| The Earth Moved
Journal Entry 126 / 01028
Erwer, Narnya 05, 01028
Chatenni looked down on the cold Ritachan landscape through his PADD. It
looked colder than all of space and twice as unfriendly. And yet, down
there lay the ruins of a technological civilization, one that had ruled
the atom and with it managed its own destruction. He couldn't get that
ache out of his heart, not since hearing the words of Captain Tella
Razziress, the last Ritan, as she dictated her description of the world
after war and then took her own life. The report of the gunshot on the
recording sounded preternaturally loud to him. Others who had heard it
agreed with that assessment.
"Looks like a week-dead corpse. Grey and cold."
"Never seen a corpse," Chatenni replied to Yuma's rather gruesome image.
"Neither have I," the Vulpin admitted. "Just makes a nice analogy. All
that death and rot."
"It's too cold for anything to have rotted down there."
"We don't know what it was like or how long it took for winter to settle
over the southern hemisphere like that. Could be ugly."
"Charming," Japhet commented. "Wonder when Zender's going to let us
"As soon as he agrees that it's safe for us to go down." Helena closed
the door behind herself. "Good. We are assembled. And we'll be going down
in the next ten hours. Chatenni, Nix, and Japhet will go down with the
initial structures. We'll be establishing two temporary bases right here
in the middle of Copper Square, this quadrangle near the center of campus.
The school was the University of Besnial at Coar. The building here,
to the north, is the library. These are classrooms. Here is the statue
found at the original landing, and here, under this classroom to the west,
was the doorway that led down to the Forcassa facility. The intent is to
make the library livable by the end of the week. Two Pendorian vessels are
already on their way here. The first will be here in a matter of weeks,
the other two months. We have that long to get ready."
Deep in a mountain fortress a drum of oil stood. Around it a battery of
computers and machinery ticked over, waiting, waiting. The unit received
its power from solar cells that had been built to last forever and so far
had succeeded. Sensors attached to the computer registered the presence
of small electrical charges inside the drum of oil, charges that came
in patterns unseen since a thousand years had passed. Patterns that
indicated activity once again came from the surface of Ritacha. The
single, quiet source it had been following forever had changed months
ago, then quieted away completely. But now loud, steady, moving signals
were coming from there, signs of life.
Signs it couldn't allow.
Morrail collapsed into bed, grateful for the opportunity to just rest and
relax. His mind whirled with the opportunities surrounding him. Even now
Yuma and Nive worked to clean up books to feed to the translation units
aboard the Torr Minorr, and yet he couldn't just rest and let them have
all the fun. He wanted to work with the decontamination team.
"You look bushed," Helena said as she walked into the door. "Work
"Not yet," Morrail commented with a wry chuckle. "I should sleep, Helena.
I am exhausted. But I have no desire to sleep."
"I know that feeling all too well," she said, lying down beside him. "But
we have been going for twenty hours straight, Morrail. Both of us. For
the tenth day in a row. It's time for bed."
"I know," he sighed. He lifted his legs to bring his boots within reach.
He untied them and tossed them over the side of the bed. "Ahh... much
She chuckled, leaned over and kissed her longtime mate. "You're
"So are you," he replied, touching her chest with his fingertips.
"You've been doing more heavy lifting than the doc said you should,
Morrail. Why don't you take the rest of those clothes off and let me
rub your back?"
He readily agreed. After he had stripped off the rest of his clothes and
lain down on his stomach, Helena straddled his hips and began stroking
his back in slow, gliding touches. He murred softly at the delicacy of
her touch. She found the knots and worked them out. "Your whole back is
a mess, Morrail."
"Guess I'm getting old."
"You are not. I checked with the doc and according to it your back is in
as good a shape as when you were twenty. You just worked too hard today."
"Had to get the-- umph-- tents up."
"Not and kill yourself at the same time." She moved down to his legs.
Solid bands of strained muscle ran down from inside his groin to his
knees. "Fah, Mori, even your tail is tense."
"Is not," he grumped.
