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Lady Nyx Pt 1

Written by Jabbrwock :: [Monday, 24 October 2011 19:08] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 04 December 2012 19:52]

by Jabbrwock (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 


The Maker Lord examined the data on its intended conquest with something akin to surprise.  Who would have imagined, it thought, that such a primitive world could have such a rich supply of psionic energy?  Deep within its seat of power, a massive warship holding in orbit around the Earth, it formulated plans to access that precious energy source.  Subversion, rather than conquest, would be the rule, but subversion required native servants.  The natives were pathetically weak, and treacherously disloyal, even among themselves.  Still, such difficulties could be surmounted.

 

Sophisticated teleportation technology had already allowed the Maker Lord to acquire a number of experimental subjects of all racial and cultural stocks.  Its current focus was to discover the thought patterns common to the natives, which would be the key to allowing direct psychic modification of their minds.  A secondary focus was placed on analysis of their life processes, to determine a reliable and economical means of enhancing them to a useful level of physical performance.

 

On the second front, it had already achieved a measure of success.  Preliminary examination suggested that the natives would respond well to either adaptogenic chemicals or nanoprobe colonization.  The Maker Lord diverted a fraction of its attention to producing an appropriate blend of powerful adaptogens and carefully programmed nanoprobes, then chose one of its experimental subjects more-or-less at random, and directed that the stew be introduced into the creature's food ration at its next feeding.

 

---

 

Nyx breathed a sigh of relief as the walls, floor, and ceiling of her cell shifted to their neutral, perfectly smooth and reflective state.  She had no clear notion of how long she had been held, but some patterns had become clear almost immediately.  The most significant was that when her cell shifted to its reflective form, her torments would cease for at least a few precious moments.  Sometimes she was fed, and sometimes, not often enough, she was left unmolested long enough for blessed sleep.

 

When she had first been captured, she had railed against her unseen captor at every opportunity.  She had promised that she would be ransomed if she were returned safely.  She had threatened bloody retribution from her father, the king of Crete; or from Poseidon, whose votary priestess she would have become in a few short hours had she not been abducted, if she were not returned immediately.  She had begged, pleaded, humiliated and prostrated herself, all to no effect.  If her captor had any goal beyond tormenting one relatively insignificant Minoan princess, she could not guess what that goal was.

 

Now, however, all she did was wait, and look at her reflection.  She had seen better times, to be sure.  Her torments had long since destroyed any remnants of her ceremonial vestments, but the sight of her naked body now would not have inflamed even the most desperate of men now.  Her hair was filthy and matted with blood.  Her whole body, in truth, was filthy, covered with dried sweat, blood, and things better unmentioned.  She was covered with healing wounds, ranging from vividly purpling bruises to jagged cuts and livid burns.  Her mental state was no better than her physical state, she was dizzy and disoriented from the combination of her incomprehensibly alien new environment and advanced exhaustion.  She was so deeply confused that it took her several seconds to notice the bowl of food that had appeared on the floor in front of her.

 

She reached frantically for the bowl, desperately afraid that she would not have enough time to finish before her torture began again.  Once, she would have turned up her nose at the unappealing gruel, but hunger bordering on starvation and bone deep exhaustion had lowered her standards.  Now her sole concern was be allowed to finish before bowl and food vanished into thin air, signaling the resumption of her abuse by her nameless captor.

 

She ate with no attention to flavor, but still could not avoid noticing that the food tasted different, somehow.  There was an odd, bitter flavor, and an aftertaste with the hint of a metallic tang.  She ate anyway, although she wondered if the new taste indicated that she was being drugged, or perhaps even poisoned.  After all, she thought, How can any drug-induced visions be worse than what's already happening to me?  As for death. . . What terrors can Tarterus hold compared to this place?

 

---

 

The Maker Lord diverted a fraction more of its attention to the enhancement test case.  Much could be learned from the process, successful or not, and the mental patterning tests could be conducted by automated systems, supervised only by the Kessen warrior slaves it had brought with it from the conquered world that had given it birth.  Soon, it concluded, Soon the enhancement will begin.

