SDNW4 Prologue Thread

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Tanasinn
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Re: SDNW4 Prologue Thread

Postby Tanasinn » 2011-02-03 07:24pm

CDS Watchdog
A Place system, Sector N5
June 15, 3388


"We are approaching the field, commander," the helmsman called out, "at present relative velocity, the Watchdog will enter it in three minutes."

Commander Abagail Brookes suppressed the urge to smile at the helmsman's words - a year into her own commission and she had to admit that she still liked the ring of it. Even in a Civil Defense vessel assigned to a backwater like A Place, it was no mean feat to be commanding a ship-of-war at age 25, even if said ship-of-war was really more a patrol ship and a cramped, battered example at that - the Sentinel-class patrol cutter's efficiency may have won the hearts and minds of its maintenence crews back in the drydocks, but actual assigned crew would sing a different tune for anyone willing to listen.

To their credit, Brookes' crew kept their grousing to a minimum...most of the time. This recent deployment had apparently seen complaints at an unusual low, but then, having something to do besides waiting for smugglers too smart to bumble in front of the local authorities helped to take one's mind off of the lack of creature comforts.

Brookes scanned the main display as the cutter made its way into the field where the smuggler depot was supposed to be. Typically, asteroid fields were far more wide-spread than pulp fiction would have one believe - the only crashes that happened were due to incompetence or intent. This wasn't a typical case; the A9811 micro-field wasn't really an asteroid field in an of itself so much as it was the remnants of a large body that had been smashed apart a few hundred million years ago. With time, this field would disappear as gravity did its work and sufficiently-accelerated fragments wandered off to establish typical orbits around A Place's star.

Sensor results showed A9811 to be largely metallic - ferrous hunks the size of city blocks with the occasional rare metal for flavor. A9811 and fields like it were prime real estate for mining operations, and Brookes rather expected that - besides the drugs and small arms - the smuggler base here would probably have small-scale mining going for rare heavy metals. So far, however, sensors showed nothing. Scanning the main display, Brookes felt her mood dampen some. Such a large area of space, with so many rocks in such a tight space - really, it was an ambush waiting to happen. The intelligence report had indicated that this outpost was a minor one and probably unarmed besides the guards on-station, but that did little to comfort her. Intelligence reports could be wrong, ships could be lost, and no one in the command office really cared that much.

"Decelerate us and prepare to drop decoy pods," Brookes ordered, "We'll deploy a net of them here," she drew a pattern on her small personal pattern with a stylus, the result appearing on the main display as well, "and leave them on passive."

"Commander," this was Brookes' XO, Lieutenant Commander Hall, "Intelligence reports indicate that this depot is supposed to close and be abandoned within the next 72 hours - we may reduce our chance to capture prisoners and contraband the longer we take."

Some officers might've rebuked their XO for dissent on the bridge, but Brookes valued the older man's experience and encouraged his input. The lieutenant commander would not voice an issue idly, and Brookes prized his willingness to disagree. She paused to consider, then shook her her, "Noted, lieutenant commander, but this vessel's worth probably exceeds the value of any small-time smuggler outposts, and there's no guarantee prisoner intel will prove valuable. We'll err on the side of caution"

Deploying a decent network of decoy buoys was no mean feat done in minutes - the compact designs left little room for maneuvering gear, which meant that the Watchdog was forced to travel slowly across a considerable portion of the micro-field to achieve proper distribution. Brookes hoped that Hall's analysis wouldn't prove her the fool, but she'd meant what she said - drugs and light arms weren't worth a Civil Defense cutter; the fringes needed more, not less.

Its defensive task completed, the Watchdog resumed its course further into the micro-field, its sensors roaming over rocks large enough to hide the whole cutter in to no avail - they were approaching the area of the field deemed most likely to house the outpost slowly but surely, but the cutter's diligent probings had revealed nothing man-made so far; no sensor buoys, no defense emplacements, and certainly no ships or outposts. Brookes was beginning to wonder, as the hours rolled on, if she had perhaps made a mistake. As if to answer her, her sensors officer suddenly cried out, obvious surprise in his voice.

"M'am!" he said, "I'm reading on- no, three contacts coming around the rock ahead! Two our size, one a bit bigger."

Brookes didn't need to ponder what they were, "Give us full reverse acceleration immediately, head for our defensive field. Bring down all non-vital systems and prepare to rechannel them to the shields; no power to weapons for now," she paused, "Bring life support systems down to 10% and prepare to shunt that power to shields, as well," to their credit, the crews went to work immediately; lights dimmed, artificial gravity subsided, and warnings honked as the Watchdog began to withdraw. The main display ahead showed the "top" edge of the rocky mass ahead, magnified several times - their contacts were coming over the top now.

A new siren blared and a bridge officer called out, "Center ship has a partial target lock and is firing! Brace for impact!" The Watchdog's sensors registered the ship's six oversized mass drivers fire as one; a moment later, the cutter's shields flared brilliantly and a new warning appeared, "Forward shield generator 1 partially damaged. Shields at 40% and climbing. Estimate that they hit with roughly half of their fire."

The sensors officer again, "Center enemy frigate identified as the pirate boat Maximum Fuck. Pirate cutters unidentified."

"They have target lock and are firing," the previous officer called out again. This barrage of fire was far less impressive - small-scale mass drivers mixed with autocannons and detatchable missile pods; the Watchdog's active defenses swatted these latter out of the air and most of the former missed, "Shields at 45% and resuming climbing."

Brookes considered - even with power shunted to the shields, they could only recycle so fast; it was a simple mechanical limitation. Under continued fire, it was unlikely that they'd bring shields up to sufficient levels to stave off the enemy long enough. Brookes knew the Maximum Fuck would get the job done in one more salvo, maybe two if it could manage to hit; its oversized mass drivers were difficult to traverse on such a small hull and slow to recycle, but there was simply no arguing with their firepower. Particularly not in a Civil Defense cutter. Brookes knew she couldn't rely on the cutter's armor...wait. "Helm," she barked, "Bring put the nearest rock between us and them as much as you can," she paused, "Draw off remaining power to life support and reshunt it to engines. We're not going to need air and heat if we don't have a hull."

---

On board the pirate cutter Rip and Tear the commander expressed his frustration over the Civil Defense cutter's dodging and weaving in the way he knew best. By raging incoherently.

"Why can't you get a damned lock on the thing, you cretin?" he snarled at his gunnery officer, "It's shining on sensors like the ever-fucking sun!"

