SDNW4 Story Thread 1

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by PeZook » 2010-07-05 09:11am

Altacar 3, Altacar sector

The massive ring of the warp gate orbiting inside the orbit of Altacar 3 began to spin up, spitting light and sparks. Alarms blared in the control centre, as technicians rushed to their stations, and expert systems automatically implemented security measures.

"Outside activation!"

"Power level indicates long-range transfer...at least ten sectors, possibly more. One small ship."

"Horizon shield activated and holding."

"Systems green, stand by to receive transmissions."

The reports were redundant, since anything which happened in the control room zipped back-and-forth along fiberoptics anyway, but they were a useful backup in case something went wrong.

The channel was open, with the first probing data-packets devoured by hungry computer systems and analyzed. An unnatural silence fell in the control room when the result was displayed. A technician left his station hurriedly, running towards the long-range comms station with a paper printout, of all things, firmly in hand.

A priority channel was opened to the surface of Altacar 3 the moment the paper slip was scanned. All traffic to and from Altacar's warp gate was suspended by space controllers while the message was verified and confirmed. Finally, after an agonizingly long, fifteen minute wait, during which the gate consumed stellar amounts of power just to maintian the wormhole, the control room was swarmed by black-uniformed military technicians, and the transit was cleared.

The brilliant, swirling vortex opened and spat out the new arrival: a black ship of sleek design, reminescent of a shark, an emerald green emblem emblazoned on its bow.

Image

The new crew of the control centre stared in silence for a while, before one of the black-suited military officers turned to his subordinate and said a spoke, "Inform the ambassador a Collector delegation has arrived through the warp gate."

Somewhere in the orbital complex, a hardcopy printout was tossed into the incinerator, with only a few words inscribed on it:

We wish to exchange dataw
Last edited by PeZook on 2010-07-06 04:39am, edited 1 time in total.
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Teleros » 2010-07-05 09:56am

January 10th, 3400AD, Terran Standard Date


+ Cartwell Shipyards, Altacar System +
Harry Cartwell smiled faintly to himself as he watched Samuel "Sammy" Isaacson. Just beyond the reinforced window, over six million tons of starship glided past silently, as the newly-built Queen of Space headed out under her own power. The head of Interstellar Spaceways had placed the order for the new bulk freighter just six months ago with Cartwell's firm, and as usual had come to witness the launch himself. All of which meant that, for a shipyard the size of Cartwell's, what happened today could have a tremendous impact on the business.

"She's quite a sight, isn't she," Isaacson said, putting the fluted champagne glass back onto the antigrav tray besides him.

"Quite so," Cartwell replied, taking a few steps forwards so as to stand besides the shipping magnate, and trying to feel as confident and calm as he looked. Or hoped he looked. "I suppose it's all rather easy to get used to sights like this, but when you stop and think about it..." he paused, then nodded to himself. "Quite a sight indeed." Of course, the Queen of Space was in fact little more than a flying box with engines, a bridge, and life support strapped on where it wouldn't get in the way of the mammoth cargo holds, but to build a ship that large with so little warning... now that, Cartwell was impressed by.

The two men waited in silence as the Queen of Space glided silently past. Almost as soon as it had disappeared from view, Isaacson put the now empty glass down and turned away from the window. "You can tell your lads here I'm damn impressed at how quickly they got her built, if you want. Anyway, it's about time I got back to the office," he said abruptly.

Cartwell's heart sank, but he hid it as he extended a hand to Isaacson. "A pleasure doing business with you, Mr Isaacson. Do let me know if anything comes up in the shake-down cruise."

"Oh, I doubt there'll be any need for that." Isaacson replied automatically, as he shook the proffered hand. Altacaran society often seemed to run on such polite, meaningless phrases, thought Cartwell. God only knows what diplomats must sound like. "And now I must be off. Let me know if you have any questions about my next order."

The doors closed silently behind Isaacson, and Cartwell fingered the small data chip Isaacson had passed to him. "Station? Send up another bottle."


+ Buckingham Hill, Asamar City, Altacar III +
"Opposition Leader Alfred Chieko declared it another sign of the current government sticking to its principles at the expense of Her Majesty's subjects, and that if elected, the Conservatives would seek to ensure fairer access to education for all. The Minister for Science and Education, Elessa Tarstan, called Alfred Chieko an 'interfering control freak' and said that he was 'determined to force government influence into areas where it had no business'. Gregory Alleyn, leader of the Imper-"

"Off."

The holoscreen vanished, and Shen Sanetomi, Prime Minister of the Altacar Empire and current leader of the Liberal Party, pinched the bridge of his nose as he waited for the other people in the room to marshal their thoughts. The Privy Council was perhaps the most informal - and opaque - part of the Altacaran government, and whilst its existence was known, very few people outside of it knew much about what it actually got up to. Which, when it came to making certain unpopular decisions or, as here, circumventing certain parliamentary rules, was invaluable.

"Hmm. Well I thought Elessa handled it fairly well, all things considered," mused Sir Arnold Robinson, the Cabinet Secretary. "She's always handled human politics well for a Tisennan. As for the convoy... I'm not sure what you can do about that, if Alfred's decided he won't play by the rules."

"Don't you have any suggestions?" Sanetomi asked, looking across to the civil servant, with just a hint of waspishness in his voice.

"Of course not Prime Minister, that would be most improper." Sir Arnold shifted in his seat and motioned slightly to the woman seated besides him. "I'm sure Her Majesty would consider it most improper for me to be seen to be involved in political issues."

"But?"

"Hmm. Hypothetically speaking, of course, if one were to take a strong approach to the attack in public, convince the Imperium to respond in kind, and then redeploy a squadron or two to cover that route..." Sir Arnold shrugged. "Hypothetically speaking, of course. It's not for me to advise the Prime Minister on policy issues after all."

"Yes yes, of course," replied Queen Alexandra II impatiently. "I assure you, Sir Arnold, this room really is spy-proof."

"I don't think you'll ever convince Arnold or I of that, Your Majesty." Sir Garnet Neville, head of the massive Neville Bank and consequently, some said, the man who owned the Empire, shook his head slightly. "But to get back to the matter in hand, I'm afraid it's not looking good for you, Shen old boy. If I were you, I'd be looking at winning the election after this one. Well, that or simply buying the Opposition."

"I'll have the Strategy Board model it when we're done," offered Sir Arthur Wolfe, the Royal Interstellar Navy top man in uniform. "Although I can tell you now it'll mean diverting ships either from the Outback or the Badlands." At Sanetomi's glum expression he shrugged. "That's your decision I'm afraid, Prime Minister."

Sanetomi turned to one of the two Cabinet ministers present. "Francis?"

Sir Francis Urquhart, Sanetomi's ageing foreign minister, frowned slightly. "What with this Pendleton business it's rather hard to say. I'm sure the Anglians can handle it themselves, but to reduce ship numbers in the Outback at this time... at least the Badlands are less of a problem for us. We usually don't need to route too much trade through there after all." He paused to gather his thoughts. "What about the Sovvies?"

"The markets are betting on the government," Sir Garnet offered. "In the short term I'm inclined to agree, but as the colonies develop it'll be hard to continue denying them a voice, even if President Sinclair's reforms prove beneficial for them. And then there are the Bragulans."

"I've already sent a courier their way," Urquhart answered. "Along with some of the lads from DI1," he added, referring to the foreign espionage section of the Department of Intelligence.

"Mmm. That reminds me. Did we get a final decision on the Grand Dominion issue last time?" Sir Ardel Tirius, the Duke of Lomaria and one of the few Tisennans on the Privy Council, looked around. Like Sir Garnet Neville, Sir Ardel was "only" a businessman, but as CEO of Starship Industries, the Empire's largest shipbuilder and shipping company in a nation famed for those very things, not inviting him to such a discussion was of course unthinkable.

"Yes," came Sanetomi's abrupt answer. "Especially given the Shepistanis and what we've just said about moving ships from the Badlands. And-"

"My apologies, Prime Minister," interrupted a new voice. Lambert House had only the very best in artificial intelligences, but Jeeves, as it had come to be known, would normally never have interrupted one of these meetings. "A Collector ship has just cleared the Gate Zone. It would appear that they wish to trade."


+ The Hub, Altacar System +
Orbiting edge-on to the solar plane and just inside Altacar I's orbit, the massive ring structure of the Altacar Warp Gate fairly hummed with energy. A swarm of satellites orbiting even closer to the system's G2V star beamed the enormous amounts of power necessary for the constant operation of what was probably the busiest such gate in the known galaxy. For a warp gate, enormous amounts of commercial travel came through on a daily basis, and the docks and shipyards that had sprung up just beyond the Gate Zone's many layers of defences were a hive of activity. Known by most as the Hub, it had become one of those places where almost anything could be bought or sold. Almost anything, that is, for the Gate Zone Constabulary kept a lid as best they could on the worst excesses of the "Hubbers".

Right now, that meant traffic control.

"Damnit, there's another one trying to coast past." Constable Helen McAskew focused on the comet-like icon of the ship and, with a thought, activated platforms nearest to it. Pressor beams from the platforms snapped out and she managed a brief smile of satisfaction as the civilian ship - unregistered, again - was forced backwards against its own inertia. Someone had leaked the Special Transit Protocol alert to the Hub, and the Hubbers had wasted no time in scrambling to see what all the fuss was about. STPs were fairly unusual these days - except, of course, for the Collectors. Personally, McAskew had seen enough of the weird AIs that events like this had become irritating distractions from her real job, but so long as people were eager to see more of the AIs and their robots, so the GZC would be there to stop them crowding the buggers. Especially after the last time someone had gotten too close.

"Constable, we've received new orders from Langton House," her ship said, referring to the Foreign Office's headquarters. "The Collector ship is to be escorted to the Asamar City skyhook. Two squadrons of gunboats are en route to escort it, but we've been asked to remain on station until it is beyond Hub traffic."

"Oh. Joy."

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by MKSheppard » 2010-07-05 10:50am

The Amplitur Committee
Vulture Rock, Sublevel 43
3400


written with input from Beo

Image

Deep below the Capital Wasteland; several miles below the surface of the earth, the head of the Amplitur Committee; Grand Admiral of the Fleet Saul Tarsus stood.

"I hereby call the fifth meeting of the four hundredth session of the Amplitur Committee to order. The first issue is the recent offer by the Tianguo of their anti-psyker technology. They have sent Goujia Moshushi Shang Xiao Zhong Kui to describe and demonstrate the technologies they are offering."

A relatively middle-aged man standing next to Tarsus nodded towards the committee.

"Greetings. It is a great honor to meet you all. Though I may suggest you refer to me as Colonel Zhong; it would make all of our lives easier than trying to translate things back and forth."

"The Committee agrees with you. Now; to the brass tacks; how does your technology work? We've heard a lot of bullshit claims before this committee, magic boxes that upon deeper examination are just empty things with a blinking light on the outside to fool the gullible."

Zhong nodded. "I am very glad you asked that. It is the first sign that one is serious about anti-psyker technology. Our technology works on a different principle than your Blitzschlag fields -- in fact; it works on a principle that Doctor Blitzschlag briefly investigated, and then dropped in favor of his final ultimate approach."

"I will not bore you with the estosteric detail of how it works. It would bore us all to death. I have submitted a full detailed brief to your Vice President..."

At that moment; a glowing disembodied head appeared over one of the Committee member's seats which until that moment had been an empty seat.

"Committee members; I have reviewed the preliminary technical reports that Colonel Zhong has submitted; and I find much merit in them. As our dear Colonel says, this is indeed a technology that I and Doctor Blitzschlag briefly considered in our quest to create an anti-psyker field that would enable us to fight back against the Amplitur."

The general population of the Shepistani Federation continued to think that Vice-President Frederick (ex-President); was in fact someone in the line of succession who had been trapped deep underground in a COG facility with no way out, but with sufficient synthesizer stock and power to last several centuries.

But those in the highest levels of government, including the Amplitur committee -- knew the truth, that he was a pre-war ZAX computer, and that his machine consciousness had been immune to the Amplitur psychic attacks; enabling him to take over what little remained of the Shepistani Defense Grids and remotely control them to drive away the Amplitur from the center of Shepistani government. But it had happened too late for most of the population of Montgomery, who had died in a rain of fire from the skies.

"We actually considered it a more elegant and much more useful approach than the final one we adopted -- but there were insurmountable technical obstacles that had to be mastered before even an experimental device could be constructed. By contrast, the B-field equipment could be constructed out of existing technologies in a reasonable amount of time."

"That's all fine and dandy. So it works. What does it do?" asked Tarsus.

"While your B-Field systems work by overloading psychics via creating so much random psychic noise that the teeps can't use their abilities and at sufficient power levels, causing irreversible damage to their bodies; our G-Field systems work on a much more elegant level. They cancel out the specific energies that the teeps use for their powers; and also provide notification that a teep is in the area, even if they have 'turned off' their powers."

"That could be very useful."

"Yes, very useful indeed," added Vice-President Frederick.

