Sunday, June 26, 2011
anna mawe (anna mah-weh) - literally "be at peace" or "may you have peace"; used as a greeting or as a farewell
van (vauhn) - "oneself" or "person, people"
te (tay) - denotes male gender
tan (tauhn) - denotes female gender
ma (mauh) - "parent"
ma'van'te - literally "parent person (who is) male" i.e. father
ma'van'tan - "parent person (who is) female"; mother
ha (hah) - "child"
ha'van'te - literally "child person (who is) male"; son
ha'van'tan - "child person (who is) female"; daughter
Please note: when referring to children not their own, most adults shorten these words to "ha'te" and "ha'tan" which mean "male youngster" or boy and "female youngster" or girl. The same word is spoken for plural or singular use.
So it follows that knowing
a (ah) - "sibling", then
a'van'te - "brother"
a'van'tan - sister
mri (mree) - "mate, beloved"
mri'te - "male mate, male lover"; husband
mri'tan - "female mate, female lover"; wife
'at (aught) is a suffix attached to many Ra'van'ti words that denotes respect
'ka (kah) is a suffix meaning "little, small" that denotes fondness, affection. For example, one might say a'van'te'ka, meaning "little brother" or an adult might say ha'te'ka to a male child, meaning "little one".
ro'at - hunter, warrior; "ro" meaning "to hunt, to battle";
Please note: Ra'van'ti children are not recognized as adults until they successfully kill a dangerous animal (that is, a large animal that could kill them without the use of venom, etc.) unassisted. Only then do Ra'van'ti earn the title ro'at.
mo'at - elder; "mo" meaning "having many years or much wisdom, old"
Please note: Mo'ats are most often trained for the position in which they will serve their tribe by the mo'at serving before them, but during unusual or rare occasions they can be elected by either the anu'at and other mo'ats of a tribe's council or by the tribe as a whole. Sometimes mo'ats are even self-appointed, usually after a duel or similar trial combat.
anu'at - leader; "anu" meaning "lead, guide"
ke'heh (kay hay) - no, negative
das (daws) - yes
dro - dead, soulless; Shre'ka called the Kaminoans in the lab "dro'ruk'naku, roughly translating to "soulless monsters lost in shadow"
mreh'vok ro (mray-vok-row) - "time (of) battle"; trial
masul (mauw-zul) - literally "water of dreams"; a potent intoxicant made from the roots of mosa flowers.
mas (mauwz) - dream, vision
ul (ool) - water
sa (sauh) - sky
shre (shray) - star
uuk (ook) - river
ruk (rook) - shadow, darkness; denotes one having lost their way or their spirit
Sa'uuk - Sky River; how the Ra'van'ti refer to the light aspect of the Force
Sa'ruk - Sky Shadow; how the Ra'van'ti refer to the dark aspect of the Force
Sa'ruk Mo'at - an elder of the Dark Side, a Sith Lord
Sa'uuk Mo'at - an elder of the Light Side, such as a Jedi Master
naku (nah-koo) - terrible or frightening monster
sa'naku - "terrible sky monster"
vek - vicious, savage, brutal
na (nah) - "of a pack or group"
vek'na - a cunning, vicious, and very dangerous land pack predator of Sorn 5
zas - wild, free, spirited
sa'uuk ah meh yah - Please note: This phrase has various meanings depending on the situation; "the Sky River is with us, me, him, her, etc.", "the Sky River be with you, him, her, them, etc."; basically "may the Force be with you".
So until the next lesson, sa'uuk ah meh yah!
Friday, June 24, 2011
“I have a few other bits of business that I must handle, Murrl”, said Sorzen, butchering Mrrowl’s name with an oily smile that was finally beginning to get on the Togorian’s nerves.
“Underssstand.” Mrrowl said, then pointed to his empty whiskey glass.
“Of course! Have as much as you want.” Sorzen indicated the Twi’lek that had caught Mrrowl's attention earlier. “My personal, erm, assistant will take care of you, and when you’re finished, she’ll show you where to stay for the evening. I’ll fetch you tomorrow to take you to the Dirty Mynock.”