The gunnery officer knew better than to give an excuse - after all, there was a reason that the last gunnery officer was no longer in the position the new one occupied - and instead replied with something 'constructive,' "I have a partial lock sir, requesting permission to fire on that?"

"Crack that can open or I'll crack your skull open!" the commander roared by way of expressing approval. The converted civilian freighter rumbled and whined as its slipshod armament let loose another stream of autocannon rounds, driver slugs, and some of its remaining light missiles. Fortunately for the gunnery officer, it fell to the sensor officer to call out the results.

"Partial hits only, sir," he said, "It managed to scoot behind another rock."

The commander said nothing - which was sometimes worse - and simply stared at the main display, drumming his fingers on the command chair. The gunnery officer could almost sympathize; this whole affair was intended to convince Civil Defense to keep its nose out of where it didn't belong - here and elsewhere - and that message could hardly be communicated if their prey got away so effortlessly.

"Sir!" the sensors officer broke the silence again, confusion and fresh alarm in his voice, "I'm getting...serious interference here! We've lost the target and there are contact ghosts everywhere!"

"Open a channel with the Maximum Fuck!" he barked; a moment later, its captain appeared on the screen. To the Rip and Tear's crew, it looked as if the Maximum Fuck's captain was looking at something disgusting - a cockroach, perhaps. Oblivious, the Rip and Tear's commander lived up to his ship's name and tore into his comrade, "You said this was a damned ambush! Now we're in the trap! Crane, you better not be double-dealing!"

Crane openly sneered now, "It's a decoy bouy net, you simpleton. Something spooked the target's commander beforehand. And if you question my integrity again, I'll blow that little shitboat out to fragments, contract or not. Captain Crane, out," the channel closed. The bridge crew, wisely, were silent.

---

"We appear to have broken contact," Brookes' sensor officer sang out - his relief was palpable. She couldn't blame him. Three-to-one odds with a light ship hunter thrown into the mix was more than they'd bargained for. Hale gave her an appreciative nod; the decoy field had worked out. So far.

"Should we head back to dock and report this?" the helms officer asked, "Call out for backup?"

Normally even Brookes would reprimand free talking of this sort, but it was a valid question - one she was pondering and one the crew surely was, too. Besides, they'd narrowly escaped destruction in the past minutes and largely had the helmsman to thank for it, "No, lieutenant," she responded, then, to the crew, "This is no stealth sloop. They're eventually going to find us here, and if we attempt to break away, it'll just be sooner. Comms will draw them to us as well," she paused again, "Redistribute power as follows..."

---

The Rip and Tear's sensor officer was clearly beginning to fear for his life as he reported - with increasing frequency - a lack of enemy contacts. A few other bridge officers watched the commander idly drum his hands on his pistol butt and wondered if the next report of no contacts would be the unfortunate's last. They were all shocked, then, when the target lock klaxon honked and the sensor officer sang out in alarm, "Enemy ship on our left flank! They're firing-"

The Rip and Tear was no warship, and its crew no experts. A better crew might've responded more quickly. A better commander may have broke them from their paralysis and saved their lives. Instead, the Rip and Tear came apart under a hail of military-grade missiles and mass driver rounds, twisting under the terrific impacts as its makeshift armor failed and the internal skeleton of the converted freighter was torn apart. Magazine cookoffs took care of the rest.

---

The Rip and Tear's sister ship, Huge Guts got a front row seat for the death of its comrade, as did the Maximum Fuck. They didn't get a chance to reply, but now that the enemy ship had revealed itself, they would chase it down and finally crush it - the commander sincerely hoped he'd have a chance to 'meet' whoever was commanding that insolent little patrol cutter.

The commander responded eagerly when his sensors officer spoke out a several minutes of pursuit later, "85% chance they're behind this rock," the Maximum Fuck's commander obviously knew the same, and was detouring around the 'bottom' of the tremendous thing.

"Don't let us fall behind those mercs," he ordered, "bring us over top and we'll catch the little fucker in the crossfire. There's no running this time.

The Huge Guts came over the 'top' of the asteroid, weapons locking onto...nothing. There was only the Maximum Fuck, travelling up towards the Huge Guts under acceleration. The commander swore, smashing his fist on the control panel as each pirate vessel passed the other. They must have made a mistake; they'd have to regroup and-

"Sir!" the sensors officer yelled in panic, "Enemy to our rear! Point-blank! They're firing!"

---

Brookes hadn't been sure that her little gambit would pay off, let alone that the helms officer could drop the Watchdog, small though it was for a warship, into the crevasse on the tremendous asteroid's rear. It was all the more rewarding, then, when the other light pirate came apart, speared through its engines and rendered a drifting, powerless hulk. They could deliver the killing blow later - right now they had a bigger problem.

"Ma'am, the Maximum Fuck's bringing its turrets around!" the sensors officer reported.

"Finish face change and fire immediately!" Brookes yelled - now it was simply a matter of speed.

The entire Watchdog rocked again under the tremendous impact of the heavy mass drivers' fire; a klaxon sounded.

"Shields down to 30%! Forward shield generator 1's gone, we've got a fire - section vented successfully, fire's out."

"Enemy frigate appears to have taken damage to its left driver turret!" the sensors officer again.

Brookes didn't wait to see the response the Maximum Fuck would bring, "Bring us back behind the damned rock as much as you can, helm."

There was tension on the bridge as the crew waited for the pirate frigate to fire again and perhaps land a truly deadly blow, then, disbelievingly, the sensors officer spoke up, "Enemy appears to be disengaging."

There was a smattering of applause from the crew at this - disbelieving, full of relief. Brookes could sympathize. Hall gave her an appreciative nod, and she smiled back in response.

"Comms," she said, "Send a message to command - report this and request reinforcements. We've still got a smuggler outpost to take care of."

---

Federal Naval Office
New Haven system, Sector N5
September 10, 3388


Commodore Burg reshuffled the report, rolling his head from side to side to loosen his stiff neck and scowling reflexively at the Civil Defense uniform this Commander Brookes was wearing in her file photo - it seemed that the more distant the Civil Defense fleet, the more ostentatious the uniform. It was something he really wished the Department of War or Department of Civil Defense would correct. That aside, though, he had been pleasantly surprised with what he had read in the report on the A9811 incident - a leak in sector Civil Defense command had cost the locals enough that the Federal Navy was still investigating the numerous incidents. Most of them began and ended with an ambush and another lost ship the Union couldn't afford. More work for the real navy while shipyards turned out replacements and training churned out crews. Burg didn't envy local Civil Defense brass, who would probably be shitcanned when the Department of War had read the Federal Navy's report, though.

