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Kai, Last of the Brunnen G

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  • Kai, Last of the Brunnen G

    Permission given by author to republish from the original livejournal account at

    Includes detailed fan created backstory of the BrunnenG race, Lexx character write ups, and an interview with Michael McManus. I'll publish these in date order found in the livejournal archive.

    Note of interest- I own the original sketch used in the avatar on that account, drawn by the author. I misunderstood instructions to get it autographed, sorry about that.

    790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
    I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.

  • #2
    Last Days of Brunnis 2

    For those unfamiliar to my story. My name is Kai, last of the Brunnen G. I was born in spring of the year 7,042 according to the Celestial Calendar of the Realm of His Shadow, which began during the very first Shadow's reign, when the Gigashadow's Insect Essence first acquired human form.

    My parents, Kai and Anara were several hundred years old by the time I was born, as the Brunnen G had been immortal for several thousand years by this point. We were an average family - or as average a family as one can be when the world around you isn't quite, how shall I put this? Natural. You see, even by this point in time, senility amongst our elders was rampant, and civilization encompassed hardly more than a series of elders gathering around the archives daily, refreshing themselves on the rules of behavior and council concerns of the day before beginning any session.

    Theirs was a world of paranoia and distrust of youth in all its vigor and heady fearlessness. To them, a simple decision, such as what manner of dress is appropriate for a particular occasion or season was a subject of intensive deliberation. Every subtlety, a debate. To put it simply..nothing ever got done, and so the arts flourished, as our people drowned themselves in the latest form of escapism in order to avoid the real problems, like what to do with our crumbling shields, or how to repair the thousands of crumbling ruins on the surface of our planet.

    Many simply retreated underground, as our ancestors had done on Brunnis, only our reasons had nothing to do with a dying sun. Ours had more to do with avoiding looking at the mess we had made of our surface cities, many reclaimed by the forests and wild animals. If a visitor were to travel to our world, they would have thought us extremely eccentric and self-absorbed, which is what we had become. Like a wealthy, drunken aristocrat, soured on wine, living in a virtual sarcophagus of tarnished jewels and forgotten dreams. We were living on borrowed time.

    As it was, our world was a triumverate, a matriarchical monarchy ruled by three Shaniris (akin to queens) who separately ruled the 3 houses of Brunnis 2. These houses were known as 1) Tuath: composed of Warriors, Scientists and Physicians, 2)Branach : Businesses, Service Industries and Government Affairs and 3)Falnor: Priests, Clerics, Artists and Musicians.

    As any young child of the day, upon my 9th birthday I was given an assessment and agility profile, and found to be suited for both Tuath and Falnor respectively. Although I gravitated towards Falnor due to my abiding love of music, I had already benn recruited as a Tuath at birth by my father because it brought my family prestige, and since there had not been a war in over 6,000 years on our planet, my parents saw it as an opportunity for me to quell the restless spirits within me.

    I can remember, even at the tender age of 9 wandering the multitudes of ruins on our planet, left over from a former age, and tracing my fingers across the many sculpted reliefs of celestial maps and strange, insect-like craft that had actually crossed the barren rift, the "Fractal Core" to which it is more commonly referred. I was enchanted by these images, and drawn to the stars. My younger sister by 3 years, Anara-Su (su being the designation for sister, as we Brunnen G do not carry surnames) would often follow me on these adventures, and then report back to my parents of my mischief.

    I resented her intrusions then, and as I grew into my middle teens as a "newborn" amongst immortals,(roughly from the age 13-20) I found myself growing more and more defiant, running around with a group of 6 other newborns like myself, disgusted with the stuffy, walking mannequins, (our terms for the full grown adults, some of them thousands of years old), and longed for an age of adventure and yes...perhaps even a little bit of danger.

    We defied death by the hour, climbing tall cliffs, braving wild animals, staging mock battles, and basically pushing our physical abilities to their limits. I even broke my arm when I was 17 during a particularly rough battle scene with my best friend Lett. He flipped me when I wasn't prepared, and I landed with my arm twisted as he failed to let go of me properly. My parents were furious, and I was sent to the Biocurion who, of course, immediately healed it, but then I was confined to my quarters. This punishment I found more unbearable than the broken arm, and I protested vehemently, even to the point of sneaking out one night. I had no way of knowing my little sister Anara-su would follow me, however.

    I went to the ruins, and there I found Lett waiting with 2 other boys. We talked secretly together about stealing a ship and breaching the shields, to fly far away from Brunnis 2 and to discover new worlds we had only previously read about in our historical journals at the Tuath Academy. I heard a scream, and turned. My sister had fallen down an ancient well. We heard the spash, but it was so deep, and in the darkness of the forest, we couldn't even see to the bottom. I screamed for my sister and tried to calm her even as I sent Lett to gather help. Time stretched on into eternity as I waited and prayed. (By this age in our history, my people no longer believed the Time Prophet was real anymore, just an ancient legend) And yet, for some reason, I could sense her now, very close to me as I peered into the well, terrified for my sister. I prayed to her solemnly.

    Suddenly I felt her hand on my shoulder, and I looked up to find my father standing in her place. He had a stern look on his face, and I knew he might never forgive me. He said, "Kai, you perceive yourself to be some kind of hero, don't you?" I bowed my head and he handed me a rope. "Then prove to me you are worthy!"

    I reluctantly took the rope in my hands, and he tied it around me, even as I felt a lump rising in the back of my throat. A crowd was gathering around now, and they watched as I was lowered into that deep, terrifying well. It seemed to go on for eternity. But then suddenly I felt a feeble wet hand grab my arm, and I cradled my sister, holding her so tightly I fear she might have suffocated, and then slowly we were raised up, out into the safety of my people. Anara-Su was saved, but I learned an important lesson that day about community spirit and sacrifice.

    I would never have been able to save Anara without all those people working the opposite end of that rope, and I pledged to my father from that day on that I would never question his authority again. We Brunnens believe we are our strongest when we act as a cohesive group while the will of the individual is strongly discouraged. What is best for the individual is not necessarily what is best for the whole. That was the message I had been given.

    Many summers went by since that day, and now I was a young man...barely into adulthood. I was 42, hardly old by our standards of the time. I had been a trained warrior for over ten years now, and I even had a place of my own and could support myself. My younger sister grew into a beautiful young woman, and she chose to study botany, relishing in the immense beauty of our many lush and temperate forests, and all the as yet undiscovered species.

    While I was visiting her at a retreat situated in the hilly country of Vardan, I ran into an old friend from my childhood. A fellow newborn like myself. Her name was Xiara, and though she was younger than me by quite a few years, she conducted herself like a woman, and we talked for many hours about her chosen field of study. It turned out, Xiara was a Suhayem, a type of spiritual channeler. It was a profession reserved only for females.

    You see, we Brunnens are highly empathic, from centuries of genetic engineering and research into sensory awareness. However, this gene is only found on the X chromosome, and thus, females are far more receptive than males. They are capable of channeling this power to such an extent they can use their minds for a variety of things, not limited to, but including telekinetic abilities and powers of suggestion. Suhayem are specifically trained in this skill, and they are utilized primarily for diplomatic purposes, although it is also used for self protection. Women are far more adept at self defense than males, although our military is exclusively male for reasons I will get into at a later time.

    You see, in matters of love and sex, our proclivities are genetically watered down. Until we find a mate we are compatible with, we do not concern ourselves with love or sex. It is merely an intellectual concept. However, when we do finally meet a potential mate, our desire for that person increases tenfold, and provided we're of consenting age (meaning at least 30) we generally will act on that desire at the first appropriate opportunity. Xiara was the first woman to spark this appetite in me. I could also sense that she was of like mind.

    From that moment on, it was only a matter of time before we found ourselves stealing away to a secret location, and then we spent the next two blissful days sealing our bond in the privacy of seaside cottage reserved for these romantic purposes. Our families knew immediately, of course, as any Brunnen can naturally sense when another Brunnen is bonded. There is no wedding ceremony, but our bodies exude an aura that proclaims to everyone: I am taken.

    Xiara and I joined at every available opportunity, when I wasn't off attending various Security Council meetings or working with the younger Tuaths on tactical theories...and it was all just theory, as there were no wars to speak of anyway. The peace was not to last, however. Scarcely 3 weeks into my bonding with Xiara, I was demonstrating a high definition telescopic spyscope to a fellow Tuath when I noticed a movement in the sky. It was a massive ship, flying beyond a weak point in our shields. Normally, our shields are viscous, making the sky appear solid black at night, or solid blue during the day. However, there had, over the many thousands of years, developed numerous holes, like tiny faux stars, where we could see the universe beyond. Our shields had grown weak, and now the universe was beginning to peer in at us as well.

    From that moment on, I studied these holes day and night until I began to see planets beyond. Only these planets appeared dead and scorched. Every last one of them. More ships began to appear in my view, and I began to see tiny flashes of light. It occured to me someone was testing our shields. I grew alarmed. Xiara questioned me when I woke up at night restless and sweaty. What could I say to her? I summoned the council members, but they only scoffed. I called upon my friends, the newborns, and they began to watch the skies, too. Before long, we found ourselves back in the forests again, plotting our next move.

    Lett knew of a museum that housed ancient warships from the days of the original Brunnis. Strange insect-like creatures, engineered for battle. My heart swelled with excitement. Now I found I could not sleep at all. And then I remembered the Time Prophet. I remembered reading a old text once that she had exiled herself on a small moon. Could it be Brunnis 2 really had a moon? If it did, the shields had completely blotted it out from our view. I found myself late one night, gathering with my friends as we broke into the museum, which wasn't difficult as there was virtually no security. After all..who would want an old relic in a world full of relics?

    We found the machines in stasis, frozen in some sort of large cryochamber. And when they thawed, we found to our delight they were all magically still alive and functional. That night, I went home to Xiara and told her the news excitedly. I was to be surprised by her anger. She grew furious with me and forbade me to go. We exchanged angry words and then she walked out. I was crushed. Mortified. How could I go on without her approval? For the next two days, I stayed in my room and stared at the sky. Then suddenly, I saw a fiercely bright flash, and some of the flash actually breached the inner section of one large hole. I knew then and there that I had to go. There was no longer a choice in the matter. Someone was trying to get in. I thought of Xiara and my family, screaming in panic as the ships entered our skies. I couldn't bear it.

    The next morning I boarded a craft and prepared myself, to the best of my warrior abilities, for a possible battle in space. As history will note, I did indeed find the Prophet, and she revealed a rather disturbing prophecy for me...that my people were doomed, and that I would be the last to die. But more importantly, she revealed that my enemy was an evil the likes of which I could not begin to imagine. He was known as His Divine Shadow, and she said that I would be the one to destroy him. Panicked and horrified by this revelation, I returned to my beloved Brunnis 2 and tried to warn as many people as possible.

    Immediately I was greeted by angry mobs. They accused me of breaching the shields, as they too had recently been witness to the nightly fires in the sky and were frightened. I told them of the threat. Begged them to take up arms, only I was brought before the Magistrate, a kind of appointed minister to the Tuath Shaniri. In front of my friends and my family, I was sentenced to a Brunnen death for my crime, which meant that my immortality would be stricken from me and I would be forced to age naturally. I didn't even care. We were all going to die. Couldn't they see that?

    I was taken to an empty cell and forgotten. Days went by, and I watched the nightly fire in the sky. The rumour now was that everyone had learned of the threat first hand. They were indeed watching the heavens now, and they knew my story was true. Only they saw their deaths in the sky, and incredibly, they actually welcomed it. After centuries of immortality, they found they could no longer stomach the will to fight for their lives. Death was seen as a blissful release from fear and paranoia. I despaired in this darkest hour. That is, until I heard a key slip into my doorcell, and there was Xiara, standing before me with tears in her eyes. We hugged and she led me away, as the prison was no longer maintained by anyone.

    Nothing was being maintained. People were simply gathering together to wait till the end. Civilization had already crumbled. In a sense, they were already dead. That night, Xiara and I made love as never before, and we cherished our last moments with a kind of bittersweet resolve. We must not give in to the madness. We must find a good way to die. The next day, with Xiara at my side, I gathered my friends together and we silently prayed. We looked up to the heavens and issued a silent curse to our enemy, then recited an ancient hymn our ancestors sang before going into battle, expecting to die. I kissed Xiara one last time, and the six of us, including my beloved soulmate climbed into our ships and left our world face our destinies with dignity.
    790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
    I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


    • #3
      Our Final Stand

      The last bitter whispers of a dying light filtered in the through the panels of the reflective sky-mirrors and onto the floor below in a pattern of bars as Kai glanced over at them briefly and shuddered. Then, as though a cloud were suddenly obstructing his view, they silently vanished into shadow. So that was it, he thought solemnly. There would never be another sunrise on Brunnis 2 again.

      Xiara instantly felt his pain, as vividly as if it were her own as she came up beside him and touched him softly on the arm. Then, lovingly, she placed her other hand against his cheek and nestled her head on his shoulder. Kai responded to her touch with a deep frown, closing his eyes and nuzzling against her palm as he brought his own hand up to hers, kissing her fingers softly.

      "We must remain strong, Xiara-Naya." He urged, opening his eyes once again, only this time, staring into hers with a fierce and burning intensity she had never seen before. His gaze seemed to bore right through her in a wave of determination, and Xiara knew instantly in that moment that regardless of her feelings, there would be no way of convincing him to remain by her side on the planet until the inevitable end. He was nevertheless going to go through with the futile attack.

      "Do what you must, Kai-Nori. I only know that whatever happens, you will not be alone, for I will also be by your side, my love." She whispered fervently as she met his gaze with her own heartfelt resolve. Kai instinctively sought out her lips and kissed her passionately, deeply as she yielded to him with tears of sorrow in her eyes and held him so tightly in her arms. Their love had already seen them through hell and back in the last few days, and yet even this brief tender moment of love and reassurance seemed somehow lacking compared to the hollow gut feeling that was sure to follow in its wake. So instead, they simply stood there together, holding each other until they lost all sense of time and perception - save for each other.

      At long last however, time was not to be spurned, and they gave into the inevitable, acknowledging the hour as they finally broke away from each other, grief stricken and at a loss for words. The pain between them was visceral, and no words could ever hope to encompass the kind of love they'd already there was simply nothing left to say. There remained only sorrow and silence.

      She then watched helplessly as Kai turned and walked over to the chair, pausing for a moment, his head lowered. And just as quickly as the light itself had faded, so too did he close up to her – shielding her from his thoughts as he brought his hands to his face and ran them through his long jet black hair, loosely draped around his shoulders. She knew implicitly he must also be crying too, though she understood empathically his difficulty in acknowledging his weaknesses to anyone other than his own mother. There was clearly a lot of responsibility riding on his shoulders, and the heavy weight of the prophecy - though she could not fathom why the Time Prophet had chosen Kai of all people.

      Kai was gentle and soft-spoken beyond most - far more the artist than warrior in spite of his upbringing. It was part of what had attracted her to him in the first place. Even though he had been a commoner, Kai was possessed of a regal bearing and an impossible innocence rare amongst even the noblest of blue-blooded Brunnens – and he was surely more of a lover than a fighter. Yet even so, he possessed a singular determination of purpose when it came to even the most mundane of tasks. For all of her feminine wiles and Suhayem training, she had still failed to quell the restless spirit burning within him that had proven to be his eventual undoing. His drive had been almost supernatural…or perhaps it had been supernatural after all. Xiara thought of the Time Prophet, Kai’s dreams…the horrible trial that condemned him to death and stripped away his immortality until all that remained was his undying spirit. At least they hadn’t managed to break that yet. And she would be damned if she'd allow herself to be the final nail in his coffin. NO…she would die with him…if indeed it was meant to be.

      That evening, they all gathered together silently in the darkness to await the inevitable command. Four brave newborn Brunnens - each bound together in a covenant of friendship that had always seen them through the even worst of times.

      They stood together and waited patiently, watching silently as their unspoken commander emerged from the forest and took his place amongst them as a brethren, placing a reassuring arm first on the shoulder of his best friend Lett and then glancing around the circle to meet the gaze of each one of them individually and smiling. Then he spoke with heartfelt warmth and reverence, choosing his words carefully as he looked into their frightened imploring eyes, implicit in the knowledge that this would likely be the last opportunity he might ever have to prove to them once and for all, that this was the right thing to do. He chose his words carefully.