 

---

 

As Nyx waited for her abuse to begin again, and wondered whether she might be able to snatch a few blessed moments of sleep, she found herself abruptly seized by an outbreak of hideous itches all over her body.  At first, afraid that she would tear open old wounds or inflame her burns and bruises, she merely hugged herself tightly and tried to ignore it.  Soon, though, the itch became a torture in its own right, rivaling anything her captor had inflicted on her.  Bracing herself against the inevitable shock of pain, she raked her jagged, torn fingernails across the worst of her itches, right over a serious burn on her she had received on her shoulder, she was shocked to feel. . . nothing.

 

Trying to look at the burn and finding nothing, she instead looked at her reflection in the wall, to be greeted by an eerie sight.  Her wounds, one by one, were disappearing from her body.  Cuts closed, burns healed, and bruises faded and vanished in a matter of seconds, rather than the days and weeks it should have taken.  As the last scars were fading before her eyes, she noticed that other old injuries and scars were healing as well, even some she had had for years, like the long scar on her right arm she'd gotten playing with her brother's sword as a small girl.  Even her matted hair, filthy skin, and jagged nails were healing, becoming fresh, lustrous, and smooth as if she had just washed with fine soaps and soothing oils.

 

The healing had not completed yet, however, as all the accumulated harm her body had taken over the years repaired itself in a few moments.  Bones reformed, straight and perfect, and tendons and ligaments loosened and grew flexible and lithe as if she had just completed a full set of stretches prior to a ritual dance.  Soon, every particle of her being was made anew, perfect and healthy, almost singing with pure vitality.  Waves of euphoric ecstasy washed through her, as she was inundating with a feeling of pure well-being like nothing any human had ever experienced before.

 

She sighed at the easy, luxurious pleasure of it, hugging the feeling to her like a thick, soft blanket, when her thoughts began to wander.  Odd memories rose into her consciousness, seeming so real that for an instant, she could not tell them from her current experiences, until others rose in their place.  She felt strange urges, craved foods she had never tasted, and desired experiences she had never imagined.  Tiny details of her surroundings jumped out at her with unnatural clarity, all but unnoticed in her confusion.  Her emotions jumped and surged without pattern, and she felt lost in her own mind.  She would have screamed in fear, but she couldn't feel fear, its place taken by joy, and grief, and despair, and anger, and love, and nervousness, and finally, yes, there was her fear, as if she had never misplaced it.

 

Before she could scream, her mind cleared.  All her senses jumped into impossibly fine focus, and her thoughts raced with a clarity and precision she had never experienced.  I've been stupid! she realized, as she examined a lifetime of experience with newfound crystal clarity, but the thought held no heat.  Far more pressing was the sudden improvement in all her senses.

 

She had fallen at some time in her waves of confusion, and now she looked up at her reflection.  She saw an incredible level of detail, picking out the pattern of pores on her skin, following the flow of each individual strand of her long, dark hair, looking into her own deep violet eyes and seeing the fine pattern of blood vessels in her retina.  She could hear the blood rushing through her veins, and the excited rhythm of her own heartbeat, and the soft flow of air through the unseen vents in the apparently featureless walls of her cell.  Taste, too, was enhanced, and she tasted the air as she panted and gasped, overwhelmed by her experience.  Her sense of smell was now amazingly keen, dominated by her own scent, redolent of excitement, confusion, pleasure, the faint hints of prior pain and fear, and dawning arousal.  The arousal grew from her sense of touch, almost a completely new experience for her, as she experienced every faint eddy and current of the air in her room as a sensuous caress across her incredibly sensitive skin.

 

She moaned in pleasure as the touch of the air currents awakened her inner fires.  Her nipples rose and hardened with need, and the first few drops of moisture gathered in her inner folds as her need mounted.  She tried to reach up to add her fingers' work to that of the passing air currents, but noticed that she could not even move.  She was wondering what that meant when the next wave of change struck her like a tsunami.

