinted her eyes and looked closer at the messy print.

“Do not read this out loud; do not call your master.” Was the first line on the paper, witch continued, “We have killed all the Gowaks here. This ship port slaves are free. We are coming shortly to liberate you and the rest of the plantation.”

The Plantation mrow’s eyes widened, mouth slacking ajar. Chambo pulled out the next sign. “Do not panic. Tell the others, make sure the Gowaks do not find out. You will not be harmed.”

“…for any inconvenience.” Seni finished the lines, and began to stare blankly.

The other mrow stared back for a little bit too. “Oh…okay. We will cease, um, shipping activities.”  The screen flashed into black.

She turned around, smiling brightly. “It worked!”

Kizo repeated the statement in an airy, mumbling voice. “It worked…”

“Did they find the shipment of handguns?” Narl questioned, stepping out of the control room.

Chambo rotated his foot. “I think so.” 

He lowered his eyes, going out to see if they had. The other three mrows followed. Near the back of the storage room, littered with splinters of wood and packaging fibers, a small group of Mrows was unloading the red spherical weapons.

“Hey.” One called back at the white mrow. “We counted- there is enough for everyone, just about perfect. A few extras.”

“That’s great!” Seni’s tail shot up with excitement.

“Yah…” He continued. “But, there most defiantly aren’t enough ‘Woks.”

Narl expected that. The Ship Port had a few of the four-wheeled, miniature cargo carriers, but defiantly not enough to carry all of the liberated mrows across the dry rocky canyon.

“If we put three Mrows in every ‘Wok we have- two in the seats and one in the pit, probably carrying a gun- then we’d have 50 left to walking.”

“Great…” Narl rubbed his ear. “We’ll send the healthy, strong Mrows in the ‘Woks to take out the monsters. The people on foot will come after to help with clean-up. Hopefully the Plantation has its own set of ‘Woks…maybe some Sekonots.”

Chambo’s eyes veered off to behind the rest of the group. “Are those rifles?”

            Kizo leaned to look at the pile of large, black guns. The length of the leppa barrel was almost as tall as him.

            The mrow turned. “Uh, yah. There’s about as many as we have ‘Woks- not nearly enough to give each person one. Besides, those things are too heavy to pick up. They were not designed for us.”

            “No…” Chambo kneeled to look closer at them. “But I think I could mount these onto the ‘Woks…”

            “Really?” Kizo popped. “Those would be a heck of a lot more powerful than silly handguns.”

            Narl looked at the black mrow, already examining the huge weapons. “Yes, they would. Would you really be able to do that?”

            “I worked on the ship doors…holding huge chunks of metal together is my specialty.” He smiled in a somewhat goofy fashion.

            “Well get it done quickly,” Narl barked, starting to walk out. “We need to begin organizing. Tell the strong Mrows to get in groups of three and come out to the ‘Woks, and everybody else to bunker down. The Plantation mrows are expecting us soon. Every minute is a chance closer to the brutes finding out.”

            “Will do!” He called. Kizo got up and headed toward the slave courters to tell others of the plan. He found most the mrows setting on their bunks, with wide eyes and dazed looks. With out the howling masters, or their back-breaking work, the mrows had little idea what to do with their time.

            “Sick, Elderly, Women, and Children- stay here. Everybody else, follow me.” Kizo caught an odd feeling in his voice. He sounded confident, almost jolly. The crazy plan of the crazy mrow seemed to be seeping optimism into him. Great, he thought. I’m crazy, too.

            The qualified mrows stood around the scruffy one. He snapped out of his train of thought, and began to walk down to the landing bay. The others- about fourty- followed him in single file. The huge, metallic doors, large enough for the hauling-ships to come through with ease, were already propped open so they didn’t have to be manually opened and closed all day. The metal floor just ended, changing to the dry, dusty rocked floor of the canyon.

            All the Seawoks were pulled out, lined neatly in front of them. Narl climbed out of the back of one, and began to holler at the crowd. “Everybody get in groups of three, at least one mrow who knows how to drive in every group. Everybody get a handgun.”

            They quickly moved to follow the orders. For the former-slaves, it was natural. Kizo separated from the huge heard, over to Narl and Chambo.