      “My friends,” He began, “This is a time of destiny that will surely live on through time, if anyone should ever question why. The Brunnen G did not fall on their knees. History will show we found a good way to die. So from this moment forward, every action we take, we must do so to uphold the values our ancestors had set down by example. The Brunnen G were once known throughout the two universes for being a proud and noble race of warriors. And tonight, I say that we will be again. And if indeed this should be our final stand, then let us all stand together with pride. We will fight to the end, and then we will fight again. And if we must die, than die than so be it. For at least, we will know it was a good way to die.”

      Kai proceeded to take Xiara’s hand, and the rest followed together until they formed a circle of hands, each glancing around to the other and in so doing, acknowledging their commitment to follow through on their oath of solidarity as Kai continued, his face set in stone, determined and resolute.

      “It matters not if the cause is lost to us, nor that we cannot stop the tide. We will fight to the end, and then fight again. It will be a good way to die. ”

      They all observed a moment in solemn and reverent silence, and then suddenly Kai broke into song, and each of them looked up to stare at him in awe, stunned by the ancient words of a long forgotten song, passed down through the ages only in storybooks and legend.

      “Vai yo a-oh, a home va ya ray,”

      He looked up at them and they each felt a hard lump rise in their throats as one by one they found themselves caught up the magic of those ancient words and almost instinctively, they began to sing along with him.

      “Vai yo a rah, Jerhume Brunnen G! Vai yo a oh, a home va ya ray, vai yo a rah, Jerhume Brunnen G. Vai yo a rah, Jerhume Brunnen G!”

      The tears were flowing freely amongst them now, so moved by the lyrics were they that Kai allowed for the momentary breach in protocol as Lett embraced him in a hug and kissed him on the cheek. The others soon followed, until they had all said their goodbyes and whispered prayers of hope and reassurance that perhaps they might still find a planet to return to when all was said and done, although no one really believed this to be true. The hour was at hand, and quickly Kai brought them all back in line with a few final words before their departure.

      “My fellow newborns, if we are going to act, then we must do so now. We have no way of knowing how much longer that ship will allow us to exist under the shadow of his vengeful eye. It may be he is waiting to see if indeed the Brunnen G truly are as decadent and hollow as the rest of the universe has come to view us, our vitality lost to the ages. In that case, let us show them what it still means to be a Brunnen G. As of this moment, our very lives are in his hands. So let us take back that power for ourselves. Let us fight to the bitter end! Forever we are and always will be the Brunnen G!”

      Energized by his words, the band of Newborns quickly dispersed ran off to their respective Scorpion fighters nestled in the clearing as Xiara quickly took Kai aside and embraced him.

      “Kai-Nori, I just want you to know. I live now for you, my love. It will be…my good way to die.”

      Kai stroked her cheek softly and kissed her one last time, fervently, pulling her close and holding her in his arms so tightly he feared she might not be able to breathe. He thought for a moment he might lose his nerve right then and there…but then he thought again of the prophecy. Everything depends on you now, he reminded himself. No turning back.

      “I will always love you, Xiara-Naya. And perhaps if the fates will have it, I will be with you again this very night, in the place of our ancestors. Only this time it will be forever. But for now…our destiny awaits.”

      They reluctantly broke away as Xiara tearfully glanced backwards once more on her way to her fighter to see Kai board his own vessel and secure the glass enclosure around him. By now, the others had already brought their vessels up to bear, and soon the air was filled with the sound of multiple flapping wings as the leaves and branches kicked up around them in the crisp evening air.

      Kai quickly brought up the lead, and soon they were ascending high above the level of the treetops, soaring ever upwards into the heavens as open space began to condense around them, the planet taking on a characteristically spherical shape as the others gasped and held their breath in whispered prayers…frightened beyond anything they had ever before experienced. And then Kai remembered that he had been the only one prior to this moment to see his own planet from such a heady perspective. If he didn’t think fast, the others might surely lose themselves to the terror and hopelessness that inevitably would engulf them the moment the massive ForeShadow, His Divine Shadow’s personal flagship came into view. All it would take was for them to behold the sheer size of it in comparison to their own pathetic and inadequate little vessels and that would be the end of it.

      Quickly, Kai switched on his communications relay and proceeded to sing the Brunnen G fight song once again, glancing around to make sure the others were still in line with them as they approached. He could see Lett’s vessel off to the left of him waving as if to indicate he was okay. Kai had little time to react before suddenly the massive ForeShadow suddenly burst into view. It was far more menacing from this proximity now, and they could all clearly see the spider web-like projections of an immense energy conduit so massive in diameter it could have nearly passed for a large asteroid in comparison. Clearly this weapon was built to unleash a spectacular amount of energy onto any unsuspecting planet, laying waste to any and everything in its path. There was only one thing left for them to do now…attempt to penetrate its defenses and make a suicide run into the control pod situated at the very hub of the ship itself….no small task for even the most seasoned of pilots. Kai knew that was likely where His Shadow must be…even now.

      “Stingers.” Kai ordered, readying his own weapon as they began to close the distance between them.

      The tail of the scorpion opened like a flower to reveal a red glowing tip. From inside the vessel, the ships computer confirmed the maneuver.

      “Stingers Ready.”

      Kai opened the communications relay once again, his voice betraying his emotions as he voiced his intentions to the others.

      “Our one chance and our one chance alone, is to hit His Shadow’s control pod. Good Luck - Very…very…good luck!”

      From the vantage of Kai’s ship, the Foreshadow came into view, firing wave after wave of massive energy sheets that rained down onto the planet’s surface as the computer voice once again alerted him to the vessel’s proximity.

      “Target in Range.”

      That was all Kai needed to hear.

      “FIRE NOW!”

      Kai pressed the firing mechanism and a burst of several brilliant balls of flame arced towards one of the Foreshadow’s outer energy panels as several other insectoid craft soared past him. The energy balls hit their mark, generating a huge explosion that took out a small section of the shield. Following his cue, the others began firing at the rest of the panels in an effort to safely reach the center, their ultimate destination.

      There was a collective cheer until suddenly Kai noticed from his side window another swath of energy waves raining down onto Brunnis 2, making contact with the surface and spreading out in a massive wave of destruction. Then as one of the ships came back around for yet another pass, Kai watched as a bolt of energy met it head on exploding the vessel into tiny fragments. Kyoo, Kai thought mournfully. However, his attention was soon pulled away from even this as a third wave of energy sheets rained down from the Foreshadow onto the surface and he watched as more than half the planet by now had already become engulfed in flames. Empathically, Kai heard the distant screams of his people, and for a moment he was paralyzed from the sheer horror of it all as his face transformed into one of intense shock and grief. But then just as quickly these emotions were replaced by anger and hatred, for now there was virtually nothing more left to lose. Without a home to return to, they all might as well be dead anyway. Strangely that thought actually became liberating however, and he shut himself off to everything but this one single purpose…reaching the control pod at all costs.


      Kai bore down sharply with his vessel as another ship followed beside Kai, doing its best to protect the commander from stray bolts of current. In a brave sacrifice, the ship dove into an arc meant for Kai’s ship as Evret closed his eyes and consigned himself to oblivion. From within her own ship, Xiara screamed and cried as her brother’s ship spiraled off into space and burst into flame. Then she turned back towards Kai and brought up the rear, determined to remain as close to him as possible until the end. Her world was rapidly unraveling around her. All that matters now is Kai. She whispered to herself fervently. He must fulfill the prophecy.

      Then inevitably, one by one, both Onari and Lett succumbed as they each in turn took a hit for Kai’s ship in order to secure him safe passage to the center. By now Kai was so numb with determination, and he barely even noticed the passing of his dearest and closest friends. But just as he was about to reach the center, he saw Xiara’s ship pass by his, and she stole a quick glance towards him on her way as she too noticed the final array of defenses situated around the outer core of the control pod – all squarely aimed at Kai’s ship.

      “For you, Kai-Nori.” She whispered, her face tearful and full of purpose as she passed his ship for the last time and took her rightful place as protector of their lifelong legacy together.

      NOOO! Kai blinked in horror as time itself seemed to crawl to a standstill and he watched his soulmate take out the array with one perfect shot but then just before she cleared, her wing clipped one of the arrays causing it to spin out of control, and her ship exploded against bursting into the panels in a massive fireball. With an empathic jolt equal to the force of his ship making contact with the control panel, Kai was propelled forward in his splintered ship, fragmented in body as well as soul as he hit the ground so hard he felt the forceful pop and searing pain in accompaniment as his spine was instantly severed, rendering him effectively paralyzed from the waist down as his body came to rest in the rubble. All the while a violet vacuum of atmospheric wind kicked up the debris all around him and all that his senses could processes in the agony and confusion was the intrusive cacophony of an overhead siren and the flashing red of the emergency lights as the massive hydraulic safety doors shut out the vacuum and suddenly all was silence again.

      Kai tried to breathe. Blood issued from his nose and he felt as though he might pass out at any moment as he heard the ominous shuffling of heavy robes from beyond his field of vision. He stared up at the ceiling, and in these few seconds, his thoughts were of Xiara, and then of his people. He had surely failed them. His misery was beyond comprehension. His Shadow was still alive, Brunnis 2 was destroyed, Kai could feel himself dying inside, and worse yet, he couldn’t conceive of any possible way to fulfill the prophecy in his now incredibly weakened state. All hope was surely lost. Then suddenly, the Hooded figure game into view above him.

      “His Shadow.” Kai murmured bitterly.

      “His Divine Shadow…yes.” Corrected the Hooded figure with a hiss.

      “The Brunnen G will defeat you.”

      “I do not think so. The power of order has destroyed your planet. The power of order will destroy you. And you are the last of the Brunnen G left alive.”

      Kai felt the tears rising to the surface, and he tried to keep from blinking lest more follow and he surely give in to the despair.

      “The Time Prophet has seen your order destroyed by the Brunnen G!”

      Then, Kai watched in stark fear as His Divine Shadow slowly and confidently knelt down above him to unsheathe a curved blade with his gloved hands. And with a deliberate slowness, he allowed this same blade to pass slowly across Kai’s field of vision as he gradually brought it down to rest just above Kai’s sternum before turning to reply.

      “The Time Prophet’s vision appears to be flawed.” He simply replied as he studied Kai’s face for any sign of weakness in this last desperate hour. Kai remained immovable, though clearly terrified. And even in his haste to be rid of this last remnant of a once proud and noble race, His Shadow suddenly found himself hesitating...but only for a split second.

      Then, with a swift, deliberate turn of the wrist, he plunged the knife deep into Kai’s chest, and watched in fascination as the young Brunnen’s lips quivered slightly in the wake of his last breath and his eyes grew lidded then his head slumped to the side. At last, thought his Shadow, the Brunnen G are no more. The prophecy is over.

      Quickly, His Divine Shadow brought his hands up to Kai’s face as an ethereal stream of memories seemed to flow freely from his body into that of His Shadow. He eagerly swallowed up the young Brunnen’s essence, taking careful note of his experiences while visiting the Time Prophet and quietly contemplating the many ways in which he could make an example of this last dead warrior who had dared to defy him in the face of his own death.

      From behind, he heard one of his subordinates step forward.

      “We will incinerate the carcass.”

      “No. This last specimen of the now extinct culture of romantic dreamers merits punishment beyond death. Transport him to the Bio-Scholars.

      Then His Divine Shadow looked down at his feet and picked up a piece of the fallen warrior’s ship, lying amidst the rubble. He was surprised by its texture. At first, he had thought these creatures to be merely representations of insects. However, he was surprised to discover that they had, in fact, been real.

      “An insect. Curious.”

      Perhaps there were still more out there as yet undiscovered after all.

      790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
      I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


      • #4
        Stanley H. Tweedle: Warrior and Gent

        Not much is widely known about our rather ignominious yet well meaning Captain of the LEXX, Stanley H. Tweedle, former Assistant Deputy backup Courier of the Ostral B Heretics and Security Guard 4th Class (formerly 2nd class) in the service of His Divine Order while in the Cluster. However, as I have made it my duty to attempt to protect Xev to the best of my abilities whenever possible, one of the first tasks I undertook was to find our more about our fellow crewmate.

        Stanley H. Tweedle was born on Austral B, the second planet of a twin set sharing the same orbit around an ordinary yellow sun. His parent were Vera and Howard Tweedle, lowly Shadow Traders (gypsies) who owned a small bar and grill and who apparently used their influences to occasionally listen in on the private conversations of the various clerics and armed soldiers that would often frequent their establishment. In fact, they were already well ensconced within the Ostral B Heretics by the time Stanley was a young lad. Stanley had no real interest in joining the Ostral B Heretics..unlike his older brother, Eric who left early on to join in the resistance (and was later killed in battle). In fact, Stanley had no interest in aspiring to anything too ambitious. He simply wanted to hang out with his friends, meet girls, and work as a chef in his parent's business until they retired and he could take over the business for himself. He might have continued doing so were it not for his father once mistaking a soldier for a heretic only to have the soldier turn around and blackmail them in exchange for their lives.

        As expected the soldier's threats became greater, until finally his family could no longer keep up with expenses. Within a year the business was dissolved, and Stanley's father was forced to resort to selling off much of his belongings in an attempt to keep from losing their modest home even as his health continued to deteriorate. Stanley, under pressure by his mother to take on a more active role, suddenly found himself in the rather uncertain position of having to be sole means of support for his parents. Subsequently, he was awarded as a personal favor to his parents, the modest title of Route Packing Clerk by the Ostral B Heretics and assigned the task of loading the various ships that came in from time to time carrying all manner of contraband and arms stolen from the Divine Order's Shadow Barges traveling between loyal colonies of the Cluster.

        Of course, the various heretics he encountered on these brief layovers began to exert a growing influence on Stanley. They were clearly a hardy and rabble rousing lot, prone to heavy drinking and fantastic stories of heroism and exotic destinations, loose women and forbidden pleasures. Needless to say, it wasn't long before Stanley was rallying for the opportunity to made a few short runs of his own. Though he still had yet to prove himself, his opportunity was soon to come.

        Not long after the death of his father, he was soon approached by a veteran Ostral B Heretic who went by the name of Thodin. It turned out that Thodin had often frequented his parent's bar and had been well acquainted with his father. He felt very sympathetic to Stanley's situation and wanted to give him a chance to repay the loss against the Order and all that it represented. Within a week, Stanley was ordered to report to flight training and by the end of the year he was given the full duties of a Fledgling Trainee Backup Courier.

        His mother, proud to finally see him doing something worthwhile, encouraged him to set out and make a name for himself while she packed up everything and moved in with her sister's family. Free at last of any lingering responsibilities, Stanley was finally a man with a mission. Spurred on by the thought of actually aspiring to one day become a legendary hero like Thodin, whose exploits were known far and wide, Stanley drove himself to excel, proving himself to be an apt and reliable courier.

        Then suddenly, quite by accident, he found himself caught in the crossfire of a group of Heretics running from a Shadow Destroyer while he was carrying a freighter full of ammunition. Terrified for his life, Stanley abruptly altered his course, but his freighter was far too slow to outrun the destroyer. The fighters, clearly more adept at evasion, soon outdistanced the destroyer, leaving it behind in their exhaust. Stanley, however, was now the center of attention. Within minutes he was being hailed and an official sounding voice demanded to know his clearance code as they were preparing to board. He panicked and forgot the clearance, looking around as the ship locked onto him and prepared to board his vessel. Thinking fast, Stanley rushed to the ejection pod, tripping over a large canister in the process and unknowingly setting off a chain reaction within the device.

        Without turning back, Stanley fled the ship in the pod, allowing it to drift well away from the freighter as the destroyer's cannons locked onto his pod and he closed his eyes tightly and waited for what he believed to be his inevitable death. A huge blast rocked his ship and sent it spiralling out of control even as Stanley was certain his death would be imminent. But then all grew calm again as the pod's thrusters kicked in and his spinning ceased. He looked back to find an immense field of scattered debris and remnants of the destroyer's hull in the distance.

        Putting out an all channel distress call, he was later picked up by the same fighters fleeing the scene, and for a brief moment, Stanley enjoyed a moment of genuine respect from his fellow Ostral B Heretics. Thodin saw real promise in the young man, and he began giving him more and more responsibilities. By the time Stanley Tweedle was in his mid thirties, he had finally been promoted to Assistant Deputy Backup Courier and he enjoyed all the rank and priviledge that went along with it, complete with the occasional jaunt to a local pleasure barge from time to time. Life had never been better. Then, while en route to delivering a package, his ship was intercepted by a fighter pilot who revealed that he was a special agent for Thodin and his men. He explained to Stanley that he and his family would be handsomely compensated in return for accompanying him to Thodin's onetime homeworld of Ericonis (one of the Ostral B pair) where they intended to imbed detailed sensitive files and amino acid sequences into the fillings of Stan's wisdom teeth. Stanley, confident in his newfound abilities and relative fame as a Backup Courier, and excited by the prospect of filling his pockets with enough credits to gain him access to the famous Celes Pleasure Transport for life, readily accepted the assignment.

