Warped: Thirteen – Pain

Warped by Andrea Speed Thirteen – Pain In retrospect, Dar realized that the fact that Khal stabilized so quickly should have been her tip off that something suspicious was going on. After Kvec returned Blue to her tank, he came back for the comatose Khal and carried him back to his room, as no one was sure what else to do with him. The Nyorai simply wasn’t built to take care of injured people, beyond its store of nanites. And poor Kvec got all the shit jobs since he was the strong one that wasn’t squeamish: after taking care of Khal, he was left to drag the bodies of the Tk’Tk’Skree to the airlock so they could be jettisoned out into space. There wasn’t much else they could do with them. In the meantime, she, Gen, and Skr’Takk were debating over...

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Warped: Twelve – Inside Out

Warped by Andrea Speed Twelve – Inside Out He was floating in blissful silence on a serene sea as warm as blood, the song of the Reds reverberating through him as they serenaded each other, sending their songs throughout the ocean that made up the majority of the planet. Behind the lids of his eyes the colors didn’t so much flash as kaleidoscope, one melding into another, the feelings weaving in and out into one melodious song of color. He could feel the tentacles of the tribe on his body, the tips just skating along the surface of his skin, letting their communication smooth over the rough spots in his mind. Khal felt a warm kind of peace, a pooling in the hollow beneath his collarbone, and he wished he could transform, become cartilage and tentacles,...

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Warped: Eleven – Mind Fields

Warped by Andrea Speed Eleven – Mind Fields Sometimes even when you had all the data, it wasn’t enough to help you make sense of things. She had the medical scanners trained on Khal the whole time, and everything they were reporting was, to Dar’s eyes, gibberish. He was having some kind of massive brain seizure, especially concentrated in the areas of the brain which were the “empathy” centers. She had lots of brain energy patterns stored in the database, all personalized for Khal and his unusual brain … and none of them came even close to matching. When things stopped, they almost stopped dead, as if a sudden downpour had given way to an eerie, dry calm. Khal, who was already on his knees, stopped screaming and keeled over, hitting the deck face...

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Warped: Ten – Emotional Rescue

Warped by Andrea Speed Ten – Emotional Rescue The pain in his head was so great he wanted to find a drill and put a new hole in his head, preferably in his right temple, and just drain the pain out. Let out the pressure in a wave of blood and brain matter, ease it to a more tolerable level. Of course Khal wasn’t so gone that he didn’t realize that was insane, but it didn’t make him want to do it any less. It hurt – the pain pulsed like a second heart deep inside his cranium, and he just wanted it to stop. If he carved his own skull open, it would stop. Although, if he stopped focusing on it, it would … well, not stop, but lessen slightly. Maybe. He’d come to understand, with increased close proximity exposure to Skr’Takk, that the strange...

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Warped: Nine – Bug Bomb

Warped by Andrea Speed Nine – Bug Bomb First contact situations were always tricky things. But they got infinitely trickier when the alien you were meeting seemed to think they had met you before … and didn’t like you. Vani felt she had an advantage over everyone here, since she had worked in the MoSys bureaucracy for ten years, and knew the first contact protocols. Only there were several problems: she was never a member of the Diplomatic Corps, so the finer details of it all were lost on her; her Negotiator was a half-sane drug addict, and about as stable as a shuttle with a single working thruster; this race claimed to have met them before and hate them, which was never covered in any of the Protocols she saw; and there was the problem that she worked...

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Warped: Eight – Entomophobia

Warped by Andrea Speed Eight – Entomophobia After discovering blood, no one was actually anxious to enter the station, except for Vani, who went ahead and triggered the inner airlock door. Khal was happy to try and anchor on to her emotional state, as Syshahi just weren’t very emotional ever. It was good, because everybody was freaking; even Kvec was starting to panic, which was weird and unsettling. But finding blood inside an airlock in a strange place – after watching an entire ship get sucked in on itself – was a naturally freaky thing. He was pretty sure he was panicking too, his heart was racing laps around his chest, occasionally kicking at his ribcage like it wanted out. Khal didn’t blame it; out seemed like an ideal place to...

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Warped: Seven – So, Who Are The Proctologists Of This Galaxy?

