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A story featuring the Ekerl, and many other as-of-yet nonexistent species. By Eo.

Chapter 1: CityEdit

A ship flitted out from hyperdrive travel, around a small green world known to the galaxy of Rignath as Badas. It was scanned by a set of satellites, used to prevent unauthorised access to the world below. After a few second's wait, the ship was allowed to pass, as a series of green lights lit up the hull. It sent a transmission of thanks, before approaching the spaceport far below.

The ship, stocky and ungraceful in the atmosphere, zigzagged its speed off in the approach. As it came down to the ground, a set of wheels extended from protrusions in the hull, the air causing a sharp whush as it flooded back into the previously-sealed vacuum. With a few backwards bursts of the atmospheric engines, it was finally at landing speed, and it bounced slightly as it connected with its first piece of ground for entire parsecs.

The name of the ship, written in Denser Rignath Standard- the TSS Brimming- became clear as it slowed to a halt. Once it had stopped, a platform extended from the side of the ship, and a creature in a clear-masked compression suit left, followed by some other passengers that had hitched a lift. The stocky-limbed Lian walked up to one of the guards, showed him his permission papers in person, and tipped his hat as he continued into the Badasian city of New Generation.

The tall towers of the city were interconnected with long cables, covered in foliage. A Doer, a member of a recently arriving and highly-advanced species, told a few jokes to an Alp, a robotic species, who was showing his amusement at the jokes with a series of static clicks, before commenting on possible improvements to its use of the local language. The vibrant cityscape was full of life, powered by wind turbines and a geothermal generator at its core.

The Lian found his wanted building, and entered it.

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"Oh, I can pay all of this building's bills and expenses for a year with a snap of my claws," the Lian said. "Mrs. Sath, this is a golden oppurtunity, and it would be a true shame if you were to miss it."

"Look," the manager of Badasian relations tried to explain, "I'm not allowed to approve or disapprove of your request. I know you and your sport are considered highly esteemed amongst your kind, Mr. Kael, but the Ekerl completely disagree with sport-hunting, and this is their planet."

"Oh, I bet I can persuade them," Sebecil Kael responded. "I have had barriers to my hunts on many planets, and I always hunt something before I leave, be it my own size or an apex predator of the ecosystem."

There was a silence, before the alien across the desk sighed, shuffling in the chair slightly. "I'll see if the chief of the local tribe is available," she said reluctantly. "If he is, you can have a private conversation about the matter here."

Sebecil grinned. Such primitive cultures such as these were easily swayed by simple stories, or simple tricks. It would be a walk in the park.

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"Simple-simple-simple stories and tricks will not-not-not-not sway me or my beliefs, Mr. Kael," the chieftan of the tribe stated. "There are no problem animals anywhere-anywhere near here. You only come here to hunt-hunt-hunt without any-any-any good reason, apart from that it makes you feel special-special-special. You are too immature to cope with being wrong, or to keep your treasures in your core. No, you must-must have them, and you care too little for others to accept that your opinions are outnumbered."

"You ignorant vegetable!!!" Kael roared, furious at the Ekerl with the unpronouncable name, and how it was so frustratingly calm and stubborn. "You'll see. I'll have my hunt, good sir, whether I have to go around the entire planet to get it!" And with that, he stormed out of the room, the force of opening the door driving the doorstop into the floorboards.

Arkletpoknitorft gently pulled the doorstop from the broken floorboards, and picked up the larger bits of boarding as well, before carefully putting them on the side and writing a note in his own language, the little lines and swirls overlapping to create the sentence:

Mrs. Kael, I thank you for bringing this unruly creature to our attention. I would appreciate it if you sent one of your drones to keep watch on him.

He had no idea how a drone worked, but he knew they were merely an advanced tool, like the metal-tipped spear that was holstered in a belt on his waist. And he didn't need to understand how they worked if he trusted their users.

And the Ekerl left the room, leaving it silent and empty.

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Sebecil Kael walked towards the generators at the core of the city, showing the guards a good bit of cash and his name to get him through.

After all, every city had a dark side, and the Underscape of New Generation City could be moved with threats or rewards. And a little robotic drone followed him all the way down to it.

Chapter 2: SewerEdit

The drone followed the Lian, its little robotic mind figuring out the best paths for the optimum mix of being hidden and staying in reach of Kael. It tracked him as far as it could, past the labyrinth of the Upper Underscape, that had been scoured out by muscle and sweat. It followed Kael down to the border of the Lower Underscape, but fell short as it realised an electromagnetic field prevented it from going further. It was not designed to cope with high levels of magnetism, and so it left, and reported back to base.

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"Ahh, I see you have kept your word so far," the shaggy-furred Stek murmured as Sebecil entered, before nodding in satisfaction as a briefcase full of money was brought before him and passed over. "This will... do," the three-armed creature said as it took it, thinking of what he could do with this.

It was nothing to Kael as he passed it over. "Well, I keep my word, because I get what I want when others know they won't be backstabbed," he explained.

The fellow alien nodded. "Let's talk business," he said. "I am known around here as the Serpent. Your reputation precedes you, Mr. Kael, and I am sure I can obtain whatever it is you want.

"I think you know what I want, Mr. Serpent," the other creature responded.

"There are many things that may or may not have passed your mind." Serpent frowned. "But if you are here because you think we can give you a hunt, you are mistaken." He watched as Kael's previously neutral expression darkened. "We are thieves, robbers and assassins, you understand. Our lives come above everything else, and the arrangement you wish to make violates our first rule. We cannot simply pack our bags and leave the planet if the situation becomes... sour." Just as Sebecil's fury was about to be unleashed, he interrupted, "We can, however, obtain material goods for you, that will stop the Ekerl in their tracks."

Sebecil thought about this for a moment, his anger fading. "This seems like a suitable arrangement. Tell me more..."

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A guard of the Badasian Biochemical Defenses Corporation, or BBDC, was stationed at his post. He'd been ditched by the other guard, who he didn't really like, mainly because said other guard never stayed longer than he was officially supposed to.

And now, between shifts, he was alone. In the dark. At night.

He was too busy thinking to notice he was about to explode, as the grenade rolled up to his shoe.

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The sudden chaos from the explosion was the chance the thieves had been looking for. They silently invaded the research centre, shooting anyone who saw them. A job like this was worth the cash they'd be getting.

With one shot, the Serpent killed a scientist, and opened the case behind him with another.

And his third arm retrieved the contents of the safe: 'Synthesised phytotherian fear pheromones', and 'Sonic phytothere disruptor', and 'Anti-phytothere local gravity distorter'.

The last one had not worked in the tests. The animal test subjects had died a painful death by falling to the floor, their woody bones breaking under the stress.

Oh, to see it work on an Ekerl would be to die for.

However, dying for it would break the main law of the Thieves.

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