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For lack of a better name, Birth of a Vy'drach


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Yes, I know the name is cheesy, and I apologize for that.

A few things before we start this show,

*WARNING!* Contains some violence, I did not get too descriptive, but be warned if you are squeamish, and I can not stress this enough, I do not want to get in trouble because someone thought they could handle something they couldn't. Also, it contains some swearing.

Please note, it has been years since my last fanfic, and even then it was just simple AvP fanfics, which is essentially mindless violence. For every character inconsistency, or odd choice, I tried to put a reason that you can draw from the story, but if I failed to do so, or you can not find it, ask, and I will answer. Also, if you just have a question as to why I did that or such, ask, I likely have a, in my opinion, good reason for it.

Essentially, something doesn't make sense, ask.

The Predator words are not made up by me, they came from novels and games, and for a large portion of the hardcore AvP fans, are considered canon.

And you may want to take these down, and these are in no particular order.

Yautja = Name of Predator species in their own language

Ki its-pa = Spear

Ki'cti-pa = Wristblade

Kainde Amedha = Hard Meat, Predator name for Aliens

Kainde Amedha Chiva = Hard Meat Trial

Kwei Guan = Sly Night

Guan Ki Its-Pa = Night Spear

Mesh'in'ga = The Battle Dreamtime

Zazin = Completely centered within one's self (not like self centered, however)

C'ntlip = Predator version of alcohol

C'jit = Predator swear, equated into essentially, "Da**" or "Sh**"

Pauk-de = Basically any use of the F word, depending on the context

Hulij-bpe Nihkou'te = Crazy Tusk

Mei'hswei The-de = Brother Death

Thwei Paya = Blood God

Thwei = Blood

Paya = God

Hasou-de Paya = Fallen God

Hulij = Fighting Stance

Tarei'hasan = Small insect, an unworthy opponent

Zabin = Insect like creature, similar to the Aliens

Yeyinde = Brave One

Jehdin Jehdin = One on one, hand to hand combat

S'yuit-de = Pathetic coward

Dtai'kai-dte sa-de nau'gkon dtain'aun bpi-de = The fight begun would not end until the end.

M-di H'dlak = No Fear

M-di H'chak = No Mercy

Gro'tye = Monster, also a species of creature that is highly sought after as a trophy

Vy'drach = Phoenix

Thwei Vy'drach = Blood Phoenix

Nain-destinye-de = The Pure Win, Ultimate Victory, essentially the Predator equivalent to Flawless Victory

Nan-ku = Alive

Jag'd'ja atoll = Essentially, a Predator city, these massive ships are the main hubs of the Yautja, who no longer reside on their home planet, and resupply, recuperate, retire, essentially do everything except go for hunts on these things.

And do not draw anything from this, this is nothing more than a work of fiction, it reflects nothing of my personal nature or mentality (except that I am addicted to Star Fox, Aliens, Predator, and any mixture and combination in between)

Also, the majority of this story takes place after Assault, and sorry if I made an annoying post just now, or something. I went to bad at 5 am yesterday, and woke up at 9 am, and it is now 3:42 am with no naps in between, I can not mentally focus very well.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this, I gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome writing it. (I seriously did mess up my wrist, had to soak it in warm water for a long time)

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The name I was born with is unimportant, I am known as Vy’drach now. It all started when Andross launched his invasion on the Lylat System. Macbeth wasn’t necessarily the cleanest, nicest, or friendliest place to live on, but it was serviceable, and it was home. Life was normal enough, I was a factory worker in one of the many industrial plants. We were owned by Arspace Dynamics, and made many of the parts for their ships. The job wasn’t particularly glamorous, but it paid enough for a comfortable, with room for some improvement, such as the engagement ring I gave to my beloved Tarja. At that time, life seemed to be going well, but then An dross’s armies struck, and turned Macbeth into a war zone. I joined a group of resistance fighters to try and drive off An dross’s forces, not because I had any love for the planet, but to try and keep Tarja safe from harm. I would of gladly joined An dross’s forces to accomplish the same, but she would not hear of it. Due to the numerous military contractors on the planet, we had ample supplies of weapons and crafts, but most of us were untrained in combat. Luckily however, one company was designing experimental simulation centers for in-depth, realistic training scenarios. For several days, I all but lived in those chambers, learning everything from basic fighting styles to advanced weaponry and equipment use, after all, we made the equipment that was featured in those simulations. I learned everything and anything that might prove useful, and many began to question my mental and physical health after such extended use of the simulators, but none could doubt the progress that I made it combat. I quickly ended up in charge of raiding, scouting, and guerilla attack groups as we went after An dross’s forces. It was as we were returning from one of these raids that I smelled something wrong in the air, it was the smell of fire and charred rubble. Normally this wouldn’t stand out, given the state of things, but something was still wrong about it. Then I realized that the wind was coming from the direction of our headquarters. I rushed towards our base, with the others struggling to keep up. When I got to the base, I took cover behind a pile of debris, and observed the scene outside the base, and I did not like what I saw. The entire outer level of the facility was leveled, and the enemy troops were pouring into the lower levels. I ordered the others to ready their weapons for the attack.

They looked nervous at the idea of attacking such a large force, but did as I commanded anyway. We took cover behind anything that would provide it, and lined up our shots, and on my signal, opened fire. The troops outside and on the immediate inside of the base went down quickly, but we took a few casualties. After making sure they were truly dead and not merely wounded, we left their bodies and continued on. We eased into the base, checking each corner carefully. The delay was killing me, but we’d be of no use to anyone if we rushed headlong into an enemy and were gunned down. I constantly checked behind us as I could feel as if something was there, but when I did look, there was never anything to see. Then, we came to the main corridor that serves as the main thoroughfare for the base. We eased down to the corner of it, and I used a camera probe to check around the corner. There were several of An dross’s men, and the bodies of several of ours were strewn about the hall. I ordered a volley of stun grenades to be used first, in case any of our men were still alive. We threw them down the hall, and upon their detonation, we leaned out and opened fire on the troops. They went down without much incident, although a few did return fire, but they were still too disorientated to hit anything. After checking for any survivors, and finding none, we proceeded down the corridor. Again, I could feel the presence of something behind us when there wasn’t anything, but I could smell a strange, heavy odour in the air. Putting it out of my mind, we continued on until we came to the end of the corridor where it branched to different sections of the base. I ordered three men to come with me to search the living quarters portion of the base, where any hostages or survivors would likely be, and the remaining five men were to check and clear the weapon and equipment stores.

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My men and I proceeded down the left branch of the corridor, overwhelming what little resistance we found. I could still feel or smell something there, however. Then we came to the cafeteria, which was full of enemy troops, but we had no way to get to the living quarters without going through it. After a quick scan with the probe to ensure that none of our people were being held in there, I ordered the use of high-intensity plasma grenades to clear out the majority of the troops with minimal effort or risk. The grenades worked perfectly, incinerating those caught in the blast down to the bone. The smell was... unpleasant to say the least, but it mattered little as we had to clear out the remaining forces, who numbered well over twenty. It was not long before two of ours fell, and I told the last remaining teammate to take cover behind the wall, and I signaled that on my cue, we’d throw in stun grenades, and the last plasma grenade. Sure enough, after a few moments, I heard what I was hoping to, the sound of the troops starting to move forward. I armed my stun grenade, but didn’t initiate the counter, and my partner did the same. Then I gave the signal, and we both threw the stun grenades. Then I armed the plasma grenade, and when the stuns went off, I threw the it so that landed right in the middle of them. After it detonated, my partner and I wheeled around the corners, and finished off the stragglers. After catching our breath and seeing if anyone would enter the room to investigate the disturbance, we continued on. We entered the portion of the base that served as the housing area, and it was uncomfortably still.

I’d of given anything to be able to rush down to where Tarja and I lived to find her safe and sound, but that was almost all the way down the hall from where we were, and there could be enemies in any of the rooms, just waiting to attack. So my partner and I each took a side of the hall, and we proceeded down it, checking each room we came to. Each one was completely empty, so we’d move on to the next, but still, I could feel and smell something strange in the air. At last, we made it to mine and Tara’s room. I took a deep breath to calm my nerves, and to prepare for what may come. I then wheeled around the doorframe into the room, gun at ready, and the room was empty, nothing out of place. I looked around the room in the hopes of finding something that indicated where she had gone or was. My partner continued on, searching the other rooms, apparently not noticing that I had stopped. Then suddenly, there was a loud yell, followed by the report of a gun, and then another. I jumped up, and ran to the doorway. Peeking around the corner, I saw my partner lying face down in a growing pool of blood, and one of An dross’s men walking towards him. I poked my gun around the corner and shot the one approaching him, but another one I did not see shot at me, but only hit my gun, which was the only thing exposed. As I ducked behind cover, a loud explosion echoed through the halls, and I checked to see what happened. Where my partner had been lying was a mangled lump of flesh. Apparently he had not been dead, and had tried to shoot the one that shot at me, but his gun had been hit, and when he attempted to fire it, it detonated instead. Unfortunately, the blast didn’t seem to of harmed the other soldier, as I could hear him slowly making his way down the hall.

Deciding not to risk firing my gun, I set it down quietly, and moved to the side of the doorway.

After a few moments, he made it to the other side of the wall from me, and I could hear him breathing. I had controlled my breathing so that it was all but inaudible, and waited silently for him to make his move. Finally, after several minutes, his patience ran thin, and he decided to come in to investigate. I tensed, ready to act, when I saw his gun barrel come around the corner. I reached out quickly, and grabbed the barrel with one hand, and his arm with the other. I pulled the gun and his arm forward, while simultaneously sweeping his legs out from under him. As he fell, I managed to pull the gun free from his grip, and as he was sprawled out on the ground, I whirled the gun around, and pulled the trigger. But the gun merely clicked at each trigger pull, and so I flipped the gun around before he could start to recover his footing, and brought it swiftly down across the right side of his face, and there was a dull pop as his neck snapped. I then investigated the gun to see why it wouldn’t fire, it wasn’t empty and appeared undamaged. Then I saw something on the trigger guard that could only be one thing, an I.D. lock. Cursing, I threw the gun aside and went to look for another weapon.

Any doubts as to what had caused the explosion from earlier were quickly erased as I approached what remained of my partner. I could see the shrapnel from the rifle’s violent detonation embedded into the walls, and the part of the wall that was closest to the blast was partially demolished. It was in this section of wall that I noticed a pipe that had been cut through in one section, and crushed farther down its length. I was able to rip it out of the wall with a tight grip and a firm tug, and the smashed portion broke in a way that made it an effective, if crude, spear. I then went back into my room to continue the search for anything hinting at where Tarja was. Finding nothing, I decided to head deeper into the base, in an attempt to locate her, hoping she had managed to take refuge somewhere. I encountered no one down the next few corridors, until I came to one that led to the manufacturing portion of the facility. There were two guards in this corridor that were standing about, talking about nothing in particular. It seemed it was time to find out how effective this “spear” was. I dropped the spear on the ground, and then snatched it up quickly to draw the attention of the guards, but not arouse too much suspicion. I heard one of the guards say, “Ah hell, this damned place is falling apart. I’ll go take a look to be safe, though,” and he started to walk towards the corner that I was waiting just around. As he came around the corner, I simultaneously thrust my spear into his throat, and kicked his gun aside, and yanked him back around the corner. I heard his teammate coming down the hall after him, so I yanked my spear back, spun him around, and with a swift kick, sent him stumbling back into the hall. His teammate, seeing someone appear so suddenly, opened fire on him, and I was able to lean around the corner and throw my spear into his chest. He clutched at it for a moment, and then collapsed. I went to where he lay, removed the spear, then put it through an eye to end him as quickly and painlessly as possible. I then proceeded into the manufacturing facility to continue my search. The facility had become filthy and fallen into great disrepair since An dross’s invasion had started. It had been picked clean of anything useful, and abandoned due to the dangers it presented. I cautiously walked past machines that hadn’t been used in some time, the sounds of the crumbling and decaying facility proving a constant distraction, and I could still feel and smell that strangeness in the air. I then climbed over a pile of debris that stretched across the room, and when I cleared the top, I froze, and it felt like all the blood had been drained from my body, for a short distance away lied Tarja, and she wasn’t moving.

I rushed down to where she lay, and kneeled beside her. There was some blood at the corner of her mouth, and she wasn’t breathing. I felt for a pulse, and there was none, and I just knelt there, stunned, unable to move or think. I felt the urge to do a thousand things, not the least of which was to vomit, but I didn’t have the energy to do anything. The very concept of this situation was unimaginable, so surreal that I thought, “It can’t be true, it couldn’t be true, it’s a nightmare, a hallucination, a simulator malfunction, anything but real, it just CAN’T be real.” I was still kneeling there, when I heard someone approach from behind, but I didn’t care. Then a familiar voice began to talk, it was one of the men from the base, and he said, “I’m sorry this happened, I really am, but there was nothing else I could do, I tried to have as few people hurt as possible, but when she eavesdropped on my contacting Andross with the location of this base, I had to stop her from interfering. I tried to not hurt her, I really did, but it didn’t go as I planned, and got out of hand. You know I didn’t mean for any of this, but I felt Andross would be better for the future of Lylat, and that it was just an accident. You understand, right?” I had barely been listening to him, heard him only out of instinct, and it took a few seconds for the meaning of his words to sink in. When they finally did sink in, however, the realization of their meaning filled me with an anger so immense, it was all I could do to keep from lunging at him in an attempt to tear out his throat. Instead, I managed to get myself under control, and using the spear, pushed myself back into a standing position. Then I said, “I understand, I understand completely.” He asked in a relieved, but curious voice, “You do?” “Of course,” I said, “You spelled it out so clearly, how could I not?” I then leapt behind a large machine, and continued, “I understand that my beloved Tarja is dead, and by your own admittance, it was your fault and your very hands that did it!” He screamed back, “No, that’s what I meant!” I yelled back, “I care not what you meant, I heard what you said, and you will die for it!” At this point, I took my last stun grenade, armed it, and hurled it at him. He tried to shoot me before I released it, but missed. After the grenade went off, I rushed him, and kicked the gun from his hands and sent it flying into the far reaches of the room. Continuing from this action, I kicked him in the chest, putting him on the floor, and planted my foot on his throat to hold him down, and raised the spear back, ready to finish him. But before delivering the final blow, I stopped, and looked at the spear, then at him, and tossed the spear after the gun, saying, “No, it won’t end that easily for you.” I then knelt down and thrust my thumbs as deep into his eye sockets as I possibly could, grabbed his skull from both inside and out, and pulled it apart as slowly as I could. I’d say that the sounds of his screaming and skull separating would haunt me forever, but that implies that they disturb me, and that I disliked them, when in truth, they’re how I manage to fall asleep sometimes. After separating his skull and causing him to lie still once and for all, all the anger left me, leaving me with no emotion except pure sadness. I then crawled my way back besides her body, and passed out.

