A world paved with cityscape and crime. A playground full of bounties to be collected.
Riesel Tales: Two Hunters is a series of short science fiction works by Roystonn Pruitt, with the first four stories comprising Riesel Tales: Two Hunters, Volume 1.In the year 8202, two bounty hunters by the names of Runge Margavo and Ramy Dusotes try to make a living doing what they do best on the infamous crapsackurban planet of Riesel. Surviving on such a world is hard enough, and their clashing personalities don't make things any easier. Runge is a wisecracking sybarite who frequents clubs and bars when he's not on a mission, and Ramy, his platonic partner in business, serves as his mostly straight-minded female foil.The series centers predominantly around alien characters, most of whom fall into the category of anthropomorphism in one way or another. Grit and cynicism are common themes, along with plenty of snark and a fair dose of comedy.
The series contains examples of:
Action Girl: Ramy and Sookaiya "Soo" Venatosh. Ramy, being one half of the titular duo, has shown herself to be quite competent in combat. Sookaiya takes it a step further by being a walking tank and using a gun to match.
Anti-Hero: Most of the characters, including Runge and Ramy, though more so for Runge. They're either bounty hunters, mercenaries, or someone who runs a company involving such people.
Artifact Title: The Prakuul system, within which Riesel orbits, was named such by the now-defunct Prakuul Corporation, a megacorp that once ruled Riesel as a corporatocracy.
Artificial Gravity: A common technology in the Riesel universe. Ships use "emulators" for the sake of internal gravity and maneuvering in space, "repellers" for the opposite effect, and a "momentum counterbalance" (or "mo-co") to prevent damage of crew and cargo due to the effects of rapid acceleration/deceleration.
Badass Army: The Bright Ebony Organization is implied to possess this, as well as the briefly-discussed Aaltice civilization. Sgakahav "Sig" Wilobst is technically in control of one of these, being the owner of the Wilobst Pioneers Ltd. mercenary firm.
Bad Boss: Mr. Fyowhe, owner of Iledd's Grocery Emporium. He works his employees hard, pays very little, and is an all-around sarcastic jerk. Good employees are typically rewarded with boxes of cereal.
Berserk Button: Runge doesn't usually get into too much of a knot about things, even when Ramy pesters him with a question he doesn't want to answer...unless it's a flaw he really wants to keep hidden from her. Cue a verbal blow-up.
Big Beautiful Woman: Ramy is described as full-figured — not large, but not particularly slim, either. Runge isn't very supportive of this due to his shallow obsession with supermodels and frequently complains (in his mind, with comical exaggeration) about her weight. However, he does on one occasion of absent-mindedness allow his gaze to caress her curves while she's not looking and is "taken in by her beauty" according to the narrative, though he quickly snaps himself out of it after reminding himself of who he's looking at.
Big Fun: Sig is a huge and boisterous individual, known for his jovial behavior and sly remarks. Soo is also this to a lesser extent, with her considerable size and penchant for playfully teasing those around her.
Bizarre Alien Biology: A favorite of Mr. Pruitt, along with mix-and-match critters. One creature shown in Club Gig is like a glassy woven vase that speaks in chime and bell noises. Qinmoirs (Sig's species) breathe air with much higher oxygen than standard beings. Even the Sirukti (alien dingo) and Lonkapi (alien wolf) species have less-than-standard organs.
Blood Knight: Runge is more than happy to snatch up an assassination job and repaint the floor with someone's gray matter, and he's been described as someone who participates in bar fights with apparent regularity.
Boobs of Steel: Sookaiya's voluminous bust goes right along with her status as a walking tank; she's the most powerful fighting female shown thus far. Ramy has a lesser version, being a rather muscular action girl who's also got some pudge to go along with it.
Book Ends: Club Gig begins and ends in the titular club.
Brand Name Takeover: Most social androids are called "Rets", which is a shortening of an old, popular brand of androids called RetiNew.
Brawn Hilda: Soo is big, burly, tall, rather masculine, and speaks in a deep (but still surprisingly feminine) voice. Runge is utterly repulsed by her, which makes her infatuation with him at the end of Reprisal all the more hilarious.
Burger Fool: Pizza Chairman, Burger Entropy, Cheerful Fish Thug...
Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Droids are usually referred to as "Rets," short for RetiNew. This was originally the name of a special line of social droids made to accompany their owners wherever they went, but has since become a generic term for all social droids.
Celibate Antihero: Ramy avoids romance due to the prevalence of idiots and sexual predators on Riesel.
City Planet: The titular planet Riesel. The average skyscraper height on Riesel is five miles, and there are buildings that stretch up to forty miles above that. Other cityworlds are mentioned as well (Riesel's population of twelve trillion being considered anemic compared to them), and the wiki indicates that they are rather common in the galaxy.
