Posts Tagged ‘lore’

Relation Revelation

Posted by Victor on .

Welcome to Defender Zik Episode 6: Apodian Ambush!

Our story opens in the infirmary aboard Bastion Space Station, with Doctors Taylor and Rundenfurt having called a little reunion to share some test results. Zik and Vera are already present as Trent and Amelia arrive, and are asked to have a seat.

Vera takes the floor to explain some very important news the new arrivals. She’s been a surrogate mother to both of them, taking care of them since they came to her from separate prison camps a year apart. Watching them as they grew, Vera was always struck by how similar they were at times. She asked Doctor Taylor to check, and her suspicions were totally confirmed – Trent and Amelia are half-siblings!

Amelia squeals in delight at the news and grabs Trent. She gives her stunned brother a huge squeeze and a big kiss on the cheek. Now she understands the way she’s always loved him! And for Trent, this explains his constant awkwardness around her – loving her deeply, but feeling strange about romance.

Our hero Zik inquires as to how this could have happened.  Vera explains, and with that, let’s have a…


In the beginning of the Zernabian prison camps, couples who produced children were split up from each other. You see, Queen Elcyra understood that the family is the foundational unit of civilization, so she kept families from forming. The evil monarch did everything she could to remove her prisoners’ will to rebel.

At first, Elcyra only kept the remaining Zernabians around as a source of genetic material in case her Clonoids failed. But shortly after Amelia and Trent were born, she came to the conclusion that her backup genetic stock was no longer needed. Sadistically, instead of freeing her slaves, she decided to sterilize them and work them to death.

Dr. Wagner

Posted by Victor on .

The gorillaurs force Defender Zik and Tanaka to the mysterious house, which sits in a patch of the jungle which is withered and dead looking. Waiting for them on the porch is an unexpected figure from Zoz history – Dr. Neil Wagner!

A Brief History Of Dr. Neil Wagner

Dr. Wagner was born on Earth, in the United States, and traces his ancestry to Germany. He became involved in the secret Project Zoz, and his primary duty was to collect the DNA information and build the biological printer that would be needed to seed Earth life on the new Zozian home-world.

Before the launch of the Project Zoz colony ship, his deep genetic research brought many truths to his attention. He learned how to slow his own ageing process down dramatically, something he’s continued to improve over the centuries. Realizing that sharing this discovery could lead to chaos among the population of Earth, he hid it, not even informing the other members of Project Zoz.

During the trip to Zoz, the plan was for almost everyone to be in cryogenic stasis, and to have rotating caretakers spend five years awake each, ensuring that the ship systems did not become compromised on the centuries-long journey. Dr. Wagner, who was also integral to the design of the stasis system, offered to take the first shift, since that’s when most of the potential problems were anticipated to arise. He also ensured that his name was last in the rotation.

In this way, Wagner ensured that he could stay awake for the entire journey. There were no serious on-board problems for him to deal with, so he dedicated all his time to refining his anti-ageing process, continually extending his possible lifespan. He was after every scientists dream: unlimited time to unlock the mysteries of the universe!

He turned his attention to the genetic data he had collected for all the Earth life, making what he considered to be improvements. Some of the more delicate plants were made hardier. Mosquitos were refined to no longer desire human blood. Orcas would lose their cruelty. And then his highest achievement: the Chadee! Chimpanzees acquired a human level of intelligence, with various other improvements to allow speech and increased fine motor skills in their hands.

When it came time to look at his anti-ageing technology again, he began to scrutinize his own DNA in great detail, improving everything he could. One DNA segment puzzled him, as it seemed injected, and he reasoned it must have come from a virus. He then looked for the same sequence in the other sleeping humans, and he found it in very nearly everyone. So he fixed the problem in everyone he found it in (including several of Zik’s ancestors), without ever waking anyone up.

At the end of the trip, the other people scheduled to take a five-year supervisory shift were puzzled that they weren’t awoken. Individually, they approached Dr. Wagner, and he told them that he had re-jigged the duty roster so that fewer people would have to suffer what amounted to a five-year loss of life doing a boring and unnecessary job. Most reacted with skepticism, but turned their attention to the urgent and difficult task of terraforming their new home.

