Part 31: Bonus: Thraddash Cultures
While exploring Thraddash space, I'm hit by an alien fleet!
VIDEO: CULTURE NINETEEN
How wonderful! Someone new to fight! We, the Thraddash of Culture Nineteen -- famous Ur-Quan Combat Thralls -- know well the value of a good fight. Either you win and prove your superiority... SNORT! Or you lose and are vanquished. If the vanquished is lucky, it may survive to learn an important lesson from its defeat. This is the way of the Thraddash! We fight and learn and improve! All other cultural schemes are inferior. This is a proven fact.
What have you to say before we begin combat?
Hostility! HARG! HARG! HARG! We are not 'hostile'. Hostility is unwarranted aggression! SNORT! If you want to know about hostility, let us tell you about Culture Twelve!
Culture Twelve was SO hostile that while they were on their way to their first great battle, Jugkah, the battlemaster, stepped on Gnusko the tactician's foot, causing him great pain. The annoyed Gnusko turned on his battlemaster, Jugkah, and sliced his body in half! This miffed Jugkah's troops who took it upon themslves to murder Gnusko and his elite troops. The REAL trouble started when now-dead Jugkah's master sergeants Muuhd and Pudt started arguing about how to kill Gnusko -- simple crucifixion, or the slower 'Lead Tatoo' technique. The argument was resolved when Muuhd and his five hundred troops were slaughtered by Pudt and his gang.
Well, this probably all would have gone down in history as a great day of learning for Culture Twelve, were it not for the surprise arrival of Culture Twelve's original enemy, the Yajag and his cronies, who wiped out Culture Twelve's army, thus beginning the long and glorious Culture Thirteen. SNORT! Now THAT'S hostility! We, on the other hand, merely want to kill you.
Talk! Bah, talk is for sissies, weaklings like those of Culture Fourteen. For ten thousand years, we Thraddash have fought and died, learned and improved. Then, along came Culture Fourteen which claimed that all this -- this perfect method was wrong! That each time we violently transformed to a new Culture, we inevitably blasted ourselves back at least five hundred years in development. Hmph! Some people just cannot accept the cost of progress.
Indeed, the FOOLISHNESS of Culture Fourteen's peaceful whining was revealed when they were conquered by Culture Fifteen after only a ten year reign. And did the change to Culture Fifteen set us back five hundred years? NO! SNORT! Two, maybe three hundred years, tops. The short span of Culture Fourteen's reign is objective proof that as a way of life, peace is a failure.
What!?! SNORT! MORE talk? It amazes me that you ever got out of the orbit of your home planet! Yak! Yak! Yak! -- Yammer! Yammer! Yammer! Sigh... very well, we will talk... for a moment.
Our Culture Nineteen is the most formidable ever to appear in Thraddash space. Admittedly, we said something similar about Culture Eighteen, BUT IT IS TRUE! With our rather swift defeat by the Ur-Quan and subsequent enslavement, we realized that it was time for a change! A new Culture had to be established! So, of course, we began a thermo-nuclear exchange to decide who would lead this new culture. We were all quite disappointed when the Ur-Quan in orbit above our homeworld launched waves of fighters who intercepted all our missiles. The Ur-Quan explained that slaves were not permitted to engage in such destructive conflicts, so my people, being superior, introduced a super-lethal poison into our opponents' water and air, thus ending the conflict, HARG! HARG! HARG!
The Ur-Quan were not particularly happy about this resolution, and killed all of our leaders, which under other circumstances would have started a larger inter-Thraddash war, but the Ur-Quan appointed new leaders, apparently chosen at random, and explained that further disobedience would result in the destruction of our species. Frustrating, huh?
A foolish question! We are their slaves, dolt! What else would we be? When the Ur-Quan first appeared in our space over fifty years ago, coming from the direction of the Ophiuchi stars, we attacked them with gusto, zipping in to fire our Mark 6 blasters and then theoretically zipping back out to prepare for another attack run. SNORT! Unfortunately, before we could zip out, our ships were either blasted to smithereens by the Ur-Quan's fusion bolts or were picked apart by the swarms of Ur-Quan fighter-vessels.