Chubby Chaser: Soo is very much this, though this isn't apparent until the end of Reprisal, and it's directed at...Runge. While he is by no means chubby, Soo expresses her intent to change this, telling Ramy that Runge is "Gorgeous, though a bit scrawny...but I can fix that."
Common Tongue: Averted. Anczica (Runge and Ramy's native language) is relatively common and most of the main characters can speak it, but translators are still a necessary accessory for daily activities, as made evident in Lonely Tenant. In the greater galaxy (according to the wiki), this trope is averted to a greater extent, with each planet playing host to thousands of languages.
Con Lang: Most of the characters are described as speaking in Anczica, which is actually under development by Mr. Pruitt. You can find it here.
Cool Gun: Soo's eight-foot-long anti-everything rifle, which doubles as a BFG. It has more than enough capacity to cause people and objects to be blown across the room.
Cool Helmet/Collapsible Helmet: Ramy gets one in Reprisal with a matching set of armor. It has no obvious visor, being composed of a one-way substance that can only be seen through from the inside. It's also not able to be put on in the conventional sense: it emits from the collar of the suit as a series of ribbons that weave around her head and solidify. It also has a music player, Internet browsing, and...silly holographic expressions that can be projected on the outer surface.
Cool Starship: The Salona and the Carnivorous Summer Flower, as well as the Aaltice starship mentioned in First. The last one in particular is speculated to have "metamorphic properties and other features that barely existed even in the science fiction works of most species."
Corrupt Politician: Riesel has a long history of hosting these, and is currently being led by a mafia dictatorship.
Crapsack World: Riesel is rusting and falling apart, run by a powerful mafia, crawling with crime, and has air that would make Los Angeles look like an eco-paradise.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Runge and Ramy's treatment of the mook in First. The protagonists' invasion of the Zaxadin base in Reprisal begins like this.
Death World: Taloluht, the homeworld of one of the bar patrons Ramy sees in Club Gig, is described as being filled with meat-thirsty predators. Riesel also counts as one of these to an extent, especially the lowest levels that never get sunlight.
Description Porn: Lots of things get salient detail, expecially Riesel and the structures upon it.
Distracted by the Sexy: One of Runge's trademarks, even to the point of distracting from a mission. When this happens to him just before the mission in Club Gig, Ramy gives both Runge and his target a verbal carpet-bombing.
Drugs Are Bad: Runge is a known drug user, though this typically earns him some unpleasant ramifications, not the least being Ramy's scorn.
Dystopia: There is very little room for idealism on Riesel. This is expounded in the introductory paragraphs of Club Gig.
Eccentric Mentor: Sig is described as having elements of this, as he uses his sharp wit to refine his employees.
Embodiment of Vice: Runge is pretty well addicted to Riesel's seedy clubs and the many services they offer, including alcohol, drugs, and prostitutes.
Elite Mooks: The protagonists encounter one of these in Reprisal.
Eternal English: Completely averted. The only hint of English mentioned in any of the supplementary material is Ninth Millennium English. Considering how real-life English has changed over the past thousand years, the "English" noted on the wiki is not likely anything akin to present-day English.
Even Evil Has Standards: Even though Ramy is a hired gun working on a planet-sized cesspool of suck, she looks down on Runge's less-reserved approach to the jobs they're assigned, as well as his general outlook on life.
Evil Versus Evil: You're either a mafia leader, a weapons dealer, a mercenary, a total jerk, or a complete psychopath. The people who are genuinely good are usually on Riesel only due to technical malfunction, which is a major plot point in Lonely Tenant.
Eye Scream: Nhauh Fonbiac's left eye is non-functional, featuring a constricted and discolored pupil with a strange shimmer behind the lens.
Fat and Proud: Soo. She even corrects Ramy after the latter makes a low guess of her weight.
Flat "What.": Ramy's reaction to Cutolla asking her to "give us a little twirl" after she dons a new combat suit.
Flipping the Bird: Sort of. Soo makes an obscure rude gesture before she destroys someone who really ticked her off.
Floating Continent: Riesel's affluent and overpopulated past required the construction of aerial cities the size of mountain ranges. They're still aloft, but badly neglected and falling apart.
Foreshadowing: Soo's horn-stab against the guard in Reprisal is repeated when she defeats the Dijnvol mercenary.
Futuristic Superhighway: Rather common in Riesel's skies, but since air traffic control has been defunct for centuries, there are frequent collisions.
The Gadfly: Sig is this in absolute spades with his signature teasing, to the point where Ramy has an advisory label next to his name on her phone. He's described as the kind of guy who cannot resist the opportunity to exploit and obliterate every hint of weakness and arrogance in his subjects in order to let them know he's real business, or to groom his underlings into being sharper tools in his arsenal.
