Archive for kishi

Chapter Six, Update Six

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by lucheek

Well, it’s 9:46 PM but I did update! Ha-ha!

The Strikers followed the command, pulling back behind the falling Floofnay. The damaged ship accelerated as it grew closer and closer to the planet. Flickering lights and sparks became flame as it dropped into the atmosphere.
“There’s not going to be anything left of it by the time it lands!” Kishi cried.
“The hold is made to extremely resistant to all outer force,” Narl replied quickly. “Let’s just hope it holds up.”
From the look of it, the Floofnay already looked destroyed. The front was nothing but ruin, pieces of shrapnel built to be on the inside flew behind it. The outside of the cargo hold shone with heat.
Narl turned his head toward Kizo. He gaped his mouth open wide, but forgot his companion’s name. In lack of time to think, Narl pushed against Kizo’s shoulders. “Go! Tell everybody to get to the far side of the port. We don’t know how big a wreck it will make.”
Kizo instinctively whipped out his paw, almost about to smack Narl in retaliation for the shove, but stopped himself. He nodded firmly and dashed out. Narl looked back onto the communicator. “Where are you?”
“We’re coming in fast,” Xof replied. “I can see ground… the Floofnay is ahead of us.”
“It’s still speeding up,” called out Anax.
Almost instantaneously, the huge space craft had hit the ground. The resulting crash of metal on ground and clambering of the ship crunching into itself was monstrous. The floor throughout the Ship Port rumbled and shook. Many of the mrows dropped to their knees, clamping their hands over their ears in pain. Even after landing, the Floofnay continued to crackle as the flames from re-entry burned out against the dirt and sand.
Anaxandrea and Kishi leveled their Strikers, pulling around to the opposite side of the port to land. None of the four mrows on the inside of those ships took time to reflect on their successful landings, jumping out and running toward the crashed cargo hold.
Narl was already there, panting. He knew when Xof, Anaxandrea, Kishi and Chambo where behind him without even turning around. Extending his arm outward to block the path, he said “We have to wait for it to cool off.”
Xof pulled her arms in close to her chest. Her eyes were wearily scanning the crackling monolith. “Do you think anything is going to survive through that?”
He paused for a second. His back raised and fell with his breathing chest. “I…” Narl stumbled on his word. “I think… something will. Something has had to survive it.”
“Let’s hope it’s something edible.”
Kizo’s footsteps pounded against the packed dirt and sand. He ran out of the Ship Port. “Nobody got hurt, other than maybe some minor bruises for the shock!”
“Good,” Narl looked back at Kizo , and then turned around to observe more.
“How long do you think until we can go check it?” Kizo asked. He scratched his ear with his hand.
“Not for at least an hour, to be safe,” said Narl.
Chambo smiled and chuckled quietly to himself. It wasn’t a very common occurrence for the gangly white mrow to think “safely”.


As a fun fact, the Floofnay was named by my friend a long time ago. I was drawing basic designs of various Meribellian Ships. She pointed at the one I had labeled “Space 18-Wheeler” and said it was cute and looked like a ‘Floofnay.’ I asked her what that meant, and she said she didn’t know but it seemd like one. So, thus, it became a Floofnay.

Its a fun word to say. Flooooofnaaay

Advertisements

Chapter Six, Update 4

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by lucheek

Anax took a deep breath, letting her body sink into the chair. When she leaned forward, it was with great determination and strength. She grabbed the Steering Stick with both hands. The Striker didn’t lunge forward, but slid smoothly into motion.
When Xof, and even Kishi, had flown the ships, they were fully aware that they were controlling an outside mechanism artificially. They gave the machine commands through the stick. Anaxandrea felt different. In the moment she put her hands on the controls, the ship became her. She felt as if her presence and energy now encompassed all of the metallic shell. Her eyesight changed. She could see out the window, into the black space, her peripheral vision sharpening. And, somehow, at the same time, everything blurred. Only the space was clear.
Anaxandrea was hardly conscience of her voice as she spoke orders to Xof. “Ascend.” “Descend.” She was tacit, calm, and precise. She maneuvered the Striker with ease, rotating the ship as if it was her palm.
The other mrows observed in silence and awe. Xof was the most stricken with Anaxandrea’s prowess. She was tempted to just stare at her orange face instead of the controls she was responsible for. “I…” Xof gathered her tongue. “I think you should always be the one to pilot,” She said.
“Defininatly!” Kizo added over the communicator. “That’s beautiful flying…! Have you done this before?” He leaned forward as he spoke.
“No,” Anax said in her normally reserved voice. “I use to drive some ‘Woks… back there, but never a ship. But I like driving. I would like to be pilot.”
Xof laughed humbly. Her shoulders shook so that the drooping tentacles from her head bounced. “That’s perfectly fine with me, captain!”
Kizo agreed again, and turned to look at Narl. Even he seemed to be smiling a bit.
“Look sharp!” Kishi suddenly hissed, the harsh tone magnified over the electronic system.

Chapter Six, Update 3

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by lucheek

I’m back. For those of you who read this and don’t watch me on DeviantART (my username is lucheek there, too), my sister and I have made a deal to motivate eachother to do more writing. We are ‘exchaning’ at least 600 words every Sunday. Since we live together, it’ll be easier for us to bother the other in the case of missed updates. So, Meribellian Chronicles is back alive again. Expect updates of at least 600 words every Sunday now!