            The stub-tailed mrow was working with some bars of metal and a rifle-gun. He had attached the gun to a ball; which was cradled in a triangular-shaped apparatus that came off the edge of the cargo-hold on the back of the ‘Wok.

            “…the ball will allow the rifle’s to swivel, while these bars will hold it up right and take in the recoil.” Chambo stated proudly, rotating the weapon.

            Narl replied, “Great…how long will it take to outfit all of these?”

            “Well…” He leaned back, scratching his neck. “Now that I’ve got the basic idea laid out, I’d say about an hour.”

            “Get to it.”

Chapter One: Faye? Faye?

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , on September 19, 2009 by lucheek

 

“Hurry up, you lousy piece of rotten meat!” The green monster, his scales full of grime and sweat, beat the side of the large ship with his tough hand. “My dead mother can do this faster than you!”

He was talking to a slave, perched on top of a high, wooden mobile staircase. The slave’s paw, covered in white fur, was hot and sticky. He was nimbly holding a heavy panel, trying to reattach it to the side of the Cargo Ship, after fixing the pipes it held inside. The Gowak’s taunts angered him, and his eyes were furrowed with silent fury. The panel slid in, and he turned to look at the filthy Shipper for the first time. “Done!”

The gowak grunted, and walked bow-legged over to the entrance hatch.  “It’s about time…” He snapped, passing the Mrow.

Narl was immune to his comments due to prolonged exposure to it. The mrow turned his yellow eyes toward the Garage door, and out onto the rocky exterior. He could see the layers of the canyon, all different shades of auburn that had grown so boring over the years, but that wasn’t what was important. Narl was looking for the light outside. In great luck, it was dark and the shadows told him he was done. He took in a deep breath, and shook off grease on his paws.

Jumping down, he landed on all fours, and was just as comfortable as on two, thanks to the digitigrade structure of his legs. He stood up, nonetheless, and dashed down to his quarters.

The hallway connecting the Docking bay and Cargo Hold to the backroom Slave Quarters was nicknamed by its walker, the Chapper’s lane. All the things that had been dragged and scraped along the cheap metal had created a hard, prickly floor. Narl’s feet were thick and covered in callus, so the pain of Chapper’s lane hadn’t stung for a while now. He dashed around the corner, and through the broken door that hanged slack on its hinge. “Faye!” He called. His mouth was curled in a smile by the simplest reason. “Faye!” The other slaves, who where shuffling in, growled between hard breaths. He turned to his left. There she was, a soft, creamy brown queen with long, fluffy hair.

Narl jumped over to her. “Faye! Oh, how are you?” He wrapped his hands around her arms.

She looked back with blue eyes sparkling. “I am very good, honey. My foot feels so much better, thank you.”

“Oh it was nothing.” He let his tail, tipped with a back tuft, twitch; a sign of relief. “Anything for my beautiful wife.” She rubbed her muzzle against his, and brushed some sweat of his fur. Earlier that day, hours before the work, she had told him of her foot. He massaged it, and could tell something was strained. He tied his grease cloth around her foot to help it, but he could tell there was something more. Narl read his wife’s eyes; she couldn’t work all day, and spoke himself to do her job as well. The beautiful Faye had thanked him so, witch was enough reward for the white tom.

They sat down on an empty cot, an un-sanded plank of wood shelf, and embraced one another. It was a couple of minutes before a shriek echoed of the cold metal walls. It was a familiar call, announcing the coming of dinner, but still blood curdling a sound. As always, the scraping of paws, dashing down Chapper’s Lane, quickly followed it. These were the slaves that, for some reason, couldn’t make it down to the Quarters in time. Be it no access to time-tellers, or an overtime job. Their slave keepers, the eight intelligent lacking Gowaks, didn’t care what the reason. They marinated a policy of only feeding the mrows that were there.

Narl helped his wife up, and headed over to the line. The main face of their masters handed out their dinner, a plant similar to the earthen potato, ground up with cheap meat. Each got about one hand full of it. The mrows chewed on it and finished the meal quickly. The Gowak lingered at the door for a while, watching them eat, and spat on the ground. “Lights out now.” He hissed between his crocodilian lips, and turned his key to turn off the dim bulb.

