Playing the Game (Adventure) - Gorg Chum Saga 1

To an outsider the stares Councilor Gorg Chum was receiving would have been unreadable.  Though many of his species found the nickname "fish face" to be derogatory, he couldn't help but admit to himself that the description was apt.  Zelenca did share many similar features with their less evolved brethren.  Plus, unblinking, virtually expressionless stares certainly gave him an edge as a politican.  At least it did when he was talking to other species.

But in this case he was conversing with his own species.  He would have to tread carefully and think two moves ahead if he was to win this game.

"Fellow council members, as always I respect the general public's decisions.  To go against this would be to ruin the very foundation of our government.  My proposal is to merely make the public more aware of the threat.  Let the people decide."

The members of the board assigned to listen to his case murmured to each other.  Councilor Chum could feel the general disapproval.  Zelenca still retained evolutionary remnants of a group sense.  Scientists believed it originated from the days when they really did look like fish and had to swim in large schools.

"Councilor Chum, you are a very well respected member of our government.  We have no doubt that the threat you say the Imperium presents is real.  However, the public has already voted to not take any action.  This board feels that having them vote again will make no difference.  Your time would be best spent with... other projects."

The feeling of disapproval intensified.  If the board member had been less seasoned, Gorg was certain there would have been a hint of mockery.  A tingling in the back of his skull encouraged him to follow this group's decision.  To become one again with the group's direction.  But he ignored it.  This was too important.

Basic Training (Adventure) - Reuben Calloway Saga 4

Basic training was tough.  Much harder than Reuben could have even imagined.  He was constantly tired and hungry.  Every day was a grueling schedule of exercise, classes, more exercise, drills, more classes, and more drills.  The armor he wore had become a second skin.  It almost felt more strange having it off rather than on.

"It is not your job to think!" Sergeant Kon had yelled at the cadets on the first day of basic.  "It is your job to learn and obey."

Reuben had thought that a bit strict at the time but now, after a month of training, thinking was the last thing on his list.  It was all he could do to keep up with the other cadets.  Every single one of them seemed to be more suited to this job than him.

He wasn't especially athletic.  His skill with the rifle seemed to be average at best.   He really struggled with zero-gravity drills and formation marching.  One of the other cadets had already received a second degree promotion and was put in charge of the other cadets when the sergeants weren't around.

At least he had decent marks in all of his classes.  So he may not be able to actually hit any of them but he would know which alien species was attacking him when they charged at his squad.

Tubo Battleship (Ship)

Creators:  Zelenca on the planet Shawm

Speed:  5
Armor:  7
Maneuverability:  4

Description:  The Tubo battleship is one of the most advanced in the galaxy.  Centuries of perfecting submarine technology gave the zelenca a head start when it came time to explore space.

The Tubo battleship can fit a modest crew of 200 plus a complement of 30 starfighters.  Though zelenca can breathe both air and water, this battleship's atmosphere is comprised of air for practical purposes.  A water filled vessel simply weighs too much in order to land and take off from planets.

The zelenca have fully explored the considerable depths of their ocean covered planet.  In order to do so they had to develop hulls on their aquatic vessels that could withstand the pressure and could move efficiently through the water.

This extra thick plating is applied to the Tubo battleship making it extremely difficult to breach during skirmishes.  To top it off, the zelenca applied their knowledge of hydrodynamics to the design.  Many of the angles on the Tubo battleship are made in such a way that they actually deflect energy bolts fired at it.

Studying The Kill (Adventure) - Calen Natari Saga 5

Much of what determined a successful hunt was how well the hunter knows the prey.  This concept had been drilled into Calen Natari since birth.  Whether or not her tribe would eat depended on her ability to wait and watch.

She had followed the coordinates on the handwritten map to the circled building.  It was a large private residence.  The data pad that she had first been handed had contained a variety of general articles about a particular politician.  There were several pictures of him but everything else was extremely general.  The kind of data pad that could be easily explained if she was caught.

The location she had been sent to was the home of this politician.  She had been watching his comings and goings through the scope of her rifle since dawn.  There had been numerous occasions where she could have killed him with ease as he sat working at a desk near a window.  But Calen had been watching the rest of the house as well.

