Coign of Vantage

Coign of Vantage


It didn't take us long to realise that the skin of the megastructure was strong enough to support the weight of the Thunderbolt.

We had landed on the building hoping to find an entrance or doorway, but our initial survey was a failure. While the outer surface was worn and marked, it was thick and seemed impervious to any kind of drilling or explosive, even if we could guess a suitable place to try.

So we stayed with the ship, while Jaimila took a grav belt and flew high above the building looking for ways inside. For hours, she glided across the sky, with only the curious flyers for company. It seemed as though our efforts would be fruitless again until she spotted a small oasis living precariously on the surface of the megastructure.

Long ago, something had slammed into the building and buried itself deep. Over time, soil and sand had drifted into the radial cracks to sustain tufts of grass, moss and small trees. We landed nearby while Jaimila explored the crater, finding a crack wide enough for her to crawl through and slip inside.

We lost radio contact with her almost immediately and so the next couple of hours were spent anxiously awaiting her return.

It was almost sundown when she came back talking excitedly about huge vaulted chambers and mechanisms below our feet. She guessed that there must be other entrances or breaches of the skin, and a system that brought light to the interior, since there were plants growing and animals roaming about the vast spaces therein.

The Captain decided that we should investigate further, but I couldn't see how we would get our equipment inside. Jaimila said that she saw many obstructions and obstacles, with her view only afforded through collapsed beams and fractured joints. Rhand smiled at my protestations and went to the ship, returning with something around her right forearm.

It was pale blue with traces of opalescent white and resembled a section of rigid armour with a mailed glove. As she held it up in the fading sun, shards of rigid light sprang from it like slashing claws, while the air was filled with an angry buzzing and the taint of ozone. The claws extended and retracted as her fingers moved, even changing shape from stabbing rods to serrated blades.

Sweeping her arm down at the fracture where Jaimila had emerged, the blades of light moved effortlessly through the refractory material, sending fragments of rock clattering into the interior.

One of the Lazloi's greatest achievements she said was the manipulation of force fields. They formed them dynamically into any arbitrary shape they desired, using them as personal shields and as hand-to-hand weapons. It was also the basis of their manipulation of matter, allowing them to create the blue and white metals that all their technology was made from.

This she gestured was a gift, but its energy pack was finite; so we would only be using it sparingly. Now that we had found an existing breach like this, she explained, we could open it further without additional risk.

We would wait till first light, before venturing inside.

-- Cyana Bristo, former scientist with the Echolian Science Institute


V3 figure with JWear and Sapphire Fox Hair. Original starship model created in Hexagon, textured with UV Mapper Pro and Photoshop CS2.

Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 5 Pro Studio. Post processed in Photoshop CS2

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Updated: 29 December 2006

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