Gag Boobs: Sa and Sookaiya. Subverted when Sa shapeshifts back to "her" original androgynous form.
Gonk: From Runge's perspective, the massive Soo counts as this.
Great Offscreen War: The War of Ninth Sanctuary, which Runge participated in back when he was in the military.
Gun Nut: Soo owns quite a lot of guns and is not afraid to use them.
Gun Porn: This pops up here and there. Runge and Ramy's sniper rifles are given quite a bit of detail in Club Gig, and the effects of their use and those of various other weapons are also described in detail.
Harmless Villain: Subverted by the Zaxadin Cartel, who can win through sheer numbers and upgraded their power with a huge combat robot in Reprisal.
Hated Homeplanet: Though not her world of birth, Ramy harbors a massive amount of disdain for Riesel and yearns for greater notoriety so she and Runge can move their bounty hunter business to more important worlds.
Heavy Voice: Discussed. During a phonecall, Sig claims Ramy's voice "sounds heavier", though he's just being a jerk.
Jerkass: Runge, with his derisive comments; Sig, who has his employees pick on Ramy; and Mr. Fyowhe, whose existence is oppressive. Ramy can be this on occasion since she's described as being prone to teasing Runge for his weaknesses.
Lad-ette: Soo isn't very feminine and can be quite animated. Her method of greeting consists of forcefully dropping her hand on a person's shoulder, which gives the much smaller Ramy an unpleasant surprise. She uses an anti-tank cannon as her gun of choice and her bull-like horns as stabbing implements.
Layered Metropolis: Riesel's long-gone glory days necessitated the creation of flying masses of more buildings, which ended up taking the appearance of mountain ranges in the sky (called "sky continents").
The Mafia: Plenty to be found on Riesel, most notably the Bright Ebony Organization.
Man in the Machine: Mr. Fyowhe. He's an alien clam who travels around in an imposing mechanical suit.
Mile-Long Ship: These visit Riesel periodicially for the sake of food shipments.
Mix-and-Match Critters: Sig is a cross between a generic furry mammal and a crustacean, Soo is a longhorn and a collie dog, and Cutolla Ceybeck is something like a mudpuppy and a spider. Nhauh is an aardwolf and a beaver.
Moment Killer: Ramy has a flashback in First of an event that had happened a few years prior: Runge had caught her when she was about to fall off a ledge, which led to them locking eyes and kindling some special feelings...until Runge quickly pulled her back up so he could glance a passing prostitute.
More Dakka: The Zaxadin Cartel is notorious for spamming bullets in the hopes of hitting their target.
No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Averted. Aliens are described as being just as chock-full of popular culture as Human society is. For starters, there's the vending machine in First which has all kinds of flashy and calorie-laden snacks within. Runge and Ramy have access to millions of TV channels, and they occasionally mention different types of food and restaurants. An alien club is also featured as a prominent setting in Club Gig.
Odd Couple: Runge and Ramy, being a case of Red Oni, Blue Oni. They haven't killed each other due to the value of their combined abilities.
One-Woman Army: Soo manages to blast through quite a lot of Zaxadin mooks with her anti-everything cannon.
Only in It for the Money: Runge and Ramy wouldn't be on Riesel otherwise, as the planet plays host to all kinds of bounty-hunting opportunities. They plan to leave the planet for greener pastures once they get popular enough to be recognized as worthy of hiring by larger entities.
Planet of Hats: Played for laughs when a literal version is mentioned in a tabloid that Ramy finds on the ground in Club Gig. Played straight in that Riesel is a crime-infested planet of cityscape and decay.
Starfish Aliens: Here and there, notably the Gatheephs (sentient clams in robotic suits), Btabos (semi-humanoid shapeshifters), and Lxlikelks (glass vase creatures).note The last one appeared in Club Gig as the odd creature Runge bumped into at the restaurant. It is nameless in the story but has a fair explanation on the wiki.
The Unpronounceable: There are quite a few very obviously alien words, such as Laylndlabye.note Which, according to the wiki, is pronounced LAY-uhln-D'LAHB-yeh. It's Nhauh's native language. To add to the confusion, there is Jedyajons, a planet mentioned by Nhauh, which is stated by the wiki as being pronounced JETH-uh-junz. The name "Nhauh" itself is pronounced now. Runge even lampshades this in Lonely Tenant:
Runge: "How the [expletive] am I supposed to pronounce THAT?" Ramy: "I'm not even gonna try."
Ramy: "The deepest depths of the hottest blue suns are reserved for people like you."
Unusual User Interface: The holographic consoles of the Salona, the thought-controlledhelmet interface of Ramy's elite armor, and the holographic virtual reality bubble for controlling a turret on the Carnivorous Summer Flower. Then there's the optical camo suits Runge and Ramy use in the story Club Gig that also double as hover suits, all controlled by simple movements.