vulnus – 3.4

Content Warnings

Mention of cannibalism

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Elpida echoed the word, enunciating with great care, swallowing a cough as her heart lurched.

Pira stared back, blue eyes like an electric arc burning across molten skies, face half in shadows cast by the weak illumination from the pair of glow-sticks. She was shaking very slightly with muscle tension. Her face was hard, sweat beading on her forehead, as if waiting for Elpida to charge at her. Cold wind scraped across the roof of the bunker.

Elpida shook her head. “I recognise the word, but it means nothing to me in this context.”

Pira barely breathed: “Are you sure about that, zombie?”

Elpida opened her hands, slowly and carefully. She held them palm-outward, away from her sides. “Pira, do you need me to put my firearm on the floor?”

Vicky coughed. “Whoa, whoa, what? What’s happening? Did I miss a step?”

Kagami snorted, forcing a laugh. “Our saviour suspects that little Miss Commander here is more than she appears.”

Atyle spoke up too: “We are all more than we appear.”

Elpida maintained eye contact with Pira, and repeated: “I can put my firearm on the floor if you need me to.”

Pira said, “Why would you do that?”

“Because I can tell that you’re bracing for me to shoot you, or planning to shoot me first, and I have no idea why. I can put my gun down, or you can take it off me, or—”

Ilyusha surged to her feet.

Throwing off the spare coats, pushing Amina clear with a yelp, slamming red-tipped claws into the concrete floor; teeth bared, hands wide, eyes burning hot-steel grey. Elegant black-and-red bionic limbs glinted darkly in the glow-stick light. Her tail whipped upward, poised for a strike, spike extended, aimed at Pira’s skull.

“Fuck you!” she screamed. “Fuck you!”

Pira flinched — but she didn’t reach for her weapon.

Elpida shouted: “Illy! Illy, no, please! Ilyusha, Illy, don’t!”

The others joined in: Vicky was croaking, “Illy, Illy, it’s okay”; Kagami was huffing and puffing curses, calling Ilyusha a primitive fool, a ‘chem-jacked bitch’, a ‘borged-up retard’; Atyle merely clicked her tongue; Amina, down on the ground at Ilyusha’s feet, wrapped her short pudgy arms around one of Ilyusha’s black-red bionic legs.

Ilyusha just panted through her teeth, daring Pira to go for her gun.

Pira looked at Ilyusha like none of this mattered. “Don’t be stupid. I’m not going to take her weapon and I’m not going to shoot her. What would be the point?”

Ilyusha screwed up her face in disgust. “She’s not a necromancer! Fuck you!”

Pira said nothing. Ilyusha turned away and flung herself back down into the nest of spare coats, sulking into Amina’s shoulder. The younger girl was too shocked and confused to do anything but awkwardly pat Ilyusha’s back.

“Necromancer,” Elpida repeated. “Pira, what does that mean?”

Vicky cleared her throat, then spoke a little too fast, “Yeah, I know that word too. Or I know the meaning, it’s not weird or archaic or anything. We’re all speaking our own languages and the nanomachines are auto-translating, right? I know I’m speaking English, to my own ears—”

Kagami scoffed: “Fucking hell.”

Vicky carried on, “Or we’re speaking some kind of shared polyglot, I dunno, and the nanomachines are fixing it up with some post-processing. Yeah? Right? Okay? But ‘necromancer’, the word makes sense to me. Kaga? Atyle?”

Atyle echoed, “Necromancer. Quite.”

Kagami sighed. “It’s meaningless.”

Pira was still staring at Elpida as if trying to decide between pointless resistance or acceptance of her own death — as if Elpida was the only one carrying a gun. Elpida knew that look all too well; she’d seen it on the faces of Legion soldiers and Covenanter fanatics alike, directed toward her; she’d seen it on the cadre’s early handlers, the project men with their check-lists and protein cubes and taser-prods. She’d seen it on the face of the cadre’s first kill at six years old, when they’d cut his hamstrings and pulled open his clean-room gear and broken his neck and eaten part of his corpse. She didn’t want anybody to look at her like that. She would have preferred if Pira had tried to shoot her.