 

Power rushed into her body, now prepared with perfect health and enhanced mental and sensory capacity.  Every fiber of her being was suddenly suffused with immense might.  She felt like she could do anything, anything at all, yet somehow she was unable to move, frozen lying on the reflective floor of her cell, as another wave of power rushed into her.

 

She wanted to touch, to caress, to stimulate her impossibly sensitive body with her increasingly powerful hands, yet she could not so much as twitch an eyelid as she lay helplessly, a passive victim of the changes that were overwhelming her.  She watched her figure, thin and gaunt from deprivation even in its new perfect health, fill out with firm, toned flesh, and began to feel fear as yet another rush of power washed through her.  Surely, there must be a limit to what I can hold! she thought, and her concern seemed to be justified, as she felt her ligaments stretch and her bones creak under the assault of her now inhuman strength.

 

Yet no sooner had she imagined that she might be harmed by her own strength, when the waves of power stopped.  She began to relax, when she realized that her changes were still not finished.  The tiny almost-aches where her body had been stressed by her growing strength faded to nothing, and a new wave of health and vitality surged through her.  This time, she was familiar with the experience, and indeed, she reveled in it.  She still could not move, but the incredible joy of her increasing health removed any concern about her paralysis.

 

She knew what to expect when the surging euphoria stopped growing, and sure enough, confusion and disorientation once more took over her mind and senses.  When they passed, she once more reflected on her past stupidity, revealed in new ways by her sharpened mind, but was once more distracted by the rush of her amazing hypersenses.  She saw that she had changed.  Her skin smoother than satin and more perfectly flawless than the finest jewels, and her facial features were shifted subtly to a sculpture of stunning beauty and sensuality.  Her scent was now intensely alluring, sweeter than nectar and richer than ambrosia, and told a tale of intense, even superhuman sexual arousal.  That arousal was fueled by her now even more magnificently sensitive skin, and she felt herself approaching an intense climax from the mere touch of air against her body when the first new rush of power passed into her body.

 

The power, too, was now more intense than before, and her already superhuman body grew firmer and tighter than ever before as might approaching and even exceeding that of a hero of legend pulsed into her every muscle.  The sense of power added to her arousal, and she desperately longed to stroke her spectacular new body with her delicate yet now divinely powerful hands, yet she could still not move.  She felt a moan, of pleasure, or arousal, or frustration, rise behind her teeth, yet she could give it no voice.

 

Again and again, until she lost count, the cycle repeated, enhancing first health, then mental and sensory capacities, then charging both with a surge of super-power, and finally, her paralysis gave way.

 

"Yes!" she screamed, as she felt the explosive climax crash across her.  Her spine arched, her heels and shoulders pressed into the silvery floor as her super-hands darted with such speed that they blurred into invisibility from one erotically ultra-sensitive spot on her body to the next.  Her nipples throbbed in time to her heartbeat, and her pussy gushed an astonishing quantity of sweet-smelling fluid through her probing fingers and over her slim hand as she stimulated herself in the midst of of an orgasm more intense than any she, or any other human, had ever experienced, or even imagined.

 

Finally, after almost five minutes of pure mind-numbing pleasure, she relaxed, aftershocks of physical joy surging through her body in time to her rushing heartbeat.

 

---

 

The Maker Lord was satisfied with the experiment.  First, of course, the enhancement was enormously successful, far beyond calculations.  The Supreme Mind would undoubtedly record this combination of enhancement agents for future use, although it seemed unlikely that any other race could achieve such extraordinary results.  Far more important for its immediate goals, however, was that the enhancement had changed the subject's thought processes, but had made them simpler, easier to understand, not harder, as had happened in previous efforts with the two agents seperately.  The intensity of the subject's mating urge was plainly overwhelming, the dominant force in its new thoughtscape, and that would undoubtedly be the key to controlling its new slaves.  It began to analyze the subject's data, seeking the keys to controlling its mind, even as the subject begain to move again.