The Togorian again displayed his sharp teeth, and Sorzen decided that was he was probably smiling. Beckoning a ‘Swooper Lieutenant over, he stood, and Mrrowl’s nose wrinkled as a melange of sharp scents filled the area. From the scents, the Lieutenant received a message - “This one will prove useful. Make sure the lads stay away from him tonight, I don’t want him damaged.”
Nodding to Mrrowl a final time, Sorzen dismissed the ‘Swooper with a wave of his hand and disappeared through a door at the back of the bar.
Quiet broke over the stairwell like a wave as the shutting door blocked the raucous sounds of the bar. The false smile left Sorzen’s face as he hurried up a flight of stairs, carefully stepping over a few he knew to be completely rotten, and stopped at the second floor landing. An unlit code pad hung limply on exposed wiring in front of an unmarked door. Movement of the air generated by Sorzen’s approach caused the pad to swing slightly back and forth, adding to a shallow arc shaped groove worn into the wall plaster.
Stabilizing the pad with one hand, the Weequay entered his code with the other. Metallic thuds from a number of bolts slamming back into grooves resounded throughout the quiet hallway, belying the sturdiness of the outwardly rickety looking door, which swung inwards on reinforced, silent hinges, exposing a room strewn with debris and broken furniture. Crossing the floor, and picking his way around scattered junk, Sorzen tugged the corner of a vanity, which swung aside on recessed casters, revealing a four foot high hole that had been knocked out of the wall. Loose bricks lined the short passage, with jagged edges like broken teeth exposed by the crumbling plaster.
Ducking through the hole, Sorzen entered a new room about the size of a small storage closet. Pausing a moment to pull the vanity back into place, he turned and entered a code into the panel guarding a door opposite the wall he entered through.
The hallway into which Sorzen emerged was everything that the building containing the bar was not. Sparkling marble floors, plush furniture, and fine art on the walls greeted him as he gave a small sigh of contentment. The only apparent access to this set of rooms was the passageway Sorzen had taken, though he had a secret bolt-hole in the event unexpected visitors were to try and corner him.
The bar made an excellent front, it’s dilapidation and rough clientele assuring that little attention would be paid to his operation, however, one had to be civilized about one’s living conditions. The clicks of his boot heels echoed in the corridor as he proceeded a few doors down the hallway, manipulated a keypad, and stepped into a room dominated by status lights, computer screens and a small holonet transceiver.
Punching in the Galactic Access Address for the Dirty Mynock, Sorzen listened as the connection tone sounded, followed by the harsh electronic screech of the encryption modules on either end exchanging their one-time codes for synchronization. Assured of the privacy of his communication, the Weequay waited until a slightly pixellated Trandoshan appeared in the air in front of him, digital interference occasionally causing the image to stutter as the signal strength fluctuated.
“Zesh, “ Sorzen snapped, “where is Viggo?”
“Zorzen, not expect you call.” Zesh lisped, “Viggo buzy, I run ship today.”
Sorzen frowned, his anger rising at the laziness of the Mynock’s Captain. “Fine. I have a new crewmember for you down here. Another of those Togorians seems to have...wandered...in. He’ll prove useful on the Mynock”
“Already have full crew!” Zesh whined. “Not need troublezome cat on board, not need bad cat zmell!”
Rolling his eyes at the lizard’s tone, Sorzen’s voice became hard, and he jabbed a finger at the flickering holo of the Dirty Mynock’s First Mate. “You do not have a full crew. I think Survee is about to have an accident while fixing the airlock no?”
“But Zurvee Zurzen nephew, Zurzen blood!”
“Don’t you tell me who he is, don’t you think I know?!?” Sorzen bellowed, slamming a clenched fist into the edge of the holotable. “I want him spaced, right now. You don’t even like warm bloods as it is!”