She had noticed on the top floor there was a large dining area.  The servants had been decorating it for several hours now.  Calen didn't know a whole lot about the life of the wealthy politician but she knew enough to realize that this man was going to have a large social function this evening.

The meaning on the note had become clear in her mind.  Her employer didn't just want this man dead.  He wanted an example made of his death.  He wanted his rival killed in front of his supporters as they sat around enjoying their success.

It would make her job much more difficult.  But she noted with surprise that the request strongly appealed to her ego.  This would not be some crude killing.  This would be an artful assassination. 

Fm ii Pistol (Weapon)

Creators:  Zelenca on the planet Shawm

Power:  6
Range:  4
Accuracy:  4

Description:  The zelenca have become famous for their battleships.  However, the Fm ii pistol is arguably one of their more intriguing inventions.  Unlike the traditional pistol or rifle which fires bolts of energy, the Fm ii kills with sound waves.  The front of the pistol is specially shaped to fire concentrated sonic waves at a target which will then damage the organs.

There are some definite pros and cons to this pistol.  The sonic attack can be extremely effective but is also greatly affected by the air or water density it is being fired in.  But the fact that is does work underwater makes it a versatile weapon.

The Fm ii has a default frequency setting that is powerful enough to at least render most targets unconscious if not totally kill.  However, every living being has different natural vibrations.  An experienced handler of this pistol will adjust the sound frequency being shot out in order to inflict the appropriate amount of damage desired on a target.  Thus, in the hands of a professional, this pistol is certainly something to be feared.

Artwork by Andrew de Guzman

Gearing Up (Adventure) - Reuben Calloway Saga 3

Reuben followed the group as Sargent Vert led them to rows of well-organized shelves of standard issue duraplast armor.  The Sargent pulled out an electronic measuring device and sized up each cadet one by one.

Reuben waited his turn and then headed over to the area of shelves that had armor to fit him.  The dark grey and black armor of the Imperium soldier had become a trademark of fear across the galaxy.  It consisted of  leg, arm and chest plates, thick boots, gloves, and a helmet.  On the right arm there was a red Imperium symbol.  On the chest was a rank insignia that indicated he was a first year cadet.

The entire ensemble was atmosphere proof once the helmet clicked into place.   The duraplast material was also impervious to practically any melee weapon attack.  This enabled any squad of troops to land on a planet of any air type and go straight into fighting.

Reuben couldn't help but feel a small thrill of excitement as he fitted the final pieces on his body.  He felt dangerous and powerful.  He was no longer just a scared fifteen-year-old human nobody.  He was a soldier.  He would make his family proud.

Zelenca (Race)

Home Planet:  Shawm

Affiliation:  Rebellion

Description:  At first glance, the zelenca have obvious aquatic origins.  Their entire bodies are coated with blue-green scales, their mouths are never quite closed and their feet and hands are webbed.  Though zelenca are bipedal, they still retain their ability to move through water efficiently.  When swimming, a thin membrane fuses their legs together forming a single caudal fin.

Zelenca are able to breathe both air and water though they prefer to live under the ocean surface rather than above it.  They are more or less a peaceful race due to the fact that they posses an extra sense when they work together in groups.  This allows them to wordlessly communicate in an almost telepathic manner.

Though the zelenca are peaceful, they are hardly defenseless.  The zelenca have become famous for creating some of the most technologically advanced battleships.  The Imperium would be willing to risk quite a bit to discover some of their creating techniques.

Warm Welcome (Adventure) - Reuben Calloway Saga 2

As the shuttle flew toward the training ground, Reuben glanced around at the other passengers.  Most of them were boys his age.  Two of them were girls.  The Imperium would only draft females if they could pass certain physical requirements or if they had special skills.

The shuttle landed.  The doors opened to admit sunlight and shouting into the shuttle.  It was overwhelming.  Reuben didn't dare move from his seat because he didn't know what to do.  A sergeant marched over and grabbed the front of his tunic.

"DID YOU HEAR ME?!" he shouted at Reuben.

All Reuben could do was nod affirmative.


