The Legend of the S.S.S. Prankster
Chapter 2: Biodraconis and Cry of Cosmic Winter
A story from of the Mendelbrot Universe
About half of the metagalactic Cosmic Dragons lived in the Cosmic Roost where the "trunk" of the Mendelbrot Cosmic Tree met the "crown". Here lay BioDraconis, the most guarded "planet" in the whole cosmos wedged between the Luffanian Protectorate, the Arkalkian Confederacy of Tribes, and the Mendelbrot Imperial Biarchy. The Luffanians and Arkalkians were above BioDraconis in the crown of the Tree and the Mendelbrots right below it in the center of the Cosmic Tree. It was often thought that all of the Cosmic Dragons had a 1/5th of the firepower of the Mendelbrot Biarchy forces whom they served in battle in emergencies.
The buzz of a thousand godzillion Dragons could be heard flying about the space near BioDraconis, the largest of the Dragon planetoids, which was full of things to eat, mostly planets and stars. Many would never make it to adulthood as they had a tendency of fighting and mating to the death. Only the Crystal Dragons were anything approaching civilized in term of the way they handled themselves with each other. Only about 10% of the Cosmic Dragons were Crystal Dragons who were the most powerful of all of the dragon genuses. Their thick hyperdense crystal hides and bones made them very difficult for the softer dragon species to fight.
In the center of Biodraconis lived Kaireeshatrillialikamagimanima, the Mother of All Crystal Dragons. She was so large that she could swallow the Arkalkian Royal Flagship whole (although with some difficulty). She was double the height and nearly equal to the width of the Imperial Complex on Carpathia, the largest constructed structure in the Cosmos. Her mate, Atraxmhadorshataketmat flew around the space beyond the Outer Cloud devouring anything that was not of the Cosmic Tree or the Outer Cloud unless specifically requested not to by one of the 8 races of the Front. He was usually about the size of his Dragon Mate, though his size varied depending on the feeding conditions of the Near Void so sometimes he was half her size and sometimes twice her size. He would return to the nest exactly 303 times per Generation of Power when a great Cosmic Winter approached.
The metagalactic Cosmic Dragons regulated their numbers so that there was only one of these greatest Cosmic Dragons per MetaGalaxy, a trillion galaxies of a trillion stars each, in the Cosmic Tree proper. This was the keep the balance of the Cosmos. However hordes of lesser galactic dragons, stellar dragons, and planetary dragons could be found all over the lower etheric density regions of the Cosmos. They tended though to live in clumps at the heart of huge space ecosystems that were populated by massive ancient creatures.
Biodraconis was at the center of the largest one in the Mendelbrot Cosmic Tree and its surrounding Outer Cloud, the truly colossal Northern Cosmic Sea which occupied 12% of the volume of the Tree proper. Getting to Biodraconis wasn't easy as the etheric tides of the Northern Cosmic Sea were quite vicious and only very powerful ships equipped with perfect dimensional phase shift modulators could make it. Luckily for the crew of the S.S.S. Prankster, it had the highest ship ratings known reserved for the supreme military command of the Arkalkian Front, the highest of the aristocracy, and the most high spiritual dignitaries of the Kha. They didn't even so much as feel a bump.
One eye of the Mother of Dragons opened suddenly and millions of Crystal Dragons fled the central cave on BioDraconis in mass, only returning slowly to gaze upon the great green-gold Dragon Goddess in all her terrible splendor. She took in a deep breath to smell the air that could be heard echoing throughout the heart of Biodraconis. She spoke in Royal Mendelbrot Metagalactic Crystal Draconic only one phrase, "It is coming". Then she closed her one open eye and promptly fell back asleep. The Crystal Dragons gathered in the cave all at once promptly said quietly "shit".
Of course she was not referring to Captain Asshat, for Cosmic Dragons could really give a shit less about the politics of everyone else. She had sensed trouble, which to Cosmic Dragons could only mean one thing. There was going to be a food shortage at some point soon. And when there is a food shortage, things get really pissy in the Dragon world. For everyone else it meant one thing, Cosmic Winter. Whether it was going to be an ordinary one or a great one was already known by the Dragon Goddess. She wasn't going to die, so obviously it was time for a nap.
It was actually a few years later that the S.S.S. Prankster cleared the Northern Cosmic Sea far enough to reach the orbit of Biodraconis. The ship's great engines slowed to what was required to maintain a stable orbit. Here, at the center of the Northern Cosmic Sea, the etheric density was hideously low. Even the bodies of the Carapthian born individuals found it difficult to adjust. The crew rested for several days before they felt ready to function. The captain and those designated took a small ship and landed in the great planes on one side of the planet to meet Infairicus, Wonto's dragon friend.
Here they landed near a great structure that looked very much like a Luffanian Crystal Palace though the colors were far different and it was rounder than the typical Luffanian one. This was one of the Halls of Friendship built by the Dragons to welcome those who were allied to them for a short social meeting. For Crystal Dragons a short social meeting was anything that lasted between a year and 100 years, but in this case it would have to be a great deal shorter as most non Dragons were not keen on the long conversations that Dragons tended to have when they tended to have them.