 

---

 

She found that the rush of power within her immensely powerful new body would not let her lie still for any long period.  Plus, she wondered at the odd booming sound echoing within her cell could possibly be.  She opened her eyes and rose effortlessly to her feet, looking around for the source of the sound.  She saw nothing but her own reflected image, as stunningly beautiful as she remembered, but could still not find the source of the sound several minutes later, when her heartbeat, rushing from the amazing pleasure of her recent sexual explosion, finally began to slow.

 

The booming noise also slowed, and she realized that the sound, as loud as nearby thunder, was actually the sound of her own super-powerful heart beating in her delicate, lovely chest.

 

The thought of the kind of power she now surely contained excited her, and the scent of her excitement wafted through the room, adding to and enhancing the residual scent of her recent autoeroticism.  She felt herself growing inflamed and aroused again, as her heartbeat began to speed up.  What, again? she thought, but she was not at all upset.  The pleasure had been incredible, and she couldn't imagine ever getting tired of it.  If her body was ready again, she was surely ready as well.

 

This time, however, she vowed to keep control.  No sourceless paralysis would interfere with her pleasure this time around.  Admiring her shocking, supernaturally erotic beauty in the cell wall, she began to carefully explore her new super-body with her lovely, powerful hands.

 

First she explored her face.  She touched her small, elegant nose, her high cheekbones, brushed by long, thick, dark eyelashes., and her full, sensuous lips, then ran her hands around the the full, perfect heart shape of her face as a whole, from her delicate yet willful chin to her smooth forehead, marked by high arching, elegant eyebrows.  She reached back and gathered her thick, silky, inky black hair into a momentary tail and pulled it across her shoulder, admiring its waist-length fall and enjoying its sweet brush across one engorged nipple.

 

Resisting the temptation to move her attention to her eager breasts, she instead ran her hands along her sweetly curving flank, her now hairless body amazingly smooth to the touch, yet warm to the point of actual heat from her rising passion.  She stroked her hands down the sides of her torso, finding that she could now entirely circle her tiny waist with her hands, before moving on to her sweetly flaring hips.  She once more resisted temptation, passing by her eager cleft to delicately explore her perfectly molded thighs.

 

The skin on the inside of her thighs was incredibly sensitive, even compared to the rest of her body, and she sighed with joy as her fingers explored the sleek sculpture of her legs.  Her calves were tight and sleek with hard, feminine muscle, leading down to trim ankles and dainty feet, her perfectly pedicured toenails matching exactly the pearly luster of her razor-sharp, perfectly manicured fingernails.  She stood up straight again, and this time directed her explorations to her round, harder-than-rock yet perfectly formed ass and the tight, taut curve of her stomach.

 

Finally, her lust inflamed to near desperate need by her new tactile awareness of just how perfect her new body was, she moved on to her breasts.  They were full, and large for a woman of her small stature, yet perfectly firm, standing high and proud from her chest, not deigning to submit to the pull of gravity.  Her dainty nipples were now hard and erect, puffy and inflamed with her need, and she gave a gasp of near-ecstasy as she gently stroked one knife-edged fingernail along the length of her left nipple.

 

Her right hand moved as if of its own volition to her groin, fluttering against her hot, dripping slit, stroking her tender, needful nether lips with impossible, inhuman force before she reached into her pussy.

 

She ran her index finger along her throbbing, eager clitoris, and screamed in pure pleasure at the sensations that jolted out of her crotch to every part of her body.

 

She could control herself no longer, and her hands blurred as they moved over her infinitely sensitive skin, stimulating first one spot and then the next, but never leaving her breasts and pussy alone for more than the tiniest fraction of a second.  Her body was now heated by pure passion to the edge of incandescence, and the friction of her supernally forcefully yet inhumanly erotic caresses awakened a red-hot glow, first in her groin and breasts, then slowly spreading across her indestructible body.

 

She reached her second orgasm in her new body just as the incandescent heat reached the ends of her hair, and she couldn't help but admire the exotic, lovely effect in the reflective walls, even as the light she gave off, amplified by the mirror-bright surfaces, rose to levels that would have blinded any mortal.

 

Her glow was already fading when she came once more to herself, kneeling on the floor with her legs spread.  She stood easily, with a grace far beyond what she had gained as a mere mortal in her study of the ritual dances for which she had once been famous, and walked over to one of the walls.