Zesh’s slitted eyes rolled back and forth, looking for help. He fervently wished Viggo wasn’t busy having “fun” with a couple of units of their latest acquisition, a dozen freshly purchased Twi’lek slave girls for Sorzen’s Dnalvec pleasure house. Convinced this was a warm-blood trap, Zesh’s brain was feverishly scrambling to find himself an out.
“Look at me you scaled sack of bantha dung!” Sorzen raged, his voice getting so loud it was beginning to overload the audio pickups on the table, warping the sound of his voice with crackles and hisses on the bridge of the Mynock. “You’ll do as I say by the time you make port, or I’ll make sure you and that utterly worthless Captain you serve are both sold to the spice mines on Kessel, after I order my latest acquisition to break every bone in your bodies!”
Zesh was finally looking somewhat cowed, and he seemed to fold into himself somewhat as he quietly hissed “Yez...Zesh do.”
Taking a deep breath, Sorzen very quietly added, “And you’ll remove that Togorian hide from your cabin wall. I don’t care where you put it, just make sure it’s locked up well out of sight. If our new friend sees that, it will cost me a lot of credits in damages and lost profits, and I shall be sorely, sorely disappointed.”
The Trandoshan’s eyes went wide in shock and rage for a moment, but at an answering cold look from Sorzen, finally responded with a dejected nod. “Wookie peltzzzz?” he quietly hissed, his eyes looking up hopefully from an anxious face.
“Leave those up if it makes you happy, I couldn’t care less. Kill this one before I order it, however, and you’re finished. No excuses!” Pausing to give Zesh a final glare, Sorzen slammed his hand into the call disconnect before stalking from the Central Command Room.
Carefully de-selecting the Captain’s Quarters from the Comm Control Panel, Zesh pressed the button to sound the “Attention” tone in the ship.
“Zurvee, bring tool, report airlock two, getting bad cycle indicator light.” Zesh hissed into the audio pickup.
Across the ship, a young Weequay turned off the holo he was watching and grabbed a battered red metal toolbox. Stopping a moment at the door to bark, “I’m on it!” into the comm unit, he cycled the door and turned towards the port side airlock, softly whistling a popular Tandalion song as he bumped the box against his leg in time to the music.
Monday, June 20, 2011
The crowd of ‘swoopers who remained standing parted reluctantly as Sorzen led Mrrowl to a corner table in the back of the bar. A ripple of grumbles and glares followed the Togorian as he walked through the mob. Anyone getting a little too close or attempting to hinder Mrrowl’s progress received a hiss or a hard swat from one of his massive paws, although Mrrowl mostly retracted his claws to avoid another full-on scrum.
In the background, a few loud, metallic bangs rang out, and the tinny synthrock began to blare from the jukebox again. A pair of Bith ran from behind the bar with mops to clean up the mess as the victims of the ill-timed grenade were dragged out of a side door to be buried properly, in a dumpster. Scanning for threats, the Togorian noticed a Twi’lek lounging against the bar, the green skin around her sapphire eyes wrinkled in amusement as she watched him cross the room.
Arriving at the table, Mrrowl looked at the tiny chair for a moment, snorted, and then batted it aside with a flick of his paw. He squatted on his haunches in the spot where it had been, his back turned securely to the wall. The chair impacted rotten plaster, tearing out a huge chunk that hit the floor, leaving a series of white, powdery rays pointing away from the table. The sudden sound caused more than a few hands to dart to holstered blasters before their jumpy owners decided that there was no immediate threat.
Looking across the battered table, Mrrowl took stock of the hairless outsider who called himself Sorzen. Dark brown wrinkled skin, deep set eyes, and a shaven head marked the Swooper leader. The left side of his face had numerous pockmarks, many with small scar lines crisscrossing them, as if an explosion had caused glass to scythe across his cheek. He wore a fine leather jacket, with loops of gaudy gold chains passing under his arm from the epaulet on his left shoulder. A slight jingle drifted across the table as he made a gesture towards the bar.
