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Cloak & Nanomachines by foxgamer01 (critique requested)

Cloak & Nanomachines

"Beep beep. Beep beep." Alarmed a computer terminal. A large Sune would stir at the annoying noise, roll over, and let out a drawn-out and deep yawn to climb out of his cot. Caleb would leap out and land on all fours before readjusting his right metal eyepatch, grumbling in annoyance at his interrupted sleep. He groomed his head fur, pale brown like most of his body, before stepping up to the desk. His large, orange belly bumped against the edge as he accepted the call.

“Captain Caleb, sir!” the other Sune said on the other end, saluting with his paw faced inward, a scar on his muzzle.

Caleb saluted back and signed off, rubbing his larger than usual belly off-camera. The other Sune lowered his salute. “Anything to report? And it better be important. You remember the last time this happened, correct, Notin?”

Notin gulped and answered, “We intercepted and recorded an unencrypted relay from the Kosoku system to the capitol, sir.”

“The Kosoku system,” Caleb said to himself. The system was one of several independent Sune worlds that were not officially affiliated with the Inner Systems or Delta. Not only that, but the Kosoku system is well known for its scientific and technological secrets. He rubbed his thumb and finger under his chin before he ordered, “Play the recording.”

Notin nodded, and half a second later, a video played on the screen instead. A six-tailed Sune, with blue and orange fur and a white lab coat, sat while a holographic screen displayed next to him. The Sune nodded and turned to the screen.

“My name is Shin,” the Sune said to the camera. “This message is regarding the recent breakthrough in nanomolecular science and nanomachine technology. Although these new nanomachines are still in their prototype phase, we are hopeful that this will bring us closer to understanding the UMC1 phenomenon, the Unusual Molecular Culture sample.

“Our nanomachines,” he pointed at the holographic screen as it displayed an image of a four-tailed Sune, which looks somewhat overweight, “are designed to control and alter the body’s metabolism rate. So while in the classical meaning it could cause the body to burn off fat, it’s more accurate to say that it’s about how much the body stores and uses energy throughout the day.”

The holographic Sune, as he said that, took an injection of the hypothetical nanomachines through the neck. Within seconds the excess fat disappeared and was replaced with thicker muscles throughout the legs and neck. The Sune hopped from obstacle to obstacle, as fit as an energetic, youthful two-tails.

Caleb pressed on his belly as Shin continued, “Through the use of these nanomachines, we could make our bodies optimize energy storage even on a poor or sparse diet. But, conversely, it could potentially be adapted as a weapon against enemies by releasing the nanomachines into the atmosphere of a target and sapping their energy and morale over time.”

As those words are spoken, Shin changes the hologram to a series of alien species with a spaceship hovering all over them. Seconds afterward, the aliens seemed to falter, with slimmer muscles as if they had not eaten in days. Then, the Sune from the earlier holographic presentation appeared and, with no effort at all, managed to blast them away with a large double-barreled weapon, a Sune Pulse Laser.

“With such potential in both health and warfare, we believe that these nanomachines would be of great benefit to our species. However, we require additional research and resources to perfect the new nanomachine culture. Thus we requested additional funding from our Sector Authority. Unfortunately, our request was declined, so we turned to you for funding and support. If you approve of our request for additional funding, we at the space station, Ayeka, will be proud to work with you. Shin, Director of Nanomolecular Sciences, signing off.”

Caleb pressed his right paw against his chest and bowed slightly, ending the video. A second later, Notin reappeared on the screen and saluted Caleb. He returned the favor, flicked an ear, and fiddled with one of his two forelimbs bracers, activating the technology around his arm.

“That is an interesting video you intercepted, Notin,” Caleb said, and Notin nodded and sweated some more. “Care to give me your opinion on it?”

“Sir, the other Crewman and I who had watched and recorded this video couldn’t help but notice how much business could be gained from hijacking the nanomachine cultures,” Notin answered, and Caleb nodded. “If we raid the space station where the prototypes are being held, we could set up a profitable black market to sell to the highest bidder at the very least. Not to mention having total control over a valuable resource and technology. And, even if that doesn’t work out, we could always ransom the technology back to Delta, the core government. After all, with Kosuku being an independent world, there is no official security guarantee or treaty in place to stop us. Such is the nature of shady techno-corp worlds, Sir.”

Caleb nodded while rubbing his large belly, shifting his single red eye and considering trying out the nanomachines on himself if they worked as advertised. Ever since his crew obtained this new chow, developed from some kind of weird non-space faring species, his belly was getting too large to even sleep on the bed very well. Not to mention how the Luarii Sune crewmembers were getting bolder and more amused at pointing that fact out.

Caleb nodded, “I agree with your assessment, Notin. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.” Notin sighed, but Caleb continued, “But if we are to get the nanomachine cultures, we need to act now. If Delta agrees to support the project, then we’ll be involving ourselves with core Federal interests.”

Notin nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“Notin,” Caleb said, and Notin saluted once more. “Set up a course for Kosoku system. Once done, alert the entire ship that we’ll be hopping into subspace and prepare the crew for action.”

“Yes, sir!”

“Dismiss,” Caleb said, and the call ended.

Caleb rubbed his face, feeling a headache forcing through his eyes. Finally, he stopped leaning over the desk and stepped to the water dispenser. He took a steel cup and drank, the headache fading, only to be replaced with sleepiness. He shook his head and, after stepping back onto the bed, with it creaking when his belly pressed against it, he fell asleep once more.


“Your government sent some soldiers?” Shin said, his ears twitching while tilting his head.

A medium-sized ship, jet-like, floated just outside of the Ayeka, with communications opened between holographic transmissions. The Ayeka was circular in shape, three miles long, and spinning. Even so, the walls and floors have artificial gravity control, the spinning as a backup in case of failure.

‘Standing’ before Shin was a three-tailed Sune, with the illusion just displaying enough of his color to show his white body with green and blue fur on his back and legs. His tails and ears had three golden rings connected to the other, with a black and gray stripe between the rings.

The other Sune nodded. “Indeed. While the government debated whether to support or deny funding to your project, they figured it’s best to set up security since initial reports find it inadequate.”

“I don’t fully understand, Captain Robert,” Shin said, shaking his head. “Why did your government do such a thing without communicating with us?”

Captain Robert’s eyes narrowed. “That message regarding the experimental nanomachines was sent through the subspace beacon unencrypted. So anyone with a receiver could watch the video; rival minor powers, criminals, and even aliens.”

“Yes. After all, the nanomachines are still in the bug-testing phase.” Shin’s eyes widened a moment before returning, his tone was a matter of fact. “It’ll take weeks to discover all the bugs and iron them out. Anyone who stole even a syringe would just as likely be rendered helpless at best.”

Captain Robert sighed and shook his head at Shin’s blatant lack of grasping the situation. “This is a break in protocol. Its potential as a weapon to demoralize and weaken enemies while strengthening our own is too valuable even at this stage, especially to those who could use it against us. Just be thankful that sending troops to defend this station was the response instead of the alternatives. Especially after that stunt with the transmission.”

“Yes, well, alright.” Shin nodded even as his ears flattened back. “Welcome aboard.”

An hour passed, and the ship boarded the space station, spinning with the space station until it entered it. Then, a pair of claws grabbed the ends of the vessel and reoriented it ninety degrees before lowering it onto the platform. At that moment, the ship turned off outside a few systems, and the ship opened up to the platform.

The soldiers disembarked from the ship in good spirits. Most of the Sunes were of the Solarii with broad natural colors, and a few were the Luarii with their intricate black symbols and markings on their pure white fur. The Solarii Sune bore a grim expression on their faces even as the Luarii grinned as wide as their faces allowed. Even so, they all chatted with each other outside of one.

“What’s with the silent tongue?” one Luarii with sharp black and green markings on his fur asked. “You haven’t talked all trip.”

The Sune he was referring to has three tails, tipped with red with yellow between the red and white. His yellow eyes shifted, his red paws stepping onwards even as his red ears twitched. Indeed, his underbelly had red fur with yellow around his neck, shaped almost like a bandanna. Around his neck was a machine collar that stretched onto his back. Around his tails and ears were two yellow rings with black and green bands between them.

“Hey, don’t treat us like we’re aliens,” the Luarii said to the red and yellow Sune. “We’re all buddies here, so try to open up.”