You may wonder why we didn't use our afterburners to escape. The answer is simple. Fifty years ago, our ships had not yet been modified for this enhancement! It was not until 2143 that Maintainance Engineer Reeunk invented the afterburner effect, when he accidentally stuck his cigar in the aft fuel valve of the ship he was working on. WHABOOM!!! The ship took off like a farg out of hell, and Reeunk was fried to a crisp. Yes, we remember Reeunk with much fondness. Of course, we have refined the device, and now that our entire fleet has been fitted with the Reeunk Afterburners, perhaps NOW the Ur-Quan will let us fight at their side as TRUE battle thralls.
We wanted to, OH how we wanted to! After all, we were the first battle thralls the Ur-Quan enslaved in this part of space, we thought we had priority! But the Ur-Quan thought we were too weak to hold our own in the upcoming battles, so they left us here... to guard the flank.
If only we had been WHIMPER! stronger and less... SNARF! troublesome. Another reason the Ur-Quan wouldn't take us with them was because we kept picking fights with the new battle slaves, like the Umgah blobbies, or those religious idiots, the Ilwrath.
Where did they go, you ask? This is a secret, of course! We can't tell you! If we told you that they were fighting a secret war against a mysterious invader, you might find some way to use that information against our masters. So forget it! No secrets!
WHAT FOOLISH STUPIDITY! HARG! HARG! HARG! WHY THAT'S AS DUMB AN IDEA AS -- what did you say? Attack the Ur-Quan's enemy? Help them win their war? Why that's a... that's a... THAT'S AN EXCELLENT IDEA! I'm glad I thought of it! We shall marshal our forces and leave at once!
Stupid, human pitiful weakling dog, you have been helpful, so as a reward, you may leave alive, and when we return from our glorious campaign, we may even honor you with a retelling of the many great battles we shall certainly win. Until then, get lost.
That was one way this could have ended - the Thraddash sphere of influence charges into Kohr-Ah space, where it gets a lot smaller.
Time for option three. Rolling back time again!
Hunh? Hnyarg?! WHAT?! SNARL! YOU SAY WHAT?!!! Foolish, pitiful, small-headed being! WE WILL DEEESTROY YOUUU AND EVERYBODY ON YOUR SHIP!!
While the Torch is more than a match for most normal ships, the Heart of Gold can liquify them almost effortlessly.
So, I find some more!
We are the Ur-Quan fighting slaves of Culture Nineteen. Please don't run away. We wish to be your species' new role-models! Unfortunately, to do this, we may need to blast you into your component atoms.
Perhaps, after we have made you our slaves, we can accomodate your wishes. Until then...
We are strong. You are weak. And HARG! HARG! We HATE weak. We do not need weak friends! We only want slaves and teachers. Since you have nothing to teach us and refuse to be our slave, then you are our enemy. Such logic must be obvious even to a stupid being like yourself.
What? You leave before the lesson begins? We have so much to teach you! Let us show you just one thing, it's called the 'Surprise Attack'.
I'm not too surprised.
Unless you are even more inferior that we believe and that's hard to imagine, you already know who we are -- the Thraddash of Culture Nineteen. We are the original Ur-Quan fighting slaves, the cream of their elite forces, your instructors in the harsh realities of life. SNORT! It is time for your next lesson.
HARG! HARG! HARG! We like secret weapons! We will now give you the opportunity to give them to us.
This goes on for a while. I need to blow up a lot of Thraddash.
We will test this hypothesis in the laboratory of life -- IN GLORIOUS BATTLE! Your puny, inadequate weaponry is no match for the Thraddash Mark 6 Blaster, with its 4 Megawatt energy discharge. Nor can your slow, bloated tubs compare to our Flash Turbo-Boosted warships! We have nothing to fear!
