Capricorn Rising Part 1 of 2 #AILF
(A long time ago, in a land far away…)
Blork shunted backwards, his hooves clattering over the stone walkway.
“What’s this?” Auriyen, the Grand Vizer stomped a silver tipped hoof once with impatience. He glared at the clerk, ignoring the grunt’s clammy hand outstretched towards him, and the info orb that rattled with nerves in his clammy outstretched paw.
“We have f-found an inhabited p-planet, sire” Blork stammered, nervous, exited and fearful all at once.
The orb rattled wildly again. Auriyen snatched it out of the clerk’s hand before the imbecile dropped and broke it. He peered into its contents, checking it contained the information he had authorised for distribution to the clan leaders, huffed, then ground the delicate info sphere to dust between his meaty paws.
“It’s many peoples are scattered across its surface” Blork muttered nervously.
He was a stubborn brat. Auriyen glowered and scrapped his hoof long and gratingly slow on the flagstones. This limelight was for meant for the Vizer, not the grunt.
“Well?” The Grand Vizer swung his great head around, arms flung out in haughty anger as he turned slowly, his haughty gaze rising to survey the gently sloping hills filled with clans gathered for his Pronouncement on this discovery.
“Why have we not made contact?” He glared at Blork, scrapping his hoof again.
Blork swallowed hard, his own hoof pecking nervously several times on the flagstone. He clutched his thigh unconsciously, as if to still the nervous tic and tried to stutter out his analysis as practised that morn with the Grand Vizer.
‘Technicians of Oxenia Prime’s greatest archives would teach future grunt clerks about this day.’ Blork thought suddenly.
Blork, the Wise, would become part of the syllabus.
The data was undisputed. And his 13 years of unwavering, considered analysis of this data would not, COULD not be faulty.
He stood up a little straighter, tapping his hoof once in certainty. Grounding himself.
“Well, sire. Here’s the thing. They aren’t responding” Blork stepped back a few more paces as the wide head of Auriyen lowered into his trademark glower.
“We believe they are captives of the vermin that populate the planet!” That unscripted, braying shout from the elder of Blork’s clan -he was also Bork’s pompous windbag of a father, Auriyen huffed dourly to himself.
Blork Senior’s accusation was quickly taken up by his fellows.
“Captive, so they are!”
“They must be freed!
We must act!”
Auriyen lifted his hand for silence and an expectant hush fell over the group. When all that could be heard were was the rustle of the grass that covered the steppes on which the clans gatherings were held and the haunting song of the herd finches he spoke.
“Who shall go to parlay? Which clan has strength of horn and hoof to accomplish this task”
A shout went up, the 15 clans almost a unanimous voice in their clamouring.
“Baa’ an Clan! The clan of Auriyen!”
Auriyen gave a cold satisfied smile. His sharply angled head lifted up, flexing this thick neck and powerful massive shoulders.
“And what of the bounty to be wrung from the captors? Who among us is fit to seize? Who among us is fit to judge? And Who. Among. Us. Is fit to punish?”
Again the loud shout rose to shake the open hillside, the noise rolling down the lush green steppes like an avalanche
“Auriyen! The grace of Auriyen decides all!”
Auriyen, Grand Vizor, former outcast but now champion warlord, braced apart his muscled thighs. Claw tipped fingers clenched in gripping fist he punched the air above his head
“We bring freedom to our people! And punishment to all captors!”
The assembled clans of elders went wild, stomping and leaping about. Clan Rangor elders rushed to and fro across their steppes, kicking all who foolishly stood behind them as they charged past.
The thirty elders of Clan Baa’an rose in unison. Each slowly stomped their left hoof, their clawed right hand matching the rhythm, thumping their massive chests, the tempo getting faster and faster, their powerful tails whipping audibly as they bayed low and loud in support.
A few of the younger Baa’an elders in training forgot themselves, turning to grab each other’s lapels to crack their bone dense thick foreheads together brutally, yelling as comrades with arrogance in an undignified display.
Even the thoughtful docile, long haired Shara-ein clan though they remained seated, took on the frenzy, a song of an ancient war chant bursting forth, their gray faces splitting wide as each of their voices swelled the noise in warbling glorious song.
Sharia-ein In Song
The heavenly orb of light bathed the hillside in its warm heat, seeming to shine even brighter as Auriyen stomped purposefully around the stony worn flagstones of the Elders circle shouting “We leave on the morrow. And the clawed hand of Death and Blood be on all who stand against us. Ready the battleships!”
