Category Archives: History of the Kuli


“Valkyr 53, this is Dragon King actual.” Your wireless goes off quietly beside you as you sit in the cockpit of your Valkyr, silently contemplating what dishes you should serve for dinner when your sister next comes to dinner.
“This is Valkyr 53. Go ahead, Dragon King.” You grow tired of the standardized protocols employed by the Armada, but they are a peeve which must be tolerated for the sake of this mission.
“53, we’ve been picking up some weird readings in your sector. We believe there’s an unidentified craft on the other side of the large gas planet. Please investigate.” Of course there is. Jupiter’s electromagnetic field makes for quite a light show on the sensors, which means anything suspected to be behind it probably doesn’t even exist. Sensor ghosts are rather common when scanning too close to a planet.
“I’m on my way,” you reply, ignoring protocols requiring you to terminate the conversation. You’re a Valkyrie, anyway, and the Valkyries are technically independent of the Thorlinthian government and its military. As such, you don’t have to follow Armadian procedures and protocols. After setting the hype coordinates, you secure yourself to the seat and engage the hype. A quick implosion and explosion later, you find yourself staring at Jupiter’s backside, searching for any possible ships using your close-range sensors.
After about half a day of scanning and nearly returning to Earth, you notice something strange out of the corner of your eye. There appears to be a slightly misshapen area on Jupiter’s atmosphere, which means only one thing to your well-trained mind: There is a gravitational disturbance beneath it. You fly closer to investigate.
Sure enough, once you get closer, you notice that there is a distinct change in the smooth appearance of the raging gases prevalent in Jupiter’s atmosphere. You perform a gravitational analysis using one of the auxiliary functions of the Timids and notice that there is a rather large ship floating about in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Due to the erratic trail it seems to have traced, however, it does not appear to be fully operational, if at all, and is being held up by the pressure of the gases surrounding it.
Sending a quick message to Drigondii detailing the situation, you take the Valkyr into the atmosphere, an action which any engineer would probably not advise. Many of Jupiter’s gases are highly corrosive, and the storms are extremely volatile. Keeping that in mind, you engage the plasma shielding around the Valkyr. While not strong enough to stop a projectile from making it through to the heavily armored hull, the plasma shield can maintain a comfortable bubble around the Valkyr through which the gases will not be able to pass.
Once you are within your entirely too limited visual range of the ship, you open the outer shields directly surrounding the cockpit, allowing you to rely on your eyes instead of the twitchy sensors in this highly electrical storm cell. What you can make out appears to be very old and shut down. You send out a few standard interrogative signals, questioning the ship’s identity, but you know that to be useless as you move back to your small office space in the area of the ship directly behind the galley.
Reaching your desk just as the third signal is being sent, you start looking through your drawers for a small box your mother-in-law had given you in case you encountered just such a ship and which you were expressly forbidden from opening otherwise. Taking it to the cockpit, you begin to fiddle with the complex symbol on top of the box, trying to return it to the same pattern you saw on it when it was closed in your mother-in-law’s private office. As the office she shared with her brother, the Director of Internal Security, there were no monitoring devices allowed in the entire building, which meant there were bugs everywhere, and she couldn’t explain the lock mechanism aloud.
Nonetheless, you are a Valkyrie, and you quickly remembered the pattern and took only moments to unscramble the lock. Once the symbol is restored to the Tyrian symbol of the Kuli, the box gives a slight whistle as the airtight seal is opened. Opening the box, you are surprised to find a single, handheld device with which you are well familiarized. It is an old-issue hand repeater. Remembering your instructions, you disassemble using only the mental powers you possess as a Valkyrie. As you reach the final pieces, however, you notice there are two pieces that very clearly do not belong in the repeater and which would have been damaged had the gun been disassembled manually. Removing the pieces, you reassemble the repeater and absent-mindedly place it in your armpit holster.
The pieces you’ve found are considerably less foreign, and you place them together in the only apparent manner you can. The completed device, no larger than the silence stone on your Valkyrie ring, begins manipulating itself and expanding in a manner that seems physically impossible. You then realize that you had just reassembled a small hype controller, though clearly not for the same hyping your people uses, as there is no popping as the device expands, turns, and contorts, only a light pouring sound as the air around the minute hype window is displaced as more and more of the device enters standard spacetime.
After several millidays, the device stops moving. Looking at the completely returned device now resting rather heavily on your lap, you are grateful for the systems actively countering the surplus gravity provided by Jupiter, as it would likely have otherwise crushed your legs. You feel as though perhaps Drigondii’s mother could have warned you to open the box on the deck of the ship. Giving the device a face you usually saved for a misbehaving Lihandii, who had incidentally been named after her paternal grandmother, you take it with one arm and bring it back to the cargo main, along with the box.