This one, though - this Commander Brookes. She'd been one of the exceptions. Her report on the incident was impressive in both its detail and in its modesty; credit had been particularly given by her to her gunnery and helm officers. Her XO's accompanying report had said what Brookes wouldn't say about herself, but it didn't take a second report to know that she'd saved the Union a ship - to say nothing of a crew - with her actions.

And they even found the smuggler depot, for what little it turned out to be worth. Shame the Maximum Fuck got away again, he thought, drumming his fingers on the desk. This Brookes was good, an asset. Too good, he suspected, for a piddling command operating out of a backwater like A Place.

Slowly, with deliberate movements that came from being a desk officer, Burg began to draw up an offer of transfer.
Truth fears no trial.

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Re: SDNW4 Prologue Thread

Postby Tanasinn » 2011-02-09 02:51pm

Izam Naval Shipyards, Izam System
FNS Liberation or Death, Sector M1
August 3rd, 3388


Captain Vincent Hannigan looked from the personnel file in front of him up to the corresponding officer standing at attention in front of him and had to suppress the urge to smile slightly. Fit, red hair, the sort of rough good looks you sometimes saw in rimward citizens - If I were ten years younger, he thought, rather unprofessionally. But then, he wasn't, and there was actual business to settle.

"At ease, lieutenant commander," he said, flopping the file down on the mess the comprised his desk's surface. He had been told it was unbecoming an officer of his rank to keep his workspace in such diarray, but he was hard-pressed to give a fuck. The woman in front of him obeyed readily - no tugging at her sleeves, no unconscious fidgeting, despite the newness of the uniform - good. A petty sign of discipline and adaptability, but a sign nonetheless. Hands folded on his desk, the captain began speaking again, "Signed up for the Civil Defense Force at 16, graduated an accelerated officer's program at 18. Seven years in the Civil Defense Fleet assigned to A Place - a backwater among backwaters - serving with relative distinction for the middle of nowhere. Only a year in command, not even a citizen for about half of your life, only 25 years old. Lieutenant commander, if I may be frank, your record is impressive for a rim officer, but I'm tempted to think my friend Commodore Burg is going a bit soft to recommend you as an XO for a Federal Navy destroyer," Hannigan leaned back in his chair, as if to punctuate his statement.

"Can you give me a reason, lieutenant commander, to trust Commodore Burg's hunch over my own better judgement? Over your own inexperience?"

"Permission to speak freely, sir?" the woman asked. Again, Hannigan suppressed a smile - by the book, unflappable. He liked that.

"Granted."

"Sir, with all respect, if the captain doesn't believe that my record indicates usefulness to the Federal Navy and himself, than I would recommend that the captain reinstate me immediately to my regional defense commission where I know I can be of use and where I know we need the personnel. It would save the captain, myself, and the Union time otherwise spent on word games. Sir."

This time Hannigan did smile - not only discipline, but a backbone. Good, "Very nice, lieutenant commander, I appreciate your candor. You have the position, I'll have the paperwork completed immediately. Currently most of the crew's on shore leave, but that doesn't include you," sorting through the mess on his desk, while scratching at the strictly regulation-length beard on his chain, he retrieved a rather fat folder and slid it across his desk, "I expect you to be up to speed by the time we weigh anchor. Dismissed."

The woman snapped to attention, giving Hannigan a sharp salute he returned with a far less impressive one. As his new XO reached for the file folder on his desk, he spoke up again, "And lieutenant commander?"

She stopped mid-reach, "Sir?"

"Don't think that because I appreciate a spine in my officers that I run a loose ship. Impress me and you'll see your commander's badge again. Disappoint me and I'll send you back to a bumfuck fleet where you may very well still belong. Welcome to the Liberation, Brookes."

"Thank you, sir," the young woman excused herself from the captain's cabin. Staring after her for a moment, Hannigan found himself thinking again about what he might try if he were ten years younger. With a shake of the head, he returned to his work.
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Re: SDNW4 Prologue Thread

Postby Thanas » 2011-02-17 10:09am

Image
Susa Primus
Golden Palace


How did I get into this position? Princess Nasrin Irulan Sassana asked herself.

It had started with Bodies. Bodies everywhere in the Palace. The slave legions had managed to penetrate all the way into the inner courtyard and it had gotten so bad that even the Imperial harem had been told to grab weapons and participate in the fighting. The Imperial family had been next and she dimly remembered a Sughdian corporal handing her his sword with the advice to "die like a Princess." Then the Corporals face had dissolved into a bloody mess when a hunter-seeker probe had found its mark.

Thankfully, the dieing part had not been necessary. Just as the enemy was about to burst through the doors, heavy thuds had announced the arrival of several sughdian drop pods, whose soldiers promptly dealt with the Perseid troops in the throne room and started pushing them back out of the palace. The following quarter-hour was all a blur to her, though she knew that she would remember every moment of it later. Nasrin remembered nearly tripping over one unfortunate harem girl, the dead eyes of a ruined face looking at her accusingly and then...and then she had dropped the sword and collapsed at the feet of the Imperial throne.

Image
On which her uncle had sat the entire time, not realizing what was happening around him as the powerful drugs that would turn him into a psyker had already taken effect. Nasrin remembered her father helping her up and lead her into the antechamber, where the surviving court members had already greeted her rather enthusiasticly given the low survivor count.

Sometime later her sister and her husband had joined them, their ascension to highest office all but assured. Nasrin remembered a rather formal greeting...and that Farrokhan had looked a bit out of it, as if something had happened which he could not yet understand. Then the defeated Perseid duke had been delivered by his sons. As ritual demanded, they had been the ones to strip him naked and hand him over to the sughdians. She remembered that she had mentally blacked out again when they had started flaying him alive - the usual punishment for traitors and incompetents. Thankfully her education at Gundeshapur prime had adorned her with the talent to blank out her mind - helpful not only against enemy psykers but also from committing scenes like this to her eidetic memory.

After the remains of the duke had been fed to the court worm and the throne room had been thoroughly cleaned, Farrokhan had given his report to her uncle and it had sounded so out of place she had asked herself whether she had lost her mind. Some unknown ship had appeared and destroyed the Persian fleet? She had not been inclined to believe it. And then Farrokhan had announced that the leader of the ship had arrived for an audience, no doubt to pledge his loyalty to the Imperial throne.