        All may have gone well it it hadn't been for a moment of weakness en route to delivering these documents and amino acids to the Ostral B Outpost . In his overconfidence, Stanley decided to make a small stop at the Celes Pleasure Transport for an evening of pleasure, secure in the notion that they would gladly play host to someone of his extreme notoriety and influence in exchange for barter. However, the only thing the Pleasure Transport agreed to barter from him was information. Without thinking of the consequences, he revealed to them that he was delivering sensitive documents in the service of the Ostral B Heretics, whereupon several spies translated this information on to His Divine Shadow and Stan's vessel was immediately tracked down by the ForeShadow and the oupost destroyed.

        Thinking him still useful, His Shadow spared Stanley's life, but ordered him picked up by a pair of mercenaries loyal to His Shadow: Feppo and Smoor. The amino sequences and locations of the 94 reform planets were obtained through Feppo and Smoor's "twisted and unusual" torture techniques while His Shadow took this information and went on to destroy each and every one of the 94 reform planets. Later, Stanley was taken back to the Cluster and given the menial job of a Security Guard, Class 2 and watched closely until they eventually forgot about him in time.

        Of course, when we finally came across our disgraced heretic once again, he had already been demoted to Security Guard Fourth Class following a series of demerits on his record. And apparently he also overestimated his worth, when he made yet another blunder in front of high rankng officer and this time was given a sentence of death for failing to report to have 3 organs removed. It is at this point, while on the run, that he eventually met up first with Zev, then Thodin and his men, and finally me, Kai, Last of the Brunnen G. Together we managed to steal the LEXX from His Shadow with Stanley H. Tweedle as Captain, and the rest, as they say, is history.
        790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
        I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


        • #5
          Zev: The Wife Bank

          Fewer more heinous and morally reprehensible an organization ever existed in the Dominion of the Cluster than the so called "Compatible Reliability Insurance Broker" also colloquially known as The Wife Bank.

          Formulated originally for the purpose of providing the wealthiest of families and dignitaries loyal to His Shadow a pre-programmed, fully submissive, guaranteed virginal and disease-free wife for their presumably perfect and ever so deserving sons, what it actually amounted to in practical terms was a form of governmentally sanctioned slave trade.

          It began with a structured campaign when the program was first in its infancy, aiming itself initially towards the poor working class citizens barely struggling to keep a roof over their head. They issued a heady promise to provide a free, first class education and refinement program that would apparently guarantee their drooling, babbling little infant daughter would transform into a first class well-bred debutante, worthy of marriage into the finest of families. Needless to say, the concept was an overnight sensation.

          Millions of families were soon lining up outside the door for a chance to sign their little bundle of joy over to the friendly, smiling attendents dressed so prim and proper in their smartly starched nursing uniforms. In fact, it was so popular they even had to formulate a waiting list. Parents were even encouraged to sign up their children before they were born in an effort to ensure she would not be too old by the time her name rose high enough on the list to qualify. The qualifications were not too terribly strict, either. A child could be of any body type or predisposition, provided they were certified genetically free of any visible defects.

          Parents were shown promotional videos of smiling children waving in classrooms politely, attending classes in ballet and proper ladylike etiquette, sleeping comfortably in sumpuous lofts, and dining on the finest cuisine. However, the reality of the situation couldn't have been more different.

          Once a prospective child was chosen - a little girl, usually between the ages of 1 and 4 - the parents were compelled to sign over all legal rights and priviledges until such time as the chld was to be betrothed to a potential mate of certified breeding and ancestry. The child was then removed from the parent, all belongings discarded, and then the little girl was dressed in a generic swaddling type outfit and literally placed inside a box. This box, roughly the size of a walk-in closet was to become the child's home from the time she arrived until her delivery into the hands of her future husband to be.

          Every moment of her life was then scrutinized and judged, with holographic instructors issuing rewards and punishment when they deemed appropriate based on the child's behavior. During their long, sad captivity, these little girls were subjected to all manner of medical testing and genetic manipulation aimed at minimizing any undesirable traits, aggressive behavior or characteristics that hinted of any individuality. Deprived of any contact with other living people, these young girls grew surprisingly complacent and accepting of their little worlds, without any frame of reference with which to compare themselves to. By the time most emerged from captivity and were thrust upon the world, they were either terrified into submission by their own insecurities, or generally grateful to their future husbands for any kind of human contact at all.

          In either case, those who chose to purchase a wife in this way were seldom very disappointed. These young women were quiet and shy, accustomed to hardship and menial tasks, beaten down from years of emotional abuse, and willing to do just about anything to gain the approval of their mate lest they be arrested for failing to perform their wifely duties. When I first learned that Zev or should I name her by more recent form Xev, originally came from the Wife Banks, I knew immediately that she must also have suffered this same sort of lonely, innocent existence. Part of me felt drawn to her, protective, and I consented to remain with her in the LEXX until my protoblood should run dry. If anyone was more deserving of finding a proper home and finding surely was Xev.
          790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
          I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


          • #6
            The Lexx

            Much of our rich Brunnen culture from the time of the original Brunnis, even on to the eventual migration of my people from the Dark Zone into the Light Zone where we finally settled on Brunnis 2 we owe directly to the Insects and their kind.

            For many long centuries, our people peacefully coexisted with these gentle giants, long known throughout the Universe for their tremendously large chitinous bodies, some of them on the order of planets. And yes, they were once docile and simple creatures, lazily drifting through the cosmos in large herds, feeding off of the interplanetary detritus of other civilizations, filtering sunlight and absorbing radiation used to heat and ferment their own chemically active populations of bacterial colonies which symbiotically coexisted with their host.

            They began their lives, modestly enough, in the soils of suitably organic worlds in larval form, which we Brunnens termed "Ectiri". A single Ectir, even in larval form was quite large, on the order of a human hand, and it essentially formed the basis of our Brunnen diet, particularly back on the original Brunnis during the many centuries of global strife following the great Ipai Bornal Comet, or "white umbilicus" as it was so named.

            The Great Comet collided with our only moon, Pau, obliterating it and setting about a chain reaction that nearly caused the extinction of our race and the destabilization of the Brunnis sun. Many eons later, when my people finally crossed the great rift, or Fractal Core, to settle on the new, lush and green planet of Brunnis 2, complete with its own unblemished moon, we continued that long tradition of raising and harvesting the larval Ectiri that had, by this point, become an essential and welcomed part of our diets. We owed much to these gentle creatures and their kin.

            Aside from the Ectiri, there were infinite varieties of insects and bugs native to the planet. Ones that did not develop wings and escape the confines of our atmosphere to become roving noble giants. Similar to Earth, we also had our share of Spider like creatures, scorpions, mealworms, ant-like Promeets, preying mantis, hornets, bees and yes...even dragonflies. Only on our planet, dragonflies were known as Lexx.

            Although, unlike the LEXX that you have all come to recognize as the bioengineered ship designed to be the most powerful weapon in the two universes and commissioned by His Shadow, our dragonflies were similar to the ones found on Earth - tiny little winged insects with colorful long bodies and enormous compound eyes. It was during the great famine that arose after the Great Ipai Bornal that our scientists and engineers began experimenting with the genetics of our insects, as well as with our people. There existed so much death and misery in the early days of the original Brunnis, its surface scorched and dead as our people retreated underground to escape the merciless heat of the sun. And as you know, desperation often drives innovation.

            It only took a century to unlock the key to the genetic code of an entire library of insect species, and little more than a decade after that before the Brunnens were engineering insects the size of houses, manipulating their bodies and programming them to perform tasks, breeding them in labs for their solid and resilient exoskeletons and nutritive flesh, and eventually, combining technology with bioengineering to produce the familiar moths that eventually spurred us on to explore other planets and civilizations.

            Our technology by that time had become highly prized, and many civilizations sought to copy our examples by breeding and utilizing insects of their own. Of course, our naive arrogance in the face of such manipulative conquest of any given species was not to go unpunished. During the grave and costly Great Insect Wars, we were soon to learn a sobering lesson on the nature and wrath of a species we thought we had come to know well. But that, my friend is another story.

            I take you now to the genesis of LEXX, the most powerful ship in the two universes.

            The LEXX

            As you may know, Stanley Tweedle, the Ostral B Assistant Deputy Backup Courier happened to be on a fateful journey the day he found himself carrying the essential amino acids in his tooth that would later become the genetic blueprint for the creation of the LEXX. The amino recipe, gifted to the Ostral Alliance by an aged and mysterious benefactor who took great pains to remain anonymous, was unlike any other blueprint previously studied.

            Clearly it contained an unusual genetic complement, and yet, there was something else unidentifiable buried within the coding. It was an unknown type of bacterial plasmid that appeared to be capable of generating an unbelievable amount of heat when stimulated under the right conditions. This plasmid, so it seemed, is what was believed to have been responsible for the collective energy required to build the LEXX's power cells up to the point it was capable of destroying entire planets when full grown.

            However, in spite of this gift, fate was not to smile on the Ostral Alliance, for their outposts and reform planets were soon destroyed, and the amino acids in Stanley's tooth fell into the hands of one of the most feared and dangerous beings ever to exist in the history of humanity: His Divine Shadow. He was essentially a human shell possessed of an insect essence bent on destroying the very species responsible for his race's own enslavement and eventual genocide: humanity.

            It was a bitter irony to find him utilizing the very same technology in the LEXX that had caused him to despise the human race in the first place, and yet he must have derived immense pleasure from the knowlege that countless millions of lives were sacrificed and fed to the LEXX in the course of its creation and subsequent growth to roughly ten kilometers in length. Organ chambers rolled prisoners through in assembly line fashion to their deaths, where their waste organs were then harvested and fed to the LEXX on a series of conveyer belts. Then, once it reached a suitable size, the LEXX was fitted with the biomechanical constructs and wiring that ultimately formed its inner circuitry and command structure. Finally, the LEXX itself was programmed by the Divine Shadow's eminent biovisiers to respond only to a biochemical key within the hand of its future captain and unquestioned master.

            In fact, if it weren't for several key spies and inside operatives sacrificing their lives in some cases and working alongside the biovisiers during the creation of the key, the esteemed Semprus Temradi and Ostral B Heretic Thodin may never have managed to secure a copy at all, and Earth might now be in the hands of the Cluster and its influence. It is perhaps a divine providence that the key eventually fell back into the unwitting hands of the very man responsible for messing up their plans in the first place: Stanley H. Tweedle.

            And as a final note, the identity of the unknown benefactor of the essential amino acids to the LEXX is still, as yet an unknown, even to me. However, it is significant to note, that this strange benefactor was rumored to have come to the Ostral Alliance from a tiny planet of fire in the Dark Zone....the so called universe of evil, chaos and depravity.
            790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
            I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


            • #7
              790, and the Woman behind the Head

              As I have been spending much time ruminating on the living members of my crew, I do not wish to be neglectful of our only other remaining crewmember: the Robot Head, 790.

              Many of you may know 790 as the sarcastically inventive and often vindictively jealous robot head ( his body was eaten by a Cluster Lizard) assembled and commissioned deep within the Cluster, the sovereign homeworld of His Divine Shadow and Capital of the League of 20,000 planets. However, beyond a few pertinent details, little is known of how 790 really came to be.

              We begin our tale with a young woman by the name of Risa Pimela, an itinerant waif of a young girl, forced into the labor farms at an early age when her mother, herself a young call girl employed on a pleasure barge, was murdered at the hands of mercenary not wishing pay. As for her father, Risa assumed he was one of the many nameless men who often passed in and out of her mother's life, and she never bothered to look into the matter.

              Without benefit of mother or father, Risa grew up hardened and defensive, applying her wit and charm in the same manner she might have weilded weapon. Over the years it grew to become honed and sharp, and she rarely capitulated to anyone. When she was 16, she was released from the labor farms and brought over to the Cluster by a sympathetic old Cleric by the name of Yotskry who had chosen to take pity on her as she was without family.

              Here in the Cluster, she was given a tiny one room cubicle for a home in exchange for agreeing to sign herself over to indentured servitude for an indefinite term, then compelled to swear an oath of allegience to the Divine Order and employed as a small time waitress and bartender in a rough little dive bar in the Bogg Mission District. The bar, known as Bogg's Tervil, was one of the few places on the Cluster rumoured to be somewhat Heretic friendly, although clearly this was not a widely held view.

              Steeled to her surroundings, Risa settled into her new life with determined resolve. She simply knew that if the right opportunity came along, she would one day find a way to break herself out of this meager existence and pursue what she really longed to be: a Fashion Designer. Risa had a taste for the finer things, predominately because they always remained just out of her reach. But she was also a practical girl, and she knew that her body was just one of the few possessions she owned that others considered truly valuable.

              It wasn't long before she found herself negotiating a new deal with her employer, a heavy drinking, crass talking former club bouncer named Grebs in exchange for a few fringe benefits on the side and a sizeable cut of her take. Soon she was following in the footsteps of her mother, and her prospective customers were inevitably patrons of the bar, as they passed in and out of her life in similar fashion to her father. Yet, in the back of her mind, she was steadily planning her escape. She began frequenting other clubs, and soliciting on her own time as well, putting away extra credits that Grebs never even knew existed. It was an ideal arrangement for her. Grebs provided all the protection she could possibly need from the heavies that continued to frequent the bar, while she continued to "rake in" the credits.

              All the while, she carefully chose to avoid the occasional Cleric, even though she had spoken to many, and knew that many of them were weak-willed men who had chosen to avoid being employed as Shadow Soldiers in favor of the more peaceful meditation and relative celibacy of the cloth. Relative, meaning that it was almost considered a joke in private circles that Clerics were, in fact, some of the most corrupt and perverse individuals one was likely to meet. His Divine Shadow preferred them that way, and he catered to their appetites, all the while cultivating a healthy fear of their power amongst the masses. In effect, many a corrupt Cleric routinely used their power and influence to bully and wrangle alms from the populace at every opportunity, and the punishment for nonpayment was always death.

              There were a few, well meaning Clerics, and even some, such as Yotskry, who believed in the ideals of an ordered and cooperative society, but not in its brutal methods. Spies and turncoats could even be found in their ranks.

              Then one fateful night, it so happened, Grebs discovered through a mutual acquaintance and longtime customer of Risa's that she had been moonlighting and holding out on him in her free time. The next day, he threatened to kill her unless she turned over every last credit in exchange for her freedom. Desperate and determined to beat Grebs at his own game, Risa also knew that Grebs hadn't been reporting all of his earnings to the Guild of Monetary Accountability, a division of the High Church of His Loyal Subjects in the Service of His Divine Shadow. However, she also knew that if she directly reported him herself, Grebs would likely turn her in for solicitation, a high crime amongst citizens in the Cluster. Those who generally opted for prostitution as a means of surviving were generally hopeless outcasts and disgraced exiles, no longer eligible for citizenship, and therefore possessing no rights under the existing political strata.

              Risa knew the only way she could escape and get back at Grebs in the process was by befriending a select few of the Clerics who appeared sympathetic, lure them with her body and enlist one of them to blackmail Grebs into handing over his money in exchange for a modest cut of the take, and then charter a small freighter to take her as far away from the Cluster as humanly possible. Perhaps she might even have escaped and discovered the true identity of her father had it not been for a dreadful case of mistaken intentions in which she mistook the affections of a young cleric over that of an old one, whereupon she was captured and sentenced to death in the Organ Chamber. As she was not considered much of a threat, and yet her body considered to frail to be used as a recombinant....a fate generally reserved only for males of sufficient build, a fragment of her brain was then harvested and placed inside the head of a Robot Drone 790 unit.

              And the rest as they say, is history. Perhaps you might even be curious as to who Risa's father really was? I discovered much later through my absorption of the memories of the last Divine Shadow's brain, it fact... been Yottskry.

              790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
              I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


              • #8
                The Creation of a Divine Assassin

                It was an indescribable sensation the moment I first regained all the memories of my former self, along with those of the now deceased Divine Shadow who once killed me. Up to that point, I had been an animated cipher, a pre-programmed, bioengineered killing machine intent on serving the purposes of my unquestioned Master. The next, I became the receptacle for the tortured spirit of a once proud and noble young Brunnen warrior, conflicted at its core; encased in the indestructible decarbonized construct of its former self. An avatar, if you will.