Upon reaching the cargo main, you place the device on the deck and begin to analyze it more thoroughly. Its lower half is rectangular in nature, with a lip around the middle of the device, revealing complex circuitry unlike anything you’ve seen in your lifetime. It does not appear to be active, however, and you quickly realize why.
Taking the box’s lid, you carefully place it over the device and lower it to the surrounding lip. The device responds with a whistling that informs you an airtight seal has been formed, and the symbol atop the box begins to flicker with a soft light. Just as a slight movement starts to be noticeable on the symbol and the flickering changes to a constant light, alarms begin to trip in your cockpit, and you move quickly to respond.
As you enter the cockpit, you are surprised to see the large ship rising steadily from its prior location. Looking to your alarms, you see that electrical systems have been detected throughout the ship, and the Valkyr is responding to the ship awakening. Securing yourself into the cockpit’s seat, you maneuver the Valkyr out of Jupiter’s atmosphere and into a geosynchronous orbit from which you can safely await the rising ship without the bother of more alarms indicative of excessive pressure, temperature, and gravity, and where you can return to the Kuli device.
Returning to the cargo main, you find the device floating helplessly in the air, and you bring it back to the deck, securing it with light cargo clamps. You notice that the Kuli symbol has protruded from the device, taking a more three-dimensional appearance. The device is clearly some sort of remote activation and control device for the large ship now rising out of the gas planet’s atmosphere.
A small hologram appears above the device, displaying the ship and denoting areas which are exposed to the vacuum of space or had been exposed to high levels of radiation. You make note of a few choice areas on the ship and return to the cockpit, maneuvering the Valkyr into the ship’s main bay, which has not yet recovered enough to initiate the docking shield. Securing the Valkyr to the deck of the bay, you take the device and grab a life support extender for your flight suit.
As the suit’s helmet activates, pressurizing the suit, you give your leg a reminiscent rub, remembering another occasion in which the suit had staved off death for you just long enough to save your life. Smiling at other details of the memory, you release your leg and move through the Valkyr’s airlock, passing into the larger ship’s main bay. This was clearly once a military ship, but the bay appears to have been repurposed to receive shuttles and other non-militant ships, as the bay’s many shiplocks appear to have been jury-rigged to fit a larger variety of ships and shuttles than it had originally been designed. As you enter the passageway through a malfunctioning airlock, you notice that quite a bit of the ship appears to have been pieced together in a hurry using other ships.
Deciding to consult the device’s map, you begin to head forward, toward the area most highly shielded and protected, an area that doesn’t appear to have lost any of its functions and therefore a likely important area. Looking about as you go through the damaged passageways, you examine the more highly exposed areas of the ship. Based on the damaged airlocks and the sheer depth of the hull, clearly apparent through the holes that have been corroded away by Jupiter’s atmosphere, the ship must have been sitting in the storms of Jupiter for a very long time, somewhere on the scale of hundreds of thousands of cycles, perhaps even millions.
Finally reaching a sealed area, you pass through an auxiliary airlock and are not particularly surprised to find the air to be nearly toxic in oxygen levels. Based on the ship map on the remote device, the ship got its oxygen from plants and bacteria, which would certainly outlive any crew to produce carbon dioxide. You smartly decide to keep your life support engaged, but set it to retrieve any needed oxygen from the surrounding air to maintain a steady level of oxygen to carbon dioxide in its contained air supply.
Passing by one of the arboretums on your way to the cockpit, you notice many of the plants have died off from lack of carbon dioxide in the air, a bitter reminder of just how long the crew must have been dead, though the lack of contaminants in the air had nearly halted the decomposition of the bodies, which were still strewn about the passageways. The problem with the air must once have been quite the opposite what it is now, likely due to the loss of arboretums throughout the ship, which appear largely to be the most heavily damaged areas.
Consulting the map again, you look for an area similar to a bridge, where many personnel would be present. The first few areas you check out appear to have been galleys and engineering spaces. Reaching one of the uppermost but aftermost areas in question, you notice the door holds the same Kuli symbol as the device. After trying for a few moments in vain to search for an opening mechanism, you roll your eyes at yourself. Well that should have been obvious. Almost dejectedly, you hold out the remote device to the door, and after several beeps, thunks and hisses, the door separating the rest of the ship from the bridge’s entry airlock opens.