 

The time has come, she decided, For me to escape.

 

---

 

The Maker Lord thought it was approaching an understanding of the subject's new mental patterns when it noticed her moving with a purpose beyond sexual pleasure.  It was not equipped to experience the cruel anticipation of another's failure, but it still knew that failure was the sure reward for the native's inevitable attempt to escape.  The holding cells, once one got past the inch-thick smart-metal surface capable of extruding a variety of sensors and manipulation tools, was composed of reinforced synthetic diamond, with a thickness of four full inches.  Such material was used for hull armor for Maker warships, and could shrug off kinetic impacts approaching the speed of light with ease, barely even noticing fusion explosions right against its material.  It could even briefly stand up to direct exposure to antimatter, its reinforced molecular bonds resisting, albeit only briefly, the matter-annihilating attraction of antimatter drawing its counterpart to obliteration.  No living creature could possibly muster a powerful enough attack to so much as scratch it.

 

---

 

Nyx strode with infinitely confident grace to one cell wall, her ultra-sensitive hearing detecting faint sounds in that direction.  She still could not tell what those sounds might be, but surely they must be more interesting than her cell.

 

Not, she conceded with intense vanity, That any cell that contains me is in any way uninteresting!

 

She clenched her delicate-seeming hand into a small fist, and punched mightily at the wall.  Her punch, in fact, was gross overkill.  The wall did not so much break or collapse as much as it exploded.  Its reinforced molecular bonds were not the slightest match for the unbelievable strength that suffused tiny Minoan girl.  Small shards of jagged-edged diamond flew with incredible force into the corridor beyond, striking walls of the same material with enough power to leave them crazed with minute cracks.

 

The sound she had heard suddenly grew louder, then ceased.  She recognized it now, as screams of pain.  Moving so fast she seemed almost to teleport, she moved to a part of the corridor where she had heard a muffled scream.  Carefully reaching out to the wall, she slid indestructible fingernails into a tiny crack, and lightly pulled, easily breaking the wall apart.  On the far side, she found another human being.  This one, however, was all too mortal, as witnessed by his life-blood pooling on the floor of his cell.  The debris from her escape had hit the wall of his cell so hard that tiny shards had been knocked off its interior surface with enough force to tear through his body.

 

The amazing euphoric high of her intense health and vitality, combined with the afterglow from two sexual experienced that failed of being Earth-shaking only because they did not occur on Earth, insulated her from any feeling of grief or guilt, even though quick checks on nearby cells revealed that her escape had similarly killed their occupants.  She spared a moment wondering if there was something wrong with her, that she could kill perfect strangers by accident and feel no remorse, when she was distracted by a new sound, rising and falling in pitch in a regular rhythm.  She headed toward it curiously, her bare feet crunching diamond shards to dust beneath their invulnerable soles.

 

As she easily ripped the door at the end of the corridor from its frame, she found the source of the strange noise: a small box, mounted high against the wall of a cross-corridor.  She also found herself face to face with a horde of demons.  They were large, larger than even the largest of her father's warriors back home, larger even than the giant northern warriors who sometimes came guarding trade missions from distant lands.  in color, they were an unhealthy-looking blend of gray, green, and brown, and they were covered by thick, ridged scales all over.  Their long, toothy snouts reminded her, more than anything, of Egyptian crocodiles she had seen once as a child on a diplomatic mission.  She guessed that the long, awkward looking metal devices they carried were weapons of some sort, by the way they brandished them, pointing them at her.  One uttered some rasping, growling sounds that she supposed were some sort of language among demons, but she understood not a word.

 

Then, a toneless voice came from a box one wore strapped to its chest.  "You are outside designated areas for subject containment.  Return to your cell and you will not be killed.  Resist or refuse, and you will experience the Makers' wrath."

 

"Wrath?" she asked, playfully, her euphoric high interfering with any kind of rational thought, "I think I'll show you what wrath means!" she yelled, then charged.

