This is the first in what will hopefully turn out to be a series of short stories, revolving around the planet my own caste is based on, the snow world of Kal'tan. This is probably my first attempt at writing fiction since high school, so any and all feedback will be very much appreciated. I wanted to write something a bit different to the usual tales of battle, and have a look at some of the other parts of a Fire Warriors life. So I present to you part one of the epic saga of Kal'tan.
Shas'la Vior'la Fal'shi stood on top of the watch tower, surveying the bleak snow filled landscape before him. For the first time in days there was no snow falling, and the endless plains that stretched out from the mountain range could be seen perfectly, a vista to rival those of the paradise world of Au'taal. Of course, that didn't stop the ice planet of Kal'tan from being a freezing hell-hole. Rubbing his arms to warm himself, Fal'shi spoke into his comms-link.
“Del'ya it's freezing out here and I've been on lookout for three decs, where's my relief?”
“Would you relax?” Replied Del'ya “You've only got one dec left then you can come back down. It's not that bad, all for the Greater Good you know.”
“That's easy for you to say, you guys have a nice, warm surveillance room to sit in. Don't we have kor'vesa for this sort of job?”
“Most of them are out on patrol, and you know how unreliable their sensors can be when the weather gets bad.” she replied. “You can come and join us once you're done, besides the Shas'Ui is sending up Kais to keep you company”
Fal'shi gave an exasperated sigh.
“What have I done to deserve that?” He asked
“It's nothing you've done, but the Shas'Ui has got a bit fed up of him constantly tinkering around with that gun drone in the barracks, it accidentally let off a few rounds and almost took off the commanders scalp lock when he walked in for inspection. So he's sending Kais up to, uh...get some fresh air and clear his head”
“So why can't he just take over from me?”
“You still need to finish your shift, Kais will act as your relief when you're time's up. Now stop complaining so much, we're watching the surveillance camera's in the Fio workshop, looks like the new Fio'la has managed to cobble together that new weapon he was raving about.”
“The airbursting fusion thing? He's nuts, it'll never work”
“Yeah, it's ridiculous, but it'll be something to talk about once they've scraped him off the walls.”
Fal'shi heard some urgent voices in the background.
“Ah he's starting it up, It seems to actually be working ok.”
A few seconds later Fal'shi heard a loud explosion from across the complex, and hysterical laughter from his comm-link.
“Ha Ha, oh that was just fantastic!” laughed Del'ya, “Lucky he was behind the blast shield”
“Is he alright?” asked Fal'shi.
“Yeah, the shield took most of the damage, but the lab's a mess.”, she replied. “The Fio'El is not going to be happy. We recorded it so you can get a look when you're back down. Have fun with the Ukos'la!”
The comms went quiet. A plume of blue-grey smoke was rising from the other side of the base and there was the faint sound of an alarm going off in the distance. Fal'shi looked out across the tundra, and watched a group of drones flying away from the base like a flock of birds. All in all it was quite peaceful and relaxing. Fal'shi shivered a little.
A few minutes of silence, the alarm in the distance had stopped, but the smoke continued to rise. Fal'shi stared off towards the horizon, just about able to make out the jagged line that marked the edge of the frozen sea, a maze of colossal icebergs and spires of pure frozen malevolence. The kroot mercenaries avoided the area like the plague, although that was probably more to do with the fact that they were too busy eating what little wildlife they could find in the mountains.
Adrift on thoughts of steaming hot pech'caffe, Fal'shi was jolted back to reality when the tower hatch opened with a hiss, and Shas'la Bork'an Kais clumsily made his way into view.
“Hey Fal'shi, bit chilly out here.”
He was short Tau, short by the standards of the Fire Caste warriors anyway, and his armour looked just a little too big for him. Fal'shi had often wondered whether their hadn't been some mistake and Kais was the result of an accidental caste mix. The fact that he was always meddling with some bit of kit or another made his possible Fio parentage a worryingly plausible theory. Not that anyone from the upper echelons would ever admit such a mistake.
“A bit chilly? I'm surprised the hatch wasn't frozen up. You're lucky you're from Bork'an and not a desert world. What's this I hear about you almost killing our benevolent leader?”
“Oh, yeah...that was just a..uh..a misunderstanding” replied Kais, fidgeting a little.
Fal'shi gave Kais the most sceptical look he could with his helmet on, “So letting off a few rounds in the barracks and narrowly avoiding getting yourself thrown out of the cadre for good was just a bit of a misunderstanding?”
“Well I didn't know it still had ammo in it!” Kais sat down against the rampart wall, and slumped a little. “I was bored, there's nothing to do around here. I think it's starting to get to me, I saw one of the kroot mercenaries playing fetch with a stonewolf the other day”
“You're imagining things”
“No, I really did. And that's not all, I can swear I heard the two transport kor'vesa talking to each other.”
“Now you're just making things up, what were they talking about then?”
“Dunno, it was mostly clicks and beeps, but I'm sure that they were talking. I mean, why shouldn't they? They have some intelligence.”
Fal'shi sighed and looked out across the base and towards the mountains that rose up like black teeth in front of him. The base itself was situated at the foot of the mountains, built into the rock itself, with various tunnels and underground facilities snaking their way through the ancient volcanic formations. These tunnels extended across large areas, some that went on for miles before reaching some remote sensor array or run'al, with the main passages leading towards the main headquarters on Kal'tan, the Citadel, a massive fortress city that covered an entire mountains surface.
Kais was sat cross-legged on the floor, holding a small drone in his hands, an open toolkit by his feet. Fal'shi had only seen a few drones that small, usually accompanying a Por diplomat, or floating around the Fio workshop.
“Is that kor'vesa? It looks a bit small” Fal'shi asked
“Hm? Oh yeah, it's a Personal Assistant Drone. I made him myself.”
“Yeah, he's called Or'es.”
“Or'es? You gave it a name?”
“Yeah, I don't see why not. They're just as deserving of a name as any of us”
“Why Or'es though? What makes it..I mean him, powerful?”
Kais shrugged, “Not sure, although he does have a similar power output from his anti-grav to the larger kor'vesa.”
“And that's the only thing you can think of to name him?”
“Well, yeah. He hasn't really got much of a personality, not yet anyway.”
Kais finished working on the electronics inside the drone, closed up it's outer case, and turned it on. The little drone made a beep, and it's optics lit up green. It floated up next to Kais's helmet, and he gave it a pat before proceeding to clear away his tools. It then floated over to Fal'shi and looked at him quizzically.
“NAME?” it asked it a low buzzy voice.
Fal'shi looked back in surprise. So these things really could talk.
Or'es tilted to one side and gave another low buzz.
“ERROR, FULL NAME REQUIRED”
“Oh, uh, Shas'la Vior'la Fal'shi”
“CONFIRMED, DETAILS ADDED TO DATABASE”
The little drone then floated back to Kais, where it attached to his backpack, it's aerial folding in.
“Database? What's that all about?” Fal'shi asked.
“I'm making a data collection of everything I encounter on this planet, including the personnel at the base, It's already pretty big.” Kais said proudly.
Kais was an incredibly peculiar tau, and to Fal'shi, who had been trained all his life in the ways of war, his penchant for knowing all the complicated technology the tau used, and his hunger for knowledge was especially perplexing. Fal'shi was well aware that, contrary to his theories of his questionable parentage, this was due to his birthplace, and his unusual upbringing.
How unusual? You'll just have to wait for part two.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, hopefully you've enjoyed reading it as much as i've enjoyed writing it.