40

Sneaking was difficult when on a spaceship full of low-level telepathic aliens, it wasn’t like they needed to see her to know she was there. Her enhancements had the effect of blocking anything intrusive, but the passive stuff worked just fine.

While they could recognize, she was there they couldn’t tell she wasn’t one of them. The civilians didn’t seem to care, her appearance eliciting no comments. At first she just assumed they thought it was a sex thing.

However, she began to notice more and more of the aliens in human form as she got into the most populated areas of the ship. Not very good human form though; they needed practice. Whoever was in command seemed to agree.

Posters on the walls said things like ‘HUMANS HAVE FIVE FINGERS’, ‘YES THE NOISE IS SILLY, YES YOU STILL NEED TO HAVE ONE’. Her personal favorite poster was, ‘HUMANS ARE MAMMALS, DON’T MAKE FUN OF THE GLANDS. (IT’S A SEX THING)’.

All of the posters came with diagrams of generic looking humans. A closer look at the posters showed they had been sponsored by the First Contact Relations Board. She remembered them as the ones who had briefed her on the basics of how things worked here. Nice people very professional; damn good at PR.

They would have to remove the ‘HUMANS BLEED RED’ posters before letting any humans on board thought. As she approached the more military sections, the posters shifted slightly, less about ascetics and more about cardiovascular systems, and O2 requirements.

She didn’t encounter any issues until trying to enter a restricted military section. It required a key card and was guarded so she couldn’t mess with the door till it let her in. On a whim, she tried the card she had been given.

It worked, she was going to need to talk to them about that; if they weren’t trying to kill her when this was over. 50/50 odds on that really, it depended on what was about to happen. She hadn’t decided yet.

She did, however, know where she was now and started making her way to the prince’s quarters. If she remembered right, his private access shaft was somewhere up from her position. She only got lost twice trying to find it.

He was waiting for her when she arrived; not surprising. He also wasn’t alone; also not surprising, but unfortunate. While this was supposedly his private quarters, the main entrance was all about the ceremony. It was more of a grand receiving hall than anything. Not quite as grand as the actual receiving hall, or the throne room at the core.

The access tube opened to a long room sloped upward, with only two walls. It varied between a gradual slope and stairs in sets of ten; it went up enough that Prysim had to strain her neck to look upwards and view the throne. Although it was more of a sofa or whatever those Greek things were called, the ones without backs. The prince was lounged on it swathed in a cloth similar to silk.

She had asked where it came from once and regretted the answer. The prince’s outfit along with the copious wall hanging, and the carpet so thick it would be impossible to get blood out of, were all shades of purple. The history of the color was oddly similar to that of the earth. A fact she only knew because the prince had found it online when he was visiting.

His guard was extensive, ten soldiers at each group of steps the higher they got, the higher the rank. The specifics had been explained to her at some point, but she hadn’t bothered to remember them. The lower ones were all very uniform in appearance the lizard/mantis hybrids. The top two sets had some variations, some considerably more human, some even less human.

The prince was the most human, so much so that calling him a prince seemed wrong. He had a very much female body; her’s to be exact. Not exactly her’s the hair was a bit too short (and better taken care of), the face had a slight sheen that most people might think was caused by too much makeup (it was due to a reduced number of pores).

Still rousingly beautiful to Prysim of course, but the slight imperfections were annoying. He had been better at her form before, but apparently time had caused a deterioration of his abilities. It was still unfortunately very recognizably her that just wouldn’t do.

The guards didn’t make any move to stop her as she strode forward to meet the prince, she grinned under her helmet and summoned her wings. She did so slowly to make it appear as if they were growing from her back.

Like her helmet and the fractals down her suit, they looked to be made of brass. Also like her helmet they appeared to be made of clockwork; mostly. The parts of a wing that would be made of bone were like the bastard clock of Halloween. Springs and cogs, all endlessly turning into its self.

The main joints were lenses the size of a car hubcap, made of a darkly clouded glass. The rims were coated in brass as well, making them look like large cogs. The feathers, however, looked like pieces of shattered glass that someone had tried to arrange back in their proper pattern.  None of them was touching any of the others or the wings.


“GO GO GO.”

“What?” Owl said jerking up from her chair; comms had shut off twenty minutes prior when Prysim had entered the private shaft to the prince’s chambers.

Prysim was rapidly materializing behind her shouting for a retreat when Firebird yelled from her station. “Missiles incoming, oh god that’s a lot of missiles. I have never seen that many missiles before.” She paused to as if to think, “Hephaestus didn’t have that many missiles.”

Prysim, who was now fully materialized, was covered in fluids and bits. Some of it was a brownish red of human blood, some was a blueish yellow, and the rest looked like antifreeze. She also had an insect like arm wedged between two of her feathers. “Well, I broke up with him properly this time.”

“GOD DAMN IT PRYSIM.”

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7 comments

  1. hi,
    thanks for the new chapter

    typo:
    Prysim had to strain to neck to look upwards
    ————————–to–> her
    ——>Prysim had to strain her neck to look upwards

    1. Sorry about the delays. I’m going to try my best to get back on schedule, but it’s apparently going to be 30c for the next week at least here and I don’t handle the heat well.

  2. Hello, another new reader from Tieshaunn’s link here. I apologize for chiming in only with a bit of negative criticism on this chapter after having thoroughly enjoyed so many that preceded it.

    This seems out of character for her. The Prince cared for her, a lot. From what the reader knows, he’s acted in good faith and continues to do so. Just murdering him like this seems to cross the moral event horizon IMHO. It’s a lot harder to root for the protagonist now. If that was intentional and she’s supposed to be an initially likable monster, cool. If not, this chapter may not develop the character in the way you intended.

    1. My interpretation on this is that in some ways, Alecia is an immature child. Given her age, that’s actually pretty reasonable.

      Figure that when she hooked up with the Prince, she was probably 14, if that. Think about it, 14 year old girl, crown prince of an interplanetary empire. I shouldn’t even have to say that the Prince’s involvement was fucked up.

      Alecia got cold feet, wanted out of the situation, and didn’t want to deal with actually dumping the guy, so she took the easy way (for her) out by faking her death. Now, the chickens have come home to roost, and Alecia once again took the emotional coward route, and just killed the Prince.

      Despite the ‘tone’ of my reasoning, I actually still like Alecia. She’s just demonstrating the difference between a teenager and an adult. Not to mention, most of her actions in the story to date have been her doing what’s easy, rather than what’s right. Which actually makes a more interesting character than the Card-Carrying Villains who do it ‘For the Evuls’.

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