                Essentially, I had become, and still remain to this day, a hollow apparition of that humanity, a virtual mockery of life, an abomination of my former essence. And yet, I did not possess a will of my own, even in this undoubtedly hideous moment of revelation. The spirit within me, bound by the programming through which my perceptions filtered reality, though shattered by the circumstances of its fate, still did not despair.

                Perhaps this new amalgam of a being I had now become found some comfort in the inherent imperviousness of this vessel. After all, I could no longer feel pain in the strictest sense, and yet I understood all too well the concept behind it, the power it gave me and the fear it embodied. And safe within this knowledge, protected by my dispassionate nature however distant though I may have been perceived by others, I found refuge.

                It was during this transformation that I happened upon the most recent incarnation of my enemy, His Divine Shadow in the midst of a pair of unlikely allies whom I would soon befriend, the lot of them still oblivious to my cathartic metamorphosis earlier in the Hall of the Divine Predecessors where my memories were at long last returned to me. His Shadow looked upon me once more and issued an order...of which I refused. Perhaps it may have seemed a small victory to those without a proper frame of reference, but as it stands, in that moment I knew that I was no longer bound by his will.

                The pattern of logic that had initially formed the very foundation of my construct instantly absorbed this new information and processed it according to a new code of morality, based on the ethics of a long deceased and forgotten hero named Kai. Yet I was not Kai, then as well as now, nor did I have any feelings one way or other with regards to the nature of his destruction at the hands of this foe. I was merely a type of empathic doppelganger, simply operating on a code of morality set in place by the essence of his passing.

                Suddenly His Divine Shadow morphed into a thing of evil to me. I viewed him as morally unbalanced. The chain reaction of destruction and murder left behind in his wake suggested he would not stop until every living being in the universe fell prey to his influence, made even more evident by the fact that I had been personally bound by this very same agenda. To set things right again he had to be destroyed. Stanley and Zev, on the other hand, I perceived as mostly harmless and nonthreatening by comparison.

                Free of His Divine Shadows will, I no longer possessed the motivation to destroy them, and yet, I found myself inextricably bound to them, especially to Zev. It made little sense to me, given my nature, unless perhaps I allowed myself to accept that I was indeed more than my programming allowed. For in her eyes, I recognized a woman this warrior Kai once knew in life. It made me protective. I was intrigued by the connection; curiosity an essential component of my makeup. I could sense that she, too, felt this connection.

                However, it soon became apparent that what she desired within me was more than my mere presence, or the relative protection that I had to offer her. I could not reciprocate. But if she had really understood the process behind what it had taken to actually create a Divine Assassin, perhaps only then would she have truly understood that I was no longer the man she wished me to be, nor could I, in this state, offer the one thing she desired more than anything else in the two universes: Kais abiding love and affection.

                Of course, how could she have been expected to understand he had already bonded to another mate long ago on Brunnis 2, and could therefore, never truly have truly given his love to her even should his life be returned to him? That is why I did not encourage her, though I found it distasteful to see her in pain, even at the possibility of having my life restored to me, I knew inherently I could never belong to her. Only my true death would ever set me free and restore things to their natural order. As for Zev, or as she came to be Xev, she would have to look elsewhere for love.

                Creation of a Divine Assassin:

                Upon the warrior Kai's death and delivery into the hands of the Biovisier who created my unnatural construct, a genius of a man by the name of Mantrid, his body was immediately taken to the Organ Harvesting room, drained of fluids, preserved with a mixture of protoblood and embalming fluid and then all nonessential organs were removed: those for digestion, secretion, excretion, sexual purposes or circulation. All that remained intact were his skin, brain, lungs, and existing bone structure.

                Next, his body was placed into a mass production freeze-drying unit along with nine other suitable corpses and left for several days until it became dessicated and shriveled. Once complete, Kais body was then sent to the Biovisier for initial modifications, placed on a slab and rehydrated with a mixture of protoblood and embalming fluid.

                His body was then retrofitted with artificial circulatory tubes and pumps, a contiguous neural processing unit to control movement and balance complete with pico-integrated filamentous control rods, artificial eyes with enhanced zooming capacity, a spiral bound coil system with imbedded brace in his right arm containing a detachable scythrie utilized for defensive and grappling purposes, and a tiny CPU embedded deep within the core of his brain to regulate higher brain functions and facilitate enhanced tactical abilities.

                The tubing system's only external juncture was located in the upper mid quadrant of the chest, where the purest protoblood could be fed through the tubes in order to animate his corpse. His body, along with many others designed for this purpose was then shipped off to a special lab where an Electron Laser Tomography scanned the entire body, deconstructed and dissolved the organic elements at the genetic level digitally, and then reconstructed them again with a unique, ultradense superconducting polymer possessing the unusual property of being an ultrasoft metallic alloy that is virtually indestructible.

                This metal, having a slightly grayish hue naturally, readily took on the attributes and appearance of a corpses skin tone. Kai's newly upgraded body was then fitted with this same black color infused metallic alloy threaded fabric uniform reminiscent of his former Brunnen heritage and small amount of protoblood infused to test its efficacy. Kai awoke for the first time an automaton: his only perception, that of being receptive to suggestion. He was then programmed on how to communicate with His Divine Shadow and intensive testing performed on his neural capacities, tactical strategies and defensive postures.

                For over five years, the laboratory remained his home, as he was refined and finessed by the Biovisier who created him, along with Brison, another Biovisier who oversaw his final training. When they were ultimately satisfied with his performance, he was then drained of his protoblood, shipped back to the Cluster and placed in a storage drawer deep within the catacombs where he was left to the will of His Divine Shadow.

                For the next 2,000 years, Kai was intermittently reanimated, and utilized as a Divine Assassin, specifically for the purpose of going after the Ostral Heretics. Primarily because they often mistook him for an ally upon first glance, believing him to be a surviving Brunnen Warrior from a culture long famous throughout the universe for its role in the Great Insect Wars and their strong ancient ethical ties to the Ostral Alliance until their inward phase isolated them.

                It is in this state that Kai finally encountered Stanley and Zev. He had once again been reanimated by His Shadow in an effort to recover the LEXX from Thodin, and then destroy anyone who stood in his way-including Stanley and Zev. But as history will note, that is not quite the way events finally came to pass, as we have seen.
                790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
                I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


                • #9
                  The Famous Beehive

                  A question was recently posed to me about the nature of my unusual hairdo. My reply is as follows:

                  Ah..yes. The so called "beehive." To be honest, I am actually rather surprised this topic has never really come up myself considering the numerous stares I have received throughout the centuries.

                  You see, there are 3 Clans that make up Brunnen society. Tuath-the warrior-sciences clan, Falnor-the spiritual and artisan clan, and Branach-the economics and civics clan. In the Clan Tuath...which is the Warrior clan tradition that I perpetuate, the Brunnen males never cut their hair from the time they are born. Families generally choose a clan for their child based on genetic traits analyzed by the local biocurion (trained physician). Later, as the child is counseled in his or her various skills, this designation may be changed, however this rarely occurs. Generally, the clan you are born into is the one you will remain with for the rest of your life.

                  As a natural consequence of having to maintain the overal health and appearance of one's hair given such a length, it is understandible that many styles may emerge from this necessity. The Beehive style, braided coiff is one such style. However, there are many others to be found that are equally unusual. And then there are some that are worn rather loosely and open - though in a potential combat situation, hair must inevitably be pulled up and back, then pinned or braided to keep it secure and out of the face. A strand or two in the front is permissible, however. Braids have special significance as well. Generally a single braid worn in the back, such as in my style suggests a commander or high ranking officer. Those of lower rank may either allow their hair to remain unbraided in a pony, leave it unbound and allow it to fall about the shoulders, or secure it in a bun.

                  Even on Earth, there is evidence that similar styles were worn by warriors, as you can see from the picture above. This was a Gupta Dynasty Guard from Ancient India.

                  And no doubt you are familiar with Earth's Old Testament story about Samson and how his long hair was tied to his strength and virility.

                  In a similar vein, our own Tuath culture identifies hair length with virility - although this has more to do with how we see the growth of our hair as symbolizing our personal relationship to the passage of time. To sever this link is to sever our ties to the Okai Kinsul Osiri, our Mother Prophet...otherwise known as the Time Prophet.

                  In fact, whenever a loved one dies, it is traditional for the family to remove and keep a lock of shorn hair within a jeweled box. It is the only physical memorial of that person allowed by our strict laws mandating immediate crematory disposal of all remains upon death. We do not have graveyards or plaques, although I do know that on the original Brunnis it become fashionable for a time to leave behind stored memories and preserved vivisections in a memory repository for those who wished their memories and genetic material to be preserved for posterity - the so called "burst of life." It was a questionable practice that did not follow us to Brunnis 2, thankfully.

                  As for my hair, there are indeed times when it will appear wavy and times when it is nearly perfectly straight. Even though I am carbon based, my hair still retains the original genetic properties it did when I was alive. My hair is naturally wavy. However, as it grew long, it straightened simply by gravity. And when I find myself in a humid environment or if my hair is wetted and then dries without being secured, it will sometimes appear wavy or even a bit frizzy at times.

                  I redo my hair only when it begins to come loose. As I am no longer carbon-based and therefore maintained by internal microprocessors and have no need to shower as do Stanley and Xev, I can go an indefinite length of time without the need to restyle my hair. And just with any hairstyle, it will begin to look disheveled if I neglect I am sometimes wont to do. As for the stray lock, this is actually part of the turned under and pinned pony that is protruding through the beehive. It is actually intentional and is the way the hairstyle is worn. I prefer to wear the long left forlock down as a matter of personal taste. (I am prone to threading the ends through my fingers on occasion when I am brooding or otherwise lost in thought.)

                  Putting my hair up takes a surprisingly short amount of time actually. It is really quite simple. It involves thickening the top center hair somewhat..(teasing with a comb) And then gathering a very loose pony around the teased center layer at the top and twisting it a few times and securing it with a small hairpin, then pulling it back through the center and out the side (almost like a french twist or gibson)...thus the dangling tuft of hair on the side. Then the hair on the back and sides is briaded into one tight braid down the center of my back. It only takes several minutes to complete since I have become quite an expert at it over the years - as you might imagine.

                  Question 2: I notice none of the Brunnen G wear anything in or on their hair. (no hats, no ornaments).

                  Yes, this is true for the most part. However, once in a while, during the festival of the Ipai Bornal (The white umbilicus)...a great comet that nearly destroyed the original Brunnis several millennia ago and later became a symbol of Brunnen ingenuity and perseverence for people did wear elaborate costumes and hair dressings similar to those found in many Asian cultures on Earth. Males of the Falnor Clan (spiritual/artistic) would either don whimsical wigs crafted into humorous shapes or bearing dangling figurines from story or legend while the dignified and very modestly robed monks or Oyus Nusaveili shaved their heads completely to reveal very detailed tattoos of their chosen tribal shamans (tithu) which were generally types of insects. Those of the artistic side of the clan generally chose costuming and took part in paper dances where they would dress up in brightly colored paper insect puppets and dance around for the children (sumi) and make them laugh. Others danced around like court jesters and performed tricks. Those of the Branach clan generally did not participate in the festivals, but they would wear headdresses in thier daily lives depending upon their chosen field. For instance, bakers would wear a chef's hat, engineers: helmets, biocurions: sterile caps and so on...just as would other cultures. As for the warriors, however, we were the central focus of the parades. Our costuming was the most elaborate. We would be expected to wear very colorful and elaborate decorations in our hair along with delicate braids depending upon our ranking. In that respect our hair was styled very much like the male version of an Ofuku or Geisha wareshinobu or as in the Japanese Mikado.

                  Ornamentation varied from elaborate combs and silken ribbons to these simple yet colorful spirus:

                  So as you can see..once in a while we Brunnens do have a flair for the fanciful and opulent, while in our every day lives we are generally very practical and plain. The decadence is generally reserved for either festivals or the stage instead, as our culture has always enjoyed a rather rich and imaginative arts and theatrical tradition throughout the ages.

                  And, of course....not to be overlooked, as our culture is very much a Matriarchical society, our females also dressed in similarly colorful ceremonial robes and eleborately briaded hair styles similar to a Japanese Geisha or Maiko.

                  Not to be underestimated, as our culture is highly empathic, our females are far more powerful in mind than any two warriors put together. They are highly skilled in the art of persuasion and determinining motives. It is generally not wise to cross them.

                  The most highly developed of the Falnor clan, the Fal Hespirin, closely guard the Shaniri and her royal twin male sibling, the Cairfon from harm using incredible telekinetic and telepathic abilities finely honed from birth. The Suhayem are similarly trained in the art of persuasion and are often utilized in negotiations with offworld cultures, determining motive and for interrogating prisoners. And of course, the Shaniri (supreme matriarch) herself (there are 3 from each clan) is the most powerful of all and can kill with her mind. She is hauntingly beautiful, and any male Brunnen cannot help but fall in love with her the moment he sees her. Such unquestioned loyalty is what has always driven our very hive minded society. We are deeply connected to one another in mind and physiogically. So much so that we cannot live outside of our own culture. In essence, we all need each other to survive.
                  790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
                  I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


                  • #10
                    Stan the Man: Lost Season 2 Episode, Part 1

                    STAN THE MAN/Lost season 2 episode (part 1)

                    Season 2 Opening credits, Intro Music (episode 2.10.5 .. just after Wake The Dead)

                    I call this episode: STAN THE MAN

                    Bridge of the LEXX

                    (We see Stanley standing on the Bridge staring at Lyekka's pod in the ceiling. He looks up at it longingly as Xev walks in, 790's head propped under one arm)

                    Hello Stanley.

                    (Stanley glances over at her in mild embarrassment, as if she had caught him in a private moment)

                    (Mildly annoyed) Oh, hey, Xev.

                    What were you doing?


                    Me? Nothing...just, you know...

                    ...thinking about her?

                    (soberly) Yeah.

                    She's just a plant, you know.

                    Oh what difference does it make? I say let him have her. So long as he keeps his filthy paws off my love muffin.

                    (ignoring 790 and thinking about this for a few seconds, with a hurt expression forming across his face)

                    You wouldn't understand, Xev. (turning away)

                    (now it's her turn to be annoyed as she presses him further)

                    And why wouldn't I? You think I don't know what love is?

                    (snorting in amusement) I know for a fact you don't know what love is. All your emotions are locked up in a dead guy and yet you continue to ignore the one live guy on this entire ship who is actually capable of showing you just what real love IS.

                    Well, that's where you're wrong. I think I'm just as capable of understanding love as you are. Just because I don't choose to fall in love with you doesn't mean...

                    (interrupting)You're wasting your time trying to reason with him my luscious little love dumpling. I mean, consider the source. We are talking about Stanley Tweedle here, after all. A guy who's idea of foreplay is "Would you be willing to accept trade or credit?"

                    Oh, look who's talking tin can! You've got about as much chance of pleasing Xev as I would of being crowned Emperor of the Divine Order itself!

                    Divine Odor's, more like it.

                    790, be quiet!

                    (Ignoring 790's further taunts and sighing) Look, Xev, no offense. But you grew up in a box, okay? The only real human interaction you've ever had was getting turned down by a future husband you didn't even care about. I'm talking about real love here, okay? Not some arranged wedding between you and some prepubescent little rich kid.

                    What did you just say?

                    (Stanley turns back around to repeat himself when suddenly and without warning, Xev hauls off and slugs Stanley smartly across the mouth as 790 whoops)

                    Ho Ho! That's showing him Xev! Now let's see you hit him where it really counts. The cryochamber! Quickly, while he's down, wake up the dead man and order him to kill Stanley Tweedle once and for all so the key will be transferred to you. Then afterwards, we can throw out the leftover protoblood and wait for the dead man to stop working altogether! And with that, you and I will finally be alone together. Just the two of us! For all time. Oh Xev, I just love it when a beautiful plan comes together!

                    (Xev snorts in disgust and sets 790 down, then storms off while Stanley sits up and shakes his head, rubbing his jaw with a hurt expression as 790 calls after her forlornly.)

                    Wait! Xev? Where are you going? This could be our golden moment of glory here, Xev. Come Back! Xev? Xev? XEEEEEV!!

                    (rubbing his jaw tenderly) Always treating me like a subhuman! I wonder what she'd do if I actually did have real power in her eyes.


