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"HEY, ASSHOLE! I dunno if you can hear me or not, or if you can understand me, or whatever, but you have no idea who you’re dealing with! I’M VOIDWALKER LANA, THE EXTERMINATOR OF ALL YOUR KIND AND YOUR WORST FUCKING NIGHTMARE!"
Voidwalker Lana, Science and Sorcery - Fish in a Barrel

From DrakeTheDuelist, the author of Chaos Card Captor Sakura.

Long ago, there was a war between two powerful races, the lycanthropes and the zaangr't. Little was known of the world before this catastrophic conflict, or even why the war started. It is known that the zaangr't won, but at great cost. The humans that remain have dubbed themselves "voidwalkers", as they have spent most of their time attempting to rebuild or at least reshape the ruined world, but the best they can do are to create realms. In these realms live the characters. All would seem well... but then the lycanthropes came back. And the zaangr't don't have the manpower or the willingness to stop them again, leaving it up to the voidwalkers to fight the hordes.

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There are a number of different overall factions in the story. The main focus is around a group comprised of Voidwalker Tapp, Voidwalker Lana, Voidwalker Angel, and Lycanthrope Kurias. Their story involves how these entities all meet one another, and how their struggles against the lycanthrope threat lead them to get wrapped up in a far older, far more dangerous conflict.


    General Tropes 
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": All the major "characters" (in a meta sense) are referred to as "entities" instead, to differentiate from the "character" faction.
  • Canis Latinicus: The binomial nomenclature for the lycanthropes, more officially known as the "Paracanis" genus.
  • Canon Immigrant: The lycanthropes and the zaangr't, races based on Lycan and Damien respectively from the author's previous work, Chaos Card Captor Sakura.
  • Crack Fic: The New Urbanos Chronicles, a series of three non-canonical stories generally centered around a realm called New Urbanos. The three stories are The Most Important Mission, Acuteness, and Knightingale.
  • Early-Bird Cameo
    • You noticed that runty lycanthrope in Perspectives? The one that the other lycanthropes were tearing apart until Lana and Tapp killed them? Well, you see that lycanthrope again later... as Lycanthrope Kurias.
  • Empathic Weapon: Numerous weapons appear to have their own individual personalities.
    • Sheol is known to refuse being sheathed, forcing Lana to carry it around.
    • The Staff of Hosts can only be wielded by the "carrier" and cannot even be touched by lycanthropes.
  • Fantastic Racism: Zaangr't don't like the voidwalkers because the voidwalkers didn't help the zaangr't during the Old War. Characters similarly don't appear to like voidwalkers because they're arrogant and haughty.
  • The Great Wall: Great Aegis, though less of a literal wall and more of a heavily militarized No Man's Land.
  • Green Rocks: The hadron crystals. Under normal circumstances, voidwalkers use them to create worlds, but the worlds are enormous and diverse.
  • Here There Were Dragons: There are a number of legends that the zaangr't left behind, only to be recorded by voidwalkers, other zaangr't, or occasionally even characters themselves. According to these tales, times before the Old War are looked at as times of myth and wonder.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Most entities' only outfits are the ones they wear. Others adhere to military uniform. Kurias and the zaangr't don't need clothes at all.
  • Loose Canon: The New Urbanos Chronicles.
  • Lost in Translation: In universe. Because the zaangr't have much greater linguistic capabilities than humans, zk'tu carries a lot more meaning when spoken by an actual zaangr't capable of pronouncing the words correctly. Even "zk'tu" itself translates to "forked tongue", though in context this is understood to colloquially mean that their language is highly verbose and efficient compared to the far more limited phonetic capabilities of humans.
  • MacGuffin Title: The eponymous "Science and Sorcery" refers to the true power of the cosmos, which can be manipulated and wielded by those enlightened enough to harmonize an empirical and spiritual world view in their minds.
  • Magic Versus Science: Somewhat inevitable, given the title. The phenomena generally demonstrated in the story as either science or sorcery are simply explanations for things that happen, and neither science nor sorcery are the only way to achieve a specific result or explain a specific phenomenon. The problem is that most characters are biased heavily towards one path or the other. It is considered a sign of enlightenment to embrace both science and sorcery within the same world view.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: A largely soft universe. While not without its Techno Babble, one of the central tenets of the work is that a purely scientific understanding of the universe, while possible, is unnecessarily limiting. See Magic Versus Science.
  • Physical God: Z'vaot. According to Angel's perspective, the power of Z'vaot is in fact very real and has Reality Warper powers.
  • Pun-Based Title:
    • Survival of the Friendliest, a pun on "Survival of the Fittest".
    • The short story Acuteness, referencing Kurias's enhanced lycanthrope senses, as well as his constant proximity to a cuteness in Angel.
    • Averted by The Most Important Mission, as it implies a date. As it turned out, Lana and Tapp were just going undercover on a literal mission.
  • Rewrite: Most of the voidwalkers used to have very different names until a big Retcon halfway through Fish in a Barrel, after which many character names and plot points had their names retroactively changed. Word of God stated that this was so Anyone Can Die.
  • Sacred Language: Zk'tu, which sounds like Black Speech to the uninitiated. Justified because Z'vaot was widely considered a zaangr't god long before the first m'yuun conversions. The fact that their most pious speech sounds so guttural and alien is just due to their mouth structure.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: All that remains of the world of the voidwalkers is a sliver of what was once their planet, presumably Earth, alone in an otherwise obliterated cosmos. Nobody knows what happened to it (except the zaangr't, natch), but whatever happened was so long ago that nobody remembers a time when there was anything different.
  • Wretched Hive: The Maw of S'rraen, the zone beyond the Great Aegis where all the most dangerous lycanthropes live. Most zaangr't dare not set foot in it because of all the lycanthropes, who are easily the single most dangerous element of the Maw. It does make a pretty good place to hide if you don't want anybody to hassle you (except lycanthropes, who will hassle you relentlessly, but usually won't ask you questions).