The doors to the hall had been swung open and two figures had appeared. One man and one woman. It had been immediately clear the male must be the dominant figure of the two. For he wore what, though alien, unmistakeably was a black uniform with rank insignia and at least one decoration. The female too wore black, but her dress looked more like a cross between casual commoner clothes and a uniform jacket without any rank insignia at all, the only decoration being an odd-looking cylinder on a belt. That she wore pants at all was a minor scandal, especially with no wedding band on her arm.

And unlike most retainers, she had the gall to walk next to her Lord, like an equal, despite wearing none of the signs of wife, concubine or mother. Wait. Observe. Analyze. Do not prejudge. The familiar teachings of her university education made Nasrin analyze the two more closely. The male did not behave at all like a dominant lord, she had observed. For his step was far less aristocratic or uneven than that of the retainer, who approached the throne with a much more graceful step and the posture of one entirely sure of herself.

*********

As they came closer and closer to the Golden throne, Sänger knew his growing unease would show. He felt completely out of place. The people surrounding them looked like they had escaped right out of the Carneval of Cologne. Had it not been for the battle damage, he might even have started laughing. Thankfully, most of them were not looking at him, but instead more at the android at his side. "You are causing quite a stir.", he whispered, knowing the android could hear him. However, she apparently did not dignify him with an answer.

Then somebody from the crowd pointed at his chest and an angry murmur soon swept through the crowd. What the devil is wrong now? Is my fly open? This is crazy. The only thing I am wearing is the hanseatic cross....and they can't have something against that, can they? More and more people were now talking to each other in hushed voices.

"What is wrong?" Andromache's query was loud enough for him to hear, but nobody else in the crowd apparently had heard it. Modulated voice? "Don't know", he whispered back. "Apparently they do not like my cross".

*****************

A cross. A symbol of the Byzantines. Why would they intervene....and how could they? A foreign power intervening was unthinkable to the Sassanids, whose first credo was that any intervention by an outside power would equal a declaration of war. And the other powers knew it, so there had to be another explanation. Nasrin raised her fan and activated the hidden imaging sensors. Magnifying the cross, she quickly discarded it as non-Byzantine, but rather something completely alien.

Then the strange duo had reached the required distance from the throne and her father stepped forward, as protocol dictated. After taking a few steps towards the duo, who had stopped, he bowed, turned around, bowed once more towards the throne, knelt and then started speaking in the ancient language reserved for coronations or for the introduction of high diplomatic guests.

"Oh King of Kings, Emperor of the faithful, the immortal soul, Supreme Commander and leader in all things. We have come here to honor thy reign by presenting you two wretched creatures, who can only hope to better themselves by being allowed to introduce themselves to you as Lord and Master."
*****************

The strange man dressed in what Sänger would charitably describe as a cross between a silk bathrobe and a lampshade finished speaking and looked at them expectantly. After one uncomfortably long second, Sänger whispered: "Well?" "I have no clue. This language is completely different from the one they used to greet us. I am checking my database but this might take some time."

Oh great. Ceremonial court language. The white-haired man looked at them oddly and then repeated his words, which still sounded like gobbly-gok to Sänger. But this time, he noticed a word. A word which had featured in some of the book he had read as a child and which had also featured in a text his grandfather was researching. A text in a dead language whose beauty had fascinated him nearly enough to get out of the Navy. He briefly debated whether to try anything, but the white-haired man had started the third introduction. Time to try it.

"I got an idea. Watch this." Before Andy could stop him, he bowed towards the throne, then started reciting. I hope my Grandfather got the pronounciation right...

"I, the Mazda worshipping lord Shapur, king of kings of Iran and non-Iran, whose lineage is from the Gods, son of the Mazda worshipping divinity Ardashir, king of kings of Iran, whose lineage is from the Gods, grandson of king Papak, am ruler of Iranshahr, and I hold the lands...."

He trailed off, noticing the astonishment on the faces of their hosts.

"When at first we had become established in the empire, Gordian Caesar raised in all of the Roman Empire a force from the Goth and German realms and marched on Babylonia Asuristan against the Empire of Iran and against us. On the border of Babylonia at Misikhe, a great battle occurred. Gordian Caesar was killed and the Roman force was destroyed..."

He stopped abruptly, noticing it was no longer astonishment he saw, but hate.
*****************

Inconceivable. The man had not replied with the ritualized answer every noble in the empire knew, no, he had quoted from the Holy book which detailed Sassanid history from the start of their empire instead. Said Holy book was to be read only at one time in a year and only the Emperor had the right to do so. What was even worse, he had recited a section that had been destroyed and which the Imperial historical guild had reconstructed much differently.

Which made him not only a criminal, but also a heretic historian. What the court would think was clear - here was somebody who had usurped and become a member of a profession only open to the select few on Gundeshapur and to those of Royal blood. What was even worse, he had done so in the Imperial Throne Room itself, in the face of the Emperor's holy presence.

As the room erupted in shouting, Nasrin had a split moment of clarity. She knew the text by heart. And she knew the official version. She also knew the reconstruction by the man fit better. And she instantly recognized that his face was not that of a defiant rebel, but of somebody who did not realize what was going on. These texts must be common where he is from...which cannot be our universe.

She debated intervening. On the one hand this knowledge was potentially valuable, on the other intervening on behalf of a heretic could cost her. While she was weighing her options, the choice was made for her. The four Sughdian legionnaires who usually stood guard behind the throne charged forward, swords drawn. Standing order of the Sughdian guard was that a historian had to be killed on the spot, and no doubt the four were now moving to enforce that order. Using their cybernetic and genetic enhancements, their actions were a blur before Nasrins eyes. And then everything seemed to slow down as her own training kicked in.

She saw as the Sughdians brushed past her father and were almost upon the male who had not even begun to raise his arms in a - futile - defence.

Then the faces of the legionnaires erupted in blood as their bodies crumpled to the floor.

***********************
Sänger felt something push him down. When he had recovered from the impact he noticed the Android standing over him, using some sort of metal staff to beat back attackers.
***********************

Princess Poran Nasrin Sassana, Lady of Murder, and her husband Shahrbaraz Farrokhan had been trained by the best soldiers and assassins there were. They had also received several gene augmentations. But even their eyes could not follow the sequence of events.

Closer inspection of the video cameras would reveal that the women to the right of the heretic had reached for her belt with her right hand and touched the cylinder - which had then extended itself into a staff. At the same time, she had used her left to pull Sänger back and to the ground. Stepping over him, she had then waited for a microsecond before using four quick stabs to the faces of the guardsmen to inflict disabling, but not life-threatening wounds. None of that by itself was remarkable. Guardsmen had been defeated in hand-to-hand combat before. No, what was remarkable was that she had done it with a never-before-seen speed and precision, a precision unmmatched even by the newest hunter-seeker drones.