                    (Stanley whirls around and gapes as Lyekka, who is now standing in front of him crouches down beside him and smiles)


                    (We see Xev crying as she enters the cryochamber and comes to a stop in front of Kai's cryopod, staring at it tearfully as she backs up, absently knocking into the control panel. She looks down at it and makes a decision, pressing the buttons until the chamber hisses and opens in a jet of super-chilled mist. As the pod lifts we see Kai open his eyes and look forward, making contact with Xev's. He steps down and looks at her wonderingly.)

                    Xev. Is there a problem?

                    Yes! Me.

                    (Narrowing his eyes) I do not understand.

                    (Suddenly their surroundings instantly morph, and Xev and Kai, bewildered, find themselves standing in a grand hallway. Kai is still in the uniform of a Divine Assassin, but Xev is now dressed in a low cut long flowing gown. They look at each other in confusion and Kai readies his brace as Xev comes up to him and takes his arm for reassurance.

                    Kai? Where are we? This place looks just like the Cluster.

                    That's because it is. Remain close to me Xev. I am afraid I am just as confused as you are. I will need more time to make sense of all this. As you know, the Cluster homeworld was completely destroyed by the Gigashadow. So I can only assume this is some sort of projected reality we are currently experiencing. Either that or we have somehow been transported backwards in time. However, I think it more likely this is an elaborate illusion of some sort.

                    Do you mean like a dream? But we're all awake aren't we?

                    (Kai nods softly, but then his expression hardens and he looks up. Suddenly from a distance, they hear a multitude of footsteps approaching. Kai pulls Xev into a tiny alcove as we see what appear to be several dozen soldiers marching past them in alignment down the hallway. As soon as they are gone, Kai pulls Xev along and follows at a safe distance.)

                    (whispering)What are you doing? Shouldn't we go that way?(pointing in the opposite direction)

                    No. I possess extensive knowledge of this sector of His Divine Shadow's largest underground base of operations. To proceed the other way would be to venture further into the depths of His Lair. Our only hope of eventual escape, so it would seem, would be to continue moving upwards towards the surface. However, in doing so, we will likely be met with resistance before long.

                    Surely there's got to be another way. What about a different corridor?

                    There is one other way. Yes. But it leads directly to the catacombs; the home to countless thousands of Divine Assassins such as myself. And I doubt that is the way you would wish me to proceed given a choice between the two.

                    Well..when you put it that way..

                    (Half smiling as if to reassure her, Kai takes Xev's hand and they proceed stealthily through the corridors, stopping every so often in an alcove whenever they hear a voice or approaching footsteps. After it is silent again, Xev pulls on Kai's arm and bids him to pause briefly)

                    (whispering) Wait. Where do you suppose Stan is?

                    Hiding, I suspect. If he has any sense of self-preservation, that is. Not even a security guard class four would be permitted to venture this deep into the restricted access levels. Only the roaming shadow drones and upper level military personnel may lurk these dark corridors unhindered. That is...except for the occasional Divine Assassin.

                    (nervously)You mean...there might be others like you roaming around?

                    Very likely, yes. Come, we must hurry.

                    (Taking her hand once again, they come to the end of the corridor as the room widens up into a large domed amphitheatre, with windows of curving upper level corridors looking down upon the large center platform where a bank of nearly a dozen military personnel are busily manning several computerized consoles and performing security sweeps of the outer perimeter.)

                    Wait here. I am going to test a theory.

                    (whispering) Kai wait. What theory?

                    (Kai ignores her as he steps out into the middle of the room where he is clearly visible now. He approaches an officer who looks up at him and salutes.)

                    May His Merciful Shadow fall upon you. Identify yourself Assassin.

                    00193C420 Reporting for Assignment.

                    (The officer turns and glances back to one of his men)

                    Hey, Tekril, bring up the release forms for the Brunnen C420. (turning back again to Kai as he pulls out a small scanning instrument and waves it over Kai..s eyes, which briefly convert to rolling code as he does so.) So, what's your destination, Assassin?

                    The Lexx.

                    (confused) The Lexx? What's that? A Star system?

                    (Turning back towards Tekril.)

                    You got anything on the charts for a Lexx? (looking back at Kai as Tekril shakes his head in confusion) I'm afraid I'm gonna have to detain you for a moment while I call this one in. Just sit tight and I'll get you placed in a minute? (he reaches for the button that would activate a force field around Kai.)

                    I do not think so.

                    (Before the man has a chance to react, Kai readies his brace and then pulls the officer into an arm-lock with his fingers gripped firmly around the man's neck. The other guards in the room snap to attention and one of them reaches for an emergency switch as several of them pull out their black-pacs. Kai reacts by discharging his brace at the guard, severing the man's right hand as the scythrie boomerangs back and is expertly caught by Kai while the guard falls to the floor screaming and clutching the stump of his wrist. Alarmed, the others edge closer, black-pacs aimed squarely at the Kai.)

                    (His voice panicky) Wait! Don't shoot. You'll only succeed in killing me. The Assassin is indestructible.

                    Now tell them to throw me their weapons and then lie down on the floor.

                    (Shouting) He says to throw him your weapons and lie down on the floor. (he pauses as they hesitate) DO IT!

                    The guards toss their weapons reluctantly and then lie down as commanded as Kai calls out to Xev.

                    Xev. It is safe for you to come out now.

                    Momentarily we see Xev emerge from her hiding place, and she tentatively approaches.

                    So what do we do now?

                    (reacting to Xev) Lady Xev? What is the meaning of all this?

                    (pressing the brace harder against his neck) How do you know her name?

                    (bewildered)What are you talking about? Lady Xev is the Queen of the Shadow Realm, and the lawful wife of His Divine Shadow.


                    Lady Xev, would you please call off this Assassin now? My orders are to protect and serve the order and all those who are loyal to His Divine Shadow...including you. I would no sooner harm you than to cut off my own ear.

                    (Kai looks at Xev, awaiting her command as Xev looks at the officer curiously.)

                    You serve me?

                    That is correct, my Lady. And I have done so faithfully for as long as I can remember.

                    (considering this new bit of information and then glancing up at Kai)Huh! Very well. Let him go, Kai.

                    (Kai releases the officer as he backs away and rubs his throat, bowing graciously to Xev as the other men slowly rise to their feet and retrieve their weapons. Kai continues to look around at them suspiciously however.)

                    If I may be so bold, Lady Xev, why are you not in the Royal Chambers where it is safe? And why would you choose to seek the company of a Divine Assassin? It is very dangerous for you to be walking around down here without benefit of your royal entourage.

                    My entourage?

                    (Kai assesses the situation and steps forward, answering for Xev.) She has no need of a royal entourage as I am the Lady Xev's personal guard. What better protection can there be than that of a Divine Assassin?

                    (catching on) Kai's right. And now if you boys will excuse us, I want to get back to my um...Royal Chambers now. Come along, Kai. We've been down here far too long as it is.

                    (Kai obediently follows her as the officer and his men stare on in blank confusion. Once Kai and Xev are out of eyeshot and they enter the elevator which scans Xev for clearance, Xev turns to Kai.)

                    Can you believe it? They actually think I'm their Queen. (smirking) Now I know this has to be a dream.

                    Perhaps. But the dead do not dream. At least, not normally.

                    Well, if this is a dream, then I never want to wake up. Think about it Kai. If I really am Queen of all I survey, and you have unlimited protoblood here, then we could rule together and make this place our home. I think I could be a very wise and generous ruler. Wouldn't you agree?

                    I might under normal circumstances. But you are forgetting one thing.

                    What's that?

                    You are already betrothed to His Divine Shadow. And I suspect that he does not share you philanthropic point of view in these matters.

                    (realization slowly dawning as her eyes widen) I' His Divine Shadow! And who is he going to turn out to be in this weird dream, I wonder? Thodin? I wouldn't mind at all being married to him. So long as this is my dream, that is.

                    (Back in the domed amphitheatre, the officer salutes as an image of His Divine Shadow fills the screen)

                    I worship His Merciful Shadow.

                    HIS DIVINE SHADOW
                    (Removing his hood to reveal none other than Stanley H. Tweedle.) What is it? I'm very busy.

                    Your Worshipfulness, I just thought you should know, the Lady Xev was just here a moment ago, accompanied by a Divine Assassin.

                    HIS DIVINE SHADOW
                    Divine Assassin?

                    Yes, your Majesty. And I just thought you should know. It was the Brunnen. I was surprised to discover that he had been revived, considering you had strict orders that this particular assassin could only be revived by you.

                    HIS DIVINE SHADOW
                    Where are they now?

                    (checking his console) They are approaching level C1, your majesty. Should I have them detained there?

                    HIS DIVINE SHADOW
                    No. I have a better idea.

                    (bowing)Very well. I worship his Merciful Shadow.

                    (The elevator doors part and Kai steps out cautiously and looks around before bidding Xev to follow. Then, satisfied, he takes her hand and leads her down a long glass corridor that overlooks the dismal geometric skyline of the Cluster homeworld. In the distance we can even see Cobalt Stadium glowing.)

                    To be continued....

                    790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
                    I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


                    • #11
                      Stan the Man: Lost Season 2 Episode, Part 2

                      (This is a continuation from PART 1/STAN THE MAN)

                      (Pulling away as she comes to a stop in front of the glass enclosure to view the panoramic vista) Well, queen or no queen, I think I'm beginning to get a bad feeling, Kai.

                      (stopping to gaze at her passively from a distance) Why?

                      Just look at it out there. (she comments as Kai walks over next to her to examine the panorama for himself) So barren and cold. Everything about this place just reminds me of death. It's creepy. (Shivering as she rubs her arms. Then, suddenly realizing who she's talking to as she wheels around) Oh...but I didn't mean to imply that you...

                      (staring at her uncomprehendingly) That I what?

                      (momentarily at a loss for words, she finally smiles in relief) Nothing. I'm just feeling a little chilly. I guess the part of me that's cluster lizard doesn't take very well to all this cold.

                      (Kai reacts by reaching up and touching her face gently, which takes Xev by incredible surprise. And for a moment, he even appears to be mildly concerned as he looks into her eyes. But then just as quickly his expression hardens again and he lowers his hand once more and looks away.)

                      (Brushing past her as he continues on) You are right. We must keep moving. Come.

                      (Xev watches him go rather wistfully, briefly touching the place on her cheek where his hand had been only moments before. Almost trancelike, she turns to glance out the window once more, lost in thought. However, when she next looks up, she suddenly finds herself standing alone in the corridor. She looks down the hallway nervously.


                      (Calling out tentatively as she begins searching for him.) Kai? Kai? Where are you? KAI!!

                      (Meanwhile, we can hear Xev screaming in the distance and Kai hears her and immediately turns. As he does so, he is suddenly sprayed from behind by something misty off camera, which causes him to freeze solid in an instant. And since Kai is frozen off balance in that moment, he immediately falls to the floor and shatters into multiple smaller fragments. As the camera focuses in on the fragments, we see footsteps approach the remains of half of Kai's frozen face lying on its side. Then the camera pans upward and we begin to see the familiar visage of a man dressed in a pink skirt and vest holding a rather intimidating looking weapon that is still discharging supercooled vapor from its wide barrel. It appears to be Thodin, but his face is pale and expressionless. He appears to be an undead assassin like Kai. With a single-minded purpose, he bends down and sets out a large cylinder shaped object on the floor in the midst of the fragments and presses a button, then backs away a safe distance. Suddenly the thing opens like a flower, hissing with a supercooled vapor and revealing a large magnetic rod in the center that immediately attracts all the fragments lying on the ground. In an instant the cylinder flashes brightly and seals itself again as Thodin, satisfied, approaches it once again and picks it up. Then he walks over and suddenly we see there is now someone else who has entered the room. A man in a hooded robe. Thodin approaches this man and kneels before him as the hooded man snaps his finger and two incredibly gorgeous looking young women dressed like harem girls dart forward and accept Thodin's gift, carrying it off as the hooded man lowers his hood. Once again we see it is Stanley Tweedle.)

                      (kneeling before Stanley and bowing his head)I worship his Shadow.

                      (grinning as though he is rather enjoying this very much) That's right. Who's the master?

                      (still kneeling as he looks up) You are my Lord. And I serve only you. Master,I have subdued the assassin. What would you have me do now?

                      How about...(suddenly his eyes widen) Dancing! Yeah! I want you to dance for me.

                      (his expression completely serious) As you wish Master.

                      (Thodin stands up and proceeds to execute the most ridiculous looking dance moves as Stan begins to laugh with glee. A horde of his harem girls rush forward and giggle along with him, flirting rather shamelessly and offering Stanley grapes as suddenly we hear a shout from across the room and the camera zooms in on Xev, her face frozen in shock.)

                      (laughing to himself) ...and that's for calling me a filthy worm! (accepting a grape from a nearby Harem Girl)

                      STANLEY TWEEDLE?!!

                      (Stan nearly chokes on a grape as he begins coughing violently. Meanwhile, Thodin continues to dance. And the girls all back away nervously as she enters the room rather regally and stares him up and down several times.)

                      (coughing hoarsely as he breaks down in laughter.) Xev? (giving a sideways glance to his girls) Uh's the old ball and chain.

                      (the other harem girls burst out laughing at this as well, but Xev does not appear to find this amusing in the slightest.)

                      (folding her arms) Excuse me?

                      That's right, Xev. In this reality, you're my wife! So get used to it.

                      I most certainly am NOT!

                      (Raising the back of is right hand to her and presenting a rather gaudy bejeweled ring with an - in your face - smirk as Xev stares at it in horror and then quickly looks down at her own hand, noticing for the first time the enormous jewel floating above her own ring finger.)

                      You most certainly are! (glancing over at Thodin) All right worm, that's enough. You can stop dancing now. I no longer find it amusing.

                      (Xev looks over at Thodin, who quickly resumes a passive posture with his hands behind his back staring forward. Her mouth is agape. Then she swivels her head around and wheels on Stan.

                      Is that who I...??? Is that Thodin?!! Stanley H. Tweedle! I demand to know what you've done to him!

                      (Really pissed now, she comes towards him menacingly as Stan begins to cower but then suddenly two of the harem girls step in the way with black-pacs raised. Xev halts in her tracks as she glares at Stan.)

                      (grinning in mild embarrassment.) Whoa...Girls! Girls, there's no need for that, now put those away. Xev's my wife after all. I don't want to hurt her.

                      (The girls reluctantly lower their weapons, but they remain standing in Xev's way, staring at her menacingly)

                      Well I'm about to hurt you, Stan! I don't know what's going on here but you've got a lot of explaining to do. And you can start right now by telling me why you're walking around in that ridiculous outfit pretending to be His Divine Shadow!

                      HAREM GIRL ..1
                      (Cozying up to Stanley on his left) Hey, why does she keep calling you Stanley? Are you sure you don't want us to just kill her for you, Master?

                      HAREM GIRL ..2
                      (Cozying up to Stanley on his right) Yeah, you don't need her anymore Master, we're all the women you could possibly ever need. Right girls?

                      HAREM GIRLS
                      (collectively giggling) Certainly!

                      (Emitting a low cluster lizard growl.) I'm losing my patience, Stanley.


                      (putting his hands up defensively) Now take it easy Xev. As for Thodin, he was already like that when I got here. And anyway this was all Lyekka's doing...

                      (cutting him off) LYEKKA?!

                      Yeah. I guess she was feeling sorry for me cuz you always treat me like I'm subhuman or something. So she created this reality just for me. Too bad for you, huh?

                      (Sighing) Look, Stan. I'm sorry about the mean things I've said to you in the past. I guess I can be kind of...insulting at times...but then again, maybe if you thought of someone else other than yourself once in a while, I might actually want to have sex with you one day. You never know.

                      Oh, is that so? Well, correct me if I'm wrong here, Xev. But it's always been my personal experience that the guys with all the power are the one who always manage to end up with the ladies. Am I right girls?

                      HAREM GIRLS
                      (collectively) Oh yes, Master. You are the Man!

                      I rest my case!

                      (growling loudly now) OOOH STAN! Call off Lyekka now or I'm going to hurt you. And you know that I can, so don't pretend to think your silly little harem here is going to be able to protect you from a raging half cluster lizard love slave with a very bad attitude!

                      Sorry Xev. No can do. And even if I did want to go back - which I don't - I don't even know where Lyekka is to even ask her. So you're just going to have to get used to it.

                      (Xev growls very deeply runs after Stan. In a split second, Thodin is there and he grabs her by the throat kicking and clawing as he lifts her into the air and throws her across the room. Xev hits the wall hard and is dazed as Stan looks on in shock.)

                      Whoa! Xev I'm sorry it's just that...

                      (getting to her feet angrily, her skin threatening to morph into lizard skin as it begins to phase, but she manages to control it...just barely. She looks at Thodin and then around the room) Kai? Kai where are you? I need your help.