Zhong motioned towards a portable holocube he had brought in with him.

"Here is some footage taken several years ago of a failed attempt by a teep to infiltrate one of our facilities. We don't know who sent them, since they were in a fairly 'clean' cloned body and because our guard stupidly burned off their head with an energy weapon; preventing post-death memory retrieval."

"But as you can see; simply nullifying the teep's power, and being notified of their presence has much more....creative possibilities than your current solution with the B-Field systems of automatic...brain frying."

"How much would five million of these things cost as an initial run?" asked a committee member.

Zhong sat back and closed his eyes briefly to visualize the costs.

"Depends."

"On?"

"If you want the unified field nullifier and warner systems; it would cost as much as one of your...battlestars."

At that, the committee groaned; no less than fifty battlestars were nearing extreme overage and would have to be replaced in the next fifteen years.

Quickly sensing that he was losing his audience; Zhong changed tack.

"...but past five million units, substantial cost savings occur, and we are willing to offer licenses for construction of them."

Grand Admiral Tarsus rubbed his chin for several minutes, deep in thought before replying.

"Gentlemen. As you all know, I am one of the last surviving Amplitur war leaders. The equipment that the Tianguo are offering is expensive -- as much as a battlestar -- but the cost of not having it would be incalculable."

"At the battle of Point Lookout, I personally saw an entire battlestar section of three ships fall under the psychic influence of the Amplitur Warmind; and begin firing on their own fellows. We would have lost the battle if it hadn't been for the Fifth and Sixth Grand Dominion Dreadnought groups showing up as last minute relief. I recommend that we defer the order for BS-312 for two years to pay for the so-called 'G-Field' systems that the Tianguo are offering...pending a field test of the technology -- I believe we can put the funding for that in the FY00 supplemental spending bill. How soon can you provide us with samples for testing, Mr. Zhong?"

"Within a week."

"Excellent. Call for motion?"

The motion for investigating the application of the Tianguo systems and future production if it turned out to be genuine passed the Amplitur committee by a 10-0 vote.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Simon_Jester » 2010-07-05 11:17am

Main Shuttleport, Montgomery Arcology Bravo-Five, Montgomery Province, Shepistani Federation
January 3, 3400

Agent Rose sat down at the bar and ordered a double whiskey. Deep down there was a flicker of relief when it arrived, and for a moment her only thought was living here really makes you need a drink. But the thought was banished almost as soon as it crossed her mind. She’d been cultivating mental discipline since she was seventeen; you didn’t get far as an operator of the Ministry of Data Collection’s Foreign Intelligence branch without it, not with an esper rating of minus two sigma.

Her lack of psychic ability had made her training difficult; even in relatively esper-poor Umeria, the bulk of intelligence agents had at least minor psi ability. But she’d persevered, pushing herself to the limit to master conventional tradecraft. After graduating from the academy, she’d been picked up by the one desk at Forint that saw being less psychic than 98% of the human race as a beautiful bonus on her resume... which had landed her in Shepistan; every silver lining had its cloud.

She didn’t know just how extensive the Technocracy’s network in the Republic was, but if her own experience was any guide, the answer was “every bit as big as the Second for Data Collection wants.” It wasn’t so much that Shepistan didn’t pay attention to internal security; it was that so much of their internal security was focused on espers. That was the key to Shepistani national character: target fixation. When they picked a target, be it for their fears or their ambitions, everything else in the universe ceased to exist for them. In this case, what had vanished from their radar was the galaxy’s mundane intelligence services.

The Shepistani Republic made an uncomfortable neighbor. While some of the foreign policy geeks published lurid papers with titles like ”Tianguo: the Sleeping Dragon at our Doorstep,” the real focus of Umerian military and intelligence posture had been Shepistan at least since the 3370s. At that point, the Republic’s policy, never entirely stable, had bid stability a fond farewell and soared into the unknown. The first warning sign had been a massive campaign of extermination directed against a major avian pest species. In and of itself, this was not unusual; terraforming often went wrong, and species like Terran rats, rabbits, and geese could get out of hand quite easily. When the extermination project started mobilizing forty-foot walking gun platforms armed with subcritical atomic weapons... that was a sign of a nation gone off the deep end.

The Ministry of Data Collection had occupied itself for the past generation with two tasks: trying to analyze the strategic mindset that explained such bizarre policies (surprisingly easy), and building up a network within the Republic to alert them to new developments (also surprisingly easy). Just as Shepistan had long been an unstable place, there had long been a disaffected minority among Shepistanis- those who preferred stability. People who were to drastic social policy solutions and overenthusiastic use of military hardware as Agent Rose was to psi power. They wanted none of it, and it was their bad luck to be born in a nation that seldom used anything else.

This minority was most easily identified by its fringe members. This week’s best example was a woman handling paperwork for the correctional system, who was obviously (to Agent Rose, at least) overwhelmed by the pressures of her job. Driven to desperate extremity, she finally smashed her commlink with a potted plant, then lurched out into the corridor screaming “I can’t take it anymore! You’re all crazy! All of you! Stop the noise! STOP THE NOIIISE!”... only to be gunned down by security troops who mistook her for a low-level telepath having an adverse reaction to the arcology’s anti-psyker field.

Last week had seen an even higher profile case: a newsfeed article about an employee of the Bland Corporation, a long-standing military consulting firm. After thirty years on the job, the man walked into the office with a Gauss pistol and murdered three of his coworkers before turning his own weapon on himself. What distinguished this from an ordinary psychotic breakdown was that from the moment he drew the pistol to the moment of his death, the shooter had never stopped bellowing “COLLATERAL DAMAGE, YOU IDIOTS! COLLATERAL DAMAGE!” at the top of his lungs.

Naturally, incidents like this served only to feed Shepistani paranoia about psyker infiltration. But to a serious analyst they represented the obvious corridor of access to the inner secrets of Shepistan: people who could see that the entire system was completely insane. The Shepistani Desk even had a name for the phenomenon: Only Sane Man Syndrome. There were billions of OSMS sufferers throughout the Republic, and every one of them was a potential informant or defector just waiting to happen. Not that she knew the details, of course.

But today Agent Rose’s time in country was up, and it was time to return for a debrief. She left the shuttleport bar and headed for the ladies’ room. Entering one of the stalls, she reached down into a zippered compartment in her purse and retrieved a slim cardboard envelope, with a thoroughly folded piece of paper inside.

Hesitantly, she unfolded the paper, trying not to think about the words printed on the inside fold to herself. She tore the piece of paper up and threw the pieces into the toilet; the water-soluble ink started soaking out of the paper in short order. She flushed, washed up, and left the restroom.

Boarding her flight involved passing through customs, but since she was travelling lightly and had nothing remotely resembling contraband among her belongings, that step went easily enough.

Hotel near Elysia International Spaceport, Independent World of Persephone, Sector Y-6 (near Umerian border)
January 6, 3400

There was nothing unusual about a wealthy Persephonite businessman picking up a cheerful, bright-eyed vacationer from Shepistan at the hotel lounge and inviting her up to his suite. The massive array of sensor-scramblers and privacy devices mounted in the suite was more remarkable- that was unusual. The fact that the vacationer immediately sagged into a chair and said “God, Dave, it’s good to be out!” in an exhausted voice, even more so.

“Dave” replied. “Relax, Rose. You’re back among friends.” The control agent was kind enough to sleep on the sofa that night. The next morning, they boarded a liner bound for Reisenburg.


Offices of the Foreign Intelligence Directorate, Prime City, Reisenburg, Sector W-7
January 10, 3400
Dave held up a card, then read a series of words to her. “Labrador... Peltast... Whiskey... Tango... Foxtrot...” At the fifth word, read in the precise tones of her control’s voice, Agent Rose slumped for a moment, then blinked hard as a rush of memories came back. This was what “Rose” had been selected for: her incredibly low defense against psychic intrusions. It had taken months of careful hypno-therapy by some of Umeria’s few alpha-class telepaths, using treatments that would have been impossible on any but the most willing and low-resistance of subjects, but Agent Rose had one of the most compartmentalized minds to be found outside a mental hospital.

Now she remembered the details of her operations- the ones she had always submerged before by reading her own half of the trigger phrase to herself, off the card she’d abandoned back in Montgomery. The submergence process left mental images in a scrambled gestalt state, then pushed them into deep storage. That left them undetectable by conventional interrogation tactics, nearly invisible even to high end telepaths unless they knew exactly what to look for, and a particularly thorny NP-complete problem for computers to piece back together postmortem.

But her recollection of her own actions was suppressed no longer. Agent Rose now knew all the details of the the profitable six months she'd spent recruiting nearly a score of OSMS-afflicted informants, with redundant and heavily encrypted lines of communication back to the Technocracy. She’d even helped arrange a defection for a junior engineer at a weapons development firm- always a feather in an operative’s cap. She smiled at the memory... now that she had it again.
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Steve » 2010-07-05 02:15pm

Westminster Palace, Westminster
New Anglia, Star Kingdom of New Anglia
13 January 3400



The Audience Chamber was set up for the formal ceremony, with the Prime Minister and key members of the Privy Council in attendance as well as the officials of the Royal Household. The throne itself was a chair meant for business as much as ceremony, not nearly as lavishly designed as the actual Coronation Throne in St. Michael Abbey where the King had been coronated several months before. He sat there now, in full formal wear with the accoutrements of state worn, Larissa seating beside him in the Consort's Throne just as his mother Siobhan had sat beside his father (such was not mandatory for duties of state, but James - King Edward - liked having his wife with him) with a flowing formal gown, appropriately modest for the Queen-Consort if still flattering on her.

A single man stepped forward from the others, clad in a formal suit. Sir William was a slim man, approaching 300 years of age now, and known for his severity and stern demeanor. He was a commited monarchist, loyal to the Crown - to a fault, arguably, given his rancorous attitude toward republicans of any stripe in the territories of New Anglia - and a capable administrator. Politically he was a Tory through and through, though above all else he considered himself a loyal servant of the Crown before any political party's desires, so having the Government and Sovereign ask him to take a post was all that was necessary.
]
Tarkington knelt upon a knee. It was not considered a necessary act to do for this ceremony (And a number of people did not) but Tarkington's personal beliefs made it a rather obvious action to take. King Edward greeted him in formal court language. "Sir William Tarkington, We have brought you before us to grant you the Office of Governor-General to Our territories in the Outback space. Do you swear..." He recited the formal oath given to Governors-General upon appointment.

Tarkington solemnly gave the oath requested. When completed, he was invited to kiss the King's hand, which he did with great solemnity and care. Edward XVI bid him to rise. Tarkington did, bowing as he did so. "Then go with Our blessing, Sir William, and dispense Our justice and charity to that troubled place."
"May my mind remain sharp and my arm strong in Your Majesty's Service," Tarkington answered.
With this the ceremony was ended. Stephen, clad in his formal suit, stepped forward to give Tarkington official congratulation. "Sir William, good luck out at Lochley's Retreat."
"I am at your disposal, Prime Minister. Though, may I ask..." Tarkington pulled Stephen over to the side. "What shall be done about Pendleton?"
"We are having a Liberal MP from Hannover introduce a Bill to approve a full expedition and consideration for annexation," Stephen answered. "I hope to have it up for voting by the time you reach your station and get settled in."
"And what can I expect for support? Pendleton has two hundred million souls dwelling upon it, even with space superiority I cannot control the planet with just the 80,000 Royal Marines I have available in the Outback."
"Army forces will be arranged, when the time comes," Stephen answered. "We may receive support from the Hiigarans and the Altacarans in the endeavor but no others are likely."
"Very well, Sir."


As Tarkington went to get a briefing from the Admiralty before packing for his trip to his new posting, King Edward retired to private rooms. After the year of mourning he and Larissa had moved into his parents' suites and chambers, following his official coronation ceremony. The same rooms he remembered his parents enjoying from the time he could think were now his by tragedy. He had been forced, by the pain of memory, to have some of the furnishings changed around (though never disposed of) and was further putting his own signature on the rooms by adding a sizable collection of scientific journals and writing. Larissa did likewise, the two often talking over things together. For now, however, they took to removing the formal clothes with the aid of servants who would dutifully send them to be washed and returned to the closets. Once in private, comfortable attire of silk shirts and trousers, Edward sat beside Larissa as she read a book and planted a kiss on her chin. "Larissa, do you have plans for the day?"
"Well, I am expected tomorrow in Summerford," she stated. "A public appearance for the Summerford Institute of Special Learning. But today, I have nothing."
"Ah. Thankfully, and suprisingly..." He grinned. "...nor do I."
The look between their eyes was magnetic. Each said yes with their mannerisms and soon retired to their bedchamber.