You enter into the airlock and shut the door behind you. Once several more beeps, thunks, and hisses have taken place, a very loud whooshing sound comes from overhead as the air is ejected from the airlock back into the main filtration system. When the final hisses of air are gone, two thunks are heard, the first from above and the second from below. Another rush of air enters into the airlock, and you are shocked to see after a sample that this is ideally filtered air, a nearly impossible feat after all this time. Moments later, the door to the highly sterile bridge opens, and you are amazed at the sleek simplicity of the design as you scan the room with your helmlight.
A series of pedestals are sticking out of the deck on each side of the bridge. Atop each pedestal is a metallic orb. There is a sum total of seven of these pedestals, the foremost being at the center of the bridge instead of one of the sides. Directly behind each pedestal is a round hatch and beside each hatch are two slots, one on either side, in which a device exactly like the one you are carrying should be resting. There is one missing from the foremost control suite, and you make your way to it, making note of the lack of displays or viewports. However the ship was controlled, its operation was beyond the understanding of any Thorlinthian, excepting perhaps the elder Lihandii Khuda’Cronell, your mother-in-law.
Placing the device carefully into the slot, the symbol retreated again into its place on the skin of the device, and the map of the ship disappeared. Immediately, the bridge’s domed wall came alight with a gentle red light, and each of the pedestals came alight with holographic displays while the devices on each side of the hatches lifted their kuli symbols on columns of light to the same level as the pedestals. The symbols then activated holographic displays of their own, facing inward to the hatches.
Upon this task being completed, hissing can be heard from each of the hatches, followed by a metallic thunk and a hydraulic hum as the hatches lift to reveal cylinders, which when fully lifted from the hatches’ enclosure, slide aft on the deck silently as the hatches return to their position flush with the deck. At this point, you look about and notice that the cylinders are actually stasis pods, and though every instinct in you tells you to draw your repeater in anticipation, you instead remove your holster and place it on the ground before you without drawing it, sensing a power comparable to your own from each of these pods. You’re outnumbered, and at the very least, whoever are in these pods are alive and potentially as dangerous as yourself, if not more so, a thought you immediately wish you hadn’t considered.
Since you have no way of determining what kind of stasis this has been, you have no idea in what condition the crew will emerge. You only know that you are usually rather irritable after a long stasis, and there has probably never been a stasis this long before. You think back to Kahlisa, who was able to remain alive in a deep state of meditation for cycles without nourishment or a stasis system. You wonder how long she could have lasted in one of these pods.
Your thoughts are brought to a halt as an arm comes around your neck. Sensing no killing intent, you do not choose to fight against the hold, as this could result only in harm to yourself and your captor. Remaining calm, you reach out with what Kahlisa called the mindspeak and what Drigondii called telepathy and touch the mind of your captor, sending only the message, ‘I am not your enemy.’
The man holding you, however, does not release you just yet, responding with the thought, ‘Who are you, and what are you doing on my ship?’ The thought is not panicked. The man is simply taking the most cautious and logical course of action, neutralizing a possible threat while assessing its status as such. He communicates with the same calculated measures as Kahlisa, though he seems to be more highly trained. Putting the pieces together, you assume this man and, most likely, every other member of this small remnant of a crew is Kuli.
‘Let the girl go, J’Ulus. She’s the one who just brought the ship back online. The Watch must have sent her here with the secondary Key. It’s the only way our systems could have been reactivated.’ The second voice, though still in mindspeak, seems only to be such out of courtesy for the fact that not everyone in the bridge may speak the same language. ‘What is your name, young student? Do you bring word from Tyria? We’ve completed our mission. Twenty planets have been successfully seeded. We would have kept going, but we ran into… difficulties’
You don’t understand what he’s talking about and tell him such. ‘I don’t understand. I am Terira, but I am no student, and I don’t know anyone named Tyria.’ At these final words, the crew of the bridge all take on expressions of mixed sorrow and pity.
A female to your left with flaming red hair speaks, ‘Tyria is the home galaxy. Are you saying you are not Kuli?’
‘She’s at least Linthian, J’Hiloa. Look at her. Looks to be from the main system, too. That system went through the Tear, though. What are you doing here, Terira?’ The woman who speaks this time is on your right. She has hair white as snow, but her face shows no signs of age, and her eyes are a sight to match her hair.
A hiss comes from the foremost pod, and a man with red hair and a fatherly face emerges. All the crew look to him, and you do the same. This man, however, dons a mischievous smile and spoke aloud in a language you are extremely surprised to hear and that seems to take aback the rest of the crew as well: English. “I think I might be able to explain the situation. Welcome aboard the Seed Ship Eden, better known to its operating crew as New Beginnings 8, young Thorlinthian. I’ve been waiting a very long time for your arrival.”