I kind of feel bad since this is still a pretty uneventful update and you all waited so long for it, but I promise stuff is going to happen soon. Like… real stuff. Continue reading

Chapter Six, Update Two

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , , , , on March 27, 2010 by lucheek

In which I am trying to build tension and resisting Star Fox jokes.

“We’re stabilized.” Kishi reported quickly.
Kizo scanned his eyes across the large screen in front of him before calling back, “The ships are registered properly. We’ve got your coordinates.” He could feel his heart in his throat, remembering the last flight. He wasn’t scared though. He felt excited and, strangly, full. Full of some kind of purpose, Kizo wasn’t quite sure.
Narl interrupted his thoughts with his commanding voice. “Try maneuvering.”
“We should probably go one at a time,” Xof added. “Let’s avoid crashing.”
“Of course,” said Chambo.
Kishi replied quickly, “I’ll go first.” She flexed her fingers, still wrapped around the control. She pushed forward firmly, but slowly. The Striker coasted forward. Kishi’s eyes were sharp slits, blind to anything besides the dark space they focused on. She rolled her shoulders to the left, gently moving the Steering stick. The Ship turned.
“Well,” Kizo coughed over the transmitter. “Looks like you’re all set for piloting the relaxing sight-seeing tour of space. Now why don’t you try going faster than a flat rock on the floor?”
“Have you ever flown a spaceship?” She hissed back, without giving Kizo any real time to reply. “No. Neither have I. This doesn’t come with a guide. We can learn now or jump right in like idiots and get ourselves killed.”
“Get everybody killed.” Narl turned to Kizo disapprovingly. “The Gowaks are killing us, we don’t need to kill us too.” The grey mrow turned his head down, embarrassed.
Kishi continued to steer the Striker in silence. She snaked the ship back and forth, testing turning at different angles and speeds. “Chambo,” She said, not turning her eyes away from the window. The black Mrow perked his ears and moved up closer to her. “I’m going to try to do a dive.”
The controls to the altitude and orientation of the Striker were with the other buttons and switches wrapped around the base of the window. A Gowak could reach them from the chair, one arm on the steering stick and another on the panels. A mrow, however, could not. This is why there were two to each ship. Chambo nodded with a affirmative grunt. He crouched down in front of the controls, orienting his hands over the buttons and turning his head away to see out the window.
“Now.” Kishi commanded. She leaned forward on the Steering stick as the Striker began moving forward. Chambo pressed a button, keeping it steadily depressed. The ship turned, curving downward. As the Striker moved now, the more it curved around. “Release.” Kishi directed. He let go of the button. The curving stopped, the ship moving down straight now. At least, appeared to be moving down straight from the perspective of Xof and Anax, who watched with wide eyes. The gravity had shifted for Kishi and Chambo, who moved forward consistently.
“Going to try ascending.” The striped pilot said. Narl acknowledged her from over the radio. “Ascend now.” Kishi added. Chambo depressed the other button. Kishi pushed forward on the Steering Stick, and the Striker rotated upward. She oriented herself with the other hovering ship. “Release.”
“Can you turn and descend at the same time?” Kizo asked.
“I believe.” Kishi replied. She directed Chambo, “Descend now.” She curved the Striker to the left as it moved. They moved in a soft spiral through space. “Release.” The spiral flattened, the Striker oriented on a flat plane now.

Chapter Six, Update 1

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , , , on January 17, 2010 by lucheek

Chapter VI: Practice
Kizo pulled back his face, twisting around to look at Chambo. “Yah, I don’t see anything either.” He turned around now. “I think we’re clear for flight.”
Narl’s eyes shifted around with his weight. “Alright.” He signaled Chambo with his hand. The stub-tailed mrow leaped down and over to the open door of the striker. Kishi helped to pull him inside. Kizo and Narl walked inside the building to the communications area. He pushed a button. “Audio check.”
Kishi replied first, voice sharp as ever. “We can hear you.”
Xof was second. “You’re good.” She looked over the back of the chair. Anaxandrea sat on the floor of the Striker, her legs crossed over. Her mouth was shut loosly and off. “You feeling alright, Anax?” Xof called back. She was trying to keep her voice steady.
“I’m ready.” Anax replied in the same tone, trying to cover any uneasiness. She put her hands behind her for balance.
Kishi came back over the speakers. “Can we lift-off?”
“Yes.” Kizo replied. “Flight in 3…2…1.”
The egg-shaped ship lowered it’s wings. It rolled forward, slowly at fist but gaining speed expontentially. The tip tilted up ward and it rose into the sky with a red glowing tail of energy. Xof and Anaxandrea watched from the open window as the Striker became a smudge in the sky.
“Alright…we’re flying.” Kishi’s voice sounded a little bit releived.
Kizo spoke to the orange-tipped female now. “Are you ready?”
Xof nodded a single time at Anax, who immediately repeated the gesture, and turned to be closer to the speaker. “We’re ready.’’
“Okay. Flight in 3…2…1.”
She gripped the steering stick firmly so she could feel it against all her fingers. Xof leaned forward and pulled up. The engine rumbled as it lifted into sky. Xof’s flight was not as steady as Kishi’s. The Striker quivered, rocking back and forth in its accent, before she was able to find the right balance. Anaxandrea was pushed against the backwall, her horns tapping against the metal as the entire ship bobbled. They made it.