And she was now standing above the body of the male, the bloody staff a symbol for everybody to see. Some of the nobles however had also drawn their swords. Poran watched as they started circling the woman and noticed out of the corner of her eye that her husband had already activated the emergency comm unit. Within the next second, more Sughdians, this time armed with lasguns, burst into the room. Poran thought she had heard someone scream and quickly identified the voice as that of her sister. She quickly looked to her left and noticed that it was indeed Nasrin who was screaming. Typical. It didn't matter. Soon, the Sughdians would destroy the heretics.

Instead, silence. Her head snapped back to the center of the room.

To a man, the Sughdians stopped, lowered their weapons and fell to their knees. She couldn't have - no, definitely not.
Did she?
And then she heard her sister step forward and repeat more calmly what she had screamed a split-second earlier. "I extend protection."

********
As she had watched the carnage unfold, her instincts and fear had told her to stay quiet. Her mind had told her to act - and her scientific curiosity had created a greater fear of loosing such a valuable source. So she had blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

The sughdians had reacted instantly. Being trained to obey a Royal voice instantly, they had heard her even over the clamor. And obeyed. Had she looked back, she would have noticed that even Farrokhan had almost followed the impulse to kneel.

Even the Nobles had stopped and had lowered their weapons. Of course, that did not prevent them from glaring at her. Stepped into the mouth of the worm, may just as well let it swallow..

Poise. And remember to walk slowly.
********

Andromache had calculated that while she could easily dispatch the whole horde, the chances of survival for her very stupid, very slow comrade were less than stellar. Thankfully, at least somebody seemed not to be interested in violence. The young woman in the golden dress came closer and Andy decided to let her come closer. After all, there was no need to unleash the rapid fire effectors of her forcelance yet. The woman walked up to her and placed a hand on both her and Sänger's arm, the latter having just managed in time to stand up once again.

Then the stranger repeated her words in the language Andromache was already familiar with. "I, Princess Nasrin Irulan Sassana, extend protection to these persons. Anybody who dares touch them shall violate Imperial peace."

Andromache bowed. "Our thanks, your Highness." Then for Sänger's benefit, Andy added in German: "Apparently we are now under her protection. This would be far easier had you taken an implant." Sänger had the good sense to repeat Andy's bow.

Nasrin spread her arms, indicating everybody. "This should be a day of celebration. Our enemies are defeated. We shall not squabble."

"Well spoken, my daughter." Ardasir Narses Sassan had gathered himself enough and had already motioned for servants to carry away the wounded Sughdians. "We shall discuss things with a cool head and with reason."

A booming voice filled the room. "Indeed."

**************

It was highly unusual for an Emperor in the thrall of the drugs to speak. Even more unusual was for him to address anyone. Yet that was what he did.

When he looked at Andromache, his brow seemed to furrow a bit as if he could not understand something. Then he focused on Sänger, who was driven to his knees by a massive headache. It felt as if somebody was drilling a hole in his head and sucking out his brain. Then, the onslaught stopped as suddenly as it had started and the Emperor collapsed back on his chair. After a moment - where everybody seemed to hold their breath, he pointed at the two outsiders. "I bestow Imperial Grace."


*************
One month later
Andromache Ascendant
Orbiting Xenos Prime


"Stop fidgeting and smile for the holo", the main AI intoned. Sänger did his best to straigthen up and put his hand on the big red button conveniently placed in the center of the observation deck. A second later his hand was covered by the smaller hand of the Andromache's avatar. Holos started flashing.

Between takes, he grimaced. "I can't help it. This feels all very surreal to me." With "this", he meant the red sash now being displayed across his uniform, symboling his rank as Imperial Duke. And of course the ceremonial short sword on the left side of his belt, a gift the Princess Nasrin had given him at his official investiture, which gave an odd contrast to the officer sword of the Imperial German Navy on the right.

I look like a clown. "If my father could see my now..." "Yes, I know, your family makes a big deal out of receiving honours but never wearing them. Hold still." "I only wore it because you threatened me." Andromache frowned. "I did not."

Sänger nodded. "Your exact words were, and I quote suck it up, kneel before the emperor and accept the sash or I will break your arm in six places.." Andy smiled. "I have no recollection of this existing in my database. And even if I did, I am sure it was meant in the most polite way possible."

"Right." Sänger looked around at his crew, some of whom apparently still had a hard time adjusting. But who could blame them, really?

"So...are we going to do this?"

And with a press of the button, the colonization of Xenos Prime began.

END PROLOGUE.
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Re: SDNW4 Prologue Thread

Postby Tanasinn » 2011-06-15 01:13pm

An exerpt from The Humanist Union: Past, Present, and Future

The Great Trunk

The Humanist Union is unusual amonst first galaxy states in the number of functioning warp gates it features - three. While this doesn't compare to the UN's unmatched 5, it still ranks the isolationist socialist state among the powers most invested in warp gate technology. This so-called "great trunk" of warp gates runs through the spine of the Humanist Union; no sector in the state does not share a border with a warp-gate-equipped sector.

The Interstellar Cooperative Republic that preceded the Humanist Union, like most first galaxy states, featured only one warp gate. Located in the Elysion system, it served as a major hub of international commerce and diplomacy that helped set the whole sector apart from its neighbors economically. Its value was well-recognized by the Progressive Coalition during the ICR's civil war; the First Battle of Elysion - more properly a lightning raid - counted among its primary objectives the serious damage or total destruction of this warp gate in order to deny the Republican forces its benefits. Nearly completely destroyed in that battle, it was not fully-repaired by the time of the Second Battle of Elysion, which saw it razed again, nor the Third Battle of Elysion, which saw the formal end of the civil war.

While most within the Progressive Coalition agreed that it was necessary to rebuild the warp gate, it was generally considered a tertiary priority, with the war having ostensibly concluded. It was only through the efforts of the recently-appointed Coordinator Roland Stein and fellow ruling council member Anya Paterson that the warp gate's reconstruction was made a top priority. Commerce through the gate exceeded expectations and contributed greatly to the reconstruction of Elysion and the local sector, marking one of the coordinator's earliest major policy victories.

