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A story I wrote a few months ago...
The Beginning of a Tribe…
There are many forests on the tiny planet called Torroni. Indeed, it’s almost entirely composed of forests, heavy woods and plains. There is a bustling wildlife, and since no sentient race has made any great impact on the planet itself, the global ecosystem has gone on naturally since…well, since the beginning.
Such a peaceful environment could never last forever…
It happened quite suddenly at about midday on the southern reaches of the small woodland planet. From the heavens there was a flash so bright it darkened the twin suns roaming across the sky. From this flash a wrecked imperial space shuttle emerged, blasting out of an unknown warp route.
The shuttle was massive, but no longer functional. Almost gracefully it glided through the Torroni atmosphere, getting lower and lower until finally it crashed into the ground with such an impact the entire planet seemed to shake. The terrific momentum caused the lumbering hunk of metal to slide almost a full two kilometers, leaving nothing but destruction and wreckage in its wake.
That was almost a year ago; a small incident in the otherwise long and peaceful history of a planet that had never felt the yoke of civilization.
Something strange had been happening to the forest surrounding the shuttle since its unexpected collision with the small planet of Torroni. The trees that still stood had become brittle and weak; any fruits or nuts produced tasted awful, even to the local wildlife. Even though the wrecked vessel was stationary, it stayed free of the choking clutch of vines and other weeds. No animals investigated its contents, almost as though the whole planet could sense that something wasn’t as it was supposed to be.
The fact was that about a meter under the earth, strange things had been growing for quite some time, and as a result the surrounding vegetation suffered as the foreign organism sapped it of all its nutrients.
The first thing Nok can ever remember experiencing was a ray of sunshine that almost blinded him as he was unceremoniously spit out from his plant-like womb and tossed onto the earth. The ground was rough on his hands and knees, and the wind felt very cold on his new skin. Shaking the dizziness out of his head, he pushed himself up and examined his surroundings.
With a start and an audible yelp he realized he was out in the open! Casting his gaze upward fearfully, he began to run in a frantic scamper towards the large hunk of metal that had left such a large gash in the forest so long ago. He didn’t stop to breathe until he was safely in the dark confines of its shattered hull.
After taking a moment or two to reorient himself, Nok’s curiously finally got a hold on him and he began to look around the shuttle’s insides. It was very dark, but that didn’t matter to him, his tiny black eyes well accustomed to piercing the dim. Everything he saw looked broken and burnt. Even though he was alone and in the dark surrounded by garbage, Nok felt a gleeful apprehension coursing through his body. His scavenging instincts already had a firm grip on his psyche, and he was sure he could put all this scrap to good use.
As he rounded a corner inside the bones of the shuttle, a stray ray of light shone through one of the numerous cracks and reflected a broken piece of mirror on the ground before Nok’s feet. He stared for a moment, giving his own reflection a thorough examination.
He was a tiny creature, less than half a meter tall; vaguely humanoid, with green skin and watery, rat-like eyes. His ears were pointed and large, almost too big for his head, and his mouth was filled with tiny needle-like teeth. Compared to the rest of his tiny body, his head looked disproportionately large.
“Heh! Dat’s a good-lookin’ grot, dat is.”
Pleased with his regally stooped posture, he continued his exploration of the wrecked shuttle’s insides with a smug look on his face.
Outside, unknown to Nok at the time, a small rabble of beings like himself were also being spat out of the ground as though the earth itself couldn’t stand their presence. These grotz didn’t appear to be quite as wise as their predecessor was, and contented themselves with such juvenile activities as fighting, squealing, running about and generally being as obnoxious as possible.
By the time Nok satisfied his curiosity and surfaced with a heavy wrench he had found braced over his left shoulder, he was faced with a sizable mob of about thirty snotlings.
“Oi! Wat do youse fink yer doin’?”
Most of them stopped what they were doing to look at Nok. A few kept wrestling with each other over a particularly interesting stone, and one who was busy climbing a tree promptly fell off with a squeak.
Nok walked towards the mob in the most authoritative way he could manage.
“We need to get fings started!” He said, not completely sure what he was talking about, but the words felt right to him.