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I jerked upright, I was in a strange room, and began to wonder where I was exactly, but remembered everything that had happened recently, and laid back down, covering my eyes with my hand because I didn’t care where I was or what happened anymore. Then I heard the sound of metal sliding across metal, and someone entered the room. I heard an odd clicking, and a loud bang as something was dropped on the floor. I just kept lying there, as I heard a mechanical clicking, and a very deep and gruff voice speak in a language I didn’t understand, but then a mechanical voice asked, “Are you so weak?” I looked over to see what was talking, and saw a fierce, primal looking creature, clad in savage looking armor, standing besides a large machine. I asked the creature, “Can you even understand me,” and one of its upper mandibles flared out, but it nodded its head once. “Well then, to answer your question, I am. I was too slow, too weak, to save her.” He just stood there, and fiddled with one of his lower mandibles, and after awhile, he said, through the machine, “I see. I watched you while you fought, and you fought with strength, with pride, with honor, but you are saddened by your loss, and this has caused you to lose the fire of life. This is not unknown to my kind. Come with me, I have some things to show you that may rekindle your fire.” “Before we go,” I said, “Why do you care if I wish to live, if I have the fire of life?” He stopped, turned, and said, “Because warriors that prove their strength and honor may join my kind in our hunts as brothers, and you have been judged worthy of such, provided we can make your fires of life burn brightly once more.” I stroked the fur on my chin, thinking about what he said, until he growled, and jerked his head towards the door. Apparently, his kind were not known for patience. As we walked through the halls, we encountered a few more of his kind, who all stepped aside, and bowed their heads as we passed. Then we came to a large room that was lined with skulls from a myriad of unimaginable creatures, all of them looking as though they were fierce beings in their lives, and then my “host” have out a sound that was like a mixture of a bark, growl, and grunt, but yet not at the same time, and another creature like him stepped out, carrying a satchel made from a leather I couldn’t place the origin or creature it came from. The other came to my host, and knelt before him, and offered the satchel. My host took it, and with a wave of his arm, dismissed the other. He then stepped to me, and tied the satchel around my waist so it hung from my side. He then stepped back, and gestured to it, and I reached inside and removed a skull from it. I recognized who it belonged to immediately, how could I not, after all? I looked at him, and said, “Your kind does good work,” and I separated the two halves of the skull, and looked inside. Even that was spotless, then I said, “You were right, this does bring me some joy, I can see how I killed him even better, but this does not bring back my love, and does not rekindle my fires, as you say.” He stood there for a moment, one of his upper mandibles opening and closing, and then gestured at the skull, then to the satchel, and I got the hint and put the skull away. Then he gestured towards the door, and walked out of the room, with me following behind him. I followed him into our next destination, a long, narrow room with several statues lining it, and I said, “I assume these are your gods,” and he nodded his head. At the other end of the room was either a window or monitor, which showed a scene from space, strange planets and galaxies in view. In front of this was a strange altar of sorts, and it was this that we walked over to. He began pressing sections of it, and a loud click emanated from it, followed by a hissing sound. Then gas began to escape from the seams that had appeared on the lid, making a massive X on the altar’s rectangular top. Then the four sections of the altar’s lid slid off of it, and rested along its side. Then a platform rose up from inside the altar, and upon it lay Tara’s body, with her hands folded over her stomach. Once I regained the ability to breathe, I turned to him and asked, “What is the meaning of this?” One of his upper mandibles flared out, and he knelt before the altar and bowed his head, then stood and gestured towards me. I nodded my head, and said, “I understand. However, I will do this in my own way.” He bowed his head, and stepped off to the side. I stepped up to the altar’s side, and said, “I’m sorry, Tarja. I shouldn’t of gone on the raids, maybe if I didn’t listen to them and stayed to guard the base, I could have stopped it all, maybe I could have saved you. But I failed, and now I am stuck without you, and I don’t know if I can bear that.” Then I stood up, and took the chain from around my neck, which held my tags, and I took them off. I looked at them, and said, “Actually, I know I can’t. I died with you, and my body has not realized it yet. The person who’s name is on these is with you, and always will be.” I then put them in her hands, and slid the engagement ring off her finger, and put it on the chain, and placed it back around my neck. I heard a slow clicking sound, and I looked over and saw his head cocked to one side. I said to him, “I am taking this a memento, a form of trophy, except instead of signifying past kills and glories, it serves as a reminder of those you have lost.” He just stood there, fiddling with one of his lower mandibles. I then turned back to Tarja, and kissed her on the forehead, and said, “Let us leave now, and let her rest in peace.” He stepped forward, and pressed a few sections of the altar, and I watched as she lowered back into it, the lid reforming above her, sealing tight. We left the room, and returned to the one I had woken up in. Once inside, he said, “You have not yet regained the will to live, so I will leave you to your thoughts for the next few days. I will come back the check your progress on occasion.” Then he left the room, leaving me with the machine, a sleeping mat, and my trophy. Over the next few days, I did not eat, and barely accepted any water. My host would come in regularly to observe my progress, which was always the same. Then one day he came in, and said, “If you insist on not living, then do it with purpose and honor. I will set you on the path of the spear master, one of the most difficult tasks any of my kind can hope to accomplish, but those that do are accepted into the ranks of one of our most skilled and respected fighters. They have taken combat to perfection and made it an art. You have said your former self has died, and you go by no name now, so I shall give you one,” and he pointed towards me, and said, “Vy’drach,” which the machine translated as “Phoenix.” “The rite of the spear master,” he continued, “Required you to slay the very creature I have given you the name of with nothing but a spear, so you will go into the desert of our home planet, and slay one, or die. Whether you live or die, a Vy’drach dies.” I said, “Very well, it is better than sitting around here, doing nothing, waiting for my body to die. And with that, we set off towards their home planet for a Vy’drach to die.

And so, I found myself traversing through the desert of the Yautia (Which is what they call themselves) homer world. The heat would be unbearable to those that don’t truly understand the depths of that word’s meaning. Alone, I proceeded through the desert, the scalding sand, the howling winds, and blistering sun my only companions and distractions from my thoughts. I hefted the ceremonial spear used by all those that accept the challenge over my shoulder, the balance and craftsmanship impeccable. I marched in the direction that I was told would hold the lair of a vy’drach, each step burning like white hot fire, the relentless sun bearing down on me like an eternal judge waiting to condemn me to death, but none of this mattered to me. The only things I was allowed to bring and wear were the spear, a small amount of water, my satchel containing the skull, a loincloth made from the same leather as the satchel, sandals that barely protected my soles from the searing sands, and slight shin and knee armor. Normally, one attempting this trial would have their gauntlets attached to them by now, but I hadn’t earned them yet, nor did I have any desire to do so. After awhile, I stopped, planted the spear in the ground, and took a small drink of water. Then the wind died down for a moment, the dust settling in the air, and a large rock formation appeared out of the dying haze in the distance. I tore the spear from the ground and placed it back over my shoulder, looked at the rock formation in the distance, sighed, and said, “No rest for the weary, very well, let us go and end this charade. This journey has left me weary, and I wish to rest.”

I came upon the entrance to a massive cave in the rock formation, it was littered with the bones and bodies of large, unknown creatures, so I assumed it was the entrance to the lair of the vy’drach. The cave held a nauseating smell, that of death and decay. Strange creatures skittered among the bones as I stopped through them, penetrating deeper into the lair. Then, I came upon a large chamber that held a dim light from luminous plants growing along the walls. By their light, I was able to see a large, winged creature. It was feasting on the body of a recent prey, a creature easily larger than a car. The creature jabbed its jaws into body and tore out large chunks of flesh, its six eyes glowing bright blue despite the orange light cast by the luminous plants. Then I came fully into the chamber, and the creature saw me, and let loose a massive roar, strips of flesh hanging from its numerous teeth. I readied my spear, and walked towards the creature, which, with a powerful pump of its wings, leapt up to a small rock ledge. It roared again, louder than before. The roar reverberated throughout the chamber, nearly causing me to stumble. It then launched itself off the rock, attempting to gore me on its large talons. I was barely able to leap out of the way, and, after it passed me, it grabbed onto the chamber walls with its talons, and leapt at me again. This time, I wasn’t so lucky, and the creature put a large gash across my back, and the impact knocked me over, and caused me to lose my grip on the spear. I looked for it, and found it to my left, so I rolled over in an attempt to grab it, but was stopped by a heavy weight landing across my chest. The vy’drach had me pinned to the ground with its talon, and I reached for the spear, but it was just out of reach. I then tried to push the creatures talon off my chest, but that proved to be a futile effort. The creature just sat there, observing me, chocking its head from side to side as it studied me. I then wondered why I was even struggling, and resigned myself to my fate. I just lie there, waiting for the vy’drach to deliver the final blow, as I thought about Tarja. I was thinking of the time I met her, and all the times we would just be together, enjoying each other’s company, and I began to get a growing feeling of uneasiness. At first I thought it was merely the realization of imminent demise, but that wasn’t it. Then suddenly the realization struck me more savagely than the vy’drach had done. It was the realization that if Tarja were looking down on me, she would be saddened disappointed that I had lost the will to fight for my life. She’d view it as disgraceful, an insult to her memory. I could not allow this to happen, and so I decided that if I was to die, it would be fighting to my fullest potential, not for me, but for her. I once again struggled to free myself, and the creature must have viewed this as the time to strike, because it reared its head back, and moved its talon so as to strike my body. Once this opening presented itself, I rolled towards my spear as the creature struck. It had narrowly missed, and I snatched my spear up, and quickly slashed the creature across its face. It jerked its head back, then tried to bite me once again. I narrowly sidestepped it, and thrust my spear deep into one of its eyes. It shrieked in pain, stumbling about, swinging its head side to side, and crashing into the walls. Then it collapsed against one of the walls, and breathed heavily. I cautiously approached the creature, and tore the spear back from its body. The creature shrieked in pain again, and its head shot up, but soon collapsed back on the ground. I then thrust the spear into the back of the creature’s neck, and applied leverage to the spear, severing its spine and ending its life. I then did as I was instructed to if I emerged victorious, and stabbed the spear into the creature’s body all the way to the hilt, and pressed three sections on it. There was a mechanical whirring sound, as the blood was drawn into a reservoir in the spear. Then there were some strange clicks, and a incredible force was blasted out of the spear, which nearly caused me to lose my footing. A few moments later, I felt the ground rumbling and heard the sound of approaching engines, and as the sound grew to its loudest, they stopped. Then a few moments later a procession of Yautia came in to the chamber, directing some sort of levitating platform, lead by my host. He stepped up to me, gripped my shoulder, and shook it vigorously. Then the other Yautia walked past, bowing their heads as they passed us, with the platform in tow. They walked to the body of the vy’drach, removed the spear, and hefted the body onto the platform. My host then jerked his head towards the chamber’s entrance, and we left it. We went outside the rock formation, and I saw what had caused the noise. They had landed the ship just outside the cave, and we walked up the ramp into the ship.

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We walked through the ship, and came to the infirmary. My wounds were to be tended to here, but another Yautia ran in, bowed his head to my host, turned to me, and bowed his head, and offered something to the host, who quickly took it and stashed it away. Then the Yautia left, leaving me and the host, who activated a machine that scanned my back, and then there was an intense pain as the machine dragged a bar that was channeling plasma across my wound, disinfecting and cauterizing it simultaneously. Before I had time to act, however, the machine had finished. I got off of the table before the machine could do anything else, and followed him down the halls, the Yautia we passed bowing their heads as we did so, until we came to the room I had been staying in the past several days. As we came in, he threw something to me which I caught out of the air, and it was a chain made from the metal the Yautia were so fond of using, which was far stronger than any metal I was familiar with. Attached to the chain was a clear crystal disc with something embedded in it. It was the engagement ring I had given Tarja. I turned to him and asked, “What is this?”  He looked at me, and said, “Your metals are weak, and the trophy of your mate could easily be lost, so I had it placed in that crystal, which is strong and can even resist the acid blood of the hard meat.” I placed the chain around my neck, and said, “Thank you, but now what are we to do?” He said, “Now we go to the jag’d’ja atoll (Yautja town or city ship that serves for resupplying and to rest or retire from the hunt) to equip you with your hunting tools, and to get you into a clan, which should not be difficult as you have passed the rite of the spearmaster, and few clan leaders would refuse one who has done so.” I looked at him, and said, “I do not understand, can I not join your clan?” “It is possible,” he said, “But I do not recommend it as I am stepping down as clan leader to become an elder, and my replacement is not fond of non-Yautja hunters. No, I have a better fit in mind for you. An old hunting friend of mine, he is strict, but all that matters to him is that you fight with strength and honour, and I know that you fight with both, and am glad to see that you have rekindled the fire of life.” “Actually,” I said, “I don’t desire life, I just can not allow myself to die from inaction, it would be an insult to her memory. So, I am stuck like this until I can find someone who can kill me in battle.” I then looked at the crystal that was hanging from around my neck, and he fumbled with one of his lower mandibles, and said, “I see, that may prove even better, as you will throw yourself at any challenge, tackle any prey, with no regard for yourself and fight to your fullest and achieve great honour, or death. Either outcome would be respected by my kind.” I put the crystal down, and said, “If I am going to live longer than I was hoping, may I ask your name before you become an elder?” “I am known as Kwei Guan (Sly Night),” he said, “and yes, I will become an elder. I will join the ranks of those that create the items a hunter requires, and each hunter’s equipment is unique to him, and you will be the first that I make.” I said, “It would be an honour to have my equipment made by your hands,” and he said, “You will have a part in its creation as well, and while we work, you will learn the language and ways of my kind, and of the hunt.” And so, I rested in that room, and waited for us to arrive at the jag’d’ja atoll, so I could learn the ways of the Yautja and their hunt.