“Pira,” she said slowly. “Whatever you think I am—”

“You’re not.” Pira took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. The combat-ready tension went out of her shoulders. She closed her eyes and rubbed them with thumb and forefinger. Elpida relaxed too, slowly, with no sudden movements. Pira continued: “You’re not a necromancer. Probably.”

Kagami huffed. “Your paranoia would be a lot more relatable if you would explain yourself. I have plenty of my own questions about our oh-so-brave Commander here and her direct line to the giant fucking worm machine out there, but right now I’m inclined to side with her and the—” Kagami paused. “Ilyusha over there. Elpida got us out of that fucking obscenity where we woke up, and killed the munitions cyborg. We’d be dead without her. You ran off by yourself, bitch.”

Elpida said: “Kagami, thank you. But Pira’s one of us, too. She came back for me.”

Kagami huffed again and flapped her hands. “Whatever.”

Pira looked Elpida up and down, then turned back to the map she’d drawn on the wall.

“‘Necromancer’ is just a word,” she said, low and quiet. “Like ‘zombie’. It’s a shorthand among the revenants, for the civilization that came before all this. For the people who did this.”

Kagami said, “Too much experimenting with nanotechnology and AI? Are we in the aftermath of a grey goo problem? Morons at the end of the tech tree? Explain.”

Pira shrugged. “I don’t know. We’re their waste, their aftermath, their pollution.”

Elpida said: “But you think there’s some of these people left?”

Pira didn’t respond for a long moment. She stared at the map she’d drawn on the wall in black camo paint. She touched one of the triangles labelled ‘tower’.

Kagami snapped: “How do you know any of this?”

Pira turned back to them. The steel had gone out of her face. She seemed exhausted. “People blame all sorts of things on the necromancers. Whenever something weird happens, or a graveworm does something unexpected, or something particularly horrible walks out of the wilds beyond the safe zone — must be a necromancer nearby. Must be a way to explain it.” She shook her head. “Almost never is.”

Kagami pressed: “But how do you even know—”

“Because rarely — very rarely — somebody meets a necromancer for real.”

Elpida said: “Have you met a necromancer?”


“And you think I’m one of them?”

“I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and I’ve met a necromancer once. Once. A very long time ago.” Pira stared at the floor next to Elpida’s feet. “They can disguise themselves to look like us. If you were a necromancer, you wouldn’t have died fighting that zombie. You wouldn’t have died at all. You wouldn’t have needed raw blue to bring you back, and you wouldn’t have needed me to smear it on your pulped heart muscle. You wouldn’t care about me shooting you, because you would have perfect control of the nanomachines in your body — and in ours, too. You could freeze us in place, stop our hearts, turn us into sludge. Whatever you wanted.” She finally looked up at Elpida, her eyes gone flat. “If you were a necromancer, then your body wouldn’t be real, just somebody else’s face and form over a compacted mass of nano-sludge. Whoever they were, they gave up being human long before they ended all biological life.” She let out another sigh. “Or maybe you are a necromancer, and you’ve decided to really commit to the illusion.”

Vicky said, “Hey now, Elpi woke up with the rest of us. We were all in that tomb together. She was right there, you saw her. We all saw her.”

“Did we?” said Pira.

Elpida nodded. “I understand your suspicion. I would think the same in your position. It’s only sensible caution.”

“You spoke to a graveworm. Necromancer or not, I don’t know what you are.”

“I’m a soldier of Telokopolis.”