    Factions 

Zaangr't:

  • Blade on a Stick: The khraa'yu. These clunky halberds are very heavy and difficult for non-zaangr't to lift, though zaangr't can twirl them around like batons. These are the standard zaangr't weapon (though many zaangr't customize their own khraa'yu), as their upper body strength would make swords far too brittle. Khraa'yu sometimes have magical powers, if the zaangr't wielder is so inclined to enchant it.
  • Canon Immigrant: The zaangr't species was briefly eluded to in Chaos Card Captor Sakura, another story by the same author.
  • Depopulation Bomb: The original war against the lycanthropes. Regarded with such humiliation by pretty much every single zaangr't, they don't even have a word for it, leaving it up to the voidwalkers to name it, who call it the Old War.
  • Draconic Humanoid
  • Dying Race
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Gr'khyu is the first zaangr't to be specifically seen in the series, albeit in Angel's and Tapp's joint flashback in Survival of the Friendliest.
  • Fantastic Racism: The zaangr't only have one word for both characters and voidwalkers: m'yuungr't. Roughly translated: the race of creatures who make "mmmmmmm" sounds. Considering why they supposedly hate the voidwalkers, this could double up as an innuendo, depending on the intent and tone of the speaker.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: Zaangr't do not breed, meaning that all the zaangr't that were originally created are all that will ever be. Ever. Kill one and you cause irrevocable damage to the zaangr't population. Kill lots and you threaten to exterminate them altogether.
  • The Missing Faction: To date, the zaangr't have not actually appeared in the story proper. They appear once in a flashback, and once in one of Voidwalker Angel's visions of dubious accuracy but not properly. Justified because the story revolves around entities who want to avoid messing with the zaangr't.
  • Neglectful Precursors: Official zaangr't policy is to not interfere with the myuungr't, feeling that they bled and died enough for their sakes during the Old War. It is thought that they used to be more benevolent. The only amicable ones left are the r'tnkh.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: What few descriptions there are of zaangr't describe them as generally bipedal but colossal crimson-scaled reptiles that can stand around twice the height of the average human. They are known for short bursts of extremely quick movement, massive strength, and especially their forked tongues. Culturally, they are a highly pious race that were once The Paladin of the factions before the Old War forced the surviving zaangr't to tend towards a far more pragmatic stance of minimal intervention.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "T'kh", the zaangr't word for lycanthropes. More literally it can refer to any major enemy of the zaangr't, but it became so associated with the lycanthropes (and by extension the Old War) that "t'kh" became a particularly vulgar obscenity to the zaangr't.

