Monday, July 31, 2017

Microstory 636: Capture the Wandering Bellcone

About thirteen years ago, a previously unseen animal appeared on a random planet called Iusel. A ship of soldiers of fortune touched down to hunt for any useful resources, of which they found little. As they were in the middle of loading the cargo hold with the few things they found, a small animal crawled up the ramp as if it belonged there. It found a spot it desired against the bulkhead, and just sat there, waiting for the humans to take off. When they reopened the doors on the Hiereune dock, the animal walked right back out, apparently having reached its destination. It has been wandering the galaxy ever since, stopping only to casually look for food, explore, or transfer vessels. It has become a bit of a staple of the Fostean galaxy, never causing any problems. A survey ship later traveled to its world of origin, and found no evidence than any other animal of its kind ever existed. They did, however, discover a secret laboratory built into the side of a canyon. Not much of the original research was there, but they did find some information. The unnamed scientist based out of there genetically engineered the creature not long before it was found. She designed it as a gift to an also unnamed individual, the identity of which does not go beyond the fact that he is an Earthan. People of Earth often assign themselves, or each other, what they call spirit animals, a practice our ancestors on the old worlds sometimes enjoyed as well. Apparently this Earthan boy was assigned a mythical animal that was a cross between a bovine called a bull, and a lagomorph called a coney. For the last decade, no one thought much of this.
The creature grew up, and became much larger, but continued to remain pleasant and innocuous, unless threatened. A few people periodically attempted to trap or lure it, for various ends, but were always unsuccessful. It never let itself be in a situation where it couldn’t hop away, or rampage through a barrier. It was only recently when a Lightseer noticed that this must be the Bellcone of the taikon, even though it wouldn’t have existed at the time the Book was written. This was unverifiable, but linguistically possible, and eventually, the idea caught on. Since that time, there have been more attempts to capture the Bellcone, though not by true Lightseers, who all know that the fulfillment of any one taikon cannot happen until the completion of its predecessor. For every one of these hunting parties, however, there is a separate party in a position to protect and assist the Bellcone, and let it travel to its next world. However, following the ascension of the resurrected Sotiren Zahir as First Judge, the capture of the Bellcone was unavoidable. Presumably sensing this danger, the Bellcone instinctively changed tactics. It happened to be on Protanr at the time, and there it remained, never getting on any ship where it could be cornered. As it turned out, it’s one of the fastest, strongest, and most durable animals recorded. It always exerted very little energy evading capture during other attempts, but now it wasn’t taking any chances with these taikon attempts. Dozens of people were injured, though none was killed, like it knew that it didn’t want to cross that line. They would have used technology to accomplish their goals, but the Book of Light specifically demands that the Bellcone be captured by hand. The physically strongest Lightseers were brought in from all corners of the galaxy, and after hours of chasing and fighting, the Bellcone was pinned down. It submitted and allowed itself to be placed in a cage. The primary driving force in this feat would go on to be even more important.

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