The bed was large and soft, with the finest and smoothest silks in the known galaxy available for a spread and sheets. This only added to the comfort as the young couple, fired up from their passionate love for each other and the virile energy of youth, made love intensely again and again, their breaks from this activity taken up by close cuddling, kissing, and further touching, until again they were ready to continue.
Edward had understandably lost track of time when he, tired from the intercourse, looked out at the window and saw the sun beginning to set, casting a golden, reddish glow upon the sparkling city about them. Larissa shifted below him, turning to lay on her side toward the window. For comfort she pulled the sheets up to her shoulder, leaving a bare arm visible above them, and laid her head upon her pillow. Edward laid behind her, one hand under the sheet touching her bare hip and the other curled up under her. He gave her a kiss on the back of the head. "Is something the matter?"
She was silent for a time, showing she was thinking of how to say what was on her mind. "I wonder what our children will be like," she said softly. "Father and Mom, they waited anxiously for me to give them grandchildren. Seeing my mother's older siblings with them made them a bit jealous." She giggled, though it was a sad one. "Can our first son be Alexander? For my father?"
"Of course." Edward planted a kiss on the back of her shoulder. "Perhaps he will even keep it when he becomes King. That would make him Alexander I. There hasn't been a British monarch named Alexander in over two thousand years, you know."
"Really?" Another giggle came, this one more light-hearted.
"The three Alexanders of Scotland, of the ancient line of the Dunkelds," he explained. Seeing his wife's grin, he added, "Oh, you know how Uncle Richard is, always wanted me to read up on history."
"Oh, I'm not saying anything," she answered playfully, planting a kiss on his cheek. "But thank you, my love."
"To agree to a name for our first son is but one of many prices I would pay, my dear, to see you smile." As cheesy a romantic statement as it was, it did reward him with one last, deep kiss, after which Larissa laid her head back down. The two, closely embracing, soon feel asleep.


No. 19 Churchill Street


It was dinner time at the PM's residence. Stephen had made sure the day was scheduled for him to share it with his family, a meal of steaks, steamed vegetables, and potatoes. As usual Adrian resisted the best efforts of Rachel and Sophie to get him to eat the vegetables while Rafael and Gabriela ate quietly; Thomas, however, looked like he couldn't wait to get dismissed so he could head off to whichever book he was reading.
Stephen was finishing his last plate when Thomas spoke up. "Dad, what's this I heard about Tarkington getting a government post?"
And here we go was his thought at that question. "It was made official today with a ceremony. He is the Governor-General of what territories we have in the Outback."
"Wasn't there somebody better?", Thomas asked pointedly.
"None that could get the job done."
"But the man's a brute! Did you hear the terrible things he said about grandfather's party?!"
It was, of course, no surprise that Thomas, who was very much his grandfather Samuel's close follower in political ideology, would bring that up. "I am aware that Tarkington has a noted hate for republicans, Thomas, but part of my job is doing what I have to do in order to support the needs of our people. Tarkington is a bastard, yes, but he's the kind of bastard who'll work well in the Outback."
"But there are Republics in the Outback too! He's gonna try to conquer them, annex them, like we...." And there Thomas caught himself. He'd learned long ago that his father wasn't interested in the "New Anglia conquered New Columbia illegally!" line that Samuel Garrett constantly maintained.

Seeing his son's expression at having lost control, Stephen let out an exasperated sigh. "The only person who will decide whom is annexed to whom, Tom, is me. And I have no intention to annex anyone save, perhaps, the Pendletonians."
"They're a Republic too, though. Can't you just, y'know, make them behave without conquering them, Dad?"
"They probably haven't covered it in your history courses yet, Tom, and you weren't even born yet when we did it last... but we've been trying that for centuries now. The Pendletonians are devoted Astarian nationalists. Slavery is a perfectly natural thing in their view and they will never voluntarily give it up." Stephen put his hands together. "I was there, son, the last time we landed. I saw the peopl they'd kept. The girls, little older than your sisters, forced to work as sex-slaves for the Pendletonian upper class. The young people kept in miserable conditions to work backward, unfeasible factories and plantations. And that was the second time the Empire had to suppress Pendleton in my life, Thomas. Before that, when I was but a midshipman at Portsmouth, we had to send in the Marines when they were caught selling charity workers to the Collectors." Stephen drew in a sigh. "Listen, Thomas, I know you've read a lot of books your great-grandfather has sent you, I read the same books when I was your age. But that's not the end-all be-all of things. Does it matter if a state is led by a President or a King if it provides the same basic services to its people and protects their liberties?"
"Yes, Father, it does matter," Thomas answered defiantly.
"My brother, the Treasonous Republican," Rafael ribbed from his seat. "Watch out, father, he will slip into your room tonight and try to use hypnotic suggestion to make you want to dissolve the monarchy."
At that, Stephen had to cackle. Exchanging a look with Rachel, he stated, "I'd better not see any of you in our room tonight," referring of course to their mother as well. "Now, finish your dinner and let's tsee what homework we have for tonight."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by PeZook » 2010-07-05 04:39pm

Asamar City skyhook, Asamar City, Altacar

The sleek ship - known to the Altacar very well, as it paid several visit to their capital world over the years - blazed through dense orbital traffic, escorted by fighters and gunboats. Ships scattered around the small convoy, some attempting to simply get out of the way, others sneak a peek and perhaps make a photograph or two.

Despite the commotion, the escort went smoothly, and the diplomatic yacht swiftly slid into its assigned docking port. A universal sleeve tucked itself tightly to the matte black hull, which occasionally cracked with seemingly random eruptions of sickly green light. Once the vessel settled inside its dock, however, all lights dimmed - even the mysterious symbol on the bow faded into blackness.

A hastily assembled welcoming party waited for their visitors on the dock: most of the people on it were veterans of those encounters. Since Collectors almost never announced their visits but always kept them small, the Altacar government has learned to keep several diplomats and bureaucrats in orbit to be able to properly greet their guests.

Some of the gathered people were new to this, and thus gulped nervously when the airlock doors slid open, letting out a cloud of vapor. Out of it emerged three humanoid shapes: one well known to most of the welcoming party as Unit 7, looking pretty much human...and two shining, skeletal figures with glowing red eyes.

Image

The entire group stopped just short of the welcoming comittee, with the red-eyed Units eyeing the crowd suspiciously. They had no obvious weapons, and the dock's security scans didn't pick any up, either, but this didn't exactly put the constables standing watch at ease.

"Greetings, friends of the Collective", Unit 7 spoke, breaking the awkward silence, "We've come to negotiate a data exchange program that will hopefully benefit both our nations."

The leader of the welcoming comittee stepped forward, extending his hand. The two Units accompanying 7 twitched, as if they wanted to intervene somehow, but did nothing more. Unit 7 shook the extended hand and smiled - managing to not come off as creepy, which amazed more than a few gathered visitors.

"In the name of the people of the Altacar Empire, I welcome you to our capital. Our foreign minister has decided to grant your party a special audience."

"Thank you for this show of trust. I will be most glad to meet minister Urquhart again."
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by CmdrWilkens » 2010-07-05 08:09pm

City of Osgiliath
Arda
10 Narbeleth IV 942
4 January 3400 CE


Preparations were underway as the passing from father to son of the secpter and the crown of the old Monarchy was still observed as a descent of traditions. That now the Kingship of the Reunited Kingdoms was swept in to the sidelight as holding only a power of priesthood was conveniently forgotten, though not by all. For the father in question Ar-Imrazor was not passing his crown onwards to his firstborn, he had foresworn the crown in order to enter the Army of Man and thus take his chance to rise amongst the elite of the Republic. Already that child was on ballot, and would likely become, Aedile and Deputy for Infrastructure on the capital of Haradwin.

This son, the one who would claim the kingship and spend the rest of his days in ceremonial garb while being not so politely ignored would be the youngest of his children and second son the soon to be Ar-Gimilkhad. But it was an excuse for a party, and as high priest of Melkor many would be in attendance who would not otherwise be. Perhaps, perhaps he could use the time to secure a posting as advisor to the Council of Man now that he would not longer be "royalty" and thus forbidden from holding office.

Image

It had been eighty seven years and Melkor giver of all had blessed him but now it was time to bless himself and see if he could spend his next few decades before surrendering to the sleep doing something.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Kartr_Kana » 2010-07-05 10:26pm

14 January 3400
Diamid Council Chambers, Hiigara

The Diamid was in the middle of it's first out of four face to face sessions of the year. The Diamid consisted of seven Councilors and three High Councilors. While the seven councilors would return to the sectors the represented when the Diamid wasn't in session, the three High Councilors would remain in Khar-toba on Hiigara year round. Currently the Diamid was discussing matters of international developments, the primary focus was on Pendleton and the New Anglian request.

“We've all agreed that the Pendletonians need to be dealt with firmly and finally, the question merely remains how it's to be done and what kind of resources we're willing to devote to it.” began Huur S'jet High Councilor and direct descendant of Karan S'jet the woman who made our current form of government a reality.

“I say we do what the Romans did in ancient Terran times! We land, line up their leaders and military and we decimate them!! Every tenth Pendletonian executed for the crimes they have perpetuated since time immemorial!!” Thundered Councilor Khan Soban, Councilor from the Hiigaran Sector and an old Sobanii military man.

“If we do that then we are no better then they are!” protested Councilor Adrana S'jet, councilor from S'jetii Sector. “We must try and show them that their methods are illogical and self destructive instead.”

“Bah!! Those flesh peddling barbarians are incapable of such higher reasoning, otherwise they would have grown into a credible threat or changed their ways long ago! No they'll never learn through reason, only fear can keep them in line now!”

Vaklu of the Paktu interjected before the argument could get increasingly heated. “Fellow Councilors remember that the decision is not entirely up to us, we must take into account the New Anglians and their desires if we are to make any joint venture work.”

High Councilor Zor Maanan took control of the conversation directing it towards more practical matters. “What kind of forces can we divert for such an operation, and what kind of time frames are we talking?”

“If you were to pull every Storm-class Marine transport from it's current duties we could have a hundred and twenty-five armed transports, five-thousand Marine Thunderbolt 4-type fighters and four million Marines for the invasion. However that would leave a number of patrol routes without sufficient ships or Marines to conduct anti-pirate landings. Also I would advise against committing any of 1st Fleet to the operation.”

“But that's 1st Fleets AO!” said Tobin Somtaaw, “I doubt they'd be pleased about getting left out of any action taking place there and who do you suggest we send any way if not first fleet? The Home Fleet?”

“That's exactly what I would suggest.” replied Khan, Tobin started spluttering, but Khan just kept talking, “1st Fleet already sees plenty of 'action' against pirate strongholds and such, and pulling them from their duties would ease up on the pirates in the region leading to an increase in attacks and a corresponding down turn in our markets as the prices on imported goods went up and our own merchants would have trouble getting their wares to foreign markets.”

“That is something my constituents in Maanan will not be happy about! I say deploy the Home Fleet to deal with these Pendletonians. After all our other fleets have the borders well secured and there's no one who's made moves towards us, so what's to worry about?” Ziff Maanan, the mercantile minded representative of the equally mercantile Maanan sector, stated.

“But they're our strongest fleet and our strategic reserves!!” cried Tobin, “We can't commit them to something outside our borders!”

“Little weasel!! That's what strategic reserves are for!! Deploying into situations where it would be inadvisable or impossible to commit regional forces.”

“Well what about the regional reserves? Surely they could be used instead.”

“They're already standing by to reinforce patrols and deal with unexpected problems that arise. Best to leave them their.” the third High Councilor interjected, “However I must agree with Councilor Tobin, I do not like committing the entire Home Fleet to this venture.”

“Must I remind you that the Home Fleet isn't at full strength yet?” Tobin queried, “It's still missing six Fleet Carriers, twelve Battle Cruisers and twelve Missile Cruisers!”

“My ignorant fellow Councilor forgets his words from mere moments ago,” Khan practically spat the words, “that the Home Fleet contains more ships in it's under T/O status then any of the other Fleets have total! Not to mention the highest concentration of Super-heavy and above. The Pendletonians cannot hope to resist fire power of that magnitude!!”

“If that's the case why bother sending the entire Home Fleet?” asked the Vaygr Sector's Councilor, “Just detach a battle group or carrier taskforce, or something.”

“Or something? You ignorant wrench turner!! How about you just build the ships and let the Sobanii fight them!?” Khan's face started turning purple as he prepared to launch into an invective filled rant that would have done any Senior Chief proud. He was stopped cold by High Councilor Huur S'jet's raised hand.

“Councilors let us inform the United Kingdom of New Anglia that we are willing to dedicate one Battle Group and one Carrier Taskforce along with 62 Marine Transports and their nearly one million Marines, plus as many Army units as necessary to carry out what ever future is determined for the Pendletonians.”

The two other High Councilors quickly agreed and the seven councilors followed suit although with some grumbling.

“Now I have been informed by the Foreign Office that the Altacar Empire has been sending out feelers as to a possible trade alliance. How do we feel about accepting and what would we like to see in such an alliance?”

The entire Diamid was quick to voice their assent and make their desires for treaty terms known.

“Free trade is a must, no restriction except for things that are patently illegal in either nation.” Ziff stated.

“Military vessels are allowed to enter ports for repair and resupply, and it would be a good idea to divide the Outback sectors into patrol zones, between us, Altacar and New Anglia. It would also be good to secure a joint anti-pirate agreement as well.” Was Khan's input.