Chapter Five: The Long Haul

Posted in StoryProper with tags , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2010 by lucheek

The following days were relatively quiet. The large group of Mrows settled into their new home, meeting the slaves from other regions of the canyons. The tension of a limited amount of supplies was silent but strongly present. Although free, many of them continued only to eat the small amount of food they had grown used to.
Under directions from Narl, the unspoken and unanimous leader, Nich had began to train other Mrows the practice of medicine. Her silver-ear bands, shining with certain contrast against her red fur, announced to all that she was a fully trained Medic. After asking before the previous battle, the group of revolutionaries found that she was the only one. To create a team more proportional to the size of the Mrows, Nich would have to train others.
The day was late. Her red, fluffy tail swayed calmly behind her. She sat on a boulder that was just within vision of the Ship-port complex, watching the sun turn the sky red as it set. Nich talked to herself, thinking out loud. “I hope I’m a decent enough teacher…” She mused. “I know that we’re going to need a lot of help. Already, the amputation… and Narl…” Nich sighed, dropping her head. “I wish we didn’t need all this… I wish nobody would get hurt.”
The red mrow raised her head, eyes squinting at the half-covered sun behind the canyon’s orange-tinted walls. “I guess that’s not possible though. The Gowaks won’t give us up easily. We’ll have to be ready to fight.” She whispered, “we can’t lose our spirit or will…that’s what got us here in the first place.” Nich mulled that thought over in her head for a few minutes, quietly to herself thinking of experiences she would rather didn’t exist. “Oh, Andero… please help us.”
Gracefully pointing her feet, Nich hopped off the rock she was sitting on. Her tail swayed behind her as she walked back to the Ship-port, which was reflecting the last rays of the sun off its metallic sides. Other mrows scurried about, trying to finish up their tasks before the darkness fell completely. The healer smiled lightly, flicking her ears politely at the ones that ran by her.
Although no real assignment had been given to the displaced slaves in regards to sleeping arrangements, the places that on the first night the mrows had chosen remained their permanent spot. Nich slept pressed against one of the short walls that dotted the hallway to the master bedroom. She made her way to the spot, and laid down. It was not long before others began to gather round her. A familiar stranger slept by her flanks. The grey and white one fell asleep much quicker than Nich herself did. Even by the time that all of the rebels had filled the corridors of the Ship Port, combined body heat warming the entire canyon, she was awake. Her mind was calm, though, relaxed.
Nich’s neighbor seemed to be having some kind of nightmare. His feet flexed back and forth, and his arms tightened around his torso. She turned her head toward him, ear guard quietly clicking against the floor. Somehow, she could feel his worries. She let her eyes droop and mouth smile. Hopefully, he would feel better if she was. It wasn’t long after trying to subconsciously comfort the stranger, did Nich fall asleep.
Her dream was unusually vivid that night. It started in complete darkness.
“Nich…Nich…” There wasn’t really a source for the voice. It came from all over, resonating with her bones. Nich felt as if she had two sets of eyes, one in front of the other. Her eyes, the ones in to reality, we’re closed. But as the voice spoke her second eyes opened wide into the darkness.
“Is somebody there?” She called out. Although her body told her she was right side up, standing, it felt as if she was lying down at the same time. “Hello?” Her voice bounced off some invisible wall, echoing.
A dim light appeared to the side of Nich’s vision. She turned her head. The yellow-golden beam flickered, every time it dimmed coming back brighter and bigger. The light turned into a star slowly as she waited. Then suddenly, the star flashed quickly into an eye, and quickly part of a giant face. The face was blue, like shaped space, with two eyes of stars. It was an older mrow. Nich could see wrinkles down the corners of her cheeks, and to the side of her eyes. Although her eyes shined so bright, the focus was the large blue figure’s gem. It was white, as if glowing inward, and in the shape of the Herald.
This grand face before her, Nich knew, was Andero. Andero, The Goddess.
Nich’s throat ran dry and her skin fell cold. Her heart didn’t pound, but instead just swelled with energy and power. She felt herself belittled… this must really be her…
“Nich?” Andero called.
She could feel the words being pulled out of her mouth. “Yes, I am… but why…?”
“Nich,” the Goddess restated. “I visit you to tell you of something of grand importance.”
She couldn’t stop herself from talking. “Me, I’m a healer, but not… why me?” Even as she talked her brain scolded her. Andero wouldn’t do something without reason, and surely it was silly to question her.
“I am going to die.” Her words were deliberant.
Nich dropped, as if whatever floor had been supporting her gave way. She stopped midfall, suddenly, once again staring into the great, tired eye of the Goddess as if she hadn’t moved at all. “What?”
“You all knew this would happen.”
“Yes, we did… but, but why now?” Nich pleaded, leaning forward. What, she thought. I didn’t know this would happen, what am I saying? She couldn’t say these things out loud though. These thoughts were locked.
“I have already chosen my replacement, and she is waiting.” Every sound Andero made vibrated within the red mrow’s bones. Although she was full of power, Andero’s tone reminded Nich of a grandmother. Soothing, calm.
“But the revolution! You know, of course! We need you!” She squealed.
“Of course I know. I have over-abounding confidence in your new Goddess. She will serve you well.”
Nich relaxed her shoulders, leaning back into the warm thick blackness. Her eyes dropped down, holding there for a second. A thought sprang her mind, and she looked back into the eyes of Andero once more. “What is her name?”
“From now on her name is…” The bright stars in Andero’s eyes began to fade out. The molded sky that made her face smoothened, regressing back into the blackness. “Her name is Andero.”
She woke up as if she had never fallen asleep, completely aware and conscious. Nich relaxed her chest, giving off a long sigh. The only thought she could string together, her mind strangely empty and tranquil, was “This…this is important.”