Shortly, two glasses of Alderaanian Whiskey were dropped into the table by the Twi’lek, who was wearing a diaphanous net outfit that consisted of little more than a top and some leggings. As she turned from the table, she gave her outfit a little extra swirl while winking at the big cat. Mrrowl’s eyelids drooped a little and he purred a moment in appreciation, a deep sound that both Sorzen and the waitress could feel resonating sympathetically in their chests.
Emboldened, the Twi’lek reached out and tweaked a furry ear, giggling as it instinctively tried to dodge her hand, before dragging her fingers down the side of his jaw. With a playful smile, she turned lightly on her feet and began to make her way back to the bar, nimbly dodging grubby Weequay hands as they reached out for a pinch or a grab. Mrrowl’s ears sprung full forward and he gave her dancing retreat full attention, his nose still full of her spicy alien scent.
“So tell me, why did you feel the urge to smash up my bar?” Sorzen asked, drawing Mrrowl’s eyes back to his “host”.
Mrrowl chuckled, displaying wicked teeth, “Bar wasss ugly before Mrrowl sssmash, Mrrowl improve look.”
A hearty guffaw escaped Sorzen. Forgetting himself for a moment, he almost clapped the big cat on the back before he recalled the huge claws that had been on display a few minutes earlier. “Well, it certainly isn’t exactly the Senate Floor now is it?” he wheezed.
Once the laughter had died down, Mrrowl’s face turned sober as he looked levelly at Sorzen and replied, “Need work, provide better sssecurity than little hairless beings.”
From the moment the first ‘swooper had taken his short and painful flight, Sorzen had hoped he could find a way to send this creature off to work one of the ships he had a stake in. A warrior such as this one would rake in tons of credits. And unbelievably enough, he was actually asking Sorzen to use him. Piles of credits began to dance in his vision as he pondered the possibilities.
Successfully keeping the avarice off of his face, the Weequay smiled expansively. “Well, it just so happens I know a few ship Captains! Why, the Dirty Mynock is putting in tomorrow evening, and I believe they have an opening; good ship that one.
“I have a room you can stay in tonight, and we’ll get you aboard the Dirty Mynock tomorrow evening. What should I tell the Captain your name is?”
Remembering the reaction of the Customs Agent, Mrrowl moderated his tone a bit, trying to speak his name with what he imagined was the way one would say it in Basic. While he managed not to rattle the windows, the yowl of his name caused Sorzen flinch a touch, and a few jumpy hands at tables nearby lept once again to blaster butts and knife handles.
Chuckling to himself, Sorzen, could just see the fear this dumb brute would strike in a boarding action or an illicit trade. All they had to do was make sure he stayed fat, dumb and happy until he had outlived his usefulness. The ruins of the front part of the bar attested to that little requirement.
Monday, June 13, 2011
The bar had probably once been a reasonably nice establishment. Crumbling plaster, wood that was splintered from the impacts of heavy, hard objects, and a floor that looked like it probably had something lethal to most mammals growing on it attested to its current status as a complete shit-hole.
A jukebox that was more dents than not sat in the corner, the shattered glass from its front window still laying where it had fallen under a layer of scuffed dust. Synthrock music played tinnily from the speakers that remained - many of the sound alcoves were gaping holes full of torn wires. At the sound of the door shutting behind Mrrowl, a rough looking Weequay standing near the jukebox viciously kicked it to silence, adding a fresh series of dents to the dull casing, and every eye turned towards the new arrival.
Flinty stares met him from every occupied table and barstool in the room, adding menace to the sudden quiet. Each Weequay’s arm had a thin scarlet sash tied around it, with various symbols Mrrowl took to be rank of some sort embroidered near the frayed ends. There were enough weapons in evidence to stock a moderate arms bazaar, blaster pistols, rifles, even a missile launcher that had been carelessly tossed in a corner. The big Togorian breathed a mental sigh of relief when he didn’t see anyone reaching for that particular party favor.
