Art and words of Josh Burns.

Dead or Alive lifestyle

Two centuries ago the Taa’Rukc race were on the verge of venturing off of their planet of Vallen and out into the wilds of space. Their cunning and strength would have garnered them a powerful position in the galactic melting pot.

The Klamat, an alien race whose home planet shared the same system as Vallen, had monitored the Taa’Rukc since their first sub-orbital space flights. The progress was moving rapidly, but withou warning the great “Descent” occurred. The Klamat were master strategists and scientists, they worshiped logic and would even strategize centuries in advance. They would even “Adjust” events to better future generations of the Klamat based on their projections. The impending progress of the Taa’Rukc showed an unfavorable outcome for the Klamat in their projections.

The projections showed that if they were able to achieve interstellar travel the Taa’Rukc would quickly oust the Klamat as representatives of their solar system. In turn the Klamat would lose much political strength. So they engineered a genetic virus that would cause Taa’Rukc offspring to retain junk DNA and essentially reverse the course of evolution. The virus was clandestinely dispersed across Vallen using a common blood sucking insect. The first generation born after the virus started to resemble the Taa’Rukc from ten-thousand years earlier. Their slender frames were replaced by shorter stockier ones. Their skulls almost doubled in size, and now supported a second set of eyes specialized for the dark. These traits dated back to when the Taa’Rukc were a tunneling creature and needed to seamlessly transition from dark to light. The recessive set of eyes were also equipped with a special protective cover equipped with a spiked tusk that rested just beside the jaw. The Taa’Rukc scientists scrambled to find a cure for what appeared to be a genetic disease, but none could be found. Within two generations they had been pushed back in time and no Taa’Rukc could even comprehend the concepts interstellar travel. The virus did not produce a perfect De-evolution, birth defects such as deformed heat regulating glands on the back of the neck, were responsible for many deaths. Once satisfied with the success of the virus the Klamat made first open contact with the Taa’Rukc they presented themselves as saviors and cured the virus, known to the Taa’Rukc as the Descent. The Klamat saw the Taa’Rukc as a strong labour force and swiftly began using the grateful race on ships and in facilities. An unexpected side effect of the cure accounted for a considerable spike in the intelligence of the fourth and fifth generations after the Descent. They were not as intelligent as before, but smart enough to connect that the Klamat had something to do with the Descent. In a rebellion that lasted over a year the Taa’Rukc fought to escape their Klamat masters, and bring to light the century long deception and genocide that had occurred. In a calculated move the Klamat detonated a Ion bomb on their own plant that vaporized a quarter of their own people. They then blamed the Taa’Rukc for the atrocity. The gambit payed off for the Klamat winning them much support from the intergalactic community. The Taa’Rukc were seen as a savage ruthless race, and a “Race Bounty” was placed on them. The bounty dictated that any Taa’Rukc individual that chose to leave Vallen would be considered wanted dead or alive. The bounty on the Taa’Rukc kept the bulk of the population on Vallen. Most of the rebel Taa’Rukc went willingly back to Vallen, Some went into hiding one remote colonized planets, but some chose to embrace their burden an became pirates and criminals. One such Taa’Rukc was Fi’ing, He decided that if he was going to be hunted, there was going to be a good reason.

After a couple of years of work as a mercenary in the lowest levels of the city planet of Caer, Fi’ing distinguished himself as a ruthless and calculating criminal. He was hired as protection on a black market weapons deal. Fi’ing saw an opportunity to double cross his employer, and take the weapons and the credits for himself. He acted as an informant for the Caer Security Force, and used the raid as a chance to abscond with the weaponry and his employers credits. Not before shooting his employer in the back and rigging his ship to explode inside the docking bay. Before the ship’s reactor exploded Fi’ing told the weapons dealer that she had been set up by his employer, and they escaped in her ship. Fi’ing, and the weapons dealer narrowly escaped the explosion that left twenty-six dead, including twelve CSF officers. After breaking orbit with Caer Fi’ing incapacitated the weapons dealer and ejected her out the airlock.

The ship became his new home and he renamed it “Soowl the Wench” after the Klamat goddess of vision and logic. Fi’ing had learned from his father that the highest disrespect in Klamat society was to refer to one of their gods in such a manner. He laughed at the idea of Klamat commanders having to report on the activities of a Taa’Rukc vessel with such a fine name.

In time Fi’ing gained a crew of like-minded individuals and started making an even more infamous name for himself. In one such instance he and his crew attempted to raid an earth science station for its experimental weapons. When the Earth Intergalactic Navy tried to apprehend Fi’ing he took twenty scientists hostage in the lower holding dock of the station for over two weeks. When the EIN forces finally breached the dock the situation escalated into a full on fire fight. Fi’ing ended up taking a plasma blast to the right side of his face, this hit blinded him in this right night vision eye and vaporized his right tusk and eye cover. He and most of his crew escaped with a wealth of experimental weapons and technology. This event got Fi’ing on to the radar of the human bounty hunter Crosby Gulling.

Eventually Fi’ing and his crew made a more permanent home on a lush tropical planet on the outside edge of his system. He overtook a research station and converted it to a base of operations for all of his criminal activities. After years of hunting Gulling finally caught up with Fi’ing and he was turned over to the Klamat. But when the guards came to retrieve Fi’ing from his cell for his execution they found he had escaped and in his place was a mysterious canister that contained a biologic weapon engineered specifically for the Klamat. When the canister burst it killed every Klamat in a fifty kilometer radius. Gulling always said he was too easy to apprehend.

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