"Is." The muscles around his tail had tightened so much from lifting and
bending that she didn't think she was ever going to get them worked out.
But after five minutes of intense rubbing and pounding they did eventually
become a little looser. "You're stressed."
"It's hard to sit still when there's a whole world waiting for me."
"Well, just put those desires on hold for a few minutes and desire
"That's easy," he said, turning over slowly and gathering her into his
arms. "Are you glad we made this trip?"
"Ask me in a couple of weeks when I've figured out what we are doing
here." He felt her warm body against his chest, the soft curves of her
thighs pressed up against his. He was already rampant from her attentions
and her body thrust against his, asking for his attentions in return. He
gave them willingly, nuzzling her cheek with his muzzle, pressing his
erection against her groin, feeling her opening up to let him.
They rolled in bed until he rested on top of her, his hardness pressing
inward. A few gentle strokes spread her fluids over his erection until
he buried himself completely in her. The surprised gasp of "Oh!" told
him that he'd reached the right depth.
Helena surrendered herself to Morrail's tender thrusting. Neither
wanted anything more than the reaffirming lovemaking they had come to
appreciate from one another. Morrail's body rested on top of hers and
she loved the sensation of his weight atop her. Nothing felt more real
to her than the mass of her lover, the reality of him on top of her body,
holding her down as she wished it.
Morrail's thrusting into her soft cunny grew only slightly more impatient
as his climax approached. He could be violent when they wanted but tonight
neither of them wanted that kind of love. Helena's hands caressed his
back as she let him have what he wanted from her and she got from him
what she loved of him. His cock felt sweet sliding back and forth within
her body; she wanted it to go on for a long time. Tired as he was,
it probably would.
"I love you," he whispered into her ear.
"I love you too," she said, caressing the fur that ran along his arms,
kissing his soft rodentine nose.
"I'm close," he whispered.
"Then come." He listened to her advice, thrusting just a little more
urgently. She felt herself get wrapped up in his desire, could see it
in his face as his eyes glittered. With a soft moan he came, his body
shuddering atop hers, his cock coursing within her with his climax.
Something felt wrong-- the shaking in his body seemed to go on too long.
"Morrail?" she asked.
"That's not me," he said, looking up. "Earthquake?"
"I don't know." An alarm sounded out in the distance; the PADD next
to them on the bedstand turned yellow with black letters: WE ARE UNDER
A voice shouted over the PA, "Morrail! Helena! Get into the Library at
once! We're under attack!"
"Dammit!" Morrail snarled, grabbing his shoes and a and heading
for the tunnel that linked the four outside domes and the doorway to the
library. Helena came right behind him in slippers and a bathrobe. "What
is going on out there?"
"Take a look," Chatenni said, waving a PADD at him. Morrail looked.
"What in the name of Saturn's Rings is that thing?" "That thing" was about
eight meters long with a tapered nose at each end, and it was chewing up
their shuttlecraft with all the gusto of a pack of hyenas feasting on a
dead gazelle. Lasers from the tapered nose sliced, diced, and penetrated
the shuttlecraft's unarmored upper hull; high-powered gauss rounds much
like those found down in the Forcassa bolthole shattered the front glass.
It had four caterpillar treads that allowed it to lurch along the ground
as it dragged itself up over the corpse of the shuttlecraft.
They ran for the library; it was far safer than any of the tents and had
already been well-sealed for environmental control. They collected in the
main control room set up in the foyer and looked up at the big screen. A
huge plume of white gas was venting from the shuttle. "What's that?"
"The fusion plant. Looks like that thing just ruptured it," Yuma said.
A voice came over the loudspeaker. Nix's. "Zender's suiting up right
now to come down and take care of that thing."
"Good," Morrail said. "Because I suspect we're its next target."
"Who, us?" Yuma asked. "Why?"
"Because if I miss my guess, the fusion plant was its target. Look, it's
done, sniffing the air. I think it's going after that next." He pointed
to the low, white box with rounded corners, barely a meter square, on
the floor. "The shuttlecraft has a larger power plant, but this one's
next on the sensor array."