Pira nodded. “Don’t tell anybody else about speaking to the graveworm. If we take on others, or become part of a larger group, or even just meet one without fighting, don’t tell anybody.” She pointed at Vicky. “She has a point. I saw you in the tomb. You got these people together and you got them out. I don’t know how you did that, but you did. Fine. I don’t care if you are a necromancer, role-playing as a revenant for fun. But nobody else will see it that way. You let on, you’ll get a bullet in the head, and they’ll burn your corpse.”

Silence fell over the bunker room. Elpida took a deep breath and nodded. Vicky muttered, “Fucking hell. Fuck me. Fuck all of this.” Kagami snorted a wordless dismissal, turning away in disgust. Atyle just closed her eyes and straightened her back. Amina and Ilyusha were absorbed in their private refuge. Pira turned away and looked at her map again.

At length, Vicky said: “Are … are the necromancers all women, too?”

Pira turned back. “What?”

“All women. All the revenants, us, earlier. It was all women. Is that true for the necromancers, too?”

Pira said, “I don’t know.”

“Are the revenants all women?”

“As far as I know.”

“But why?”

Pira sighed. “I don’t know.”

Vicky was shaking her head. “So that’s it? That’s Earth now? There’s no human beings left, except us?”

“None would survive the nanomachine atmosphere, anyway.”

Kagami spat: “We’re not human beings! We’re not even our original selves, we’re copies, we’re pollution. We’re pure externality. Didn’t you hear her?” She pointed at Pira. “And you. Are these hypothetical bone-lords extinct, or not? You contradicted yourself, you know that?”

Pira said, “Maybe. Maybe not. The few among the revenants, I think they’re just leftovers. Like us. And maybe they’re all gone by now.”

Elpida said, “But you want to reach the towers, to see if there’s any left?”

Kagami scoffed before Pira could answer: “She already said. A global control system for the nanomachinery. An off-button for this zombie shit-world.” She let out a high-pitched laugh, scratching along the edge of hysteria. “You’re telling me that the last human civilization — no, last post-human civilization, they did what? They killed the biosphere, drowned the fucking planet in nanomachines, gave birth to AI obscenities, and then — died out? They fucked off and left behind their mess?”

“Pretty much,” said Pira.

“Ha!” Kagami barked. Her doll-like face had gone pale. Cold sweat plastered her black hair to her forehead.

Vicky said, “Kaga, hey, cool down.”

Elpida added, “Kagami, look—”

“No,” Kagami snapped, pointing a finger up at Elpida. “You shut up for a second.” She addressed Pira again: “How long has this been going on? This doesn’t even make sense.” She rapped her knuckles against the concrete floor. “This bunker is practically untouched. We saw skyscrapers from the window in the tomb. Skyscrapers, glass and steel, it doesn’t last! This city isn’t two thousand years abandoned, and it’s certainly not thirty thousand years—”

“The necromancers didn’t build the city,” Pira said. Her voice seemed so very tired. “They only built the towers. Maybe the ring. The city was here before them.”

“That makes even less sense!”

Pira said, “The air is full of nanomachines. The soil, the water, all of it.”


“The city regrows.” Pira nodded at the door into the tiny corridor. “Those corpses in the bunk-room, they’re really corpses. The nanomachines regrow them, and a billion others, based on a pattern from a hundred thousand years ago. Or more. I don’t know how long this has been going on.” Pira poked the floor with the toe of her boot. “The concrete, the asphalt, the glass, the brick. All of it. It all regrows, crumbles, rots, and regrows again. If we wait here long enough, those corpses in the bunk-room will eventually stand up. But they wouldn’t be human beings. They wouldn’t even be like us. Just another type of zombie. Stuff rises from the nanomachine soup, but none of it is alive. There is nothing left alive.”

Kagami stared in stunned silence. Vicky swallowed loudly. Amina was crying again, in wide-eyed silence.

Elpida said, “We’re alive.”

Pira held her gaze for a moment. “That’s all I know. Welcome to the end, zombie.”

“I’ve got more questions,” Elpida said.

“Y-yeah,” Vicky stammered. “So do I.”