Some of the others nodded their assent while Nok continued.
“All of youse!” He gestured to roughly half of the rabble. “Go inside der and look for sumfink useful! Loot! Scrounge up sum toolz!”
The grotz, given a purpose that suited their mindset, gathered together and bolted to the wrecked shuttle to see what juicy bits they could scrounge up.. The rest looked to Nok for further instructions.
“Da rest of youse,” he said while hefting his heavy wrench in a threatening position, “Get sumfink to smash wif. We gonna go hunt!”
With a sudden flurry of activity the remaining snotlings cast about for anything that could be used as a weapon. Some picked up sticks and gnawed the ends until they were sharp, others loaded up on stones to throw and crush. Nok nodded satisfactorily to himself and began to organize the only formation he knew; kind of like a cross between a riot and a lynch mob.
“Redee? GOOD! ‘Er we go!”
The creature was looking for food between the roots of a large oak, drawn by the smell of a badger that had once made its home there. It was small, clumsy and stupid-looking, and had a body unlike anything that had walked on Torroni before. It was short and round, with rough red skin and only two lizard-like limbs used to scurry about. Its face was truly horrendous, with two beady yellow eyes and a mouth that seemed far too large, filled with pointy and crooked teeth. When the beast grimaced, which it seemed to do constantly, its horrid grin seemed to take up its entire head!
“GO! DAKKA! DAKKA! DAKKA!”
Nok’s high-pitched and scratchy war cry was followed by a volley of sticks and stones to break the beast’s bones! Roaring in frustration, the unpleasant little monster began to run towards the small group of snotlings that continued to pelt it.
With Nok’s prompting, a second group of snotlings pulled their cunningly deployed trip vine taut so that the beast stumbled and fell barely half a meter away from the grotz that were busy throwing everything they could reach at it.
As soon as the ornery little beast hit the ground, a swarm of snotlings were upon it, using their combined weight to keep it down while others tied the creatures mouth closed.
“Good! We bring it back and den getz sum more! We’z gonna start a squig farm!”
The rest of the grotz cheered at their victory and began to lead the beaten animal back to their camp, where the remaining snotlings were busy scrounging for supplies.
The shuttle was dark like it had always been since its crash, but it was no longer silent. Snotlings had moved in and were thoroughly infesting every nook and cranny in the typical manor of their kind.
What pieces they could carry they drug outside. Bits of wood, glass, metal and concrete were all taken, as well as tatters of cloth, wires, cables, silverware, various tools and instruments the grotz had no idea how to operate, and even some bones.
It wasn’t until a particularly adventurous snotling named Jak had clamored up onto a half-destroyed shelf that things really became interesting. What he found made no sense to him, but he thought it was important just the same. It was made of metal, but of an alloy he hadn’t encountered yet. It was long and boxy, with a handle on one end and a large hole in the other. Jak looked inside the hole, but couldn’t see anything. He decided he liked it, though, so he kicked it off the shelf and jumped down after it.
They both clattered to the ground, making a lot of noise. By the time Jak stood up there were already a few other snotlings that had come to investigate the sound. Smiling smugly to himself, Jak picked up the strange object he had found.
“Lookit wat Jak gotz! Jak betz youse poozers don’t got anyfink like dis!”
“Watzit do, Jak?” Dork asked.
“Um…” Jak looked down at the object again, and noticed for the first time that there was a tiny lever near the handle. If he shifted just so he could hold the thing up with one arm and pull the lever down with the other.. Just a little… more…
Every grot in the room jumped up in terror as the rapport of the shot echoed off the space hulk’s walls. Everyone except Dork, that is; he fell down with a wet thump, the only parts left of his body being his legs and a little bit of his lower abdomen.
The rest of the snotlings in the room didn’t seem to pay Dork’s unfortunate end any attention. Instead they all lit up like juvies that had found a new toy, which in a way is exactly what happened.
“HAHAHAHAHA! WE GOTZ A SHOOTA!”
Victory is achieved through mettle.
Glory is acheived through metal.
I like it! No idea what those Grots are going to do with themselves, but they seem to be having fun regardless.
Made me laugh anyway, which is always good.