Showing posts with label concept art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label concept art. Show all posts

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Character Concept: Lodoxol

Lodoxol faced forward. “Rowan will be here shortly.” Shadows engulfed the clearing, as the roar of thrusters filled the air, startling them both and drowning out all conversation. Powerful negative gravity keels pushed against the planet, as the Windy Reed glided into view against the eastern horizon.

Centuries ago, the Windy Reed had been a kwercian battleship, her design guided by the Terran shipwrights of the time, though little of her ancient original appearance remained. She was sloped and jagged, with the look of a broad, rocky, airborne island. Buried in her flanks, she housed a pair of gauss canons, their electrical spikes potent enough to rip apart nearly any starship she encountered. Missile and maser turrets dotted the edges of the upper deck. Vines swarmed over the dorsal hull, draped like ropes of fringe from the edges. Trees sprouted from amongst the overgrowth, getting denser toward the aft thrusters. Rising up from the aft-most section, a massive tree spread sturdy branches over the deck, each of them thick with dark green leaves.

Although she appeared alive, none of her trees, vines or stone was natural. Within the great tree was her command deck, and the trunk was little more than a lift leading to it. She was a tribute to the ancient kwercian longships and tirelessly served as a symbol of office for the highest seat in the kwercian government: Head of the Senate. Her Kwercian name was Nariphon, and she was named after the mythical longship that was believed to have given birth to the first kwercian females.

The starship set down at the opposite end of the clearing, leaving little open space. Joining the other shuttlecrafts, the shuttle Tyrant landed a moment later.

“That’s all of them, right?” asked Amanda, and she nodded toward Lodoxol. “Our shuttles, I mean.”

“All six are accounted for, eh hm.” He watched impassively as a massive loading ramp descended from the fore underbelly of the Windy Reed. A moment later, Rowan led a platoon of oaken brutes out into the field, under the shadow of her starship. She spoke to them, and they saluted in response. Fanning out, five brutes to a shuttle, they set immediately to transferring the cargo crates.

Amanda stammered, “Shouldn’t we check the Tyrant’s crates for integrity?”

Lodoxol shook his head. “No need. Rowan scanned them while she was on Hygeia.”

“It’s not worth double checking?”

“No, Amanda. It’s not, eh hm.” Rowan waved to him from across the clearing, and he smiled patiently, his lips slick with saliva. “Shall we?” Amanda kept to his side as Lodoxol leisurely approached Rowan. “Who’s this?” asked Rowan when they had drawn close enough to speak over the roar of the engines. She nodded toward Amanda, casting her a suspicious look.

“My companion, eh hm,” said Lodoxol. “Captain Amanda Santiago, this is Rowan Fenmore du Quagbrae, acting Head of the Kwercian Senate. Rowan, this is Amanda.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” said Amanda, and she mechanically extended her hand. “What an honor.”

Rowan squinted, ignoring Amanda’s grip. “Of course it is. You can go.”

Amanda smiled thinly. “Great!” Angrily, she marched back to Olmox, Poryx and Elsummu.

When Amanda had reached the Costaguana’s boarding ramp, Rowan crossed her arms and regarded Lodoxol. “We finally meet, son of Perymdak.”

“Where are my prisoners?”

Rowan shrugged with forced indifference, her expression somewhat challenging. “One of my men mishandled his blaster rifle, and it went off. Sadly, your prisoners were vaporized. Sorry.”

Lodoxol scowled. “Vaporized?”

Rowan nodded. “Sadly.”

“They weren’t vaporized.” He fumed. “They escaped! One of them was a Wellcaster. I understand you have no idea what that means, but you’re lucky to be alive. You should’ve drugged him like I told you to.”

She snarled, “Like you told me to?”

“Yes, eh hm. He’s the one who destroyed the ithiral warships, you daft weed!” Angrily, he tapped the side of Rowan’s head, and she recoiled, swatting away his hand. “He’s also part of the crew that murdered my father!” Clenching his fists, he forced a deep breath. His voice was menacing. “I only needed you to do one thing.”