Auriyen stomped out of the enclosure well satisfied. ‘So. That’s another twenty year reign secure and under hoof.’ He chuckled contentedly to himself.
(Earth’s orbit Present Day)
Auriyen the Fifty Third, freight carrier captain, Hand of Blood and Death and direct descendent of the first Grand Vizer dragged his hand over his face, then scrubbed the bristles of his jutting jaw. His massive head and shouldes and brooding glare confirmed his shared bloodline with his ancestor.
He pushed the large floating Orb of Record away from his command console and watched the images from the famed Pronouncement flicker as the Orb bobbed gently in the shuttle. The historical edict to bring freedom to the oppressed, re-enacted for the planetary archives and played on repeat at all annual celebrations, had fuelled his people’s drive for the technological advancements they now wielded.
He sighed. Shot a glare of dislike at the holoscreen projection of the inhabitants of the cargo hold, then sighed again.
Someone was going to die.
Die a death of slow but intense pain.
Fifty two generations of subsequent leaders, eons used to acquire the weaponry and advanced technology needed to journey to the polluted blue planet.
Only to arrive to find out the horrifying truth.
There were none like his people -or any clan known to populate his homeworld, Oxenia Prime, in THIS universe.
Yes, the inhabitants of this ghastly blue planet of plague and death had not responded. But not due to captivity.
‘Damn that imbecile Blork the Wise’ he muttered to himself, rising to his feet. Auriyen vowed to have the statue of the fabled archive technician torn down and ground into dust for use in all the wasteland’s privy closets.
He stomped back down to the cargo hold, passing through the red beamed cross hatched laser security. He waited for the low bellow that confirmed his authority to enter, then stepped forward, slapping apart the cargo hold forcefield.
The smell caused bile to rise up through his first stomach until he tamped down his reactions.
They had crapped themselves.
The tan coloured mutes looked over at him, whites of their eyes rolling wildly as they thrashed and stomped about. The females cried pitifully, stamping with the pressure of feeding time now missed.
He needed to return them.
To the rainy islands, the wide open plains, the cold blustery tundra the crew had ’emancipated’ them from.
A loud bellow from a wet nosed, black and white female, her full, pendulous peach tinted long tipped teats swaying in their strangely placed housing between her hind legs, made him grimace in crushing defeat.
Once aboard, none stood upright. Stubbornly choosing to remain on all hoofed fours. Encouragement to shift from this camouflage was rudely ignored.
All attempts to communicate and inform them of the thousand year crusade for their freedom had been met with either stony silence, a sloppy face lick or, in the case of a rather randy male, an attempt to mount him when Auriyen had once mistakenly turned his back to them.
Auriyen glared balefully at the randy male who tossed his wide horns, huffed through his nose and promptly lifted his tufted tail to let fall a steaming slurry and clods of dark brownish green waste.
That male was being returned immediately.
The area it had been taken from was vast, an area named, as the navigator informed the crew, as the Tixus lung-Hrnn hamlet.
“We are returned to the hamlet, Auriyen sire” the Navigator’s voice boomed in the cargo enclosure causing a repeat of the stomping. The awful damned wordless noise from the freed aliens started up.
“Make it quick, you can return the others shortly, but I want that male off this carriership now!” Auriyen barked.
“And get this bay enviro-sanitised immediately!”
The sniggered “Right away, sire” promised a vicious beating in the training pen for that navigator before Auriyen would allow him to crawl into his stasis pod for the long journey home.
The swelling electrified light of the transfer beam bathed the cargo bay suddenly, capturing Auriyen and the bellowing Tixus alien in its glow before Auriyen could step out of its reach.
“Argh!” his shout of ire boomed as suddenly, he found himself in the open, on the surface of the smelly polluted planet, his iron clad hooves and calves sunk up to the knees in the soft muddy planet surface.
“By the Golden Hoof of Baa’an Goreem!” Auriyen shouted into his comm piece. “Navigator, What have you done?!”
He looked about sharply, noting that their arrival planet side him, the randy ma had caught the attention of others, namely other females from the randy one’s harem, he suspected, who now moved at growing pace , jostling and clattering towards them.
“Apologies, sire!” The Navigator’s voice echoed in his ear, no longer sniggering, the trembling tone a dread realisation that his last breaths were likely to be painful and would coincide with Auriyen’s safe return to the space battleship.
Auriyen backed away from the fast approaching foolish females, darted out from the centre of the returned group and swung round, his dark high necked cape of office swirling around his legs.