Inferior Aliens. You have once again intruded upon the territory of the Thraddash. This is a patrolled region of space. Your presence here is considered an act of War! How wonderful!
A Human ship is a poor second to the Ur-Quan Dreadnought. Your weapons do not have the killing strength of an Ur-Quan fusion blast. SNORT! The Ur-Quan are still your betters.
VIDEO: CULTURAL REFORM
You have destroyed so many of us! We are humbled in your presence! We thought you were a weakling, a coward, a pitiful sniveling wimp. We were wrong, so wrong! WHIMPER! You have shown yourself superior to ourselves, indeed, even the Ur-Quan! We wish to learn from you, thus improving our Culture. Give us your wisdom, mighty Teacher! What is the secret to your success?
Wait! I've got it! It's the way you respond to our hailing calls each time we meet! Just as they say, first impressions are SO important! So tell us, please! Tell us how WE should present ourselves.
Rhymes? Like in poetry? SNORT! Isn't that kind of... you know... not-tough stuff? SNORT! What am I saying! You are the Great Teacher! You know best! If rhyming is necessary, then Teacher, we will be rhyming all the timing.
Now that we understand the nuances of introduction, Great Teacher, we have an even more significant question. Your devastation of our battle forces have shown us that our Culture Nineteen is inferior to your own; therefore, we will adopt your methods, your techniques, but what shall we name our new Culture?
You are wise, Great Teacher. I will think long and hard on this matter! GRUNT! It must reflect the profound changes in our social order. GRUNT! It must clearly explain the nature of our civilization! GRUNT!
Yes! I have it! The perfect name is Culture Twenty!
We need to learn so much from you, such as... How should we act in our new Culture? What is our direction, our ethical base?
Wacky!...Wacky? I do not understand. We shall watch these vids of yours. We shall study them, to learn to be... wacky. Then, when we are wacky enough, we shall test our new wackiness in combat to discover, no doubt, the great advantage it has given us. Thank you, Great Teacher.
We have much work to do to implement these sweeping cultural changes. Transferring from the allegiances and mores of one culture to another is a difficult and time-consuming task. We beg you, great warrior from Earth, give us time to make the changes you have suggested. Return later to see our brave new world.
He's exaggerating. Let's see how it's coming along!
Blancmange rhymes with orange
Space is the place
The stars in their courses
Cannot catch the horses?
SNORT! This is hard!
We of Culture Twenty are glad to meet you here in space, oh wise Teacher from Earth!
We have studied and studied the vids you left with us, oh Great Teacher, but we fear we are unable to grasp the essential truth and power of being wacky. For example, last month, in an attempt to be spontaneously absurd, I turned to my subordinate and in a high-modulated tone of voice, explained that there was a penguin sitting on the vidscreen. Not knowing what a penguin was, my subordinate spun to face the vidscreen, his hydraulic holster snapping his weapon into his hand. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! The penguin, the vidscreen, and a large section of the wall were destroyed.
You see, Captain. Perhaps we are not suited to being wacky... and SNIFF!... that was my only penguin.
Yes, Teacher, there is at least one event of note. We may have once mentioned our encounters with the tumbling red probes, the ones that attack relentlessly while spouting bizarre peace offerings. Initially we believed that they were coming from the direction of the Vega star system. Now we believe the opposite.
Uh.. no, Captain, we don't know what the opposite of Vega is, that's not what we meant. We now believe that the probes are RETURNING to Vega. As yet we do not know the nature of their mission.
We eagerly await your return, Great Teacher.
Some other Thraddash poetry:
Blood is red, bruises are blue,
When strangers come here, we run them through!
HARG! HARG! HARG!
Good one, eh?
There once was a Thraddash named Mak-Roni,
whose ship was in total caco-phony.
He got lost in Apodis
and died in Draconis
Because all that he ate was baloney!
HARG! HARG! HARG!
Constantly moving are
space, stars, time
form not function
meets in death
Next: Mining the Melnorme for information.