The quarters were plunged in darkness, and all of them swallowed their last bites. A couple of stragglers came huffing into the room. All of them sighed, knowing they wouldn’t get any food until tomorrow. Narl squeezed himself through the crowds of Mrows, holding onto Faye’s hand to guide her. They came to their cot, shared to give space for others, and climbed into it. He laid down on it, and put both his hands over the spot on his chest where it was also black, and got back up. He used his claw, blunted, to remove a new splinter that had come up in the wood. “Okay, dear, you can come in.”

Faye climbed over one leg at a time. “Oh, Narl. You let me live in luxury, you don’t have to.”

He got into the shelf next to her. “Oh, but Faye, I want to. You deserve to live in Luxury.” This was the end of their conversation. Many of the tired slaves wanted nothing more to sleep, and that meant no romance of the couple around them.

The two curled up, holding each other’s hands, and closed their eyes. Sleep came on swift wings for both of them, although not deep. Unexpectantly, a Gowak’s hiss flooded the room.

            “What!” It yelled furiously. “Unacceptable!” The light was switched on, and many of the slaves jumped. Narl looked up and hit his head on a pair of another Mrow’s feet. He growled, but couldn’t say anything before the Ship Port Captain continued his rant.

            “Which one…? Tell me witch one of these filthy mops, damn it!” The Gowaks smashed his foot on the worn metal ground.  Faye twisted her face. She hated that word, Mop, the most hideous thing one could all the Mrows.

            Another worker entered the room. He was apparently hovering outside the door before, and waiting to be called in. His yellow eyes, small and sharp, looked around the cots at the frightened faces of his property. The few lines of confused muttering ended now. He turned his head all around once, and then looked toward the center. His long, lanky arm lifted it up limply, and the worker extended a single, scaly claw. “That one.”

            Every eye in the crowded room followed his finger with fright. Its condemning point aimed right for the brown, beautiful Queen. Narl’s jaw dropped, and looked at Faye. His wife seemed just as startled as him. They looked in each other’s eyes, carrying out a conversation revealing that Faye had no idea what she did.

            The captain raised his chin, letting his scaly plumage, hanging from his head, fall back over his neck. “That one?”

            The lanky worker nodded vigorously. “Yep, sir. I didn’t see her come t’ work today.”

 The black-and-white tom held his tongue from commenting on that sentence. He turned back to the captain, a large Gowak with wide-spaced eyes. He was walking in a half-circle, looking at Faye sideways. “Slave, what is your name?” He finally said in a high, calm tone.

She stood up and let her tail hang down. “Sir, my name is Faye, sir.” Her voice jumped vowels with fright to match her large blue eyes.

The captain nodded once, still looking up. He cupped his hand toward himself and curved his wrist in. The Slave Master looked down to look at Narl’s wife. “Come here Faye.”  He cooed in that voice, like calm before the storm. Narl put his hands on her shoulder, rubbed her, and then let the brown queen go. Her walk was followed by every eye in the building. The other Gowak had backed up to the door, half hiding again. The Ship Captain took her hand, dwarfed by his own, and led Faye to the hallway outside their quarters. The other mrows began to follow, but the worker grimaced at them. They ended up crowded the doorway like school-children, with Narl pushing himself to the front.

The other six Gowaks were in the hallway as well. Their presence was a sign of an event bigger than what the Captain wanted it to seem. He kneeled, his legs being plantigrade, and let his toe-claws scrape the ground with a whiny screech. His thick arm wrapped around Faye’s shoulder with an eerie lightness. “Faye…” He whispered. “Did you go to work today?” As he spoke, the Monster noticed the cloth wrapped on her foot.

She looked to the side, and breathed. “No, Sir. But, my husband, Narl worked for both of us.”

The Ship Captain smiled. “No. Mops can’t have husbands.” The workers snickered, looking at each other with grins. “Another mrow did your work today?”

“Yes sir.” She said with a nod, hoping he’d understand.

Leaning back, the Gowak took his hand off her. “The work got done, then? Well, still, I can’t let you continue with this behavior. What if other slaves began to do that? You surely understand that I have the amount of mops that I do for a reason.” He paused, allowing Faye to agree reluctantly. “May I ask why you didn’t do your work today?”