Kwei Guan came to get me, saying “We are here,” and taking me to the ship’s controls. We were in a remote section of space, and were flying towards absolutely nothing, but Kwei Guan pressed some keys on the ship’s console, and the view changed, showing a massive structure that is near invisible to the naked eye, only shown now due to the ship’s sensors. We docked inside the massive ship, and left ours for the far larger one presented to us now. Several Yautja from the ship embarked to perform certain errands, and a few of them followed us with the levitating platform which now held the hide of the vy’drach, as well as the translation machine. First Kwei Guan went to see when to expect the return of his friend, which turned out would be in about two month’s time as he had just set off with a group of unblooded to perform the Kainde Amedha Chiva (Hard Meat Trial), and would return for his last group of unblooded, which was fortunate for me. Then we left to secure sleeping quarters and an area for Kwei Guan to work on creating the hunter’s gear. The Yautja on the jag’d’ja atoll would see me standing besides Kwei Guan, and the vy’drach hide, and would clatter amongst themselves. Then

Kwei Guan found empty living quarters near an unused facility, and decided both would serve our needs well. The hide was left in the facility, and Kwei Guan took me to a room lined with hologram projectors, and had the machine moved inside it. Then he brought me to a device that scanned my head, and all the hologram projectors activated, and displayed my head, wearing different masks of all styles. He then said, “First we must design your hunting mask, and what it is capable of. You can use any of these designs, take features from any one and mix them, or create one entirely new. It matters little beyond what you prefer.” I walked amongst the different images, judging none of them to be right for me, when I came to one that was nearly perfect for what I wanted. It was entirely smooth except for some designs along the crown of the head, and I pointed to it, and said, “This one, but do away with the designs.” He pressed some buttons, and the designs were removed from the mask, and I nodded my approval. Then he pressed several more buttons, and the masks disappeared. He then took me to another machine, and said, “Now that you have the design, it is time for you to select what it is capable of. There is no limit to the features you may choose for your mask, except for that of your judgement.” He then activated the machine, and it simulated what I would see out of the mask with that feature. I chose from different forms of vision modes, each one with a certain form of tracking, and some showing different spectrums of light. I chose the red hot version of the thermal tracking, the electrical vision that painted everything red, except what it detected, which included the kainde amedha. I also chose all the different spectrums of light, the zoom function, the vocal analyzer and mimicry, several biological scanners, the ability to see from remote sensors, a form of heads-up-display, a breath filter for hazardous environments, and the ability to deactivate all vision modes to rely on my natural eyesight. He pressed buttons for each of these choices, marking them down for later, and set the projectors to display the various versions of the right gauntlet, which housed the ki’cti-pa (wristblades), as well as other features if I chose them. I once again walked amongst the images, viewing each blade style, and chose one of a moderate length, sixteen inches, and began selecting from the various features that I could see. These included the ability to expand the blades out of the sockets for pinning the target, and the opposite of that feature to make them act as though they were one blade, the ability to have each side of the blade, even the blades themselves, open up to create a form of grappling hook, though it was not designed for that use. I also chose the ability to invert one or both of the blades, and to rotate them together so that they were able to cut out large sections of whatever I wanted, making this especially devastating when it was used while the blades were expanded out of the socket, for them to have cleaners that spray a chemical on them that can counteract and remove even the kainde amedha’s acidic blood. I also chose to have the ability to fire the blades out like projectiles, but added a unique feature to this, a small metal chain that could hold three times my weight was attached to the blades. This feature required the gauntlet to be slightly longer than normal, but it was still compact enough to be unobstructive, and held fifty-seven feet of chain per blade. With this, my right gauntlet was designed, and we moved on to the left, with the holograms now showing the different designs and features for that. I immediately decided against the ones that housed a second pair of ki’cti-pa, as the one pair would be sufficient. I then chose the remaining features, such as a set of remote sensors, the ability to record what my mask is viewing, a device to overload electronic locks, the ability to recharge energy by stealing it from other devices, such as electricity, and house an emergency chemical that worked like adrenaline. Then the holograms showed several forms and pieces of armor, and I selected small bits and pieces that covered only the essential, such as pauldrons, a chestplate that only covered the majority of my chest and part of my side, shin and knee armor, and of course groin protection. I chose these because I was going to rely on personal skill over raw defense. If I lived, it would be by my doing, not from some sheet of metal. With that, we left the room, and went to rest so we could start construction of the items the next day. When we got to the room, a Yautja from the ship came up and offered a strange device to Kwei Guan, who took it and said, “This device was made for non-Yautja hunters, such as you, to learn our language and ways as you sleep. It will read your brain waves and patterns, and place its knowledge in your mind gradually, and this will go on until you are ready.” He then set the machine up, and we took our rest.

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The machine made it difficult to sleep, feeling as though there was a constant pressure on my head. The next day, we went to work on the hide of the vy’drach, removing any parts that were damaged or weak, then we took the good parts over to a device that would cut them the way required for them to cover the armour and plate the gauntlets. Then we had to sift through the various sections of kainde amedha exoskeleton to find pieces that were resilient and durable. Once we collected enough, we brought them to a machine that ground them to a fine powder, and stored it for later use, apparently they mixed the parts with the metal to make it resist the kainde amedha’s acidic blood. Then Kwei Guan had to go and select the metals and mix the metals, which was a secret only the elders were allowed to do, so I went back to the room, and took out my trophy, examining it for a while before putting it away and just lying there, thinking and waiting. I drifted off to sleep, and the machine didn’t bother me as much this time, and I was awoken by Kwei Guan, saying that it was time to continue our work, and I understood him before the translation machine had a chance to begin. Apparently all there was left for me to really do was be scanned so there would be a model to form the armour and gauntlets around. With that done, Kwei Guan began construction, with me handing him various odds and ends when he needed them, until the basic structure was down. Then I retired for the day as dealing with the internal components came next, the process of which is a secret to al butl the Yautja elders. I once again dozed off while being lost in contemplation, and was once again awoken by Kwei Guan. We then entered the work area, and the armour was complete, and I put it on. It fit my body perfectly, having a secure hold without costing maneuverability. Then he said, “All that remains is to attach your gauntlets, and this must be done very cautiously by another elder, as it is not my specialty.” And so we went to a medical bay, and met with Gro’tye Thwei (Monster Blood), who would attach the gauntlets for me. Then Kwei Guan told me, “These gauntlets will be surgically bound to your body, they will become part of you. They are unable to be removed, and attempt to do so will result in your death, but do not fear, simple tugging and prying at them will not trigger this, it requires a deliberate and effective attempt.” I indicated that I was ready, and rendered unconscious. Upon awakening, I found the procedure completed, with the gauntlets bound to me permanently. Then I heard Kwei Guan say, “Good, you have awoken, we will familiarize you with your gauntlets when you heal, but first you must learn to control the ki’cti-pa, or you risk killing yourself or others inadvertently.” And so, I spent the rest of the day learning to control the blades, eventually making it a subconscious action, and spent the next few days resting, healing, and adapting to the new equipment’s weight. I even slept in the armour, as the Yautja had done for as long as there has been the hunt, to become used to it to the point that it was more of a second skin that slabs of metal and hide. Then after my body had recovered from the surgery, it was time to familiarize myself with the equipment. So we proceeded down to the practice room every day, and I was instructed and drilled in the proper use and movements with the gear until they became second nature, and every night, I learned more of the Yautja language and culture. This continued until a few days before Guan Ki Its-pa (Night Spear), Kwei Guan’s friend, was expected to return. At this point, I had become caught up in the language and ways of the Yautja. Guan Ki Its-pa arrived earlier than expected, though, due to more of his unblooded dying than was to be expected. Upon discovering his arrival, we set out to find him, and did as he was having the dead unblooded unloaded from the ship. Kwei Guan approached him and gave him the customary Yautja greeting, a vigorous shake of the shoulder. He returned it in kind, and said, “Kwei Guan, it is good to see you again, and I see that you have become an elder before me, I owe you that c’ntlip then. As you can see, many of this new generation of hunters is unworthy, and could not pass the blooding rite. I wonder how so many can be so feeble, I have not seen a warrior match the strength that was common in our day.” After saying this, he looked over at me, cocked his head to the side, and said to Kwei Guan,” What is this you have here? He has the armour of a spearmaster, but is not one of our kind, or even blooded. I am confused, but trust you have a suitable explanation.” Kwei Guan lauged, and said, “Of course, this is Vy’drach, I observed him fighting, and he fought with strength and honour, and passed the rite of the spearmaster. He is in need of a clan and a blooding, and I judged that he would do best in your clan, if you would accept him.” Guan Ki Its-pa said nothing for a moment, just stood there, playing with a lower mandible, and then asked Kwei Guan, “You say he is an unblooded spearmaster?” Kwei Guan nodded, and said, “Indeed, and he passed the rite without his mask or gauntlets.” Guan Ki Its-pa once again stood silent, with one of his upper mandibles opening and closing. Then he said, “That is no small feat, and truly shows strength, and if you say he fights with honour, then I believe you. Very well, I will take him to be blooded, and if he survives, he may join my clan. Then he looked at me and said, “We shall set off for the last blooding trial in one week’s time, I expect you to be ready before then.” I bowed my head, and said, “I shall be, and I thank you for accepting me into your clan.” He then said, “You are not in it, yet. Now come, we must find you a place to sleep and hang your trophies, should you get any.” I then turned to Kwei Guan and said, “Thank you for your help, and may the gods see fit to have our paths cross again.” Kwei Guan shook my shoulder and said, “If you survive, we will meet again, and I have faith in your skills, so I am certain we shall. And I will have something for you on your day of departure, something that shall bring you great honour, once you earn your blooding mark,” and with that, he turned and walked away, and I entered the clan ship.

We walked down the halls until we came to an empty room, and Guan Ki Its-pa said, “This room belonged to one of the unblooded that did not survive, it is yours until you die.” We entered the room, and it proved to be spacious enough, with racks for various supplies and equipment, and he walked to a wall and pressed a button on it, and the wall opened to reveal a bare trophy case, and he said, “This is where you can place the trophies from your hunters, if you get any.” I then pulled the skull from my satchel, and said, “Would you count this as a trophy?” He grabbed the skull, looked at it, and said, “You are ahead of the other unbloods in more ways than one, this shall be an interesting hunt,” and held the trophy in front of the wall, pressed a button, and a claw gripped the trophy, holding it for display. He then turned to me and said, “The ways of the hunter are known to you, this bodes well, the potential for great honour is within you.” I said, “I thank you for your kind words,” and he fiddled with one of his lower mandibles. Then he said, “Beware, however, there Is also the possibility of failure, dishonour, and death.” I merely nodded my head at him, and he left the room, leaving me to rest. The next few days was just a matter of training and preparing with the other unblooded, which held little significance, except that it was where I first met Yeyinde (Brave One), who immediately took a dislike to me. The others did not care one way or another about me, as long as I fought well and did not cause dishonour. He, however, held a great dislike for me, and tried to do nothing but insult me, with little effect. This aroused his anger at me even more. Finally, the time to depart had come, and as I was preparing my supplies, Kwei Guan came bearing a large object under a leather cover, which was placed on one of the levitating platforms. He stepped over to me, shook my shoulder, and said, “Greetings, Vy’drach, I have come bearing a gift to see you off, as I said.” Then he tore the tarp off the object, for all to see what it was. It was the bare skull of the Vy’drach I had slain, and many of the unblooded’s heads jerked back in surprise at what it was. Then Kwei Guan said, “Though this will not bring you honour without your blooding mark, the meaning of this trophy is not lost to those that see it, and it will bring you respect from my kind.” I ran my hand over the skull, and said, “Thank you for this gift, as I’ve said before, you do good work.” He laughed, then said, “Shall we find this a proper place to be displayed?” And so, we carried the skull to the trophy wall, and waited for it to take hold of the skull for display, leading to an excited clicking from many of the unblooded who observed us. Then as Guan Ki Its-pa came to see what the unblooded were doing, he noticed the skull, and muttered, “An interesting hunt, indeed,” and left. With that done, Kwei Guan departed as well, having other matters to attend to. As he left, so too did the unblooded, but not before they looked back at the skull once more. All of them looked at it with respect, all but one, Yeyinde. When he saw me standing proudly besides it, his mandibles flared out, and he walked off. Then a signal sounded throughout the ship, indicating that it was time to proceed to the hunting grounds.

The unblooded were instructed to remain in their separate rooms to practice, meditate, and wear their gear at all times to remain acclimated to it. I already wore the armour at all times because, due to it being covered in the hide of the vy’drach, made it nearly a trophy in its own right. While I was attempting to meditate, someone entered the room, and I turned to see who it was. It was Yeyinde. He merely stood in the doorway for a moment, then said, “So you are a spearmaster? I do not believe it, I do not believe a weakling such as you could slay a vy’drach. I believe you merely found it already dead in its lair, and acted as though it was your kill.” I just looked at him and said, “If there is a purpose to your being here, give it, or begone.” He grew noticeably annoyed at not arousing my anger, and stood there for a moment, then said, “I heard you lost your mate, if you were not so weak, you would have been able to save her. However, she must have been weak herself, our females are powerful fighters, they lack control, but are powerful none the less. If she was too weak to defend herself, how would she have defended her sucklings? Sounds like a worthless mate to me.” I jerked upright, ki’cti-pa extending, and turned to face him. Then I paused, with my fists clenching and unclenching, and he looking pleased at finally striking a nerve. Then I looked at him, my ki’cti-pa, and then back at him, and retracted the blades, and said, “You are not worth my time, energy, attention, or dirtying my blades with your cowardly blood.” His pleased expression quickly became one of anger, then a voice said, “I agree with you on that,” and he turned to see who it was, just as the back of Guan Ki Its-pa’s hand came crashing across his face, sending him sprawling to the floor. Then Guan Ki Its-pa said, “You dishonour yourself, Yeyinde. Leave now before I disallow you to earn your blooding until next season. And if I hear of another incident with you like this, I shall banish you for fourty years.” Yeyinde stood up, mandibles flared and back arched, but said or did nothing except storm off, lost in his rage. Then Guan Ki Its-pa stood there and said, “It is customary on blooding hunts for the unblooded to use a burner, are you familiar with this weapon?” I shook my head, and he threw me a massive weapon that looked somewhat like an greatly oversized pistol, with a whole hand trigger guard. He then instructed me on its workings, which is that it’s a single shot weapon, that snaps down at the middle, and accepts a powerful incendiary round. He then said, “Its use is entirely up to the owner, it is normal to use it on blooding runs, but it is not required. It is your possession now, and the choice is entirely up to you.” I looked the weapon over, felt its weight, and tested its mechanisms, and said, “It is a fine weapon, but it is not my style, I shall rely on my ki its-pa and ki’cti-pa, as well as my physical abilities.” Guan Ki Its-pa merely turned to leave the room and said, “It matters not to me what your choice is, though I must admit I am curious to observe you using only melee. Either way, we won’t be at the hunting grounds for two more weeks, so you may alter your decision in that time.” And with that he left, and I went back to the meditation I was doing before Yeyinde interrupted, and continued on as normal until we arrived at the hunting grounds.