Infairicus was rather massive, about the size of a large gas giant, though in fact the Mendelbrots who had come down themselves were giants and so the relative difference was not as great. Infaricus stood about 10 times the height of 1st Officer Johnson, the largest crew member. But still, Crystal Dragons themselves were not so intimidating as some of the more aggressive species of Dragon such as the spiny, scaled, and often horned Mendelorian Dragons who were never approached in this manner unless one wanted to be vaporized without warning. But, as all good dragons, approaching these was possible as long as one talked the instinctive body language of the dragons. And then of course, another long winded dragon conversation would be had, though Crystals loved talking more than any of the other types.
Infairicus: Wonto! Wonto! Oh I've missed you. How is your family on Carpathia? I haven't seen them in ages.
Wonto: Hey! Infairicus! Oh, they are great. Dad's retired now. Mom's got some more time at the hotel till she is too. Lima's just finished school. Varnek is a working logistics for some lesser Duke near the border with Parakia.
Infairicus: Wow. Well I remember when Lima was so young and so bright and full of hope just leaving the first training of her 43rd education spur. So long ago, Wonto.
Wonto: Oh yes. She was very happy that part was over. First trainings are always tough on any spur.
And this sort of conversation went on for about 10 hours as Wonto and Infairicus caught up on the entire history of everything that happened that they hadn't discussed or hadn't discussed enough on their transvids to each other. Everyone waited patiently while this went on though just as Johnson had foretold.
Infairicus: So that's the whole story. Wow! Amazing that that much as happened to you.
Wonto: And to you! Wow! So, you're going almost ready to start dating. That's going to be exciting. Anyone in mind?
Infairicus: I've got several in mind who I'd like, but we'll see whose the right one for me. Gonna have to bite them real hard to find out. It's tricky. The one's that really love you, they don't mind if they lose a few scales or suffer a few gashes. Then the rest is about the conversation.
So this is the famous Captain? I've heard alot about you Captain.
Captain Asshat: Yes. Yes. Greetings.
Infairicus: What is it that you need from me Captain? I hear from Wonto that you want to know about the politics of the Space Dragons and what our opinion is of the various Dragon flocks of known space.
Captain Asshat: Yup. Wanted to go out and find an evil space dragon that we could safely take out without getting into any trouble.
1st Officer Johnson (gritting his teeth): What the Captain means to say, your elegancy, is that we were looking for information about potential criminal dragons that could be brought in for questioning by our services.
Captain Asshat: Well actually I..
1st Officer Johnson: Just like we talked about CAPTAIN. Just like we talked about.
Infairicus: Yes. Well. There just so happens to be several known regions of hostile and aggressive dragons known to us in the Ring Kingdoms as well as actively dangerous dragons beyond them in multiple directions. Quite a large number in fact. We tend not to concern ourselves with them as they pose no real threat to anything in the Cosmic Tree. The ones in the Ring Kingdoms that do not agree with the position of the Dragon Goddess still bear her Honor and do not actively challenge Her directly. Simple Space Dragon politics between clans. The one's beyond, they are outright dangerous and do not hesitate to attack.
Captain Asshat: Would you consider any of them evil?
Infairicus: Well more wild and non civilized. They just see everything that is smaller than them as food. Actually they tend to see everything larger than them as food as well. Some have alliances with sentient races of the Chaos Region. It depends on the situation.
Captain Asshat: So there are no truly evil dragons at the current time.
Infairicus paused for a few minutes in silence. 1st Officer Johnson and some of the other started getting a little nervous. Infairicus clearly seemed emotionally agitated. A tear was seen to drop from her eye.
Infairicus: Well. There is something. Though I don't know if I should tell you. We're not supposed to talk about it.
Captain Asshat: What? Why not?
Infairicus: It's a secret we're not supposed to share. It's a thing that's not spoken of. We don't like talking about it.
Captain Asshat: So there is an evil dragon. And you know about it!
Infairicus: Oh but they are so evil. No, I must consult with someone else first. Let us take the day off. We will talk about this again tomorrow.
Wonto: But Infairicus. Is it that serious?
Infairicus: I'm afraid it is Wonto. And I'm sorry. I have to ask first before I can tell you.
Wonto: Alright. Does anyone else know about this?
Infairicus: Only the Secret Keepers of the Dragons. We have told no one. Now I have to ask them since you've asked me. Let me see first. Please.
Wonto: Yes of course. I'm sorry it's upset you.
Infairicus: It's upset us all. And there's something else you all need to know. But you'll have to keep it a secret.
Wonto/Captain Asshat/1st Officer Johnson: What?
Infairicus: The Dragon Goddess has said it is coming.
Wonto/Captain Asshat/1st Officer Johnson: Cosmic Winter?
Infairicus: Yes. And there's more.
1st Officer Johnson: Oh. I see. So He is coming?
1st Officer Johnson: And is He alone?
1st Officer Johnson: Shit.
Captain Asshat: Wait does that mean...Oh shit.
Wonto: And it's already started?
Captain Asshat: Well, that's going to make some people rather unhappy. But this other thing is worse?
Captain Asshat: How is that possible?
Infairicus: Because the cosmos survives. The other thing isn't about survival. It's about something else.
Captain Asshat: Crime?
Captain Asshat: Alright. Talk it out with your people then.
Captain Asshat: We're here to help Wonto. Maybe they want that help.
1st Officer Johnson: I think this is an emotional moment sir. We should go.
Captain Asshat: Fine. Till tomorrow then.
Infairicus: Yes until tomorrow.