“How was I supposed to know? It’s not like you told me who he was.”

Lodoxol sneered, “And give you leverage to use against me? I think not!”

A stiff wind blew across the spore wood, knocking the trees together and bending the grasses in waves and ripples. Distracted momentarily, Rowan perked up and gestured for Lodoxol’s attention. “We’re being watched.” She glared at him. “You didn’t secure the landing zone?” “You assured me this place was safe, eh hm. Perhaps you should’ve chosen a different location.”

“Always secure the landing zone! That’s not something you should have to be told, son of Perymdak.” Tapping her temple, mocking his earlier gesture, she hissed, “Common sense. Try it on for size.”

Lodoxol growled, “Mind your tone.”

“Or what? You’ll cut me off?” She scoffed. “You need me as much as I need you, especially now. You lost your prisoners? This is me, crying.” She regarded him smugly. “Look, you want the crew of that hauler to pay for what they did to your father, and I want the human race to burn for what they did to my people.” She looked toward the crates as her troops marched them up the loading ramp. “As soon as that virophage gets out to the Core Worlds, we both win.”

“This is a blood debt, Rowan. I don’t ‘win’ until the Sanguine Shadow has been destroyed, and her command crew killed!” His muddy complexion reddened, and he stormed off.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Concept Art: Captain Jane Carter

Taking a moment to compose herself, she whispered, “There’s an assassin after me. I think he might already be here at the VelAquant.”

He winced. “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.” She got back to her feet and looked at her phone as she walked toward the bathroom. The text message read, “DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR. –RC.” Her breath stilled, and she stopped. Counting on the position of her body to block his view, she plucked the atom wrench from the table. “Wait,” she muttered, and she quietly twisted the end of the rod until the safety cap came off. Her back to him, she asked, “Gavin, how did you find my room?”

He snickered, and she heard the bed creak as he pushed off to stand. “It wasn’t hard. You aren’t that far away.”

She swallowed to moisten her throat. “I didn’t tell anyone where I was staying. Not even Val.” Timidly, she glanced sidelong at him and immediately spotted the soft white glow of his eyes.

“It would’ve been easier if it looked like you slipped in the shower,” growled Phoranxth, and his forearm took on the shape of a heavy blade. “Less painful, too.” He reached back to strike, but Jane spun around and plunged the exposed tip of the atom wrench into his chest.

She snarled, “Not for you!”

The atom wrench was invented decades ago to give laymen a way to build their own nanobots. Powered by a cold fusion core, it was roughly the size of a large flashlight and weighed about the same. Within its quantum bubble chamber, the atom wrench sustained a minute spacetime singularity, and with it offered the user control over the strong and weak forces on a molecular scale. Nanobot hobbyists scooped them up as soon as they reached the market, and material synthesis labs found them to be invaluable. But they were risky to use, since they were prone to internal decay, and the safety caps had a bad habit of falling off at inopportune moments, leaving the singularity exposed. Direct contact with the singularity led to disruption of the contact site on an atomic level. Invariably, this resulted in a gust of hydrogen ions and a bloody stump.

Jane twisted the wrench and switched it on. Phoranxth’s eyes widened silently as most of his trunk instantly vanished. White fluids cascaded from the gaping wound, as the byriani assassin reverted to his true form and collapsed, lifeless, on the ground. She switched off the wrench and capped it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Concept Art: Takeo Sato

“They’re almost here,” noted Taryn upon reaching the massive door, and she wrung the grip of her claw hammer.

Takeo gripped a section of heavy pipe.

Father Stone’s zealots shambled into view, drawn from a mix of races. They advanced along the stairs and dropped down from nearby roofs and catwalks. Bound with red ropes, festooned with liturgical ribbons, their tattered attire did little to hide their ruined bodies. Faced with nightmarish death, millions had accepted Father Stone’s nepenthe. It left them with patchwork flesh, silvered eyes and glinting clusters of glutted nanobots. Moving in unison, they spread out to form a semicircle around D’Arro’s team.