“Sharing of scientific research at some level.” was Adrana's concern.

“Same for 'practical' knowledge.” said the Naabalii councilor with a smug look at Adrana. Who shot daggers back at him. The age old scientist vs. engineer battle raged as hot as ever in the 35th century.

“Very well I will have the Altacaran embassy open the negotiations with these stipulations in mind.” Huur S'jet stated, “We will now take a short recess before moving on to discuss Budget Allocation for this year.”
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Siege » 2010-07-05 11:38pm

Despite setbacks, senate inches closer to passage of reform legislation
The Sovereign Suns reports live from the Sovereign Spire

Sovereign Justice got a boost late Wednesday in their quest to pass far-reaching reform regulations, when a small senate majority rejected first a motion to postpone and then a motion to commit proposed by the Technocratic Radical minority.

The rejection came during an open session of the Senate during which a number of minor amendments and subsidiary motions were added to the bill, which itself aims to reduce the number of senators by eliminating direct representation of colonial worlds. According to Sovereign Justice, the measure provides for a streamlined democratic process in which important decisions can be made quickly “and with a minimum of needless dissent”.

Subsidiary motions to the reform bill were introduced by Senator Tanguy of Saint Vincennes, Senator Twennysex of Zedath-Kalesh, Senator DeStatos of Hochbaden, Senator Richards of Celeste, and Senator Zha'zhahed Shazbot of Tooramal. Subsidiary motions introduced by Technocratic Radical representatives Senator Renko of Eta Bootis, Senator Saxon of Savoie and Senator Ladislas of Augerau were rejected.

The Senate will vote on the 50-page bill on Friday. As it stands, Sovereign Justice has a large enough majority to send the legislation to President Sinclair. In the meantime violence on the fringe has subsided after the dispatch of several Marine Corps troopships to hotspots on Mejis and Cressia, and large scale police action by the colonial militia of Pharagon Majoris...


Cyberspace
Greater Solarian Datasphere


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The datasphere had its roots in primitive electro-magnetic communications networks, but the quantum foam matrix was as far removed from the early system-spanning digital networks as those networks were from the ancient scribbles on some Sumerian clay tablet. Cyberspace was a synergistic virtual reality, a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, on every planet in the Sovereignty, by hardcore deck-jockeys, by children being taught mathematical concepts… Everything, every scrap of data that existed on some level existed somewhere, on some level, within the multi-colored three-dimensional geometries of cyberspace, and was accessible at the speed of thought through the network of wormhole data-tunnels the Sovereignty had built for itself.

Cyberspace. Not a world or even a landscape, it was a graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in hundreds of systems. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data that existed for no other reason but to connect its related features into one recognizable category. Like city lights, receding. And suspended in the digital firmament, the juggernaut figures of Computational Intelligences, far-detached from the tangible human world. They are non-physical entities existing wholly within cyberspace, buried monoliths jutting Ozymandian against the figurative sky of the datasphere, encased in cold and lethal black ice firewalls.

One particular CompInt loomed larger than space should hold, an obsidian megalith within the neon lattices of cyberspace, imbued with a breathtaking weight that bent the datasphere for endless no-miles around it, the way a star—or a black hole—might influence the planets that orbit it. This was the Pan-Empyrean Positronics database core, a digital library that predated the Sovereignty itself, controlled by the oldest CI in the Sovereignty: Dionysus, a being taken the name of the Greek god of the epiphany, "the god that comes".

A line of golden light streaked toward that titan construct, striking one of the glowing data-stack towers at the speed of thought, the virtual representation of an outside contact pinging one of its System Access Nodes. The light dissolved into a gilded figure, the avatar of the decker who had placed the call. Lindsey Quick had a moment to survey the wildly colored data-scape before a tremor passed through colossal Construct and it reacted to the call she'd placed.

For a moment something perilously close to the the full awareness of the digital god was focused upon her.

The digital pressure of the CompInt's attention was like nothing Lindsey had ever felt before--a kind of intense scrutiny that struck like a physical blow, forcing the not-air from her lungs as the CI tagged and traced her cyberdeck. The presence of the CI was illimitable, too huge to be physical, a superhuman intellect that threw a digital shadow so large only a fool would not be instantly aware of how generally insignificant she was in the greater scheme of the universe. There was no malice to it, but there didn't need to be--the simple act of its looking reminded her of its immensely powerful firewalls, its fullbright crawler hordes and H/K protector programs, of the astounding processing power this digital creature could bend to the task of destroying her.

Her avatar was clad in the most advanced Security Challenge Protocols and Intrusion Prevention Systems the Sovereignty had conceived of, not to mention the Phase Loop Recourser and all the other hardware built into her deck designed solely to keep her from flatlining on ice. But in that single moment, Lindsey wasn't at all certain any of that would save her if the CI meant her harm.

Then the moment was gone. The attention of the digital god vanished, and the sensation of immense pressure disappeared with it. Part of the black ice seamlessly parted, forming a data-gate for her avatar into the PE-P core. Lindsey clenched her jaw and stepped forward into the blue gateway.

In an instant, the familiar vista of Cyberspace vanished and was replaced by an expansive executive office. Suprematist paintings hung from smooth white walls. Holographic screens hung silently suspended in the air, and displayed a bewildering variety of information, whilst great, wall-to-floor windows granted a spectacular view over what appeared to be one of Solaris' central districts, where orange light filtered over endless kilometers of glass and steel. Lindsey found herself standing some few dozen meters away from an L-shaped executive desk. Sitting behind that expanse of smoothly polished wood was a distinguished, silver-haired man in an expensive suit, who looked suspiciously like the man who owned Pan-Empyrean Positronics--Sidney Hank--if, Lindsey realized, a sex- and ageless version of him. “Good afternoon,” not-quite-Sidney greeted her in a businesslike manner, and Lindsey realized he sounded like Hank too. “My name is Dionysus, and you have reached the Pan-Empyrean mainframe. How may I help you?”

“I'm Lindsey Quick, personal aide to President Sinclair,” Lindsey identified herself, and sent a databurst at the avatar to confirm her credentials. She looked around, catching a few glimpses of scrolling data-screens which referenced something called 'Gridworks' before quickly shutting off. She turned her attention back to the CI. “Am I to assume this is a-”

“Virtual construct, of course,” the avatar of the Computational Intelligence that controlled the database core finished for her. “I have found humans are more at ease communicating in a familiar setting, so I typically construct one for the purposes of conversations like this.” The CI made a gesture indicating the room. “This particular simulation is based on the CEO suite at the top of the Pan-Empyrean headquarters at the Runaway Towers.”

That meant the CI was sitting in the CEO's seat. Lindsey raised an eyebrow. “That's a little... presumptuous?”

The CI shrugged. “Not really.” It looked at her. “You are new to cyberspace, yes?”

Lindsey looked surprised. “I- yes.” She peered at the avatar. “Where I come from, neural interfaces are... not as common.”

The CI regarded her levelly. “You mean with your religiously inclined parents on Celeste.”

For a moment Lindsey's eyes widened. “How-” Then she remembered that she was not talking to a human being; irregardless of appearances, the figure opposite her was but a minute fragment of an immensely powerful computer intellect. There was no telling how far its awareness reached--for all she knew it could reach across the width of the datasphere in the time it took her to flutter her eyelashes She also now realized that the virtual construct served another, more devious purpose: to make her forget what she was talking to. Her expression hardened. “That is none of your business.”

Again the shrug. “Perhaps.” It repeated its earlier question. “How may I help you?”

“The President requests a meeting with Mr. Sidney Hank.”

A beat. “Mr. Hank is not available.”

Lindsey frowned. As personal aide to President Sinclair she spoke with the voice of the Office of the President of the Sovereignty. She didn't get to hear 'no' very often when speaking in that capacity. “I can issue a summons.”

The CI regarded her with a bored expression. “Yes, you can. And that will change nothing. Mr. Hank is not on Solaris and is not available until next week at the earliest.”

How convenient. That meant he was out of reach until after the vote. That was probably not a coincidence. “And you will be in contact with Mr. Hank in the meantime?”

The avatar of the CompInt nodded and smiled a little. “I am intimately involved in all of Mr. Hank's business dealings. So yes, I have to be.”

She planted her hands in her sides. “Then you can tell him we know about his deal with the Radicals. We know he's trying to sabotage important legislation to force us to back off the senate reforms. We also know he's got Saxon and her idealist brigade shooting motions at us in the hope that something will stick. It's not going to work, the bill is going to pass, and the President would prefer Mr. Hank stop making a fool out of himself.”

“Does she now?” Dionysus was studying its fingernails with a supremely bored expression. “Well. How thoughtful of her. I'll be sure to tell him the president's all-knowing gaze is directed at him.”

Lindsey frowned. One did not escape one's baseline existence on the colonial fringe to rise to a position of presidential aide (and who knew what else in the future) without some sense of ego, and the distinct impression she got that the CompInt wasn't taking her at all seriously grated on her sense of self-importance. “You don't seem to take this very seriously.”

Dionysus looked up, locking his eyes on Lindsey's for the first time. And virtual construct or not, there was something in those eyes, something cold and alien and incredibly ancient, that made her catch her breath. “Do you suppose I have to?”

To her credit Lindsey recovered her wits quickly. “I suppose not,” she tried for a nonchalant shrug and pulled it off halfheartedly. “It's your loss in the end.”

“Loss is a relative term,” the CI replied, and Lindsey had no idea what that meant. “Was there anything else the President would like me to know?”

She hesitated. “No. That was all.” She brought her avatar's hand to the icon on her golden suit that represented the cut-off switch. “I suppose we'll be seeing you.”

The CompInt smiled. The smile didn't reach its eyes. “I suppose you will.” It waved a little wave. “Tah.”

It was only when the connection was already terminated and she stood up from the chair behind her cyberdeck in the Presidential Palace that Lindsey Quick wondered when – and indeed why – she'd begun to conflate the CI that ran his company with Mr. Hank himself?
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Pollux » 2010-07-06 12:26am

8 January 3400,
Pfhor Research Station RS-22, Northern Archcounty of Nebulon Sector (M-27)


"I think that's everything, Captain," shouted a scruffy looking man from the depths of the station's cargo bay.

"Well, get it all aboard then! We need to get the fuck outta here!" barked a grim-looking, bearded man in reply from an elevated catwalk, as he stomped over the shattered bodies of Pfhor technicians and scientists. The clanking of his spacer's boots on the metal of the catwalk made a drum beat that his thoughts played over, none of them harmonious:

This was a mistake. There weren't supposed to be this many guards. Captain Leonard Stawlett was not the sort of man who liked to take risks, which at first seemed to be at odds with his chosen profession of pirate.

When questioned about it, he would smile and say that being a pirate was easy, if you knew where to look. And it was true; the one thing the galaxy was never going to be short on was people begging to be parted with their money.

This station, however, had been a decidedly difficult nut to crack. The station's particle beam arrays and blast cannons were easy enough to take care of, but it had taken a long, hard, corridor-by-corridor slog to finally secure it. Of the 300 crack raiders he had boarded the station with, a full 120 lay dead or seriously wounded.

Nfera had better not have been bullshitting me about these cannons, brooded Stawlett as he wiped yellow Pfhor blood from a door control, palming it open as he did. He stayed silent as he stalked the corridors lined with the dead and dying, the air thick with their moans.

He turned a corner and palmed open another door, which opened into another large storage bay, the floor of which was almost entirely occupied by sixteen huge blast cannons.

"Well, is this the real thing?" asked Stawlett, as he gazed at the cannons.

"Hell yes this is the real thing, Captain!" laughed a technician, as he handed Stawlett a datapad. "Cap-ship grade, Class B, all in perfect condition, except for one." He pointed, indicating the malfunctioning unit.

"Well, I'll be damned. How long will they take to load?"

"Oh, about, ten, fifteen minutes."

"Do it. I want to get out of this fucking place."

"What about the broken one, Captain?"

"Load it too. They've got some bona-fide miracle workers back at the base, and even if they can't fix it, the spare parts alone make it worthwhile."

"Aye, aye, Captain."

Thirty minutes later...

The pirate cruiser freed itself from the grasp of the station's dock with a silent puff of gases, as airlocks vented and auxiliary thrusters fired. The cruiser's main engines burst into baneful, reddish life, frying some of the station's superstructure as the cruiser rejoined its fleet, leaving the dead hulk of metal and blood behind it.

Deep in the cruiser's cargo bay, hidden within the tangle of machinery of a capital-ship grade blast cannon, a hidden tracking beacon came to life, and silently sang its position to the cosmos.
"Minnesota has 10,000 lakes. This is roughly 4,000 times more lakes than people."

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by TimothyC » 2010-07-06 01:25am

3400 January 9
Training Camp Cur-Re, Northern Continent, Rann, Kryptonian Empire


"On the Bounce Boys! Form up, our new CO's ship landed Ten minutes ago! And you don't want to look sloppy now do you?"