Pira said, “I’m sure you do, but we’re running out of time. We need protection or firepower before the graveworm starts moving. We need to get that cyclic coilgun, it’s the best bet we have.”

Elpida asked, “How long until the graveworm moves?”

Pira shrugged. “Could be months. Could be hours. Could start in five minutes. The graveworm is still post-partum so I would estimate a few days.” She looked down at Atyle. “You, bionic eye.”

“Atyle,” said Atyle.

“You ready?”

Atyle opened her eyes. Peat-green bionic whirred and spun in one socket. “You and I, mysterious stranger?”

“You and me,” Pira said. “How far away is the scavenger group?”

Atyle cocked her head. “Two hours travel. Perhaps.”

“How many of them?”

“A dozen. Some of them are … beautifully changed. I would have asked for a closer look, but I do not wish to have my eye plucked out.”

Pira said, “You guide me or this doesn’t happen.”

Atyle got to her feet, tall and willowy in her own long black armoured coat. Pira slung her submachine gun and looked Atyle up and down. “You’re not armed.”

Atyle showed her teeth. “Is that not your purpose, warrior?”

“Fine. Let’s go.” Pira met Elpida’s eyes. “You’re not coming.”

Elpida nodded. “I know.”

Pira blinked in surprise.

Vicky croaked, “Wait, what?”

Kagami laughed, a horrible lost sound. “I assumed our hero of the hour would be in high demand.”

Elpida took a deep breath. Her back felt cold where the exit wounds wheezed and sucked. Her heart spasmed in her chest. She coughed. “I doubt I can run while my heart is healing. You’re going to rely on stealth, and I can’t stop coughing. I would be a liability to you. I would be a terrible Commander if I put you two at further risk for the sake of my own vanity. That’s not how we did things in—” Telokopolis? No. “In the cadre.” She held out her hand to Pira, and spoke words from a million years ago: “Good hunting in the green, but do not stay from these doors too long. Hurry home to us, sister. Hurry home soon.”

Elpida’s eyes prickled with heat. Her throat tightened.

Pira stared for a long moment, then clasped Elpida’s hand. Elpida repeated the words for Atyle; the tall dark woman took Elpida’s hand without pause, and gave her a smile too.

“Bar the door behind us,” Pira instructed. “Whoever shot at the worm-guard earlier might still be watching this bunker, if the worm-guard didn’t get them. Anybody knocks, power up the coilgun and shout for them to go away. Don’t pretend you’re not here.”

Vicky asked. “What if the graveworm starts to move?”

“Then we’re all dead. No sense worrying. Get some sleep.”

Elpida accompanied Pira and Atyle up the short flight of concrete steps. The shadows were thicker up by the door. She readied her weapon to cover their exit, though Atyle assured them nobody was around. Elpida whispered “Good luck,” then unbarred the door and opened it just wide enough for the pair to slip out into the red-tinted twilight of frozen black.

Pira loped out across the empty concrete basin, moving with the ease of long practice, covering every angle with the muzzle of her submachine gun. Atyle strode on, head high, uncaring of what she could not see. Elpida cast one last look up at the towering mountain range of the graveworm in the distance. Then she shut the door and sealed herself inside.

By unspoken agreement the others followed Pira’s advice to get some rest; Elpida knew it was more from exhaustion than prudence.

Kagami curled up on her side beneath another spare coat, with a folded sleeve as a pillow, grumbling a bitter curse under her breath. She looked tiny and fragile, facing the wall in sullen silence until her breathing grew slow and soft. Amina and Ilyusha went into the other room together for a few minutes; Elpida heard the sound of water falling from cupped hands, and Ilyusha’s muffled giggle. They returned arm-in-arm and snuggled back into their corner, though Ilyusha took a moment to pat Elpida on the flank. Amina looked distant and shell-shocked.

Vicky gave Elpida an awkward smile.