The days rolled on quietly and consistently. The mrows began to fall into routines. Those with talents or skills would assist in the ways they could, while others would work odd-jobs, and some more simply helped out when they could.
“What’re you thinking Xof?” Anaxandrea said softly. They were picking apart broken wires and mechanics, trying to salvage any parts that could be used for later. Xof was just staring at a small, rectangular shaped device in her hands. Anaxandrea rubbed her fingers around the tip of her horns. It was a subconscious habit of hers to touch her mutation, the curving gray horns that wrapped against the side of her head. “Xof?”
The white mrow twitched. “Oh, sorry. I was just thinking about this stuff. We don’t really know how it works.” Xof was mainly white, with a face much like her brothers, but with orange tipped ears and tails. Most peculiar off all was her mutation, the tentacles that draped off her head much like Anax’s horns. “We use it all the time, or… well, we saw it used all the time but we don’t really know how it works.”
Anax tilted her head, plucking a burnt wire from the back of a gadget with her claws. “We’re not engineers, though.”
She put the rectangular object to the side, looking directly at Anax. “Yah, I guess you’re right.” Her eyes drifted off to the side, eyes furrowing slightly, and picked up what appeared to be some burnt gears stuck together with frayed string. “I wonder how we’ll be able to help in the war.”
Anax’s back tightened up, the hair on her shoulders prickling. War… she thought. The word carried a lot of weight. “I, I guess we’re helping now.”
Xof opened her mouth, but had no time to speak. Her all-white brother noisily dropped a new pile of salvaged parts besides them. “They got more of these out of the big hole in the controls room.” He smiled and rubbed his pudgy gut. “What’re you talking about?”
“Just wondering about what’ll happen when the war starts up.” Xof said, haphazardly eyeing the new pile of junk. “I want to help out.”
Kamisho jumped a little, letting himself land quickly in a slouched position beside the two. “Of course. I think everyone wants to help, it’s for our freedom!” He beamed.
Anax felt the side of her horns, running her finger up and down the sides while trying to avoid direct eye contact with him. “We can help out by salvaging these parts…”
“When the fighting starts,” He said, voice growing slightly deeper and more serious, “I don’t want to be back here. I want to be out there, actively fighting those monsters.” Kamisho put his paw on Anax’s shoulder, patting her, and then repeating the same with his sister. “They took Dad… I’m going to make sure they don’t hurt you guys.”
Xof scoffed, smirking. “I feel really safe now.”
Kamisho elbowed her playfully and stuck out his tongue.
“I don’t know if I could kill anybody,” said Anax. She titled her head up and looked spicily into the distance. “I don’t know if I’m strong enough.”
“Do you think you’d feel bad about it?” Xof pondered.
The white male cut in before Anax to answer. “You couldn’t possibly. After what all those things have done…” Kamisho’s eyes dimmed, losing their humor with the memory of his father…and mother…and brother… “Its rightful that they die. Haven’t you lost anybody?”
The skin of the orange mrow fell cold. A spark of ice ran up her spine and across all her limbs. In the slightest change of posture, the twins could feel Anax’s mood. She was cold, and most of all petrified in some memory. “Yes. I have lost.”
Xof reached out her paw, rubbing the back of her neck. “I’m sorry, we didn’t mean to…”
She was interrupted again. “Who?” Xof sharply turned toward Kamisho, giving him an evil eye.
She spoke like a ghost. “My father was already dead as far as I can remember… they killed my mom because she wanted to keep my horns.” Anax lifted her hand with sudden jerks, running a finger along the side of the curling horns. “I was sold to the mines.. Mama adopted me there with her sons… She was good to me. My brothers… they tried to be good but…” She stopped. “He tried to free us…they killed him… when I… they killed all…I…”
Xof extended out her arms, purposefully hitting Kamisho in the chest, and leaning forward to hug Anax. “No…no you don’t have to tell us. It’s okay.” She was stiff in her arms.
“They died for me.” She whispered. Xof continued to rub her neck, hoping to bring comfort. Kamisho brushed his tail up on her legs, slowly waving it to bring softness.
The orange mrow looked up suddenly. “No, I think I could do it. I’ll have to… have to have the strength.”
Elsewhere, Chambo hung his head out of the open door on the side of the Striker. “How about now?”
Kizo was squatted under the ship, stretching his neck to look deeper into the dark underbelly of the machine. “Umm…no. Not moving.”
He grunted. Kishi leaned back from the controls, yelling outside too. “Is the entire thing not moving, or are some of the gears doing anything?”
“I can kind of see some of the stuff on the side buzzing around a bit.” Kizo pulled his head out to look at them directly. “But nothing is happening on the other side.”
“Do you think one of the wires got loose?” Chambo asked her.
Kishi shrugged. “We better check.” She hopped down nimbly, landing on all fours before picking her torso back up.
Kizo scooted himself backwards to make space. After receiving Narl’s rather abrupt orders to somehow put a gun on a Striker ship, they had been acting as mechanics for days. Between the three of them, they had the mechanical expertise of a young apprentice and the work had mostly devolved into “mess around with it until something works.” Chambo’s latest idea was to connect the gun onto the landing wheels. The wheels could be folded out or in at any time, so the gun could be accessible. It would only fire forward however.
She crawled on her belly under the ship, turning awkwardly and reaching her hand up. “Gragh,” Kishi growled. “This thing hasn’t been oiled in ages…”
Chambo chucked a little. “He didn’t even have the courtesy to clean the ship we killed him for.”
“Those things don’t deserve courtesy.” Kishi snapped abruptly. “Anyways, I think I found one hanging-“ She grabbed the wire, letting out a quick grunt as it shocked her. “Yah, live wire.”
“Do you know where it connects?” Kizo shouted. His stomach let out a slow grumble. “Ugh, so hungry.”
Chambo crouched down. “Yah. Food is getting short… they’re deffinintatly trying to starve us out.”
“If we don’t get something quick,” He said, tail twitching, “The thin-disease is going to kill us. It’s not like we have any medicine either.”