“I am retreating to this structure ahead. Mark my coord intends, you calf-lick and get me off this cesspit.” Auriyen charged towards the large strangely shaped tall and wide building that yawned wide at both ends. A high, then even higher pitched gabble of noise could be heard coming from inside.
No matter. This was most likely a small clutch of the fur less vermin that roamed unrestrained across the planet.
Hoof and horn free, they bred in numbers and gathered together in herd enclosures surrounded with lights and stone. At night time, the time agreed best for when he had done his first reconnoitre, he has seen the vermin’s steeds. All shiny metal that shot lights from the front and back as they hurled along the preset paths all blackened and hardened by use.
He marched into the large structure, determined to shoo the hairless vermin out and get some peace whilst he waited for transfer beam return.
He smiled grimly, planning how hard to smack down the Navigator for this blunder.
The gabble stopped as two of the vermin, shrouded in thick leggings made of material the colour of their darkened sky looked over at him. The slightly taller, less rounded of the vermin let out a high pitched bellow, turned and started to run away.
“Aha, we have your position. Now, sire!” The Navigator’s disembodied voice was triumphant as the crackling transferring beam blasted through the enclosure, returning Auriyen and the the two screeching vermin aliens to the now empty cargo hold.
Brad and Meg Grayson had been arguing.
The ranch had been poorly managed for years as Brad chased one hopeless venture (and women ) after another across the state of Wyoming, his selfish plans of competitive bull riding ignoring both his vows to marry his fiancé and the life savings Meg and her late father had sunk in the breeding ranch for their famed Texas Longhorn cattle.
Eight years in and Meg had had enough. Enough of the struggle of managing the ranch single handed after Brad took off again, and the increased costs. Even the death of her father last year had not swayed Brad to return and settle down. Instead he was still promising ‘This’ll be my big break. it’s just one more year, babe’ as he set off chasing the silver buckle from the rodeo competitions in his home state of Wyoming.
Then a few fays ago, rustlers had taken Major, the Longhorn prized bull and left no trace. With the ranch sale hanging on the quality of their stock of cattle, that loss had threatened the deal.
And had been the only thing to bring Brad back to salvage the sale.
“How could you have let Major get stolen and not inform the Rocking D?” Brad glared at Meg, his hand waving angrily out at the paddock and fields beyond the open barn.
“As buyers they need to know a day-”
“I did not ALLOW Major to get stolen, Brad! Jeez, anyone would think I rolled out the trailer and hooked it up to the rustler’s truck myself.”
Meg thumped each clenched fists onto her waist, eyes flashing as she glared back at Brad. He could be a cruel ass sometimes.
“All I know is that a few nights ago a truck or SOMETHING came on to the land. No idea how they got past the font gate security.” Meg’s shoulders slumped in defeat.
“I saw the truck’s really bright head beams from the ranch house but, by the time I got the ATV out there, the herd including Major had disappeared.”
“Disappeared? That’s total bullsh-” Brad snarled, his voice drowned out suddenly as the afternoon quiet was shattered by a sudden loud bellow. Meg straightened. It was unmistakably Major. Followed by another, louder, deeper thundering bellow and the lowing and clamour of the rest of the herd.
Turning towards the sound, Brad and Meg strode to that end off barn. The hot afternoon sun streamed in, blinding them slightly as a huge hulking silhouette of a man appeared at the mouth of the barn. He clearly enjoyed Halloween, Meg thought as she squinted at the realistic curved horns fitted to his head.
“Now look here, mister-” Brad stuttered to a stop as the hulking male strode towards them.
Meg looked down, her heart seizing in her throat as she recognised the shape and backwards bend of his legs.
it was Major, or an idiot in a very good costume come to play out his Halloween demon bull cos-play fantasy
The man had clearly been studying Major, but no, not quite Major. He was a massive guy, at least seven foot when dressed as he was as a brutish ram, caped in a large dark covering
The silhouette man/ ram bared his teeth. They were large and -oh my heart- sharp and inhuman.
This, it was soooo not man.
‘Oh god, aliens are real’ Meg thought terrified.
Then, IT roared once, lowered its broad head.
Charged into the barn, bellowing.
It’s four fingered muscled arm pressed to the side of its head, as if in communication.
Four fingers! Meg turned, wincing at the high shriek that erupted from Brad. She gawped in shock watching as if in slow motion, Brad pushed her towards the charging beast. Meg screeched, watching as her fiancé left her and raced away. In the opposite direction. Babe or bail? Meg thought. ‘Welp I’ve got my answer….’ she thought distractedly.