A voice like gravel in a battered fuel drum echoed in Mrrowl’s head and a predatory smile broke out across his face. “Keep ‘em off balance, and keep ‘em guessing! They’re more unsure of what’s going on than you are...”
The room shook with an ear splitting roar as Mrrowl turned, grabbed a grungy Weequay in a torn leather jacket who was standing near the door, and threw him clear over the bar. Shattering glass underlay the rumble of his war-cry as the unfortunate bar patron’s head destroyed a couple of shelves of spirits, and bounced off of the edge of the back counter as his body hit the floor.
Spinning, Mrrowl’s right arm clothes-lined another patron as claws sprung from his left paw and raked deep furrows in a second Weequay trying to attack his blind side with a vibro-dagger. Grabbing the edge of a large table, it’s surface covered in crudely carved initials and lewd images, Mrrowl threw it end over end into a trio of Weequay; one holding a grenade and the other two bringing blaster carbines to bear. All three went down beneath the weight of the flying table, the sharp cracks of bones breaking followed quickly by an ear splitting THUMP as the grenade went off beneath the overturned table. The air in the room immediately turned hazy as dust loosened by the blast began to cascade from the ceiling, making it hard to see more than a few feet.
Off in the dusky gloom, the sounds of more thrown furniture added to the din as chairs and tables began flying in every direction - every Weequay in the bar clearing a fighting space, eager to meet this new threat. Mrrowl’s vision swam with stars as a metal pitcher smashed into the back of his head. Blinking rapidly, he dropped to all fours and used both rear feet to mule kick the offender, who collapsed with a high-pitched scream, clutching a stomach raked with deep gashes.
Still crouched, and slowly circling to watch for additional threats through the clearing air, Mrrowl finally realized he was in trouble as a large space opened around him. He noticed dozens of muzzles representing the finest collection of weaponry he’d seen to date, and all were pointed at him. With a prolonged hiss, he squatted down slightly, getting ready to pounce into the nearest cluster of Weequay.
“STOP!” rang out a voice in accented Basic, as a large Weequay with elaborate embroidery on his armband stepped from the crowd, empty hands held out in front of him. A quick glance at his clothing showed the big cat that this particular brigand was far better dressed than the mob, and Mrrowl immediately picked him out as someone with some rank. Stopping his slow circle to focus on the large newcomer, Mrrowl immediately prioritized him as someone to kill as soon as possible.
Silence again fell over the bar, interrupted only by moans from the injured. Mrrowl’s muscles bunched and writhed under his coat, still poised to spring as he bared his teeth and murled very low in his throat at the interloper standing in front of him.
“You’re a big one, aren’t you? Do you speak Basic?” the large Weequay asked, hands still held out in a gesture of peace.
Mrrowl’s eyes narrowed and his ears paused their scan behind him to flip attentively forward, but he said nothing as he considered the alien standing in front of him. Jade eyes sparkled with barely concealed glee as he pondered tearing off the Weequay’s arms and beating him with them.
“I am called Sorzen,“ the big mercenary offered, not liking the look he was getting from the Togorian one bit, “I’m sorry if my compatriots here, err, were less than cordial. Perhaps we can chalk this up to an, uhh, misunderstanding?”
Sorzen turned to the barely restrained mob of Weequay surrounding him, making lowering motions with his hands. He made sure, however, that he didn’t turn enough to lose sight of the hulking Togorian, who still looked ready to spring. Weapons were very slowly lowered and holstered, and the collection of Weequay began to reluctantly right the tables and chairs, sitting down with grudging mumbles and sidelong looks. Mrrowl finally relaxed slightly, giving Sorzen a wary look in between visual scans of the room.
“Why don’t we talk over a drink.....?” Sorzen prompted, trying for a name.
“Drink.....yessss.” replied Mrrowl, baring his sharp teeth in what Sorzen fervently hoped was a smile.
