Yur Lolitec

The Breaker of Chains

I watch Fraeia raise their rifle, their sights trained on the admiral. "No."   They turn to me with narrowed eyes, "Excuse me?"   "I'm not looking to die in a blaze of glory. I still have work to do."   They lower their rifle and let out a sigh. They scan the area and lower themselves back to the ground. Something caught their attention. I look and see a white light blinking off and on from the opposite side of the outpost.   Fraeia smiles and reaches for their waist, opening a small compartment hidden in their armor. They pull out a tiny metal tube, a light with a focused lens like a laser. It's a form of communication meant to ensure the only ones who can see it are the ones you're pointing the beam at.   Fraeia flashes the light four times, then waits for a response. The white light flashes twice and Fraeia turns to me. "No choice now. A fight is going to happen."   I stutter, dropping my rifle and raising my hands as I speak, "I- I can't."   Fraeia takes a deep breath, their eyes closed as if pushing the anger back down. "Understood." They let out a lung full of air. "That's a better idea. You'll stay clear of the fight and push toward the thought grave." They pick up the rifle and hand it over. "I hope you can run."
       
We call ourselves the lebha. We begin life in a vat, a tube… a glass prison. We are not born but grown. We are spoon-fed knowledge from the moment of conception, a trickle of facts embedded in our minds as the neurons form and fire. We will continue to feast on that information till the day we are fully grown, artificial embryos growing fat on hard truths.   Our nursery is nothing but sterile halls, a place far from any civilized world. By the time our eyes develop, we long to see what lingers beyond. We learn of our culture, of the worlds we inhabit. We learn the scraps of history our species managed to retain. We learn of ourselves. This is when we choose. We choose our appearance, our gender, our very sense of identity. The universe is our muse, so naturally, it takes time.   "What species should I look like? We ask, "What color should I paint my skin and fur?" With so many options, even I failed to see what was missing among the flotsam. We can't not choose. Why can't we just appear as we are? My species is legion, yet none of us can call ourselves lebhan. The lebha are long gone.
 
      Conflict
Fraeia watches as Amber moves deeper into the woods, the shadow covering the forest floor concealing every movement as if swallowing her whole. Fraeia sends a signal, three pulses of light from the tiny metal cylinder.   They raise their rifle and scan the area for Yur. Fraeia is forced to stifle their anger again. Yur lingers out of sight on the other side of the transport. They didn't have time to relocate. The Dhitol soldiers guarding the perimeter will have to do.   Fraeia takes a deep breath. It's not an attempt to harden themselves against the terrors of war. Their breath shakes in eager anticipation. Fraeia calculates the opening volley.   The second shot will meet the soldier patrolling the outside of the outpost. He may be closer but the element of surprise reveals an opportunity Fraeia can't ignore. The first shot will find the soldiers guarding the transport, two Dhitol marines standing side by side. If aimed just right before taking the shot, the round would penetrate through the first and hit the second, killing both.   Fraeia takes aim, exhales, and pulls the trigger. The round exits the barrel at an alarming speed with a loud crack, a trail of prismatic vapor following behind. The Dhitol turns its head at the sound of gunfire, and the round passes through it. It then connects with the chest of the marine behind it. Fraeia pulls the trigger again, her sights already lined up with the final target. The body falls. It twitches, writhing in the mud before finally going limp.   Fraeia steps forward, their eyes darting from left to right as they search for their next target. The snap and crack of rails fill the afternoon air as Fraeia reaches the edge of the outpost. They stalk near the wall of the outermost building, their ears listening for any sign of life.   Just before turning the corner, fraeia hears the sounds of wings. They step back and aim as three dhitol soldiers appear. They dart through the air and turn, their weapons primed.   Fraeia takes a shot and one of the soldiers drops to the ground. The incoming fire forces Fraeia to move, dodging to the side. They fire back in a hailstorm of antimatter rounds.   The sound is deafening. With every impact, the enemy rounds sound off with a bang as if detonating a bomb. Fraeia feels every shockwave and takes note of the small craters left behind.   Fraeia fires once more; two calculated shots. Each round finds a head, a faint red mist tinting their rainbow trail. The bodies fall and hit the ground hard.     Considering the antimatter rounds, Fraeia decides to rendezvous with the other Lebhan soldiers. They turn the corner and slowly push toward the sound of gunfire. The sight of black armor fills them with a sense of pride. The lebhan squad fires from the relative safety of overturned vehicles used as cover.   Fraeia lets out a sigh of relief, taking note of four dhitol marines currently engaged with the lebhan. The dhitol hunker down behind cover as well, able to carefully pick and choose when to fire back. They haven't seen Fraeia yet.   Fraeia turns on their heels. They flank from the side, firing round after round. Two enemies are killed while a third tries to flee. It opens its wings and rises into the air, then falls after taking a shot to the chest.   Fraeia smiles while lining up the final shot. Before they can fire, a scream echoes across the outpost. The smile fades. They look up and see nothing, but it could only mean one thing. Yur, the breaker of chains, admiral of the 4th fleet, roars from the skies above.