But the other Sune hurried his pace until he was far ahead of the Luarii, with him blinking in confusion. At that moment, he felt a poke to the head, and Captain Robert stood there when he spun around. The Luarii saluted, and when it was returned, he lowered his paws.

“At ease, Kota,” Captain Robert said, and Kota relaxed a bit. “You might be wondering about Daren there, aren’t you?”

“That is his name?” Kota said before turning back to where he walked towards. “Strange name. Sounds like Scidonii?”

“Not quite. But don’t mind his attitude that much,” Captain Robert said as he shook his head. “He was a Junior Cadet with two tails as part of a team operation, but it ended in disaster. He was the only survivor and only barely, with electrical burns all over his body.”

“That’s pretty crazy.” Kota tilted his head. “To be a Junior and survive when all others have fallen and still make it out? Reasonably intact, it seems.”

“Reasonably intact. His attitude has changed since then.” Captain Robert patted Kota’s shoulder. “He was once as outgoing as you, but since then, he shielded himself away and only took solo missions. This is the first mission in a very long time where he is required to work with others. So, try to take it easy on him, and don’t try to force it.”

But Kota shrugged, saluted again, and followed where Daren went.


Captain Caleb stomped down the hallway, ignoring the occasional gaze from his crew. His belly swayed below him, his coat already too small for even his front legs, and he sighed. He hoped that, despite what the video recording said, the nanomachines would at least make him as fit as he was a year or two ago.

Soon, he stopped in front of a steel door and felt a headache growing. Subspace-Hyperjumps, a marvelous feat of using a drill-like energy field with gravity manipulation to dive through space at faster-than-light speeds, had never felt comfortable for Caleb’s skull, or stomach for that matter. However, they wouldn’t be half as stressful as dealing with this particular Sune. Even so, she has proven time and time again that it was worth all of the speeches. He knocked on the door.

“Enter,” a sweet, honey-like voice said, and the door slid open.

At that moment, overwhelming smells overtook Caleb's nose as he stepped inside, the room covered from top to bottom with plant life. One of his three tails brushed against one of the many flowers that hung around and over the door as he stepped onto the soil. The door slid shut, leaving running water as the only sound in the room, with a pond-like structure at the center of the room.

Sat before the pond was a four-tailed Sune with brown fur covering her back, head, ears, and tails. A yellow coat hung over her shoulder, with her hood down even as she wore several large beads around her neck. On her tails were diamond-like designs, black in color, though she didn’t turn her head up.

“Kimiko,” Caleb said, and Kimiko lifted her head up a bit.

“Isn’t it beautiful, Caleb?” Kimiko asked, her blue eyes closed. “The wonders of nature. How, even in a ship such as this, nature finds a way to thrive.”

Caleb nodded, though not willingly so. “Yes, though it’s still costly whenever a root breaks through a steel, compromising the entire ship.”

“Even so, it’s still worth the wonders of nature,” Kimiko said, turning her head towards him. “You should think about having a plant on the bridge itself.”

“Maybe,” Caleb said. “In any case, I have a business to attend with you.”

“What is the target?” she asked, her eyes opening even as her hood went over her head through telekinesis.

“In case you didn’t hear, we’re heading to the Ayeka, within the Kosoku system,” Caleb answered. “I’m half-expecting some security by the time we get there.”

“Understood,” Kimiko said.

“And do not slaughter any of the scientists there,” Caleb said even as he turned around. “We may need them alive.”

“And if I accepted this request, would you accept having at least a potted plant on the bridge?” Kimiko asked, and Caleb paused his walk. “With such dull steel walls, I think this ship deserves to have some life to it.”

Caleb shifted his one eye before he answered, “Very well.”

“Thank you,” Kimiko said before turning back to the pond, her hood lowered once more, and her eyes shut.

Captain Caleb stepped out of the room, with the doors shutting right behind him, though it took him walking a couple of hallways before he grunted and sighed. Ever since he got Kimiko into his service, half of the earnings from raiding ships and stations have gone to her one way or another. Much of the crew grumbled about how much got lost from either giving her a new flower or plant, a pond and dirt construct, artificial sunlight, and even repairs whenever any or all caused damage to the ship.

Even so, having a Kafurii as a personal guard was worth it.


Daren stepped through a hallway, carrying a device with one of his tails as his eyes shifted for any other Sunes. Once he sensed he was alone once more, he stepped up to the security camera and pointed the device at it. Seconds passed, and the holo-visor underneath his eyes’ light blinked a few times. Once satisfied, he stepped down and went to another camera to do the same thing.

Hallway after hallway, he went into various rooms within the station whenever there was a camera. Then, if there was some Sune inside the room, he would skip it and go to the next empty one. Floor after floor, with the same blinking light on his visor. While it would be simpler if he went to the security room, there was almost always someone there, and he didn’t want to deal with the questions and the necessity of what he was doing. Besides, it would be difficult to deactivate the connection on hundreds of cameras instead of one.

“Hey there, Daren!” A voice came, and Daren’s ears flattened to the sides. He turned around to face where the voice came from, and Kota walked in. “What were you doing with that camera from before?”

Daren’s ears flattened back, with his shoulders bristling.

“Hey now, don’t lose your head over a simple question,” Kota said, leaning back a bit. “I’m just curious.”

Daren nodded, relaxing while his ears pointed up. Even so, he fiddled with his wrist computer, every button press emitting a beep. Kota rubbed his chin a bit, leaning his head to the side before shrugging.

“You’re hard to read, Daren,” Kota said while tilting his head, with Daren folding one of his ears to the side. “If you want, I can assist you, whatever you’re doing. It is for defending our clients and their nanomachines, right?” Daren rolled his eyes before nodding. “Sounds good to me!” Kota replied.

Without waiting for a reply, Kota leaped into a room and observed its interiors. He stepped through the room, his tails brushing by some steel crates and wagging with clear excitement. Above were a couple of cameras, and he grinned and nodded. Soon, he stepped out into the hallway once more.

“All c—”

But Daren disappeared with no trace of him. Kota sniffed the air for a few seconds, but any scent of him didn’t lead anywhere as far as he could tell. He blinked in confusion, turning around for several seconds.

“Uh,” Kota said. “Where did you go?”

“Where did who go off to?”

Kota flinched before he sat straight and saluted. Captain Robert walked into the room, his blue-tipped tails brushing against the steel floor. He saluted back, and Kota lowered his paw, still looking tense. But Captain Robert twisted his head around, his head tilted.

“Were you following Daren?” Captain Robert asked, and Kota nodded. Robert sighed and shook his head. “I told you to go easy on him.”

“Yeah, but I really want to be buddies with him,” Kota said, turning to the other end of the hallway. “I guess he went off that way.”

“Personally, knowing him, he’s still in this hallway,” Captain Robert said, and Kota blinked at him. Then, Robert turned to the rest of the hallway and, with a commanding voice, said, “Stop hiding, Daren. This is an order.”

At that moment, Daren reappeared; bit by bit small hexagonal shapes unveiled the Sune as if a sphere had surrounded him. Kota’s ears flattened back, Daren standing next to him even as the device on his back stopped blinking. He twisted his head around, his eyes on the device, and he nodded even as Daren saluted to Captain Robert, who saluted back in turn.

“A cloaking device! That explains the scent not going anywhere,” Kota said, with Daren’s ears flattened back even as Captain Robert chuckled.

“Again, Daren is private about himself,” Captain Robert said. “But yes, he is a Specialist Ranger with a Pulse Laser for picking off foes while invisible.”

“Very impressive, though not to my style,” Kota said with a grin. “Besides, unless you have a spotter drone looking outside, you’re pretty much blind while within the cloak. I personally like to see where I am walking!”

Captain Robert narrowed his eyes and let out a soft cough before turning toward the hallway. “Yes… each to their own.” He turned to Daren. “You were doing your prep, correct?” Daren nodded, and his eyes turned to the left. “Always have to do it by the roundabout way, don’t you? Please consider the ramification of your actions more often. I’ll have a talk with security. After all, they were raising a fuss about you doing sabotage.” Daren’s ears flattened back some more, but he nodded once more. “Very good.”