Friday, June 10, 2011
The laminate corner of the desk was curling up....again, exposing the cheap near-wood core. Mashing at it with an ink stained thumb just caused the entire desk to wobble alarmingly, complete with the not-so-subtle sounds of overstressed fasteners failing in their struggle to hold the “wood” panels together. Still, he couldn’t stop himself from trying to fix the meddlesome thing.
The Weequay bureaucrat in charge of processing the few visitors that came through the spaceport sucked his teeth in frustration as a very dark shadow fell over the desk, interrupting his attempts to fix the corner. Looking up from the troublesome faux wood veneer, he was momentarily perplexed by a solid wall of charcoal fur blocking his vision.
The soft crackling of old adhesive heralded the troublesome laminate curling back up unnoticed as the Customs Official’s eyes traveled farther and farther up, to meet the steady gaze of the Togorian who was eclipsing the natural light from the nearby window.
“Mrrowl!” howled the large cat at the top of his lungs, rattling the windows.
Involuntarily ducking the aural assault, the Customs Official found his hand scrabbling for a blaster that wasn’t there, before a dim memory of Togorian customs overrode his reflexes. Frustrated at losing his composure, he tried to regain the upper hand, snapping “Is that three ‘R’s or four?”
A display of sharp teeth accompanied by broken hissing sounds was all he got in return.
“Uhh...anything to declare?” the functionary stammered.
There wasn’t much to see today. The heat had driven sane folks inside, leaving nothing in the dusty street but the occasional stray druulg picking amongst the overflowing dumpsters for scraps. On either side of the dirt boulevard, two broken lines of dessicated trees poked out of the hard packed surface. Those specimens that hadn’t yet been chopped down for firewood or toppled by a wayward speeder hadn’t had crowned themselves in leaves in recent memory.
A dull roar from the nearby spaceport rattled the glass sitting on the rotten wood table next to an old Weequay. The shade of the porch wasn’t doing much to help with the heat, but the shade and open air provided a relative coolness that was a welcome respite from the oppressive temperature inside the shop behind him. The conditioning unit hadn’t worked in a month, and credits for a new coil would take a while to raise. Leaning out, exposing his face to the unrelenting sun, he was able to pick out the rapidly retreating shape of a YG-4210 leaving an oily smear across the sky as it departed. A wistful look crossed a weathered face, and he leaned back into his chair lest the heat take him.
Tas-rev had seen a lot in his time. Hutt Palaces, small skirmishes and wars, even a couple of Heavy Cruisers slugging it out during a blockade, and more bar fights than he cared to count. What he had not yet seen in his 60 some-odd cycles was a Togorian on Sriluur, the Weequay homeworld, never you mind strolling casually down a street in the seedy Orchard District of Dnalvec.
Even with Sriluur’s proximity to Togoria, the big cats were rare as the tooth of the mythical hen, unless, of course, one was so daft in the head as to go to Togoria itself. Not even the most cut-throat pirates went anywhere near Togoria; those that did were generally never seen again.
Despite the distance, Tas-rev’s rheumy eyes had very little trouble making out the slightly blurred figure, the sun reflecting brightly from its glossy, charcoal colored coat, black stripes reflected a deep bluish. Squinting a little, Tas-rev was shocked to realize that the brute was wearing nothing more than a belt with a vibro-blade strapped to it. “Savage brute...kinda like a wookie...” the old Weequay muttered to himself.
Speaking of bar brawls, Tas-rev’s mouth widened in a gap-toothed grin as he saw the Togorian stop in front of a notorious Swoop Gang bar, rumored to be run by a powerful crime syndicate. Pausing to consider it’s sun battered facade for a moment, the big cat thoughtfully tapped the chrome handlebar of one of the swoop bikes parked near the door with a large paw, before ducking under the lintel and squeezing through the door.
“That pelt would make an excellent throw rug.” he thought idly to himself.
