by Max Barry

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by The Hooshy Snack Manufacturers of The Celestial Shurayu Republic. . 165 reads.

Ḫayál Šúráya

Soldiers of the 345th Ḫabbát Dá'ikánu charging the enemy in the Battle of Arrakumúlű

The current Shurayu military was created with the intention of combatting aliens in mind, but after hundreds of years of interstellar exploration not a single sentient alien life-form has been discovered. Despite this, the Shurayu military, swelling in number with soldiers eager to serve their nation and bring prestige to themselves and their families is well-blooded and busy, embroiled in a seemingly endless conflict with their own kin, as the ever-expanding astral frontier grows more-and-more violent as those farthest from the homeland reject the ŠIPÁR ATRAḪASÍSI in favor of banditry, slavery, and madness. As the years have progressed, the military has begun to bump heads with the fattening and corrupt bureaucracy as superfluous red-tape, political manipulation, and arrogant colonial governors hinder it's efforts.

Kitturram Kénazmarű, Turtán of Shuraya

Born after the invasion of the Ḫalluláya, the Shurayu Military in its current form, comprised of the wisdom and doctrine of the mercenaries-of-old and an amalgamation of knowledge taken from the greatest martial cultures of the extinct Erṣetim. It is divided into the Erṣutuḫayál of the land led by the Erṣuturapšáti, the Abamátaḫayál of the sea led by the Abamátarapšáti, the Burúműḫayál of the sky led by the Burúműrapšáti, and the Šamęḫayál of the heavens led by the Šamęrapšáti. The leaders of the four branches form a council called the Ur-Šéssumilkam led by the Turtán, chosen from their number who acts as the supreme commander of the entire Shurayu military for a term of ten years.

The Shurayu military gets less-and-less organized as one goes down the hierarchical pyramid, with small units operating with great autonomy, the intuition of the men on the ground trusted by high command. This has led to a number of war-crimes, which are only punished if inflicted against civilians or if the perpetrators fail to accomplish their objective(s).

Sigil of the 274th Našramút Artillery Regiment

The Shurayu military is giant force of young, usually unmarried men in the most virile years of their lives and so it's often considered the greatest matchmaking program in all Shuraya, with the bisexual-tendencies of the Shurayu leading to the forming of bonds of romance and brotherhood between soldiers and officers alike, forged from the shared experiences of stress and service, encouraged by high-command as a way to instill ironclad camaraderie. It is ancient tradition for an officer to choose a soldier out of their unit to become their Ṣeḫru, an apprentice and personal attendant who shadows the officer, being taught all the martial lessons learned by the officer through their years of experience. Despite the plentiful romantic relationships between soldiers, the Shurayu military maintains a peerless level of discipline. In the eyes of a Shurayu, they aren't disciplined, they are discipline, it's a trait carved into their bones as they gestate and an element that runs thick and cool in their veins, tempered through a lifetime of discipline through the ŠIPÁR ATRAḪASÍSI, acclimating them perfectly to the life of a professional soldier.

The conduct of a Shurayu army towards an opposing force is dependent entirely upon the opposing force's conduct towards the army, with the Shurayu military's base temperament one of detached -though not callous- professionalism. A force opposing a Shurayu army conducting itself in an honorable and benevolent manner can expect the very same treatment reciprocated. Theatres of war with such a mutual temperament are referred to as "Playgrounds" by the soldiery and can seem shockingly relaxed and even vacation-like, with underhanded and exceedingly-lethal tactics absent and when either side is beaten, mass surrenders are standard and prisoners-of-war can be seen playing dominos and Šeḫṭumasappum with prison camp guards. Conversely, any opposing military force that makes a habit of cruelty and brutality can expect worse in return. Such theatres are referred to as "Infernos" by the soldiery, and are quickly reduced to living-nightmares of incomprehensible and self-perpetuating brutality and horror constantly and ceaselessly escalating by hateful hands on both sides until one side is entirely annihilated and the the bodies and minds of the survivors are left forever wounded.

It is the instinctive custom of the Shurayu military to build an excess of defensive structures in all of it's military ventures, from rudimentary tunnel systems to grand citadels. Such constructions are just as much matters of strategic planning as they are matters of pride and recreation, with different military detachments unofficially competing over who builds the largest and most complicated fortifications, regardless of the necessity of such things.

A soldier of the 345th Ḫabbát Dá'ikánu Infantry Regiment

A soldier of the Shurayu military is best-identified by the ornate bearded mask they wear. The headwear of all soldiers includes a facemask, with the symbol of a soldier's rank engraved under the right eye, and the left side of their helmet bearing the sigil of their unit. Shurayu uniforms are made of a strong cloth-composite and are reinforced with a chestplate, bracers, and kneepads made of the same lightweight alloy used in the helmet.

All Shurayu soldiers know at least basic spells, the spells learned depending upon the role of the soldier, however with all non-Multépiš soldiers having the same skill-level and magical knowledge, including blocking spells, magic in the hand of a footman often serves a utilitarian role, moving obstacles, clearing brush, warming rations, among other things.

Shurayu weaponry is a mixture of kinetic and magical. Planetside, Multépišú stand side-by-side with artillery combining firepower to obliterate enemy lines as armored vehicles adorned in war-banners and footsoldiers with kinetic small-arms lead by sword-wielding officers charge against the enemy. Within the infinance of the heavens, Šamędannatu gunners operating great cannons bombard their targets with raw magic, enchanted boulders, explosive metal shells, and in rare-cases Napšutaširpam which goes right through shields and unmakes it’s targets. The point-defense system of a Šamędannatu consists of a network of gatling-guns connected and operated by a soul which has been broken apart and inserted into each gun, it’s non-sentient energy controlled by complex spiritual coding impressed within the weaponry.