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Finally, the day where we were to begin the hunter had begun. All the unblooded were divided into groups of about twelve, and each group given a number to signify when they were allowed to hunt. I was in the group that was chosen to hunt first, but so was Yeyinde. We were then allowed out of the ship to begin the hunt, with Guan Ki Its-pa bringing up the rear to watch over the unblooded and make sure they fought with honour. We proceeded away from the ship until we came to the entrance of a kainde amedha hive, and we spread out in front of it, but I was unfortunate in getting placed in the rear, which didn’t usually offer good hunting. We proceeded into the hive, visions set to detect the kainde amedha, and body mesh activated, as this planet was not particularly warm. Then, we heard  hissing and screeching as a number of kainde amedha scrambled out from the depths of the hive, and we attacked. I attempted to attack, but every time I found one, it was either blasted by a burner or engaged in combat, until I saw something I had been hoping to see from the start. Yeyinde was having difficulties reloading his burner after firing it at a kainde amedha, and missed. The creature was closing in on him, and he was too worried about the creature to even notice me, and so I brought my spear back, took careful aim, and let the spear fly. It struck just where I wanted, hitting the kainde amedha in the back of the head right before Yeyinde’s eyes. A small amount of acid flew out and landed on one of his feet, causing him to howl in pain, and causing the other Yautja that were not in a fight to look over, and laugh at him. Guan Ki Its-pa laughed as well, then indicated that I was to take Yeyinde’s hunting position, and he was to take a spot in the middle and rear, to be protected like a small child. He turned to look at me with such hate that I could barely keep from laughing. Then, before I could get my spear back, another kainde amedha lunged at me, and I instinctively extended my ki’cti-pa, but the creature managed to knock me down and rip my mask off, hooking a claw under my lip and tearing it on the left side. I knocked the creature off of me, and it clawed out at me as I stood up, but I sliced it’s hand off as I sidestepped this. The creature screeched in pain, and it tried to stab me with its tail, but I sidestepped that as well, and grasped its tail with my left hand, and sliced it off, and struck it across the side of its head with its own tail, knocking it over to the side. Just as it started to get back up, I thrust my ki’cti-pa into the top of its head for the finishing blow. I then yanked them back out, retracted them, and activated the cleaner to remove the acid. The other unbloods finished off the remaining kainde amedha, and stood proud. Guan Ki Its-pa then came to the surviving unblooded, who stood above their kills, and burned the mark into their foreheads, marking them as young bloods. Then he handed them a ceremonial dagger to take the trophy of their kill, doing this for each one he came to. Then he came to me, and looked at my two kills, and asked which one I wanted to be marked by. I looked at the two, then Yeyinde, and smiled. I pointed at the one I saved him from, and said, “This one was not much of a challenge, it offered little fight, being marked by it would bring little honour, I choose the one I slew with my ki’cti-pa, that one will bring great honour.” Yeyinde looked at me with pure rage as the other Yautja laughed at him, for they understood why I chose the one I did. Then Guan Ki its-pa took a finger from my kill, and scratched his palm with its claw, and let his blood pour onto the kainde amedha’s, since Yautja blood naturally counteracts the acidic blood. He then burned the mark into my forehead, making me a youngblood and a full spearmaster. He then handed me the dagger, and I took my trophies and spear back, and gave the dagger back to him. He then walked to Yeyinde and sheathed the blade, as he didn’t get a kill from his protected position. Then he said to him, “It looks as though you will have to earn your mark next season after all.” I then pointed at Yeyinde and said called him a tarei’hasan (Weak, unworthy insect), and told him to bow to me as his superior, and when he refused to do so, I struck him across the face, and ordered him to do so again, and he obeyed that time, but not without a look of hate that put his previous one to shame, so I really did laugh at him, and many of the youngbloods laughed at him as well. He then stood up, and skulked back to the ship.

I stood before my growing trophy case, admiring most of my collection, except for the first one I acquired, which filled me with sadness at what it symbolized. I lost myself in thought for some time, staring at nothing in particular, rubbing the crystal encased ring, until I decided to go and see if Guan Ki Its-pa had returned with the latest group of youngbloods. As I walked to the main hall, all the Yautja, both youngbloods and unblooded, bowed their head as I passed. Then I came to the main hall, and waited for Guan Ki Its-pa’s return. An hour or so later, the shop opened its doors, and he returned with the successful youngbloods, and the unsuccessful dead. I bowed my head to him, and engaged him in idle chatter about the hunters, the condition of the unblooded, and the remaining three groups. We passed a small amount of time like this, and then he needed to go and take care of some things, and left. I returned to my room and sighed because it would be three days before we could begin the return trip, and prepare for some true hunts. The rest of the trip passed slowly and uneventfully, as Yeyinde was restricted to the lower decks for failing his Kainde Amedha Chiva, so there was no entertainment to be found there.

When we finally did return to the jag’d’ja atoll, I was greeted by Kwei Guan, who threw me a strange bottle, and said, “It is good to see you again. I am pleased that I did not misjudge your abilities, and see by your trophies that you slew two kainde amedha, that is good, most unblooded in recent times have had trouble with even one. It is a shame you were not born a Yautja, one with your skills would sire strong and cunning sucklings,” and he stopped, and turned to see me rubbing the crystal, and said, “My apologies, I had forgotten what happened to your mate.” I just shook my head, and said, “It is alright, you didn’t bring anything to mind that wasn’t already there.” He said, “Then my small gift will be of more use than I thought, that is c’ntlip, it can help with the pain here,” and he pounded his fist on his chest. I looked at the bottle of what I presumed to be the Yautja version of alcohol, and said, “Thank you, but I would rather not resort to drunken stupor in order to deal with what happened.” The one of his upper mandibles flared out, and he said, “Only a fool partakes of something that dulls the senses, this merely makes you feel better in your chest.” I shrugged, and said, “One way or another, it won’t do me any harm, I suppose,” and took a large swig from the bottle. The drink burned as it went down, but not in an all together unpleasant way, and so I took another swig from the bottle. At first, nothing seemed to be happening, but as the bottle got closer to empty, I began to feel something... different. Or the lack of something, I should say, as the strange liquor rendered me nearly emotionless, which wasn’t all together unpleasant, either. And true to what Kwei Guan said, my physical abilities were unimpaired, I could stand steady and think clearly. Kwei Guan looked at me, and asked, “Well, how do you feel now?” I looked at him, and said, “To be honest, I don’t, this c’ntlip has nearly removed my emotions.” Kwei Guan just fiddled with one of his lower mandibles, and said, “That is a new one, but c’ntlip does affect everyone differently. If you ever desire more, you have earned the right to have as much as you would care to drink. Now then, Guan Ki Its-pa says that you will embark on the true hunts in a few days, the time to earn great honour is nearly at hand. I remember my hunters, they were glorious, and I hope that yours are as well.” I nodded my head, and said, “Indeed, and perhaps in my hunters, I can find what I am searching for.” He cocked his head to the side, and asked, “And what is it you are searching for, exactly?” I looked at him, and said, “I would like to find either a glorious death, or a reason to live again.” He stared at me a moment, one of his upper mandibles opening and closing, and then both opened for a moment, and he said, “There is a good chance you will find the first, and I do not doubt that the second is out there, somewhere, and I wish you luck in your search for both.” I bowed my head and thanked him, and we separated to go and do what we needed to, with me needed to find anything that may come in handy during the hunts. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you wish to view it, I could not find anything I needed, except several bottles of c’ntlip, and so I returned to the ship to wait for the upcoming hunts.

The events of these hunts will have to wait for future stories, as I participated in countless hunts, every hunt I could participate in, in fact. When other Yautja would take a rest period for recuperation, I would be preparing for and conducting the next hunt, always searching for death, or a reason to live, and finding neither with each successful hunt. Due to the amount of hunters I completed and the creatures I had hunted, I quickly rose through the ranks of the Yautja hierarchy, eventually able to become an elder, if I chose to do so. Even Guan Ki Its-pa would bow his head to me as I passed, though he was still my clan leader. It was after another successful hunt that I realized something. I realized that I would never find something to live for if all I did was hunter and search for something that could kill me, that left only the possibility of death, which did not bother me, but I could not help feeling that Tarja would be disappointed if I did not try to find something more, and so I made a choice. I decided to become an elder, and to search for a new reason to live, or death. And so, I went to Guan Ki Its-pa with the news, and he shook my shoulder and said, “Well then, I am glad to see you rise to the ranks of the elders, every clan member is glad to see one of their own receive such honours. We must embark to the jag’d’ja atoll at once! I will set the course immediately. I thanked him, and went to await my return to the jag’d’ja atoll, and think about what must be done upon our arrival. We arrived at the jag’d’ja atoll, and I disembarked to go see about my needs, and went to see Kwei Guan, as I would need his services, and the look on his face would likely be amusing. I came up behind him as he worked, and he said, “Begone, I am already preparing the gear for several unblooded and do not have the time or patience for more petty requests.” I smiled, then said, “Petty requests? You know that if I were request new hunting gear that it would be a worthy challenge indeed, old friend.” He paused, and turned to see me, his mandibles flaring in surprise even as he gripped my shoulder to give it a vigorous shake. He then said, “What brings you here? Last I heard, your clan was to go ona gro’tye (Literally means monster, but is also the name of a fearsome creature that is highly sought as a trophy) hunt, and were not expected to return for some time. So, what are you doing here?” I laughed, and said, “Oh, we hunted the gro’tye, I alone took four trophies, and as to my business here, I am to become an elder, and require your services.” He once again looked surprised, but said, “I felt that you had potential for great honour in you when I saw you, and I would be honoured to aid you in this matter. Come, we have much work to do.” And so, we set off to attend to my matters, Kwei Guan leaving the gauntlet he was working on unfinished, much to the dismay of the yong Yautja it was undoubtedly being built for. We entered a room that held many different fabrics in a wide array of colours, and he said, “To begin, you must pick a material and colour for your cape, which will let all that see it know that you are an elder, and that you fight with skill, strength, and honour. Those who see it will know your honour is irrefutable, and your wisdom and experience vast. So now pick your cape, and choose wisely, but I trust you will pick well.” So I walked amongst the fabrics, feeling them and judging them. There were many to choose from, from a finer variant of the simple leather they used, to one made out of very fine links of the metal they are so fond of, but none of these caught my eye, until I found one that suited me perfectly. It was a fine, woven fabric that was dyed a deep, rich red. I let Kwei Guan know of my choice, and he took me to another room that held several projectors. He activated them, and they revealed a wide assortment of different styles of capes, their fasteners, and straps. He then said, “Like your hunting gear, you must now choose your style of cape, this choice is no less important than the first one. And as always, you can choose one here, merge them together, or create one totally anew.” I nodded, and walked amongst the projections, searching for the right features. Then I came to a single shoulder cape, which was near perfect, except the straps did not suit me, so I marked the cape for him, and continued looking at the others, having him place the cape over the other’s straps, until I found a set-up that looked perfect, it was just a simple strap system, it attached to the armor, to the fastener, and another one circled around my side from the fastener, and attached to the backplate. I said, “This combination is almost what I need, but there I would like a fastener to be made specifically for me.” He nodded, and said, “Just let me know what you would like for that part, and I will make it.” I laughed, and said, “I will do better than that, here,” and I took the chain from around my neck, and threw it to him. He held the crystal up, examining it, then his upper mandibles opened for a moment, and he said, “That is an excellent idea, this will work perfectly, and be unique to you.” I smiled, and said, “When you are done with that, we will have much more work to do for what I am planning,” and he cocked his head to the side, so I told him of my plan to search, alone, for a reason to live, or death. He laughed, and said, “We will have much work indeed, and I am pleased. I was beginning to wonder if your years of hunting had somehow made you soft, instead. While I work on your cape, you must go and see about acquiring a suitable ship for your needs, I will alert the elders needed for that of your status and needs, now go, and leave me to my work.” And so I left to meet these elders, and choose a ship. Kwei Guan would design and create the optional features I chose to be placed in my ship, I just needed one to work around.

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I arrived where unassigned and unfinished ships were held, and three elders approached and introduced themselves as Hulij-bpe Nihkou’te (Crazy Tusk), Mei’hswei Thei-de (Brother Death), and Thwei Paya (Blood God), and told me that they would assist me in finding the ship that best fit my purposes. We walked amongst the different ships as they explained each one. They had massive clan ships that could house many Yautja and their supplies, but I refused that one, and they had smaller clan ships meant for a few elite hunters and their supplies, which I considered, but it was too slow for my needs. They also had small personal craft, which were much too slow and small to fit my needs. Then we came to a medium sized craft that was nearing completion. When I asked them about it, Thwei Paya said that it was an interceptor style craft mainly used by arbiters to hunt bad bloods. It was the fastest design available, could house around 10 Yautja comfortably, had several practice rooms, the keenest sensors, did not need refueling, and had an autopilot function so the crew could attend to other matters while in transit. This was near perfect for my needs, and what was missing could easily be added in. I let them know that this ship was what I needed, and asked how long until its completion, and Hulij-bpe Nihkou’te said it would be around two weeks. He went over to the computers to mark that the ship had an owner, and bind it to me, when I heard a familiar laugh. I turned to see none other than Yeyinde standing there. He had gone and joined another clan instead of waiting for the next season, and I had not seen or heard of him since. He looked at me and said, “So it is you, coming to select a clan ship?” And gave a short laugh, and continued, “I have already become a clan leader, and am here to pick up my clan ship, so it would seem that I am the better hunter, it is only a matter of time before I make elder.” I looked at him standing there so full of arrogance and pride, and could not help but laughing until tears came to my eyes, and I said to him, as he glared back angrily, “I see you have learned nothing in your hunts, Yeyinde. Ah, here comes Kwei Guan, now you will see the depth of your own stupidity.” Kwei Guan stepped forward and presented my completed cape to me, in full sight of Yeyinde, who just stared in disbelief, even as I attached the cape to my armour. Then I turned, pointed at him, and said, “Now then, tarei’hasan, bow to your superior, before I take your head for your insolence.” He glared at me angrily, but did as he was told, because the word of an elder is law, and he dared not refuse it in front of so many elders. As he knelt, I laughed in mockery of him, and the four elders behind me imitated my laugh to further his shame. I then said to him, “Now leave my sight, and if you ever disrespect me again, I will kill you. And if I even hear of you disrespecting Tarja, my mate as you put it, ever again, I will hunt you down and strip you of all your honour before killing you.” His mandibles flared, but he turned and walked away, and I looked back at Kwei Guan and the others to work out the finer details of the ship. The first few changes were simple matters, I wanted a wall removed from between two housing areas, and the entire space converted to house trophies, and a few of the other rooms were to be converted to extra storerooms, then I told them that I wanted one of the training rooms to utilize a machine that Kwei Guan and I would build, and that it would be a device that allowed one to enter the mesh’in’ga (The Battle Dreamtime) to help them become zazin (Completely centered within one’s self). When they looked at each other, perplexed, I explained about my time on Macbeth and the simulators, and that I wanted a machine that could allow one to engage in simulated hunts and situations without running out of maneuvering room or damaging the ship. Kwei Guan said that he’d look into it, and so we moved on to the next matter, which was the need of a ship that the Yautja were entirely unfamiliar with, a fighter. I told them of the design and purpose of the fighters I used to help build on Macbeth. At first, they were completely opposed to the idea, viewing a fighter as a weak and dishonourable way to hunt foes. They only agreed to design and build one after I convinced them that it was not going to be used as a hunter tool by me, but as a counter to the ones that did use them. Even then, they would only build it if the ship met their code of honour. When I agreed, they went to work on designing the fighter and finishing my ship, and Kwei Guan and I went to work on the simulator.

