The sound of a heavy boot on metal never harbors good tidings. Zeke walked like a man on his way to execution, each step planned, deliberate, slow and heavy with trepidation. Clanging out a metronomic pace, there was no other sound in the corridor but the steady slapping echo of metal on metal. Nor was another soul in sight. Zeke felt the coldness of his worry silence even the normal buzz of the hallway lights.

Several parsecs ahead, a more ominous thudding could be heard on Zael. Massive, lumbering Javalina Wigglinas had arrived in the north. These elephantine monsters descended from the sky with a deliberate slowness that mimicked Zeke’s pace. Each mammoth limb sought solid ground to imbed its metal jaws. Upon contact with the planet, ice cracked with the sound of a whip, shards flew in all directions slaying anything in the path of flight, and the planet shook as if the very land was under attack. And so it was.

Wigglinas were the cruel invention of a warped mind. Designed to destroy the very land of the enemy, they gave a whole new meaning to cruelty in warfare. Destroy the land, poison the water, and retreat to watch the local population die a slow and merciless death of starvation and thirst. The machines and the minds that put them to use were heartless bastards. Wigglinas made the land inhabitable for decades. They were only used when one just didn’t care.

Metal clang in the corridor. Metal thud on Zael. One could imagine the two sounds moving in parallel, in unison, the twisted humor of fate, smiling at the opening act of destinies forever to be joined.


And South