The rhetorical question hung in the air as the elite unit Red Shard formed up. The Cobalt-Blue ship had been seen making it's entry less than 15 minutes prior. Then, silently over the horizon, a grey, man-sized shape seemed to rise, then fall, and again, and again, only then it didn't drop below the horizon. Less than 3 minutes later the object arrived.

"Company! Honors!" Bellowed Commander Asha-Del-Nar.

"Formation At ease!" The new arrival commanded. "You are RED SHARD, the Best of the Best. I will demand the best from you, and I will give you my best. I expect to see you on maneuvers tomorrow at 0500. Until then All of you except my Majors and Commanders my go. DISMISSED!"

Commander Asha-Del-Nar, Major Sem-Re, Major Jeq-Vay and Major Kir-Ta stayed in formation. The new arrival spoke again "I'll need readiness reports on my desk by 0300. I want to know what you need to get these men and women back up to strength after years of Garrison duty. Dismissed."

"Yes General El"

"For future refrense, I like to maintain a semi-formal atmosphere. When it is just the five of us, Call me Kal."
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Steve » 2010-07-06 01:52am

Palace of Parliament, Westminster
New Anglia, Star Kingdom of New Anglia
14 January 3400


Stephen was taking a working lunch, sitting with Lord Baden-Grey and First Lord Dale in one of the wardrooms of the Government section of the Palace of Parliament. The discussion had started on the Duchess of Norfolk's announcement, this past morning, that her report on the fiscal situation and the problems with the Exchequer was being given final vetting for public release. This was welcome news; it would be a key development for the Government to have the issues identified and a new fiscal policy outlined.

MP Herman Schiller was due to present a Private Member's Bill the next day, quietly encouraged by Stephen, that would enable the permanent settlement of Pendleton's status by annexation, making it a Crown Territory and providing for a permanent military garrison that would, it was believed, ensure the slavocratic elite there would never regenerate. Stephen's main worry was that despite the frequent suppressions support for the "peculiar institution" had percolated strongly enough into the middle classes, and even free lower classes, that rooting it would prove more difficult. Nevertheless, this was a sore boil he was looking forward to lancing.

This became the subject of the discussion as lunch wound down. "We have received confirmation of support from Hiigara and the Ascendancy," Baden-Grey stated. "Altacar has not yet confirmed any plans, but we do not imagine they will object and we hope to at least win financial support."

"This just leaves the difficulties of integrating the offered forces into a coherent unit and force. Plus, I imagine, whether we can sustain the plan to annex Pendleton if we are getting aid."

"Our annexation of Pendleton will be on the grounds of furthering Galactic Civilisation," Stephen remarked, "and that is the trust our allies in the endeavor are placing upon us. If we must give them a voice in an oversight council and make Pendleton a mandate for a time, that is a price we will pay. The question is the forces available... What can we support, logistically, against Pendleton given the Bannerman Gap?"

The Bannerman-Acker Gap was the term for the most dangerous part of the course from the main hyperlanes of the Outback to Pendleton. The Pendletonians enjoyed their own "network" of "spider-web" lanes through Sectors X-17 and X-18, not connected to any established network. Rather, a two day trip through shoals - if not entirely terrible shoals - was necessary, from the Bannerman System in X-17 to a point in interstellar space near the Acker System in X-18, from where a ship could continue on by lanes to Pendleton System. Two days in shoal space was not a pleasing prospect, however, due to wear on hyperdrives, including the risk of failure if a drive was not completely up to snuff. For maximum safety, to ensure a crew was not stranded without hope for rescue in deep interstellar space, ships had to carry duplicate parts for all aspects of their hyperdrives and generally stayed over for a day in Bannerman or Acker to do drive checks and impromptu maintanence. It was a nerve-wracking experience that Stephen knew well, having traveled both ways as an Executive Officer on the Cruiser HMS Calliope.

This was the reason why Pendleton survived as a sovereign state; it was the only one. No Government before Stephen's would countenance the risks and costs of maintaining permanent control over Pendleton, not with the Bannerman-Acker Gap acting as a bottleneck and an artificial inflater of pilot salaries (not just any starship pilot could fly through hyperspace shoals, and those private contractors that could and would were not cheap and usually insisted on money in excess of usual fees and costs).

But Stephen was not willing to hope the 10th time would be the charm. Since the late 29th Century New Anglia had beenn forced to launch suppressions of Pendleton; it was time to end this madness once and for all.

Robert gave his answer. "I would feel better with lighter forces, easier to support farther from Lochley's Retreat and the Fleet's logistics network. The Hiigarans have offered a Battle Group, Carrier Group, and a large force of a million Marines as a first wave force, with their Army providing second-wave occupation. I would ask only for a Marine contingent no more than 20,000 in strength, as our own commitment will be 60,000 in the six Star Cruisers slated for our attack. The Battle Group is also unnecessary for Pendleton has only two ships we would even rate as light cruisers. The Carrier would, however, spare us the need to detach a Strategic Carrier Group to join the operation, and would reduce our personal costs acceptably."

"And of the Ascendancy?"

"If they offer, we shall ask for further screens, to help deal with the majority force of the Pendletonian Navy, which consists of Light ships predominately. This will permit our Star Cruisers to focus upon the landing operations. And for the Army units, I would say dispatch a Corps or two of Armoured Infantry, but you may inquire with Secretary Talak on the appropriate figure. That's beyond my purview."

"Very well, Robert. If that is all, I wish to discuss the issue with the recent spate of tensions on Arabica...."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by PeZook » 2010-07-06 02:45am

Image

Trade station Perseus Zeta, Zeta Sector, Collector space
One month after taking of the Tantalizer

"Don't you hear me? I demand to speak with a representative of your government!", the trader screamed at one of the countless robots that scurries all around the trade station. The machine - a four legged spiderlike affair - stared at him with its double cameras.

"I am an official representative of Pendleton!", the 'trader' was growing more and more angry with every minute, "I will not be ignored in this way!"

"It's just a maintenance drone. It can't understand you.", a disembodied voice boomed across the receiving dock, "And I must say your arrogance is amusing."

Oliver Gill - for he was the errant diplomat sent on this venture - seemed startled at first, but swiftly regained his composure. The maintenance drone went back to its duties the moment the human's attention was directed elsewhere...and seemed quite satisfied. Gill could swear he heard the machine chirp something in its binary language. It sounded like swearing.

"I came here on official diplomatic business!", Gill said into the air, "I demand to speak to a person or entity authorized by your government!"

"Very well", the disembodied voice said after a brief pause. Another drone skittered to Gill and his retinue, "Follow this drone, and we will speak."

Having no other choice, Gill followed the spiderlike machine, as it scurried across the station's corridors. Their little group passed other sentients, standing in corridors and speaking with humanoid Units about some business or another. Others sat around in cafes small bars - always spartan, but Wild Space traders didn't mind the decor. Collectors provided free food and accomodations for all visitors, even though their movements through the station were always tightly controlled.

The drone eventually led Gill's group to an unremarkable room - square, blazingly white, with the only furniture being a pair of black chairs, which looked as if they were made of obsidian. One of Gill's bodyguards - a heavily cybernetized one, equipped with all sorts of sensors - stared at the chairs for a while, before looking at his boss and shaking his head. Gill wondered what he meant by that, but decided not to ask - the Collectors were surely listening.

A minute passed, before a hidden door opened and a...person walked in. She sat down on one of the chairs, back straight, no sign of emotion on her face.

Image

"You wanted to talk, and here I am.", she...it said, in a male voice.

"And you are...?", Gill asked, somewhat used to these sorts of surprises by now.

"You can call me Gamma.", the Unit answered, "I am in charge of this trade station."

Gill had trouble hiding his irritation, "I asked for a representative of your government"

"I have a direct connection with the central mainframe. It will listen to your proposal and evaluate it."

Gill sighed heavily, but finally decided he'd have to take what he's been offered, "Very well. I have been sent by the government of Pendleton with an official diplomatic mission. We wish to open diplomatic relations with your honored nation, in celebration of our mutual belief in the right to self-determination by both our nations, and..."

"You think Collectors engage in slavery, and are looking for allies in the face of Anglian invasion", Gamma interrupted him, "Hoping our common ideology will make us help a fellow slaveholding state defend itself from invasion?"

Gill gulped. How the hell could they possibly know that?

"We hear rumors", Gamma answered the unasked question, "Unfortunately, you have been gravely misinformed. We are only interested in specific, unique specimens, and thus share no ideological similarity with you. In addition, an expedition to aid you against New Anglia will be logistically straining and bring us no benefit, except the ire of another star nation.", Gamma's voice changed slightly, changing into what seemed to be a chorus, "Therefore, your proposal is rejected.", the Unit finished and stood up.

"No! Wait!", Gill blocked Gamma's way in a most undiplomatic manner, "You must realize this. Pendleton is the centre of galactic slave trade! The beings brought here from all across the galaxy, the creatures you are interested in...where do you think their traders can find a safe heaven? If Anglians destroy us, you will no longer be able to easily buy what you want. The slave trade will collapse."

Gamma froze for a moment, as if considering the matter. For Gill it was the briefest of pauses, during which it would've been impossible to analyze the situation. For Gamma, who in reality was a massive AI construct housed deep inside the bowels of the station, it was an eternity, which he used for analysis and consultations with thousands of others.

"Inform your government they have a deal.", it finally said, and lifted a finger, "However, in exchange, we will require a delivery of selected specimens at no charge."

"Fine, you will get them.", Gill agreed, glad that he wasn't atomized for his sudden move.

Gamma stared at him for another moment, and left the room without a word.

"So...what now?", Gill asked the air. He guessed the outcome was positive, but you never knew with these...these...things.
Last edited by PeZook on 2010-07-06 09:12am, edited 4 times in total.
Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by KlavoHunter » 2010-07-06 04:21am

Muzaffer, Muzaffer Sector
Sultanate of Klavostan
1 January 3400


Aliens who had studied the prolific Human race in detail could easily find themselves amazed at all the ways that the many Human nations were the same, and at the ways they could find themselves vastly different from one another. One discernible holiday had clearly asserted itself as a rare one that was universally celebrated - the New Year. As with across thousands of other worlds, the people of Muzaffer celebrated heartily, mass public transportation carrying billions to the dark side of the planet for the fireworks show at midnight.

For the occasion, First Fleet was past high orbit, in full single-ship thickness parade wall formation, keenly watching the countdown until they could execute their fireplan. As the clock struck midnight, the order to fire was given, and all 96 ships opened up on cue, hatches springing open to vomit forth a stream of missiles, which streaked in at the planet.... and began to burst in pre-programmed patterns high in orbit, the fireworks loads harmlessly making a spectacle at which the entire planet could marvel, timed to music that broadcast out of nearly every single speaker on the planet that so chose to tune in to the feed. Across the other dozens of planets of the Sultanate, citizens were treated to lesser orbital displays, and in countless more places, far simpler ancient-style fireworks streaked skyward and burst. Drinks were raised, toasts given, and resolutions made.

Inside the Royal Palace, amongst a small crowd of important guests, Sultan Klavo C - the 100th - raised a glass of pseudohol and drank as the night sky lit up brilliantly, and hoped he could continue to rule the Sultanate and its 270-some billion citizens as well as he had for the past first year of his reign, as auspiciously as his people hoped, as the numbers lined up as coincidentally as they did, to great excitement. As he bid those around him good night, his guards filtered out into the hall to precede their lord through the palace to his bedchamber. Running a nation was a tiring business, one that could bring on the most vicious headaches at times, and a medically-designed therapeutic pillow blessedly helped him plummet swiftly into sleep.

As the clock ticked closer to noon the same day, later after he woke up, it felt like another one was going to come on as the representatives from the Treasury and Navy performed the last bits of wrangling over the 3400 Naval Construction Bill, and finally presented it for his signature. He furrowed his brow, and read over it in detail one last time, and then carefully signed the bottom of it, satisfied. Klavostan had a thoroughly developed military infrastructure, and the construction dictated by the bill would only moderately flex it - and nor would it drain too heavily on the Royal Treasury, either. Furthermore, it would not seriously raise eyebrows amongst the Sultanate's neighbors, as the rattling of sabres would ultimately be counterproductive.

The Victory Yards over Muzaffer could churn out a tidal wave of metal if it came down to it, but instead their new job would be a pair of Basilica-class Flag Dreadnoughts, seeing if the massive yards could break all previous construction speed records, as most of the rest of the yard lay empty. Core systems would build battleships and cruisers, whilst the fortified asteroid-yards of the colonial sectors would try their hand at fully supplying the production of Destroyers, and if production went smoothly enough there, the option remained to continue serial production of those light ships to continue to bulk out the ranks of the RKSN. Of course, such a modest plan was also somewhat deceptive - whilst the stated goal was the creation of an 11th and later 12th Fleet, the lead-time on the construction of the flag dreadnoughts for such forces meant that their lesser consorts would be built long before them, soon to fill out the ranks of all other fleets quite substantially before the commissioning of new fleets later. The computers on the larger ships could relatively easily coordinate far greater numbers than they already were, if it came down to it.

