Relic Knights: Calamity Comes, Chapter 1
We have always loved telling stories with our games. Inevitably, we write reams of fiction about our worlds and then have to pare them down to fit into the actual product. Relic Knights is no different. When we decided to do Relic Knights: 2nd Edition we knew we would need to revisit our opening story to the Darkspace Calamity. But we didn't want to just reprint the same story from the 1st Edition book. So we decided to write the story from a different perspective, focusing on different characters and the story as it unfolds around them.
Eventually, that story grew so large that even it split. One viewpoint of the story, that of the maleaach, went into the Digest Rulebook. Another viewpoint focusing primarily on the Doctrine went into the full-size rulebook. And we explored Malya's story and further events in the first Relic Knights novel, which will be releasing alongside 2nd Edition. But we don't want to lose the story told in the 1st Edition rulebook. It provides unique viewpoints not explored in the others.
While you by no means need to read every story to know what is going on in The Last Galaxy, we wanted to make sure everyone who wants to read the "complete" saga can do so without needing to resort to hunting down a 1st Edition copy of the rules. So we will be releasing the complete storyline fiction from the 1st Edition book in a series of web articles, providing new players with their first glimpse of The Last Galaxy, and refresh veterans' memories of the battles that were and of those that are still to come.
Tranquil Wind, United Stars Passenger Liner
Malya leaned against the window, idly playing with her sky-blue hair, motes of esper energy danced off her fingertips, highlighting the tips with vibrant green. She watched the stars slide past as the starliner slipped through space. They reminded her of the streaming lights when racing at night. The thought made her smile. She already missed Cerci, missed the bright lights, the smell of exhaust and the roar of engines, the checkered flag.
Leaning against her side, her rabbit-like cypher, Mr. Tomn intently watched the vid-screens lining the walls of the starliner’s cabin. The small creature’s long ears were held high, slowly rotating between the screens like satellite dishes acquiring a signal. Mayla had little doubt he was watching all of them simultaneously. Her suspicions were confirmed as he shifted between laughter, concern, and sadness with the flow of each program.
His attention seemed to move most often to the screens with the news broadcasts, the rotation of his ears momentarily pausing as the newscasters droned on about the Darkspace Calamity: how astronomers continued their futile attempt to locate another galaxy anywhere in the universe; how the Doctrine’s codifiers could not find even lingering esper energies that once bound them to existence; that corsair and Noh raids were increasing; panic and chaos was sweeping across the stars; all under the dramatic lead—The Last Galaxy. Malya thought the title somewhat theatrical. Did the end of the universe really need a catchy headline?
Theatrical or not, she knew that the crisis was real. She imagined this trip was another of Mr. Tomn’s cryptic ways of revealing more of the Calamity’s purpose to her. At least she hoped it was. Her thoughts drifted back to the streaking stars; she was missing the Stalk Prix for this little jaunt. She loved racing through the ancient moving forest, its moon-eyed inhabitants watching the speeding racers from the branches above.
“Hey, head outta the clouds,” Betty, her pit chief, hissed from the seat behind her, “something’s up. Look at the suits up there.” Malya looked where Betty motioned. The stewards were talking hurriedly, in hushed tones, their faces worried.
Mr. Tomn broke from his viewing to see where the two were looking. His eyes turned green and distant. “Pirates,” he said matter of factly as the green glow faded. “Be ready.” In a burst of blinding light, and a faint scent of lavender, Malya’s relic, Sedaris, appeared in the aisle. The pink and white construct, part racing bike, part humanoid mecha, shoved seats and their startled inhabitants to the side to make room for its bulk.
“Oh fer the love of wrenches,” Betty swore to her own personal deity. “I had stored that proper for the journey and you’re already scratching it up, furball.” The other passengers in the cabin gasped and scrambled back from the gleaming relic. One of the stewards turned from her anxious conversation, running forward to try to calm the passengers. She was thrown from her feet as the starliner lurched to one side with the booming clap of an explosion. In rapid staccato, more explosions rocked the ship. With a shudder, the ship’s slip-engine ground to a halt. The stars slowed to a crawl as the starliner began to drift in real space.
