Prologue: How Vysen became a Dimension Walker
“My name is Claude Vysen, son of Dr. Michel Vysen. Yes the same Dr. Vysen who was head doctor on the team that studied the first contact with the alien race known as the Quall N’drone.
I grew up in my father’s lab, his work so focused on the red skinned creature that they had discovered inside some alien form of stasis pod that he often forgot to make us dinner. I learned early on that the vending machine in the hall could be hacked and used it to keep both our bellies full of syntha-cheesy-mac.
My father’s lab was located in the Alpha Dome, on the planet Mars. It was a beautiful place, with millions of Earthers like my father and I working on the cutting edge of science.
My father was so proud when they revived the creature, the Dagros Hivelord.
He stood nearly ten feet tall, if you measured to the six horns on the top of his head. He was massive enough to seem giant to a child like me, but he did tower over even the largest Human on the science team. His skin was
He was a criminal among his people, but we didn’t know that then. We also didn’t know that using Him or Her was not actually scientifically appropriate. Or that the alien was using an advanced knowledge of interdimensional energies to translate his language to ours and ours to his.
He brought my father’s entire team, and their families to a different dimension that he called Kyr’pos. When my father’s military attache asked Dagros where we were, the alien , towering over us, told us as he waved at the sky and obsidian continent as the Land of the Quall N’drone.
Into an expansive city, Dagros HiveLord led us, and my father’s advisors ooed and ahhed. They didn’t realize quite how replaceable they were, how expendable every single person on that expedition was to the funders for my father’s lab. I didn’t know the dark secrets of the Iron Republic then, just that their red plastic credits paid my father and his workers and their workers. I didn’t then know about the waivers my father and those workers had signed, giving up their lives and any legal right to them.
In exchange, overnight my father had gone from a brilliant but unsung scientist making a modest wage at the Alpha Dome University of Science and technology. Changing from Banking Guild currency to Iron Republic Credits had turned my father into a Millionaire overnight. As long as he was buying from an I.R. Store he could buy ten times as much as other stores. It was great…at first.
Then the other businesses in the Alpha Dome failed, and closed down, and the only stuff available was from the company store. When it was revealed that the I.R. stores had kept costs down by using veritable slave labor in the form of cloned Brethren, no one was left alive who could care on Mars.
And Old Earth was busy with its own problems.
And now my father’s money meant less and less, making him work longer hours to earn more and more.
I guess it was inevitable that he would sign on for double pay overtime even if the waivers allowed him to potentially die on the job. And worse for his workers and his family…
The military attache was unimpressed with the Obsidian City of the Quall. The part he noticed was their seeming lack of high tech weaponry. He commented enough about it, that even I took that fact in. I pointed out their obsidian blades, and a few ceremonial claymore-esc swords made of a then unknown metal (zela) being carried by some of the seemingly higher ranked members of the horde of red flesh that moved through the city as we traversed it.
So much I have learned over the years…”
The old man had a long curling beard, and bright red robes. As he spoke, he began to nod off.
Sitting across from him was his bodyguard and scribe, Lainey Hayden. Lainey was a proud member of the Cult of the Horned Dog, a servant of the Great Quall Queens. He put their needs before his own, and had done so successfully and for long enough to be given a fairly cushy job.
He was assigned to keep one of the older human Dimension Walkers company, and make sure he didn’t go anywhere without High Queen Quoa knowing. These times with Dimension Walker Vysen had been deeply enlightening. Vysen had never taken on the blessing of becoming host to a Quall larva as Lainey Hayden had. Lainey had gained the first sense of true acceptance and love he had ever experienced when he joined with the Hive.
Queen Quoa had the brave Lainey only in the roles of protection. Through the Hivemind of Quoa’s hive he had witnessed and experienced through the eyes and minds of all of Quoa’s Quall across this timeline.
The only time their everpresent connection was disrupted was deep in the mountains of the planet Refuge, where their Quall agents were trying, and often failing to hunt Neliff. But everywhere else their connection was strong, vibrant and all connecting.
At the prodding of the Queen he asked, “Honored Dimension Walker, you were saying…about the beginning of the treaty between the Iron Republic and the Quall?”
Vysen snorted a few times, then spat and then blinked a few times, “Ahh yes, I understand now, yes, story…the story…of the beginning. It is all a lie, the treaty the beginnings.
Dagros HiveLord had tricked us down to the deepest darkest depths of the original continent that long ago dominated where now Obsidian isles only remain. In that deep thermal vent lived the Progenitor Queen, and her Council of Daughters. Each of the daughters was a Queen in her own right and controller of a single hive. But the Progenitor Queen could see all seen by all her daughters’ children and gleaned by any who was host to a Quall Larvae.
In those heady days, Dagros knew what he was returning with. He was returning with a slave race in the form of the Earthers and their Brethren clones. Any army of slaves, with its own army of slaves!”
To Lainey, it seemed immaterial now. It was the heady year of 2220 A.R. on his birth planet of Refuge, and the Iron Republic had owned the stars for over two thousand years. What happened in the past, was important but not able to be changed…
The old Dimension Walker continued, “My father, the scientists, they all knew key information about Earth, about Human technology, biology and other important sciences. They were payment, hosts to the larval young of the Queens of the Progenitor. Each of the sciences was split between the Progenitor Queen’s own Daughters so that only she would know all, and they would have only one element to call upon, unless they chose to share.
And few of her daughters saw the value in sharing, much to the Progenitor queen’s chagrin I assume.
At the time I was too young for the Quall to consider a worthy host, and was refused implantation by Hive Queen Quoa. But I watched my father held by a Quall Warrior as he screamed and yelled like a frightened animal. I was surprised when Queen Quoa seemed confused, citing some desire for willingness among the hosts of her children.
Then the Military Attache offered her pages from the contracts all the scientists had signed showing they had unwittingly offered themselves up as hosts on one of the latter pages of the 300 page contract they had to sign to work at the lab.
This assuaged the queen long enough for her to implant my father. Some of the other Quall Queens sought consent, others did not. There were many who simply grabbed the tiny human in their big hands and forced their horn into its head with enough force to make it a truly gruesome activity.
They were the first hosts the Iron Republic paid to the Quall, and they would not be the last.
And it bought Dagros the eventual rank of Fleetmaster of the Iron Republic Fleet, and joined the fates of the I.R. with the Quall N’drone.
But this event was while the Government of Old Earth still ruled…while so called civility still remained. How much does that sicken you?”
Lainey knew enough about Vysen to know the old man was being rhetorical.
“I did laugh when the old Progenitor Queen went up in the destructive energy of a swarm of planet killer missiles,” the Dimension Walker said with glee he probably should not express.
Lainey said, “Shush don’t say that. Its wrong.”
“She was the one who had it all, all the knowledge.
Now the connection where the Progenitor Queen was is a desolate landscape known as the Temple of the Rogue Hivequeens. A place from which little larval hosts like you, Lainey, never survive going to…do you know why?
The Queen was host to something, my bodyguard. Something that has grown angry and vengeful over the aeons and aeons trapped in your hivemind network.
The Progenitor Queen had been a common enough type of local organism in the Kyr’pos food chain. But over the aeons her species had evolved into a fascinating role of being able to parasitically use other species to breed their young. But the Progenitor Queen was the first to make the Quall the threat that makes all species today cower in fear…
She had achieved ascencion through deep thought and meditation. In a single reality with countless dimensions and endless variety of life, she had found peace. She reached out to other timelines and joined with herself on those timelines through meditation."