                      Kai isn't going to answer you Xev. I already saw to that earlier with Thodin here.

                      (deflated and hurt) Kai? What did you do to him?

                      Nothing irreversible, of course. Relax. He's just a little indisposed at the moment. And that's just the way I want it. So maybe now that he's out of the way, you can finally focus on me for a change.

                      If you think I'd so much as touch you after what you did to Kai...

                      (Stan turns to Thodin dismissively and cuts Xev off)

                      Thodin, take Xev here and place her inside the love slave machine. I'd say it's about time we reworked that aggressive brain of yours into submission, wouldn't you say?

                      (Thodin comes for Xev and picks her up effortlessly as she screams)

                      NO! Stanley you can't do this to me, I'm begging you. Do you really want me to end up like 790? Adoring you and reciting really bad poetry?

                      True, that part would be annoying...but then all I'd have to do is just imagine the nights and's so worth it!

                      NOOOOO!!!! (screaming and pouding her fists on Thodin's back to no avail)


                      (we reopen with Xev lying in the love slave machine, her mouth gagged and her body strapped down as we see a mindless drone with a 790 head walk over. He looks her over carefully as she tries desperately to spit the gag out of her mouth. She mumbles incoherently as the 790 lumbers slowly over to the switch and presses it. The brain reprogrammer begins to glow as Xev looks up in horror. She finally manages to spit out the gag just enough to yell)

                      790! Please don't do this. You love me don't you? At least, I thought you did.

                      790 UNIT
                      Be silent human. You will only make the transition more difficult for yourself if you fight it.

                      (crying now as the shield lowers) Please 790 I love you! Don't do this to me! Noooo!!

                      (suddenly from behind 790, we see a small robot head wheel itself into the room and knock the 790's feet out from under it. The 790 unit falls, and as he does so his hand grips the mechanism and shuts it down just before it covers Xev's head. He is screaming as he does so.)

                      XEEEEEEEEEEEEV!!!!!! I'll save you my dearest!

                      (incredulous and joyful as she tries to peer downwards) 790? Is that really you?

                      Yes, it is me, my darling Xevoluscious! I don't know how we suddenly ended up back on the Cluster, but I've been wandering these dark and lonely hallways for hours hoping against hope that I'd finally run into you at last. And then I remembered that this was where I first found you when I was eaten by that gigantic cluster lizard and you were transformed into a gorgeous love slave. And sure enough, this is where I find you! Oh Xev! Say you'll never leave me again like that!

                      790, help me get out of this thing. Any minute Thodin's going to come back in here and I...oh,no! Quick hide I hear footsteps!

                      (790 quickly wheels away to a corner as Thodin walks in and sees Xev lying on the table with her eyes closed. He glances over at the robot lying on the floor and bends down to investigate. Then he looks around suspiciously. After a few seconds he gets up and walks over to Xev, unstraps her and picks her up, carrying her over his shoulder out of the room. 790 wheels out of hiding and looks on forlornly.)

                      (squeakily) Xev?? (his eyes wide in horror and fear as they disappear) Gotta think fast. Now, what do I have here that are my assets? (looking around the room, he suddenly spies the now prostrate robot and his eyes light up) Oh, Joy!

                      (We see Stan..ala HDS sans the black robe and lying half naked and surrounded by a harem of beautiful women on an enormous fur lined bed shaped like a brain. Women are lying on either side of him feeding him grapes and massaging his head and shoulders while one girl dances for him and yet another fans him with her fan shaped sleeves as she lies next to him cleavage exposed. Next to Stan's bed is the cylinder containing Kai's remains. From a distance we see a flank of guards manning the doorway. Suddenly we hear a commotion as the guards turn to see another officer pushing along 2 men dressed in level 4 security guard uniforms. We recognize them immediately as Feppo and Smoor. Stan immediately sits up and grins when he sees the officer push these two into the room and they stumble to the floor and get on their knees prostrate and crying.)

                      Well. Waddya know? Feppo and Smoor! Just the two I was hoping to run into!

                      (blithering) wasn't me, your holiness. It was him.

                      (glaring at Feppo) NO! Don't listen to him, Master Shadow, he's an expert manipulator. I..I worship his Divine Shadow...

                      (countering) Would you listen to that hooey? He's the one who...

                      SILENCE! (Standing up as the girls rush to bring him his robe. He quickly dons it and steps down from the bed to walk over to them.) Gentlemen. I's only fitting that I extend to you both the same courtesy as you have ever seen fit to extend to me. (glancing at his harem) Whaddya think girls? Shall I fetch the biovisier?

                      HAREM GIRLS
                      Oooh..yes Master! (giggling)

                      (HDS snaps his fingers and we see a hologram appear before them. It appears to be fully intact Mantrid with his assistant Vigl. They look on eagerly at their newest victims as Feppo and Smoor's eyes grow wide with fear.)

                      Yo Mantrid. I'd like you to take good care of my two friends here. I want you to give them the complete star treatment. You know, make sure they're completely free of any parasites or worms, that kind of thing.

                      Yeeeees, it would be my extreme pleasure, your holiness. (Grinning wildly as Vigl lifts up his hands and snaps on a rubber glove with glee.)

                      FEPPO AND SMOOR
                      (in unison) No, No..NOOOOO..please your holiness..anything but that..we'll be good, we promise..heeeeeeeelp..

                      (they are dragged kicking and screaming from the room as the hologram disappears and we see Thodin emerge now with an unconscious Xev over his shoulder. He looks at Stan expressionlessly.)

             darling wife. (glancing up at Thodin) You did put her through the love slave programming right?

                      Yes my Lord. I have done as you requested.

                      Excellent! Now go stand in a corner or something.

                      Your grace, my protoblood is beginning to expire. I must return to the catacombs at once and refresh my supply if I am to be of any further use to you.

                      Oh...okay. That makes sense. But hurry back! I may still have need of you.

                      Yes, my Lord. (bowing generously and exiting the room)

                      (Stan turns to Xev, who is lying on the fur lined bed now, her eyes closed. He is still suspicious, however, so he approaches her cautiously. As he leans over her, Xev suddenly opens her eyes, startling him. She looks up at and smiles dreamily.)

                      I will love you forever.

                      (Then Xev grabs Stan and gives him a great big kiss, so big Stanley's eyes begin to bulge. He backs away, slightly out of breath and stumbles. But his expression is clearly triumphant)

                      Everyone OUT!

                      HAREM GIRLS
                      But Master, we want to stay with you!

                      I said OUT! I want to be alone for a while with my darling wife, right Xevvy?

                      (Smiling dreamily as she stands up and walks over to Stan seductively) Oh yes, Master Shadow! (licking his ear) I'm going to do things to you tonight that you can't even find in a textbook drawing. (aggressively pulling him around so that he's facing her as he puts his hands on her hips)

                      (The harem girls sulkily leave the room as the guards follow behind, and now they are truly alone together.)

                      Oh, Xev. (licking his lips and eying her contours) You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this moment.

                      And I never realized just how incredibly sexy you really are underneath all that insecurity. It's really getting me hot. (growling) I want you now Stanley. Get on that bed! (pushing him onto the bed and growling some more as her skin begins to take on a slightly more reptilian tone and Stanley cowers in fear.)

                      (Suddenly Stan isn't so sure he likes this new Xev as she rips down one of the canopy drapes and jumps down on top of him)

                      Xev? (laughing nervously) What are you doing?

                      Just having a little sexy fun with you, Stanley.(smiling as she rips the canopy into pieces and begins tying his hands to the bed post.) You do want to have fun, don't you Stanley? And I promise I'm going to make this a night you'll never forget!

                      (After tying Stan's hands to the bedpost, she proceeds to kiss his stomach and then his legs, ticking his feet as Stan laughs nervously)

                      (laughing) Stop it Xev, I hate to be tickled. Can we please just skip right to the sex instead?

                      Oh we will Stanley. (Standing up and dancing seductively around the bed) But first, you're going to tell me what you did with Kai.

                      (realization suddenly dawning) Hey! Wait a minute. I thought Thodin put you through the...

                      (pouncing on him again, this time her expression vicious) slave transformation? Oh YES Stanley, he put me into that horrible machine. But I managed to escape just like I always do. Just like you will always fail at everything you ever try to do. It's just in your genetic make up to fail. And now you're going to tell me where Kai is or so help me I'm going to...

                      (suddenly a hand grabs Xev's shoulder and she turns)

                      ...going to what?

                      Oh Thodin! Thank you, thank you thank you. And I'm sorry about that whole dancing thing.

                      (suddenly we see a 790 UNIT enter the room and he looks over at Xev.)

                      GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF MY WOMAN!

                      (smiling tearfully) 790!

                      That's right my darling. I'm here to rescue you. (glancing over at Stan) Oh Stan, and to think I thought you looked pathetic in that Security Guard uniform but now I've just gotta've really let yourself go.

                      THAT'S IT! KILL HIM!

                      (Thodin releases Xev and immediately goes after 790 as he shouts to Xev.

                      XEV QUICK! Open the cylinder.

                      What? (glancing around the room frantically) What cylinder?

                      (Before 790 can answer her, Thodin wraps his hands around 790's throat and proceeds to try and rip his head off his new body while 790 begins to make robot gag noises. Suddenly Xev spots the cylinder by Stan's bed and rushes over to it as Thodin rips 790's head off and tosses it to the floor while the body slumps to the ground. He turns and comes after Xev just as she reaches the cylinder and presses a button. Suddenly the thing opens like a flower with a burst of brilliant light and everyone is momentarily blinded. We can also hear Stan and 790 screaming in the background as they all shield their eyes.

                      The camera zooms in as we see little pieces of flesh begin to congeal together in the brilliant light and slowly piece back together little by little. Thodin takes the opportunity and grabs Kai's newly regenerated arm just as he aims the scythrie up at him. It flings off into space, just missing its mark, and lands on the ground at the far end of the room. Then Thodin pulls Kai's half formed body from the cylinder and flings him across the room as he tries to reach down and close the cylinder before the rest of his body can reform.)

                      KILL HIM! KILL HIM!!

                      (However, Thodin makes the mistake of flinging Kai against the same wall as the scythrie, and Kai manages to grab the scythrie and put it back in his brace and re-aim it at Thodin, shooting it once more and severing Thodin's head from his body. Quickly Xev runs over and grabs Thodin's head as his body wanders around aimlessly and she looks around frantically for someplace to put it)

                      Quick Xev, put my head on Thodin's body!

                      (with only his upper body regenerated) NO! XEV! Toss Thodin's head out the window.

                      (quickly Xev runs over to the window as Thodin stares up at her menacingly and the body begins to come for her. She frantically pulls at the lever on the stained glass windows and just as the body reaches her they fly open and she hurls the head as far as she can, then screams!)

                      NO! NO! NO! NO!!!

                      KAI! HELP ME! (Thodin's body begins oozing protoblood from the severed neck stump as he grabs her and tries to push her out the window.)

                      (Kai shoots Thodin again with his scythrie causing more protoblood to ooze from his wounds as Kai slowly crawls towards the now closed cylinder. Xev screams as Thodin almost manages to push her from the window, and now she's only hanging against the side of the tower by her fingers as she looks down into the abyss below in horror.)

                      Kai do something. Save my Xev before that headless freak manages to kill her!

                      Oh yeah? Ever taken a good look at yourself there robot head? (straining as he begins to feel his restraints unraveling.) You just wait till I get myself out of this mess.

                      (Kai reaches the cylinder just as Stan frees his hand and he pulls the cylinder away and laughs.)

                      Not so fast, dead man. This is MY fantasy remember?

                      (Stan quickly jumps up and presses a button on the wall next to his bed. Suddenly a hoarde of guards rush into the room. From the window we can hear Xev scream as Thodin's body, drained of protoblood slumps to the floor.)

                      KAI! I can't hold on much longer. I'm gonna fall.

                      (annoyed and with his hands on his hip) Will someone get her from the window PLEASE?

                      (Two of the guards rush up to the window and assist Xev back inside as several more surround Kai, who is beginning to ooze protoblood from his own half stump as he stares up at them weakly, looking defeated.)

                      NOW EVERYBODY LISTEN UP...because I'm only going to say this once. (looking around the room in disgust as all eyes turn to him.) All I ever wanted from this stupid fantasy was just a little bit of RESPECT! Just a tiny measure of approval for someone to say "Hey Stan, you're doing a great job". Or "Gee Stan, you sure look handsome today". Was that really too much to ask for? (turning to Xev) And you! Little miss love slave. Did it ever occur to you even once that if you had just bothered to be nice to me for one second I might have shown you a little bit of respect in return? BUT NO! You gotta come after me with that cluster lizard growl of yours so I had no choice but to defend myself the only way I knew how. And even that backfired on me.

                      Stan I...

                      Aw just forget it Xev. I give up. Clearly you're never going to like me no matter what I ever say and do so why even try being a nice guy anymore? At least as a bad guy I was constantly surrounded by hoards of adoring women. (looking around) And speaking of girls...where are they anyway?

                      (Suddenly we see the door open and in walks Lyekka, smiling all fresh faced and smiling innocently.)

                      That was me, Stanley. I was the horde of adoring harem girls that you wanted so desperately. I just wanted you to be happy.

                      Why thank you, Lyekka. I always knew I could count on you.

                      I love you Stanley H. Tweedle ! Even if I am all smooth round the bend. I hope I can always be your fantasy.

                      You know what Lyekka. You are my fantasy.

                      Oh Puleeeeze! Imagining Stanley Tweedle as anything other than a...

                      STAN, LYEKKA, XEV and KAI
                      (in unison) SHUT UP, 790!

                      (Suddenly they are all standing on the Bridge of the LEXX:Stanley, Lyekka , Xev, 790 and Kai. And Lyekka leans over to Stanley and kisses him firmly on the cheek as she smiles and backs away sweetly, then enters her pod as Stan, Xev and Kai look on earnestly.)

                      Boy, she is some woman.


                      (Stan turns to give Xev a dirty look, but she just smiles and winks at him, then gives him a big kiss on the mouth that makes his eyes bulge as Kai looks dispassionately. 790 whines insistently

                      XEV? What are you doing? Have you lost your mind completely? EWWWW. I think I'm gonna be sick!

                      (ignoring 790) Wow! What was that for?

                      I don't know. Just because. (she smiles and winks and then walks off the bridge with 790 in tow, still gagging and coughing as he berates Xev for the kiss. Stan stares at Kai who looks at him expectantly.)

                      What? No hug?

                      (rolling his eyes) I am returning to my cryochamber now. Wake me if any emergency should arise...(then he pauses and turns at the corridor) ...any genuine emergency...that is. (Kai turns and disappears down the hallway as Stan sighs happily and steps up to his holo console, activating it with his hand.


                      Yes, Stanley?

                      I'm feeling...a bit saucy today!

                      I am afraid I do not understand what that means. Is that a good thing?

                      (reaching up and touching his face with a reminiscent smile) It's a good thing alright, Lexx. A very good thing.

                      I like good things.


                      Me too, Lexx. (pausing thoughtfully) So...tell me Lexx. Who's the man?

                      You are Stan. You are my number one Captain, Stan. Stan the Man.

                      You better believe it. Now...let's go find something really big we can blow up.

                      As you command...Stanley. I think I see something perfect in my viewscreen right now.

                      Well then let's just do it, Pal! (grinning) Blow it up LEXX!

                      Oh thank you Stanley, I have been very...very hungry. This will help a lot.

                      (stepping down from the console and yawning) This was the perfect end to a really perfect day. I think I'm gonna go lie down now and see if I can't dream up a little more of that fantasy of mine. Eat away, LEXX. G'night pal.

                      Good night Stanley. Sweet dreams.

                      (We see the LEXX stop in front of a planet as its optical parabolas begin to glow. As it does so, we pan down from space now to see a rich and thriving planet full of beautiful women running around in bathing suits and laughing. They are playing volleyball and swimming with a bunch of older guys far less attractive than even Stanley. The men look like they are in heaven. Suddenly they look up to see a bright flash in the sky panning across the horizon as, we pull away to a wide shot and watch the planet burst into a million tiny pieces in a spectacular array of visuals.)

                      Closing music and end credits.

                      790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
                      I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


                      • #12
                        The Dream

                        I awakened from a vivid dream of my ancestors tonight, feverish and disoriented, sensing my beloved Naya, Xiara stirring fitfully next to me as I peeled the damp covers away from my bare form and sought momentary refuge on the outer garden lanai. There I found a cool, soothing breeze rolling in off the gentle ocean surf to comfort me, and I wanted so desperately to clear my mind in my newly bonded delirium, my metabolism still not quite fully stabilized to my sweetly slumbering lifemate. Yet I found I could not shake the vivid memory of it, as though it had been more of an apparition than the byproduct of a restless imagination.