“Cajun, get that door open,” he said and faced the mob directly.

“Right away.” Fumbling somewhat, Cajun retrieved a prybar from his pack. Takeo and Taryn formed a protective wall at D’Arro’s back, separating Cajun from the horde.

“Back off,” Takeo growled, and he raised his heavy pipe. “We’ll defend ourselves if you force us.” He narrowed his eyes.

A wiry, gaunt human man stepped forth, wearing a crown of jagged teeth that had been embedded into his scalp. “You are trespassing,” he rasped as he moved close to Takeo.

“We’re here for Father Stone.”

With all his might, Cajun strained against the door. He heard something pop within, but it didn’t budge. “Oh, come on,” he huffed, and he drove the prybar deeper into the space between the door and its jamb.

The gaunt man smiled wickedly, a rictus of metal teeth and receded gums. He reached for Takeo’s arm. “You would defend yourself with something so crude? How unprepared you are to face the might of this army. The blessing of conversion will deliver you from your small thinking.”

As one, a thundering chorus resounded, “Conversion!”

Takeo warned, “I said back off. Look, we’re just here for Father Stone.”

“Stone is lost.” Lowering his brow, he held Takeo’s gaze. In a deep snarl, the crowned man said, “Again, I offer you conversion.” The throng boomed, “Conversion!”

Reaching back with the pipe, Takeo said, “Don’t force me to do this.”

With a derisive cackle, the crowned man jeered, “Don’t force you to strike me with your primitive weapon? By all means, take your best shot.”

“Not so primitive,” Takeo breathed, and he swung at the old man’s head with all the strength he could bring to bear. However, when the pipe struck home, there was no crack, or clang or crunch. Instead, there was a muted splat as Fogg deformed and spread around the crowned man’s face. He set to reprogramming the nanobot symbiotes.

Moving as one, the ravening horde swarmed toward D’Arro’s team. Howling, they reached out with claws and hungrily peeled open their mouths.

“It didn’t work!” Taryn shouted, and she lunged and dodged, her hammer striking and gutting in short arcs.

“Fogg needs time,” Takeo barked. He was a blur of precise hits and kicks, and he sent a dozen opponents to the ground. “Just hold them off until it’s done!”

The door at last gave way. “There!” Cajun triumphantly announced. “Door’s open, guys!”

“How’ll we know?” D’Arro asked. His enormous wrench struck with crushing force, taking out two or three enemies with each hit.

Takeo insisted, “You’ll know!”

Thanks to Regular Jane for her delicious bokeh background. :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Concept Art: Fogg

He blew into his hands, rubbed them together and glanced down the street. “There you are,” he muttered to himself. He watched Takeo slip in and out of visibility as he rode his bicycle under the street lamps bobbing in place over the sidewalk. Dressed in a black suit and long coat, Takeo looked as sharply dressed as ever. He drew close, drifted to a stop, and dismounted. Gavin smiled slightly. “Still rocking the bike, huh? I like it. Totally old school.”

Takeo lifted a brow. “Stop that.”

Gavin pointed toward the bicycle. “Want to put it inside?”

“No need,” answered Takeo, and his bicycle vanished in a puff of swirling, fading fog.

Gavin recoiled. “What?”

Takeo hunched his shoulders as he looked sidelong at his friend. “Fogg… ate it,” he answered, and he laughed dryly. “Completely by accident, of course, so he offered to be my bike until he can replace it.”

The first thing most people noticed about Takeo Sato was how absurdly tall he was. Graceful despite his height, he was lean, had black hair, and his eyes were dark as coal. His father was a distinguished kobun of the Yakuza’s Yubitsume Syndicate, and Takeo was being groomed to take his place in the family business.

Peering toward where he had seen the haze dissipate, Gavin said, “Hey, Fogg. You can come too, if you like. I’m sure Taryn would be happy to see you.”