Kota’s left ear folded to the side. “Um—”

“As for you, Kota,” Captain Robert said, and Kota stopped himself, paying attention. “I would ask that you be more respectful of my requests. If at all anything, if you wish to be a party to Daren, then please be patient with him. Don’t try to force it. I don’t want my troops fighting among each other when there could be an attack at any moment.”

“Yes, sir,” Kota said, saluting.

“Very good.” Captain Robert saluted back before walking down the hallway, his chest held high and his legs straight.

Daren rubbed the top of his muzzle, with him sighing before shrugging. Soon, he stepped into the room Kota had stepped into before, still carrying the device on his tail. Kota shifted his eyes before following Daren, though he chose not to say anything. Daren turned his head back, and Kota stopped, hesitating. But Daren nodded before he walked to the camera, pointing the device at the camera, and waited several seconds.

Kota blinked before he continued to follow Daren once more, with no protest coming from him.


Daren and Kota sat in their living quarters during their stay, with Daren examining his pulse laser rifle for several seconds. Then, bit by bit, he disassembled the gun, with him flipping over each part of the rifle. He cleaned the pieces one by one, removing any scorch marks on them before reassembling them. Once back together, he looked over the sights and nodded to himself.

For his part, Kota was examining his own weapon, a long, straight, black blade that had a single edge. It extended just as long as himself and yet felt weightless against his hand-paws. First, he wiped away any old oil before applying a powder and cleaning it with a cloth. Afterward, he rubbed on a thin layer of oil on it before he sheathed the blade back and strapped it against his back.

“I must say, that’s a cool-looking gun you have there, Daren,” Kota said, with Daren flicking his ears. “Not into guns myself, but they can be a useful tool to have, right?”

Daren nodded and sighed, strapping the gun against his back as well.

“I have an elder sister,” Kota continued. “She is really into guns herself. She gets all kinds of guns herself, sometimes purchasing the newest one released. Her personal markings on her foreheads and tails showed how much she loves guns.” He turned upwards with a soft smile. “She tried to get me into guns, and while I’m a decent crack shot with some of them, I just couldn’t get into her passion. So instead, I use swords. Give me any kind of sword, and I will carve anything that’s in my way.”

Daren nodded once more, with one of his tails twitching.

“I’m curious, though. Are you mute?” Kota asked, and Daren shook his head. “OK. Also, I heard what happened to you.” Daren’s ears flattened back, with his tails fluffing up. But Kota nodded before asking, “Would it be OK if I make a design on you to commemorate what happened?”

Daren’s eyes narrowed before he shook his head. Instead, he pressed against the metallic collar around his neck, and a tiny device hovered from it. It extended into four points before a holographic screen appeared on it. Kota tilted his head even as Daren fiddled with it, now displaying an image.

On it was a group of six Sunes of various kinds, each one either holding a weapon or having one hovering next to them. Sitting on the bottom to the left sat Daren, who sported a massive grin on his face, with Kota blinking at it. Then, he turned to the real Daren, who’s ears flattened back, and his head lowered.

“It was a simple mission,” Daren said, with Kota giving out a small gasp. “Nothing more than a reconnaissance mission regarding an unregistered mech walking around at night in the city. Motive unknown, with nothing but baseless rumors. But when it showed itself, I disobeyed and fired upon it. Didn’t even leave a mark. But that was all it took for it to react, with it attacking.

“We fought hard, but it shrugged off anything hitting it. Took us out, one by one, until I remained. It picked me up, and electricity ripped through my body, but I lived. Mech disappeared and has never been seen since. All my fault, and yet the team, who were like a family to me, took the punishment instead. No glory in that.”

Kota’s eyes widened even as the image disappeared, and the tiny device converged back together. It returned to his collar, with both his hand-paws clenched tight. Kota’s ears flattened back, with him wondering what to do or to say. And yet, only one thing that went against his instincts went from his head to his mouth.

“I’m sorry. I-I didn’t know.”

“How could you know?” Daren asked in turn, with him getting up and walking away.

Kota lowered his head as Daren stepped out from the living quarters. He then sighed and shook his head.


Kota sat in the lunchroom, with him picking at his half-eaten grub even as the other Sunes tilted their heads at him. Any words they spoke of, he didn’t hear even as they talked about him. Then, finally, they stepped away from the table all at once, but even then, he didn’t turn his head up.

“Kota,” a voice came from behind. He blinked and was about to spin around, only to feel a pat on his back, with Captain Robert sitting beside him. “I got an entire squad that came to me, wanting me to check on you. Are you alright?”

“What makes you think otherwise?” Kota asked in turn.

“First, you barely ate your grub when you would have two refills at least,” Captain Robert answered while raising a finger for each point. “Second, you’re as quiet as space when normally, you would talk until your throat went sore. And finally, you haven’t been near Daren all day when you spent the last two days pestering him.” He paused, with him rubbing his chin. “Did anything happen between you and him?”

Kota strained a grin, “Technically space can be extremely loud with all those signals and all that,” the Sune jokes sardonically, but his ears curl down quickly when meeting Captain Robert’s stern gaze. “Yeah. Nothing too violent, but I forced it.” He shook his head. “And it’s difficult to fight my instincts in this case.”

“So, he told you,” Captain Robert asked, and Kota nodded again. “I don’t exactly blame you for having these instincts. After all, you are Luarii. You seek adventure and, as far as you can tell, trying to be with him is an adventure in and of itself. You also feel confused since how you would settle the issue he is going through is so different, with you shouting it down instead of isolating yourself.” Kota nodded, with his ears flattened back. But Captain Robert patted his shoulder and said, “Even so, the fact that Daren did open up even just a little should be treated as a good sign. Still, while I will not forbid any contact between you two, I will advise you once more to take your time. Alright?”

“Yes, sir,” Kota answered before standing up and saluting Captain Robert. “Thank you, sir. Permission to return to my living quarters?”

“Permission granted,” Captain Robert said, saluting back.

Kota nodded and stepped out, with no other Sunes turning around towards him. Even so, his chest felt a bit lighter than before; part of him wanted to return to the table to finish the leftover grub. Still, he kept going, instead thinking he would get extras next time.

But as soon as he stepped into a hallway, he heard, “Why don’t you shoot me, you coward?”

Kota flinched, but he spotted no one around that could’ve said it. He spun around, but the other Sunes were too focused on their grub to say anything, with Captain Robert walking in the opposite direction. He turned back to the hallway, with him turning to the right and walking with caution.

“I knew it,” the voice continued, with Kota’s mind fitting the voice with a Sune he knew during the trip to the station. “You don’t have the guts to fight me.” There was a pause as Kota crouched low. “Don’t walk away and treat me like I’m the alien here, you coward!”

Soon, Kota turned the corner of the hallway, and his eyes widened, spotting Daren with his back turned to another Sune. This Sune was another Luarii, with curved green lines over his body and two tails. He wore an energy shield machine around his chest and back, with a pair of swords hung over his back. Kota felt his chest tighten once more, recognizing that specific Sune.

“Atsushi,” he said to himself. “Trying to prove how superior your defenses are once more?”

“Listen here, you coward!” Atsushi said. “It doesn’t matter how much favoritism you got from the captain; you’re nothing more than a pathetic waste! Now, show me what you got!”

Kota felt confused even as he took a step back. Part of him wanted to jump in and defend Daren, but another felt he should go to the captain himself. But then something clicked, and he spun around—

“Don’t think I haven’t noticed you eavesdropping on us, Kota!”

Kota stopped himself and, feeling a sense of clarity within himself, turned back to Atsushi, his eyes narrowed. Daren’s ears twitched, and he turned his head, confused. Soon, all three Sunes stared at each other, each one of their tails fluffed up.

“Good. You’re not heading back to the captain,” Atsushi said, pressing his hand-paw against his chest. “Especially since it’s so rude to listen to us.”

Kota’s ears flattened back. “With a voice as loud as yours, I wouldn’t be surprised that he’ll come in anyways.” He stepped to the right. “Up to your old tricks again? Trying to make yourself look bigger?”

“The best got to show that he is the best,” Atsushi declared, with him having a wide grin. “Even if I have to prove it by force.”

“That is very unaccommodating of being a soldier, a Luarii, and a Sune.” Kota kept walking to the right. “We are on a mission and should work together instead of fighting to prove who is strong and who is weak. There may be an attack at any moment, and you’re too busy comparing yourself to others. Besides, you’re only proving yourself to be an immature Juvenile.” Kota beams at Atsushi, noting his only two tails indicating his youth.