Optimistic about the advantages of the warp gate, Stein went on to draft a plan for a network of warp gates that would be constructed as the Humanist Union (then the Cooperative Coalition of Planets) recovered and expanded. Warp gates, Stein contended, would contribute to the sickly economy of the state as it rebuilt, not just attracting foreign commerce but employing millions in the labor-intensive task of actually constructing a warp gate. Further, Stein contended that a "trunk" of warp gates through the Humanist Union would allow for more rapid mobilization of the Federal Navy. In a time where the military's resources were stretched to their extremes and the republican remnant continued to pose a considerable threat, this was considered a valuable advantage. The first was to be built in the Hale system of sector M3. A backwater, this plan met some opposition within the CCP's government, both from those opposed to the sheer cost of Stein's plan to those who wanted the gate built in a more important sector and system. Relying upon his popular support among the civil masses and the military, Stein managed to get his plan passed; construction began in 3324 and had been completed by 3328, by which time Stein had consolidated his power considerably. The success of the second gate as an economic buoy, a way to employ citizens, and as a defensive tool silenced remaining critics of the infant warp gate network.

A third warp gate would not be proposed until 3375, following the annexation of the New Haven sector in what was,. at the time, a relatively bloodless invasion. New Haven had long pursued its own plans to construct a warp gate, though the political corruption, anemic economy, and lack of expertise left this as little more than the planetary government's pipe dream. Though the Union's government pitched the third warp gate as a simple finishing job, the truth was that the New Havenite construction was almost entirely worthless; the Union-built gate is in fact entirely original. The New Haven gate has been important for much the same reasons as the Hale gate and Elysion gate, as well as in its own ways. The warp gate considerably sped integration and reconstruction of the New Haven sector. Overwhelming military response to counter-revolutionary elements could be very rapidly mobilized. The severely crippled sector economy meant the gate's contribution to jobs and commerce in the sector was extremely valuable, not in the least because it helped to convince the local populations of the value of integration into the Union.

Today, the Union's three warp gates are referred to coloquially as the "great trunk." This well-defended infant network acts as the defensive spine of the state, enabling the Federal Navy and Army to rapidly redeploy from the innermost core worlds to the outermost reaches - truly, there are no isolated sectors in today's Humanist Union. The defensive agility and economic value contributed by the great trunk makes it likely that it will only continue to expand with the Humanist Union's borders.
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Re: SDNW4 Prologue Thread

Postby Mayabird » 2011-06-26 11:11pm

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

The ragtag fleet. There have been ragtag fleets since the universe became transparent, when the first one (due to time travel) appeared in the starless young night and asked, “Did they follow us? Are we safe now?” Their identity and fate, and even if they existed again in the second go-around of the universe, are lost, but the fact remains.

If a group of mobile somethings become self-aware and survives long enough, it will eventually give birth to a ragtag fleet, and with the vastness of the universe, it has happened many, many times. They set forth from their archipelagoes of asteroids in dense dark matter clouds into the cold emptiness, from their hillocks of inorganic mud to the soupy seas, from their mountain fastnesses to the atmosphere, and so near-infinitely other variations besides. The vast majority of the time, though, it happens for simple survival of the members of the fleets. They had to leave, and in a hurry (after all, if they'd had time they would have put together something more substantial).

So really, this one particular ragtag fleet was nothing special. They were, perhaps, the last survivors of their kind. They had evolved on a planet and taken to the stars, but now those few remaining had fled, carrying little more than the hope to live. In the grand scheme of things, they were perhaps nothing significant, just another faint light in the uncaring dark, soon to fall silent. But they mattered to the histories of those they would affect later, and they mattered to themselves, so for that brief moment in the cosmos, in their tiny stories and the tales of others, they were important.

The fleet had stopped at a barely inhabitable world. They had no intentions to settle there, for they had learned through hard experience that they would always be found. Planets were traps; staying put was death. Those mistakes had cost them millions of precious lives, and between that and their general dwindling, they had only a few hundred thousand left. Still, many ships had needed to land, to repair what was broken and could not be fixed easily in space, and resupply themselves as best they could, skimming off gunk from shallow ponds and pools for food, and breathing something foul-smelling but nonfatal and not stressing their life support.

Those ships that could stayed in orbit, ready to flee at a moment's notice, protected under the wing of the last warships and their leader. Silver was his rank, and silver was his plumage, from age and neglect and stress. The commodore was weary, tired in his bones and spirit, but he had to stay in the wind, just stay in the wind until he could not anymore. They used to say, in the days of his youth, that one needed only stay for a moment longer, or to stay until the moment came. But when would that be? Would that time even come? Would there ever be such a moment again, when he need not worry and allow himself to fall?

“Lord Commodore! Scouts are detecting ships coming out of hyper.”

No. Too soon. How did they find us so fast?

Even as he thought it, even as that tiny bit of him despaired, the silver commodore snapped orders to the crew on the bridge. “Fleet to Mauve alert. Contact Ground; get the evac started. Ready weapons – you all know the drill. How many ships, and which group of Giants are we facing?”

The young officer - of sorts, since she had basically been apprenticed into her position by her father – tapped her antiquated station until the reader came back on. “Lord Commodore...they're saying two, but big. Very big. Larger than any we've seen before, and...” She tapped it again, and whistled in frustration. “...Commodore, it's...there's...the ships don't conform to anything we've seen before either. The scouts have been detected!

“What?” He swooped to her station, clinging to its side perch so he could see as well. Usually, he could read off most of the codes that blinked on the screen, but it all appeared as gibberish to him.

“Commodore, it's all irregular. I think they don't know how to say this well either. The two ships are sending radio signals at them, and flashing laser lights, and they're picking up some sort of hyperspace signature too.”

The officer at the station beside said, “Commodore, I am picking it up too! We're picking up direct radio from them. Sending someone to look for light flashes.”

“Are they locking on weapons?”

“I don't think so, Lord Commodore. It looks almost like a message. They're sending repeating numbers at us.” The young coms officer leaned over and looked at the other station.

“The same numbers!” she said.

The chirps noting readiness came from the other bridge stations, except of course the one contacting Ground. The Giants never tried to talk, never transmitted anything except active sensors, didn't resort to trickery since their sheer numbers could simply overwhelm. They never came only in pairs. Could it be someone else? Someone friendly?

The young officer asked, “Lord Commodore, what should we do?”

Did he dare hope this time, when so many other hopes had been shattered like far too many of their ships?

