I had never smelled anything as vile as the stench that came roiling up off the raft of bloated corpses that choked the river below me, but I had always hoped to. I had long held close to my heart the idea that one day the Pandoli, who had swept down off the steppes and killed my family and almost everyone else I knew, would be slain in their thousands. Exterminated.

I had often pictured their bodies covering the landscape, swelling in the sun, pecked at by their own riding birds, saddles and pennants still bright in the summer sun. And today it had happened.

All it had taken was a radio message to the Earthlings. I told them the Pandoli were going to raid the bogs and paddies on the outskirts of the human colony, and they had preemptively slaughtered them using orbital lasers. And now the horrible reek of death filled my noses and gave me a sense of joy and contentment that I had not felt for a century. Oh, the smell of it.