We arrived at his lab, and he questioned me as to how I wanted it to operate. Through the course of this questioning, we were able to establish that I required it to create the illusion of sensory data for those in the room, that it can be loaded with several hunting scenarios, it overrides nervous signals so one perceives they are in the scenario, but they do not flop around the room. Also, it needed to be able to be deactivated, but Kwei Guan told me that the only way for that feature to be acceptable by the Yautja code is if using it for any reason, except certain situations such as an attack on the ship, would result in punishment for not completing the objective. I thought about this, but accepted the terms, and he said, “Very well, this will require scans of your brain, measurements of your brain waves, and a minor alteration to your wrist computer, most of these may be done while you are undergoing the surgery to receive your implant for becoming an elder.” I looked at him for a moment, then asked, “What implant, and what is its purpose?” He laughed, and said, “Do not worry, it is nothing major or life altering, it merely alerts us to your death so we may collect your body and lay it to rest with the other elders that have passed before.” I thought about it for a moment, and said, “Very well, let us go see to those then.” And so we embarked for the medical facilities, and I receives the implant from Gro’tye Thwei,  Kwei Guan altered my gauntlet, and my brain was scanned while I was unconscious. All that remained was the brain wave measurements, which could not be done in a comatose state, so that waited until I had regained consciousness. Over the next few days, my time was spent mostly with aiding Kwei Guan with the device, and the others with the ships however I could. Then, on the fourth day, Thwei Paya approached me to tell me the design for the fighter had been completed, and we went to look it over. A hologram appeared, showing the design, features, and dimensions of the craft. It had all looked very solid, utilizing two plasma weapons with limited tracking capabilities, and a speed that put even the interceptor class ships to shame. It had high maneuverability in a variety of environments, some cloaking capability, but past a certain speed these were rendered unusable, and storage for a small amount of supplies and trophies. But then Thwei Paya said, “I am sure that you have noticed that it looks like a blade, that is no coincidence. In order to meet the standards of our code, we had to make it able to engage enemies without shooting them, and you are honor bound to attempt to defeat your foes in that way.” I looked at all this, and said, “This looks very nice indeed, and I have decided what to name the ship, Thwei Vy’drach (Blood Phoenix), but there are two features that are missing. The first one being, if I am essentially to ram any ships, I need a way to keep the force of the impact from causing substantial damage to me. The second one is, the ships we were working with on Macbeth could deflect projectiles by initiating a rapid series of rolls, which engaged what we called a “G-diffuser,” which dealt with both aspects of what I need.” He then questioned me about what I remembered of the G-diffuser systems, and I told him all that I could. He then pressed several buttons on the computer, and a large list of technical data appeared, and he turned to me and said, “Yes, we can create something like that, it will require some modifications, but it will be done quickly enough, just an extra day or two.” He then left to begin the new design, which he showed me the next day. It was the same as the old design essentially, but was smaller, faster, and housed cylinders under each “wing” of the craft, which I assumed to be the Yautja equivalent to the G-diffuser. Then the computer ran various simulations, showing the performance of the craft, and colliding with a solid object resulted in very little felt impact, and the craft would be able to deflect all but the highest grade of Yautja ship mounted weaponry. With my approval, he entered the data into the computer, and estimated that it would take a month to complete, and so I went back to aiding them and Kwei Guan, and waiting for the projects to be done. Then the next day, Kwei Guan finished the device, and we installed it in the training room, and activated it. Lines of text appeared across my mask’s vision, and by using my gauntlet computer, I could select what situations and variables I wanted. Once those were chosen, we started the scenario, which was of an alien facility overrun with kainde amedha. I was armed with my ki its-pa and ki’cti-pa, and Kwei Guan had a burner and his ki’cti-pa, and we set off into the facility to begin the hunt. We walked down the alleys between buildings, our visions set to detect the kainde amedha, and we didn’t hear a single noise, which was not a good sign. Then suddenly, we heard a loud screeching nearby, and several returning screeches from all over. Then I heard the hollow sound of the burner firing, and felt a great heat behind me. I turned to see the smouldering corpse of a kainde amedha, and heard Kwei Guan laugh, and say, “You should be more cautious, that one could have gotten you if I did not slay it first.” I then threw my spear towards him, and there was a loud screech of pain, and he turned to see a kainde amedha pinned to the wall by my spear through its chest, grabbing at it in an attempt to free itself. It died from the wound, and he laughed and said, “It would seem that I need to follow my own advice. I believe you will be requiring this, spearmaster.” And he pulled the spear from the body, which made a soft thump as it hit the ground. He then threw it back to me and reloaded his burner as a wave of the creatures came to attack us.

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I rushed in to meet them as Kwei Guan began to pick them off with his burner, dropping one here and there, but more came in their place. And so, I met them in fierce melee combat, dodging and deflecting their blows, and retaliating with my ki its-pa and ki’cti-pa, the bodies of the dead and dying piling up around me. I slashed them across the face and neck, dismembered limbs, disemboweled them, and even decapitated them, and still more came, having complete disregard for their own well being, and only caring about the safety of the hive and the queen. I always did respect that about them. As I fought them, some would go past me in pursuit of Kwei Guan, who I was sure could handle himself, so I dealt with the few that still attempted to fight me. I spun my spear vertically, catching one of them under the chin, splitting its face in two. Then I swung the spear around to catch another in the throat, who died almost instantly. The last one attempted to lunge at me, but I sidestepped this, and swung my arm down, thrusting the back of my spear into its neck and out the top of its head, and collapsed my spear to remove it from the body, as there were no more kainde amedha in sight. I then turned to see how Kwei Guan was doing with his. There were many bodies lying around him, and he was battling the three that were still alive. Suddenly, he swung his ki’cti-pa into the side of one’s face, and continuing the movement, brought his burner, which he was holding by the barrel, across the side of another’s face, using the momentum of his turn to increase the force, which sent it sprawling to the floor. And instead of pulling the ki’cti-pa out, he ripped them through the creature’s face, just as the third lunged towards him. He stabbed it under the jaw just as the inner mouth came out, causing it to bite it off and killing it in the same blow. The one that he had struck with the burner had regained its footing, but he smashed the burner across the side of its face again, dropped the weapon, and grabbed the creature by the throat and arm. He snapped its arm, and brought its waist crashing down across his knee, twisting its head to the side as he did so, snapping its back and neck, and tossing the new limp body away. Then he picked the burner back up, turned to me, and I said, “What took you so long? Get rusty in your retirement?” He laughed, and said. “No, I was savoring the kills. I truly missed this, and it feels good to do this again, even if it’s not real.” I just said, “It is not about whether it’s real or not, but how you perform. Besides, its as real as you perceive it to be.” He thought about that for a moment, and then said, “I suppo-,” but was cut off as we heard a loud crash, and were nearly swept off our feet by the trembling of the ground. We looked towards where the sound had originated, and saw amongst the settling dust where a wall had been, was a kainde amedha queen, who had detached herself from her eggsack, and had undoubtedly come after us for slaying her children, who were strewn about us. She looked towards us, and let loose a howl of pure rage. I looked at her, and began to laugh to the point where Kwei Guan cautioned a glance towards me, and I stopped laughing and said, “I have been in situations similar to this, but never this dire. This will surely get the thwei pumping, and make you feel truly nan-ku (alive).” Then I leapt upon one of the small buildings, and said, “Come my friend, dtai’kai-dte sa-de nau'gkon dtain'aun bpi-de (The fight begun would not end until the end).” And leapt to another building as he leapt to where I just was, and he said, “M-di h’dlak (No fear), M-di h’chak (No mercy),” and leapt up beside me, and we looked down upon her, and she looked up at us, furious at our being out of her reach. She then let loose another howl, and then charged the building, slamming it with all her might, and nearly knocking us off it, but we managed to keep our footing, and observed her again, this time braced for an impact, which came when she rammed the building again and again, but I saw what I was hoping to see, a moment in which to strike. As she came to ram the building again, I leapt off the roof just ash she lowered her head, exposing her back. I landed amongst the spines of her back, and stabbed my spear into her neck, and my ki’cti-pa into one of her spines, activating the grappling option to guarantee a hold. She howled in pain, and tried to reach back with her claws, but couldn’t do so, I then secured a footing amongst her spines, and stabbed her repeatedly with the spear. Kwei Guan, seeing that I was secure, began to pelt her with shots from the burner, but her body absorbed much of the shot, making the shots serious, but not life threatening. Then I felt something fly past me after one of his shots, and saw a large, severed portion of her tail. Apparently, she had tried to hit me with it, but he had shot it off near its base instead. Finally, after several minutes of her trying to shake me off, my stabbing her, and Kwei Guan’s constant barrage of burner fire, she apparently succumbed to her wounds, I waited for a few moments, then broke my ki’cti-pa free of her spine, and cautiously walked around to her front, Kwei Guan ready to act at the slightest movement. When I got in front of her, I drove my spear into the top of her head, and only after she didn’t respond did I believe she was dead. Then Kwei Guan leapt off the roof, landing beside me, and letting loose a roar of victory. I turned to him said, “That was entertaining, and I believe we can call this machine a success.” He laughed, and said, “That was indeed a success, I had not had fun like that in years. It brought back memories of great challenges and greater honour. You may have given the elders a great gift, for I am not the only one that has missed this. I must go now, but I will see you and have something for you before you go.” I bid him farewell, and went to go rest.

Over the next few weeks, I moved my trophies into, acquired supplies for, and stocked my ship, which I now called Hasou-de Paya (Fallen God). I also used the design computer to learn the location of the controls to my fighter, and used the simulator to become proficient in it. Then finally, construction was finished on the fighter. As I was preparing to board it and load it into Hasou-de Paya, Kwei Guan appeared, with several barrels of an unknown liquid, and a rolled up piece of leather. He looked at the ship, and said, “A fine craft indeed. I have with me a recipe that will make your journeys less dull, and help keep you from having to return to restock.” he then threw me the leather, and on it were inscribed several different ways to make home brewed c’ntlip, and one of them involved mixing several drinks I remembered from Macbeth. The only thing I was unfamiliar with was the catalyst, which was undoubtedly what was in the barrels. I had just been given a universal moonshine recipe. I looked at it, laughed, and said, “Why do I have the feeling I will use this often?” Kwei Guan laughed as well, and said, “Why do you think I have brought you so much of this? Do know, however, that c’ntlip is not as strong as the real drink, or as fine, but it will do its job.” I just said, “Well, that’s all that matters, isn’t it?” He gave a nod, then said, “Let us load these then,” and started to walk towards Hasou-de Paya, when I said, “I have a better idea, hold one moment.” He waited as I went to find a lower ranked Yautja, and ordered him to load the barrels into a store room on my ship, which he did unquestioningly. I then said to Kwei Guan, “I had to do that at least once before departing,” and he laughed, and I continued, “Until he gets done, what say you to trying that thing out,” and I pointed to Thwei Vy’drach. He looked at it, and said, “I must confess a curiousity as to what that contraption of yours is capable of, so I say let us do so.” I walked over to the machine, and pressed a few keys on my gauntlet computer, causing the fighter to list to one said, allowing it to be boarded without risking the sharp edge of it. We got into the ship, with Kwei Guan sitting behind me, and I righted it, directed it into the jag’d’ja atoll’s launch bay, which closed behind us, and was free to bring it into space. I fully activated the ship, its engine making minimal noise, and several diagnostic readings appearing across my mask’s vision. Once determining that the ship was in perfect working order, I looked around, smiled, and said, “Let us begin this, shall we,” and engaged the throttle. The ship shot out of the bay, and I weaved it in and out of sharp turns in the open space. Kwei Guan was obviously enjoying the ride, and he said, “I may have to acquire one of these for myself.” I laughed, and said, “This is nothing, soon it will get interesting.” I then directed the ship towards a nearby asteroid field, weaving in and out of the objects as they hurtled through space, Kwei Guan and I cackling madly as I did so, and we continued on until we decided it was time to return. I said, “Let us go back before we kill ourselves out here, we have survived too much to allow that to happen.” And so I directed the ship in one heading, and edged the throttle forward, and Kwei Guan said, “You are aware that the jag’d’ja atoll is the other direction, correct?” I laughed, and said, “Of course, but there are a few things that I have been dying to try outside the simulator, the first one being this.” Then I shot the throttle all the way up, and once the ship reached max speed, I turned the engine off, and simultaneously rolled and flipped the ship so it was looking the opposite direction but still traveling in its original course. Then I turned the engine on, and Kwei Guan and I were slammed into our seats as the ship suddenly stopped, and gained speed at an incredible rate in the opposite direction. As we reentered the asteroids, I rolled the craft, and the “g-diffusers” activated, deflecting the nearby asteroids. I then pointed the craft at a large asteroid that was bigger than the ship, and pushed the throttle forward. There was a slight bump when we hit it, but we passed through it cleanly, slicing it into three sections. I then flew the craft towards an even larger one, lined it up, and fired at it. Two bolts of plasma shot out, hitting the asteroids, demolishing it, and rendering much of the debris molten. I then said, “Well, this ship seems to be in perfect working order, now let us return to the jag’d’ja atoll,” and directed the ship towards it, and eased it into the bay, which sealed behind us, so we were able to bring the ship inside. I then hit a few buttons on the console, and the shuttle bay doors to Hasou-de Paya opened up, and I set Thwei Vy’drach down inside it, and the bay doors closed behind us. Then I opened the cockpit, and we jumped down, with the cockpit closing behind us, and it just hovered there calmly. I then pressed a few buttons, and the ship’s cloaking system activated, and with the press of a few more buttons, deactivated. We then exited the ship and told the other elders that the craft worked flawlessly. Mei’hswei Thei-de just growled, and said, “What did you expect, we are not sucklings after all.” I laughed, and said, “No, I suppose not, either way though, the ship is perfect, and for that I thank you.”  Then I turned to Thwei Guan and said, “And as for you, I thank you for your help, and I can assure you that you will be seeing me again.” He laughed, and asked, “And what makes you so sure of that?” I said, “I can guarantee it because, unless you get yourself killed in the next eighty years, you will long outlive me.” He stood there for a moment, and then said, “I suppose you are right, but I would hope to see you again before your passing.” I laughed, and said, “I am sure you will. After all, I doubt I can bear you homemade c’ntlip forever,” and he shook his head and said, “Nor do I suggest you try. Well then, until the Paya see fit to cross our paths again.” With that, I boarded the ship, activated the cloaking system, exited the jag’d’ja atoll, and thought about where to begin my search. Then I slid my hand over the crystal fastener with the ring embedded inside, and decided. I would go and see what had become of my home, I would travel to Macbeth. I entered the data into the computer, and set it on autopilot. It would take the ship six days to make it to Macbeth, and I decided to start the wait by taking a long rest.