Kishi yelled back from under the Striker. As a ship went, the Striker was a small personal craft for Gowaks. The controls were small enough to reach up to a Gowak’s stomach, so it was accessible to mrows, upon which they would reach to their head. It was still big enough for a mrow to fit under when it was rotated on it’s side. “Alright, I think I found it’s imput. Try it now. Let me get out from under.” She wriggled out, shaking some grease off her head.
Chambo leaped back through the open door. He leaned forward and flicked a small switch off to the side. The wheels spun and some gears clicked. They compacted, drawing themselves back into the ship.
“Worked! They went in!” Kizo yelled. He smiled slightly.
“See if they can come back out,” Kishi added.
He flicked the switch again. There was a bit of rumbling and squeaking from the panels, but finnaly they opened and the wheels and gun reappeared again. “Perfect!” Kishi shouted.
Chambo stuck his head out, looking at the two. “Now we just need to find some way to make it fire.”
“Well,” Kizo said, rolling his torso around his hips to try and keep balance as he came out from under the ship, “What do ships normally use for a firing method? I mean, what makes it work?”
“I’m not sure. My guess would be something that lowers the Pike onto the Merr.” Chambo responded. The group had congregated now, in a circle beside the ship. The stood relatively quietly, eyes dashing around the room blindly in thought.
“Maybe we could attach the pike to a gear. If we suspended the axel and maybe just a small engine just above the Merr-chamber, we could thread a wire from the engine to the cockpit. Maybe like a button or something to turn it on?” Kishi suggested, gesturing with her wrists.
“Like a simple circuit-completer maybe.” Kizo added. He didn’t know what Kishi had gained her knowledge of machines, but Kizo had previously worked as a repair slave for the Ship port. They had taught him all this for their service…he thought silently. Pretty ironic now.
Chambo scratched the back of his ear with a single claw. “But where are we going to find a little engine… and even if we did, I’m not sure how we’d be able to put a wire through all of there.”
“You could open the panels up on the side, having the wire just directly under them.” Narl’s raspy voice suddenly rang in their ears. The spindly Mrow was standing upright, although hunching forward.
“Cripes!” Kizo hissed with his teeth closed. “Why are you sneaking around?”
Narl just looked at the one-armed mrow from the corner of his eyes, flicked his tail dissmisivly, and looked back at Chambo. “Every ship has small panels as the protective guard over the inner workings. You can remove them one at a time and keep the thing intact. A small wire like the one you’re suggesting could fit under there if you work at it.”
“Alright,” Chambo nodded slightly and slowly. “But where would we find a little gear and engine?”
Kishi tapped her foot against the ground. Her claws, barely extended, clicked against the metallic surface to get their attention. “They’re making scrap piles alongside the hallways. We should check through those to see if anything fits the bill.”
“We need to find more than one.” Turning to look at Kishi, Chambo said directly. “We’re going to have to right this up in five Strikes, remember.”
Kizo grumbled. “As long as we find five of some kind of gear-engine thing. It’s not like we’re going for anything uniform here. They don’t have to be the same.”
Narl walked off just as the black mrow began to reply. He held his tail up slightly over the ground so it wouldn’t drag, placing his weight in his haunches and walking as silently as he could. The movement was fluid and graceful, but creepy. He didn’t really intend to walk like he was sneaking up on something, it just was. Narl moved down the hallway, letting the voices of the three mrows fade off behind him. He wasn’t sure of where he was going. But sitting idly around hurted him. He could feel some kind of energy, like static electricity in his bones, pinching against the inside of his skin. Narl didn’t want to just sit, he wanted to keep moving. As he passed by mrows, some loitering in hallways, others going up some job they had been assigned either by others or themselves, they would look up briefly. Many would try to avoid direct eye contact with him, like they were scared. Narl wasn’t sure of what he thought of being feared… No, he decided between muddled thoughts. I don’t want them to be scared of me.
His brain had lost track of his location now. Narl found himself walking toward a brown tom, leaning against a corner. He was full grown, but little in stature. His eyes were just looking at the ground. Narl blinked awkwardly. “Hello.” He mumbled, out of respect.
The green-eyed brown mrow looked up. “Oh. Hi.”
Narl was trying to turn and keep on walking. It wasn’t his attention to start any form of conversation, but just avoid making it look like he was just randomly approaching Mrows. The brown one, however, acted like he had been waiting.
“I don’t know why you want to go back, I mean, up to the cities.” He said. Narl stopped, ears twitched, and looked more directly at him. The brown mrow pushed himself off the wall, standing up straight with wide eyes. “I was sold from them…the cities. The gowaks told me that I would miss them when I came down to the plantation. ‘They aren’t kind to mops in the canyon like up here. Better toughen up.’ I think they said.” His tail wrapped absently mindedly his left leg. “They like to think they’re nicer in the city, y’know?” He paused as if waiting for Narl to respond. Narl didn’t say anything however. He was mulling over the words in his head, making sure he caught all of them. “They aren’t. When a slave…I mean, mrow, misbehaves, they send them to Fums. They’ll send people to Fums for anything. Put my sister because she coughed too much. Here, they’ll just kill them. Straight and clean. The Gowaks in the cities feel like since they’re not doing it themselves, its nicer. I don’t know…” He paused again. “I’d rather just die. You know what Fums is?”
Narl did know. The images flickered in his minds. Copped-collored rocks, little piles. No water. No food. No life… it had an atmosphere, barely. Enough to breathe once you got used to all the thin dirt in the air. Always looked like it was in dusk…
The mrow continued, bringing Narl’s mind back into the room. “They just starve to death…slowly. Just slowly. By the time you’re there you’re too weak to even kill yourself. You just have to wait…” He trailed off.
Narl looked at him, eyes flashing a bit with sympathy. He didn’t say anything, still. His muscles twitched…he was standing too long. An apologetic expression on his face, he turned his head and walked off quietly. The brown mrow just followed him with his eyes for a while, before leaning against the wall and thinking.