“None of that is my problem, Kota,” Atsushi scowled in turn, “Especially with someone who let one bad day make himself an alien to his comrades!” Atsushi grinned when Daren’s eyes narrowed into a glare. “Didn’t think I heard of that, right?”

Kota’s tails twitched. “And just a minute ago, you complained that I ‘eavesdropped’ on you.” Atsushi laughed, and Kota’s hand-paws tightened against the ground. “Then you should’ve known it wasn’t just a bad day for him.”

Daren’s ears flattened as he glanced at Kota, who now stood by his side.

Kota continued. “You’re wasting your time. It’s not our way to pry into someone’s life like that.”

Daren tilted his head a bit, with his ears pointed upwards. He shifted to his device around his neck and pressed against it, his expression softening. But Atsushi laughed some more and pointed at them.

“You two are weak! And it’s time for me to prove that!” He extended his arm to his back and tugged at one of his two curved swords—

“That’s enough, everyone.”

Atsushi paused; his grin morphed into horror as Captain Robert stepped out from the corner with a group of Sunes. Kota flinched before he saluted, with Daren saluting as well. Captain Robert shook his head while chuckling and, grabbing Atsushi’s front right leg, he pushed the sword back in.

“I’ve expected better from you, Atsushi,” Captain Robert said, still grabbing onto the arm tight even as Atsushi let go of the sword. “I thought that the last punishment would teach you more discipline. And don’t bother to tell me that you were provoked,” he added when Atsushi opened his mouth. “I and several others heard enough that you were provoking them. So you’ll be forced to work extra duties for the next two weeks as recompense. Understood?”

Atsushi nodded, with sweat forming on his forehead.

“Very good. These Sunes will now escort you to your quarters and give you your duties.” Captain Robert let go, with Atsushi flinching back as the other Sunes surrounded him. Deflated, he nodded, and soon he was led out. Captain Robert turned to Kota and Daren and saluted them back, with them lowering their hand-paws. “And though your attempt at de-escalating this conflict is questionable, Kota, I’m glad you haven’t taken the bait. Otherwise, you would’ve been punished alongside him once more.”

Kota shifted his eyes. “I wanted to cut his guts out, believe me. But it wasn’t me I was concerned about.” He turned to Daren and nodded, with Daren blinking in confusion. “It was his honor.”

Captain Robert laughed and nodded. “It seems that Karuna has blessed you after all. Always seek improvement in yourself.”

Kota pressed against his chest and nodded. “I will. Though, when you put it like that, I kind of feel bad for Atsushi. After all, he seeks improvement—”

“Fighting needlessly among ourselves is not an improvement of one’s self,” Captain Robert said. “And he didn’t seek self-improvement, just self-gratification. Don’t mix the two up.”

“Yes, sir.” Kota nodded and saluted, with Captain Robert returning the salute. Soon, Captain Robert stepped away, back into the mess halls, and Kota relaxed. He turned to Daren, but he had already stepped away, his expression unreadable. Kota tilted his head a bit before he sighed. “You’re welcome.”


Caleb sat in his private room, facing three other Sunes, his officers. One was reapplying some blue dye onto her fur, crosses on her forelegs, and a dot and circle on her forehead. The other tapped his green hand-paw against the ground, his green ears flattened back and his white chest huffing. And the last one tilted his head, one of his yellow ears flattened to the side even as he rubbed his purple neck.

“And that’s the plan of attack,” Caleb concluded, his hand-paw pressed against the table between them. “Any objections?”

“I have a few, captain,” the green and white Sune said.

“And I’m not sure I fully grasp how that can work, captain,” the yellow, purple, and white Sune added.

Caleb nodded with a grunt. “Joseph, Edgar,” he said respectively to them, and they nodded back. “Please explain your issues with the plan.”

“For starters, captain, I fear that it may be too risky,” Joseph said, one of his scarred legs twitching. “Splitting the forces into smaller squads would make it easier for them to pick us off.”

“That’s what I was confused about,” Edgar said. “Wouldn’t it be better if he held up a unified front, sir?”

Caleb smiled. “It would be good if we could do it, but we don’t have the time, and we don’t have the required numbers. What few ears we have at the capital showed that the ship they brought outclassed us in firepower and shields. We cannot prevail in a straightforward fight as long as the ship remains a factor. And even if that ship is out of the picture, we’re dealing with what info tells us are two hundred at least when we have less than a third of that. No, we must be subtle about our real plans.”

Joseph shook his head. “Even if it went out as you planned, we’ll still be outnumbered. We’ll likely lose this siege battle, sir.”

“Which is why it won’t be a siege,” Caleb said. “It’ll be a raid. We’ll get in, get what we want, and get out as fast as possible. And what few we’ll bring in will be the very best, such as Kimiko.”

“That snooty, self-righteous, high almighty tree sniffer of a Sune?” Edgar mocked while he blinked. “What did she demand in exchange for being in this fight, sir?”

“Nothing too major this time, and cut that tongue, or she will, and you know it,” Caleb said with a dismissive wave. “I’ll be in the front lines as well. Don’t look too surprised by that. Though I may not be in the desired shape, my claws are just as deadly. Plus, I need you, Joseph, on the bridge. Your piloting skills will be invaluable in this conflict.”

Joseph shook his head. “I still don’t like this. We’re taking too much risk in this plan. So much can and will go wrong. Suppose they don’t take the bait? Suppose they left too many of their soldiers behind? And suppose they’re too much for us? Would there be any other security in the station? Too much, sir.”

But Caleb laughed. “I knew it was a good idea to promote you, Joseph. And those are good questions. But you think too much. We cannot let the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ deter us. Even as we speak, the Sunes at the capitol are still debating whether or not to support the project. If they support it and we attack the station, we’ll likely lose our commission with them. We’ll be forced to the very fringes of Sune territory, raiding alien ships just to survive. That is what I’m most worried about.

“As for your concerns, I have the same thoughts as well. But to plan is only halfway to success. One needs to improvise to succeed, and I expect the chaos we’ll bring will allow multiple ways to improvise to steal those nanomachines.”

Joseph twisted his neck a bit, but he nodded. “Very well, sir. I’ll follow your orders as best as I can.”

“Good.” Caleb turned to Edgar. “Anything else that you’re confused about?”

“Plenty of stuff, sir, but I doubt any simplified details would help.” Edgar nodded. “And what you have me do will be enough.”

Caleb rolled his single eye before turning to the final Sune, still applying dyes to her fur. “How about you, Keiko?”

Keiko stopped and lowered her brush. “Captain, show me a target, and I’ll blast a hole through them. That’s all I needed to know.” Her lips curled into a grin. “And I love dealing with chaos.”

Caleb sighed but nodded. “Very well. We’ll be in the Kosoku system in the next jump. Best get everyone ready on deck. Dismissed.”

The three Sunes before Caleb saluted, bowed, and stepped out of the room. He sighed, relaxing once more with his stomach pressing against the desk. He shook his head for a moment before he turned to the papers before him, writing some notes down.


Kota woke up when the alarm rang throughout the room. He felt a pain in his head as he banged it against the bunk above him before springing up from the bed, weaving left and right to the exit. The door opened, and before him, many of his fellow soldiers stepped out and ran out from their quarters. At that moment, a voice came from the intercom.

“Attention, this is Captain Robert,” the Captain’s voice rang from the coms. “Sensor contact incoming. Signature identification revealed it to be the flagship of the Caleb pirates. Code Crimson. Repeat, Code Crimson.”

Kota nodded even as he took on a coat and his long sword over his back. He stepped forward, only to feel a hand-paw gripping his shoulder. He turned and blinked, with Daren pulling him back into the room.

“Huh? What—” was all Kota said before Daren pressed a finger against his lips, and he stopped talking.


“Captain, duty logs say some of our crew failed to board,” a Sune officer said to Captain Robert, with him sitting on his captain chair on the bridge. “Here is the shortlist.”

“Hmm.” Captain Robert accepted the list and skimmed through it. “Now, why did he—? I’m sure he has his reasons.”

“Sir?” the officer said, tilting his head.