“Gonna sleep?” Elpida asked softly.

“May as well try,” Vicky croaked. She leaned her head back against the wall and closed her eyes, cradling her reattached arm in her lap. “Can’t really lie down. You?”

“In a minute or two. I’m going to check the other rooms first, make sure we’re secure. Do you want water? I could use one of the empty nano cannisters.”

“Nah. Not thirsty. Thanks, Elpi.”

Elpida went into the tiny corridor, alone. Her body moved automatically, taking her into the little bunk-room so she could stare at the skeletons and mattresses embedded in glistening black goo. The bones did not look like they would stand up any time soon. Then she went into the room at the end of the corridor, with the cistern of water and the open slit-window in the wall.

She stared out of the slit for a while, at the black sky and the rotten teeth of crumbling buildings, trying to feel anything about what Pira had said, about necromancers and zombies and the aftermath of biological life. But nothing came to mind. Rest was a sensible plan. The right plan. Correct.

Raindrops began to fall, speckling the ruins. Fat, heavy drops drummed faintly on the roof of the bunker. The rain looked black and greasy. A gunshot echoed from somewhere far away. A shout carried on the wind. The worm-guard had left no mark on the concrete. Elpida closed the metal shutter over the slit-window.

She drank several mouthfuls of water from her own cupped hands, then looked up at the ceiling, and said: “Graveworm?”

No reply.


When Elpida returned to the main room of the little bunker, the others were asleep. Vicky’s eyes were closed and her breathing was regular, her body dark and muscular against the wall. Kagami was curled up, tight and secure, shoulders small and slender. Ilyusha and Amina were burrowed down together, wrapped in each other’s arms.

Elpida attempted to lie down on the coat where she had lain as a corpse, but getting into a sitting position was difficult enough. Even with pain-blockers flooding her bloodstream, her chest felt like it was made of shattered glass. Her heart kept jerking and jumping. She had to swallow a cough — didn’t want to wake the others. The thermal blanket crinkled beneath her coat every time she moved. Eventually she managed to lie on one side, facing toward Vicky.

The morbid association did not bother her. Neither did sleeping in a room full of people; the cadre had always slept together, right from the start, in a big pile when they were younger, with more space as they got older, sometimes in twos or threes, but always in the same room. Any attempt to separate them was dangerous. Their early handlers had learned that the hard way; the cadre’s own actions had turned it into official policy, though they hadn’t known so at the time. Elpida had not slept alone a single night of her life, not until—

Yesterday? she thought. Yesterday was a million years ago. She’d been last to leave, last out, alone in that spire-cell, yesterday.

A strange pressure squeezed Elpida’s heart. She stared at the toe of Vicky’s boot. Her eyes burned.

“Howl,” she mouthed. “Howl?”

The black rain drummed static on the bunker roof. Elpida’s chest tightened.

Vicky’s lips parted with a click: “Is that a name?”

Elpida blinked moisture out of her eyes. “Pardon?”

“‘Howl’,” Vicky whispered. “You said it earlier, too, when you … came back. And in the tomb, I think. Is that a name?”


Elpida didn’t feel like expanding. Vicky didn’t ask her to. Minutes passed in black static.

Then, Vicky whispered: “I can’t sleep. Pain’s too much. You?”

“I’ve got pain-blocker glands. Genetically engineered,” Elpida whispered back. “But I don’t think I’m going to sleep either.”

“Misery loves company.” Vicky puffed out a little laugh. “What do you normally do when you can’t sleep?”

“Exercise. Sparring. Sex.”

Vicky blinked open her eyes and stared down at Elpida, eyebrows raised. “Wow. Well. Probably can’t do any of those right now. Here we are, denied the chief nourisher in life’s great feast, which is ironic, on account of being undead and all.” She smiled painfully. “You get that one? Shakespeare made it to your future?”


“I’ll take that as no, then.” Vicky frowned. “Elpi, are you okay?”