It was dusk. “I don’t see anything.” Kamisho said, squinting. The Striker ships had been completed, somehow.
Kizo was standing on the opposite end of the roof, holding his single hand against the moonlight. “Me neither.”
Chambo turned from the ship he was looking at. They had put them together so quickly, he was afraid they would just fall apart. “Good… we don’t want to run in contact with anything before we know how to fly these ships.”
“I don’t think we should send all of them up.” Narl added from the ground.
“Me neither,” Chambo agreed. “I think we’re only sending up two. Kishi and I are taking this one.”
“I call the other!” Kamisho yelled, crawling off the top of the roof onto the steps.
“We heard you the first time.” Kishi growled. “I still don’t know why we’re trusting you with it…”
“Nobody here has any experience flying ships.” He replied, smiling. “Might as well be me.”
Chambo turned back to Narl. Anaxandrea, Xof, and Kizo now standing around him. “We probably should go now. We don’t know how long the sky is going to be clear.” Narl nodded.
“We entered the ship’s ID codes into the telecenter. They are pre-programmed to autoaccept any transmissions from any of them.” Xof reported. The group walked around the corner of the ship port, heading inside to the control room.
Kishi climbed into the open hatch of the closer Striker, heading to the back. “Remember what we said, Kamisho?” Chambo called, lingering on the outside.
The white mrow rubbed his toes against the dirt, cold in the night air, and stretched his shoulders. “Of course! I’ll trail you.”
“Make sure you have the audio open.” He said, right before he clambered into the inside of the ship. Chambo turned his body sideways, squeezing past Kishi and around the chair. It was red, padded and curved to a Gowak’s spine. He put his left paw on the steering stick and leaned back into the chair. It was, indeed, comfortable. The cockpit’s was almost completely surrounded by the window. At the rim, where the strong transparent material met the floor of the Striker, the window was tinted a slight green. It was the lighting of the display, ready to be used, but not on. He shifted his weight, pulling his paws onto the ground in front of him. “Ready Kishi?” Chambo put his head on his shoulder.
She nodded. Kishi wanted to come along on the first flight, even though the ships could be easily managed by a single mrow. She leaned against the wall into the mechanical area. As Chambo turned around and pushed the steering stick down, engaging, the engine rumbled. The warmth of the Merr heated the fur on Kishi’s back.
Leaning, he reached his arm and pressed the transmission button, holding it down until it locked. A small light on the display began to flash. Narl could hear him now in the ship port. Another light flickered on. Kamisho had turned on his audio. Chambo spoke calmly and clearly as he could. “Flight in one…two…” He continued to press down on the steering stick, slowly depressing into flight mode. It clicked faintly. “Three.”
The flight-tube fell into position, lowering from rest. The Trinity Engine turned on full force. The metal heated signifanctly on the wall to the mechanical area, startling Kishi slightly. It was but a split second that the tube glowed a faded red before a large beam exploded from the back. It was almost like the beam of the guns… but thinner, transparent even. The beam didn’t explode against the rocks but instead pushed against the air. The Striker was pushed forward at a rapid pace. Chambo felt his bones almost completely shoved to the back of his body. He pulled back on the steering stick with both hands. The wings slid down from the top of the ship, propelling the energy upward. There was a rumbling click as the landing wheels folded back into the underside. Chambo and Kishi could both feel the weight of the ship dissipatate as they lost contact from the ground.
The sky turned from a dark blue, to a dark gray. Kishi pulled herself forward to get a better look out the window. Chambo kept his grip on the stick. They were on the outer ridges of the atmosphere now. The nose of the oblong Striker scraped against the air. The debris and specks of dirt heated, glowing red, and wrapped around the window. “Lost visual!” Chambo cried. He relaxed his hold, letting the stick lean into it’s natural position. The Trinity Engine reduced the power, slowing down. The burning around the window cooled down, clearing away. Chambo blinked his eyes. All around his was blackness, dark and expanding. He could see the flickering stars and Moon clearer than ever before. He felt very much like he had just leaped into the night sky, and in many ways he had.
“Everything okay?” A scratchy version of Xof’s voice came in over the speakers.
Chambo breathed out, relaxing his spine. “Yes,” He replied.
“I think you came up too fast.” Kishi added, walking back to the rear of the cabin.
“I think so too.”