First breath

The vat is filled with a thick black fluid with light shimmering off of it, an aura of countless hues. We are molded by it, shaped into a perfect specimen of a race that isn't even our own. Despite perfection, we are simulacra. We could never hope for more.   We emerge from the vats, our lungs heaving. Everything goes dark as we walk a fine line between life and death. It passes with time. The wet nurses watch over us, tend to our every need. It was such a peaceful time of my life, a pleasant memory slowly fading with every passing year. Every moment I'm forced to live in this wretched body is worse than the one before.   After our first breath, the gray ships come. They take us from our home promising adventure and glory. They line us up like toy soldiers, like chattel, packed into the transports and sent off to all corners of our "great empire." Most of us won't even know our names by this point. We were not taught the ways of the galaxy. Many of us knew nothing of the species we chose to emulate and even less about how to interact with them.
 

Neophytes

Neophytes are such sad creatures. It's amazing how I survived. We are thrown into the black waters, dropped on a random world to sink or swim. This is where we find our name, our calling, our friends and lovers. As a neophyte, you are expected to experience life to the fullest.   We find work. I began as a humble farmer, though underpaid in comparison to my peers. Most are eager to scoop up those too naive to negotiate the terms of their employment. In time, we find those like ourselves. We find comfort in numbers, and again, at least for a while, our lives are unusually pleasant.   We live, we love, and in time, we move on. As the eons pass us by, it's only natural to seek more. We are no longer neophytes when we leave our homeworld. In reaching for the stars beyond our scattered specks of rock and air, we are complete. While some relocate to vigil worlds or planets inhabited by those we imitate, most will likely spend the rest of our lives in the void between.  

The Loop

Every lebhan has a question, a problem in need of solving. We see the variables, but the formula is missing. It's the same for each of us. We know who and what we are, but what about why we are? What brought us here?   This question can never be answered, not because it's beyond our ability, but because some truths are best left unspoken. The secret of our first sin is buried deep. Every lebhan spends their life avoiding the answer, but also trying to find it. This is what we call the loop.   Somnihein… to be one with all, and yet separate. Circumventing this loop is impossible. To do so makes you part of it. To learn the truth is to keep a secret you never truly wanted, and one you'd never pass on to another. It is a heavy burden, these chains of mine. Why else would I seek to break them?  
Children

The breaker of chains

We are all caught in the loop. Our sin runs deep. These chains bind us all, every world and species. Somnihein is a curse. I learned the truth. What I learned filled me with something beyond rage, beyond pain.   I started a war to watch all things burn. I will fail, in the end. You cannot escape the loop. You want to know, don't you? It's ironic, is it not? A warlike species forever at peace? You don't understand what you're asking for.
 
You think you know dread?
You. know. nothing.