 

Her guess about the demons' devices proved true, as each fired a bolt of searing white light.  She noted in passing that they seemed quite destructive.  Most of the shots missed her, and tore into walls and other demons in a fury of apocalyptic destruction.  Half the demons were vaporized in that instant, shooting their comrades as they proved unable to follow her impossibly fast movements.  The few bolts that struck her inflicted no harm at all, leaving nothing but a rather pleasant sensation of warmth against her skin.  Had the heat of her passion not incinerated any tiny scraps that might have remained of her clothing after her period of torment, the bolts would have destroyed them, but against her indestructible body, they were utterly harmless.

 

She had no intention of taking demonic attacks without retaliation, however, so after the first salvo, she attacked in turn.  Her bare hands proved to be far more destructive than the demons hell-light weapons.  With every blow, the demon she struck was not merely killed, but obliterated, flesh stripped from bones by the force of the impact, bones themselves shattering and striking down nearby demons.  The shockwave from a single punch could knock down dozens of demons at a time, as well as shaking the floor and causing the walls to ripple like water, rather than nearly indestructible artifical diamond.  In a mere fraction of a second, she had killed all the demons near her, without effort or effective resistance.  She had defeated an army of monsters out of legends, and it had felt. . . it had felt wonderful!

 

She hadn't imagined that anything could make her feel better than she already did, but using her power, no, killing with her power, was an intense, savage easily matching her orgasmic sexual bliss of a few minutes earlier.  She had never felt anything like it, the joy was utterly alien to her former nature, but now she knew what it felt like to kill, and she wanted more.

 

Cocking her head to listen, she heard the same growling noise the demons had made earlier, and took off at a blazingly fast sprint toward it.  She quickly found another group of demons, and didn't even pause before rushing in.

 

This time, she made it last.  She concentrated on each demon individually.  Some she tore to pieces.  Others, she crushed.  A few, she dispatched with a punch or a kick, testing to find weak spots, or at least weaker spots, in their natural armor.  All the time, they were pouring their bolts of hell-light into her, with no effect beyond enhancing her enjoyment of the process of killing with a glow of sensual warmth.  It took longer this time, but soon enough all these demons were dead, the corridor now an abbatoir awash with reptilian remains.  Looking for more trouble, and more bloody pleasure, she headed for the next group she heard.

 

She had no trouble finding huge numbers of the demons, and slaughtering them effortlessly.  With every kill, her pleasure mounted, becoming almost obsessive in its intensity.  Her body seemed to shed the gore, leaving her pristine and perfect after every fight, or rather, every massacre.  She was unsurprised, for surely the ugliness of the bloody gore she left behind could not hope to mar her divine beauty.  In between battles, she occupied herself with tearing up whatever she could find.  Wherever she was, it was plainly large, and was filled with strange devices, which she ripped apart, crushed, or simply ran straight through on her way to the next party of demons to kill.

 

The final battle took place in a large room, empty but for the huge number of demons within it.  She had barely begun to fight when one entire wall opened outward, and the air pressure in the chamber sent her and her intended victims hurtling helplessly into the cold void of space.

 

---

 

Had the Maker Lord posessed emotions, it might have been furious.  Its plan had been tested on hundreds of worlds, and should have worked.  Only the fluke of the native girl's unprecedented response to the enhancement process had interfered.  It should have been easy to establish a religion worshipping the Maker Lord as a divine being, and to use its technology and the enhancements it gave its worshippers to become the dominant religion on the whole planet, ruthlessly crushing any rival sects.  Then the harvest would begin.  The rituals of worship would give the Maker Lord access to the vital psionic energy that defined and shaped a sentient species.  The spark of psionic energy that led to religious inspiration, to artistic creativity, and to inventive solutions would instead be siphoned into the Maker Lord's reserves of power, to fuel the technology only a Maker Lord could control.  Beyond merely fuel, however, the psionic energy was the particular food a Maker Lord required to reproduce, and soon enough there would be more Maker Lords, building more Maker ships, taking their armies of enhanced and domesticated natives off to subjugate other worlds.