Malya shot a quick glance out the viewing ports as she mounted Sedaris. She could make out at least three corsair cruisers, each flying their own colors beneath a unified crest—the unmistakable heraldry of Calico Kate. Malya swore under her breath. Like her, Kate was a Relic Knight. She was also widely considered the most dangerous and successful corsair in space. This was going to get ugly.
Malya looked to Betty, “Get Lug and the rest of the crew. Start moving everyone to the oxygen arboretum. Kate’s not after trees and she won't jeopardize her crew by blowing the oxygen. They’ll be safe there. Once you secure everyone you can, join me on the bridge. I’m going to go get Rin.”
Betty nodded her agreement, then gave Malya a stern look. “Hey princess, be careful.”
Malya grinned, “Aren’t I always?”
“You!” Cordelia looked around, finding the woman yelling at her, then pointed at herself questioningly. “Yes, yes you, maid, what are you doing just sitting there?” The woman let out an exasperated sigh as she reseated the infant in her arms to her hip. “Can’t you see I need help here?” she continued. Three more children played around her, their neon markers leaving the confines of the paper laid out for them and crawling up the upholstery of the starliner’s seats. The woman’s face pinched in irritation.
Cordelia sighed, “I don’t work here.” She gestured at her seat. “I’m a passenger, just like you.” Her eyes flashed red. “Well, not like you. I wouldn’t let my children destroy private property. I also don’t assume every chee I see is a dumb servant-bot at my beck and call.” The woman snapped her mouth shut in shock, her teeth clicking. Cordelia rolled her eyes as a compartment in her thigh opened with a hydraulic hiss and a snub-nosed dragonfly pistol popped out. Cordelia grabbed the four-barreled pistol and casually pointed it at the children. “Listen up kiddies: markers belong on the paper, not on the seats.” Wide-eyed, the children quickly pulled their markers back to their sheets. “There you go. Now pipe down. This nanny’s had a long day and needs a nap.”
Cordelia leaned back in her seat, trying to imagine what the cushions actually felt like. The Awakening had granted sentience to any robot with a robust enough neural network and access to the Chee Interspace Network. Unfortunately, it hadn’t granted them the many senses most species enjoyed. Cordelia liked to imagine that she could taste things, but really she could only distinguish between hot, cold, and every known poison that might be used to harm the Forum official she worked for or his family. Touch was similarly alien to her. She knew when her metal composite skin contacted something, but she didn’t truly know what it felt like. Cordelia allowed her mind to drift off, isolating itself from the constant data murmur of the chee network. It was the closest she could get to sleep.
“Hey!” She was roughly shaken awake what seemed like moments later. “What do you think you’re doing?” A blond, short-haired woman with an enormous wrench in her opposite hand shook her again. Cordelia noticed a Team Ulyxis patch on the woman’s coveralls and her mind subconsciously dove into the chee network. Profile pictures, biographies, and vital information quickly surfaced, revealing the woman’s identity: Betty Jones, Pit Chief of Team Ulyxis; Racer Princess Malya, known acquaintance—“Knock it off!” the woman roared, bodily hauling the chee to her feet, “This is no time to surf for nudie shots—corsairs are boarding the liner. You’ve got to get to safety.”
Cordelia started. “Pirates!?” Betty gave the chee maid a withering look. Cordelia held up her hands, “No, no, I can help!” Cordelia reached to her back, pressing a button that released a short cylindrical object into her hand. She held it forward, showing it to Betty, smiling proudly.
The Pit Chief looked ready to explode, “This is no time for vacuuming!”
Shocked at the response, Cordelia waved her hands in the air, “No, look!” She pressed a button. The cylinder began to lengthen until it had grown into a barrel longer than that she was tall. The smaller nubs and dials along its length similarly expanded, turning into firing mechanisms, scopes, and reaction chambers, until finally a grip and trigger appeared. Cordelia flourished the gargantuan rifle, her face beaming with obvious pride. “See! I told you I could help.”
Betty shook her head in wonderment. “Well, come on then.”
Relic Knights is returning with a brand new edition!
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