                        In fact, the entire sensory experience of it suggested I had literally been transported to another time and place, and I wondered if perhaps I may have indeed done just that. For I'd found myself, in that moment, standing in the midst of a large rotunda, during what appeared to be a great festival in honor of the legendary Time Prophet, the Umvel Sensei, Kinsul Osiri. And as the surrounding air was bitterly dry to my lungs and suffocatingly warm, even in the cavernous depths of this massive yet ancient, underground city, I knew at once I must surely be on the homeworld of my ancestors, the original Brunnis itself.

                        So different from my own world was this scorched and barren planet, virtually crumbling from the inside due to the countless thousands of subterranean passageways leading to and from the last 3 remaining underground cities of Auxpri, Trieri and Canadrel, as I had imagined them in my youth. So alien in design and construction to my own modest township of Kerrilua, situated beneath the apex of a great waterfall and continuously nurtured by the flowing subterranean aquifers of the Sopritan Ledanz, our largest river system on Brunnis 2. And yet I felt strangely at home here on this hostile wasteland of a dying planet, gazing in wonder at the procession of colorfully costumed performers danced merrily across the square, seemingly oblivious to the wretched heat that even now promised to steal every last ounce of moisture from my skin and claw at my parched throat until it grew raw and blistered with each successive intake of breath.

                        Still I found myself awestruck. For everywhere around me, I saw evidence of a brilliant and thriving culture. Even as the soul of Brunnis itself cried out for a final respite from the relentless throes of a broiling atmosphere while the surface seas slowly boiled away to nothing at the equator. Even here, from deep within the protective cocoon of a splendidly decorated, naturally carved amphitheatre, my people gathered to sing ancient hymns and to joyously celebrate the occasion of their deliverance at the hands of their legendary auror. I watched as they paraded past me, followed closely by the Sacred Order of Suhayem and Fal Hespirin, plucking delicate stringed lukirus, their royal blue robes draping behind them as a trio young plebian girls fervently supported each train. And everywhere, weaving through the crowd to the delight of countless children, theatrical jesters and acrobats roamed about, performing whimsical feats to entertain and pacify even the most cynical of spectators. Gradually, however, the festival began to take on a more solemn tone as the 3 great royal houses of Brunnis brought up the rear, dressed in the rich colors of their respective clans: Purple for Clan Falnor, gold for Clan Branach and finally the familiar royal blue ceremonial uniform of Clan Tuath, from my own warrior tribal tradition.

                        The music began to take on more of a tribal rhythm at this point as a methodic baritone thrumming kept beat to the march of the soldiers, and the entire crowd began to bow reverently. It was at this point I became distinctly aware of the sensation of being outside of my body. I could see myself suddenly, standing amongst the onlookers, my own head bowed as the procession began to slow and finally to stop. The thrumming abruptly silenced. And then, quite unexpectedly, all eyes turned towards me, and a saw myself looking up and scanning the crowd in bewilderment as the sea of people began to part, and a hush fell upon the crowd. I turned my eyes towards the source of this wonder, and beheld an exquisitely bejeweled silvery carriage in the shape of a spirally coiled Ectiri. A royal attendant from each of the 3 houses stepped down from the massive hovering flotilla as a young Suhayem plebian dressed in iridescent wings scattered hundreds of shimmery blue insect wings in front of the carriage and the attendants took their places, one on each side of the Ectiri while the third bowed reverently and presented a large colorful staff. Then, as I watched from above, the shiny Ectiri began to uncoil, until it opened up to reveal a gigantic insect, towering nearly to the ceiling of the amphitheatre itself as it hovered over what appeared to be a large, colorful egg sac. Slowly and deliberately, the egg sac began to swell until it thinned to the point of transparency, revealing a majestic, imposing hooded figure, standing within. Then with a final surge of swelling, the egg sac burst into nothingness, and there, for all eyes to behold, stood the great Okai Kinsul Osiri, the Time Prophet herself.

                        With a start I was jolted back inside my own body again as I felt myself compelled to fall to my knees, as all my will was stolen from me. Unnaturally, I found myself enamored with a feeling of such intense love and devotion as I have never felt before, even for my own mother. It struck me with such powerful force that I knew I was no longer acting on my own behalf anymore as some ethereal presence was now exerting control over my very will. And I, along with the rest of the crowd, now prostrate on their knees, lay helpless in her omnipotent mental grasp. In that moment of surrendered reverence, we were her children, and she the very mother of the whole of Brunnis itself. Nothing else existed for us.

                        The Mother Prophet, assisted by the two attendants on either side of her, slowly stepped down from the flotilla as the Ectiri once again began to curl itself up into a tighly spiraled coil and the third attendant presented the staff to her before humbly backing away, his head deeply bowed. She moved gracefully for one of such advanced age, taking deliberate strides and wielding the staff with all the grand magnificence one might expect from such a being of such unparalled mystery and grandeur. For all who loved her, wisely feared her as well. And so it was, when I saw her finally cast her intelligent blue eyes upon me and come to a halt before my crumpled and cowering form, I quaked with such fear I thought surely I might indeed lose my mind. But then her gaze softened, and she bid me to stand up, her voice resonating throughout my psyche even as her lips remained immobile, and I found myself complying once again through no will of my own. All at once, I stood before her rigid with terror as my eyes unwillingly locked to her own and I felt her own narrow as they bore through me, intrusively opening my mind and extracting every desperate secret I may have hoped to keep private. In that swift moment I had been laid bare. My soul stripped of all pretense. I was an innocent child once again, begging for acceptance in the oppressive shadow of worldly giants. And from this lofty position, Mother Prophet beheld me in her scrutiny, and mercifully, through some miracle of kindness on her part, strangely found favor.

                        "Kai, of the Brunnen G." She affirmed in the presence of all who beheld us. "You have been brought her at my behest. And I would have you believe, even now as you doubt your own eyes in the presence of my greatness that I am no mere legend, reduced to a fairy tale in the wake of an immortal seed that must wither in the shadow of a lost and decadent age. Yet it is up to you, Kai, to fulfill the prophecy. And he who will forever remain Tuath as nearly all of his namesakes before him, will travel in a borrowed ship beyond the shields to find me awaiting his return on the forgotten planetoid moon. This you will do, even as your people condemn you unto death, Kai, of the Brunnen G, for even now, His Shadow is upon you."

                        A cold chill of dread spread through me in that instant, and I was struck dumb by her words. For I found I could not utter one single whispered syllable of reply as she swiftly turned and presented her back to me and then disappeared again into the crowd. And all at once I became a thing of scorn, for I surely felt the terrible, weighty presence of a thousand pairs of eyes boring into my soul, the scowling stares of the Fal Hespirin questioning why I, of all people, should merit any notice of one such as her; their jealous hatred assaulting my senses and wearing down whatever lingering defense my will may have yet retained along with my dignity. They descended upon me with the intent of stripping my youth. And even as the Time Prophet retired again within the protective coils of the monstrous Ectiri, I felt my innocence going with her, and I knew all at once that I would never find a moments peace until I should heed her words and seek out this forgotten moon as she compelled me to do. I must have succumbed to the heat at some point, because I have no memory of the period of time between that moment and the eventual return to my senses except that I awoke in a cold sweat, drenched in perspiration and burning with a fever such that I could no longer bear to remain covered.

                        Xiara-Naya could sense my discomfort even as she slept, just as I knew implicitely that she would. For, even though we were newly bonded and vulnerable still, our empathic link had already solidified the love and emotional attachments within us. It wasn't long before she awoke to find me out on the lanai, reaching out and stretching her arms protectively around me while nuzzling her cheek against my chest. I responded by wrapping my arms around her and holding her close as she whispered in my ear nervously.

                        "I can feel you Kai, and I know you are troubled." She gazed up at me, her eyes searching my soul. "Please tell me there are no more secrets between us. We are one now, my love."

                        What could I tell her? I knew anything I said to her she would instantly recognize for the truth or lie that it was. I could no longer close myself to her, nor did I harbor any desire to do so. But I knew that my next words would surely strike her as hard as if they had come from a physical blow. I drew in a deep breath and faced her, for she deserved that much for all we had been through together in the course of our long courtship and rapturous bonding. I looked into her eyes and saw fear. And then I realized I had already told her in wordless exchange. A single tear elicited a sorrowful trail across the outline of her delicate cheek, and so I did all I could do as I held her close while more followed in rapid succession. But then she grew hard, and her tone took on a more resolute edge to it.

                        "Put it out of your mind, Kai. I know you will never leave me." She replied solemnly as I buried my face in her hair and closed my eyes tightly until I began to see flashes of light in my angst.

                        Yet even in her arms, on this the day of our union, I still felt more alone than I had ever been in my entire life. And how would our love ever survive such an omen as this?

                        For in my heart I understood implicitly, I must surely know the truth of it before it is done.

                        I must know.

                        790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
                        I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


                        • #13
                          The Sentence

                          Kai struggled to stand, even as the sentries closed in on him and gripped his arms tightly, pulling him to his feet and escorting him towards the door. He stole a quick glance back towards his newborn friends, catching Lett's eye one last time before being forced by sheer momentum to look forward again lest he stumble. Kai could only hope that his friend has interpreted his expression correctly.

                          Proceed without me as planned. We cannot afford to despair. The prophecy waits for no one.

                          And then he was through the door. Before he knew it they were in a long brightly lit corridor that seemed to stretch on forever. And, as he and his captors finally neared the end in what seemed like an eternity of frozen moments, Kai's senses were suddenly assaulted by the abrupt odor of antiseptics and blood filtering through the ventilation system overhead. He felt his own blood rushing to his head, and a giddy knot of fear gripped his chest as they wordlessly propelled him through the hinged doors. Suddenly they were in a room filled with a vast panoply of unfamiliar and daunting looking medical instruments laid out beside a reclined chair replete with straps. In spite of his fear, Kai put up little resistance however, as the sentries both glanced at each other in unspoken amusement and then led him past the frightening equipment towards the other end of the room as another side door opened, and a tall, beautiful blonde-haired Brunnen female in a long white robe strolled up to the awaiting sentries.

                          "You may leave us now." She intoned, her voice betraying the calm, resolute confidence of a fully trained Suhayem.

                          "Of course, my lady."

                          The sentries released their grip on Kai as they proceeded to bow deeply and then dutifully departed the room. Kai remained staring into the woman's eyes, determined to resist her charms, even as he felt her prying into his brain, searching for any sign of weakness.

                          "So, you are the traitor. Quite a stunt for one so young. What makes you think you can simply defy the will of the Shaniri? Our shields have served us well for thousands of years."

                          "They are failing."

                          "If they are failing it is only because you have seen fit to compromise them with your departure." Her voice began to take on a distainful tone as her eyes flashed a brilliant blue in her anger. "Time Prophet! Such a pathetic excuse for your obvious treachery. It is you who are in league with the Divine Order!"

                          Suddenly Kai felt her mind boring into his, accessing the pain receptors in his brain as an intense burning sensation began to travel down every nerve ending in his body forcing him to collapse to his knees and bring his hands to his temples in agony. Through the haze of pain, he could now sense her drawing near, carefully studying her prey as she slowly kneeled down in front of him and put her hand squarely on his chest. Kai gasped as the images began to flood his mind in an unwilling succession.

                          Delicate memories of his childhood, covert forays into the forest with his friends, private moments in the arms of his lover, fears and hopes in the desperate and lonely hours of solitude in his journey to the moon. And finally she came upon the memory she was at long last seeking. Kai standing before an altar as a robed figure turns and approaches. The figure is hooded and wearing black. It is His Divine Shadow.

                          "NOOOO!!!" Kai screamed incredulously, delerious with pain and desperate to pull away from her grip as the Suhayem held him immobile in her practiced mental grasp. "This is not what happened at all."

                          "Do you doubt your own memories, Kai? There is no Time Prophet because there never was a Time Prophet. Instead you journeyed to the moon to give the coordinates of our shield to His Divine Shadow."

                          "That is a lie! I was there...I...I remember." Kai whispered hoarsely, as she eased up on the pain and he immediately slumped to the floor, reduced to tears and disillusionment. "I would never betray my people."

                          The Suhayem rose to her feet as a wave of bitter anger and disgust flowed through her mind into his, as she spat a burst of venom with her words.

                          "And yet you already have. It is all there, Newborn Kai. We have both seen it with our own eyes. You cannot deny it. It would seem our fate, and the fate of all Brunnens now lies squarely in the hands of a traitor. You have destroyed us all." Quickly turning away now, she walked over to the reclining chair and stood before it resolutely, returning her attention once again upon Kai, prostrate and weakened on the floor.

                          "Come. Accept your punishment as the last noble act of one who has seen fit to destroy the very name upon which his once proud heritage implied. You are no longer worthy to bear the mark of immortality gifted so generously to our people by the Shaniris and their royal blood."

                          From Kai's left, the doulbe doors swung open and a team of technicians clad in white medical garb along with the Supreme Biocurion, a man with a drawn and gaunt face bearing large haunted eyes slung deep in their sockets, entered the room. He was an old Brunnen...forever frozen in time by the late effects of immortality, as he was the one of the first of his kind to have been transformed by the discovery thousands of years ago. Herodis, as he was infamously referred, traveled exclusively in the company of the O'siri royal family, and his penchant for dispassionate obedience, feuled by the complete loss of the every one of the kinder and more gentle memories of his youth, was what made him idea for carrying out the brutal sentencing of those who dared to commit grievous and unforgivable acts. Murder, treachery, rape. All of these things carried with them the sentence of aging. And while it would have seemed that this mere act of stripping one of their own immortality hardly befitted the crime, it was, in fact, far worse than it sounded.

                          For to strip a Brunnen of their immortality was to strip them of nearly all of their natural immunities as well. That, coupled by a vastly accelerated aging rate to boot guaranteed that the Brunnen in question would surely no live longer than perhaps several weeks to a few months at best under these adverse conditions. Deprived of a working immune system and all the while aging at an exponentially accelerated rate, they could easily be felled by even the slightest innocuous virus to float along in the breeze, and often times the Brunnen, in reality succumbed to violent fevers or horrific cancers long before their body had even the chance to sufficiently age. Death by aging was a truly hideous and cruel sentence in light of this knowledge.

                          Kai knew all this well as he struggled in the mental grip of the Suhayem, bidding him to rise from the ground and walk towards his would be executioners. His mind reeled from the Suhayem's empathic violation of his senses; the images of the dark hooded figure standing before him at the altar. couldn't be. It was the time prophet. She said that I would be.... Kai stumbled again as he struggled to rise to his feet, the uncertainty playing havok with his own convictions. Did I betray my people? Am I capable of such a thing? The others remained immobile and avoided helping him as Kai felt the Suhayem pull him closer and closer to his fate. He took a few measured steps forward, repulsed by his own inability to fight her. But then even as he resisted, part of his mind began to succumb to her will, and he began to believe that perhaps he was deserving of this punishment. He had indeed been a traitor. And now he deserved to die.

                          "Noooo..." he whispered softly, trying to blot out from his mind the judgmental empathic vibrations surrounding him on all sides by those in attendence.

                          "You are a traitor, Kai. Do not let this last act of wanton resistance prove to us that you are unwilling to accept even a shred of accountability for all that you have committed against the Brunnen G. Is this the legacy you would have your ancient name to be remembered for? Kai, the unrepentant traitor of his people? Come now, without further delay and accept your sentence as you know you must."

                          Wearily, Kai acquiesced, his mind spent, as he proceeded forward in quiet surrender, collapsing into the chair while the techicians busily set about strapping him down and preparing an IV solution for dispensing. Herodis, the Supreme Biocurion strolled calmly over to a securely locked panel and placed his palm against the square yellow keypad to the right of it. Suddenly a burst of electrical energy arced around him as the genetic analyzer scanned him to validate his signature. Seeminly satisfied, it dissipated, and the panel slid open to reveal an array of metallic cylinders. Quickly he took one out as the panel closed on itself again and then her turned and placed it on the table, clicking a small device on the bottom that caused a springloaded pop, and the cylinder parted, revealing a long chilled syringe filled with a mysterious glowing liquid. Herodis removed it from the compartment and held it up to the light, apparently in rapt fascination as a smile played across his wrinkled face.