Elpida sat up on her makeshift bed. “Yesterday I was in a prison cell. A million years ago. But also yesterday.”

Vicky smiled. “I’m kinda in shock too,” she whispered. “How can anybody sleep after all that stuff from Pira? Hey, for the record, I don’t think you’re a necromancer or whatever. Even if you are, I don’t care. You saved us. More than once. Pira’s paranoid. How long do you think she’s been doing this?”

“A long time.” A lump formed in Elpida’s throat. “I’d like to ask her that, when she and Atyle return.”

“Yeah,” Vicky said. “Hey, I expect you’ve slept enough, anyway, right?”

Elpida said: “We both need to heal. Is there anything I can do to help you?”

Vicky shook her head. “It’s just the pain. I’ve slept in much worse places than this. At least there’s a door, and no drafts, no rats or cockroaches, or shit on the floor. I’ve been homeless before, this is practically luxury compared to that.”


“ … yeah? Like, homeless. Nowhere to live. Sleeping rough.”

“Home … less.” Elpida split the word into its component parts. She shook her head. “The concept makes no sense to me. Maybe translation isn’t working.”

Vicky frowned. Elpida was surprised to see a glimmer of sudden hostility in Vicky’s dark face. Vicky murmured: “Oh. Right. No homeless people in your shining city on a hill, huh?”

Elpida shook her head. “Telokopolis is home. And it’s on a plateau, not a hill. Vicky, what’s wrong?”

Vicky lifted her head and sat forward slightly. Her expression took on a hint of suspicion. “Alright, in your Telokopolis, what happens to people who can’t afford their homes anymore?”

“They … find another one?”

“What if they can’t afford anywhere?”

Elpida frowned. “I don’t understand. I’m sorry.”

“Just humour me,” Vicky whispered. “What happens if somebody can’t find a place to live? Poverty. Can’t afford anywhere. What happens?”

Elpida shrugged. “They’d have to go down a floor. Maybe a lot of floors, but there’s always open space in the Skirts. Up-Spire people think the Skirts are slums, but they have the same network access as anybody else. Telokopolis responds to the meanest Skirter the same as any Up-Spire noble. And even Up-Spire there’s public dormitories, canteens, things like that. Nobody can stop the city from making them.” Elpida almost laughed. “Even the Civitas can’t defy Telokopolis itself.”

Vicky frowned. “What do you mean, ‘stop the city from making them’?”

Elpida shrugged again. “Telokopolis provides. Any Skirt dweller can stand by a blank wall and request a room. The city responds to any human.”

Vicky’s frown turned from hostile suspicion to amazement. “Okay. Alright. What if there’s no free space to make a room?”

“Go down a floor.”

Vicky sighed. “And what if there’s no space on any floor? What if somebody else has taken it all?”

Elpida laughed softly. “Telokopolis has space for ten times the current population. That’s what the last surveys said.”

“You survey your own city? Wait, ten times? How big did you say the population is again? Or … was. Sorry.”

“Nine hundred million.”

Vicky bit her tongue, then said: “You had slums and nobles, but infinite replication technology. I don’t get it. And your city grows rooms? When people request them?”

Elpida nodded. “The monochalkum layer can’t be expanded, but the interior of the city is endless as long as it’s fed nanomachines every century or so. Not nanomachines like we’re made of now, I think. Ours were different. But yes, there’s always somewhere to live. The city extrudes new spaces as required. The Builders, their generation, they were … beyond us, the people in my time. They made a miracle. Telokopolis is home, for all humanity.” She sighed softly and recited: “The greatest home-machine ever built by human love and human labour, crystallised into the foundations and returned for eternity, refreshed with each generation of effort, from all, to all, for all.” Elpida pulled a self-conscious smile. “Not my words. That’s just a piece of history every schoolchild learns.” Her turn to frown at Vicky. “‘Homeless’ would be like … like … leaving somebody out on the plateau, or in the green.” She uttered a tiny, bitter laugh. “Even the Covenanters wouldn’t do that. In your time, people were left out in the green?”

