The Matriarch’s camp was situated in a field not far from a river. It was surrounded by a wall made by binding hundreds of thorn bushes together and dragging the assembled chain of brambles into a perimeter line. The wall wasn’t straight at all and so the camp was shaped more like a splatter mark than a well organised military base. There were only two entries to the camp and each was guarded by at least six of the Matriarch’s warrioresses armed with spears, clubs, and bows. There were no towers overlooking the perimeter, nor any huts. There were several open fires burning throughout the camp interior, around them were clusters of tents made from saplings and animal skins stretched over them. There was something that troubled Allaynah about the things the Bellamani built. Weaving brambles and nettles together to create a wall was something the Paximani never did. On the few occasions they had built walls they had used wood, dirt, and stone; that much she knew. But the foreignness of this wall troubled her. It was like a long thorn studded snake weaving its way into her home. While looking at the wall she vaguely recalled the men of her tribe talking about the challenges regarding the building of walls. She wished she’d paid more attention to what the men had said.
When Allaynah’s group first arrived they were made to wait on the grass just inside one of the camp entrances. Small groups of Paximani women were then escorted down to the river allowed to drink for the first time that day. Allaynah was careful to wash Rosha’s wounds. She found some leaves from a herb that helped wounds to heal faster, but lacking a mortar and pestle she crushed the leaves up in her hands as best she could before applying them to Rosha’s injuries. She would have used her teeth but the same herb if ingested would make one sick. Allaynah was aware that the painted woman was staring intensely at Rosha while the teenager’s wounds were being treated.
“Are you a medicine woman?” asked the painted one.
Allaynah shook her head while quietly making eye contact with the painted woman. The painted woman rose up onto her toes and crept closer to Rosha to peer down at her curiously. Rosha’s face had several gashes on it and one of her eyes was almost completely squeezed shut by the swelling. A large purple lump dominated the right side of her face. She looked up at the painted woman and shivered.
Continue reading “The Paximani – Part 2”
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Space was at a premium in the Comptoni underwater settlement of Deliverance. Whereas on Earth a submarine pen would be a large spacious structure for a submarine to emerge into, free of the risk of bumping into other vessels, in Deliverance submarines had a very different function. Underneath Comptoni settlements were a series of large one-way tunnels for submarines to travel through as though they were underground trains. They emerged in tiny rooms that looked remarkably like subway stations. Indeed, passenger submarines that ferried Comptonians from one settlement to another ran frequent routes. The submarine carrying our heroes emerged in one such station pen.
Relieved to get out of the cramped conditions of the submarine the group soon observed that Comptoni settlements were not much spacious. The under water city was full of people sitting and sleeping in the corridors. The overcrowding was deplorable and the faces of the people they passed were long pale and sullen.
“Why is this place so over crowded?” asked Kimberley, “the last time I was here it wasn’t like this.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Nine”
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Submarines on Earth are almost exclusively for research if they are small, while if they are large they are almost exclusively for warfare. On Proxima Minor the situation is quite different. When the Ferrens and the Comptoni decided they were not going to leave the surface of the planet, but rather dig in to resist the flooding coming their way, for the first time commercial sized freight submarines had a market. Thus the submarine our four adventurers are currently travelling on is not like any submarine found on Earth. It has a small crew quarters, a humble sized engine, and a massive cargo bay. Like all submarines though it is incredibly cramped for the crew. The room our four adventurers were staying in was tiny but incredibly had four bunk beds crammed into it. There was much curiosity about the latest person to join the adventure. Fiona was an Aeron who had heroically prevented an attempt on Kimberley’s life by one of her guildsmen. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Eight”
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Back in the sky city of Pearl, the Aeron chief guild master Kaylim was interrogating the Kiron guild master Sybil.
“What do you know of Kimberley’s plan?”
Sybil sighed heavily, “I know as much about that as you do: she intends to seal the rift.”
“What about those two freemen who helped her to escape?”
“I know nothing about them.”
“I have a witness who says that you cleared them both for entry into the parliament, and also brought them into the parliament chamber,” Kaylim raised his voice, “Why did you let them in if you didn’t know anything about them?”
“Because I hoped they would protect Kimberley when the time came, and they did.”
“You fool! I’m going to have to kill them now, as well as Kimberley. You have three deaths on your conscience now.”
“My conscience? You don’t need to kill any of them. That is your choice and your responsibility.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Seven”
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When the Kirons opened the spatial rift they chose to open it six kilometres above the surface of Proxima Minor. They were fearful of it being too close to any place inhabited, but also they wanted to flood a specific area with water for the test. The Oblique Plateau was a vast shallow depression on the surface of Proxima Minor with no settlements on it as yet, and thus it was perfect for creating a new sea using the water from Proxima Major. That was the plan at least. When the spatial rift generator was activated a perfect circle with a diameter of several hundred metres across appeared in the sky and immediately the largest waterfall in history started to gush forth from seemingly nowhere. The water fell six kilometres in a straight, almost clear, tube downwards and pummelled the Proximian ground with seismic force.
Since the spatial rift was a tear in the fabric of space, it had no substance. Looking at it sideways it was so perfectly flat that it simply could not be seen. It was not like looking at a piece of paper from the side at eye level, one can still see the paper no matter how thin: One could not see the spatial rift looking at it side one, it was perfectly two dimensional. There was merely a solid pillar of water pouring down below, and above a clear yellow Proximian sky. The other side of the rift was a perfectly reflective surface, like a mirror. However, while a mirror reflects visible light, this surface reflected all wavelengths of light, and with perfect efficiency. With an ordinary mirror one can fire a laser at it and melt a hole through it. With the upper surface of the spatial rift one could fire a laser at it and the laser would bounce off without any loss of heat in the process. In fact, one could drop a bouncing ball and, if it were not for the atmosphere, the ball would never stop bouncing on the surface of the rift as there was no matter there for the energy of the ball to transfer to each time it bounced. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Five”
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The space liner Icarus was in free fall as it tumbled towards Proxima Minor. The co-pilot was frantically trying to call the captain. In the confusion of the panic the co-pilot had mistakenly turned on the ship’s intercom instead.
“Come in Captain! Come in! We need sub light engines soon or we’re going to crash into the planet!”
Throughout the passenger compartments the shaken voice of the co-pilot rang out. The tension that had been brewing on board quickly matured into terror. Passengers started shouting “abandon ship!” and “to the life boats!” Harold and Alfred got swept up with the throng of people clawing desperately at the emergency escape hatches in the floor of the space craft. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Two”
The spaceliner Icarus had just completed its phase jump into the Proxima Centauri system. It was the first refuelling stopover for ships travelling to the outer colonies and immediately after her arrival things started to go badly for the Icarus. The captain slammed his fist onto the armrest of his flight chair in frustration. The sub light engines had failed yet again. Without propulsion within the system it would be impossible to reach the refuelling station in the orbit of Proxima Major. The co-pilot swallowed hard next to him, fearful of giving the captain any more bad news lest his anger spill over into rage. Aggressively the spaceliner captain pressed the button on the intercom system.
“Attention passengers, the Icarus has successfully phase jumped into the Proxima Centauri system. Unfortunately, our sub light engines have developed a minor fault and we will have to remain adrift in space until we have repaired them. In the meantime, if you look out the port side windows you will see the beautiful blue planet Proxima Minor. Site of the greatest colonial disaster in history. Have a listen to the travel guide for full information about what happened to the poor settlers of that world while you’re waiting for us to resume our journey.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part One”