“It’s nothing.” Captain Robert shook his head. “We cannot afford to wait any longer with the pirates closing in. Caleb, hmm?” Captain Robert clasped his paws, “A devious fellow, he is. Is the ship ready?”

“Ready at your command, sir.” The officer saluted and bowed.

“Good. Take her out.”

At his word, the ship was lifted off its landing pad and reoriented upwards with a pair of claws. The engine fired up, and as soon as the claws released their grip, the ship flew out with shocking speed. It flew out from the Ayeka, spinning before it stopped and zoomed toward Caleb’s ship.

Lasers and plasma fired out from Captain Robert’s ship, but the pirate ship spun and dived out of the way. Next, the pirate ship fired a pair of laser blasts, striking the opposing ship, but the shield protecting Robert’s ship held up. Soon, Caleb’s ship zoomed past Captain, ceasing its spinning maneuver.

Captain Robert’s ship turned around wide, with the entire station, Ayeka, in view. Sensors locked onto the pirate ship, and before long, a pair of torpedoes launched from tubes inside the vessel. Caleb’s craft paused for a moment before zooming upwards, with a couple of defense guns firing out rapid plasma at the torpedoes. The torpedoes exploded before they reached their targets, but Caleb’s ship zoomed away from the Ayeka.

“Finally realized he had bitten more than he could chew?” the officer said even as the ship spun and followed Caleb’s ship.

“Likely,” Captain Robert said, even as he rubbed his chin. “Still, this isn’t like him to abandon something like this.” He shook his head. “I guess even twenty years can change a Sune that much. Follow that ship and capture her.”

“Yes, sir,” the officer and a few others said, and the ship continued its pursuit.


“All according to plan,” Captain Caleb said, gripping the controls.

The ship he was piloting was small, a mere shuttle compared to the one he flew it out from. He pressed down on the controls, with the shuttle decloaking, bit by bit, from hexagonal shapes from top to bottom. The sensors and visuals returned to view, with the two larger ships flying away even as he smirked. Cloaking fields are a double-edged sword: No signals can breach the field, but nothing inside can see what is outside the field, not even light. He pressed a button, and the shuttle transmitted static, blocking any attempts at communications between the station and the ships. He turned back, spotting nine of his crew, including Kimiko, Edgar, and Keiko, whom he handpicked for the mission. He faced forward just as quickly and propelled the shuttle forward.

It approached the space station Ayeka with grace before Caleb twisted the shuttle around. Yet it still went towards the Ayeka, attaching itself to the station’s wall. A forcefield soon bridged the shuttle and station together, and air filled up the space in between. Soon, the shuttle’s door opened, and a pair of his crew members, each holding onto a knife-length plasma cutter while wearing a helmet, stabbed against the wall. It pierced through the thick sheet, melting where it made contact as they sliced into it.

A minute later, after they formed a molten circle against the wall, they stood back, and Keiko held up a giant plasma cannon towards it, grinning wide as it charged up. Soon, it fired, and its radiant energy contacted the wall. It crashed back with a slam, shattering into pieces, and the ten pirates stepped through the opening, with a few of them pointing their weapons around the empty hallway.

“I was hoping there would be someone here,” Caleb commented, tugging against his brown coat with a shrug. “Still, someone might have noticed that we broke in, and they might be coming in. Remember the plan. And kill any security and soldiers who bother to stay in but spare the scientists.”

“Yes sir,” the other Sunes, outside of Kimiko, said.

Caleb nodded and went down one hallway with Kimiko and four other of his Sunes walking alongside him. Edgar and a Sune went down another hallway as Keiko and another stayed with the shuttle, with their guns ready. A minute passed, and an alarm rang through the station.


“How did you know that those pirates were doing a feint?” Kota asked Daren, with his tails fluffed up.

Displayed before the two was a holographic screen projected from Daren’s device. It played a few videos from the security, following the pirates as they went through the station. Daren sighed, and he rubbed the back of his head.

“I didn’t know. I guessed,” Daren admitted, with Kota blinking. “A guess based on logic. A pirate vessel wouldn’t have the firepower or the manpower to overtake us, and they wouldn’t even try if they realized that we are here to guard the station.”

“And so, the only reasonable action for a pirate like them is to either distract our ship along with most of the soldiers or run away,” Kota said while rubbing his chin. Daren nodded, and Kota smiled. “Glad that you thought of it.”

But Daren shook his head. “As I said, it was a guess. After all, I’m assuming that they are acting smart, not stupid. And even so, we’re still in trouble.” He pointed at the screen at the yellow hooded Sune with four brown tails, each having a black diamond, showing. The beads shook with every step the Sune took. “After all, look what this pirate has.”

Kota tilted his head as he leaned forward at the screen. “Huh. I don’t think I've ever seen any Sunes like that. Wait.” He scratched the back of his head. “I remember seeing holographic screens about the various types of Sunes, like the Solarii and Luarii, back in a class long ago. If I recall correctly, that Sune is,” the voice died mid-sentence, with him paling even as Daren nodded. “That is a Kafurii, correct?”

“Yeah,” Daren said, his face grim. He pressed against his collar, and a new screen appeared over the others, though it was fuzzy. “Whatever they have blocking our signals, it’s working. We need to unblock it and call the ship back.”

“No doubt,” Kota grinned as he tugged against his sword. “Shall we?”

Daren nodded. “Let’s go.”


Captain Caleb stomped through hallways, his expression grim even as he tugged against his coat. The others stepped behind or beside him, some stoic while a couple grinned madly and yipped in joy. Kimiko shook her head, sighing at every bit of steel surrounding them. Caleb rolled his one eye, but at least she proved to be good at intimating a couple of scientists to reveal where the nanomachines were stored.

Soon, he reached the corner to the final hallway before pausing, holding up an open hand-paw at the others. They also stopped and pulled out their weapons outside of Kimiko, who shifted her eyes. Caleb scooched bit by bit, letting him spot more and more of the hallway before he stopped, hearing a plasma rifle charging up. He leaned back, and several shots were fired from the hallway, impacting the wall where Caleb’s head would’ve been.

“Bloody pirates!” a voice hollered from the hallway. “Come and take some! Then you’ll see that you can’t break through my shield!”

“Cocky fellow,” Caleb said before turning to one of his subordinates. “Get me info.”

“Yes, sir!” the Sune said, leaning even as she pulled out a device from her collar. She held it down the hallway for a second before pulling it back, with plasma blasts following. Then, finally, she pressed the device button, displaying a looping holographic video, and she nodded. The video showcases a quick sight of the hallway, with eleven Sunes down it, ten of them hunker down against steel boxes. The centermost of them stood with an arrogant expression, with a shield around him even as he held up a large sword over his head. “All good, sir?”

“Indeed. Thank you.” Caleb rubbed his chin. “That shield is meant to block energy attacks, correct?” The other Sune nodded. “So, physical attacks like swords wouldn’t have any trouble bypassing it, correct?”

“Yes, sir,” the Sune said with a nod. “Have a plan of attack, sir?”

“Yes.” Caleb turned to Kimiko, and she sighed. “You know what to do.”

“Indeed. And you know what you must do in exchange for this,” Kimiko said, with Caleb nodding. “Good. And so, your ship will be blessed with more plants.”

Two of the Sunes beside Caleb turned to each other, their ears flat even as Caleb rolled his one eye. But Kimiko stepped forward with soft grace, soon stepping into the hallway with her hood falling back onto her shoulders. The plasma rifles and guns charged even as the centermost Sune flailed his sword.

“Haha! We have one that has a death sentence here!” he said with a half-laugh. “Now then—” Kimiko’s cloak fluttered a bit, and a reflective light shined for a bit. “—let’s take her—”

But the rifles and guns fell apart, sliced in half. One exploded, with the Sune holding it flying back with scorched fur. The one yelling stopped, him blinking even as Kimiko stepped forward, with her expression turning into a triumphant smile. Her cloak fluttered a bit once more, and she twitched one of her tails

“W-what?” he said.

“Perhaps, if you had cared more for forests and nature, it wouldn’t have come to this,” Kimiko said with a sigh. “But, instead, you have to deal with being in a hulk of steel without even a single potted plant.”

“Who are you?” He asked.

But Kimiko’s cloak floated back, and, at once, thirty knives unsheathed themselves from her shirt and cloak, hovering over and beside her. The Sunes before her gasped even as her eyes gleamed and her grin broadened. Then, all at once, the knives zoomed forward, their steel blades pointed forward.