On the trip to Macbeth, I spent a lot of time trying to decide how to best proceed with my exploration of my past home. First, I would need to acquire some currency, as I had none with me, and hadn’t even dealt with the stuff in years, as the Yautja didn’t use any. I had hid some in the base at Macbeth, but wasn’t sure if it would still be there after all these years. Deciding that I could not do anything until I got there, I resigned the rest of my time to the simulator and c’ntlip. When I got to Macbeth, I observed the heavy traffic around the planet, and discerned a spot that the paths did not take any ship through, and set Hasou-de Paya to remain there, and only move if a ship was approaching it. I then entered the shuttle bay and boarded Thwei Vy’drach, and activated its cloak. I then opened the bay doors, and eased the fighter out, the doors closing behind me. Then I flew the craft to the planet’s surface at a steady cruise. After navigating through the traffic, I landed the ship under an overpass near where the Arspace Dynamics factory was, assuming that they were still around. It was night, so no one was around as I climbed down from my ship and activated my cloak, and the cockpit closed behind me, rendering the ship invisible to all but those that know its there again. I then proceeded the rest of the way on foot, not sure of what I’d find. The area hadn’t changed much, the facilities had been repaired, and several were under new ownership, but the buildings themselves were unchanged, and I was able to navigate my way to the Arspace dynamics facility.

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The outer facility was guarded, but it was easy to evade the defenses with my cloak, until I came to the main entrance, which was securely locked, and monitored by a camera. I could destroy the camera and overload the lock with my gauntlet, but that would raise the alarm. Instead, I removed the screws from the camera, causing it to fall off the wall. I also held onto all but one of the screws, as all of them being found would look odd, but it now appeared as though it was a simple matter that happened over time. I then stood to the side, placed a remote sensor so I could oberve the doorway later, and began waiting, and sure enough, a pair of guards came out to investigate and I slipped in as the second one came out, and waited on the other side of the door, and sure enough, I heard one say, “Ah hell, it was just the camera losing its last screw. What the hell are we paying maintenance for if they let this kind of shit slip past em? Last week it was the damned plumbing, get one of those lazy bastards up here to fix this thing.” And with that, I set off down the halls, assured that they had bought the ruse. I encountered few people in the facility’s halls, but I paused whenever I did to avoid detection. The halls were no different from my day, except being cleaner, but the layout was still the same, and I had no trouble navigating through them. I then came to some offices, and found someone sleeping at their desk, and seized this opportunity to take their security keycard and scan it to my gauntlet computer. I then placed it on the floor besides them, so that it looked as though it merely fell off in their sleep. I then continued on towards where Tarja and I had stayed those many years ago. I came to the hall that had held the temporary dwellings that we stayed in, and was about to enter the room that was ours, but looked down the hall instead, towards where I found her body. The money would still be there, if it was there at all, and so I set off down the hall once more, and came to the room that had held my fiance’s body, her murdered, and the last moments of my former self. Hesitating for just a moment, I entered the room.

It had been cleaned and was in use again, but I had no trouble visualizing where each fatal event and detail occurred. I then walked to where I had found her body, and recalled several memories of her, which brought a smile to my lips and tears to my eyes. Then I thought of the one responsible for all this, and clenched my fists so tightly that my hands were punctured with my own claws. After a few moments of silence, I relaxed my group, and decided to complete what I came to do, and leave this place. I returned back to where Tarja and I lived while we were taking shelter from Andross’s invasion, and stepped inside. The room had been converted into a storeroom, and there was a line of lockers in front of the section of wall I hid the money in, I moved them out of the way, and the hole in the wall that had given me access to the money was gone, but I decided to make sure, and I drove my fist into the wall, putting a large hole in it, and I tore out the edges, making it even bigger. I then reached inside, and pulled out an old metal box, which I had used to protect the money. I then opened it up, and found it nearly empty. Someone had taken the money, but left a picture of me and Tarja on our trip to Zoness. That was actually the trip that I proposed to her on. Once more I felt tears come to my eyes, and I stored the photo in my satchel, and placed the box and debris back into the hole, and realigned the lockers. I then tried to think of where else to get money, and then looked around me. I was in the middle of an Arspace Dynamics facility, and they still owed me my severance pay, plus a few paychecks. And so, I went in search of the vault that had held the funds for the R&D labs, and eventually found them, unguarded too. I looked around the room, however, and saw several cameras, but decided stealth wasn’t important at this point, and ripped them from their mounts. I then deactivated my cloak, and approached the safe. It was immensely large, and was undoubtedly secure. Fortunately, it wasn’t secure enough, and I extended my ki’cti-pa, and began to cleave through the inferior metal, which activated a security device that both tripped an alarm, and attempted to electrocute me. However, my suit channeled the charge and stored it for energy, and it left me with merely a tingling feeling. Cleaving through the locking bolts on each side, I was able to rip the door off the safe, and found several stacks of money inside, which I grabbed many of, and placed them in my satchel, and reactivated my cloak. Shortly after I did so, several guards appeared, and entered the room. After they checked to see if anyone was still inside, they approached the safe. One of them began to investigate the sections of metal that my ki’cti-pa had sliced through, and said, “Holy shit, what could have done this? It’s a clean cut, but it wasn’t done with a laser.” And another one said, “I dunno man, but it creeps me the fuck out, and another thing, where the fuck did whoever did this go? I sure as hell didn’t see anyone leave this room, its like they just vanished.” I decided to slip out now while most of them were distracted, and I had just made it around the doorway when I heard one of them shout, “What the fuck was that!?” I paused, and hearing them scramble for the door, I dived forward and went prone. They came out of the door, guns ready, and spread out, and began looking all around the hall, searching. After a few moments, and receiving the reports of the ones who checked the corners at the ends of the hall, the one who nearly spotted me began to rub is eyes and said, “Ah hell, my mind must be playing tricks on me, it’s this graveyard shift bullshit that’s getting to me, haven’t had a decent sleep in weeks.” And most of them went inside the room, and I was able to ease myself off the floor, and make my way down the hall slowly without drawing anymore attention. Then I made it to the entrance door, and checked the remote sensor I had left outside, and saw that there was a guard on the other side of the door. I used the information I stole from the keycard to open the door, and the guard turned to see who was there as I brought the back of my hand crashing across his face, knocking him into the wall and rendering him unconscious. I then grabbed my remote sensor and sprinted towards the fence, and leapt over it. I then headed to where my ship was, and got it in, and flew to my next destination, our home before the invasion started.

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I flew over where our home used to be, but didn’t land, there was no reason to do so. I could see what had become of it from the air, it had been constructed over in the sake of “progress” and “expansion.” I yelled “C’jit! (Yautja swear, equated to “damn” or “shit”)”, and slammed my fist across the side of the cockpit, and directed the ship in no particular direction, wanting only to find the ingredients to try Kwei Guan’s recipe for c’ntlip, which would require me to find a bar or a liquor store. I happened across a bar first, and set my shop down in the alley besides it, and walked in. The people inside shot me a curious glance, and the bartender came over and said, “Look here, buddy. I don’t know what the hell you are wearing, but it don’t match our standards, so you can just go elsewhere.” I then pulled out a wad of money that likely had more than he earned in a month, and threw it at him. He shot me a strange look, and ran the money under a machine, which beeped a few times, and he looked up at me with a shocked expression, and I said, “Just get me what I ask for, leave me be, and give them what they want for them to leave me be.” He just looked at the money, then at me, and said, “Whatever you say, pal, just name it.”I then walked over to a table in the corner, sat down, and there was a hiss as I undid the cables on my mask. I then slowly pulled it off, which gave another hiss as I broke the vacuum. Then I looked at him, and listed the drinks I would need, and he ran off to get them. He came back with the bottles, set them down, and said, “You must be one heavy drinker to need all this,” And set down a large glass. I just poured in some of the drinks, and pulled out a small vial full of the catalyst, and opened it. The catalyst was not the most pleasant smelling thing in the world, and many of the others in the bar mumbled things under their breath, except for one, who yelled, “Ugh, what is that SMELL!?” I paid him no mind, and poured some of the vial into the mixture, which shot up a blue flame that quickly died down. Then I poured in an amount of the next drink, which produced a loud hiss, and another foul odour to emanate. Then the person jumped out of his chair, and came over to me and said, “Jeez buddy, got any consideration for the rest of us?” I ignored him, and continued to mix the drinks. Then he said, “What? You think you’re too good to talk to me?: I just kept pouring the drinks and said, “Not at all,” and finished pouring them. As I raised the glass up, he said, “Aw jeez, you’re actually gonna drink that stuff?” I answered him by swallowing the contents of the glass in one go, and Kwei Guan was right about it not being as fien. He saw this, and said, “You must have a deathwish or sumthin, drinkin that stuff.” I thought about it for a moment, and let out a little laugh, and said, “One could say that,” and began to prepare another drink. He saw me doing that, and said, ‘I am NOT letting you make another one of those,” and tried to grab the glass, which I moved out of his grasp, and he went sprawling on the floor. A couple of the others in the bar chuckled, and he quickly got up and said, “What, you think you’re clever now or sumthin?” I just kept on mixing the drinks, and said,. “Not at all.” As I was about to add more catalyst, he said, “Oh no you don’t,” and threw a punch at me. I grabbed his hand, drove my fist into his stomach, and grabbed him around the neck, lifting him off the ground. Everyone else in the bar stood back, not wanting to get involved, when I heard a female voice say, “Falco, I think you’ve had enou... You1 Put him down right now!” I looked over to see who it was, and my eyes widened with surprise. Something about her reminded me of Tarja, something in her eyes. I then looked at who I assumed was Falco, and said, “As you wish,” and set him down. She looked surprised that I cooperated, and was even more surprised when I turned to face her, and asked, “Might I ask what your name is?” She looked at me cautiously, and hesitated, but said, “Krystal.” I smiled, and said ,”I haven’t been in this area for over a decade, but I believe I remember there being two parts to a name.” Then she said, “I’m not really from around here either, so it’s Krystal. Just Krystal.” I looked at her a moment, threw my head back, laughed, and with my head still back, said, “Krystal. Just.... Krystal. I like that,” and looked at her again, bowed, and said, “Allow me to introduce myself, Krystal, I am known as Vy’drach. Just... Vy’drach.”

Krystal gave me a skeptical look, and then asked, “Do you mind telling me why you tried to kill my friend here?” I walked back to my table, poured out the glass, began sealing the bottles, and said, “If my desire had been to kill him, I would have done so before you even walked into the bar. If you would like to know why I was holding him off the ground, however, that is an easy answer. He didn’t like my choice of drink, and attacked me over it.” She then shot a disapproving look at Falco, who was still sitting on the floor, rubbing his neck, and said to him, “I should have known you’d be the one that started this.” He just said, “That was no drink, it was some kinda poison or sumthin, nothing that smelled like that can be good for you.” I smiled, walked behind the counter, grabbed a case, and started filling it with bottles, and asked “Did you not see me drink it?” He grumbled something and said , “I don’t know how you managed it, but yeah.” I walked back to the table, set the case down, and began to place those bottles inside, and said, “Then it was a drink, not one you know or approve of, but a drink all the same.” and I put my mask on as Krystal asked, “Do you mind telling us what you’re doing here, exactly?” I reattached the cables to the mask, and sealed the vacuum, and looked at her, thinking of the best way to explain it. Then I said, “I am searching for something that may not exist.” Falco just coughed, and said, “That sounds like a stupid thing to be doing,” and Krystal shot him another glance, and said, “Maybe we could help you, it can’t hurt to try, after all?” I thought about it for a moment and said, “No, I suppose it can’t. Very well, allow me to just place these in my ship and get away from over-anxious ears.” And with that, we walked outside. We went to the entrance of the alley, and Krystal asked, “Where is your ship?” I set the case on the ground, and pressed some buttons on my gauntlet, and the ship materialized in to view, and she exclaimed, “Oh my! I haven’t seen a cloaking system that advanced on a ship so small.” Then Falco said, “I don’t blame you for trying to hide that eyesore.” I looked at him, and asked, “And I suppose your ship looks better than mine?” He yelled back, “You better believe it does! That’s my baby right over there,” and pointed over his shoulder at two craft that brought me back. I saw them, and started laughing until Falco said, “What? You got a problem with my ship?” And I, still laughing, shook my head and finally managed to get my laughter under control. Then I said, “No, it’s just the irony of the situation is palpable. I helped make those ships.” When they both exchanged glances, I said, “Come, I will show you,” and walked up to one of them and opened a maintenance hatch. The layout wasn’t quite right, and I opened other maintenance hatches, each showing the same thing, a slightly off version of the craft I helped build. Closing the hatches, I said, “I was mistaken, I didn’t help make this ship, but an earlier version. The original prototypes, which were shipped off just before Andross’s invasion, which cost me so much.”  They looked at each other, and Krystal asked, “What do you mean, what did it cost you, and how exactly did you know about the original arwings, I think you should explain your story.” I reached into my satchel, and pulled out the photo, and handed it to her. I then said, “That was me and my fiancé, Tarja.” They looked at the photo, Krystal said, “She is very beautiful,” and Falco said, “Yeah, but what happened to you?” Krystal again shot him a glance, but I just laughed and said, “The short answer is, I died.” They both gave me a cautious look, and I said, “Do not worry, I shall explain. I used to work at Arspace Dynamics, which is where I helped build the original arwings. Then Andross attacked and I joined a resistance movement to try and fight him off, but while on a raid one day, one of our own men at the base betrayed us, and killed her. And along with her, I died as well, my body just doesn’t accept that yet. I wish I could explain further, but I do remember it was not wise to discuss things on this planet after dark, words have a way of carrying.” They just stood there for a moment, and Krystal said ,”Perhaps you could come to our main ship, the Great Fox, and elaborate on your story? You should talk to the rest of the Star Fox team anyway, if we’re going to help you.” I thought about it for a moment, and said, “Perhaps your team can come to my ship instead, I have not really had my c’ntlip, and I feel the need for some. Also, there are many things about my ship that might lend credence to my story.” Quickly, Falco said, “Oh no, I am NOT getting near that stuff of yours again.” I just laughed, and said, “Relax, it won’t be any of that cheap stuff, it will be the real deal, which has no smell, much less a bad one. I only made the cheap version to preserve my finer selection, but I believe the situation calls for me to break some out.” Falco thought about it for a moment, and said, “Alright, fine, as long as it doesn’t stink to high heaven, it don’t bother me any.” Krystal then said, “I don’t see why we can’t talk on your ship, so I have no problem with it. I said, “Very well, how shall we do this, then? I follow you to your ship, then you follow me to mine?” Krystal said, “That should work fine, but there’s something I want to show you first, it concerns your fiancé, and you.” I stood there for a minute, rubbing my hand over the fastener, and said, “Very well, lead on.” And they got into their arwings, and I climbed into Thwei Vy’drach. Then we started flying down the dark streets, going between many derelict structures, when a section of one of them collapsed, and Krystal and Falco narrowly managed to avoid it. I didn’t even try to dodge it, and just cleaved my way through the debris instead. And I heard Krystal say over the comm, “Oh my! Are you alright, Vy’drach?” I smiled, reached over, and flipped a switch, then said, “Thank you for the concern, but do not worry, the ship I am in is not some cheap toy.” Then she answered back, “So I noticed, I haven’t seen a ship crash through something like that without taking serious damage.” I smiled again, and said, “It didn’t crash through, but slices through. The outcome is the same, but the potential that means for the ship is vastly different.” Then Falco said, “Blah blah blah, so you got an idiot-proof ship, big deal. I bet you don’t even know how to handle a real ship.” I laughed, then suddenly shot ahead him, pulled the flip I did with Kwei Guan, shot past him again, then did the flip again without the roll, so I was now upside down, above him, and keeping pace, our cockpits mere feet apart. Then I said, “Perhaps, perhaps not. Be sure to tell me what you think.” Then he said, “I think you can just buzz off, buddy.” And then Krystal laughed, and said, “What’s the matter Falco? Can’t handle a little competition? Either way, settle it down you two, we’re nearly there.” I increased my altitude, then rolled my ship over, and said, “As you wish, but for the record, I was never anything but calm. Well, calm and amused.”