“My foot hurt, sir.”

The Ship Captain’s laugh was like a barking snap. “Your foot hurt? Her foot hurt!” He looked behind him at the other workers, laughing in rasps. He took a breath before turning back to Faye. “Faye, Faye. I can’t let my slaves just stop working because they hurt. That would promote laziness among you things, and you are already too sloth.”  She looked at Narl, and again agreed.

“So, my darling, the work got done? Were there any problems?” The monsters grumbled with a general “negative” tone. He nodded quickly, and smiled grimly. “Don’t be lazy again Mop, I own you.”

Faye closed her eyes tight, and thanked her higher power for granting the Captain kindness today, although it shown dimly. She opened them more calm and grateful. “It will not happen again, sir.” Narl smiled at her.

“I know it won’t.”  The green lizard whispered, smiling. His neck snapped in, and his long mouth became a hook. His jaws snapped around her neck, his canine slicing right into her jugular. Red blood splashed out her like a great flame, staining her soft, brown fur. The monster’s mouth dripped with her blood, highlighting his smirk. His claws, now dug into her cold body, pulled out and let the corpse, fall back. As Faye hit the ground, her wound shot more liquid upon herself and the ground. “The work got done without you.” He growled after the deathly pause.

Narl vaulted himself out of the crowd. His claws unsheathed and teeth glimmering in the dim light. “You bastard!” His eyes were full of primal fury and confused rage. His back curled, and the tom landed face down on the Captain’s shoulder. His teeth bit into the shoulder, but only penetrated the rough hide. The Gowak was on his feet, and whipped his hand over his chest. His claws dug into the tom’s back, and he slung him onto the wall.

He hit the wall with a crack, his neck tossing his head back. Narl’s spine stiffened. He tried to raise his paws, but it was useless. He was stuck in a floppy position in the corner. A gurgling anger slowly leaked from his half-open mouth.

The Ship Captain looked at the crowding slaves. “Anybody else?” He snapped, throwing his hands back. “Anybody else lazy?” He pointed at the bloody body. “Anybody else a hero?” A growl escaped him, slowly dissolving into a breath. “Or does anybody else know who they work for? Does anybody know what they are?” He turned at the mrows, all receding back in their quarters like frightened birds.

The captain snarled at the slaves, then turned around. He swung his arm toward the other Gowaks. “Back to your posts.” They followed silently, gleaming joyfully.

Narl growled as they walked off, and he could barely see the mrows slinking back in. They would be quiet…they were extinguished flames….they were scared. Narl would’ve continued the thought, if he hadn’t been drawn into an unwilling sleep.

 

His eyes slowly opened, and he blinked twice. Narl took a deep breath. “W…what?” He leaned forward, climbing to his feet. His back was dull with pain, that he couldn’t quite remember getting. Running his hand along the ground, he could tell he wasn’t in the cots. His mind began to seep back to the body. Narl was angry. Eyes adjusting, he could see he was in the hallway. Narl turned his eyes, and could see Faye’s feet.

“Faye!” He smiled. Maybe his beautiful wife new what was going on? “Faye!” He walked over to her. Then he smelt it…blood. His breath began to race out of his mouth. Weakened, he dropped down with his legs sprawled in all directions. His white paw eased under her head, pushing out dried blood. “Faye…?” He mumbled. “Faye, speak to me.”

Narl suddenly heard her; breathing out a sigh of relief, and then a horrendous, shriek. He chocked on his breath, and his heart shattered. “Faye…? Faye, Faye? Faye! Faye, oh Faye!” He pushed his muzzles against her breast. “Faye…Faye…” His tears mixed in with his wife’s blood. The tom moaned between long, sobbing gasps, hoping his hugs would bring the lifeless shell back.

Like a flash of thunder, his memories came back. His precious’s foot, the scraggly worker, the Ship Captain…  His grasp tightened around his wife. They did this! This useless death… Narl growled. They killed, massacred his innocent wife!  He felt as if his eyes were suddenly so dry, and his muscles tightened. Faye was dead! Killed by those hideous monsters…the demonic eight workers. Cowards! All weak and pathetic! His depression grew to rage. Scum tyrants, bloated with undeserved power.