Half a second later, each Sune was impaled with two or three knives, piercing through the head and chest. They fell with a dying scream, with the centermost one having a horrified expression. The knives soon removed themselves from the bodies, with their blades wiped cleaned against the fur or clothes, before flying back to Kimiko, sheaving back in.

She turned back and said sweetly, “All of them are dead.”

“Excellent, Kimiko,” Caleb said as he stepped around the corner along with the others. “I knew I could rely on you.”

The hood raised itself back over Kimiko’s head before she joined the others down the hallway, the area smelling of blood already. Soon, they ended with a door shut tight, and Caleb pointed at it. A couple of his Sunes went to it and, after examining it for a few seconds, pulled out their plasma cutters and pierced through one end. Second by second, they sliced in before applying a charge against it. Caleb and the others went behind the improvised bunk, and a few seconds later, the charge exploded, blasting the door in.

Caleb grinned as he got up and stepped into the room, with it spacious enough to fit a few of his shuttles in without trouble. Ahead sat a Sune, the same one from the video that attracted him to the station, and his grin broadened. The others followed, and, outside of Kimiko, they pointed their weapons around, pointing them behind crates and into closets. Kimiko joined up with Caleb, sitting beside him even as he raised one of his hand-paws.

His fist tightened as a thin red light formed from the wrist in the shape of a long knife. “Hello, Shin. I just happened to overhear what you were building, and I couldn’t help myself from having a bit, or all of it, for myself.”

“That’s plain to see,” Shin said, his eyes on Caleb’s belly. “You do know that the capitol would not tolerate such actions, right?”

“Why not? After all, I could just sell it back to them, and we’ll be both happy.” Caleb chuckled as he pointed the blade at Shin’s neck. “I get wealthy, and they get the nanomachines without all the red tape in the way.”

“I doubt it’s that simple,” Shin said, though his eyes shifted. “And besides, the nanomachines aren’t even done. We haven’t even done a proper test of it.”

“Good thing I’m a willing test subject,” Caleb said, shifting the blade to the steel crate beside Shin before turning it back. “Now, we can do it the easy way or the hard way. The end results are the same, though. The only difference is whether you’re alive or not.”

Shin’s eyes shifted a bit before he nodded. “Very well.” He stepped aside from the crate. “But, in the name of Karuna, I have one request.” He pulled out a syringe from his coat and offered it to Caleb. “Because you’ll be the first Sune test subject, I wish you inject this into yourself as well.”

Caleb’s eye raised a bit, with him tilting his head. “What is it? If it is poison, forget it. Besides, my bio-implant protects me from all kinds of poisons.”

“I can guarantee it’ll not kill you,” Shin said. “Because the nanomachines we are making are still in the prototype stage, we still aren’t sure if they’ll do anything else than what we have programmed in. But this will allow us to add patches to the nanomachines if they have any faults.”

“Hmm.” Caleb rubbed his chin a bit before he went into a crate and pulled a syringe from there. “Let’s put it to the test first.”

And before Shin raised his front leg in protest, Caleb lifted the syringe against his neck. With a press of a button, a needle pierced through his fur and skin and injected the nanomachines, with him grinning. At first, nothing happened, with him dropping the syringe and the wound closing itself up. But then his paws and legs twitched, and he grunted, with him stumbling down.

His body groaned, and he gritted his teeth as he growled. Shin stepped forward a bit, but he stepped back when Kimono glanced an eye at him. Caleb’s body vibrated, with sweat forming on him. His coat, once tight around him, felt more spacious as the fat all over his body, especially his belly, shrunk down to near nothingness. Shin gasped as Caleb stopped shaking, and he laughed, his three tails wagging.

Caleb lifted his head, no longer pudgy but slim, with a fair number of muscles replacing the former fat. He retracted the laser blade before turning to one of the metal crates and slammed his paw against it. The crate dented as it slid back, crashing against the wall.

“Oh-ho! I feel great!” Caleb said with a laugh before turning to Shin. “Your stuff works better than I expected. It’s almost a shame that I have to take your supply for my own ends.” His eye shined a bit. “Almost.”

But Shin rubbed his chin a bit before he said, “Fascinating. I never expected the nanomachines to work as well as they do. Still, that doesn’t change what I said.” He extended the paw that held his syringe. “Take this as well.”

“Hmm. I don’t see any faults here.” But Caleb shrugged and grabbed it as well. “But I advocate Karuna’s demands for self-improvement.” He held it, but his wrist device chirped upon contact. He raised his eyebrow before accepting the call. “Captain Caleb here, receiving you, Edgar. What is the situation, over?”

“Captain Caleb, Edgar speaking,” Edgar responded from the device. “We have planted charges on the generator, ready to set off at your command, over.”

“Charges?” Shin said but stopped when Caleb glared at him.

“Captain Caleb received your good news, Edgar. Over.” Caleb pressed another button on the wrist device and said, “Keiko, this is Captain Caleb speaking. We have got the supplies, and the charges are set up. How are things holding up over there?” Silence, with Caleb tilting his head a bit. “Keiko? This is your captain speaking. Please respond.” More silence. “Keiko?”

“Captain Caleb, sir!” A voice came from behind, and he spun around. The four Sunes he sent over to secure the area came running back, each worried. “We got—”

She paused as she and the others stopped, blinking at Caleb’s new form.

“Yes, I know. I lost some weight,” Caleb said while shaking his head. “Now, what is the trouble?”

“Right, sir!” she said as she and the others saluted. “The systems blocking communications to and from the station have been turned off!”

“What?!” Caleb stepped over to her and grabbed her shoulder tight. “Is this true?”

“Yes, sir!” She flinched a bit. “What’s more, both of the ships, ours and theirs, are coming back. Estimated time: ten to fifteen minutes.”

Caleb growled before he turned to the communicator. “Edgar, this is Captain Caleb. Set off the charges.”

“What are you blowing up this time?” Shin demanded, wide-eyed.

But Caleb glared at him before grabbing the crate with the nanomachines, the syringe on the other paw, and dragged it up to the inner wall. The others did much of the same, with a couple of them shoving the crates to the outer wall, where space is on the other side. Shin blinked a bit before he felt the station vibrate, with him sliding back. At once, he yelped as he fell to the other wall, grunting from the impact. He groaned before he yelped some more, with one of the smaller crates slamming against his chest.

The pirates, outside of Kimiko, yelled out in cheer as they fell against the outer wall, with the only artificial gravity working being the centrifugal spinning of the station. Caleb impacted against the crate he held against, grunting even as he let go of the syringe. He blinked, with the crate opening up as well, the syringes mixing up with each other. But he shook his head and stuffed them all in before he turned to his crew.

“Alright! Back to the shuttle as soon as possible! Burn through the floors until we get to the one with the shuttle!” Caleb yelled out.

“Yes, sir!” His crew said as they pulled out plasma cutters and stabbed through the former floor.


“For Maker’s sake, this is disorienting,” Kota said, stumbling with his steps against the former wall.

“Keep your head straight,” Daren said as he stumbled a bit. “Don’t turn your head, or else you’ll puke last night’s grub.”

“O-OK,” Kota said, about to shake his head but stopping himself.

Besides the two were two Sunes that guarded the shuttle. Parts of the wall, or rather the ceiling, melted from the firefight, some of them in a straight line. The other wall, or floor, had light gashes even as Kota picked up the knives he threw. One of the Sune groaned a bit, shaking his head, but Daren smacked him with the butt of his plasma rifle and fell unconscious again.

“You didn’t hit him hard enough,” Daren said, but Kota shrugged.

“I was more focused on making sure he or the other didn’t alert the others,” Kota said. “Still, they’ll be coming here. How will we defeat them with just the two of us? After all, I doubt either of us could fight that Kafurii.”

Daren rubbed his chin a bit before a small smile formed. “Who said anything about defeating them?”


Captain Caleb stomped through another plasma cut hole, glaring with his one eye. The others followed, reaching the ‘floor’ on which the shuttle planted itself. He shifted his legs left to right and, upon spotting no other in the hallway, went down the hallway, half dragging the cargo. First, he approached the wall and pointed at it, with the Sunes piercing it with plasma knives and creating a new opening. Then, upon blasting it off, Caleb extended his laser knife, scootched around the opening, and, once satisfied, stepped through.

