The Tall One


Ch’ali stirred from his slumber.

He stood on his four legs arching his back, his spine flexing.

With a little shake he stretched out his front paws dipping his head and shoulders down, straightening his spine and flexing his tail.

He then pulled his hind legs under himself sitting and begun the cleaning ritual his mother had taught him when he was a cub.

After about 10 minutes of acrobatic poses intermixed with licking and combing of his fur Ch’ali was ready to take on the day.

Looking around he surveyed his domain.

The tall one that fed him and provided extra heat was standing at a panel that was adorned with lights and images.  As usually she had shed her fur.

Ch’ali did not understand why the tall ones shed their furs so much.  He had investigated her fur the first time she had shed it, sniffing and marking his scent on it so she would know who the Alpha was.  He had decided it must be normal behavior for her.

Her fur was not soft, nor lose, but appeared to be tightly interwoven within itself.  She sometimes would pull her fur back onto her body.  The whole thing was quite strange.

Ch’ali’s fur only came off in small bits when he cleaned himself.  He once tried to put his fur “back on”, but alas… it never felt the same.

The tall one purred and meowed out a melodic tone of song.’

He recognized his title amongst the song and his designator as well.  It warmed his heart that she had the gratitude of his being and the politeness of his order to so correctly address his position.

He sauntered over to her hind legs and rubbed his chin against them remarking his scent.

She was one of his family and she had to be constantly remarked as she thoroughly cleaned herself every 15 hours or so.  It was infuriating that he had to remark her so often.  How else would anyone know who she belonged to.

He purred and squeaked the commands that triggered the tall one to prepare his morning food.

The food was sufficient.

Although the tall one never let him kill his own food, which he missed, she was able to remove it from it’s protective shell.

He had grown accustomed to it.

He had not sensed any prey in this domicile.

She was definitely an adept hunter, removing and somehow preserving all the prey into those small grey hard shells.

He sniffed and tasted the prey.  It was indeed dead, and the freshness of blood and flesh had been removed.  He sat and looked up at the tall one and let out a long query.

She addressed him by his title and designation.

He queried again, then sniffed the plate and turned around in circles in the dance that signified he requested she obey his query.

She ignored him.

Then another song, this one cold and disembodied rang out.

Ch’ali sensed the tall one stiffen, her pheromones changing instantly.  She was now alert and ready to hunt.

Ch’ali’s heart increased its beating, he tensed and listened, he quickly started to look for prey, trying to find a new odour amongst the familiar.

The tall one sung out to the disembodied melody and then turned and sprinted across the room to the egg.

She climbed into the egg and disappeared as it swallowed her whole.

The first time he had seen her eaten by the egg it had terrified him.  But after she had emerged unharmed he understood she was in command of the egg and it would not permanently consume her.

Ch’ali sat back down at the dead prey meal and begrudgingly consumed it.

He would have to hunt the elusive melody that called to him yesterday.

He would find it and silence it today.

Today he would hunt.



Sector Cache arose from her slumber. This clone had lasted longer than any of the previous.

Stuck in this Wolf Rayett, this clone might actually die of old age.

The quiet solitude of a C13 Wolf Rayet was deafening and eternally boring to an immortal capsuleer.

What is a Wolf Rayett you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Wolf Rayett Stars are a rare heterogeneous set of stars with unusual spectra showing prominent broad emission lines of highly ionized helium and nitrogen or carbon. The spectra indicate very high surface enhancement of heavy elements, depletion of hydrogen, and strong stellar winds. Their surface temperatures range from 30,000 K to around 200,000 K, hotter than almost all other stars.

Classic Wolf Rayet stars are evolved, massive stars that have completely lost their outer hydrogen and are fusing helium or heavier elements in the core. WR stars show hydrogen lines in their spectra and are known as WNh stars; they are young extremely massive stars still fusing hydrogen at the core, with helium and nitrogen exposed at the surface by strong mixing and radiation-driven mass loss. A separate group of stars with WR spectra are the central stars of planetary nebulae (CSPNe), post Asymptotic Giant Branch stars that were similar to the Star of old, Sol while on the main sequence, but have now ceased fusion and shed their atmospheres to reveal a bare carbon-oxygen core.

All Wolf Rayet stars are highly luminous objects due to their high temperatures—thousands of times the bolo-metric luminosity of the Star (L☉) for the CSPNe, hundreds of thousands L☉ for the Population I WR stars, to over a million L☉ for the WNh stars—although not exceptionally bright visually since most of their radiation output is in the ultraviolet.

The naked-eye stars Gamma Velorum and Theta Muscae, as well as the most massive known star, R136a1 in 30 Doradus, are all Wolf Rayet stars as well as many of the stars found in Shattered wormhole systems also known as J systems.

Shattered systems differ from other wormhole systems in various ways, and fall into two general categories, with the one notable exception, Thera. Because they have no moons, it is not possible to anchor a POS or Citadel in them, and so living in them is even more difficult than living in normal wormholes.

There are only seventy five standard shattered wormhole systems.

Twenty five of the shattered wormhole systems are known as “Small Ship Holes” or  C13s.  They inherit all the features of the standard shattered systems, although capsuleers have reported that C13’s had an interesting effect on their ships.

They reported increased densities of their armor plates by a factor of two and an increase destructive power of their weapon systems by a factor of four. Captains have also noted that their signature appear to “Bloom” in C13s and their shields resists were also negatively effected.

Sector’s Heron was operating nominally, and the ECCM scrips she had picked up in Jita right before all that “Burning” nonsense had begun were humming away quietly in her SEE-BOs keeping the vessel safe from being scanned down.

The Fendahlian Collective knew what they were doing as her vessel had the signature of a can, and one would have to stumble onto it blindly, a once in 72.946 billionth chance.

Sector had brought all kinds of diversions with her as she knew this would be a long solo expedition.

She was alone on her Heron without a crew, something she had never done before.

It meant she had a lot of maintenance out side of her pod to do, which was a great risk.

She had narrowed down the risk window to 57 seconds, the time it took her to sprint naked from the furthest accessible point on the vessel to her pod and to “jack” in to the security of immortality.

She was alone… but there was one other life form aboard with her.

His name was Ch’ali.

He was 28 centimeter tall and 98 centimeters long, if you counted his tail. He was two and a half years old.

Sector had bought him from an animal merchant that said his species of feline were a great comfort to captains on long quiet voyages.

Two scratches on her leg and four across her left arm said differently, but after three days of wariness, Ch’ali had finally warmed up to her, often curling up at her feet while she reclined outside her pod reading.

The aloofness but spontaneity of the feline intrigued and delighted Sector in ways she never thought she would be.

In the end, Ch’ali turned out to be affectionate and sociable, but only when he wanted to be. He wasn’t anyone’s pet, and always approached Sector on his own terms.

“Captain,” Auras voice interrupted, “There is a vessel on D-Scan. 14.175 AU and closing.”

Sector leaped up and sprinted over to the Pod.

Finally, she thought, something interesting to do.

“Aura, Initiate warp to safe 2392.324.”

‘Snick, Snick’ the plugs snapped into her spine as she submerged into the warm goo.

Here we go.

Here we go again.