“I think they're trying to hail us.” An old bit of his brain pulled up long-unused information, nearly forgotten: the procedures they had made, so long ago, before even his hatching, for a hypothetical peaceful first contact. “Send back the same message.”
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Re: SDNW4 Prologue Thread

Postby Siege » 2011-06-30 12:06pm

Written with Fingolfin


Forge-Dock Vulcanus
Mars

3102


Senior Magos Nathaniel Matsukevich proudly looked at the new starship that lay within the shipyard like a baby in the cradle. The Sisyphus was the product of a special request made to the Adeptus Mechanicus by none other than the God Emperor himself, and for this simple reason alone the Adeptus Mechanicus could not say no. They had appointed Matsukevich the leader of the brightest engineers and theoretical scientists the Imperium could bring together. To call it a team, was a major understatement. But then there were major hurdles to overcome, for what the Master of Byzantine Humanity had demanded was nothing less than the breaching of the ultimate hide-out of the Collector species.

The decree for this to be done had come from the Imperial Palace shortly after the destruction of the Sovereign Power by an unknown xeno AI force calling themselves the “Collectors”. The Sovereign Power was a heavy cruiser and the commanding Admiral had encountered the xeno AIs on the borders of the Imperium. Challenging them with warning shots and demanding they leave Imperial space under pain of death, the xenos instead retaliated against the heavy cruiser. Shockingly the cruiser had been utterly destroyed and, eager to avenge thousands of loyal Imperial servants, the Navy organised a hunting force to find and destroy the xenos. Before they could accomplish their goal however the Collectors retreated deep into their own region of space, a patch of impenetrable shoals.

It was theoretically possible to penetrate the region of space they had dubbed the ‘Badlands’, the admirals had reported, but any ship entering it would have to slow to well over half of normal Warp speed -- a crawl that would leave any fleet strategically paralyzed and unable to respond to the Collectors who with their optimized drives would be able to run rings around any Imperial flotilla. Unwilling to commit to such a risky venture, the Admiralty had called off the hunt. Affronted, the God Emperor had called upon the Mechanicus to deliver a solution.

Thousands of people were thrown at the problem, laboring in orbital laboratories, manufactoria and forge-worlds across the width of the Imperium to bring about the vision of the God Emperor. They ranged from brilliant theoretical physicists and engineering savants, metallurgists, lexmechanics, constructors and even some of the few Thinking Machines the Imperium allowed to exist within its borders. Drawn from almost every sub-order of the Machine Cult, Senior Magos Nathaniel Matsukevich was effectively the leader of a Mechanicus within the Mechanicus

It was a point of pride to Matsukevich to be given this unusual honor, and a pleasure to be given a task of great weight by the God Emperor himself. The problem however was not easily solved, and required a vast number of dedicated workers. It was larger than any team required for any known capital ship project, even compared against the just recently completed the Terra Invictus project, which had yielded the mighty Retribution class battleships, the second largest battleships in all of the Imperium and a marvel to many a human empire out there.

The solution proved to be complex. Different hyperspace shoals exerted different levels of field friction on different angles and through different dimensions. And the shoals at the core of the Koprulu sector were unusually dense even by Wild Space standards. Byzantine ships typically slowed to quarter speed in order to sustain long distance Warp travel without burning out their engines. Collector ships, however, were able to sustain a much higher speed. They managed this, or so Imperial shipwrights and physicists theorized, by travelling in a higher band of hyperspace, one that existed ‘above’ - for want of a better layman’s term - regular shoal space, and would thus not be affected by the hyperspatial flux that so impaired regular faster-than-light travel.

To travel in the dimensions in question, which was provisorily labeled ‘high infraspace’, a warp drive had to shift its attached mass to a much higher dimensional plateau than anything previously attempted. And though this sounded simple enough on paper, the Imperial engineers soon realized their understanding of hyperspatial geometry was insufficient to solve the problem. Even their most sophisticated drive designs required stellar levels of energy to even theoretically attempt to translate a ship into high infraspace -- energy densities that simply transcended anything the engineers knew to handle with anything approaching safety. The Rift Generators the Imperium has recently employed for last few centuries or so already pushed the limits of Imperial engineering to the far limits. Even worse were the unexpected side-effects of their experimental drive designs. Some probes returned aged a thousand years for every minute spent in hyperspace; some exhibited strange n-dimensional artifacts; some did not return at all for reasons the engineers were at an utter loss to explain.

It soon became apparent that Augur Aeternus, as the project was dubbed, was well out of its league, and that despite all the Imperium’s technological prowess even Magos Matsukevich himself no real idea what he was doing. They were treading new ground, and braving the multi-dimensional madness of hyperspace was much more of a challenge than even the most pessimistic of engineers had imagined.

The breakthrough came from an unlikely source. The Inquisition had acquired blueprints for a xeno ship with a most unusual Warp drive. The xenos were the Apexai, who had recently fled to a region of human space neighboring the Imperium. Previously known as a lawless frontier, the Apexai had been taken in by a fledgling human state that had formed there as a response to the growing threat of the Bragulan Star Empire. In the chaos following the destruction of the Apexai homeworld and the exodus that followed, Inquisitorial agents had raided one of the exodite ships and managed to seize sizable quantities of valuable information from the xenos’ databases and abscond with it before the aliens were able to respond. By and far it was a fantastic coup, yielding a veritable treasure trove of information, some of which was of unimaginable value to Imperial Science. Much of it was turned over to the Adeptus Mechanicus for analysis, and though it was sure to take many decades if not hundreds of years to unlock all the xenos’ secrets, one particular set of blueprints had piqued the interest of the Xenomechanicae, who had passed them along to Senior Magos Matsukevich.

Nathaniel and his teams pored over the alien schematics, and although they could only scratch the theoretical surface of the technology it described, they soon enough realized that they were looking at nothing less than the drive designs of an Apexai warsaucer. The longer they studied the plans the more they felt humbled: the Apexai had designed stunningly elegant hyperfield geometries that bled into dimensions Imperial engineers had only just conjectured the existence of; rather than using fusion torches or nuclear drives the xenos’ ships were driven by purely psionic means, operating on technological principles that not even Matsukevich could make heads or tails of; and the aliens wrote of their ships not in terms of simply a means of transportation or warfare but as animate, living things, borne of psychic resonances and the ambient pressure of space itself. Although the Senior Magos scoffed at that latter notion as a surprisingly primitive superstition for such an admittedly sophisticated species, it soon dawned on him that even by reverse-engineering aspects of Apexai technology he would be able to solve a number of his most pressing problems.

Brute force, his engineers confidently believed, could do the rest.