Onward, he and the others went before they spotted the shuttle opening and two unconscious Sunes, with Caleb recognizing Keiko. His eye narrowed before stepping away from the plasma-cutted door, with the others following suit. He turned to Kimiko and nodded at her. She nodded and lowered the hood from her head before stepping into the hallway, a few knives unsheathing and pointing around the hallway.

“Such a shame that some Sunes don’t respect nature as much as I do,” Kimiko said, her eyes shifting from one end of the hallway to the other. “But perhaps you can learn.”

Her eyes caught a glint of cold steel, and, in response, one of her knives blocked it, with it clanging against the ‘floor’ before floating back up to her side. Soon, a rush of white appeared and disappeared from one of the doors above, another knife coming from there, which she blocked with her own. She smirked as she unsheathed all of her knives, and they zoomed through the door, spreading out and impacting anything they hit.

“Foolish one,” she said as she stepped under the doorway and craned her head upwards. “You should’ve surrendered instead of—”

Kimono blinked when a high-pitched charge came from behind. She twisted around, but a blue blast whooshed into her. It impacted her chest, and she flew back a few feet before landing on her back, stunned to unconsciousness.

Caleb gritted his teeth, the laser blade glowing brighter. “Kimiko is down! There’s a Sune to the right, somehow hiding. Get them!”

Two of his Sunes nodded, and upon pulling out their plasma guns, they charged them up and stepped into the hallway, pointing at the corner. They spotted no one there, but they fired. The plasma bolts scorched the corner without hitting anything in-between, and they twisted themselves so that they were back-to-back, pointing forward. Soon, another blue blast came, knocking one down while the other pointed where the blast came from, firing. But it still impacted no one.

“Captain,” the Sune said. “Whoever they are, they are using a cloaking field.”

“Fall back!” Caleb said, and his Sune leaped back, avoiding a blue blast near his nose. “Cloaking field, you say?” The Sune nodded from across the forced opening. “Did you see any electrical spotters in there?” He asked, and the other Sune shook his paw in denial. “There has to be. Cause otherwise, how could they still ‘see’ you under the visionless cloak.”

“I have no idea, sir,” the Sune replied, glancing his eye into the hallway a bit. “But I swear I didn’t see any spotters.”

“If they don’t have any spotters,” Caleb said through gritted teeth, “then how could they still shoot with such acc—” He paused a bit, rubbing his neck before turning around the room, eyeing several still running security cameras. “That’s it! Shoot the cameras!”


“Those security cameras are the spotters!” Caleb said with a half-grin.

“Oh! Right, sir!”

His three remaining Sunes pulled out their plasma rifles and guns and fired them at the cameras. They exploded upon impact. Soon, they stepped into the room one at a time, firing at the cameras within the hallway. A blue blast impacted one of them, but soon all of the cameras were destroyed. Caleb laughed, stepping into the hallway while carrying the cargo.

“Clever trick,” Caleb said out loud. “But you have to think better than that. Now, show yourself!” Nothing happened, and Caleb chuckled to himself. He pointed at the unconscious Sunes, and the two awake ones went over and picked them up, loading them back into the shuttle. “Either way, I win.”

At that moment, a couple of plasma cutters ripped through a wall to Caleb’s left. He and the other two twisted over to it, with them pointing their guns at it. But when it fell down with a slam, Edgar and another of Caleb’s Sune crew stepped through, with him grinning, and the other two lowered their weapon.

“Came just in time,” Caleb said with a laugh, and Edgar nodded. “Now, let’s—”

But another Sune came down from the door above, a knife embedded in his left shoulder. Caleb twisted himself upwards, but the Sune slammed down on the cargo he carried and, with a yank, ripped it from his grip. Caleb growled, standing on two paws with his laser blade pointing forward as the other kicked the cargo through the opening and pulled out his long, straight sword.

Soon, their weapons clashed against each other, with Caleb’s blows coming hard even as the other Sune kept his distance. Chunks of the laser blade flew and dissolved into silicon, but always the blade reforged itself. The other Sunes pulled out their weapons, only to lower them, with Caleb always in the way one way or the other.

But soon, the other Sune’s sword broke against the laser blade, with him grunting even as Caleb laughed. He reached out for a knife, but Caleb reached out and gripped against the one impaled against the shoulder. Again, he grunted as he fell onto his knees, with Caleb twisting it.

“You’re a tough one, aren’t you?” Caleb said as the other grunted. “It’ll be a shame to let you die, but I can’t let you be able to get back up and attack me from behind.” He tugged on the knife, with the other Sune pulling it in response. “Very sorry that it—”

At that moment, another Sune appeared in front of Caleb’s crew, appearing bit by bit from hexagonal shapes from top to bottom. He sprinted forward, gripping his rifle, even as the others gasped. One tried to lift their gun, only for another to force it down, with Caleb behind the now visible Sune. He turned around, only for a rifle butt to slam against his face. He grunted before he gripped the newcomer by the neck and lifted him up.

“Finally decided to show up?” Caleb said with a laugh, tightening his grip. “But it’s too late. I—”

However, the impaled Sune pulled out his knife and stabbed it against Caleb’s shoulder blade. He yelled out, letting go of both Sunes, them stumbling back through the formerly cloaked Sune pointed his plasma rifle at Caleb. His remaining crew pointed their guns at them even as Caleb stumbled down, grunting. At that moment, his wrist device beeped, and he pressed it.

“Captain Caleb, this is Joseph,” Joseph said from the receiver. “We are ready to pick you up, but you must get out now. The other ship will be here in thirty seconds.”

“It seems that luck has cursed this mission,” Caleb said with a grunt as he glared at the two attacking Sunes. “Very well. Abandon the nanomachines; we’re leaving now.” But he said to the attacking Sunes, “Must say, I’m impressed by your tenacity. I am willing to accept you two as my officers if you are willing.” The two stared at each other before they shook their heads at him. “If that is what you want.”

Caleb sighed, rubbing his back a bit before entering the shuttle with the others following him. He grabbed onto the controls, and, with a few button presses, the shuttle released itself from the space station, flying to his ship. His ship caught the shuttle, and after a few seconds, it rumbled as a gravity field formed behind the ship and a projection field spiraled ahead of it. Soon, it entered hyperspace, disappearing from sight.


Kota woke up, the pain on his shoulder much less than before, but still painful. He turned his head around, laying on an infirmary bed with bandages around his shoulder. The station’s orientation, twisted to its side during the attack, was normal. He blinked, wondering how and why he got in such a condition before his memories flooded in. Sitting beside him was Captain Robert, with a holo device hovering before his face.

“I see you’re awake,” Captain Robert said, closing the hovering device.

Kota flinched, with him about to raise his paw, but Captain Robert stopped him.

“No need for a salute,” Captain Robert said. “You shouldn’t in any case, anyways. Not for a few hours.”

“Captain, where’s Daren?” Kota asked, his ears flattened back.

But Captain Robert laughed. “He’s alright. His injuries were much less severe than yours. Although, after he was cleared, he submitted himself to discipline for not joining up with the ship, he explained that you were coerced into staying by him and shouldn’t face the same punishment, but that won’t be necessary. After all, you two did save the nanomachine supply and while there were some casualties, what footage we found cleared you of any responsibility.”

Kota sighed, with him relaxing back onto the bed. “That’s good at least, Captain. But what about those pirates? What happened to them?”

Captain Robert’s ears flattened back. “They got away. And because this is technically outside the capitol’s domain, I don’t see the treaty we have with them being revoked anytime soon. So the most we can do is warn them since they did kill a soldier and attempted on your and Daren’s lives.”

“Oh.” Kota shook his head.

At that moment, the door opened, and when Kota turned there, he blinked when Daren and Shin stepped through. Daren’s eyes narrowed even as he stood beside Kota, with even Captain Robert tilting his head in confusion. Shin pulled out a holo device, and after a screen formed before him, he flipped through several pages.

“What were you thinking when you hopped down like that?” Daren demanded, with Kota flinching a bit. “You should’ve let yourself rest instead of fighting Caleb with a dagger on you.”

“Daren,” Captain Robert said, but Daren shook his head.