Then, as Zoz became populated with life, the Chadee were discovered. When Wagner’s upgrades were exposed, the rest of the Zozians were furious with him. During a private interrogation with the leaders of the project, Wagner boldly admitted to having meddled with the genes of everyone who had the genetic anomaly he’d fixed. The elders were stunned, shunned him forever, and agreed among themselves not to tell the Zozians about it until they were ready, because there was already great unease about the difficulty of settling Zoz at the time.

The secret of that genetic tinkering is still only known to a handful of elders, and debate continues among them whether to release the information publicly.

An astonished Zik asks how he could still be alive, since nearly two hundred years have passed since he was last heard from, and Wagner reveals that he has solved the problem of aging! Or rather, that he thought he had. Meanwhile, Wagner has questions of his own, specifically: what are Zik and Tanaka doing sneaking around on his island?

Zik explains their situation, which Wagner was aware of, and apologizes for trespassing, since he was unaware anyone lived here. Then Wagner decides to invite Defender Zik and Tanaka to witness the genesis of Wagner’s plan, which will kill everyone on Zoz, them included! An incredulous Zik follows him into the house…


Posted by Victor on .

Mizhakwan shows Defender Zik what she’s been up to in the cavern. Sitting in front of the thickest part of the crystals, she sings an Inuit lullaby. As she sings, a new crystal emerges from the mass and begins to grow towards her.  An amazed Zik watches as it grows and glows in response to her song.

Once it is close enough to be uncomfortable, Mizhakwan ceases her song, giving it a playful tap. She explains that she’s managed to teach the crystal to avoid getting too close with this Pavlovian strategy of feeding it only until it has grown large enough.

Suddenly, their experiments are interrupted by a deep, overpowering sound broadcast into their helmets. All the crystals in the cavern begin pointing somewhere outside. What’s happening?!


Mizhakwan speaks several languages, including a couple of Inuit languages. She’s singing a lullaby that also teaches the names of the fingers. Here’s the full song, with each line translated into English:

Kullu kullu kullu kullu naaniippi? (Thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb, where are you?)
Maanippunga maanippunga qaanuippilii? (Here I am! Here I am! How are you?)

Tiikiq tiikiq tiikiq tiikiq naaniippi? (Index finger, index finger, index finger, index finger, where are you?)
Maanippunga maanippunga qaanuippilii? (Here I am! Here I am! How are you?)

Qitirsiiq qitirsiiq naaniippi? (Middle finger, middle finger, where are you?)
Maanippunga maanippunga qaanuippilii? (Here I am! Here I am! How are you?)

Miikiliraq miikiliraq naaniippi? (Ring finger, ring finger, where are you?)
Maanippunga maanippunga qaanuippilii? (Here I am! Here I am! How are you?)

Iiqiquq iiqiquq naaniippi? (Pinky finger, pinky finger, where are you?)
Maanippunga maanippunga qaanuippilii? (Here I am! Here I am! How are you?)

Qaanuippisi? (How are all of you?)

Shattered World

Posted by Victor on .

The next day, the Temerity arrives at lonely planet Hypnos, adrift in the galaxy without a star to orbit. Francisco reports that the trajectory of the small world takes it up out of the galactic plane, and it loops back down somewhere up the spiral arm. This planet has travelled a long way in the intergalactic void before its return near Zoz!


Zoz is quite far away from Earth! And the Zozian colony ship went in a completely different direction than most of the other refugees that left Earth all those centuries ago. Back then, the first people after the Zozians realized that if they travelled within our spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy, and towards the galactic core, the stars would be more numerous and closer together on average. This meant that as they established their new empires among the stars, they could get from system to system more quickly, which means resupply and defense is quicker and easier. The competition for habitable core-ward worlds was fierce, but the competition up and down was basically non-existent, because one runs out of star systems to go to in those directions.

But up is the direction the Zozian colony ship went. The priority for them was finding the exoplanet that was most like Earth in order to terraform it and establish an oasis of Earth-life in a place where it wouldn’t need to re-adapt to totally new conditions. The world they found happened to be towards the top of the galactic plane, which is why no one ever found them in all that time. Zoz is in a backwater area of the galaxy from the point of view of the other human civilizations!