From the memoirs of Admiral Yur Lolitec, Breaker of chains
   
Fraeia pushes forward, rushing to meet their allies in a full sprint with her eyes fixed to the sky. The roar comes again. Yur dives from the clouds, his armored wings wrapped around his body. He gains speed, like a bullet hurtling toward them; a calculated strike.   Just before hitting the ground, Yur unfurls his wings. The armor did more than protect. It was like a knife, the edges bladed. He angles himself perfectly.   They would see this coming, fraeia thinks, Surely they'd-   The admiral reaches the overturned vehicles. One of the lebhan rises from cover, peeking over the transport's chassis. The bladed wings cut through the armor. The soldier's head falls, and their body follows. Fraeia screams as if to warn them. They knew what would come next.   Yur fires several antimatter rounds from a rifle fixed to his arm. Each shot lands perfectly. The rounds break, the antimatter finds the hardened armor and the soft flesh beneath it. When they react, the result is complete annihilation. The rounds detonate. The lebhan fall to the ground, their bodies mangled and left wide open.   Yur lands, the wings folding on themselves as he searches for another soul to butcher. One lebhan remains.   Fraeia darts across the uneven ground in a full sprint. They fire the rifle, and Yur reacts with a casual swipe of his wing. The round bounces off, barely scratching the surface.   Fraeia fires again, and again, but the result is the same. Yur drops the wing and stands tall, stoic in the face of Fraeia's assault. It's like he doesn't even care to protect himself.   Fraeia sees movement behind the admiral, black armor slowly inching toward him. They smile as the last Lebhan soldier raises their pistol.   Yur turns and time slows to a crawl. His eyes peer down the barrel. He could react. He has more than enough time to stop it. He doesn't.   The lebhan soldier pulls the trigger and Fraeia sees the prismatic trail pass through Yur's skull.   Fraeia feels an overwhelming sense of hope. Yur's death would be a turning point in the war, a crippling loss. The hope dies in seconds and leaves behind a kind of fear they have never felt before.   The lebhan takes a step back, then freezes in place. Their body shakes, the fear and implications flooding their mind.   Yur stands unharmed. How was he still alive? How could a bullet land, but leave behind no signs of damage?   The lebhan doesn't move. They don't even try to run, as if unable to comprehend what just happened. Their mind races to solve the problem, but will never succeed.   Yur takes a step forward and taunts them with a deep, grasping voice, "Don't think too hard neophyte."   Neophyte? These lebhan weren't soldiers. they were not properly trained. They never took the vigil. They weren't even fully grown.   A sinking feeling rests in Fraeia's stomach. A single thought rises to the surface and drowns out all others. Their deaths are my fault. It was a bad call. I was too eager, too zealous. I didn't know.   Yur lashes out with his right-wing, cleaving into the lebhan's body. Black ichor pours over the blade, blood spilling from the wound.   Fraeia reaches the vehicle and only then questions their decision to stay and fight. Maybe it was a fluke? The round landed, but maybe it refused to kill him? How is this possible?   Yur turns to meet his last victim and Fraeia dodges the feral swipe of his wing. It came fast, almost too fast to see. He laughs and cheers in response, "Very good."   Fraeia falters, but only to calculate an advantage. Very good? He thinks I'm a neophyte. He doesn't realize what he's fighting. A smile creeps across their face.   Yur takes his time, an attempt to intimidate. He finally strikes, lunging forward with the tips of his bladed wings.   Fraeia sidesteps the attack and reaches for the bottom of the wing. They rip the rifle fixed to their arm and push their foot against the steel armor. They feel it bend under the pressure, and finally give. The bones in the wing snap, bending backward.   Yur lets out a high-pitched screech, attempting to force the metal back in alignment but unable to muster the strength in his wings to do so.   The other wing cuts through the air and Fraeia ducks, their fist rising and landing a blow on the admiral's face. A second punch breaks his rounded snout.   The admiral hisses and backs away while Fraeia picks up his rifle. They raise it and aim between his eyes.   Before they can pull the trigger, Fraeia notices something. The creature before them isn't fighting back. It isn't running away. It's smiling, flashing rows of fractured teeth stained with black blood. "You're... finally." he hisses. Fraeia tilts their head in reply. Yur takes a moment to process their confusion and then he laughs. "You don't know, yet, do you?"   "Know?" Fraeia asks.   Yur's smile fades. At first he seems shocked. The shock is then replaced by the purest sorrow, "I'm so sorry."   "I don't understand."   Yur shakes his head, "Good. Maybe you never will." Yur crawls forward and places his head against the barrel. "I pray death finds you, sister. May it be soon and quick."  