Warped by Andrea Speed Seven – So, Who Are The Proctologists Of This Galaxy? The coordinates for the area technically didn’t exist, which seemed to be more a theoretical problem than a practical one. Of course the area existed. But it was just beyond what was considered a properly mapped area, so in official techno-speak, it was a “potential territory”, not yet exploited by the system or mass marketers. But on the good chance that that would encourage people to go looking around before they could stake a claim, these “potential territories” were usually flagged as dangerous for some reason. This one actually had a couple of good reasons to be flagged dangerous: it was the home of a blue giant star – lots of radiation, intense heat – and...

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Warped: Six – Gravity

Warped by Andrea Speed Six – Gravity It should have been comforting that he couldn’t sense anyone beyond his team, but it wasn’t. Khal couldn’t shake the feeling that everything here was wrong, beyond the fact that they seemed to be looking at the aftermath of a slaughter. This was all set up so incorrectly he would have thought it was a frame job, only that didn’t really make sense either. For what? And who would do this anyways? MoSys was the governmental version of a sexually transmitted flesh eating disease, but they didn’t kill people without some sort of reason, no matter how meager. The emotions from the others were crowding him, but he did his best to focus on Dar, who was simply feeling curiosity. Gen seemed to be secretly convinced they...

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Warped: Five – You First

Warped by Andrea Speed Five – You First He hated EVA suits.Oh sure, technically they were just a ring of smart metal you snapped around your waist and activated, and it did all the work for you. But it felt slick inside, slimy, like a whole bunch of tiny, damp snakes were using him as a personal waterslide. Disgusting. But Gen knew he really didn’t have a choice in the matter. It wasn’t like he could just walk out the airlock without any protection at all. But while the metal grew along his body, becoming translucent at the top so he could actually see where the fuck he was going, he grumbled, “Dar’s gone crazy, hasn’t she? She’s out of her fucking mind.” “Wouldn’t you be if you had ta babysit a buncha losers?” Bruno replied...

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Warped: Four – Fear of a Black Planet

Warped by Andrea Speed Four – Fear of a Black Planet Much like the Cryers, MoSys had released little information on the gates. In fact, it was a capitol crime to release any less than generic information about the gates, as they were copyrighted and intellectually protected to the point where anybody who ever repaired anything on the gate was subject to mind wiping straight afterward. It’s possible the gates were created by someone in MoSys R& D, who was promptly made to forget they weren’t getting paid royalties for it. Talk about saving money. But the prevalent rumor was this was salvaged alien technology, and it was easy to believe, namely since they’d been around as far as Dar could remember. Not that that was all that long – in a...

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Warped: Three – The Third Sex

Warped by Andrea Speed Three – The Third Sex The entire problem with the universe was it was full of people.They were everywhere, clinging to every rocky outpost nowhere garbage planet, to little ships and decrepit old space stations little better than tin cans. The universe would be a much better place if there were fewer of them – or so Gen honestly thought. As long as they skipped him (or her, whatever the case was at the time). And why had he cast his lot with these losers? It was so many months ago, he could hardly remember. It was just an impulsive decision, a desire to get away from the rehab facility as fast and as soon as possible, and the Nyorai was the only ride out. She had no way of knowing (and he was a she at the time) the class of...

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Warped: Two – The Silence of the Meatbags

Warped by Andrea Speed Two – The Silence of the Meatbags What Kvec didn’t get about the meatbags was the silent hatred. Why didn’t they just say “fuck off” or whatever? Why the stewing? They had so many words at their disposal, so why didn’t they use them? The Nyorai didn’t land; if someone saw the ship, they’d report it for not having a proper beacon, if they didn’t recognize it on sight. So they’d gone down in a shuttle, and now, on their way back, Gen was alone in piloting it. Not that it was that difficult to pilot a shuttle, it was mostly automated anyways, and Dar could always link up to it remotely and fly it if need be. Kvec couldn’t sit up in the pilot or co-pilot seats, as they were made for smaller humanoids, and he knew he’d...

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Warped: One – In Space, No One Can Hear You Complain

Warped by Andrea Speed One – In Space, No One Can Hear You Complain You knew it was a seedy dive when they had a “lost and found” box full of hands just behind the bar. You’d think the cybernetic ones would have some kind of identification chip in them, but perhaps not – perhaps they were bootlegs, or illegally modified. As for the organic ones, those might be harder to trace. The Ignig one was suspended next to the holographic painting, which was now displaying a waterscape that moved with such metronomic precision he was sure he was getting seasick just watching it. The Ignig would never come back for the lost hand, as they could regenerate almost all their lost appendages, which is probably why it was encased in liquid plasticine and hung up...

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