“Did the pseudo-gravity come on?” Kamisho asked, still stationary on the ground.
Chambo turned, quickly eying the elevation monitor on the display. It read that they were out of any form of atmosphere. “Yes, working grand.”
“Should I start to engage?” Kamisho came back.
Narl talked now from the ground. “No. Chambo, Kishi, maneuver a little bit.”
“Aye.” Chambo pushed the steering stick slightly to the left. The Striker turned slowly and controlled. He pushed forward, increasing the power of the red laser emmited from the back. They speeded up.
“Trying turning it around.” Kishi spun her extended index finger. He nodded. With a gentle amount of weight, he pulled up and sideways at the stick. The ship began to roll. He felt himself awkwardy pulled to the side, and then the other ways, for a split second. Chambo let go. The pseudo-gravity evened out. Even though they were now upside down from their original point, the two felt fine. “I think everything is working.”
“Alright. Kamisho, ready to follow?” Narl said.
Kamisho smiled, the top of his cheeks pushing against his eyes. “Sure am.”
“Go for it.” Xof seemed to chuckle as she spoke.
Out of some habit, Kamisho flicked his tail and nodded though nobody could see it. He put his palms, one on top of each other, against the rounded top of the steering stick and shoved his weight down into them. The stick clicked into position. “Take off in one…two..three!” He called excitedly. The Trinity Engine murmured, and the flight-tube lowered. A short flash of pink beckoned the powerful beam behind him. Kamisho took weight off the machine. He wanted to be careful to try and go slower than Chambo had, and avoid the lift-off burn. The Striker rose over the ground, charging forward before tipping upwards into the sky. The ship rumbled as the wheels recoiled. Kamisho’s blue eyes widened, taking in the awe-inspiring visuals as he flew through different colors of sky. “Wow, it’s beautiful!”
KERPOW!… Kamisho could feel some sudden pressure release from under his feet.
“What was that?” Narl called in hastily over the speakers.
Something was loose now in the underside of the Striker. It loudly clanked around in the wires. Kamisho tightened his grip on the steering stick, trying to pull back the speed. “I don’t know!” His long white fur stood on end.
Xof leaned over Narl’s shoulders, pushing him slightly away from the display of the telecenter. Anaxandrea pushed herself closer, breath tight in her lungs. With a quick motion, Narl activated the outside security camera. He could see the Striker ship, awkwardly wobbling near the top of the screen.
“Kamisho! Pull back!” Xof cried with worry. They could hear another loud noise over the intercom. In a flash of electrical lights, a black, pixilated shape hurdled down from the Ship.
“The gun! The gun fell out!” Anax cried.
“It took the wheels with it.” Narl hissed. Front hands against the curve of the console, he pushed backward. Crouching low to the ground, almost on all fours, he ran out the control center. His feet pounded against the cold dry rocks looking up.
“Kamisho? Do you read? What’s happening?” Xof put her mouth close the microphone. There was no reply for a short while, and then two short clicks followed by crackling static fuzz. “Chambo! Something’s wrong!”
“We can see him.” Kishi clammered over the speakers. “His ship has crossed into space… but it’s decelerating.”
Anaxandrea squeeled, throat tightening. “Kamisho!”
“He’s going into Swalu Mode!” Chambo shouted quickly.
“Is he going to make a jump?” Xof yelled back. She felt around the control switches, urgently switching back to the read out of information.
Narl rushed back into the control room, claws clicking against the ground. “It looks like half of the wiring fell out!” He growled urgently.
“The ships making a jump!” Xof shouted at Narl, turning around.
In a flash of pink, the sky seemed to have it’s colors inverted and the stars drawn closer together. Kamisho’s ship was ingulfed in the reaction and was gone.
“We lost visual!” Chambo said in shock. “We lost visual- the Swalu Transporter activated.”
The three mrows on the ship port could feel their eyes wobbling in their sockets from shock.
“Your read on the ship should be able to tell us where he went!” Chambo continued. “Does it work?”
Anax snapped out of a stupor. “Where’d he go?”
“Chambo, be ready to follow for assistance!” Xof yelled.
“I don’t know—“ He began.
Narl clamped his teeth, gaining the attention of the others and silent. “We got a read out. The warp drained the Merr on the Trinity engine.”
Kishi gasped. “Where the hell did he go to take that much energy? It’s got to be farther than the solar system!” She was closer to the communicator now.
Narl scratched and pressed against some of the control buttons. “I don’t know, I’m trying to find where…” Xof shouldered him out of the way, pointing to something on the glowing screen.
“There.” Her finger rubbed against the coordinates.
Narl and Anax read them silently. “Those…those coordinates…” Narl murmured.