Zik remarks that planet Hypnos has some incredibly huge canyons scarring its surface, but he gets distracted by the debris field they’re entering. It’s quite thick, and he needs all hands in the cockpit to help identify and eliminate the asteroid threats.

As they plow through the debris field, whatever the flotsam repulsors can’t push out of the way, Trent blasts with the point defense cannons! They finally make it through thanks to great teamwork and Zik’s piloting skills.

It’s time for a closer look at the remote and desolate planet Hypnos, and what they discover is a shattered world of craggy canyons and deep craters! What happened to this place?!

Where There’s Smoke

Posted by Victor on .

After a few hours hurtling at ludicrous speeds into deep space, all systems on the Temerity are running smoothly.  Trent has been resting in his cabin while Dakaasin has been using the tactical station on the bridge to monitor the cockpit interface systems, but the start of his first shift on duty is coming up. Hungry, he decides to head to the galley for a quick bite before getting ready. He reflects on how cool it is that Zik was willing to hire him on as part of the crew, manning the tactical station and the Temerity’s considerably powerful weapons, despite having blown a huge hole in the side of  the Kodiak! Adapting to life in space requires a whole new way of thinking, but Trent is confident he’ll get the hang of it.

Stepping into the hall, Trent catches a whiff of the worst odor you can smell on a ship: smoke! Throughout history, fire on a ship has been the worst enemy of sailors and spacefarers alike! He charges into the galley, following the scent and raising the alarm, but stops short at a strange sight. Mizhakwan, a medicine woman who Zik has trusted for years, is in the galley calmly creating a small smoldering fire in a seashell and fanning it with a feather. Trent has never seen these things before, and, completely bewildered, asks Miz what she’s doing.

Mizhakwan explains that’s she’s just doing a smudging, and Trent is just in time to give her a hand. Being a little shorter than average, Miz explains to Trent that he can reach all the hatches she can’t to let the smoke into all the spaces it needs to go to make sure everything is clean.


You see, dear readers, a large number of the Zozian colonists who left Earth all those centuries ago were North American First Nations people. The leader of Project Zoz, the secret initiative to create the first human interstellar colony, was a billionaire engineer named Edward Eriksen, who had humble beginnings as the son of a Cree mother and a European father. Then, a prophecy was made by an influential Ojibwe medicine man about an imminent disaster that would burn the Earth. When Edward quietly put the word out among the elders that he was planning an interstellar exodus, they recognized the opportunity to do what the ancestors of the Ojibwe had done when the prophecy of the coming of Europeans had been made before they arrived – they would migrate away from the impending danger! They also saw the wisdom of establishing life on other planets, and thought they could help be stewards and protectors of that new branch of life. As a result, a large percentage of the colonists who were selected to accompany Edward on the journey into the unknown were representatives of numerous First Nations, especially from the Anishinaabe. These people brought with them their traditions, one of which is smudging to clean the energy of their living spaces.

Duel With The Butcher

Posted by Victor on .

Defender Zik helps a shocked Amelia to her feet. The vile Jairian thug Morren has just assaulted her! But as Zik helps her to the infirmary, he hears a groan from the mess hall — Morren is already getting back to his feet! Realizing that the thug must be on performance enhancing drugs, Zik turns back, and recognizes Amelia’s assailant!

It’s the same Morren from Zik’s first encounter with the Jairians, during the incident at Baker Mine. Morren reveals that among the Jairians, Zik is hated, and referred to as the Butcher of Baker Mine! Donning his helmet, Morren vows revenge!


In the same way that achieving a mighty deed can get you known by another name associated with the act, screwing something up really badly can also follow you for a long time among Zozians. You can even gain an unflattering name if your unfortunate deed is particularly unique. Zozians have great respect for those who are brave and decisive in a moment of crisis, provided that the action you take in that moment is both virtuous and above all successful.
The bloodbath at Baker Mine is outwardly blamed on Zik by the Jairians, but Morren has never shaken the shame of his complete failure at the battle. Internally, he’s not well liked by most.

Devastated Island

Posted by Victor on .