He had to weigh the countless potential threats that hung over his realm - would the Orks go wild and launch another grand raid of the old style, which, while the Klavostanis had gained the upper edge in such great fleet engagements, were enormously costly every time? Might the long-dormant might of the Chamarrans flare up again in a wave of conquest? And who were the Emissaries of XylyX, really? It was part studying of all intelligence, gut intuition, and sheer guesswork. It did not feel wrong when his ink was traced across the page, and he hoped it was not a misstep, face impassive as he signed it. He could not show such a worry, lest others then too think it was cause to worry. All was nearly an act, a mask, to provide the singular best possible outward presentation to all his people. They looked to him, needed him, and to appear worried now would be counterproductive - such a thing should only be shown at the precise right time, to spur his people onward then.

By evening that same day, the first alloy precursors were being smelted in preparation for the laying of the keel of the twin superheavy starships, orders propagating with remarkably swiftness through the bureaucracy needed to administer such a vast realm, and all the other yards involved in this plan, skilled shipyard workers good-naturedly carping about how slow the government was to decide on anything, as they finished their breaks, tossing aside finished smokes and drinks and snacks, and set to their jobs. In the coming weeks and months and years, these men and women would perform all the countless varied tasks to build a warship from stem to stern, from operating in EVA and manipulating things by hands through gloves, to teleoperating enormous pieces of machinery, supervising dumb-AIs and other such jobs.

Perhaps with the wind at its back, the Sultanate of Klavostan unfurled its sail in its voyage across the sea of stars...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
OOC:
FY3400 Naval Production: $5745 10.08%

x2 Basilica-class Flagship - $500 - ($250/$1000) - Construction Done Feb 3404, Fitting Done Jul 3405
x5 Sipahi-class Battleship - $150 - ($375/$750) - Construction Done May 3401, Fitting Done Jan 3402
x5 Carrier - $80 - $400 - Construction Done Sep 3400, Fitting Done Jan 3401
x220 Fighter Squadrons - $1 - $220
x20 Scimitar-class Cruiser - $60 - $1200 - Construction Done Jul 3400, Fitting Done Oct 3400
x100 Barbarossa-class Destroyer - $30 - $3000 - Construction Done Apr 3400, Fitting Done May 3400
x20 Djinni-class Scouts - $15 - $300 (Half Combat Value) - Construction Done Mar 3400, Fitting Done Apr 3400
Last edited by KlavoHunter on 2010-07-11 08:47pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The 4th Earl of Hereford led the fight on the bridge, but he and his men were caught in the arrow fire. Then one of de Harclay's pikemen, concealed beneath the bridge, thrust upwards between the planks and skewered the Earl of Hereford through the anus, twisting the head of the iron pike into his intestines. His dying screams turned the advance into a panic."'

SDNW4: The Sultanate of Klavostan

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by PeZook » 2010-07-06 09:58am

Image

Kerenkov, Solaris Sector

Edward Limpkin leaned back in his chair. The headaches have steadily been getting worse for the last few days: ever since he was killed by that damnable assassin, and had to be restored. If it continued like that, he'd have to file a complaint with Health, Wellness & Safety - and if one didn't have a headache, fighting the largest institution in Solarian space to get one's money back was sure to give him one.

He took another nanopill from a small, ornate box he kept on his desk, and popped it. Hopefully, it would help with the migraine.

"Director? Your scheduled appointment is here", his secretary informed him through the datasphere implant in the base of his skull.

"Thank you Janice, lead him in", he answered the same way. He tried to remember what the meeting was about...ah, yes, a subcontractor for that Wild Space industrial project SinTek was running.

Janice led the man inside. He seemed like an okay fellow, though with modern biosurgery all businessmen did.

"Hi, my name's Jason Freeman", the guy shook Limpkin's hand, "I'd like to thank you for agreeing to meet in person. It means a lot to me."

"Oh, no problem at all", Limpkin lied. The Datasphere was so much more convenient for those things, "Now, what can I help you with?"

Freeman smiled, and pulled a datacube from his nice leather briefcase, "I'm sure you know what to do with this, Director. I'm just a messenger."

Limpkin frowned and took the cube, "I'm not sure I know what you're talking about."

"I'm talking about abraxas, of course."

Limpkin's expression changed slightly. He nodded to himself.

"Ah, yes, thank you for reminding me. Unfortunately, I have to refuse: this project has been deemed unprofittable."

"Regretful...but in this case, I will not take any more of your time."

Freeman stood up and walked out. The secretary would later remember he was pretty satisfied for somebody who walked out of Limpkin's office with nothing.

As for Limpkin himself, he simply stared at the tiny, silver datacube, enjoying the swirling patterns on its casing. He smiled.

His headache was gone.
Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Grif » 2010-07-06 10:41am

Argenti Parliament Complex, Argent Central
10th January, 3400

The bustling metropolis of Argent Central always fascinated Jonah. Dominated by tall towers of all shapes and sizes, it is constantly humming with activity around the clock. Every so often, he could spy yet another space ship taking off from the Torus Spaceport far off in the distance.

“Everyone has arrived, sir,” his aide interrupted his reverie.

“Thank you, Ikhwan. You may go,” the aide gave a brief bow and left as unobtrusively as he came. Jonah mentally prepared for the upcoming monthly Cabinet meeting and strode towards the Cabinet room.

Pushing open the great oaken doors, he was surprised to find the assembled ministers were in heated discussion. None paid any attention to his entrance, with the exception of Dulec, who gave him a nod.

The PM cleared his throat discreetly and asked innocently “My honourable colleagues, may I ask what is it that grabbed your attention at this hour?”

The ministers spun around in surprise. Cornwall recovered her wits first and replied, “We just got word that another rebel movement have flared up in New Kuching.”

“Indeed, the rebels have just seized one of the regional capitals on the planet not one hour ago.” said Dulec. “They are declaring independence from the, quote, ‘evil imperialistic regime of the Argenti,’” A few chuckled at the phrase.

“Those secession wankers again. Why the hell can’t our military pacify the damn sector?” asked Culture Minister Gerald Keithly pointedly. “We have increased funding during the last three Budgets, and still you incompetent fools can’t seem to put down a small rebellion.”

Defence Minister Jim Wards gave Keithly a pitiful glare before replying.

“Mr Keithly, may I remind you that for the past three years, 2nd Core Fleet has been systematically sweeping the sector clean of rebel hideouts. My counterpart Mr Dulec has likewise been able to cripple the enormous terrorist network that has infiltrated our entire system.”

“But, why do we still hear reports of terrorist activity-“

“Because Mr Keithly, despite the best security measures in the world, people will always find a way around it. These rebels are determined and well-funded it seems. And you seem to forget, rebel activity have been on a downward trend since the start of this operation.”

Jonah finally raised his hands and put the little diversion to a stop.

“That would be enough, gentlemen. I trust Mr Wards and Mr Dulec have the situation well in hand?”

“Like I said earlier, the rebels only took one city. Unfortunately it happened it be the Miri Continent capital. PA has already declared martial law and is mobilising the planetary garrisons to push the rebels out of the city. Still, it is going to be an ugly affair.” Wards paused a moment as he scrolled down the report. “They have requested for support from Admiral Lee, who was conducting training exercises nearby.”

“How long before this latest insurrection can be put down?” queried Samantha Cornwall, Minister of Science and Technology.

“The admiral estimate no more than 12 standard hours. A lot less if he resorts to mass bombing.”

“Hell no. Tell that bastard that he has done enough damage in his lifetime to cripple entire planets.” said Jarvis Chan, Infrastructure Minister firmly.

“Fortunately, the commander of New Kuching garrison already convinced the admiral that it is not in his best interest to carpet bomb his home planet.” A sigh of relief can be heard the room. Admiral Lee is nothing but famous for his obsession with excessive firepower.

“The Liberals is going to have a field day in the Assembly today,” said Jonah. “Well, that can’t be helped; we’ll just have to deal with it as it comes. Anything else before we start?” Jonah glanced around the room.

Dulec cleared his throat and began to speak. “There are confirmed sightings of Ork raiders in the Cobalia sector. So far there are no reports of colonies being lost, but a few ships have been boarded by raiders.”

“Admiral Prasat is aware of this issue and is increasing the patrols in the suspected areas.” Wards interjected. “FleetInt is of opinion that the raiders are not part of a larger group, and believe large-scale incursion by Orks is unlikely.”

“And Fleet Command agrees?”

“So far, yes. Though General Norman believes we should not just discount the threat and take the appropriate precaution.”

Jonah turned to the Interior Minister. “Dulec?”

“ASU have not found anything to indicate otherwise.” replied Dulec.

“I think that settles it. We shall proceed to the first item of the day. Rosetta, what is the status on that mining incident...”

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by DarthShady » 2010-07-06 11:28am

Jarkon - Capital City, Janus Colony, Wild Space
Image
The small black shuttle was descending slowly down to the great city, inside was a group of six men and one cyborg. The sun seemed to be setting, making the city quite a beautiful sight.

"Alright boys, listen up. We have ourselves quite an interesting job here." One of the men spoke up. He was dressed in a black suit and wore a mean smile on his face. "Those three rich old bastards want us to help them speed up the democratic process on this here planet."

Laughter echoed in the shuttle.

"Democracy! Bah!" The Cyborg grumbled with his electronic voice.

"Old four eyes, other than being a chicken shit moron, is also extraordinarily rich. And he wants to make his son, the fruit of his withering loins, the next Governor of Janus Colony." The man continued, his words causing another burst of laughter from his men. "I on the other hand, have other plans."

The men prepared their weapons as they listened, placing them in hidden compartments in their clothes.

"This is the plan." The man spoke again as the shuttle was preparing for landing. "Marek will apply his talents to the task of eliminating the current Governor." He said and pointed at the Cyborg, who was brandishing a large metallic suitcase. "While we pay the local traders bank a visit."

"You boys always get the fun jobs." Marek the Cyborg complained.

"If one of us could be as precise with that rifle as you..." The leader smiled.

"You girls can't handle my baby, I'm a surgeon with this bitch." The cyborg spoke with excitement, and if his face could be seen through the grey metallic mask he wore on his face, you would see a real creepy smile.

"So, Najrds...how tough is security at this bank?" One of the men asked their boss.

"That won't be a problem. I have a friend who gave me all the information we need." Najrds said with a smile. "We'll have no problems accessing the mainframe. Why do you think I only brought the six of you?"

"Because you love us more than the others!" The only black man in the group, Azaan, said with a grin. "Remind me to thank your friend boss."

Najrds Cirak frowned and looked Azaan in the eyes.
Image
"You can't. He's dead." Cirak said and began laughing. "But don't worry I thanked him, before I shot him."

The small band of mercenaries laughed as the shuttle shook and impacted the ground with a thud. They had landed.

"You boys ready to have some fun?" Cirak shouted as the shuttle door opened.

"Hell yeah boss!" The men answered.

"Like taking candy from a baby!" Marek laughed with a creepy electronic voice.

With that they exited the shuttle and moved out into the city, where the current Planetary Governor was holding an election rally.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Darkevilme » 2010-07-06 12:46pm

Hierarchy Palace, Chamarra, Hierarchy space

Even in a city of skyscrapers and arcologies the Hierarchy palace towers over the cityscape, its top obscured by clouds fifteen kilometers high. Inside this colossal structure an army of thousands of bureaucrats with the help of hundreds of mainframes help to organize and run the vastness of the Hierarchy clanholdings. Whole families of Chamarrans have lived and worked for generations inside this structure. The palace remains first and foremost though a symbol that evokes power in the Chamarran mind like no other symbol, for the palace was once a Juggernaut.

In the depths of this fortress

“Your majesty, I trust you are aware that this many comissions have not been given out since our earliest days as a nation.”
“I am quite aware, you have a point to make with that Tia-marra ?”
“Your majesty, forgive me but I and the council are intrigued as to why you have done this. This kind of expansion of our space force has not been seen since we drove back the Argenti intrusion and if your intention is to sustain it this will cost our nation dear.” Tia replied before another voice added “My aide informs me that doing this will interfere with our planned exports to Chiron and 'Ghazka the Baddest'.”
“We will have no further dealing with Ghazka, evidence has come to light linking him to the abductions conducted on our border. We have also uncovered who his buyers were.”
“Your majesty, the way you say it you make it sound like it was not the Pfhor.”
“Sadly it was not...Matriarchs of the council, our people were sold to the collectors, their ultimate fate is unknown. I leave it to the council to mobilize 2 of our battlegroups to eliminate Ghazka.”
The council is quiet for a moment then Tia adds
“Majesty, while this news is grave it does not justify the shipwrits we do not need to raise an entire new battlegroup because of one ork warlord.”
“Tia, you clearly have not been watching the affairs of others but for this you are forgiven. The galaxy is uneasy, the long quiet is ending and already the seeds of chaos have been sewn. War is coming Tia, I can feel it and we shall weather this storm only if we are prepared for it.”
“Your majesty, preparation is one thing but I am concerned that this growth could push us into a war of conquest with our neighbours should this storm not come to pass.”
The queen is silent for a few moments, the council watching her carefully..then she smiles “Well yes I suppose it would.”

