KretchSteamclaw's House of Fuckery

This be where the fuckery happens

I had once met a Zyrix named Kriiva. It was not often that one might meet a Zyrix, far as their colonies were from the more occupied regions in the galaxy. The Zyrix have had limited contact with humankind, though this Kriiva was a scholar and an anthropologist much like myself. It was they who'd reached out to me, having heard of my work from reading a study I had done on the theological traditions of the Wave-Watchers of Auror that had apparently been translated into the Zyrix language. Until I met Kriiva I had only briefly heard about the Zyrix and I was excited to learn that they wanted to meet, learn about each others' cultures, and hopefully help to build a positive relationship among our peoples.

We agreed to meet up at a space station in orbit around Neshallk and from there travel to Kriiva's homeworld, Virrsha. I’d spent a number of days alongside Kriiva, learning as much as I could about their culture. Kriiva had insisted on wearing their isosuit; they seemed to believe that all humans were afraid of beetles, and was surprised when I told them that I was not. Nonetheless, they wore that out-of-place and probably quite stuffy suit as we sat on the balcony of a rural inn overlooking a vast jungle on the on Virrsha. Kriiva’s isosuit translated the buzzing, fluttering, and clicking that composes the Zyrix spoken language to my mother tongue.

“I admit, Ms. Wong, I am glad you agreed to meet with me. It seems rare these days that the scholarly minds of all the great peoples do not attempt to learn from one another. It is a shame.”

“I agree,” I said. “It would do wonders for peaceful diplomacy for us all to learn about one another.”

“Ah, alas, such courtesy does not seem to be desired by the politicians. Not when there is conquest and resources to squabble over.” Kriiva inclined the suit’s helmet slightly. “Best to leave civil conversation to xenoanthropologists like ourselves, yes? Now, we said we wanted to talk religion today, correct?”

FIX FIX ALL FROM HERE DOWN-

“We did,” I said as I consulted my notebook. “You previously said that religion was one of the few things your people is actually able to agree upon.So you had mentioned in our letters that the religion of your people features many themes involving death. How would this have come about as a common theme?”

“That question has a simple answer, but it is a fun topic, if I must say.” Kriiva reclined in their chair. “Look out into the rainforest, Ms. Wong. Do you not see how large it is? How it teems with vicious and dangerous things? Now look at me.” Kriiva slid back the suit’s visor, revealing part of the writhing mass of beetles that comprise their swarm. “When I last counted, there were 10,204 beetles in my swarm. We are composed of small, fragile prey-things. Each of the malign deities in our cultural religion is a representation of death. Tsetu represents the great amphibians, and Chaata represents the giant dragonflies, both of which have historically been our most common predators. Juktuk represents death by trampling, Ssuru by drowning, Qac’luu is death by carnivorous plant, and Zambal is death from going underground.”

“Was the underground so dangerous? What is even underground on this planet?”

Kriiva made a sound that I assumed to be the Zyrix equivalent of a sigh. “Admittedly, no one really has checked. Suffice to say that the idea of going under groundor in water, evenis enough to set off an instinctual aversion. Such ideas fill us with dread, even if we know we would be protected in, say, a submersible or a burrowing machine. So far, our curiosity has not overcome our collective fear.” Kriiva looked out beyond the balcony. “I assume it is something probably horrible and dangerous.”

“Maybe it’s just magma in the planet’s mantle?”

“That is a reasonable guess, though Zambal has never been associated with heat, magma, volcanoes, or fire in classical writings and images.” Kriiva picked up their computer tablet and brought up an image from old Zyrix legend. A smoky, black, jagged hand with too many fingers reaching out from a fissure in the earth. The glyphic writing in the adjacent passage named the thing as Zambal. “I suppose the only argument one could make for the ‘magma’ could be the smoke in the fissure and cloaking Zambal itself. Either way, it is very fascinating stuff that I only wish our people had the drive to investigate further.”

“Would you ever be a part of a team to investigate the underground?”

“Are you joking? Never. It is dark down there. I would probably die,” Kriiva said with a laugh. Zyrix laughs make each beetle in the whole swarm vibrate and heave. I would be lying if I said that a small part of me didn’t find it unsettling to watch.

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