Reuben scrambled to unbuckle his crash harness and then followed the rest of the group.  They were lead by another sergeant into a large building.

"Line up!" the second sergeant barked.

The cadets scrambled to comply.

"Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life, cadets.  I'm Sergeant Kon.  The man giving the warm welcome at the shuttle is Sergeant Vert.  We are your parents.  We are your gods.  You had no life before training.  Is that understood?"

The cadets nervously looked at each other.  Were they supposed to reply?

Sergeant Kon paced the line and stopped right in front of Reuben.  "I said, IS THAT UNDERSTOOD?!"

"Yes, sir!" the cadets answered in unison.

"For the next five years you will receive an education in advanced military tactics, weapons and hand-to-hand combat.  A solider that is prepared is one that can survive.  When you encounter other races, you need to know how to kill them and how they think.  Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir!"

"Right now you are standing in an equipment facility.  Follow Seargeant Vert and he'll get you geared up."

Politician (Profession)

Description:  A good politician knows that all is just a game.  A great politician ensures that he has pawns in the right places to win the game.  Subtlety and subterfuge are the two skills that they must all master less they wish to be stabbed in the back.  Literally.

Cryptic Note (Adventure) - Calen Natari Saga 4

Calen decided that it would be best to remain unnoticed until nightfall.  Though it was easy to be lost in the crowds, someone unfamiliar with the city environment stood out.  She would spend this evening becoming acquainted.

She ignored the ache in her muscles from sitting crouched in the ally.  She had been trained since birth the art of hunting.  Though she was slightly better than most, everyone in her tribe had learned to ignore the pains of the body and mind.  It was either ignore the pain or starve.

Very little fuss is made about sunset on Rebec.  Night and the outside temperature falls quickly.  As with all  scarlati, Calen's vision could adjust to low light conditions.  In the desert this was definitely an advantage.  In the city, less so.  Automated lights turned on and illuminated most of the main streets.  However, Calen's ally was still pitch black.  At least it provided some cover.  Silently, she untied the pack the stranger had given her and examined the contents.

The stranger who had hired her was definitely thorough.  Food rations, a map and extra ammo cells for her C6 had been had been provided.  Digging deeper into the pack, she found what seemed to be a black jumpsuit of sorts.  Needing a fresh change of clothing, she stripped out of her more native looking garb and dawned the jumpsuit.  Though seemingly thin and skin tight, the garment proved to be surprisingly warm against the night chill.

Calen pulled her own black boots  back on and then examined the final item in the pack.  It was essentially a utility belt with clips for ammo cells and pouches.  Calen buckled on the belt, loaded up the ammo clips and put the food rations in one of the pouches.  She then turned her attention to the map.

She found it interesting that the map was hand drawn.  Even in her far more rustic nomadic tribe almost everyone used data pads.  They did not wear with age and took up far less space than thousands of scrolls.  A single building was circled on the map along with a note written in the margins saying "Tomorrow.  Evening Meal."

Calen pondered what the cryptic note might mean.  Deciding not to waste any more time, she threw aside the now empty pack, secured her rifle, and melted into the shadows as she made her way toward the building circled on the map.

Shawm (Planet)

Affiliation:  Rebellion

Native Race:  Zelenca

Main Weapons Produced:  Fm ii Pistol, Menut Enviromental Suit

Main Ship Produced:  Tubo Battleship

Description:  Shawm is almost entirely covered with water.  A few scattered islands contain enough resources on them to have encouraged the otherwise water-dwelling Zelenca to evolve a set of oxygen breathing lungs.

Though few have ever been able to visit the underwater civilization, it is reported to be exotically beautiful.  The Zelenca are more or less a peaceful race.  Their entire government is run democratically.  Much of the submarine technology they have developed has been applied to their outer space ships.  This has resulted in one of the galaxy's most impressive battleships.

Since the planet's environment is generally inhospitable for air breathers, Shawm is one place the Imperium truly sees as a threat toward their plans for expansion.  This planet could be the key to the Rebellion's victory.

Target Acquired (Adventure) - Calen Natari Saga 3

The stranger never gave his name.  Calen did not care.  He was a means to an end.  All that mattered was making this kill and collecting her reward.  Still, he seemed more than pleased to assist her.  As she followed him to his dwelling he murmured something about "not letting such talent go to waste."