The sun seemed to break through the barn roof, shining with a brightness that blinded Meg. Mid shout, she felt the air change, crackling with electricity then, there was nothing.
Navigator Senroth did a double take at the transfer beam readings, gulped in horror and slammed his clawed hand on the termination pad.
Dead. Stone dead.
He was going to be flayed alive by Uncle Auriyen, the captain.
In the cargo hold, the sudden loss of power made the transfer beam shimmer and then suddenly wink out, unceremoniously dumping the three beings collected from the planet surface.
“Oof!” Auriyen slammed into the floor of the thankfully decontaminated cargo hold, his cape protecting his back from being shredded as he skidded along the hard floor surface. The Navigator was a dead grunt. Baa’an Clan and his Hoof-Son be damned. By the Ram’s scrotum, he was going to slap the twist out of that Baa’an horns.
The vermin had landed on top of him. Awful pestilence. He reached up to pluck them off him but was too slow.
One vermin made another of those indecipherable throat noises, leapt up and scuttled away furiously on its four uneven limbs.
Auriyen pushed at the smaller one still draped on his muscled chest, intrigued. It smelled of warm honey and the silkiest of cream. Needing to rise, he rolled it unceremoniously off his broad sinew filled barrel chest. It landed on its side, tucked its lower longer hoof less legs under and rolled to a stop.
He staggered to his feet, groaning as he shook his broad head, his curved horns whispering harshly through the thick air.
Beside him the smaller of the blue planet’s vermin still lay, clearly sentient but most likely quite backward, its small eyes tightly closed. The mass of long furs on its head had tangled in a dark tangled mess across its face and shoulders.
The taller of the two vermin was definitely awake.
But huddled in the furthest corner jabbering and mumbling to itself. It gasped in terror as the forcefield at the doorway split to reveal the full contingent of the ship’s security detail – the Baa’an Baron At Arms, plus eight Rangor warriors, armed from hoof to horns with blades, brandishing the plasma implosion canon and an impressive selection of the snub nosed disruption grenades.
Even the Baron was twitchy. One false move and the eager pad-loving fingers that hovered over the detonate pads on the grenades would clamp down, blowing a hole in the cargo hold large enough to suck even the flight crew out of their pod on the 64th level. Through their assholes. Before casting them and the crew into space.
For a hot, vicious second Aruiyen bared his teeth, thoughts full of Senroth, his torn and muddied uniform, and the disappointing primitive nature of the now-returned alien creatures.
With the funds for herd and flock building ringfenced instead to fulfil the pronouncement, fewer and fewer females and calves were born each century, resulting in the rutting season appearing as a fertile period only once a decade.
These aliens had been Oxenia Prime’s last hope.
Sighing Aruiyen held up one large hand wearily, staying their eager pre-emptive strike.
The head of a serene Shara-ein, the technics officer, poked out from behind the cluster of armoured Rangor. Its flat oval iris narrowed in its huge yellow eyes as they darted around the hold. It’s jaw dropped, mouth gaped wide in wonder, horror or astonishment -with their classic grim grey faces, you could never tell with that lot.
Its nose quivered as it surveyed the hold, empty now of all horned and still quadrupedal blue planet residents. In their place the two vermin and a slightly bruised captain.
“Stand down, the fuckn lot of you” Aruiyen growled low.
Straightening he moved towards the security team.
“Watch the vermin” he muttered.
“The small one with the nest on its face is awake. Has been since we arrived but is playing dead.” The Rangor chuckled.
“The larger one appears to be in shock. Or trying to communicate with its nest mate.”
“Take that active one back with the Shara-ein; see if there is any tech to help us tame it. If not, check its core orbs, see if it is fit for food, although with the pollution reported, anything from that planet needs a wide berth…” Auriyen stamped out of the cargo hold eager for the sonic cleanser to strip the filth from the planet.
He dragged himself through the decontamination tunnel, cleaning himself of the filth on his hooves before stomping towards the bridge.
There was no avoiding it, the campaign had been a total fuckn broken horn, his thoughts were dark.
Oxenia Prime was facing extinction and for what? He glanced out of the carrier viewing portals as he reached the transport for the bridge. The blue and white swirled sphere seemed to gleam innocently back at him.
Snarling once he turned his back on the sight. With a determined face he stepped off the transport onto the bridge. He was spoiling for a good fight, a chance to let off steam before the humiliating journey back to O-Prime.
He spied his target.
“Navigator Senroth!!” Auriyen bellowed.
This would be a good hour of sparring at least.