Palomar 14

A Rich Feast of the Weak

1 of 3 for SR 24

1.20 mg Sr-90

[From Hike, Tripe Chronicler to the Manowar]
The following is a recounting of events that occurred within .1mg Sr-90 of 2.24mg Sr-90. The Manowar Exarch Fggght-Fght-fght- Inkit El summoned the tripe chronicler Hike to its imperial premises on Kuralekt to convey the events below. Hike dutifully noted the following and has transmitted the following on the Exarch’s insistence. It should be noted as well that the Manowar Exarch is considered a “Harmony Steward” amongst its people, who until several SY prior made no such mention of this title or position.
….

Inpesca’s rim of eyes across its brow did not move as it counted the delegates slow shuffle into the Cameran Auditorium. Organic reef-spires buttressed the tall roof of the camber and met a small mouth at the top that forever surrounded the brown dwarf star above. Rays beamed downward. The roof-mouth allowed for an optical copy of the star above to project on the auditorium’s floor like a spotlight. At that moment, a violently whip-waving solar flare’s beam overwhelmed Inpesca’s fifth and sixth anterior eye-rows; it flinched. The Harmoon had lived for dozens of SY as delegate to Sky’s gaze, curator of its museum-portal and great knower of the Deep Dimensions. The last of the entourages of the Visaol, Abo, Draconian, Lily-viper and Hydra Tetrarch delegates found their seats, and pods, and cradles, and so forth. The Lily-Vipers swarmed in adoration around their Manowar translator, fawning over its every click and gesture. The Harmony-Steward’s QEC holo-verses echoed from the dais opposite the chamber’s entrance.

Each race in delegation, research, poet-philosophy or spiritual diplomacy populated its respective life support area with dozens of its prime actors and dozens times more support technicians. Only the Harmoon’s representative, Inpesca, was alone on this planet.
Sky’s Gaze – UX-522 – was not violently hostile, but the radiation from its orbital-locked brown dwarf star precluded life from growing. The alien races, including the Manowar – who worshipped its astral curiosities – were on their own. Supply ships re-stocked non-manufacturable essentials every 2 or 3 SY. Other interactions with the “outside” world occurred solely via QEC.

“Harmony-Steward” Fggght-Fght-fght- Inkit El had never called a meeting of the delegates. The zealous self-appointed leader of the Manowar Primespawn was unusual. The races who knew the Manowar government before Harmony-Steward commanded all communications were accustomed to the change. Manowar politics were barely such, once. The Primespawn citizen-leaders of the Manowar government loosely steered the empire’s growth across the worlds within close reach of Kuralekt. Palomar was shrinking, though. Ships traverse it in a few SY instead of dozens. Frrrgat’at’cawl, the previous Primespawn in direct contact with foreign races, routinely called meetings of delegates on Sky’s Gaze. That Primespawn was fond of loose QEC translations in poetic format, benevolent outreach to the Manowar neighbors and interesting contributions to the Cluster Council’s deliberations on war and politics. Little was known of the policies or aims of Fggght-Fght-fght- Inkit El, though trust was scarce in recent SY. The Harmony-Stewards’ leadership was frustrating, if understandable.

The holo-verses performed by Fggght-Fght-fght- Inkit El’s project on the dais continued for some time; an invocation of some sort. The Harmony-Steward’s acid-etched mandalas and scripture-murals covered every inch of its carapace. Abo and Howl black market prices for a Manowar zealot carapace could pay for a fully outfitted interceptor. Most of the holo-verse was conveyed via mandible gestures; Manowar are capable of crude aural communication, rude as it might be.

The delegates of Sky’s Gaze, accustomed to long waits, sat patiently. The invocation concluded with the ceremonial devouring of a nutrient-rich six-legged vermin species. Its significance in Manowar culture can’t be understated: even today, Manowar rely on consumption of its unique proteins to progress through a healthy adolescence. Once all races finished their offerings, the delegates’ staff were dismissed.

Inpesca watched from the same motionless stance as earlier that day. Confused Abo and Draconians in musty robes shuffled out with the scrolls and encapsulatory instruments for poetry-knots-in-making. The Lily-Viper factotum stayed with its Manowar translator and the rest returned to their slime den. The leaders of delegations from the Draconians, Visaol, Abo and Hydra Tetrarchs remained in their spaces.

The ivyglow adorning the buttressed roof-mouth dimmed and the Harmony-Steward’s projection on the dais closed its eyes. Manowar bards rumbling low in the atonal grumbling of a song-chant shuffled in. Concern would not register in the eyes of the delegates until the doors shut. The bards, one for each delegate, then approached the work areas for each delegate’s staff.

Inpesca noted the races and their reactions to becoming prey: the gleeful Abo, the terrified Lily-Viper, the fervent Draconian, the resigned Visaol, and the resilient Hydra Tetrarch. Inpesca did not fight its predator, though it was not wholly present in that chamber as the Manowar bard devoured its flesh.

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