 

In the mean time, only the Priests of the Maker Lord would retain any scrap of motivation or inspiration.  To them would be left the mundane details of running a world in which no creative thought could occur, and no innovative solution could be proposed.  They were the overworked administrative cadre running the new theocratic government of their world, solving all the problems and reaping none of the rewards.  And they were the enhanced soldiers the young Maker Lords would take with them in their unending war of expansion and conquest.

 

Had the Maker Lord posessed emotions, it might have been furious, but more likely would be engulfed in frantic worry.  The escaped native had damaged critical equipment in its rampage.  Before the Maker Lord had understood that the native would take the path of greatest resistance, and had used that knowledge to herd her, she had damaged two holding reservoirs brim-full of potent psionic energy drained from the Kessen homeworld from whence it had come.  She had shattered regulators on no fewer than four subsidiary fusion reactors as well, and had inflicted collateral damage on the ducts providing coolant to two others.  The combination of energy overload and out of control fusion reactions within its ship were stressing the Maker Lord's ability to react.

 

Fury and worry would, in turn, be far less likely than despair, for the damage was much too great to repair, or even survive.  In no more than a matter of minutes, uncontrolled fusion reactions, augmented by a massive release of sub-etheric energy, would rip its vessel into shards too tiny to ever be identified.  The Maker Lord, its Kessen slaves, and its entire mission to subjugate this world was a failure, charged to the account of a member of a species that had no priority beyond success.

 

But far more likely than any of those would be serene acceptance.  Maker Lords had been killed before, and invasions had failed, but the Maker Empire was vast.  There would be another ship, another Maker Lord.  The Maker Lords  were interchangeable parts, sent out at the direction of the Supreme Mind, and the Supreme Mind would never allow a world as potentially rich as this one remain feral and untamed when it could become a subjugated part of the Maker Empire.

 

As the first uncontrolled explosion rocked its ship, the Maker Lord recorded what it could of its experiences in this place in the world's sub-etheric aura for its successor to read.  In time, that would prove useful, a kind of success forged from the shards of failure, and with that thought, the Maker Lord and its ship died in an incalculably violent explosion.

 

---

 

She had fallen through void and through flame and through the depths of the ocean, but now she was approaching land.  She stepped up out of the water, naked and perfect as Aphrodite rising from the waves, up onto the beach.  The tides of her blood-soaked passion for violence had receded, but not far.  She looked around at the beach, seeking any sign of human presence, but found none.  She listened, but heard only wildlife.  She was alone, in a land she had never seen before, but she had no fear.  She was, after all, a goddess now, and surely a goddess could go where she pleased in perfect safety.

 

She chose a direction at random, and took off running, her sprint blindingly fast, raising a sandstorm in her wake.  As the sand settled, it buried her tracks, patches of sand that had been glazed to obsidian glass by the friction and force of her delicate-seeming footsteps.

 

---

 

In the far reaches of the galaxy, the homeworld of the pride-warriors of the Tormik race spun serenely beneath a greenish star.  The surface appearance of serenity was only an appearance, not the reality, however, for the Tormiks had long been subjugated by the Maker Empire, just as had the Kessens.  But while the Kessens were technologically advanced and capable of sustaining their high population with its high production of psionic energy in the absence of innovation, the Tormiks were a primitive race of hunters, feline beings of immense savagery.  For every Maker Lord raised and equipped from the Tormik homeworld, dozens were dispatched from the Kessens, yet the Tormiks were, in their way, as valuable to the Empire as the Kessens.

 

The Tormiks were warriors beyond compare, their physiology receptive to Maker enhancement to an astonishing degree.  They would make the ideal soldiers to help subdue a world whose primitive culture had somehow produced a threat capable of killing a Maker Lord and destroying its ship.

 

In orbit around the Tormik world, a ship the size of a city shuddered and began to maneuver, heading for interstellar space, where it would activate its stardive and head for a world that had destroyed its predecessor.  It would take years, even under stardrive, to reach Earth, but the Maker Lords were a patient people.  Earth would be conquered. . . in time.

 

 

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