Snatching up a bronze tipped walking stick that looked suspiciously like the polished hip bone of a large animal, Tas-rev hobbled as quickly as possible across the street to see the show.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Squeezing into the small cockpit was always a chore, however, Lraawl enjoyed flying enough that he was able to ignore the discomfort. While being inside a ship didn’t quite match the exhilaration of riding a Mosgoth, the Mosgoth couldn’t take him off planet to play amongst the stars, which made the too-small seats in this tin can a little more tolerable. There were few enough Togorians that cared enough to learn the art of flinging a metal object through air and space, yet even so, the task of dropping off and picking up F’laarian Candidates was a rare and great honor for Lrawwl.
Since the Mandalorian War, Togorians had sent their best and brightest young warriors out into the Galaxy. The sudden attack Togoria had suffered at the hands of Mandalore had proven quickly that it was not enough to shun technology and the Galaxy at large. A quiet, unsophisticated target would always be seen as fair game for any passing predator. Though they fought the invaders to a stand still, and eventually joined their doomed crusade, the cost in lives had been immense.
Now, the F’laarian Clan worked to make sure that there were always elite fighters wise in the ways of the Galaxy. A small but effective spy network kept the Elders informed of Galactic trends, and ears were always tuned to any sounds of conflict or war that might affect Togoria. Warriors were selected from the ranks of youths, made familiar with advanced weapons and technology, and trained to act as an elite fighting force - able to defend the homeworld, or attack enemies across the Galaxy at need.
As far as the Clan was concerned, the only way to become effective at advanced combat was to fight for keeps. Training for war ultimately required the practice of war itself. For F’laarians, the trademark sense of honor most Togorians were born with was forged as hard as durasteel as they experienced first-hand the treachery and deceit of the Galaxy at large. The strategy, however, was not without risk to those that would add the title of F’laar after their tribal name.
Having nearly finished cramming himself into the too-tight seat, Lraawl paused his exertions for a moment when his eyes, already scanning the instrument panel, caught Mrrowl’s rapidly retreating form on one of the rear facing viewscreens. The young Togorian was still double-timing it towards the terminal building, his head movements already showing that he was scanning for threats. Leaning in and squinting, the pilot noticed that the young Candidate’s ears were firmly locked backwards on the ship. Lraawl’s scarred face softened a moment as he recalled his own lonely walk as a green Candidate on a strange planet.
First checking to make sure the cockpit door was secure, he looked over at his Co-Pilot/Engineer, Friiir F’laar, and shook his head for a moment. “I’m not quite sure what the Elders had in mind when they ordered us to drop Mrrowl off here. We haven’t successfully sent a Candidate to this planet for almost 30 years. The last two were never heard from again, and I’m not even sure if we’ll get out of this system unmolested.”
Friiir punched a few more buttons, continuing to work through the checklist. Nodding to himself as the last two red colored No Takeoff warnings disappeared from the screen, he glanced at Lraawl a moment before returning his attention to the instruments. “I suppose the Elders know best. The last successful Candidate they sent here ended up Captaining a starship did he not?”
“And they’re related, yes.” Lraawl reluctantly conceded. “Still, the creatures that live here are completely without honor in a way that even shocks most offworlders, and I’m not sure just what Mrrowl will learn amongst them.” Securing a kneeboard that contained his own checklist items to his leg, he added under his breath, “Or even if he’ll survive the experience.”
Friiir chuckled, making certain that the dorsal and ventral dual turbo-lasers were fully powered inside their concealed alcoves. “If anyone can survive amongst these traitorous scum, I have a feeling that particular cub can pull it off.”
“I hope you’re right. “Lraawl replied. “Should he figure this test out, he’ll be a great asset to the Clan. He may even become an Elder in time.”
The pilot’s chair gave a few squeaks of protest as Lraawl finally settled fully into it, and the big cat began the final checks and callouts for departure over the growing whine that was being emitted by the awakening engines. Giving the rear monitor a final wistful look, he punched the drive ignition stud. Belching a cloud of noxious fumes that rolled across the scarred duracrete, harassing the dust devils and their bright chaotic cargo, the light freighter eased off of its struts to hover for a moment before clawing its way into the sky with a basso roar.