Though they were the same species, the stranger's dwelling seemed completely alien to Calen.  Useless decorations were on every wall.  It had obviously been many years since he had had to pack up all his belongings to follow a herd.

"You will need equipment," he stated.

His tone of command offended her.  She was no slave.  "My belongings will suffice.  I need nothing else."

"You've never had to make a kill like this before."

He pressed a button and a side door instantly opened up to admit a servant.  The servant was a species Calen had never seen before but he was obviously well-trained and probably very discreet.

"I'm sending this young woman on one of my very... special... diplomatic missions," he told the servant.  "Please see to it that she is well prepared for such a mission."

The servant left and then came back mere moments later with a large pack that he handed to Calen.

"Go through the contents in your own time and use what you will," the stranger instructed.  He handed her a data pad.  "On that data pad is a list of the information you will need to know about your target including probable whereabouts."

"Why do you want him dead?"

"Why do you ask?"


"You should ask fewer questions.  But if it makes any difference, the man is one of my biggest rivals here on this planet.  Let's just say I have great plans for Rebec and he is making these plans rather difficult."

Calen shrugged.  Politics did not interest her.  She wanted her ship and that was that.

"Report back to me here as soon as you have completed your task.  If you want your ship I require proof of the kill."

Coming of Age (Adventure) - Reuben Calloway Saga 1

Reuben Calloway turned and waved one last time toward his parents.  He wouldn't be seeing them for a long time.  Reuben knew they were incredibly proud of their only son but he was scared stiff.  As a member of the Imperium he was required by law to begin a five year period of service as a soldier.  All humans began their service at the age of fifteen.

It wasn't the training that scared him.  It was the fighting.  Imperium officials made constant public broadcasts about how he should feel proud about serving his government.  They boasted about how the Taborian training regiment was unparalleled which meant that most of their soldiers lived to see the end of their service.

Reuben supposed that was more or less true.  But it was ones that didn't come back that had him worried.  The youths a few years ahead of him that were rumored to have died in action.  That maybe the Imperium wasn't quite as peaceful as the officials suggested.

On Reuben's fifteenth birthday his father had held him by the shoulders and told him that he must now learn how to be a man.  He would not disappoint his father.

With a sigh of resignation he turned and boarded the transporter shuttle that would take him to the training camp.

V7 Rifle (Weapon)

Creators:  Humans on the planet Tabor.

Power:  6
Range:  6
Accuracy:  3

Description:  A standard issue medium-ranged rifle given to all Taborian soldiers during their mandatory years of service.  The V7 rifle has decent power and range but lacks the accuracy of some of its more refined counterparts.  But, when Taborian soldiers arrive by the thousands, the sheer amount of firepower usually compensates for one or two missed shots.

Cillo Fighter (Ship)

Creators:  Humans on the planet Tabor.

Speed:  5
Armor:  9
Maneuverability:  2

Description:  Heavily shielded, heavily armed, the Cillo fighter would be almost unstoppable if it could maneuver.  Though jokes are frequently made about moving as quick as a Cillo fighter, few pilots laugh when they actually face them.

The Cillo fighter is a two-man ship: one pilot, one gunner.  Swiveling cannons covering the ship ensure that this fighter has no blind spots when it comes to firing.  While the pilot is somewhat limited in the fancy moves he can pull, the gunner may be a creative as he wishes with a large arsenal of torpedoes at his disposal.  When the Imperium sends a fleet of Cillo fighters to conquer a planet, it is no joking matter.

Artwork by Andrew de Guzman

Human (Race)

Home Planet:  Tabor

Affiliation:  Imperium

Description:  Centuries of feuding finally became resolved when the humans united under one central government called the Imperium.  The Imperium was established in an effort to govern the new planets humans had set out to colonize.

Though biologically inferior to some other races, humans are extremely creative which has lead to impressive technological development.  This technological dominance has encouraged other planets and races to join the Imperium for protection.  In order to protect the growing empire, the Imperium requires every able individual to serve as a soldier for five Taborian years.