Vicky smiled back, though still a little suspicious. “Yeah. You could say that.”

Elpida shook her head. “Telokopolis is for all. For you too.”

But not for us, she thought. Not for me, or Howl, or Silla, or Metris, or all the others. Telokopolis was not for Elpida. She had been cast out, into death.

Vicky was laughing softly. “Thanks, super-soldier girl. Sounds like you had a good time. Sparring and sex, hey? You … Elpi?”

Elpida couldn’t see clearly. Her vision was blurred. “My cadre. my clade-sisters. My— Howl. Howl. You asked who— Howl was my second. Howl was my … ”

Elpida felt tears running down her cheeks.

The dam broke.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Necromancers and revenants and zombies, giant worms and unspeakable monsters and self-regrowing cities, and … wait, was this science fiction, or fantasy? Well, whichever it is, I dearly hope you are enjoying reading it as much as I am writing it, because I am loving this story and where it’s going. I have such sights to show you! Oh, poor Elpida. She’s rather tightly wound, shall we say.

If you want more Necroepilogos right away, there is a tier for it on my patreon:


Right now this only offers a single chapter ahead, about 4.5k words.  Please, do feel free to wait until there’s plenty more to read! I’m still trying to somehow put out more chapters ahead, maybe soon!

There’s also a TopWebFiction entry, for voting. Voting makes the story go up the rankings, which helps more people see it!

Thank you so much for reading my little story. More soon. Lots more.

9 thoughts on “vulnus – 3.4

  1. Aw, that’s sweet to learn, about Telokopolis.

    I am *slightly* worried that Elpi has not considered that a) in a million years, humanity could *definitely* increase in population by a factor
    And b) what exactly the Covenanters got up to with her city after her death. Maybe she’s not one of the Necromancers, but… That doesn’t mean they’re not her people…


    • There’s a lot about Telokopolis that we don’t know yet! Elpida has shared some basics, but Vicky is right to be curious, and a little confused.

      Indeed, Elpida’s views of the future of her society are somewhat … simple? Uninformed? She knows things, but she perhaps hasn’t fully considered their implications. She might be more connected to the ‘necromancers’ than she thinks, indeed.


  2. Poor Elpida, lost her Cadre and still can’t shake the programming.
    So many possible ships. Will this be Poly, Poly with a few Monogamy ships like Katalepsis, or full on Monogamy with many ships?
    Thank you for the chapter.


    • The ideals of her culture are pretty deeply rooted in her, indeed. Or perhaps she has a rather unique perspective on it? Hard to tell without other examples of people from Telokopolis.

      Many ships! Haha! Oh, good question about relationships. Elpida herself, well, it seems like she came from a sub-sub-sub-culture which was basically just a polycule. Could she ever be that with somebody who wasn’t one of her clade-sisters? Maybe, maybe not. A lot of the other characters probably came from cultures where monogamy is the norm, but there’s no telling what kind of relationships develop here, in this strange dead world.

      And you are very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it!


  3. Science fiction or fantasy? Who said it couldn’t be both. Anyway, the “get better weapons to survive” keeps getting paired in my mind with the tease of Elpida being a mech pilot, and I keep desperately hoping it doesn’t stay a tease. Anyway, definitely loving the story, and thanks for the chapter!


    • Yes, haha, why not both?! Sufficiently advanced technology, etc etc.

      Get better weapons, and what better weapon than a giant mech? That thing did fall from the sky, seems like she’ll want to go check it out sooner or later! If only they can get moving before the worm does.

      And you are very welcome for the chapter! Glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading!


    • Oooh, that’s really good, thank you! I’ve had a few readers suggest theme songs or mood pieces for Katalepsis. I should put together a playlist or something!


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