Narl stood up. The fur all down his spine prickled up. Hideous, bumbling, fiends. How dare they think eight idiots could rule over the mrows, a proud people…

Eight. The word echoed in his mind like a church bell. Eight, weak monsters. Monsters…monsters…monsters…

Punishment.

His eyes narrowed, his pupil became slits.  Narl stood up, his legs stronger than they could possibly be. Claws flexed, he let them dig into his palms. They’ll pay for this! His thoughts began to race, and began to just blur into meaningless jumbles. Narl leaped on four legs, skidding across Chapper’s Line. He took a graceful leap, and hid behind a large cargo box left overnight. He pulled his head up with his front legs over the crate. There was one of the guards, leaning hapharazadly against the wall. His tail straightened out, and he pulled back his head, growling viciously.

The guard looked up. “Wha’? Liam?” He brushed the back of his claws against his plumage, the bright colored scales that hung down from a string on his head. As expecting of the worker, lazy and apathetic, he went back to his daze.

Narl climbed to top of the wooden crate. A skill common to Mrows, he could sit so still, hiding in plain sight. His wait was brief. Sporadically, the white-and-black slave leaped. He landed on the guard’s shin. Narl slithered up his back, dragging his feet to create long slashes along his skin. “Hell fire!” The Gowak tried to grab Narl, but the mrow was moving swiftly. Teeth digging into his shoulder, he let his weight hang on the worker’s shoulder.

The guard tried to scream but a white paw clamped his mouth. The lanky one, the monster who pointed out Faye, suddenly bent over. His thick tail swatted the mrow, and the additional plumage swatted him. Narl hung on tight, but still flipped over onto the Gowak’s chest. His claws stabbed into its chest, and the other hand kept the mouth shut. The guard swatted him again, and holding on was getting harder.

Narl’s blind rage was giving him strength to hold on. He pulled himself up and bit at one of his eyes. Suddenly, the Gowak’s mouth flew opening, throwing the mrow to the ground. “Mop! Mop!” He shouted. Narl pounced, wrapping all his legs around the Gowak’s neck.

 

The Gowak twisted his neck up, screeching. His grip on the reptile’s neck tightened, and in a swimming motion, the mrow got his paws on the top of its head. The guard titled right, staggering sideways, inching toward the Captain’s Quarter. Plowing claws pulled Narl’s torso to the top of the monster’s head. As the guard opened its long mouth, Narl’s claws darted into the thin lining of its upper mouth. It felt to him as if he had no mind anymore. Things were not thought, they were done. Using the arm-strength he had learned as a slave, he ripped back with the gowak’s head, and his legs crushed his neck.

A satisfying crack from the monster’s skull echoed in Narl’s paws. He propelled himself off the gowak’s back, sliding on the ground. The towering beast fell to the ground with limbs flopping. Two deep breaths later, the Gowak showed its true form. The shadow of ever scale slugged together. They combined into a floating, twisting and bubbling ball of black goop.

Narl growled a gasp in times of instinct.  He knew that it was coming, but somehow did not plan that. Now, all he thought was that it couldn’t be touched. The glob swooped down, charging for the fluffy creature. He tumbled behind one of the boxes to dodge. The maneuver wouldn’t buy him much time. His hands were behind him, searching blindly on the floor. Something finally touched against his fur. As the Gowak blob flew toward him, Narl grabbed the item. Without looking, he lodged it with force toward the enemy.

The flying splinter of wood hit the creature on the blunt, flat side, but it was enough for the fragile Gowak at its true nature. The glop seemed to shrink for a split-second, and was gone.

            Narl grinned in a grim joy. It could be done…

 

“Hey, what’s going on down here!”

 

            …And could be repeated.

 

The approaching gowak looked over the boxes. His yellow eyes scanned the area. “Hey!” He snapped. He laid reptilian hand on a crate, pivoting around. “Where are you? What’s going on?”  Suddenly, his eye’s caught the Gowak’s reptile corpse.

Narl exploited his shock. He pushed out with his back legs and leaped over the body to the other side. The guard pulled out his gun, a strange orb-like thing, and fired at the air where the black tip of fur once was. “Get out here!” He hissed.