This system of military servitude has worked for the most part and has encouraged the humans to become slightly more aggressive in their pursuit of adding new planets to the Imperium.   The humans tend to be very proud of their accomplishments.  Other races not part of the Imperium are starting to worry about galactic stability.

Tabor (Planet)

Affiliation:  Imperium - capital

Native Race:  Human

Main Weapons Produced:  V7 Rifle, Saraband Cloaking Device

Main Ships Produced:  Cillo Fighter, Picolo Submarine

Description:  The Imperium's capital and the original human homeworld.  A lush, green planet with an abundance of natural resources that allowed the human race to thrive over the centuries.  The Imperium was founded as a centralized government once the first humans set out to colonize other planets.

Experiencing an era of unprecedented cultural and technological advances, the government decided it would be best to try and share this progress with other races... whether they liked it or not....

Different Path (Adventure) - Calen Natari Saga 2

The city was enormous.  Bigger than anything she had ever seen.  Her tribe lived mostly in tents made of animal skin.  In the cold season they would have makeshift mud huts.

But this...

This was beyond anything she could have imagined.  There were beings everywhere.  Merchants lined the street selling goods.  Crowds flowed through the street like blood through veins.

Where should she even begin?  Who should she talk to about the invaders she had found?

Calen shifted her pack slightly to a more comfortable spot.  The blood had already drained from the severed heads of the Imperium soldiers that she had killed.  Still, they were heavy.  Taking a calming breath she decided to trust The Spirits to guide her and pushed her way forward in the crowd.

She wandered for what seemed like an hour.  The streets grew more crowded.  Calen started to look around for a place where she might rest when a voice cut through all the noise to address her: "Where are you headed, young one?"

She turned and saw an older scarlati sitting at what looked to be like some sort of food establishment.  She walked over to him.  "My name is Calen Natari.  I come from a tribe two days journey from here.  I would like to talk to the leader of this place."

The old stranger chuckled.

"You mock me?"

He sobered.  "No.  There is just much debate late as to who is really in charge.  But I bore you.  Why do you wish to find the leader?"

Calen hesitated a moment.  Why should she trust this stranger?  She shouldn't, but at least it was a starting place.  Perhaps The Spirits led him to her.  "I have evidence that the Imperium may be scouting out our planet and possibly invade."

"What evidence?"

She dropped her pack onto the table with a thunk and opened it for the man.

He viewed the contents without so much as a flinch.  "This is serious," he observed."

"I thought so."

"You killed these soldiers?"

"I did."

"By yourself?"

"Yes."  She found his tone to be slightly insulting.

"Leave the evidence with me.  I will see it reaches the proper hands."

"Why should I trust you?"

"You shouldn't.  But I am a person of.... influence... on this planet.  Besides, who else would you go to?"

Calen conceded the point with a shrug.  "I will give you the evidence.  But I will need a reward."

"What kind of reward were you thinking?"

"A ship.  I want the freedom to leave this planet.  The Spirits have told me in a dream I am destined for greater things."

The stranger looked at her for long moments; as if he were measuring her.  He seemed to come to a decision.  "The Spirits may be right in this case.  I'll give you a ship.  I'll even give you a job, if you choose to take it.  A job that will most certainly take your life down a different path."

"What job?"

"I want you to kill someone for me."

Merchant (Profession)

Description:  Buy low and sell high is the golden rule.  Merchants may be found on almost every planet.  The larger a city gets, the more necessary they become.  You can buy almost any supply you need from a merchant, but honesty seems to be the rarest commodity.

Artwork by Andrew de Guzman

Soldier (Profession)

Description:  A noble yet lowly profession.  Soldiers are usually simple beings used to taking orders and not arguing with their superiors.  A good government knows that an army of soldiers is the best way to stay in charge.

Assassin (Profession)

Description:  Unlike a bounty hunter, an assassin often works more for personal pride rather than profit.  Ruthless and cunning, they are entirely focused on making the kill; no odd errands or body guard jobs.  Though most have their own views on how the universe should be run, they tend to keep these views to themselves.  An assassin that chooses to take sides is as good as dead.