Construction commencing year 3400.

Economic mobilization level: 10%

8th battlegroup construction: $3360 total.
x2 $1200 Dominion class. Leaves yards: 3404, trials complete 3405.6
x3 $1200 Rampant class. Leaves yards: 3403, trials complete 3405
x8 $640 Predator class, leaves yards: 3400.8, trials complete 3401.2
x16 $320 Wayward escort, leaves yards: 3400.2 trials complete 340.3

Fleet reinforcement plan: $3040
x15 $2400 Principality class. Leaves yards: 3401.6, trials complete 3402.2
x8 $640 Predator class. Leaves yards: 3400.8 trials complete 3401.2
Last edited by Darkevilme on 2010-07-06 01:30pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by MKSheppard » 2010-07-06 01:14pm

Apache Mountain
Montgomery
Shepistani Republic,
3400


The New Anglian Ambassador to Shepistan walked past the blast doors uneasily, and couldn't suppress a shiver with each meter of rock that slid over his head as the tramcar took him deeper into the Shepistani Republic's War Department Headquarters, buried under a massive granite mountain.

Finally, after much walking and going through blast doors; he arrived at his location -- the Shepistani Secretary of War's office, which was decorated with faux wood paneling and homely lighting that made it almost feel welcoming; despite it being buried several miles underground.

"Ah, welcome! Welcome!" cried SecWar Dick Richardson.

"Is there a reason why I'm here?" asked the ambassador. "You know as well as I do that I am very...claustrophobic."

"Then why the hell did they assign you here?"

"I have no god damned idea, my good sir."

"Let's make this as painless as possible for you and get straight to the point. A little birdie has told us that the Star Kingdom is planning a filibustering expedition to Pendleton, and we would like to participate in it."

"Participate in it, how?" asked the ambassador uneasily.

"Nothing too big; just a standard light battlestar with the usual Amplitur cleanout loadout."

"Which consists of...."

"Ten thousand railgun rounds equipped with twenty kiloton warheads; two hundred 50 megaton tactical missiles; and no less than fifty strategic missiles with a rating of five hundred megatons."

[NOTE, you may increase this as necessary to fit in with power scaling in the game]

"Oh; and about twenty thousand war droids in the holds."

"And...how would your...battlestar be employed with such weapons?"

"Oh, we'd let you clean out their orbital defenses -- thats what the heavier battlestars usually do; and then hit every major target on Pendleton in a couple orbits; then send down the war droids for clean-up."

"Clean-up, as in?"

"Killing every god-damned Communist."

"But the Pendletonians are slavers, not Communists, sir."

"We know. The Amplitur weren't Commies either; but General Atomics screwed up a long time ago with the core memory and personality matrixes of their war-bot lines -- and it's simply cheaper to redefine the current target of the day as a Commie than to reprogram from scratch the matrixes for millions of war droids in storage."

"Sir; doesn't this strike you as....extreme, not even the least?" asked the Ambassador, a slightly shocked look on his face.

"Actually, this is the least deadly option. I was part of the initial briefing of President Sheppard after he took power; and when he was informed of the existence of the Pendletonians; he demanded a full strategic strike followed up by maximum biological warfare, then having a Nova Bomb initated on the planet for final measure."

A grin appeared on Richardson's face at that.

"We managed to talk him down from that. Not the least given that Pendleton was at a distance too far for our battlestar groups to operate efficiently; and due to the need to ensure that former Amplitur colonies and worlds remain Amplitur-free every thirty years."

"But yes, President Sheppard did order me to make available one of our light battle-units available from the fleets that are massing for their Amplitur patrol cycle for the uh, liquidation of Pendleton. It's up to you to accept them or not."
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Coyote » 2010-07-06 03:06pm

Government Palace
Andreka Province, Tsonarr
Central Alliance






"So, what is the word today, good Colonel?" First Governor Darkhressek asked.
"Big celebrations across many of the neighboring societies, sir," Colonel Arik Shaham said as he sat back in the tauga-leather chair in the office. With the Central Alliance now --in this Reality at least-- reduced to 10 Sectors and fifty major planets of note, the First Governor had become somewhat less formal and a bit more casual... although in truth, some of that was probably just his way of dealing with the "acceptance" phase of the shock they'd been delivered.

"What kind of celebrations?" the First Governor asked.
"'New Years,'" Colonel Shaham said. "Their primary calendar system is based off of some long-ago religious event that reverberated major cultural impact throught their home world. Even societies that don't subscribe to the religion follow the calendar due to it's widespread use."
"Huh," the First Governor said. "So not based off of Galactic rotation? What was this religious event?"

"Basically, the birth of their version of Thyssa," Shaham said.
"Another one," Darkhressek muttered. He looked like he was about to say something else --something derisive-- but decided against it. "Are you a religious man?" he asked suddenly.
Shaham shrugged. "I have... I guess I believe in something beyond death, but I don't really think about it much. I figure I'll find out when I get there."
"Does it affect your behavior here, now?" the First Governor asked.

"I think it is the other way around," the Colonel said, smiling. "I just try to do the right thing and be a decent person, and then that will decide how things go for me in the next life."
"Huh," the First Governor grunted again. He was obviously contemplating something. "So, you're studying a lot about their histories, backgrounds, social trends, then? How's that coming along?"

"Pretty well," the Colonel said, "But... there's nothing like face-to-face contact to really get a handle on things. We can only profile so much by observing."
The First Governor chuckled. "You've been itching to get out and do some field work since we got here," he said. "It's after hours," he muttered, noting the readout on his eyelens as he reached into the desk and pulled out some hawarthi. "Colonel?"
"Thank you, sir," he said, as the First Governor poured small glasses for each of them.

"To surviving thus far," he said, and they toasted, and drank the thick liquer down, then poured more.
"I suppose," the First Governor said, sitting back in his chair and steepling his fingers beneath his chin, "that an excursion would not be a bad thing. I suppose you have some candidates?"

"I figured we'd start with our nearest neighbors," the Colonel said, "Our closest neighbors are the Commune, followed by the Knights of Order and the Eoghan United Commons," he said, calling up a holomap of the area.
The First Governor looked at it and pointed to a dark green spread nearby. "What about them?" he asked.
"The Expanse. Near as we can tell, a local wild space type place." The Colonel leaned forward, "There's also the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth, and then on the other side of them there is another polity that refers to itself as the Centrality... but they appear to be homegrown."

"Interesting," the First Governor said. "So the Commune, huh? What are they about? I saw your initial report on them..."
"While on the one hand they will probably be suspicious of our... capitalist backgtound," the Colonel said, "On the other hand, we're not xenophobes nor are we related to any of the other societies here. Even if they turn out to be hostile, it is best we find out early on."

"Hm, yes," Darkhressek said. He tapped his fingers on the desk. "Very well. Go ahead. Take a Raptor group and be low-key. Since you're going to do this, I want to find out, primarily, more information about a few things in particular-- find out what seems to unite most of these governments, and find out more about these people with the extraordinarity psychic abilities."
"I will do what I can, sir," the Colonel said.
"I'm sure you will," the First Governor said.
Arik stood, putting down the empty glass. "Thank you for the hawarthi," he said.

"Thank you for the work you are doing," the First Governor said with a mischevious smile. "I suppose... you'll be taking your assistant with you?"
"Yes, sir," the Colonel said without skipping a beat. "She's inarguably one of our best profilers."
"Inarguably," the First Governor said. "Just see to it she is safe."
"Of course, sir," the Colonel said.

Outside and down the hall, he walked quickly towards the elevator that took him down to the security levels, where he regained possession of his sidearm from the Guard officers there. He then checked out of the Palace and down to the lower levels, where caught the zoom to the primary government operations center, adjascent to the Senate building. There, he went back to his office.

"Working late?" a voice asked as he strode inside the wood-paneled (but duralloy cored) doors.
"I suppose you could call it that," Arik said. "I got the mission."
"I figured you would," Th'andra said as she looked up from her work station. "And--?"
"yes, you'll be going along too," he said with a smile.
"Excellent," she said, looking back at her work. "Any chance we can see some of these interesting hive-based and robot society areas? Collectors, Karlacks?"

"I think the boss wants this to be a nice, safe excursion," the Colonel said with a smile. "I don't think he wants is cousin damaged."
"I have been working in this capacity since well before he won the election," she said coolly.
"Don't tell me," Arik said, sitting down nearby. "I know that. I didn't even know you two were related until after he got elected, and the background check stuff came across my reader."

"Well, I thank you for keeping it under wraps," she said.
"I don't want to lose you," Arik said, "You're the best here, really. And there's no place else for you to go at your security level."
"I'm locked in until his term is up," Th'andra said. "If I tried to get Chief of Operations here, there'd be Senate confirmations and it'd come out. And then they'd say I was getting the job only because of the First Governor."

"Well, being stuck here isn't all that bad," Arik said with a wink. She smiled. They had a relaxed, easygoing work relationship that they both enjoyed. "We're going to get a Raptor group. Boss doesn't want us stumbling around in a big Cruiser, making people nervous."
"That and Avengers have Maskers," Th'andra said.
"There is that," Arik said. "So, anyway, we get ready to leave tomorrow morning. Everything is getting packed for us, a few minor diplomatic gifts, that sort of thing, and we're to pack nice things in case we get invited to formal events."

"Are you taking civvies?" she asked.
"Civvies and dress uniforms both," he said, "Depending on what looks to be the best bet."
"If Chakran is sending you, that means he expects you to be informal and straightforward," Th'andra said casually. "If he's sending me, that means I'm there to handle all the elegant situations."
"So not fair," Arik said. "I'll see you tomorrow, bright-and-early, at the Diplomatic tarmac."

"'Till then," she said with a smile as he left.

The diplomatic messages were already being broadcast.









Results:
Central Alliance will reach out to nearby governments, beginning with the Commune.
A small group of 4 "ultra-lights" will be used rather than large cruisers, etc.

***
Something about Libertarianism always bothered me. Then one day, I realized what it was:
Libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to the phrase, "Work Will Make You Free."


In Libertarianism, there is no Government, so the Bosses are free to exploit the Workers.
In Communism, there is no Government, so the Workers are free to exploit the Bosses.
So in Libertarianism, man exploits man, but in Communism, its the other way around!

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Zor » 2010-07-06 05:31pm

Port Shields, High orbit over Nova Australia
January 15th, 3400


Among a complex series of docking births was the constant activity, thousands small manipulation and matinence craft moved about the station itself and a few craft in repair births, people and cargo were ferried from various terminals through a weaving network of rail transit modules and there were plenty of people either in skinsuits or in space rated bodies. And of course, various starships moved in and out. Tractor arrays were in place to make sure that everything moved smoothly. Their were plenty of freighters sending out Luxury goods, computer systems, media and manufacturing equipment while foreign goods were brought in, as well as various personnal from luxury starliners to passenger ships which made their money through quantity of passengers.

Among these was an otherwise inconspicious bulk freighter which carried a special load. Inside its massive hull was ten thousand prefabicrated cyberization units, as well as equipment for their matinence, spare parts and datafiles for their matinence and equipment to massively improve the local prosthetic body industry. In addition, another ship launched carrying a number of technitions was also going alongside it. This spacecraft would be under a Naval Escort of a Tercio frigate for its journey through commonwealth space. Its ultimate destination was the Eoghan United Commons. While Posthumans tended not to migrate a handful of Posthuman immigrants had set up shop in the Commons over the last century and a half, a demographic which grew not so much out of a high migration rate, but rather a very low rate of mortality. While very small statistically and occasionally comming into conflict with the Byzantine Orthodox Church's few enclaves. Recently, this had also caused a number of the Eoghan human population to persue cyberization, as well as a few members of the posthuman population desiring a legacy through commisioning fully Cyberized children. As such, after some campaign promisses among polititians the Commonwealth diet put aside some funding for a special project, to grant the Eoghan access to commonwealth Cyberization technology to assist in the transition from Humanity to Posthumanity.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Steve » 2010-07-06 06:01pm

Chapter Sunelis, Lochley Landing
Lochley's Retreat, The Outback
16 January 3400



Sara woke quietly, save for the groan she made while stretching upon sitting up. The cot the Sisters had prepared for her was not the most comfortable bed she had known but, compared to those she'd had before, was soft enough. By long habit she quickly made the cot before journeying out, wearing the artificial satin sleeved nightgown they had provided her. Her ESP talents were underdeveloped - naturally the Pendletonians had not wanted to see her learn to use most of them - but she could sense with ease the minds of the others.
Blue rays of light were creeping over the horizon, and through the windows, as Sara entered the communal meal room. The other occupants of the Chapter were already here eating, ranging in rank from the Dorei woman who was in charge to the youngest of the Apprentices for the Knights present - all were clad in purple robes showing their rank through their insignia. The meals varied by race, as there were some Human foods Dorei could not digest and some Dorei meals Humans could not. Sara found a plate and stepped up to the offered breakfast trays, finding various items ready. A breakfast muffin, bacon, and eggs were her choice for the morning. With her meal chosen Sara went to find a seat.