The metallic mist coalesced into a small, spinning saucer-style craft with a bank of bright lights that flashed in sequence. A tiny orb dropped out and displayed the words, “Yes please.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Concept Art: Filan Portssi

“Let’s see who else wants to do some eleventh hour delving.” Zerki asked around. Before long, she, Valerie, Gavin, Filan and Takeo gathered and began their search for a way to enter the mountainous corpse of the planet-shaper droid.

“Taryn didn’t want to come?” Gavin asked.

Takeo said, “No, she’s helping D’Arro direct traffic.”

“There!” Filan interjected. “Oh, sorry.” She practically bounced as she pointed to a well hidden hatch some distance from the harvest site, seated along Behemothylax’s dorsal segmentation. Impatiently, she hurried to the passageway and strained against an embedded handle. It slowly turned and opened with a hiss of icy fog.

“Good find,” said Zerki, and she stepped close, hunched down to peer into the guts of the leviathan. “We’ll need light.” With the rip of Velcro, she loosened a pouch cover on her vest and produced a small disc mounted to a heavy band that had been sewn into its pocket. Glancing to Gavin, she added, “You have one, too,” and she tapped hers on. A brilliant cone of light issued forth.

“Oh,” he muttered and soon had his own torch ready for use.

Filan offered, “I can go full body, if we need it.” Her hands and forearms faintly glowed.

“Good to know,” said Zerki, and she descended through the hatch. Her companions followed.

Darkness gnawed at them, shrouded recesses filled with glinting blades and jagged points. Carefully, they made their way along the sub-dorsal service catwalks. Below them, rows upon immeasurable rows of devices sagged in immense ropes and stacks, hung indifferently over the scarred heart of the mountain so very far below. Regularly, the silvery blue wash of lighting danced up along vaults of machinery.

Zerki raised her hand, and the others paused while she checked her data tablet. “If these old schematics are still accurate, we’re heading for the central computer core.” She looked long at the darkened, cramped, grime-coated, grated pathways. “It’ll be tough going, by the look of it, but it’s possible we could find out why it went haywire, and ultimately why it just shut itself down.” An excited smile tugged on her lips. “We could be the first people in the entire galaxy to know the truth. What do you think?”

Filan said, “Ooh, I could access its deep core.” She beamed giddily. “I’m in!”

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Concept Art: Salvador Santiago

One of the hooded thugs weakly gripped his gun, and trembling, pointed it at Salvador, but the maugal backhanded the battered assailant into a nearby parcel truck hard enough to dent its side. “I can handle these two pieces of worthless bludder drek without your help!”

“And you have,” said Salvador, his tone almost soothing. “Now what happens?”

“I kill you!” He shook his head. “We’ve established that. Now what?” “I… kill. I…”

“Right, we’re dead. What a mess!” Salvador held his opponent’s stone gaze. He leaned in and asked, “Now what?”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Concept Art: Taryn Sikes

Zerki fumed, her face red. “Explain yourself, Sikes!”
Cajun raised his hand. “I can't concentrate with you yelling, Captain.”
Zerki shot him a withering glare.
“Right, earphones,” he answered. “Good idea.”
Taryn squared her jaw and crossed her arms. “Hey, back off! I saved his life.” She drew a deep breath and recounted the events that had unfolded aboard the ellogon cruiser. She spared no details.
When Taryn had finished the telling, Zerki sagged against the wall. “You killed him?”
Taryn nodded, unashamed. “He was going to kill D’Arro. I had no choice. Check the helmet cams, if you don't believe me.”
The captain rubbed her eyes and puffed out her cheeks. “Ospyreans,” she muttered.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Zerki smiled wanly and chewed on her upper lip for a moment before answering. “It means… at times, I envy how fiercely loyal you are to each other, but other times… Times like this…” She trailed off. “We’ve brought the Union to the brink of another galactic war.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Concept Art: Valerie Sawyer

“I'm not your friend?” Tucking her hair behind her ear, she cast him a playful wink. Before he could stammer out a response, she said, “It's OK, you can stare. If I didn't want anyone to see, I'd have had the work done somewhere else on my body.” She soaped up her hands, scrubbed them as she hummed “Happy Birthday” to herself, and her hair fell back into place.