In the bid to shore up the Imperium’s diplomatic interests, it was decided that the Imperium would share their findings with the fledgling new United Solarian Sovereignty, despite the latter’s anarchic and egotistic leadership, xeno-friendly policies and some of the more disturbing conjectures the Holy Inquisition had drawn about the collusion of business conglomerates, xenos and the conspiratorial intelligence agency founded by President Teague. Regardless, diplomatic necessities be necessities, and the Imperium decided to extend a hand of friendship in the form of sharing vital technology to the USS, which needed all the aid they could get their hands on in their fight with the Bragulans.

Solarian engineers were invited to visit the secret labs involved in the design of the experimental Warp Drive. They conferred with their distant AIs and scribbled notes on digi-pads, muttered about hyperspatial torque or gravitational friction in Okhrana-Chew Manifolds, and had a hard time conversing with their Imperial counterparts, Sovereignty tech being a major case of jerry-rigged seat-of-their-pants creative engineering the rigid and humorless Adeptus Mechanicus could barely take seriously. A few Apexai came, but if they recognised the design at the heart of the Sisyphus they said nothing of it, preferring instead to show arrogant alien aloofness that infuriated the Byzantines. But despite these difficulties the Machine Cult soldiered on, slowly but steadily, until finally, today was the day.

It was today that the new Warp Drive would be tested. A few dignitaries from the two militaries were here, along with some of the intelligentsia. Senior Magos Nathaniel Matsukevich was understandably proud and anxious and was eager to get the tests going. The new ship would be tested, and all the blood and sweat that they had shed would finally pay off. It did not matter what manner of accolades that he and his team would receive. He just wanted the ship to work. Thousands of engineers and others were busy preparing the ship for departure. A detachment of Adeptus Astartes and Imperial Guardsmen were on the ship to provide the necessary security.

Within the hour, the Sisyphus would be launched, and Nathaniel was eager for it to happen. The tension in the observation gallery was steadily rising by the minute.


=============================

“Mr. Hank, long time no see,” smiled Decius the Sigillite, personal adviser to the God Emperor. He was holding a glass of Byzantine wine as he joined Sidney Hank at one of the many tables where many dignitaries wined and dined.

“I was busy dodging Bragulans.” Hank moved a little stiffly, impaired motor control being amongst the usual symptoms of a new body. Otherwise he looked impeccable as ever, dressed in a black suit and tie. “Fuckers nuked one of my factories. I got one of their cruisers in return, but this war is playing havoc on the infrastructure. I almost couldn’t make it here -- the Brags have deep-space raiding forces lurking at our northern fringe, but as luck would have it the Apexai got the Warp Gate up and running early.”

“Those stupid dumb bears certainly have a remarkably Shepistani habit of nuking stuff from orbit do they?” If the Sigillite noticed Hank twitch at the name of the remote northern polity he didn’t show it. “Well, at least they are kept at bay for the moment, though the pesky bears came to the aid of those damnable Karlacks we were at war with and in one swift stroke we were in a two front war. Right now fighting is furious on many fronts, I hear, and barring the Imperium going into another Total War, I do not think we could simply overcome both foes at once.”

“The Bragulans are ‘kept at bay’,” Hank air-quoted bitterly, “by colonial farm boys who’ve no idea how to use a rifle properly, and merchantmen with guns and armor bolted on as an afterthought. And they’re facing entire legions of the Imperator’s finest. We’re hanging on, as the saying goes, by the skin of our teeth -- between the AIs and the Apexai we’ve got some cards left to play, but it doesn’t look good.”

“Indeed not. It is at best a stalemate to be sure and perhaps it will remain so for centuries to come. Though for the moment, let us forget the roars of guns, and the screams of dying men. At least for the moment enjoy the … rather special occasion.”

“About that,” the Solarian frowned and looked out the window at the massive ship below. “At Pan-Empyrean my... engineers,” he was going to say ‘AI’ but he knew that was a touchy subject for the Imperium, “have been running some scenarios incorporating more of the data we’ve... been given. And there’s been some concern about potentially unforeseen consequences.”

“Hmm, perhaps your engineers know something our engineers don’t. I will call Nathaniel over.” He gestured Nathaniel to come over and the latter walked over with the usual ungainly gait that most Mechanicus magos had. “Nathaniel, Mr Hank here has some concerns about your project. Perhaps you would like to talk to him.”

Nathaniel’s eyebrows raised, and gave a contemptuous look. “And what concerns might there be?”

Hank produced a datapad and handed it to the chief engineer, who manipulated it with the deft precision of a veteran technologist. A three-dimensional holo sprung up in the air, trickles of light weaving into representations of higher-dimensional constructs with equations and endless rows of numbers scrolling by. The data was compiled by Twennysex and his, well, people, the same band of exodite Apexai who’d been helping the Sovereignty develop the exotic weapons it needed to defend itself from the Bragulan war machine. The mathematics were highly complex, describing supersymmetric bending of dimensions and manifolds even these crack human scientists barely grasped the implications of. They detailed the potential for what the datapad called a ‘resonance cascade’. The Apexai had refused to explain just exactly what this cascade was supposed to be, but the normally so inscrutable alien had looked at Hank with an expression that by itself had convinced him to take this seriously.

Nathaniel subconsciously called up his artificial sub-brain and slipped into a kind of trance. His organic and inorganic brains working furiously through the mathematics. Much of it was completely new to him and completely unintelligible to him, but he could glean some of it. “What is this bit about psykers needed to steer the ship? Hogwash! Why mix Science with metaphysics?!”

“I am as sceptic as you are, Magos, believe me. But even so, would it not be wise to review this data before launching the ship?”

“Utter hogwash. There is no scientific basis for the metaphysics to mix with Science. The God Emperor is an exception and has done wonders that defy most of Science, but here, we focus on the specifics. I fail to see what horrendous disaster could possibly happen, or would happen at all, and the mission will go ahead as planned.”

Hank shrugged. “I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to do, Magos. I simply ask you to consider the possibility that there might be something to this technology - esper-related or no - that we might be missing. If you are confident this will work as advertised, then I am hardly one to stop you. As you know I... I mean, the Sovereignty needs this ship to work as much as you do.”

The Magos was not in the mood, nor was he to be denied after decades of hard work. His impatience to get the ship moving at once egged him. “We will proceed as planned.” With a huff, he made his way through the crowded control room to give the necessary instructions. With great fanfare, the ship began to move out of its moorings in drydock, to the cheers of the audience.

Sidney frowned as the massive ship slowly began to pull out into space. “I have a bad feeling about this...”

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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
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Re: SDNW4 Prologue Thread

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2011-06-30 12:36pm

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