Voidwalkers:

  • Full-Name Basis: Sometimes a voidwalker will be called "Voidwalker [name]", particularly if the speaker doesn't know the voidwalker they're talking to.
  • Happily Adopted: Though voidwalkers themselves are more Energy Beings in a human (usually) guise, all their relationships are based on known adoption.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: Voidwalkers don't tend to have very unusual powers. Anything they can do can be explained away as a property of things they carry, usually hadron crystals, or as having learned some technique that any human (or whatever species they emulate) could learn given a voidwalker's life span.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Part of the reason voidwalkers create worlds is to give characters somewhere to hide, though this is seen as just buying the characters time. Particularly savvy characters know that the lycanthropes will eventually come for these realms, too.
  • Made of Iron: Voidwalkers can generally endure levels of damage and stress that could be harmful or even fatal to characters.
  • Reality Warper: Voidwalkers can employ hadron crystals to, amongst other things, create worlds. Characters themselves are said to have no such ability. However, voidwalkers have to use hadron crystals as the basis for realms and can't just create them on their own.
  • Really 700 Years Old: By the standards of the realms they have created, voidwalkers can supposedly live for hundreds of years. Granted, the scale of these years is based on the time span of the worlds that the voidwalkers create.
  • Reincarnation: Supposedly the energy that makes up a voidwalker's spirit is indestructible and will eventually coalesce into a new body. However, reincarnation is considered a mere theory, and a shaky one at that. No voidwalker can live long enough to actually confirm it with any accuracy. Only the zaangr't can tell for sure, and they aren't talking.
  • Voice of the Legion: Proteans. Could come off as Royal "We", given their typical arrogance, but their tendency to consume the powers of other voidwalkers into their own power is not without consequence. Proteans even narrate their own point of view as if they were a gestalt consciousness.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Generally subverted by most voidwalkers, who have hair colors in realistic ranges. Having exotically-colored hair is usually a sign of either (1) hair dye, or (2) being unusually powerful.
    • Voidwalker Cyrus is a full protean and plays this trope completely straight.

Lycanthropes:

  • Appropriated Appelation: Gained their name from mercenaries who came into contact with the Paracanis Hound genus, long after the zaangr't themselves considered their threat extinct.
  • Dumb Muscle: Most lycanthropes are very, very dumb. They'll go after anything that moves (including each other), they startle easily, and they'll even turn tail and run from an imposing enough fighter.
  • Fantastic Racism: After the lycanthropes reaped a vicious toll on the zaangr't, the zaangr't grudgingly named the creatures the "t'kh", though the term can also be applied more generally to any enemy of the zaangr't. "T'kh" is an extremely vulgar and offensive term in zk'tu, and generally not welcome in polite conversation.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: More effective than you might think, considering that the Infinity Bridge has been fighting lycanthropes for a while by the start of the story, resulting in most conventional weapons being able to trump even lycanthrope hide.
  • The Horde: Lycanthropes, particularly Hounds, usually appear in enormous packs. Just several is a small, even manageable (if you're skilled enough) number to fight. If a progenitor is nearby, the hordes you may have to fight could number in the thousands.
  • It Can Think: Any lycanthrope that can resist its corruption can achieve this state, though such a feat is extremely rare. From an outside perspective, this appears to be indefinitely sustainable. From those suffering... less so.
    • The progenitors can also prove dangerously clever, especially for those used to fighting typical mindless beasts.
  • King Mook: The Leviathan, essentially a super-bloated version of the Paracanis Wyrm.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Even the most basic Hound is fast, tough, and strong. Just one can maul a dozen civilians in a minute, and could kill them all eventually. Solid training and decent armaments can tip the scales dramatically, though.
  • The Mario: Hounds are largely considered the most generic of all lycanthrope genera and don't pose much difficulty to the well-trained and armed. Other genera tend to have tricks, but tend to pay for them with weaknesses.
  • Monster Progenitor: The progenitors, massive lycanthropes that are incredibly difficult to kill. The only known one is the Leviathan, though it is thought that each genus owes its heritage to a progenitor. Slaying the progenitor can reverse the lycnathrope corruption on all lycanthropes under that progenitor's heritage. Unfortunately, the trauma of reversion, not to mention the grievious wounds that turned the victim into a lycanthrope in the first place, will almost always kill the victim anyway, leaving lycanthropy with no known practical cure.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: Lycanthropes are so twitchy that they'll eat each other.
    • Those turned into lycanthropes in body but not in mind also tend to consume their new kin.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Lycanthropes were given the genus name "Paracanis" ('para' as in paranormal, and 'canis' as in dog), though they can appear in any number of forms, including serpents (Wyrm), birds (Ornithos), sharks (Carcharodon), bats (Chiropteran), and of course wolves (Hound). Hounds comprise the vast majority of the hordes, while the more exotic species can only be found deeper in the Maw of S'rraen.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: What happens when you try to fight progenitors with conventional, or even insufficiently post-conventional weaponry.
  • Unobtainium: Lycanthrope skin is so strong that it is considered a harvestable alloy. Some refer to this alloy as blacksteel. Those who have studied it extensively have noticed that, while its density fluctuates, it can potentially be denser than any other known stable metal, leading some to think that blacksteel is actually some kind of empathic darkmatter.
  • The Virus: Lycanthropes turn any whom they slay into more lycanthropes. Occasionally the infection can be fought back against, and for quite some time, but it has taken extensive willpower on the part of every individual who has resisted the infection.

Characters (the faction):

  • Fantastic Racism: Characters are creations of the voidwalkers. Calling these creations "characters" can be somewhat derogatory, with "entity" being the less offensive alternative.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Pairings between voidwalkers and characters aren't unheard of, though they tend to have this side-effect.
  • Muggles: Characters make up most of the generic bystanders and civilians on the Infinity Bridge. They have zero special abilities, and they can barely tell each other apart from voidwalkers of the same species.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Icthyopods. Most of their architecture and craftsmanship involves growing coral formations. They supposedly grow to enormous size when they get older. What we know of as mermaids are essentially icthyopod children. Since diplomacy is such a big deal to them, they tend to force their children into positions of leadership, often begrudgingly.
    • Transformation Trauma: In order for them to shift to a human appearance, they have to asphyxiate themselves by attempting to breathe air for long enough. Likewise, becoming an icthyopod again requires them to drown themselves. (Voidwalkers have this a bit easier, given their greater pain threshold.) Since this is incredibly unpleasant for them, most icthyopods will either grow up into an adult icthyopod, at which point they lose the ability to transform, or they take on a human guise for the remainder of their natural lives... or presumably until they drown.

    Chapters 

Perspectives:

  • Boom, Headshot!: How Tapp kills the lycanthrope that comes after him at the end.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Easily the shortest canon segment of Science and Sorcery.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When Tapp first notices that the mysterious slaughterer of all the lycanthropes was a girl who was actually shorter than him.
  • L33t L1ng0: Tapp's kill counter at the end of the chapter reads 1337.
  • Mexican Standoff: Most of the chapter is spent with Lana and Tapp in one of these, each recounting the events that led them to this point.
  • Off with His Head!: How Lana kills the last lycanthrope.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: After the company Lana had been keeping, she thought in the back of her mind that Tapp would try to rape her.

Survival of the Friendliest

Fish in a Barrel

Redeemer

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