Valkyr 52

“–tention required. Repeat: Unidentified craft detected. Valkyrie attention required.” A tinny voice echoes through your quarters. You open your eyes to a red glow. You rapidly extricate yourself from the harness holding you to your bunk and make your way to the cockpit.

“Display unidentified craft.” Your voice cracks. Rapid removal from hype stasis is not unlike awaking from a coma. Despite full functionality, none of your organ systems have been used in quite some time, and they behave as such. This is why you hate distance hyping. No matter how many times you do it, there’s always the chance that the automated systems will encounter a problem they haven’t been programmed to handle. As the primary pilot, you are the only person in the vessel to be awakened. The display lights up in a gentle, dim red that is not difficult to view after your eyes have been closed for so long. A series of numbers appear, denoting the edge coordinates of the craft. It’s large. No, it isn’t large. It’s huge, the size of a small city.

“Enable visual approximation of unidentified craft.” The computer obeys, rendering a rough, three-dimensional image of a small asteroid that has very odd features that seem artificial. The strangest part is the asteroid’s proximity to the Bifrost. It seems to be impossibly close to the Bifrost’s event horizon, but you can’t figure out what’s keeping it there. “Enable full Valkyrie control of Timids.” You speak almost ethereally, driven by pure amazement at this point.

“TMDS controls are now released of all automated functions. Valkyrie has full control.” You miss the gentler voice that had been utilized by the computerized systems in Valkyr 51, but only Valkyr 52 has been properly fitted with the same rapid response controls included in the Armada’s latest 52-F Dragon. But unlike the Dragons, which are simply equipped with pre-programmed, short-distance hype vectors, the Valkyr 52 had manual controls. At this moment, you are simply grateful for that particular feature.

You flinch slightly as the pilot seat engages its contacts with your flight suit. The cockpit is sealed off and filled with liquid as your helmet engages its breathers. When all air in the cockpit has been replaced with the liquid, the systems begin to pressurize to approximately 12 standard atmospheric pressure units, and your breathers force highly oxygenated air into your lungs at an equalizing pressure to prevent your chest from being crushed. Your own slowly extracted plasma is injected back into your bloodstream to increase your blood pressure in order to prevent your blood vessels’ collapse. Your eyes shine brightly, filling your helmet with a cool green as your heart’s muscles are strengthened to prevent heart failure. You grasp the TMDS controls and engage fully manual hyping for the first time in Thorlinthian history.

Were it not for the fact that your entire respiratory system is currently fully regulated, you would surely gasp or skip a heartbeat. Instead of simply feeling that familiar exploding sensation immediately following the implosion of a hype, you now look into a form of space you could never have imagined before this moment. Remembering your objective, you attempt to move toward the strange asteroid. Despite a crushing sensation against your body, however, all visuals seem to indicate that you have not moved. You look for the asteroid and are surprised to find it only an arm’s distance from your left side. Yet that isn’t possible. Your position hasn’t changed.

