Nico (vilakins) wrote,
Nico
vilakins

Ficlet: Passing of an Individualist

For last week's b7friday spam subject line challenge, 550 words. I chose "pay attention to hlun" and an explanation of how the Liberator managed to hold the line at Star One considering there wasn't one. Note: the strange pronouns are Spivak gender-neutral ones.

Passing of an Individualist

Hlun looked around emself with pleasure. The Andromedan invasion fleet was a stirring sight, each ship as individual as its pilot, but Hlun felt that eir own was one of the best. It had a spherical cage of shining titanium strips in the front, empty of all function but whimsy. Hlun was inordinately proud of it and of the form e emself had taken for the invasion: a delicate left-hand spiral of a splendid pale green translucence.

They were through the deactivated minefield now, but Hlun flexed with surprise. There was a ship there, waiting. There wasn't supposed to be a ship. E extended a pseudopod and called the Pirme Commander on an open frequency. "This is Hlun. There is a ship."

"Take a couple of others and destroy it."

Hlun bounced to the ceiling and back. This was a great honour in a society that prided itself on originality; e would be the first to lead an attack in this galaxy. "Nrak and Mlis, with me."

They approached the ship and spread to surround it like small satellites. Hlun paused to admire it, a pseudopod hovering over the firing button.

"Very nice," said Nrak.

"I like the prongs," said Mlis.

"I suppose they're because humans have a fixed form with four appendages."

"The pulsing green bulb at the rear has great charm," said Nrak.

"It resembles a newborn baby," said Mlis. "I might use that idea."

Hlun hardened eir form and eir resolve. "Enough talking," e said firmly. "We will attack."

"It's huge." Nrak sounded nervous.

"We have sunmakers. Fire."

Hlun watched with amazement as their plasma bolts burst and spread harmlessly over a spherical surface around the ship. "Wha... there's an invisible wall!" It was so unprecedented, Hlun was lost in admiration and joy for a few seconds. The massive ship turned and a lance of light reached out and took Nrak's ship. Hlun fired again, and as uselessly, as the ship swung on Mlis.

"Hlun!" Nlis shouted. "Tell my off--" E and eir ship disappeared in a fiery cloud.

Hlun punched the comms button as e peeled away and the alien weapon just missed eir ship. "Prime! The vessel is shielded against our weapons."

There was a babble of voices. "Just go round it." "Space is big." "That thing can't be everywhere."

"No!" Hlun shouted. "We must--" The ship fired again, and the delicate tracery of cage and half of Hlun's ship disappeared. Hlun just had time to contract into a sphere, the comms unit rapidly withdrawn below its surface

"Split into several groups and confuse it." "Nice lines, I admire the designer." "Is that the front or the back?"

The Prime cut in. "Pay attention to Hlun!"

There was silence.

"Hlun? Hlun?"

"This is Hlun. I float free and I have only a little time before I bubble away. We must not avoid this ship. We must stay and solve the problem of its shield before we meet more like it." Hlun felt eir thoughts grow more diffuse as the sublimation reached the level of eir brain. "All the same. I have done a new thing. Tell..."

"Yes, Hlun." The Prime undulated eir tree-like upper body in sorrow. "Your offspring will know." E straightened. "Fleet, you heard Hlun. We will do as e advised."

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