The Spider and the Newcomers, Part IV

The Leader of the Tanturian Assembly, official spokesman for the twelve Greater Seas, was not having a very good day.

He had a name, but since Tanturian communication had evolved along lines of scent and posture, it would be pointless to attempt a reproduction of it. We shall call him Furgun. Furgun, or fergun, is the word for ‘shark’ in the common language of the Quin Cities and Corporate Realms. This is an amusing pun, because the Tanturian species is, essentially, a type of sentient shark.

One of the reasons Furgun was having such a bad day was related to this. His people had just made a vast and historical discovery, and it was easy – and very exciting – to focus on that. But along with this discovery came some unwelcome truths. The urverse was a much larger place than the Tanturians had originally suspected, and the majority of alien life out there seemed to be landbound. Marine environments, it seemed, were generally too hostile to give rise to sentient life, although there were several notable exceptions. And the vast gulf in communications was a logistical nightmare.

Moreover, Furgun didn’t like land creatures. He didn’t like land. There could be anything up there. He’d been on a deep-land excursion during his years as a biologist, and he’d hated it. He hated the ferocity of the sun and the thin, yowling wind. He hated the heavy, awkward equipment he’d had to wear and the taste of recycled water in his gills. He hated the way things just crawled around up there, squashed over the surface like barnacles and crabs. He even hated the few things up there that did manage to escape the ground, because they could do it and he couldn’t.

He didn’t like Fliei. He was one of the only people he knew who didn’t keep a single one. His territory didn’t even have a bubble. He hated their bright, shifty little eyes, their loud, discordant way of talking, the way they intentionally misunderstood Tanturian language and intentionally made their own unfathomable. He didn’t like the thought that they were always up there, crawling around, doing things he couldn’t watch them doing. He’d opposed the space program as reasonably and as realistically as he could, for fear that there might be more of them out there.

Well, who was laughing now?

merdokk_mini

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6 Responses to The Spider and the Newcomers, Part IV

  1. dreameling says:

    So the Tanturians are the Fergunakil? These Merdokk stories are set in the distant past relative to the Final Fall of Man? Come to think about it, I don’t recall the “urverse” featuring in the books. How does the Six Species stuff of the book universe map to all this Quin Cities and Corporate Realms urverse stuff?

    • stchucky says:

      So the Tanturians are the Fergunakil?

      Nope. Just another selachoid life-form that evolved somewhere else in the urverse.

      These Merdokk stories are set in the distant past relative to the Final Fall of Man?

      Well, correct. This is true. The Final Fall of Man series happens in the far future … but also in a different part of the urverse altogether.

      Come to think about it, I don’t recall the “urverse” featuring in the books. How does the Six Species stuff of the book universe map to all this Quin Cities and Corporate Realms urverse stuff?

      Also true, the Six Species is pretty out of touch with the wider urverse, for reasons of historical loss of data and cultural memory (the destruction of Earth, the Zhraak reformation, the Fleet diaspora and its flight from the Damorakind). I can’t explain how they map together because it’s an emergent (hopefully) arc in the storyline that I don’t want to spoil.

      “…did you know that almost thirty percent of ‘recovered’ texts and knowledge dating from the Zhraak reformation and the foundation of Aquilar was actually maliciously flawed data intended to further degrade the quality of life and inhibit the regrowth of human civilisation? And that wasn’t the Cancer at work, and it wasn’t elements of the Blaran chaotics, or the Fergunak. It was humans. Just screwing ourselves over. For no reason.”

      – Janya, Eejit

      • Wait but in your urverse, you have all these gods and whatnot meddling with sentient species…can they not handle Damorakind either? Or did they just choose not to? Or, you haven’t decided yet, stay tuned for future episodes?

      • stchucky says:

        Sure they can. And the Damorakind have their own Gods and whatnot, and there’s an escalation nobody wants either.

        Although obviously Damoraks are not exactly the same as Damorakind. Stay tuned, et cetera.

  2. dreameling says:

    Nope. Just another selachoid life-form that evolved somewhere else in the urverse.

    Explains why Furgun sounds like a nicer, less hungry dude than your average Fergi.

    Well, correct. This is true.

    I got it right by accident? Score.

    Also true, the Six Species is pretty out of touch with the wider urverse, for reasons of historical loss of data and cultural memory (the destruction of Earth, the Zhraak reformation, the Fleet diaspora and its flight from the Damorakind). I can’t explain how they map together because it’s an emergent (hopefully) arc in the storyline that I don’t want to spoil.

    Interesting. Big mythos stuff is the best.

    • stchucky says:

      Explains why Furgun sounds like a nicer, less hungry dude than your average Fergi.

      Yeah. Much the same structure, down to the hands and all, but no cybernetics. And Furgun is a politician. *grin*

      I got it right by accident? Score.

      Well played!

      Interesting. Big mythos stuff is the best.

      Indeed. Now I just have to hope it all falls satisfactorily into place.

      In behind-the-scenes terms, of course, this species was something I wrote into this short-story and didn’t give much thought to, except that it was a cool-seeming concept. The name, the Xidh word, was just a throw-away joke that I was then able to fold into The Final Fall of Man series to help solidify the Xidh etymology. I introduced the Fergies and they were so fun I made them into one of the Six Species, and didn’t really think about the Tanturians until I dug this out of the Spider chronicles a little while ago. Fun.

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