In the small cargo bay, five sets of ears resumed their twitching, canting at various angles to capture the creaks and muffled bangs of gear and equipment shifting under acceleration, the Candidates once again filled with apprehension about where their next stop would be.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Jade eyes shot open, glowing eerily in the minute light of the safety strip on the floor of the Mako’s Run. The deep sound of a relieved sigh reverberated through the room as Mrrowl took in the familiar shapes of the various armaments racked on the wall of the armory he had taken as his cabin a day earlier. With visible effort, one ear, then the other, slowly unfurled from against his head. Logically, he know that closing his ears wouldn’t stop the sounds of the human girl’s pleas as they replayed through the comm channel in his dreams, and yet...
Unclenching trembling paws that could still feel the turret controls, the sharply knurled surfaces of the firing studs leaving a ghostly prickling sensation on his thumbs, Mrrowl uncurled from the uncomfortable bunk and shivered slightly, blinking to clear the fading images of the targeting reticule overlaying the exploding light transport from his sight.
*the room strobes a with bright light, as if a ship’s reaction mass had gone critical...*
Mrrowl’s ears canted at various angles in alarm as the bulkheads of the F’laarian YG-4210 began to groan and pop in response to the heat being generated from their entry into the planet’s atmosphere. The smell of ozone and singed insulation assaulted his nose, and he imagined he could see the edges of the interior panels glowing slightly.
The idea of a few thin layers of durasteel between him and the vacuum of deep space had been disturbing enough, but at least it threatened death with a civilized silence. The distant roaring of the increasing volume of air outside the hull, followed by these new sounds as super-heated panels began to settle into new arrangements, were not reassuring the large Togorian that he had made the correct choice to leave Togoria. The disconcerted body language of the other recent Academy graduates, sitting in the half dozen jump seats lining the small cargo bay wall, reassured Mrrowl that at least he wasn’t alone in his discomfort. Fruuurv, cocky as ever, caught his eye giving him a wink and thumbs up. This was to be Mrrowl’s stop.
The ship lurched as the landing struts touched the ground. Lraaawl F’laar, a heavily scarred and experienced F’laarian, entered the cargo bay through the door to the cockpit. “Candidate Mrrowl, front and center!” he barked.
Grabbing the small rucksack from the rack over his head and patting his vibro-blade a couple of times for reassurance, Mrrowl jogged over to Lraaawl, stopping in front of him with an attentive posture. “Reporting, sir.”
“They seem younger every year...” Lraawl thought to himself, clapping Mrrowl on the shoulder as the cargo bay rang with the metal-on-metal sounds of the ramp deploying. “Go forth and conquer the Galaxy Mrrowl,“ he stated roughly, “don’t come back until you have proven yourself, or return as a failure.”
With a yowl of assent, in concert with supportive yowls from his fellow Candidates, Mrrowl turned on his heel and jogged quickly down the main ramp, which had just finished extending itself to the ground. Hustling alone across the drive-pitted duracrete of the spaceport, Mrrowl controlled the urge to look back - that chapter of his life was over, at least until he was able to prove his worth in combat. He could not help his ears swiveling backwards, however, in response to the assorted screeches of the ramp folding up, accompanied by the sound of the transport’s engines spooling in preparation for takeoff. Like it or not, he was on his own.
The bluish-tinted star beat down on the spaceport, creating shimmering waves of hot air that rose from the flaking duracrete, spawning scattered dust-devils marked by spinning neon-colored fast food wrappers. A half dozen saucer shaped ships squatted off in the distance, the small figures surrounding them for service and resupply made indistinct by the shimmering air.
A hot, acrid wind of expended drive reactant eddied around the large Togorian, causing his eyes to water and his nose to sting. Muttering under his breath at the disgusting pollution in the air, and beset by a sudden longing for the clean air and cool forests of his home, Mrrowl ducked into the main terminal building.