Bookwyrm, Part 5

Day 70. 45 pages, 16,941 words.


The Destarion’s story had begun tens of thousands of years ago, after the Worm had come to The Centre and had, ultimately, been expelled. The Category 9 Convoy Defence Platforms protected the Pinian Brotherhood’s many peoples, shepherding them as they made their way back to the homes from which they had been evicted during the invasion.

Most people, if they thought about it at all, believed the problems had started with her first famous defeat, long after the post-Worm resettlement, at the Shooga blockade in the time of the Lapgod Witch-hunts. Desperate, vengeful agents of the Imp had, it was whispered, boarded the platform and sealed her, visited unspeakable deeds upon her crew, and then left her adrift with thirty million gruesomely posed carcasses arranged on her decks.

After that, there had been the war with the Darkings. Well, one of many.

She had been assumed lost, destroyed in the Battle of Destilak’s Throne, but was later found and salvaged. Her crew, including a covert military unit known as the Hands of Madness, were never found. Three hundred thousand specialists in infiltration and demolition, every last one of them a monster in his, her, its own right – gone without a trace.

Then there had been the war with the Damoraks – again, one of many. She hadn’t fought – not officially, treaty forbade it – but had carried refugees and the injured. She had been overrun by the Foemen, agents of the Darkings who had fed upon her eighty-seven million helpless passengers, as was their nature. Those passengers, however, had been laced with a pan-virus the likes of which would not be seen again until the Slumsville Wind. A pan-virus called Vehemence.

The resultant near-genocide among the Darking worshipper base had earned her one of her many, many nicknames: Dar Suda, the mythical rider of Pestilence.

There were so many atrocities in the Destarion’s past, so many horrors among her accomplishments marching back through the millennia, so many nightmares folded into her galleries and decks. It was impossible for tacticians or historians or even immortals to point at any one of them and declare it the defining massacre, the act of war that had shaped the platform’s personality and her twisted relationship with the urverse around her.

But the truth was, it had started before any of those calamities. It had started with the Vorontessa, and the race she had failed. It had started when her sisters had cast her out in disgust, a shepherd with confused tears standing in her eyes and the blood of lambs drooling from her chin, and had departed on their grand adventure without her shadow darkening their path.

It had started with the Bookwyrm.


– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while sitting in the carpark.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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4 Responses to Bookwyrm, Part 5

  1. Sounds delightful! Is she taking applications?

    • stchucky says:

      Hee. You know, as much as I love it when readers talk about Çrom Skelliglyph being their favourite character (or, even better, such-and-such a character being their favourite character who isn’t Çrom, I totally feel that shit and support it), I think the Destarion has always been mine.

      I mean apart from Janya Adeneo of course. Ho-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-t-t-t

      • LOL totally agree, on balance. I think part of the issue is we’re built up with the mystery of Crom for many, many books, and the Destarion is kinda dropped on us in one of the last books. Whereas for you, they both have rich histories, because you’ve already got all the stories in your head. But I love the way you write her (Destarion). I’m assuming that her Flesh Eater ship in that short story effectively has her personality too, and the other instances of her shuttles we’ve seen. I’m rolling all those in to one personality.

        Janya’s theme song, if she had one, should be “Scars to your Beautiful” hehe (in case you don’t know, in the song’s lyrics the title phrase is proceeded by the word “no” so it totally works)

  2. stchucky says:

    I’d also just like to point out the “roll credits (ding)” tag, for those who might not have noticed it due to mobile reading or other reasons. I was unreasonably proud of that dumb CinemaSins reference.

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