Narl slid out from behind the stack of crates he had jumped to, grabbing the corpse’s own weapon. He rolled over. His stomach was up and his arm was holding him up. In that awkward position, he let out a ray from the gun. It released silently, zipping thought the air. The red, glowing laser hissed as it shot through the guard’s eye. He screamed, clutching the bleeding hole on his face, but the scream faded into a gurgling noise of blood and bile. He tumbled to the ground.

Narl ready the handgun again. The true-form showed itself quicker than the last. The black blob’s bumps seem to come and recede quicker than before. A silent shot fired straight through the bottom, and it was gone.

He didn’t even look up after that. Yellow, slitted eyes turned toward the weapon. It was such a basic technology. The red Merr, the core orb of the gun, had a small ring of the spotted-mineral Leppa stuck to it, and a steel bar thin enough to bend held a lump of Pike over the entire thing.  If the Pike touched the Merr, the reaction would start. The Merr would release its mass into a highly charged bolt of some kind. Without the Leppa, with witch the Merr was unexplainably attracted too, the energy would radiate from all sides. But the mineral held it in place, creating an aim-able missile. It was so simple…so effective. The tom clutched in his paw.

He got up onto his legs and began to dash out of the shipping room. There were six other Gowaks in the port, and Narl really had no specific idea where they were. Letting his instinct-full legs take him, he came to the communication hub. Screens, buttons, dials and meters lit up the entire dim, metallic wall. There was no one in it.

A scaly tapping came charging toward him. “There’s an intruder! Two guards down!” He called in a raspy voice. Narl receded behind a wall, pressing his fur against it. The panicked gowak slapped his fingers onto a board of buttons. “Danger! Intruder!” He looked around at the dials, searching for the right one.

The white-and-black mrow aimed and fired. A red, glowing beam pierced into the Gowak’s muscular leg. “Aaaah!”  The monster screamed. His legs gave way, letting him fall to the floor. Narl hopped toward him. Curled over, the crocodilian creature spat at him. “Mop!”

The mrow opened his mouth, showing his glistening fangs. A primal noise escaped him, part hiss, part growl, and part blood-curling scream. He fired another shot into the monster’s snout. Narl held down the Pike, letting a continuous string of silent energy go. The true-form had barely time to materialize before a beam hit it.

Knowing it was truly dead, he hissed again. “Mop!” He growled, low in his throat. Five more Gowaks haunted this place, and they had surely heard his growls.

A yellow-spotted mrow blinked awake. The other slaves were so exhausted their sleep could not be bothered, but her relatively easy work hadn’t made her so tired. She slowly climbed out of her cot, paw pads gently touching the floor.

“Hello?” She whispered. The mrow quietly scurried out of the room. Her foot stepped in something sticky, her eye quickly following. Holding back a gasp, Seni stared at the blood. The cold body of the mrow killed earlier remained on the ground. She leaped back and dashed down chapper’s lane. She was sure she heard something.

Seni’s paw steps made only a faint pitter-pitter on the cold ground. Her arms were held up to her face, hiding her gasping mouth. The racket she heard had died down. The yellow mrow, covered in black spots, had no idea where it came from.

…Then there was another crash.

Narl leapt backwards, catching the corner of a crate with his paw, and spun the rest of his body around in midair. His outstretched back-paws swiped the tip of the Gowak’s nose. The creature growled, but continued charging forward.

The skinny mrow landed in all fours. The guard shot down, missing as Narl back flipped to safety. The tall crocodilian made a hiss, spluttering with his bleeding nose. He shot another silent red beam. Again, the mrow dodged.

The Gowak walked closer, raising his gun. He was slower this time. Narl crouched, prepared to dodge again, when he realized his tail was against the wall. Blinded by fury…he walked into a corner.

“Stupid mop…” The guard smiled, aiming his gun right for the mrow’s head.

SCHWACK!

Blindsided, the towering monster fell sideways, landing in an awkward position. Seni breathed heavily on top of a box behind the creature. Her job-tool, a crowbar, was clenched in her paws.

Narl stared at her for a few seconds, shocked. The surprised dulled quickly. He slid on the back calluses of his paws to retrieve his lost gun a few steps away. Just as the huge Gowak began to grunt back in to consciousness, he let the lasers fly. Three shots. Two for the scaled body, one for the black grime.