Zik, his brother Todd, and Ramesh follow the panicked dolphins in their boat. On the way, Ramesh comments that Zik’s father seems to have aged since Ramesh visited last. Zik explains that it’s because his father has been suffering since the loss of Zik’s mother in a mountain climbing incident.

Soon they approach an island, the one next to Haven’s lab. Todd notices signs that part of the island seems to be freshly missing. They check the underwater scanner, and sure enough, they see the rubble from the island and the lab underneath. Todd points out that there’s someone trapped inside!

That’s all your favorite space hero needs to hear to spring into action! Zik instructs Todd to call for help, and asks Ramesh to find the underwater breathing unit stowed below-deck. He strips down and dives in, unaware of the danger that lurks in the cloudy water!


Zik’s mother Zorah died several months before the Jairian attack on Baker Mine. She was mountain climbing, a sport she was passionate about and taught to Zik. She was with several of of her climbing friends, scaling a large rounded cliff known as the Walrus Belly. There was no indication that the unusual formation was unstable, but there was a huge collapse of the face they were climbing on, and all three climbers disappeared in the rubble. What was left was a huge hole, as if there had been an enormous cavern underneath.
Shortly before the collapse, a meteorite was seen streaking through the sky and was captured on several skycar dashcams. This was unusual as it had not been detected before and dealt with before impacting the planet. Researchers backtracked its trajectory and amazingly, it arced way up over the solar system and would have been very near the same gravitational anomaly as from the spinning asteroid that Zik had just saved the planet from.

Baker Mine

Posted by Victor on .

Welcome to Beta Lalande 4, home of Baker Mine!


The Zozians have started expanding to nearby star systems in search of resources. In the case of Baker Mine, they have found a nice deposit of palladium, among other things on the same planet. One terraformed atmosphere later, the mineral rich planet is ready to be mined! Why terraform the atmosphere? Well, Delta Mining Systems, who run this mine, plan to be working here for a very long time, and it’s inevitable that a deadly atmospheric accident of some kind will occur eventually. It’s also far cheaper to terraform an atmosphere over that length of time than to pay the extra insurance rates it would cost to have such a complex running in a vacuum. It’s just safer and cheaper to make sure walking outside doesn’t kill you.

While a drone unloads Zik’s asteroid rubble into the processing plant, your favorite space hero hangs out in the security office with his pals Tanaka and Arata for a spirited game of dutch blitz, a card game popular among the Chadee.

But they’re interrupted by the station chief Frank, who sees something alarming on the news!

Distress Call

Posted by Victor on .

It’s story time! Zik starts telling Amelia the tale of how he saved the entire planet of Zoz. The story begins with a distress call from some scientists who had been studying a recent gravitational anomaly in the Zozian solar system. They noticed during their observations that a large asteroid was heading straight for Zoz!

Zik and his friend Ramesh happen to be fairly close to the asteroid in question, so they anchor the ore they were mining and set off to investigate. But when they arrive, they notice something highly unusual: the asteroid is spinning extremely rapidly! What will our hero do?


The gravitational anomaly that caused this spinning asteroid has never been explained, although it is theorized that it may have been linked with another unexplained event that occurred not long after, and which had another dire connection to Zik: the death of his mother. More on that later. But this asteroid is a real mystery. The odds that it would have randomly been sent straight at Zoz with such velocity from so far away were calculated to be incredibly tiny, even disregarding the unexplained nature of the anomaly. There are many who saw some kind of sinister cosmic intelligence behind this event…


Posted by Victor on .

Tanaka jumps out of his snub fighter and gives a huge high five to Zik.


Now we see what a Chadee is! They are a race of genetically engineered chimpanzees, who were given the ability to speak and understand at a human level by one of the geneticists that helped rebuild Earth’s ecosystem on Zoz. The development of the Chadee was very controversial when it became public, and the scientist responsible was widely condemned. Ultimately, the Chadee were accepted into Zozian society, although not everyone is comfortable with it, often calling them chimps or monkeys in an insulting way.

Meanwhile, as Zik begins to explain the story to Amelia (who has never seen an Earth animal), James Anchor interrupts to remind Zik that they aren’t safe where they are and need to evacuate as quickly as possible.