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As it turned out, our destination was a memorial in a park. To be more preciese, it was a memorial dedicatied to those that died because of Andross’s assault on the Lylat System. There wasn’t much to the plaque on it, but what it did say was this, “Dedicated to those that were lost in the evil scientist Andross’s mad attempt at enslaving the Lylat System. Their deaths will not be forgotten, and their memories continued by those who still live.” I said, “Wait here one moment,”

and walked back to my ship, and retrieved a bottle filled with a thick, clear gel. Then I opened it, and pulled the photo from out of my satchel. Then I engaged the right blade of my ki’cti-pa, which startled both Falco and Krystal, and expanded it out of the socket to have it clear past the side of my hand. Then I scooped some of the gel out of the bottle with the blade, placed the photo on the monument, and covered it with the gel, which held it on the memorial as I applied more, encasing the photo in it as I smoothed the gel over it, removing all the ridges. Then I sealed the bottle and retracted my ki’cti-pa, and activated the chemical cleaners, which removed all trace of the gel from the blade. Then Falco gestured towards my arm and said ,”Pretty handy toy you got there,” and I just looked at it, smiled, and said, “More so than you think.” Then Krystal asked, What is that gel that you covered the picture in?” I looked at the photo, and said, “That is a general purpose epoxy that the.... ones that made my ship use frequently. I discovered that, if done right, it can be used to preserve and protect objects. The only way to remove if from that stone is to destroy the monument.” We waiting in silence for a few moments, then I turned from the photo, and said, “Let us take our leave, there is nothing that can be done here but dwell on the past, which accomplishes nothing but stirring up painful memories.” And with that, we boarded our ships, and I followed them to the Great Fox.

I waited outside the ship as Krystal and Falco went to get the rest of their team. I waited patiently for several minutes, when I suddenly heard a voice say, “This is Fox McCloud, leader of the Star Fox team. We’ll follow you to your ship in the Great Fox.” I pressed a button, and said, “Try saying that three times fast, but very well. I also warn you, you will need smaller craft to enter my ship, the arwings will suffice, if you have enough. If not, I have a shuttle I can use to ferry you across, or this very craft, if you prefer.” Then Fox said, “No need, we each have arwings.” And I said, “Very well, try to keep up, then.” And flew at a point that the Great Fox seemed to barely keep pace with. I slowed as we neared Hasou-de Paya, and I heard Falco say, “What is this, there’s nothing here.” I smiled to myself, and said, “You are wrong on that,” as I deactivated the cloaking system, and opened the bay doors. Then I waited for the arwings to near, and lead them into the bay. We set down as the doors closed behind us, and as I climbed down from my ship, I said, “Welcome to my ship, she goes by the name Hasou-de Paya, which means Fallen God.” The one I presumed was Fox climbed out of his arwing, and went to help Krystal down from her. Then Falco looked around and asked, “Hasoo duh whatah?” I looked at him, and said, “Hasou-de Paya, you must feel the words before speaking them.” Then Krystal said, “Hasou-de Paya, what a strange language.” I clapped my hands, and said, “Excellent pronunciation, though I feel your powers may of helped you with that.” She turned to me quickly with a surprised look on her face, and said, “How did you know about that? I know I didn’t tell you about them.” I just tapped the side of my mask, next to my eye, and said, “The Yautja took in a warrior from your species, much like they took me in, but I am getting ahead of myself there. Anyway, he was well known for his powers, which were caused by a certain neural arrangement in the brain. My Mask’s vision modes have the ability to see different bodily systems, such as skeletal, circulatory, and of course, neural. When the mask saw your neural pattern, it recognized it as the same type as his.” She gave me a skeptical glance, and I said, “Don’t quite believe me, do you? Very well, here,” and I undid my mask, and threw it to her. Then I said, “If you look through it, you will see,” and set my mask to cycle through the different visions. She put the mask to her face, and looked around the room. After a few moments, I said ,”I will now show you both yours and his neural pattern,” and ordered the mask to do so. She then lowered the mask, and tossed it to me, and I caught it out of the air, but didn’t put it back on. Then she said, “I haven’t heard of technology like that, it’s not from our system, is it?” I grinned, and said, “There’s those powers again, I promise my story will explain all, and I’d be happy to answer any questions if it doesn’t.” Then a little green fellow stepped forward and said, “ Hi, I’m Slippy, and this is quite a ship you have here. I was going to ask where you got it, but answered that already, kind of. You mind if we see the rest of it?” I smiled, and said, “Not at all, Slippy, I will give a tour after my story, so you can appreciate both the story and the ship better. First though, I need my c’ntlip, and you are welcome to the drinks I have brought with me, but I ask that you leave me some so I don’t need to get more, or use up all of my c’ntlip,” and I removed the case of bottles from out of my shop as Falco groaned about “that stuff again.” I then lead them through my ship to where the ship’s kitchens and dining areas are, and set the case down on a table, and walked over to a wall, pressed a panel, and waited for the wall to slide open, revealing a cold storage area. I then grabbed several bottles of water and c’ntlip, and carried them to the table, and said, “There are no glasses, the Yautja don’t use the things.” Everyone except Falco grabbed a bottle of water, and he grabbed a bottle of liquour. I then grabbed one of the bottles of c’ntlip, and chugged it down, then grabbed another, and took a large swig of it. I then began my story, which is essentially the same one as this, so I will spare you the retelling. The first thing that was said after I was finished was, “You expect us to believe this malarky?” Then Fox said, “I do have to admit, it is hard to believe.” But Slippy said, “Look at this ship, though, and his armour. We certainly don’t have anything like that.” Then Falco said, “I’ll admit his gear is advanced, but Aliens that can turn invisible and built their civilization around hunting, puh-leez. And don’t even get me started on those other things that bleed acid, I mean c’mon.” I smiled, and activated my cloak, causing everyone to jump in their seats, and then I asked, “Malarky is it,” and deactivated the cloak. Then Falco said ,”I’ve already said that your gear is good, I give you that, but how are we supposed to believe that other junk?” And Falco was about to say something else, but Fox cut him off and asked Krystal, “What do you think?” She just sat there for a moment, and said n”Well, we did have stories on Cerinia about invisible monsters that used to hunt down our warriors many years ago, but I never really believed them. However, I have no reason to doubt Vy’drach. I don’t sense any deception from him either, but it is still a lot to take in.” I grinned, and said ,”I know of an easy way to prove some of my story, come with me, the tour will not begin.” I then led them through the ship, with Falco and Slippy arguing about whether I was making the story up, until we came to our destination, the trophy room. I opened the door, and Krystal and Slippy both gasped at the sight. The walls were lined with a myriad of skulls from my hunting trips. I then walked to a large skull on the wall, and ran my hand over it, caressing it, and said, “This is the skull of the Vy’drach that I earned my spearmaster status by slaying, which means that below it must be....” and I pulled the skull from out of its rest, and Krystal covered her mouth and said, “Is that...” I grinned, and finished for her, “Tarja’s murderer? Yes, yes it is. Don’t look so horror stricken, the pauk-de (fucker) deserved oh so much more for what he did.” And then I replaced the skull on its claw, and grabbed a skull that was next to the vy’drach skull, and said, “Want to know about the kainde amedha, Falco? Well here, look at this.” And I turned and handed it to him. A disgusted look came over his face, and he asked, “What the heck IS this thing?” I grinned, and said, “I told you, that is a kainde amedha skull, that is the very one I saved Yeyinde from, and to be more precise, they don’t have an endoskeleton, so that isn’t so much a skull as it is a head.” The look of disgust that came over his face before I took the trophy from him made me laugh as I replaced it on the wall. Then I started pointing at different trophies, naming the species, “Kainde amedha queen, gro’tye, zabin (A type of very large insect, similar to kainde amedha)”, and so forth, and then I asked Falco, “Do you believe my story now?” He looked around the room, and said ,”All I believe is that you’re a nutjob with a very sick hobby, and none of this proves those alien friends of yours exist.” Then Slippy said, “You’re just being stubborn, Falco,” and Krystal said, “He has done a pretty good job of backing hist story up, I don’t think we can doubt it at this point.” Fox thought for a moment, and said, “I agree with Krystal on this one, his story is backed up by too many things to be completely made up.” I raised my hand and said, “No, no. Let him believe me of his own accord, I have something else to show you that should make even him believe.” I then took them to the funeral hall, which was lined with the statues of the Yautja gods, many of them unmasked, and said, “Behold the Yautja Paya, in the shape of the Yautja, and carved by Yautja hands,” The team just looked at the statues, their mouths agape, and Falco said, “Alright, I believe you already.” Then Slippy said, “ I don’t think you have any other choice at this point, Falco.” I looked at Krystal and let a grin play across my face, and said, “Say hello to your invisible monsters.” That snapped her out of her daze, and she said, “All this time, I never believed it, but here I am, in one of their ships, talking to someone that is essentially an honourary member. “I laughed for a moment, then said, “An honourary monster, that has a nice ring to it.” Then she gave me an anxious look and asked, “Did the Yautja happen to have any part in Cerinia’s destruction, or at least know how it happened?” I stood there, thinking for several minutes, running a finger over the scar on my muzzle, and then said, “I do not recall anything about the destruction of Cerinia, but that does not surprise me, as the last time the Yautja hunted on that planet, was one hundred and twenty seven years ago. Besides, destroying planets is not a Yautja tactic, especially a planet that is known for worthy game and warriors that have earned the right to join the hunt. If Yautja were involved, it would be bad bloods, but even they don’t destroy planets. Instead, they prefer the slaughter to be on a personal level, where they can witness the carnage and despair they cause.” Then Krystal’s look became one of disappointment, and she said, “I see. That makes sense, but I thought that perhaps I was close to finding a clue about Cerinia’s face.” I bowed my head and said, “I am sorry for your loss, that can not be an easy burden to bear, not should it be attempted to make it one.” A weak smile played across her lips, and she said, “I suppose you could say we both know the pain of loss.” A smile that had absolutely nothing to do with pleasure appeared on my face as I closed my eyes, shook my head, and said, “No, not to say your loess is not tragic, but it is not the same as mine.” Angrily, she said back, “How is it not? I lost everything I had ever known. My family, friends, my people, my very planet, gone.” I put my mask on, and said, “Again, that is a terrible burden to bear, especially when it is coupled with the torment of the unknown. However, I envy you. I lost one that I would gladly destroy all I had ever known myself, and even damn myself not just to death, but oblivion itself to keep safe. I will not find that again, and I have no delusions of doing so, but you.... you still have that.” A shocked and embarrassed look shot across her face, and she hazarded a glance at Fox. I then said, “I didn’t even need my mask to notice it, it’s all in the way you two look at each other. However, my mask brings it into greater detail. Your accelerated heartbeat, blood rushing to and from various parts of the body, the pheremones that you emit, they all tell the same story. Do not be embarrassed of it, you have no idea what I would give to feel that again.... but alas, this conversation means little, you cannot fathom the sense of pain and loss without feeling it.” Then suddenly, I grabbed Fox around the throat with my left hand, ki’cti-pa extending on the right. He exclaimed, “What the...” as I lifted him from the ground, but was cut off as I slammed him into the wall, bringing my ki’cti-pa up until my fist pressed up against his ribcage. Everyone gasped out loud, the loudest being Krystal, and I laughed, and said, “You felt it, for just a moment, you felt it.” I then pulled my ki’cti-pa free from the wall, and released Fox, who everyone saw was unharmed. I then revealed my ki’cti-pa, and that they had expanded from the sockets wide enough so they rested alongside his chest, without actually puncturing it. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and I said, “Do not forget that feeling, use it so that you may appreciate your gift more. And I apologize for that ruse, but it was the only way to convey that feeling, if only for a moment. Now if you’ll pardon me, I would like to go and meditate,” and I left the room before anything could be said.