Seni began to hyperventilate, her breaths loud and quick. She had hit the Gowak in an impulse…and now she was scared. The white tom knew she was not going to be able to do anything like that again.

“What the kirf is going on here?” A deep, boisterous voice echoed across the halls.

The black-and-white mrow leaped over the yellow counterpart, turning to hiss at her. “Hide go- now!” His voice was almost hidden under the growl.

She didn’t let go of her crowbar, nodding nervously and scampering behind some boxes. She picked a particularly removed pile- way in the back of the storage room- and hid behind them. Metal rod shaking in her hand, she tried to control her breathing to remain hidden.

Narl leaped on top of a barrel. He pressed his belly against the top, hugging it as tightly as he could. He could see a shadow of a great beast down the hall, closer toward the Docking Bay. He stretched out his arms and sank onto the ground, keeping down as he creeped closer.

The Guard beckoned a friend over, from behind a wall. The two charged, gun’s first, down the empty room. Narl drew back his neck a little, shocked by the strange use of organization from the stupid creatures. He jumped out of his hiding spot, nonetheless, and rolled head-over-heels across the floor. The sharp heat of the lasers swooped past him. On all fours, Narl jumped onto the wall, and leaped onto the floor in front of the two.

The two Gowak’s growled, firing down. The mrow drew back, avoiding most of the blast to only have his tail hit. Back against the floor, he shot. The laser pierced through one of the Guard’s shoulders. Narl didn’t have time to look before his companion fired at him. The fallen Gowak clenched his shoulder, hissing. He picked up his gun off the ground.

Narl fired a laser, in mid-jump while dodging an incoming shot. It was off target, slightly, but the energy pierced enough of the standing Gowak to kill him. He fell at an angle. The true-form rose out of his mouth. Narl shot it as he landed back on the ground.

Suddenly, four claws stung into his back. The other Gowak, still grasping his shoulder, pulled himself closer to Narl. The mrow wriggled, but he couldn’t break free from the guard’s hold. Eye’s thin with anger, Narl turned to face him. The Gowak’s mouth was open slightly, teeth barely apart, and letting out a deep chuckle. His claws let go of the injured shoulder and grabbed the gun.

He roared, letting all the energy he could come out of his mouth. The Gowak flinched in surprise, loosening his grip just enough for Narl to pull himself out. He wrapped his claws around the monster’s dangling flare, yanking it forward. It’s neck jerked out, exposing the soft spot on the base of the head. He shot it-dead.

The white tom let go quickly, bounding backwards. His thoughts raced through his mind so fast he could barely understand it.

Don’t let the goo touch me, don’t let the goo touch me!

His paws flew over the metal flooring. If the Gowak’s true body were to reach him, it would enter him. Narl would be gone…controlled as the new host of the horrible parasite.

 The shifting blob lunged down toward Narl. He jumped, landing on his shoulder and sliding against the floor. Thinking quickly, he lobbed the round gun over his head. It vanquished the remains of the guard.

His white ear’s pricked up. Narl could hear the soft plink of his gun landing. He pulled himself up, coughing up some blood and mucus. It had landed closer toward the Captain’s quarters.

The Captain had placed walls in the entrance to his area, so one had to criss-cross to reach it, to prevent noise from bothering him. Narl wasn’t sure how effective the walls were…but the lack of his personal guard coming out made it seem that he wasn’t alerted of the renegade mrow.

Narl walked slowly toward the entrance. He picked up his gun and continued to snake about each of the walls. There were at least seven… it wasn’t a wonder that the lazy Gowak could sleep through landing ships. He poked his nose out.

The Captain’s personal Gowak guard, a tall monster with a uncommonly bright plumage, was near the closed door. Narl was never really sure why he was chosen to be the bodyguard…he wasn’t nearly the strongest. Right now, the tall reptile was rocking back and forward.

“Captain…” He whispered, tapping the steel door with a claw. “Captain? May I have permission to enter? I need to use the facilities…sir.”

The mrow held back a snicker. He was sure the greedy wide-eyed monster would rather the guard piss on the floor than let him use his personal bathroom. “Captain…Sir?” He tapped a claw on the door once more.