Resigning yourself to the fact that the manual controls seem not to work, you disengage the hype and feel yourself explode, the sensation that indicates the end of a hype. Your proximity alarms light up, and you see that your position has in fact moved to nearly the exact position of the asteroid. Gripping the controls even more tightly, you maneuver the Valkyr away from what is from this distance obviously a space station. Panicking, you realize the stealth systems are not engaged. Looking about, you see no external signs that the station has reacted to your presence, but that means nothing in space, where there is no need to speak quietly. For all you know, alarms are sounding throughout the station. Quickly, you activate the stealth systems one by one, starting with the gaseous metamaterial shielding, now spread about the skin of the Valkyr and held in from the expanse of space by a cool plasma field only an atom thick. By the time you finish, your Valkyr should be hidden from any sensors.

Nonetheless, you feel uneasy as you approach what appears to be the main docking area of the station. It appears to be open, but looking more closely, you can see that there is a plasma shield. If you tried to fly into the dock like that, you’d probably just bounce off the shield, muddling all the sensors and stealth systems on the Valkyr. Instead, you set about analyzing the frequencies of electromagnetic containment used to hold the plasma shield in place. If you can neutralize the signals with the Valkyr’s own plasma fields’s containment signals, you should be able to pass through, but you would have to do it quickly. Despite this, the signals appear to be constantly changing, probably to prevent exactly such an attempt.

Operating on a hunch, you re-engage the manual hyping system. You find yourself again in that fascinating form of space that even now you cannot seem to properly describe. You adjust the controls to move the ship just inside the docking area. As you suspected, you appear to be at both points simultaneously. You turn the Valkyr to face yourself. Just as surely as the approach of death itself to all living things, you find yourself looking at yourself twice over, from each perspective. Beginning to feel a sensory overload, you disengage the hype once more and find yourself inside the dock, fully concealed.

You land the Valkyr and wait for the cockpit to depressurize, feeling anemic as the extra plasma is removed from your system. Finally, your suit’s restraints disengage from the seat, and you move to the
airlock, feeling impossibly light, even more so than when in deep space. This is probably simply due to the decreased pressure felt on your body, but it is a freeing sensation. You move out of the Valkyr, mapping your exact position in your suit’s location sensors. You quickly scan your surroundings, looking for a door. Just as you spot it, however, it opens. You leap to cover, hiding yourself and remotely utilizing the Valkyr’s sensors to look at the door again. No one’s there. You move inside. The door closes behind you and air rushes into the room you’ve just entered. There are garments of a strange-looking material settled neatly onto a bench. There are no obviously missing sets.

You open one of the compartments on the thigh of your flight suit, removing a small tube. You compress the tube and release it, acquiring an atmosphere sample as you move toward the next door, which has opened on its own just like the previous door. You place the tube in an opening on your wristplate. Your helmet’s display shows that the analysis has begun. You move down the passageway that awaits you past the airlock. The passageway is unusually tall and wide, unbefitting for a space station, which should waste as little space as possible, since more space meant more volume to be heated, which meant more energy consumption.

Suddenly, you notice that there are no handholds on the bulkhead. You gently float to a stop, slowly drifting to the center of the station’s mass. How is one supposed to maneuver about without handholds on such long passageways? Realizing quickly, you spin about and kick off at an angle toward the opposite end of the passageway. You repeat this many times, noticing a slight burning in the less conditioned part of your muscular structure. Clearly, you’ve suffered slight atrophy from your long journey back from Earth. Oh, how Jake would laugh at your current state of fatigue after all your boasting that giving birth wouldn’t have any long-term effects on your physique. Stupid husbands…

You finally make it to the end of the ridiculously long passageway. Looking back, it must have been at least 4 miles long. No, you think to yourself, it was 5 rosts. Slips like that would reveal the mission to be more than just deep space long hype conditioning. Earth mustn’t be discovered yet. Not yet…

The door is open, as you expected it would be. What you did not expect was the vast expanse of greenery that would await you on the other side. Looking up, you see that the room is lit by the Bifrost itself. It’s incredible.