Even has he spoke, the craft turned its conical nose into the air, a
mockery of some sniffing out its prey, then began lumbering to
turn around. It headed towards the library. "Run! Upstairs and to the
They needed no urging. Both Morrail and Chatenni held onto PADDs,
watching the immanent demise of their primary life support on the main
viewer. A bright light and a loud explosion interrupted their viewing,
and a figure stood at the top of the library steps, a large tube on its
shoulder pointed at the crawling war machine. "Take that!" a voice came
over the microphone.
"Don't worry, guys. I'll take this ugly son of a bitch out in no time." He
fired his weapon. The screens went blank for a moment. Digital knows
no in-between; there was no static. When the image returned, the thing
had stopped moving as if surprised. A large was gouged out of the
nosecone. The sounds of shattering glass informed the archeology team
that the monstrosity had opened up with its gauss weapons, shredding the
delicate protection that covered or replaced the windows of the library.
"We're open to the outside! Everyone, pile into that bathroom over there!"
Chatenni shouted, pointing. He pulled at the door; it opened with a shriek
of grinding metal. Eight people ran past him and he pulled the door shut
behind him. The sounds of weaponsfire continued to come from outside.
"Yuma, give me your coat!" He took that, and his own, and jammed them
against the bottom of the door, sealing them off. It was cold.
On the screen, one of the external feed cameras continued to play out
the scene. Zender drove his powered armor as well as any veteran of
the llerkindi/Sinox War could, dodging, fighting, shooting. The enemy
tank continued to shoot at him as it crawled up the library steps. He
allowed the portable particle cannon he carried to recharge, then let
loose another powerful volley that wrecked the caterpillar treads on
the left side once and for all.
"I am registering a significant increase in neutrino activity from the
enemy machine," Nix said. "I suspect a self-destruct mechanism."
"I'm on it," Zender said. He dove into the ruins of the shuttlecraft,
pulled off one of the walls of the wrecked ship, and threw it at the
machine. It blinked out of site.
"I'm going, I'm going!" the AI responded. The screens again went blank.
"Nix?" Chatenni asked, glancing down at his darkened PADD. Nothing on
it seemed to be working; it was linked into the networked power system,
and had lost contact with its power source when Nix had gone off the air.
In the cramped and musty bathroom, six students and their two teachers
waited for word from outside. The room seemed to grow colder as they
"Zen? In here!"
The door creaked open to reveal a large figure in white Stark armor
looking in on them. He reached up and pulled the helmet off. "Thank
the stars, you're all right. I'm in contact with Nix. The ship took a
pretty hard hit, but it's nothing that can't be fixed. We're all right,
everyone's alive." He pointed down the hallway. "I stretched a piece
of the tent material across the hallway back there and used some e-seal
"What was that?" Nive asked.
"Spoilsport, I suspect," Zender replied. "Designed to detect any fast
neutrino fusion power sources after the war and take them out. It's a
devilishly good design, to tunnel under the ground like that."
"So that's where it came from. I wondered how something so big could
wander into camp without anyone noticing."
"We don't have the seismic sensors set up," Chatenni said with some
apology. "I'll get to it as soon as I can."
"You do that," Zender said. "But don't be sorry. We can't anticipate
everything. Anyway, we've got a few working Sdisks, including the one I
tossed at that monster, still lying around, and we've got a ground-working
fusion plant to restart your PADDs with. Come on, let's get back to work."
"I do hope the rest of this mission isn't this exciting," Nix's voice
came very clearly from Zender's helmet.
"I'll agree to that," Helena said with conviction. "Let's get fixing. We
don't want to look like a bunch of slobs when the ships from the Ring
The Journal Entries of Kennet R'yal Shardik, et. al., and Related Tales
are Copyright (c) 1989-2000 Elf Mathieu Sternberg. Distribution limited
to electronic media not-for-profit use only. All other rights are reserved
to the author.