                          Kai couldn't bring himself to care anymore, as the techicians expertly inserted an IV into his right arm and then checked once more to ensure that the restraints were securely fastened. Then he closed his eyes and simply waited for the inevitable.

                          Suddenly he heard a violent commotion from behind as he opened his eyes once again and tried to crane his neck around to see what had caused the disturbance. Alas it was too difficult, but it wasn't long before the source of the intrusion readily made itself known to one and all.

                          "You will stop what you are doing immediately." Came the rather authoritative and familiar voice of the Magistrate.

                          Kai noted the Biocurion's jaw drop several inches as he slowly backed away and the Magistrate stepped forward into his view. He was apparently accompanied by some else far more familiar and comforting. Anara-Mem.

                          "Mother? What are you doing here?"

                          "Kai! My brave son. I..." Anara-Mem whispered fervently. But she was cut off by the warning tone of the Magistrate.

                          "Make no mistake Anara. I am only allowing this because it was at the behest of the Shaniri."

                          "Vara O'siri herself?" Whispered the Biocurion incredulously. Apparently he could be moved by some things.

                          The Magistrate was clearly agitated by the smells and the whole nature of what was about to transpire in this room. Clearly he was far less comfortable with being witness to the actual execution of a sentence than he was of handing it down in the tribunal.

                          "Yes. Since Anara here has long been the Royal Gardener for the O'siri family and apparently well favored by the Shaniri, her request to be present during the carrying out of the sentence moved Vara O'siri to allow for this one particular exception."

                          "I see. Very well." The Supreme Biocurion was clearly disappointed. Anara's presence would make it virtually impossible to add any further source of mental torture to the subject while he was in their custody and control. However, he could not bring himself to question the will of the Shaniri. To do so was considered an act of treason in and of itself.

                          "You may proceed then...but only after I am gone." The Magistrate added as he made for a hasty departure.

                          Anara-Mem glanced up at the Suhayem and hissed beneath her breath as the woman frowned and turned away, taking a seat on the far end of the room. Then she turned her gaze once again to her son and gently cleared a few stray strands of Kai's long Tuath bangs away from his face and kissed him on the forehead, tears welling up even as she did so.

                          "They hurt you, didn't they?" She whispered. "It is against our Brunnen ethics to do so. I will be sure to tell the Shaniri about this."

                          "I yet unharmed." Kai replied softly, although he knew very well his mother's empathic connection to him virtually ensured he could never lie to her.

                          "I am inserting the Deprovirilan into the IV now." The Biocurion announced warily, watching Kai's mother for any sign of protest as he proceeded to inject the tubing and fill the bag with the glowing yellow liquid. Slowly a traveling line of yellow snaked it's way down the tubing and into Kai's arm as he turned to look at his mother fearfully.

                          "I never meant to betray you, mother." he sighed, still caught up in the grip of his own disillusionment. "I am afraid I can no longer confidently account for my own actions. I am...confused by them."

                          Anara reached over and gently stroked his temple, as Kai closed his eyes, the chemical beginning to fill him with an overwhelming drowsiness. He drifted off into an uneasy sleep as the images once again burst into his mind with a vivid and terrifying clarity.

                          He was standing before the altar and waiting for the robed figure to acknowledge his presence. Suddenly the figure came forward, and he saw, to his immense relief the familiar and comforting visage of the Time Prophet. Only this time she descended from her lofty point and came down to stand before Kai, as he looked on questioningly.

                          "Kai, of the Brunnen G. Hear my voice. You are the last best hope for your people. Even as you doubt my existence, I want you to touch my face and know that I am real."

                          Kai tentatively reached up and brought his hand to her cheek. Suddenly he was jolted by a flood of confusing and terrifying images. A giant insect, legions of ships spreading outward from a dark and oppressive looking world of tall monoliths and forests of machinery, a hideously overweight woman strapped to a moving platform as she cries, dozens of conveyor belts bearing the gutted remains of the innumerable dead, the cold, dark interior of a catacomb, a succession of planets being blown up, the oppressive hooded figure of His Shadow communing with the brains of his precessors, a strange milky white substance being fed through a series of tubings, and finally the image of the Massive Ship orbiting Brunnis two, raining a hail of energy bursts down on the planet's surface and reducing it to a blazing fireball.

                          Kai let go, his breath ragged and shaky, his hands sweaty as the Time prophet looked into his eyes and whispered.

                          "Only you can destroy him, Kai."

                          Kai jolted awake as he felt his mother place a soothing towel upon his forehead, his throat raw and burning even as his body reflexively shuddered and convulsived in his fever and delerium, causing his teeth to chatter.

                          "Do not try to speak, Kai-Nu. You have been tossing and moaning in the darkness for hours and your throat needs a rest. It is over, my son. You are in a private room now."

                          Kai looked over at her with lidded eyes and smiled faintly as she once again dabbled his flushed cheeks and forehead with the cool moist cloth. She understood him immediately, and smiled.

                          "Yes, I insisted on remaining here with you. I would have it no other way. I told them that if you died from the procedure then they would have the Shaniri to personally answer to. Sometimes it pays to be the only one who still pleases the Shaniri. She is so blinded by senility, my prized roses are the only thing that still compels her to remember her pleasant events from her past. We are a decadent and dying race I suppose. Aren't we? You were right." She pauses now, catching her voice as her emotion gets the better of her. Then she breaks down into tears. "You were right all along. I saw it with you Kai."

                          "Saw what?" Kai whispered hoarsely, wishing for all the world he would never have to see his mother in such a state.

                          "Everything Kai. In your visions. I saw the Time Prophet. She is real. You've made me believe and now I am so ashamed for having doubted you - so horribly ashamed at our people for their weakness and ignorance."

                          "Mother I..."

                          "You must get better Kai."

                          "What are you saying?"

                          "I'm saying you must see this through, Kai-Nu. Prophet forgive me for saying this, but you are the last best hope for our people. I truly believe that now. You must find a way to do what it is you set out to do in the first place. You must go and face His Divine Shadow. You must destroy him as I know only you can. Will you do this for me?"

                          "" Kai looked around bewilderingly as he tried to sit up, his head spinning in a wave of dizziness. Oh, how his body ached. He was certain he could already feel the effects of his body's accelerated aging. "There are guards everywhere."

                          "Not for long. Just this evening, as the light was fading from the sky, suddenly there were a series of shouts and screams coming from the surface. Word spread quickly that the sky is now filled with stars and the glow of our once hidden moon. Our shields are gone, Kai. And a new, frightening dark blot near the horizon was spotted as well. It can only be one thing...a giant ship waiting to attack. Why it has not chosen to do so is beyond me. Perhaps they are enjoying the ensuing panic of our people in light of our newly realized vulnerability. Our civilization is done for."

                          " can't be. Xiara-Naya..." Kai tried to push his covers away and sit up, but Anara-Mem gently coaxed him back onto the pillow.

                          " safe for the moment." She reasoned. "I have not spoken with her for days, but I am sure she is somewhere safe."

                          "I don't know if I could bring myself to leave without her."

                          "I know Kai. I know. But you must, for the sake of your people...for the sake of humanity, you must not allow your thoughts to stray to her. She has already made her choice. Yet already people are abandoning their posts and scrambling to the surface to watch the heavens for any sign of change. If at all possible, I will arrange for your escape when the guards have all left. You know what you must do, my son. Promise me you will do it."

                          "Very well. I..promise."

                          Anara kissed his forehead tenderly and stood up to go.

                          "Now I must go and prepare with my own soulmate for the inevitable end, my son. There is nothing left for us but to wait...and hope. Perhaps there is still hope after all."

                          "There is still hope mother. As long as I am alive, there is hope. I will not let you down."

                          "I know you won't, Kai-Nu. That's why I am letting you go now. Prophet be with you, my son."




                          They both stared into each others eyes for only a second more, but in the moment they shared a lifetime of love and kinship between them that seemed to transcend their perception of time itself. Then the moment was gone forever.

                          "Goodbye, Kai-Nu."

                          And then, with that she was gone from his life forever.

                          790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
                          I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


                          • #14
                            The Influence of Insects in Early Brunnen Culture

                            The Brunnen G culture was not always so different from that of Earth. In the early days of Brunnis, before the advent of the Great Comet - the Ipai Bornal - The Brunnen G lived on the surface and had a modestly advanced civilization that actively traded with offworlder civilizations. Although strictly a matriarchical monarchy ruled by one supreme Shaniri who claimed shared ancestry with the Time Prophet herself, Brunnis' population was so large that it actually encompassed at least a dozen different types of government under her one absolute rule.

                            The Falnori, which translated from Brunnen means: Ultimate lover, was the very first clan to exist on Brunnis. At the time it wasn't really even a clan...just a designation for those who worshipped the Time Prophet. For in the early days, they considered her to be something akin to a god and she was both feared and revered. Of course, in the wake of the devastation wrought by the Great Comet, society crumbled as the ecosystem began to die off from mass extinctions and global pandemics. This is a period when the Time Prophet strangely disappeared from Brunnen history for a spell, and the Brunnens were forced to retreat underground into the natural cave systems in an effort to escape the dangers above ground.

                            Deep within the caverns, they came across a very unexpected discovery. It was a dormant Ectiri...a large, larval insect form similar to the Gigashadow...only younger. Apparently it had been dormant for several thousands of years, as they are an exceptionally long lived species and will not develop quickly without a ready source of protein. The Brunnens recognized immediately a great potential within this insect for sustenance, considering many of them were already beginning to starve to death, their food stores quickly dwindling to nothing. And they already had enough of a sense of these creatures from offworlder reports to know that these creatures were parthenogenic: possessing both male and female organs. So with great care, the few Brunnen scientists still surviving managed to extract DNA from this one dormant Ectiri and they quickly set about reproducing hundreds more larval offspring which they then turned into a steady food source to sustain them. By order of the Shaniri, the Brunnens also began experimenting with the dormant Ectiri, whereupon they discovered the elusive and mysterious transduction organ. Through slow and meticulous study of this strange organ, the Brunnens began to unlock the secrets of longevity in the Ectiri. However, the Shaniri kept this as a very closely guarded secret only for herself. Thus began the era of genetic manipulation amongst the Brunnens.

                            This was a dark time in their heritage, for the Shaniri and her loyal followers, the Fal Hespirin went to great lengths to experiment on unwitting human subjects in order to understand more about the nature of longevity in her quest for immortality. Meanwhile, through this entire phase, they kept the dormant Ectiri alive, fed from its offspring, and built their society around the understanding of insects of all types. And in the cave systems of Brunnis, many unusual types of insects thrived as well as an assortment of tiny mammals.

                            However, over the many centuries, the Brunnens began to develop a strong affinity for the insects and their survival techniques. They admired them for their ability to live in even the harshest of conditions. By studying them closely, they also learned to incorporate much of the insect behavior and defensive techniques into their own culture. And as the Brunnen civilizations gradually became isolated into 3 different geographical locations from the rising seas and melting polar caps, so too did the Brunnens begin to develop distinctively different cultures based on the insects in the regions in which they lived. Over time, they grew into 3 separate and unique clans. The original Falnor adopted the mystical properties of the dormant Ectiri, exploring heavily the use of genetics to expand their minds and increase spiritual awareness and longevity. Clan Branach, complete with a newly appointed Shaniri from amongst the noble blooded Falnor adopted the ethics of the worker insects: creatures similar to ants and other social insects and incorporated collective-minded economic theories with hive-like heirarchical political strata. Finally, clan Tuath with its own new Shaniri also adopted the tactics and defensive techniques of the venemous and predatory insects, incorporating bladed scythries linked to a belted brace: which was well suited as a grappling hook as well as a weapon in the dense and uneven terrains of the uncharted cave systems.

                            Meanwhile, they occasionally ventured to the surface to lay traps down so that larger adult Space Ectiris would be attracted to Brunnis and attempt to lay eggs in the soil that would presumably hatch and burrow deep into the planet to await eventual emergence in a few thousand years. Once captured, these large ectiris were then paralyzed, virtually gutted while still alive, and then re-engineered with biomechanical machinery to make them completely subject to the will of their master. These creatures were the first flying insects to take the Brunnens beyond the confines of their own atmosphere and out into open space. And as time went on, they began to experiment with taking other species of insects and reengineering them into larger ones for this same purpose.

                            In time, Brunnis' skies were filled with all manner of genetically manipulated insects...Moths, Scorpion fighters, Gigashadow type freighters, Assassin Bug tacticals and transports etc.. And now that the Brunnens were also starting to experiment on themselves, they were beginning to go through their own metamorphosis. Yet all the while, offworlders were quietly taking notice of this deeply scarred and dying planet that they'd all but written off after the comet destroyed their moon and destabilized their sun. Suddenly these all but extinct Brunnens were a now spacefaring race almost overnight...and not only that, they'd managed to conquer the giant insects that many other worlds had found to be a constant menace. It wasn't long before the Brunnens were back in business, trading and building up their interplanetary reputations as the most resourceful humans the offworlders had ever encountered. And then suddenly the Time Prophet remerged from centuries of self imposed exile to reclaim her dominion. And along with it, she brought with her a heady prophecy - that the Brunnen G were well on their way to becoming the most powerful race in the known galaxy. The Brunnens had finally come into their own - and it was all due, in no small part, to the insects themselves.

                            790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
                            I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.


                            • #15
                              The Destruction of Pau, Brunnis' Moon

                              The Original Brunnis: A scorched and barren planet that inadvertently led to a reinvention of the Brunnen G culture and it's subsequent dependency on the Insects.

                              The destruction of Pau from an ancient massive comet (The Ipai
                              Bornal:white umbilicus) caused tremendous devastation to the original Brunnis on a global scale. As indicated before, it generated massive dustclouds that would blot out the sun, runaway greenhouse effects, uncontrolled wildfires, mass extinctions and epic pandemics. It was a wonder the Brunnens managed to survive at all during this period.
                              Before this event, the citizens of Brunnis were primarily a surface dwelling society, with a thriving ecosystem although water was always a precious commodity. Through proper recycling programs and their relatively advanced technologies of the day, the Brunnens had managed to get by rather comfortably. Although they did not possess space faring technologies yet, they were well aware of early visitors from other planets and participated in limited trading with cultures more advanced than themselves.

                              The Time Prophet, an enigmatic yet revered figure since the beginning of recorded history served as an advisor on all matters and assisted in their economic and cultural growth. At that time, there was only one Matriarch (Clan Falnor) to rule all clans, and she professed to be a descendant of the Time Prophet herself.

                              Before the comet, the chief industry on Brunnis had been textiles and culinary spices. Their chefs were considered among the best in the known galaxy, and their textile mills were highly prized for their rich fabrics and silks. However this all changed quite suddenly with the advent of the comet. In one brief instant, the very foundation of society was shattered to the core in this cataclysm as once prominent leaders and business owners now found themselves without a home and forced to adopt a nomadic existence.

                              Many died in the ensuing years and trade between other worlds abruptly ceased as their chief commodities had been virtually wiped out. The Time Prophet by this time had already retreated deep within Brunnis and the Brunnens were forced to do without her counsel. (Many even wondered why she'd never warned them of the approaching comet as surely she must have known, and were angered by her abandonment. As a result, faith in her dwindled as they no longer believed her to be a true deity or necessarily trustworthy) They felt alone and lost.

                              Over the course of several centuries, the only way the Brunnens managed to survive at all was by moving into the natural cave systems of Brunnis even as the sun; destabilized by the destruction of the moon, grew hotter and hotter. (The Brunnen sun was small by comparison to most suns, and therefore closer. The extra debris from the obliterated moon into this "white dwarf" star had caused it to shift perilously closer to it's critical mass, the point by which its mass might cause it to collapse into a supernova.) To survive, the people clustered together below ground to escape the heat. This along with the resultant tital fluctuations and melting of the polar ice caps caused the seas to rise until the original connected landmasses were separated into three distinct and isolated continents.

                              As time went on, the people reorganized their societies, developing distinct cultural and physiological differences. Several great wars ensued during these long centuries of reorganization and hardship. By now, the seas had already dried up and the people were no longer geographically isolated, so they began to fight over boundaries and dwindling resources. It wasn't until the great Time Prophet herself, presumed to be long dead or reduced to a fictional icon, appeared before each of the respective Shaniris and reminded them that their focus should now be on the stars. The people were stunned by her presence and did not readily accept her. However, through her sage wisdom and ability to see into the future, she convinced them that if they listened to her the Brunnens would grow to become the most powerful force in the known galaxy.

                              790: You're wasting your energy attempting to force my cooperation.
                              I have no sense of self-preservation and I can always be reassembled.