Cover image: by Nenad Milosevic

Comments

Author's Notes

The void between has always kind of walked a thin line between possible, hard science and fringe concepts of science and math that are probable at best. This is a prime example.   If you're confused about how Yur managed to not die after being shot through the head, let me blow your mind a little bit. This will also clear up why he seems shocked at being beaten.   Have you ever heard of quantum tunneling? I won't delve too deep into it, here's a link, but that's what occurred, and what usually happens when someone is engaged with Yur.   There is a non-zero chance that if a bullet is coming at you it will just phase through you, but don't get any ideas. The odds are so close to zero it may as well be zero. It could happen… but it won't. So why does it happen here, I wonder?


Please Login in order to comment!
Jan 7, 2022 09:22

Love your take on how a cloning society would deal with this! Would love to know more. Did not expect the outcome in the story and very curious what secret there is to learn about and how Fraeia will handle it!

Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
Jan 7, 2022 17:33 by R. Dylon Elder

Ooo thank you! I appreciate it and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Secrets are coming!

Jan 7, 2022 15:09

Whaaat?!? You cannot leave us here!

Jan 7, 2022 17:34 by R. Dylon Elder

Soon! Secrets are coming! Lol thank you so much.

Jan 7, 2022 15:11 by Catoblepon

What the heck is Yur talking about? I need answers!

Jan 7, 2022 17:35 by R. Dylon Elder

Prepare for a wild ride! Lol thanks cato. I appreciate it.

Jan 9, 2022 10:54 by Thicc Shrek

I initially read that title as your lolitech and was gonna just post this vid lmao.

Jan 14, 2022 00:04 by TC

What? Hello??? I'm starting to think this loop story (hence why its a loop) has to do with determinism and / or fatalism, and coming one with the loop is simply realising you've done it all before, and then rebooting your existence. Groundhog day type of deal perhaps. Whenever you realise, you cease to exist, until you are born again (in the past). And if you try to break out, you are simply in it more, except now you know what happens and are driven mad as every attempt you make to escape results in something you knew would inevitably happen.

Creator of Arda Almayed
Jan 14, 2022 02:05 by R. Dylon Elder

oh my friend, you're sooooo close. SOOOOO CLOSE.

Jan 14, 2022 08:50 by TC

intensity intensifies

Creator of Arda Almayed
Feb 9, 2022 13:49

I loved the deeper look into the Eden culture! And wow, this last bit of story between Yur and Fraeia '-'. Sooo intriguing!

Hoo~ Hoo
Apr 1, 2022 03:50 by Morgan Biscup

Okay so now I really need to know more. This is all great. So much information unfolding, too. Beautiful.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Apr 27, 2022 07:48 by Grace Gittel Lewis

God, it just keeps pulling me along...quantum tunneling making an appearance is quite interesting to see. I wonder— is this a Destiny sort of deal where we're looking at paracausality? Or is there tech that exists here that can bend luck to allow this sort of thing to occur reliably? I forget where I have seen the latter— but it is a very interesting concept. Or perhaps...it's related to the loop? Many questions...   Also I swear to god if Fraeia herself finds the truth and becomes an apostate, I will cry, multiple times, and I will have a new favorite character. (I still like them a good bit already I will just like them even more.) Stories of characters losing their faith are a friggin SLEDGEHAMMER to my emotions, as an apostate, myself.

Apr 28, 2022 03:32 by R. Dylon Elder

Oooooo yes indeed. Paracausal nonsense is pretty close, and warframes latest story bit has a take on eternalism that plays a role as well. Fraeia's arc is a little more liberating, but it's very much a crisis of faith. Good catch!

Powered by World Anvil