“What is it?” Chambo asked nervously.
“It’s Tica.” Xof spoke in a half-whisper. “Somehow… he, he warped to Tica…”
Narl turned sharply, ears down. “Where the Herald is from?”
Anax rubbed her hands around her horns, speaking quietly. “Andero carried the Herald here… carrying a message from the Sylphs.” She was thinking out loud, manners lost in her panic, of what her had told her. “They told us of the life of those passed…in the language of Sylphs. We could only understand a little. That those of good souls were lead to a paradise of water. The Herald brought us a map and a readout of this paradise…the planet, Tica…”
“It can’t be!” Xof yelled with her mouth wide open. “It’s too far! You can’t warp to Tica!”
Narl roared back, full-force. “His engines are gone!”
His voice echoed against the mechanical walls. The room grew silent as the roar faded. Xof dragged her paw against the floor, leaning forward slowly. Just as she was about to loose her balance, she grabbed hold of Anax. Anax fell loose in her arms. They wept.
There was a large rumbling. About ten mrows burst into the control room, eyes wide and fur prickling. They all cried out at once. Narl couldn’t make out most of it, but a few phrases.
“What happened?”
“What was that noise?”
“Something fell out of the sky!”
Without warning anybody, Narl ran out of the room. He pushed past the worried crowd. When the door outside approached as he turned the corner, Narl rotated around his foot and let his back bash against the door pushing it open.
Chambo and Kishi were standing outside, breathing heavily. “We landed the Striker! We can’t find him.”
“He went to Tica.” Narl grumbled. “What happened?”
Kishi shrugged. Her lip pulled back in a unconscious frown. “We don’t know.”
Chambo bounded over a rock, inspecting the damaged wires scattered across the ground. “The edges… these wires are burnt.”
“At the edges!” Narl spoke loudly with a gaping mouth. The full impact of what had happened began to flood into his mind. His thoughts grew louder and more frequent, blurring. “I’ve seen this before. A loose spark, something caught onto the glue. Didn’t check! They didn’t do their check up… glue past due. Fire! Those ignorant!” He knees were on the ground now. Narl’s spine contorted. He grabbed Chambo’so shoulder. “He’s dead. This could’ve been! Kamisho! Kamisho!” His claws extended, scraping against the skin.
“Narl!” Chambo growled. He shot out his arm, slapping the white mrow with the back of his hand. In the second he roared, Chambo became one of the most frightening thing Narl had ever seen. The first thing, recently to scare him. He let go of his grip, falling backwards with a thump.
Narl was still in the dirt for a little while. His mind seemed to simmer…and he felt heavy emotions fall to the back of his head, thoughts dulling. “Check the other ships for glue rot,” He said, still flat on his back. Chambo stared down at him for a while, mouth curled in confusion. Slowly, he nodded and walked off.
Kishi bent over, extending her paw out to the collapsed mrow. Narl didn’t take it, but instead jumped to his feet himself. She took a few steps back. Both their eyes were thin slits, and they glared into each other in a stiff lock. Narl turned suddenly, looking at the ring of others who had gathered around them. “We have lost another.” He paused. “It is not our first.”
“We can’t afford to abandon these ships. After more thorough inspection, we’ll continue flight. Food is low and we need to… we can’t hang around idly.” The crowd looked back with blank eyes. He could see that they felt unsatisfied, like hungry bellies wanting more. Narl wasn’t sure what else he could give. No, he was sure there was nothing else. “Go back inside.”
Mothers hanging over children turned around first, pushing their young ones with them. The others followed the river of former slaves. They walked quietly with only a small hush of whispers that would ripple through the crowd like waves. Narl lagged behind until Chambo came back from the ships.
“I can’t….I don’t see anything like the glue that was on the edges of Kamisho’s ship.” He tried to speak formally. “I think the rest are fine.”
“Are you sure?” Narl retorted, looking over his shoulder.
“I’m not positive.” Chambo replied. “I’m not quite sure what to look for.”
Narl turned and walked past the sturdy black mrow. He held his tail out behind him like a banner, brushing against Chambo’s side. As he watched him go, Chambo sighed a little. Kishi elbowed him and signaled to come inside. The glow of the moon was beginning to pass under the mountains and the air continued to drop temperature.
Narl came in later after the rest, after he was sure of the integrity of the ships. As soon as got steps within the entrance, he leaned his back on the silver wall and slided down. He fell asleep sitting against the wall with his head pressed against his shoulder.

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.”