Narl stepped out from behind the wall. He wasn’t watching this monster dance on the floor anymore. Two shots silently flew across the short space. He got lucky. The timing was just right to shoot both the reptilian shell, and the emerging blob.

As soon as the scales clanked against the floor, the steel door was slung open. The Captain showed himself. “What the hell…!” His arm clenched a large, more sophisticated rifle gun. The weapon was easily five times more powerful than Narl’s round handgun…probably a lot more than that. He stepped fully outside of the room, eye’s clenched.

The white mrow was standing proud where from where he shot the Gowak. It was a foolish thing, but anger and pride overruled that. The six-foot-two reptile, dawning a metal shield-shirt, stared down at him with wide, cold, eyes.

“…The hero?”  He coughed. The words barely escaped him before he let loose a rapid fire of powerful bursts.

Narl slid sideways, dodging the bursts. As soon as his shoulder hit the ground, he shot back. The red beam hit the Captain square on the metal-shield. It was absorbed immediately. The monster smiled a little.

Barreling, the mrow had little time to avoid the next barrage of beams. He jumped onto the wall, propelling himself across the room, firing his handgun. In rhythm, the Gowak swayed his body to avoid every single one. “Stupid mop!” His hissed, firing back.

Narl only managed to avoid the beam by a few centimeters. He could feel the amount of heat against his leg. Breath rolling rapidly out of him, he tried to shoot again. Once more the shot was taken by the large shield. He jumped over another laser, landing only on one foot when he leaped sideways. Narl stretched out his claws desperately, trying to slash onto the Captain’s eyes. The Gowak slung his arms, batting the white tom off with the side of the rifle. Narl’s back slammed against the hard wall.

He ducked down, letting the rifle-fire go over his head. This isn’t working… Narl thought, feeling blood flow out his nose. Panicked, he dashed out of the room. He covered his bloodied face with his free paw, keeping from leaving a track. The frilled lizard was hot on his trail, letting off powerful bursts whenever he got the chance. His aim was getting better, and Narl was beginning to get scraped.

Black-tipped tail disappearing behind the final wall, the Captain dashed out to follow. The powerful weapon was ready, set against his eye. “Where are you,” The monster cooed, tentatively stepping forward. His head surveyed the area, gun read. “I have no time for these stupid games, mop!”

The mrow’s body was shoved closely against the wall to the control center. The room was adjacent to the Captain’s room…but no doors connected them. Narl caught his breath in the lightly buzzing room, full of buttons and screens. Closing his eyes and drawing a last deep breath, his white foot shot out, breaking a glass screen. CRAAAACK!

The Captain turned around on his heel, racing toward the Control Center. “Got ya.”  He jumped into the room, guns blazing. Narl stood still against the entrance wall as the lasers shot into the machinery. Electric sparks and wires hissed and crackled.

Narl roared, flying out of the shadows. The Gowak’s eyes widened. He was too startled to attack. Arms stretched out, the mrow shoved the gargantuan beast backwards. His leathery scales flew back and crashed against the exposed wiring. Narl lost momentum and fell onto the ground.

The Captain was paralyzed, unable to move from the continuing electrical shocks. His eyes wobbled in their sockets and his bright, colorful flails began to turn black. A horrible, shrieking pop exploded from his metallic shirt-shield as it ripped off his body. It exposed burnt, black scales. The monster’s body grew limp and dropped to the ground, some parts still steaming.

Narl stood over the fallen giant. His small, round hand-gun was tightly held in his paws. Where were the remnants of the Gowak?  His question was quickly answered.

Before the yellow-eyed mrow could see it form, the glop bolted for him. Narl landed awkwardly oh his shoulder. He fired shots blindly into the air. The Gowak dodged, again swooping for a body to possess. He held his ground and fired. The beam went straight through the center of the demon. It was gone. They were all gone.

Narl fell onto his knees, hands against the ground. His stolen gun dropped on the floor, rolling slightly toward the burnt corpse. The mrow’s bloodied nose, starting to clot, dripped with cold taps against the floor. Narl breathed in and out with his mouth, chest heaving.

As his smile rose and pressed his cheeks against his eyes….the mrow began to cry.

Testing…

Posted in mantinence with tags on September 19, 2009 by lucheek

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