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I went to the simulator, and activated it. The list of options appeared and I chose a hive assault scenario to increase my chance of the mesh’in’ga. Suddenly, I was outside of an entrance to a massive kainde amedha hive. It was dark, rainy, and cold, so I switched views to track them, and turned on my body mesh for warmth. Then I heard a loud screech, and several more screeches in answer. Suddenly, the entrance to the hive became full of activity as kainde amedha streamed out of the hive on all surfaces. I answered their hissing and screeching with a yell of defiance, and rushed into their swarming massing, ki its-pa and ki’cti-pa deployed, and striking swift but sure. As always, the kainde amedha were unintelligent fighters, having no skill or finesse, providing no real threat individually to a skilled hunter, but always threatening to overwhelm the hunter with sheer numbers, which they most decidedly had here. I deftly struck at the creatures, dodging claw and tail, and cleaving through the creatures, leaving bleeding, broken bodies in my wake. The ground was becoming cluttered with the dead and dying, but still they came, unrelenting in their assault, this is what I had been waiting for, a battle that would require me to perform at the peak of my abilities to overcome, but then I heard a gasp, and turned to see the Star Fox team. Several kainde amedha rushed to attack them, and the team starting shooting them, felling one occasionally, when one of them leapt into the middle of them, and knocked them off their feet with its tail and a back hand, and stood over Krystal, ready to deliver a final blow. I cocked the spear back, and threw it at the creature. Just as I released the spear, however, Fox shot the creature from the ground, which made it turn to face him just as my spear struck it in the side of the head. However, instead of killing it instantly, as it would have had it not looked over, the creature thrashed about for a few moments, sending acid spraying a short distance. As it was still standing above Krystal, some of the acid landed on her leg, making her cried out in pain as she grabbed at it.. Then I felt a great weight on my shoulder, and was brought to my knees as I saw a kainde amedha tail appear before me, covered in blood, red blood. I looked down and saw that the tail was emerging from my chest, and knowing what happened, and what I had to do, I flipped open my gauntlet computer, and pressed several keys, shutting down the simulator just as more kainde amedha had made it to the team. An intense pain shot through my body as the images faded, bringing me to my knees as Krystal, too, collapsed. As Slippy and Falco helped her back to her feet, Fox stormed across the room and demanded, “What happened to Krystal? What did you do to her? What were those things?” I put my hand up, attempting to catch my breath, and then I ripped my mask off, tossed it away, and began to cough and retch up a thick black fluid. After it had all come up, I shakily got to my feet, and said, “Do not worry, her pain is subsiding now, the simulation causes no real physical damage.” Then Fox pointed at the pool of fluid I had left on the floor, and asked, “Then what’s that, will that happen to her?” I limped over and slowly picked my mask up, and spit the last remnants of the fluid out of my mouth, wiped my muzzle off with my hand, and said, “No, you needn’t worry, that was my punishment for failure.” When he looked at me with a puzzled expression, I sighed, and said, “For failing in the hunt, a toxin was quickly spread throughout my body that causes intense pain, but is quickly expelled from the body.” I then walked over to Krystal and asked, “How is your leg feeling?” She inhaled sharply, but said, “It still hurts, but it’s starting to feel better.” I looked at it for a moment, and said, “You must walk on it. Your mind does not know that the injuries are not real.” Then Falco said, “What kind of crazy simulator you got here? Why would you have it actually hurt?” I laughed weakly, then said, “What good is a simulator if you do not learn anything? This can teach when and where to strike. However, I use it to enter the mesh’in’ga, which means the battle dreamtime. In that state, your mind clears, there is nothing outside the range of your sense, no past, no future, just the battle you are in. It is a very liberating feeling. Speaking of which, why did you come to interrupt my meditation?” Then Fox stepped over and said, “We received a report of strange creatures on Titania, creatures that use blades and can become invisible. I smiled, put my mask on, and said ,”Interesting, if you come with me, we can look deeper into the matter.” And I began to walk out of the room, but stopped, and said, “By the way, you wanted to know what those creatures were. Those were the kainde amedha,” and I walked out.

I then took them to the navigational computers, and brought up a map of all known hunting locations, selecting sections and zooming in until I had the Lylat System. I then selected Titania, and a clan symbol appeared that was familiar, but I could not recall who it belonged to. Then Falco asked, “Well, is it your buddies or not?” I said, “It is definitely a Yautja hunting party, but I do not remember who their clan leader is.” Then Krystal said, “It doesn’t matter who it is, we have to stop them.” I looked at her for a moment, and back at the display, and said, “If I can figure out which clan it is, I can order them to leave.” Then I pressed several buttons, and the clan info came on to the display. I yelled, “C’jit,” and slammed my fist on top of the computer. Slippy asked, “What’s wrong, your computer break or something?” I shook my head, and said, “No, it’s just that I know the clan leader, and it would be that pauk-de, Yeyinde. Then Falco asked, “You mean the one guy from that species that hates you, and doesn’t listen to you, is the one we gotta deal with?” I shook my head, and said, “No, I have to deal with him, you just do not get involved, and leave him to me.” Then Fox shook his head, and said, “We can’t do that, we have to go make sure. Besides, we’re not afraid of those guys, are we team?” And the rest of the Star Fox team just shook their heads. I looked at them a moment, laughed, then said, “Brave words. Very well, you may come and observe, but do not interfere, and do NOT bring a weapon of any sort, the Yautja will not harm you if you’re unarmed, but will slay you on the spot if you are.” Then I turned to Slippy and asked, “Do you have any sort of portable beacon that you could track?” Slippy thought for a moment, and said, “Our arwings have a small distress beacon, why?” I said, “I require the use of one, as I can get to titania faster and choose a secure place to land.” Then Falco said, “I don’t know about this, you sure we can trust this guy? He is pretty much one of them y’know.” I laughed, and said, “Honourary monster, after all.” Then Falco pointed and said, “See, that’s what I’m talking about.” Fox just stood there, thinking, and said, “I don’t think we have a choice on the matter, he’s the only one that knows these things, what they’re capable of, but what do you think, Krystal?” Krystal concentrated a moment, and said, “I don’t sense any deception, and I haven’t sense any from him at all before, so I trust what he says.” Then Slippy said, “I believe him, too! Besides, what other choice do we have? Their tech beats anything we have.” Fox then said, “All right, Vy’drach, we’ll trust you, for now.” I laughed and said, “Do not worry, I would not aid Yeyinde for anything.... almost anything,” and I stroked the crystal fastener. Then I said, “Come though, before they finish the hunt and leave before we arrive.” Slippy took the beacon from his arwing, and I placed it in  Thwei Vy’drach. Then as the team was ready to disembark, Falco said, “I sure hope this isn’t a mistake.” I laughed, but said nothing. I then exited the room and opened the bay doors for the team to return to the Great Fox. I then went to the navigation controls, and awaited the team’s signal. Upon receiving it, I said, “I will now head over there. When you arrive, look for my signal on the planet’s surface. And if you value your lives, come unarmed.” I received a message back from Fox saying, “Alright, we’ll meet you on the planet’s surface, now get going before we lose them.” I ordered the ship to head to Titania at full speed, and after a few minutes, I arrived at the planet and boarded Thwei Vy’drach,  flew down to the planet’s surface, and chose a secluded spot behind a large rock pile, which shielded the ship from view. I then activated the beacon, and waited for the Star Fox team.

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About twenty five minutes had passed before I saw four arwings touch down around the beacon. The Star Fox team climbed down from their ships, and Fox said, “Here’s the beacon, but where’s Vy’drach?” Falco said, “I don’t like this, smells like a trap to me.” Krystal shushed him, closed her eyes, put two fingers on her temple, and stood still for a moment. Then she quickly turned in my direction, and said, “He’s right here.” I slowly clapped my hands together, and said, “There’s those powers again, ruining all the fun,” and I laughed as I deactivated my cloak. Everyone except Krystal jumped at my sudden appearance, and I looked at the team and said, “I trust that you are unarmed.” They all nodded, and I said, “Good, Yeyinde and his clan left the base and headed in that direction,” and I pointed out into the desert. The team turned to look where I pointed, and I suddenly reached out and grabbed Falco’s pistol that he had been hiding. The team turned to look at the commotion, and held the gun up, and said, “Unarmed, are we?” Then Falco said, “You didn’t really think I’d trust you, did you?” The others just sighed, and shook their heads in disappointment. I laughed, snapped the gun in two, and said, “Of course not, and I knew you would bring a weapon, you are just that type that doesn’t listen to reason. Now then, Yeyinde is still in the base, if you do not try to interfere, you will regardless of whether or not I can defeat him.” And so I marched towards the base, with the team following behind me. As we entered the base, we were greeted by a scene of death that failed to unnerve only me. The bodies of the dead were strewn about, their blood on the floor and walls, and the successful Yautja hunting party danced about a bonfire, holding their new trophies high, still covered in blood. As the team looked away in disgust, I said, “Wait here, I will go.... have a word with Yeyinde. I then stepped towards the Yautja, and they turned to me, and bowed. All but one. I walked tot he middle of the group, and Yeyinde said, “What are you doing here? My clan has been given the right to hunt on these grounds.” I looked at all of the Yautja, and said, “That has changed, Yeyinde. You and your clan are to leave, and do not return.” He stood for a moment, silent, and then said, “No.” There was a loud clattering of disbelief from his clan, but he silenced it with a short bark, and said, “No, we will not leave. I do not feel that you still deserve your elder rank. It seems as though you have gone back to being prey, and have found a new mate. Let us hope she is not as weak as your last one.” My fists clenched, but I calmly said, “Very well,” and I undid the cape from the fastener, causing it to fall to the ground, which caused another uproar from the Yautja, but it was again silenced by Yeyinde. I then pushed him in the shoulder and said, “I challenge you to jehdin jehdin (One on one, hand to hand combat),” and walked to a more open area. I then took my mask off, and hurled it off to the side. As Yeyinde stepped to where I was, the Yautja began to circle us, but left a space open. I yelled to the Star Fox team, “Come, complete the circle, but you can not interfere in this!” And so, the team cautiously came to the gap in the circle, keeping their eyes on the Yautja closest to them, but they payed the team no heed, focusing all their attention of the coming fight. Then Yeyinde removed his mask, and said, “I have been waiting for the chance to prove that you are unworthy of being an elder, unworthy, even, of being a hunter.” tossed his mask aside, and took a hiju (fighting stance). Then I took my hiju, and we stood there, waiting for the other’s patience to break and he’d make the first move. After a short time, his ki’cti-pa emerged, and he leapt at me. I extended mt ki’cti-pa, and stepped to the side, swinging at his head as he landed. He jerked his head to the side to avoid most of the attack, but I still left two large gashes down the side of his face, and managed to sever one of his mandibles. He roared in anger and charged at me, swinging his ki’cti-pa at me as he came, I dodged and deflected his blows, and landed a blow in his side, leaving two deep wounds. He howled in pain, and turned to face me, clutching his side. He rushed at me again, and swung at me once more. I blocked his blade, but he delivered a kick into my stomach that sent me back some. I managed to land well, and I looked at him in time to see his plasmacaster aimed at me. I managed to get my left gauntlet positioned in front of the shot, so that his plasma bolt landed on the vy’drach hide, causing no damage beyond a slight discolouration. There was a loud hiss of disapproval from the Yautja at the dishonour he had committed. I then launched my ki’cti-pa from their sockets into his chest, and deployed the grappling portion of it. I then took hold of the chains, and pulled him off his feet. I then went to where he lay, my chains rewinding themselves as slack was presented, and I rolled him over with a kick, and ripped the blades from his chest, still set to the grappling setting. Then the blades’ supports deployed, and reattached to them, and the blades returned to their slots. He looked up at me, and his plasmacaster attempted to aim at me once more, and I sliced through its support, removing it. I then stood above him and said, “S’yuit-de tarei’hasan. He reached out for me, and I kicked his hand away. Then he gave a rattling cough, causing blood to gush out of his mouth and wounds, and lie there, struggling to breath. I then retracted the blades, and cleaned the coward’s blood from them, and stood over him, waiting for him to die. When he finally did die, the Yautja began to scream in a chorus of, “Nain-destinye-de!” Then Falco covered his ears, and said, “Jeez, what’s gotten into these guys?” I looked over, and said, “They are chanting, The pure win, absolute victory. It means I have decimated my opponent and remained unscathed.” I then took the mark of the clan leader from his body, and all the Yautja became silent, and bowed to me. I then raised my foot up, and brought it down across his face, shattering his skull with a dull crack, and causing a twitch to go down the body. The Yautja once again began to chant, and the Star Fox team looked disgusted. Then I ordered the Yautja to remain silent, and said to the team, “What I did holds great significance to the Yautja. It marked Yeyinde as an honourless coward, and I rendered him a trophy worthy of that, a worthless one. He can not bring anyone honor because he had none himself. Then two Yautja came up, and presented me my mask and cape. I reattached both, and looked at the clan leader’s mark, and looked at the Yautja. I then threw the mark to the eldest Yautja, and said, “The clan is yours, now leave this place, and let it be known that all the hunting grounds in this system are mine.” He bowed his head, and turned to his clan, barking orders to them. A few of them gathered Yeyinde’s hunter gear, and unceremoniously dragged him after their clan mates. The clan marched towards their ship, engaging their cloaks as they did so. Then Fox came up to me and asked, “Do we need to worry about them coming back in the future?” I shook my head, and said, “No, as long as I live and don’t say otherwise, the Lylat system is my hunting grounds, and the only Yautja that hunt here, if any do, will be bad bloods. Then Slippy said to Falco, “See! I told you we could trust him!” Falco shook his head, shrugging, and said, “Yeah, yeah, I know. Looks like I owe you an apology, we wouldn’t of been able to handle this ourselves.” Then Fox said, “And it is because of that, that we want to offer you the invitation to join the Star Fox team,” and the rest of the team nodded in approval. I looked at the them, and said, “No, I can not accept that offer, I can not take orders from someone else.” The team looked disappointed, and Slippy said, “Aww man, I was hoping you could teach me about some of that Yautja technology,” then Falco said, “And I was hoping to finally have some competition for once, ah well.” Krystal said, “And I’ve learned some things from you, about Cerinia, and what’s important in life. I was hoping that maybe I could learn more about Cerinia from you, but you have to do what suits you .I wish you luck in your search, and I’m sorry that we couldn’t help you find what you were looking for.” I laughed, and said, “Oh, but you have, and I can.” They looked at me with puzzled expressions, and I explained, “I said I can not join the Star Fox team due to my elder status, but I never said I had to go anywhere. In fact, I’ve decided to stay and try to make up for my failure with Tarja.” Krystal looked at me, and asked, “And how do you plan on doing that?” I looked around, and at each member of Star Fox, and said, “By protecting you.” They all jerked back in surprise, and she asked me, “And what makes you think I need protecting?” I said, “There is a big difference between needing it, and having it.” Then Falco threw his hands in the air, and said, “Oh great, another one, First Fox, then Panther, and now this guy is in love with her, when will it end?” Then he turned to me and said, “Look pal, what if we don’t want someone hounding us, nipping at Krystal’s heels?” I threw me head back and laughed, then asked, “First off, I offered my protection in an effort at retribution, I do not have any romantic interests invested. I already found my love, and no one can or will replace her. Second, even if that wasn’t the case, Krystal has gained much from the demonstration of Hasou-de Paya, and third, how do you propose to stop me? I doubt you have the ability to do so? And who knows, you already got me killed once in the simulator, perhaps we will both get lucky and it will happen again, in reality this time.” Falco yelled back, “What, now its our fault you died in that thing!?” I answered back, “I have been in worse situations than that and emerged victorious, and I was doing fine until you interfered, so what do you think?” Falco and I went back and forth at each other, while Slippy and Krystal laughed, and Fox just lowered his head, covered his eyes with his hand, and shook his head, sighing.

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Ok, I am finally done with posting them, it's not the end of the story, this is only the beginning.

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Danke schön  :D

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Guest Julius Quasar

Very good, very good. *applauds*

But...a little constructive criticism...

I get a headache from such thick, solid walls of text.  It's a good idea to split these up into paragraph form, and not make the chapters themselves too long.  Other than that, I like it! :yes:

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I actually did, just when I copy pasted it, the tab is only like a fraction of an inch.

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