A detachment of War-Šamędannatú hovering over the plains of Irulaya, in northern Šurrâtar

The War-Šamędannatú of the Shurayu appear very similar to civilian Šamędannatú, resembling six-sided ziggurats able to float and fly with magitech gravity engines hidden within the ship’s depths, the only difference being the countless cannons and turrets hidden within, that pop-out in battle. They are piloted with perfect-precision by a specialized Multépiš who sits on a padded platform in a spherical room in a meditative state, becoming one with the ship’s systems. If the Multépiš is killed or otherwise incapacitated, a non-magical pilot takes over, piloting with markedly less precision. Like their terrestrial counterparts, the War-Šamędannatú are made of stone and brick, woven with a litany of defensive enchantments along with several ornate animalistic runes which emit a powerful shield.

On long voyages, the crews of War-Šamędannatú sustain themselves with compact gardens fed with magically-generated water.

Like all interstellar Shurayu spacecraft, they move from system-to-system using large spectral swords made of intricate magic called Ašratunamṣar located in giant rooms which at the cost of a significant amount of power cut holes in the fabric of reality to teleport across the galaxy. The fabric of reality is extremely fickle and complex and so cuts must be made exactly lest the ship teleport itself into destruction, along with this, the thickness of the fabric of reality waxes and wanes in loosely-predictable patterns in different places. As the Ašratunamṣar can only make their cuts when the fabric is thinnest, Šamędannatú can end up waiting dormant in space for days-to-months, biding their time until the the fabric of reality reaches a sufficient thinness for them to teleport.

To witness a Shurayu space battle is to witness a thousand jousters charging eachother in a thousand bouts from a thousand directions. Shurayu fleets teleport into theatres of battle as one in precise grid-patterns with lumbering Fuel-Šamędannatú from which the rest of the fleet eagerly suckles to regain their power after interstellar teleportation stoically cowering in the center of the formation, for if they are destroyed, their sweet milk creates a terrible explosion. Once a space battle begins, the only formation that remains is a stern guard surrounding either side's given Fuel-Šamędannatú as the aggressive parties make a butchery of reality, teleporting all around the place of battle, firing upon eachother at near point-blank range, denying any possibility of battle-lines in a quagmire of cannonfire. From six directions do War-Šamędannatú breathe wrath upon their foes and so in six directions must the combatants attend to with equal attention. There is no elegance in the warfare of the heavens, no grand strategy, no tactical genius. There is calmness in the midst of chaos, there is speed and audacity, there is thick armor and grit, there is stubbornness and hate; and there are those who lack those things, fated to be forgotten and be left adrift in space for all time.

From left to right: An Edimmu, a Pagűggatu, and Ur-Ḫuršán, largest of the Tuquntulippitú

Bolstering the numbers of the Shurayu Military are legions of non-sentient units divided into three types: Kaműgallú, Kénumámú, and Tuquntulippitú. The Kaműgallú are those which have been ripped from Ur-Kuríbadnáti and enslaved by Multépišú. Their forms and powers vary wildly, though the most plentiful of them are the vicious Edimmú, fearless serpentine shocktroops whose terrible claws can rend metal and whose ravenous maws devour men whole. Kénumámú are beasts drawn from the various planets blessed by Shurayu dominion who have been moulded into dangerous predators bound to the wills of their captors with magic and science. Tuquntulippitú are formless and simple Kaműgallú which have been harvested from Ur-Kuríbadnáti and placed in cold imitations of Shurayu, constructs of metal and stone ranging from the size of small children to many stories in height, serving all manner of purpose, usually in places particularly contemptuous towards life, such as astral bodies without oxygen.

Ḫabbát Dá'ikánu - Bandit Murderers

ŠIPÁR ATRAḪASÍSI - Tenets of Atrahasis

Ḫalluláya - The alien invaders which invaded Šurrâtar and exterminated the Erṣetim

Erṣetim- The inferior copies of the Shurayu made by the Napšutadnát

Erṣutuḫayál - The Army

Erṣuturapšáti - Leader of the Army

Abamátaḫayál - The Navy

Abamátarapšáti - Leader of the Navy

Burúműḫayál - The Airforce

Burúműrapšáti - Leader of the Airforce

Šamęḫayál - The Space Navy

Šamęrapšáti - The Leader of the Space Navy

Ur-Šéssumilkam - Council of the four most senior military officials, lead by the Turtán

Turtán - Leader of the Ur-Šéssumilkam and supreme commander of the military

Ṣeḫru - Apprentice of an officer

Šeḫṭumasappum - Basketball

Multépiš - Mage, a Shurayu with magical training

Šamędannatú - Heavenly Fortresses, Spacecraft of the Shurayu

Napšutaširpam - Soul-Fuel, a potent fuel made of refined souls, used to power a great deal of Shurayu machinery and sometimes used in weapons

Šurrâtar - The only habitable moon of Ur-Ḫašmán and homeworld of the Shurayu

Ašratunamṣar - Spectral swords Šamędannatú use to teleport through space

Edimmu - A serpentine shocktroop, a type of Kaműgallu

Pagűggatu - A genetically altered baboon, a type of Kénumámú

Tuquntulippitú - War-Constructs

Kaműgallú - Bound Demons

Kénumámú - Chosen Beasts

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