Hunt With Purpose (Adventure) - Calen Natari Saga 1

Calen took a steadying breath.  The sun beat down overhead but she barely noticed.  Her species did not sweat.  Scarlati had internal organs that regulated body temperature.  This made her ideal when hunting prey in the desert.

She took another breath.

She had been waiting for hours, studying her prey; watching their patterns.  Her tribe was small but they were skilled in what they do.  She remembered her breathing meditation exercises to help focus and rejuvenate her mind.  Much depended on this kill.

She had been trained since youth on how to help contribute to the tribe.  Her kills provided food and resources for everyone else.

But Calen knew that this kill would be different.  This would be the one that she would take and present to the leaders in the big city.

And they would reward her.  The reward would be large enough to buy a ship.  Any ship, it didn't matter.  She wanted to be away from this planet.  Rebec would always feel like home, but she was intended for greater things.  The Spirits had told her so in a dream.

She would be feared.

She would be respected.

She would no longer be a nobody that was part of a nothing tribe.

Night came and the temperature dropped rapidly.  Again, Calen took no notice.  Her prey began to fall asleep. This was what she had been waiting for.  Of course they would react after the first shot.  But picking them off while they slept would ensure her kill.  She remembered what her elders had taught her: never make a shot unless you're sure it will kill.  You should already see how they will die in your mind.

Four of the group of five fell asleep.  One stood guard.  Calen silently unstrapped her C6 sniper rifle.  The rifle had been a gift from her parents when had reached the age of maturity; the age old enough to hunt on her own.

She adjusted her scope and watched the guard through it.  She inhaled slightly and held her breath to steady her shot.

Calen squeezed the trigger.

The rifle made almost no sound as it fired off.  The Imperium soldier standing guard fell dead to the ground with a hole smoking through his chest.

Calen smiled grimly.

The others won't even have a chance.

Veolen Fighter (Ship)

Creators:  Scarlati on the planet Rebec

Speed:  7
Armor:  3
Maneuverability:  7

Description:  Fast and agile, the Veolen fighter was originally designed for planet use only and then later changed for outer space flight.  This small ship has minimal shielding to help reduce weight and increase maneuverability.  It sports two primary front-facing canons and extremely accurate targeting systems.  Perfect for hit-and-run situations but not the type of ship you'd want to attack the Imperium head-on with.

Scarlati (Race)

Home Planet:  Rebec

Affiliation:  Rebellion

Description:  A race toughened by nomadic desert hardships.  Humanoid in form.  They have no hair on their bodies, only thick lizard-like skin that looses very little moisture when out in the sun.  Experts have speculated that the original Scarlati ancestors may have been cold-blooded, similar to your average reptile, and then later became warm-blooded to allow for nighttime activity.

Deeply spiritual, the scarlati largely exist in separate nomadic tribes that are fiercely loyal to their own.  This has naturally lead to some civil wars.  A few of the more powerful tribes have managed to create permanent cities.  Though the tribes frequently feud, one thing the entire race seems to agree on is that they have no love for the Imperium.

Artwork by Andrew de Guzman

C6 Sniper Rifle (Weapon)

Creators:  Scarlati on the planet Rebec

Power:  4
Range:  8
Accuracy:  9

Description:  One of the few truly impressive technological feats to be produced by the Scarlati.  The C6 sniper rifle has been perfected by a millennia of hunting ferocious desert animals and is now the perferred choice for most professional assassins.

The C6 sniper rifle is both sleek and lightweight which allows for quick getaways once the kill has been made.  Though the rifle takes a few seconds to recharge between shots, a single shot is really all one should need.

Artwork by Andrew de Guzman

Rebec (Planet)

Affiliation:  Rebellion

Native Race:  Scarlati

Main Weapon Produced:  C6 Sniper Rifle

Main Ship Produced:  Veolen Fighter

Description:  An arid planet with not much going for it other than rough desert beauty.  The planet closely circles a hot blue sun making crop growing on the surface a next to impossible task.  Most of the native Scarlati are nomadic.  A few of the more powerful tribes have managed to establish a handful of permanent cities allowing for technological advances.

Artwork by Andrew de Guzman