“Sorry, Captain, but I must say it,” Daren said. “After all, he could’ve got himself killed.”

“Heh… I couldn’t have let him escape with the nanomachines,” Kota said, with Daren’s ears flattening back. “In fact, Caleb figured out our scheme much faster than we anticipated—”

“Then that’s all the more reason to stay put!” Daren clutched his front paws tight. “There was no need to—”

“That’s enough, Daren,” Captain Robert said, with him walking around and past Shin, who still went through the holo text.

“What?! But—”

“At this point, you shouldn’t bother with what ifs and what could be,” Captain Robert said as he placed his paw on Daren’s shoulder. “Instead, you should focus on what is, and that is you two are both alive if suffered bruises at best and with the mission a success.”

“I-uh—” Daren sighed, shaking his head. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I spoke out of line.”

“It’s no worries. I was acting recklessly,” Kota said with a nod. “And besides,” Kota’s eyes shined a bit, “the fact that you chewed me out like this showed that my connecting with you wasn’t for nothing.”

Daren spluttered a bit even as Captain Robert laughed, with him placing a paw against his face even as he shook it. At that moment, Shin gave a yelp, and they turned to him. Shin grinned even as he lowered the holotext down.

“Sorry,” Shin said. “Just that, with the chaos that has happened for the last few hours, trying to repair the damages that battle has caused, I didn’t have a chance to go through the messages.” He grinned wide. “Your capital agreed to support the nanomachine project an hour ago. So all that’s needed is to take everything connected to the project to another research station, and we’ll have the government's full support.”

“Now that’s awfully convenient timing,” Captain Robert said, with him rubbing his chin. “I wonder if,” but he shook his head. “Never mind. It’s just baseless thoughts.”

Daren tilted his head at Captain Robert, but Shin said, “And because you two stopped those pirates from getting away with the nanomachines, we are offering you to join up with the testing phase. Just sign right here,” he hovered the holo-device over to Kota, who tilted his head at it, “and we’ll inject the nanomachines into you.”

Kota hummed a bit, rubbing his chin, before shaking his head. “I must decline.”

Shin blinked before he hovered the holo-device over to Daren. “How about you?” But Daren shook his head. “Huh. I wasn’t expecting this.” The holo-device came back to him before he sighed. “At least I have ten willing test subjects, and I can always get two more. But is there anything we can do for you two?”

“There is one thing,” Kota said, and Shin stood straight. “My sword broke during that fight.” Captain Robert nodded as he picked up the sword and its shards, somewhat melted. “Is there someone you can get to have it reforged or replaced?”

Shin picked up a piece before he nodded. “I know an engineer who can reforge it. She can even modify it so that it’ll be a high-frequency blade. Will that be alright?”

Kota grinned wide. “Yes. I do love improvements.”

“Very good.” Shin turned to Daren. “How about you?”

Daren’s eyes glinted as he pressed a button around his collar device, and a holo-device came from it. It split into eight before a hologram of a humanoid mech appeared within it. It walked within its boundaries before it shape-shifted into a three-wheeled machine. It soon shapeshifted back into its humanoid form before its hover device caused it to ‘fly.’

Shin gasped. “I’ve seen such images before.”

Captain Robert tilted his head at it. “Same here, and I know where. It came from one of the scout units when scouting over unclaimed solar systems. The only problem with that one is that it’s already inhabited, and while it’s primitive in comparison, it’s not worth the time and effort to claim it.”

Shin nodded. “But this mech would be a nightmare to build. So many logistic issues in how it changes into vehicle mode and back. And having a device that allowed for flight on its back, even within a planet's gravity, would risk ripping off from the mech. It would also be unwieldy since it wouldn’t have the balance to complement its large size.” But Shin grinned. “We’ll make it work.”

Daren nodded with a small smile.


A couple of days passed within the space station Ayeka. Shin walked down the increasingly empty hallways, with supplies related to the nanomachine project taken away. He rubbed one of the walls and sighed a bit, with him stepping into one of the few rooms that still had computers related to it.

He turned on one of the screens when a Sune ran in, sweat forming over her head. “Shin!”

“What is it?” Shin asked, shaking his head. “It had better be important.”

“Sir, the nanomachines!” she said, yelling out. “You need to see!”

“Couldn’t you—” But she ran out in a hurry before Shin finished his sentence. He sighed a bit before following at a similar pace. “What happened?”

“They reacted unexpectedly!” She said with wide eyes. “And I’m not sure what is causing this!”

“I can guess that much,” Shin said with a head shake. “But how did they—”

He stopped his sentence, any thought of finishing it stopping as his eyes widened. He ran into the testing room, where the twelve Sunes test subjects lay in. Just an hour ago, they were slim and barely fat.

But now? Fat overwhelmed their bodies, with their bellies splayed over the floor. A couple of them couldn’t touch the floor with their paws. Their cheeks and limbs were puffy, and they all looked exhausted as if they ran around the world nonstop.

“What in Karuna happened?!” Shin demanded, his teeth bared.

“I-I don’t know!” his Sune assistant replied, her ears flattened back. “Just ten minutes ago, they were fine. But then they gained a ton of fat in no time flat. I have no clue how the nanomachines could gain that much energy and convert it into fat.”

Shin paced a bit, rubbing his chin. “We expected that there would be some bugs in the nanomachines, though even this I didn’t expect.” He flinched a bit. “That pirate. He didn’t take the nanomachines that will allow us to patch it.”

Shin bit his claws; his eyes were wide with horror.


Caleb relaxed on his captain chair with a half-grin on his face. He rubbed his slim belly, content that though he didn’t claim the supply of the nanomachines, he did at least inject a bit of it into himself. Before him, with his officers, were holoscreens mapping out their course. The other day, they heard reports of a ship with treasure. With that, they could—

Caleb blinked a bit, his belly groaning all of a sudden. He turned down, only to find his belt against his chest grown tight. Once slim, his belly regained the fat he lost a couple of days ago.

“What the?” Caleb said, with the officers turning to him and gasping.

His belly didn’t stop there, though. Soon, he kept fattening up with the chair straining to contain his new mass. His stomach groaned tighter as it rolled up his chest, with his limbs thickening up. His wrist and arms devices expanded as much as they could, though they strained against the fat. His coat felt smaller against his back and sides, with his cheeks and neck puffing up.

Soon, in five minutes, Caleb tripled in size from pure fat, with the chair groaning with every shift of his body. He twisted his neck around, glaring with his one eye as he shifted his body. His belly soon splayed against the chair, with him facing the new potted plant next to him.

“I swear if I hear a single laugh from you,” Caleb said through gritted teeth, “you’ll be tossed out into space.”

Cloak & Nanomachines (critique requested)


In a section of space held an advanced species looking much like Earth's kitsune known as Sunes. They are driven to improve at any level to the point that any stalling, especially career stalling, will break them mentally. Though they are the ideal soldier, they do not involve themselves with any other species, at least for the most part.

Caleb's pirates were drifting along when they intercepted a message from the space station Ayeka. The message held information on a new kind of nanomachine that can manipulate the body's metabolism rate, which interested the overweighed Caleb. With the knowledge that they sought support from Delta, Caleb ordered his pirates to move and plan a raid on the station before the deal was finalized.

Meanwhile, Delta sent troops to help defend the space station while negotiations continued. Two of them were Daren, a Solarii Sune, and Kota, a Luarii Sune. Kota seeks to become Daren's friend, whether he likes it or not.


Whew. It's about time I finally posted this story. To explain, I began writing it on November 2021 and completed it in December of the same year. It took so long for this story to post because the owner of the space kitsune, also known as spacesunes and Sunes, VengenceMkII, took his sweet time reading and editing it. It took him many months (and me offering a bribe) to complete it. XD

I also wanted Caleb_Lloyd Caleb_Lloyd's opinion on the story before posting it. And now that it's posted, is that everything on the backlog? Um, no. There's still Once Upon a Time in England and The Werewolf Connection (currently being reviewed and edited). But after that, there won't be any unposted stories. Just unwritten ones.

Still, I hope you enjoy my first proper science fiction story.

Spacesunes belongs to Kirunoキルノ
Caleb belongs to Caleb_Lloyd Caleb_Lloyd
Story is edited by Kirunoキルノ
Picture in thumbnail is made by Chu Chu