Gods of Terra | Dirge - Combat (Part 2)

  I reject as implausible the idea of a vast conspiracy—too many people to keep it a secret for long, and it looks like this has been going on for decades or more, at least since I first visited Terra. Maybe not conspiratorial people, but mindless, self-organizing, bottom-up conspiratorial social forces.

  The Mirus...Rather ironic that, and not even really a name. In Old High Kai’Siri, it means both “powerful weapon of argument,” the translation of their version of the Modus Ponens logical syllogism, and “dreaming weapon” which was how the Exarchs viewed me, as a mere implement, to helplessly carry out their will on rebellious worlds.

   I had...other unmentioned. The Kai’Siri had surgically altered my upper and lower canine teeth, lengthened to their aesthetic standards to make me a bit “prettier” to bored matrons. I would really like to forget that, but it even shows in my records, and comes up briefly almost every time I do a data search on the things I actually need to remember. Back to business…

   My attention shifts back to the real world, when the reptiliaform giant, whose species normally stands about a meter and a half tall, closes the distance between us, the dull thuds of heavy footsteps striking the rock and dust here atop the Tower, the massive alien’s tail casually swaying back and forth, like a cat getting ready to pounce on an injured and helpless bird. 

   Dasaelos is larger than even the Suthidruu, and a lot easier to read as far as non-verbal signals go. His species, like humans, has an immediate family history going back several million years, rather than the billions of the Worms. There’s no evolutionary connection—different biosphere, different planet, different variation of organic biochemistry—but there’s kinship on the perspective of the ages of the two species, and a few coincidences in evolutionary histories.

   The Worms stand uncoiled and fully upright at only two meters, dressed in self-assembling, self-solidifying armor that’s literally poured onto them before each mission, recycled afterward, each suit shaped to its wearer’s unique limb configuration, this being a byproduct of their life-cycle from mindless larval-mass to fully sapient adult.

   The giant lowers his gaze to me, lizard-like lips pulling back to reveal backwards-pointing serrated teeth in a smile that is, like that of most predatory sentient lifeforms, not intended as a sign of goodwill. I smile back, my surgically altered canines showing in a grin, just long and pointed enough to be visible, but not so much as to protrude over the lips when shut. 

   My eyes light up with a violet glow as the interspecies communication system of the ‘shard wakes up and begins accessing its banks of linguistic files. There is no way that I can possibly pronounce the giant’s language with my human vocal equipment, but I can just as well translate both our spoken tongues between us. That would be of some help. I’m just glad that I’d updated the language drive recently.

   “Good to see you. I thought I told you to stay off of this planet, and never plant your oversized feet on any world in this star system.” There’s a mocking grin on my smug face, the left corner of my lip forming a smirk, for effect, and almost a growling and serpentine hissing lilt to my voice as the translation corrected for vocal equipment and accents as well as semantics and grammar.

   I wait, but only for a few seconds, before Dasaelos’ voice, with his three sets of vocal cords, hisses and booms, “I’m overjoyed to see you as well, Small One…For I think that here I’ve been given the perfect moment by my new friends…” He gestures around to the Suthidruu planetfall party, at the fleet’s Holiest and its entourage, “ face you one final time, and cleanse my shame by killing you on the field of battle, with my bare hands.” He hisses with a deep rumble as he removes his armored gauntlets, “Today is truly a good day for you to die, and for me to live forever.” 

   “You see, the Suthidruu have been so kind as to grant me some of their own life-extending technology for my own use, tooled for my species, of course, and I, alone of all sapient life in the universe will live! They’ve taken a look at my past accomplishments and deemed me so vile as deserving to remain in hell. No matter what you think of their theology, you must admit that this clearly works to my advantage.”

   “So,” Dasaelos rumbles with a bass growl, “…be so kind as to let me kill you, won’t you?” Dasaelos gives an ear-splitting roar, suddenly lunging forward, and faster than I can possibly react, grabs me by the front of my jacket, lifting me off the ground with a jerk, tossing me, like...what did the humans call it? Fast-ball special? My unfamiliarity with the cultures and customs of my probable birth-world are going to be the death of me. 
   I’m going to hit something hard. This is going to hurt.

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