Your helmet beeps quietly at you, and you see that the air is within Thorlinthian standards and devoid of any detectable unknown viruses or bacteria. You set your suit to refill its air supply and supply you direct with the fresh air. The smell of plants fill your nostrils, and you smile unconsciously. Grabbing the branch of a nearby tree-like plant, you begin to maneuver yourself toward the center of the complex, where you had noticed a small tower before entering the station. Again, the door is open. You begin to wonder if the station is an old Thorlinthian project that was abandoned and now trying to start itself back up or if it’s something significantly… older.

You move more easily down this passageway, now accustomed to the mode of travel necessary here. It must be designed this way to prevent its personnel from experiencing muscular deterioration during their time here. You make it to the next open door and are surprised to have arrived at what must be the center of the complex. While it contained yet another large greenroom, at the center was an upward sweeping of the ceiling into the tower. You work your way to the hatch leading to the tower main. It dilates open, and you work your way toward the top.

The passageway becomes narrower as you reach the end, the door opening slowly to a room basked in red light. Maybe someone was in stasis here. You enter the large room, its bulkheads covered in instrumentation and its floor riddled with strange writings on thin pads like paper.

Looking about, you see what must be the stasis area. As you had begun to suspect, the facility is much older than Thorlinthian travel outside the Bifrost. An incredibly tall man with red hair looks past you into the room, frozen in a strange form of stasis, seeming to be completely suspended. But that would kill a man. Concerned for this man who must be long dead, you press your hand against the edge of his stasis pod. It was oddly warm to the touch. No, it was warming itself. The stasis was disengaging.

Looking away from what was sure to be a gruesome sight, you cannot bring yourself to let go of the pod. What had compelled you to come here? What had caused you to disregard the safety of the two still in stasis on the Valkyr 52 and explore this facility? What had opened all those doors?! You begin to look about, searching for enemies, drawing your repeater from its holster under your armpit. Still, your hand will not release the pod behind you. Suddenly, something grasps your fingers.

“Is this a dream or a nightmare, young Thorlinthian?” A voice behind you as you turn in response to the grasping emanates throughout the room, seeming as if it had never been in stasis at all. But it was the man with the red hair who was speaking. Even as you moved the repeater to his face, it disassembled, its parts staying where they disengaged from the rest of the device. By the time your arm had spun toward him completely, a mere 5 milliseconds, the repeater had been reduced to nothing more then a handle.

Something you’ve never felt before begins to arise from within the deepest recesses of your heart. For the first time in your life, you are truly afraid. From stasis, this man had brought you here, and fresh out of it, he had achieved in a moment and without effort what took you a g
reat deal of concentration and five minutes, disassembling the repeater with only his mind. This was a being of a power much greater than yours. No, his power was on level with that of a Sheii’Cronell.

“Well, no, I don’t have quite that much power, Mrs. Kendrick.” That was impossible. How could he know of your marriage? Did he know of Earth? Was that English?! “Don’t panic. I know everything you know right now, Mrs. Kendrick. Please, have a seat.”

Looking around, you realize that not only was there a chair directly next to you that wasn’t there before, but the room had completely changed. Were you in the same room? Seeing no other choice, you sit.

“Mrs. Kendrick, my name is Jil’Hanr. I run this station, as I’m sure you suspected already.” You nod. “Well, we’ve taken a great deal of interest in the Thorlinthians. In fact, this station exists exactly because of the Thorlinthians. I understand you’re a descendant of the Qzicy family, yes?”

You nod, adding, “Qzcivden takes its name from our family.”

“Then you are aware of a document known to your family as the Traitor’s Journal?” You look at the man, Jil’Hanr, with curiosity. Was he saying that the document was true? “It is accurate to our knowledge, yes. At least, it is consistent with other knowledge we’ve acquired from this side of the Galaxy Tear, what your people call the Bifrost. In any case, this means I have much less to explain to you. This is about your son, Drake, and your niece, Terira. We have something very special in mind for them…”