She found one of the tables with a familiar face. Rana was sitting to breakfast, alone, with a meal much like her's save that she had partaken of some of the Dorei foods. This was the first time Sara had seen Rana in for breakfast; she had seemed to be missing prior days. As she was someone Sara knew, she chose to sit there today, hoping perhaps for some company. As she sat across from her Rana noticed her and gave her a friendly smile. "Sara, it's good to see you're getting along fine," Rana said.
"You and your Sisters are so gracious, I dislike imposing, really..." At this point Sara, not able to help noticing it, remarked, "Why are you the only one sitting alone?"
And this was true. The others were all sitting with someone. From what Sara knew the "Knights" would dine with their Apprentices, but there were more than just Knights and Apprentices present. As for the others, she could only imagine she was seeing cliques, or perhaps...
"Out here, you spend what time you can with those you... care for," Rana answered. "More closely than a normal Sister, that is, for we all care for each other by way of what unites us. But I am a fairly new Sentinel in the ranks and have not had opportunity to get to know everyone quite yet."
"Oh." Looking around again, Rana asked, "Where are Sisters Yuna and Ashe? I wanted to thank them again."
"They were dispatched two days ago to travel to a settlement in Sector Y-20. They wouldn't be there yet, they have to go by way of the second major hyperlane of this region, the one linking the Hiigarans to the Empire Star Republic, and from there take a ship into Hiigara and over to the edge of the Y-20 web-lanes." Smiling softly, Rana took a sip before continuing. "I imagine they're finding things to do in whatever liner cabin or cargo bay they're holed up in."

"Oh." Sara began to eat as well. When she'd taken a few bites, she spoke up again. "Do you think your Order can help me find my family?"
"Hopefully," Rana said. "I... I probably shouldn't have been so enthusiastic before, though. The odds aren't the best, with all the illicit trading going on it's hard to tell who's shipping people and who's shipping black market goods."
"I... understand." Sara bowed her head. "But, thank you for wanting to make me feel good. I've never known such friendliness before, even Lord Fisher seemed so aloof and cold.."
"Well, he is one of those types," Rana said, aware of the Royal Navy commander's mannerism. She reached to Sara's mind, intending it to be a gentle supportive action, just to find none of the mental resistance she by habit found in her Sisters. "Sara, how can your Gift be so underdeveloped? Do they not teach its use in Pendleton?"
"They do for citizens. Slaves can't be taught, it is forbidden. Though, I do have some knowledge..." Sara looked down sheepishly. "From when i was just a girl, assigned to be Lady Katherine's maidservant when she was younger. She taught me how to link minds."
"But only that?"
"Well, yes, because she didn't want to get caught, no matter how rebellious she was feeling. And, because..." Sara blushed deeply. "She said it would make it more enjoyable when we...." Her voice failed.
"...made love?" Rana finished for her. She was familiar with the principle. When two ESPers were together, their minds reached for each other, and if they were experiencing pleasure a loop would be created, intensifying the experience greatly and meaning the one giving pleasure could feel the results of her actions directly. "You were lovers?"

"Well, yes.. at least I thought that was what it was. When we were young, she would genuinely love me, and tell me how she would free my family when she inherited us. But then she went off to university and, there, things changed. Afterward nothing was the same and she... she stopped loving. It was for pleasure only, even if I didn't like it. And she began to punish me over the slightest things." Tears began to form in Sara's eyes. There were memories of things Katherine said to her, did to her, that hurt, and that Rana could feel.
She felt Rana in her mind again, a soothing presence, while Rana placed her silverware down and reached out, clasping hands with Sara. "That is over with. You are here now, among friends, and we will never let them do anything like that to you again. You are beyond anything Katherine might do from her jail cell."


Leyman Town


The town of Leyman was, like Allendale, a small farming settlement outside the main city, still within sight of the great space elevator up to the Anglian naval base above. Also like Allendale, it had more than its fair share of bad people milling about doing bad things.
In one of the deluxe suites of the town's inn, a young enlisted man of the Anglian Royal Navy squirmed helplessly against rope restraints. His face and bare chest were bleeding from the beatings and cuttings he had suffered at the hands of a certain Jack Springer and his men, ever since they'd picked up the hapless sailor while he was trying to find female company of the pleasurable persuasion. Like all others assigned here he had been warned against straying off-base but, like most of those who were, he had left anyway, in pursuit of loose women and cheap beer. Now, however, he would learn precisely why those warnings were issued.

"Nothin' we could do with the Limey bastard," he heard Springer say to a newcomer in the next room, in shadows he could not make out who or what the person was. "We know he works at the brig, though, so..."
"Leave it to me," a female voice answered. From the shadows a woman emerged, clad in a dark leather suit, with a prod of some sort in her hand. She got into his lap, straddling him and bringing her attractive body, not hidden at all by her suit, close enough to him that he almost reflexively became aroused by their clouseness. A gloved hand rubbed his cheek. "My name is Kara," the woman said. "And you and I have much to discuss. You work the Naval Station's planet-side brig, yes? The section where a certain group of prisoners from Pendleton are being held?"
He stared at her without answering. And when he felt something stab into his mind, he knew his silence didn't matter.
"I'm going to be completely honest with you, Crewman Jason Paddington of Overton, New Liverpool Borough, New Anglia," Kara said. "If you cooperate, your chance for living is fairly good. Not guaranteed, but possible. If you don't cooperate, you will die. And it will be a messy, terribly painful demise for you. Allow me to demonstrate with my agiel."
Kara pressed the device up against his chest. The pain the touch caused was excruciating, such that though his mouth opened he could not scream beyond a brief sharp noise as the muscles in his chest seized up.
She pulled the device away after about three seconds. "Now, imagine me doing that to you until you finally expire, and still getting what I want because I'm able to rip it from your pain-addled mind. Now imagine you cooperate and I don't do this to you and maybe, just maybe, you get to go home to your sweet mother Diana and your sisters...." Kara smiled and added, "...and what gorgeous sisters you do have, may I add." For by thinking of them he showed Kara their images and she found them fairly attractive girls. "Hrm... you know, if you make me kill you, I may just go look up Margaret and Penelope for some... playtime."

Using her ESP, Kara showed him what "playtime" meant, with the images of his sisters as examples. She felt the surge of anger and revulsion in him from the resulting images and knew that it had done the trick.
"Now, I need your help in getting a certain lady by the name of Katherine de la Poer out of your brig," Kara.of the Ebon Blade said to Crewman Paddington. "And this is how you will do it..."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Steve » 2010-07-06 09:27pm

MKSheppard wrote: "Let's make this as painless as possible for you and get straight to the point. A little birdie has told us that the Star Kingdom is planning a filibustering expedition to Pendleton, and we would like to participate in it."

"Participate in it, how?" asked the ambassador uneasily.

"Nothing too big; just a standard light battlestar with the usual Amplitur cleanout loadout."

"Which consists of...."

"Ten thousand railgun rounds equipped with twenty kiloton warheads; two hundred 50 megaton tactical missiles; and no less than fifty strategic missiles with a rating of five hundred megatons."

[NOTE, you may increase this as necessary to fit in with power scaling in the game]

"Oh; and about twenty thousand war droids in the holds."

"And...how would your...battlestar be employed with such weapons?"

"Oh, we'd let you clean out their orbital defenses -- thats what the heavier battlestars usually do; and then hit every major target on Pendleton in a couple orbits; then send down the war droids for clean-up."

"Clean-up, as in?"

"Killing every god-damned Communist."

"But the Pendletonians are slavers, not Communists, sir."

"We know. The Amplitur weren't Commies either; but General Atomics screwed up a long time ago with the core memory and personality matrixes of their war-bot lines -- and it's simply cheaper to redefine the current target of the day as a Commie than to reprogram from scratch the matrixes for millions of war droids in storage."

"Sir; doesn't this strike you as....extreme, not even the least?" asked the Ambassador, a slightly shocked look on his face.

"Actually, this is the least deadly option. I was part of the initial briefing of President Sheppard after he took power; and when he was informed of the existence of the Pendletonians; he demanded a full strategic strike followed up by maximum biological warfare, then having a Nova Bomb initated on the planet for final measure."

A grin appeared on Richardson's face at that.

"We managed to talk him down from that. Not the least given that Pendleton was at a distance too far for our battlestar groups to operate efficiently; and due to the need to ensure that former Amplitur colonies and worlds remain Amplitur-free every thirty years."

Admiralty House, Westminster
New Anglia



"Mad fools, the lot of them," Tevala grumbled after reading the note dispatched from the Foreign Office on the Shepistani offer. "We're trying to go in and peacefully annex the place, they want to burn it down?!"
"We are talking about the same nation that caused hundreds of civilian casualties and mass damage to eradicate the Canadian geese imported to their world a thousand years ago," Dale pointed out wryly from his seat. "Still, foo what it's worth, I would be open to accepting the dispatch of light fleet elements. We don't need there 'battlestars', just destroyers and frigates to screen away the Pendletonian fleet and intercept anyone fleeing the planet before they can get to the hyperlimit."
"We would have to be mad, utterly mad, to accept their aid," Tevala insisted irritably.
"There is no harm, Lord Tevala, in accepting an offer for screen elements," was Dale's quiet reply. "Though it may delay our actions by a week or so as we wait for the Shepistani ships to arrive and to have their hyperdrives inspected and fine-tuned in preparation for running the Bannerman Gap."
Tevala flashed him a disapproving look. Though it was an appropriate form of address, Trill generally disapproved of titles and only tolerated it in acts of state. "With Parliament bogging down the Bill passage debating points of order and the Duchess Diane's financial report, a couple of weeks will not hurt, I suppose. But I wish to pass this by Lord Baden-Grey and the PM before we approve it."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Akhlut » 2010-07-06 10:33pm

Year 4329, 4th month, 5th day Tlali Calendar (Jan 3rd, 3400 earth standard calendar)
Eealtepekali Building


Kenkahweykwa-acalli Tizokik sat before the Eealtepekali. The majority of the legislature was displeased with her, to say the least. The rest of the Hwekwali-acalli-Yaloa sat on either side of her, also feeling the brunt of their wrath.

A delegate of the Intlaxihwal arose; he was a moxi with a drab grey head, bright eyes staring at the military officers.

“What do you have to say to defend this massive expenditure? This giant of a ship is incapable of moving beyond Xostontu's light and cost more than two Axayakatl capital ships! This could fund damn near a decade of welfare on Tlali! We could build dozens of power plants in Hweyixal! But now it is all tied up in that space monstrosity that is immobile! How do you justify this?”

Tizokik cleared her throat in a most intimidating manner, but without apparent effect.

“I address the Eealtepekali most respectfully when I say this: few of you understand the true needs of the military. Tianguo is a potential adversary, as is, frankly, every one of their neighbors. Should we go to war, we must protect the homeworld. Tlali is our most precious jewel and the true home of us all, moxli and kipaktli alike. The Mo-itlapaltayomixi is our best defender; the particle cannon assembled by the Umerians is second only to the Klavostani's own titan, which is also immobile. But, rest assured, the Mo-itlapaltayomixi can obliterate any opposition from our potential enemies,” she said. She wasn't quite sure if she kept the condescension from her voice or not; she desperately hoped so.

Another delegate shot up from his seat, this time a kipakt.

“You assert that, and yet wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to build defense batteries on the surface of Xostontu's inhabited systems, as we're already doing?”

“Revered Delegate, this would lack the operational maneveurability required for tactical warfare. While the Mo-itlapaltayomixi lacks a hyperdrive capable of traveling to other systems, it can travel to any planet or moon in the Xostontu system and defend them, thus making even the moons of the gas giants safe. Further, in combination with planetside defenses, we could create a pincer attack against any potential invaders.” Again, she hoped she wasn't letting her irritation show through. Her other officers knew better than to answer the questions themselves, for fear of saying what she would term a wrong answer.

And the questions continued. Dozens of delegates, all asking for justifications she already thought of years ago.

Another delegate, a kipakt of advanced age arose and questioned the security officer.

“Tewktyao Tepoz, are you complicit in the construction of this vessel? You knew about it for the past 14 years, yet you did nothing to alert the Eealtepekali.”

The Tewktyao with the painted face deliberated with himself for a moment before replying.

“Esteemed delegates, my own feelings on the Mo-itlapaltayomixi are and always have been irrelevent to my duties as the head of security. I did suggest to the Kenkahweykwa-acalli that she at least alert the Eealtepekali to the basic details of the project, as opposed to completely covering the project under the title of 'prototype battleship designed for home defense' and sequestering such enormous amounts of money for collaboration with the Umerians. I was also thinking that the delegates would probe more thoroughly into the project and withhold funding if they did not receive the answers they needed. I was not thinking that they would blindly fund the Kwi-acalli with such giant sums for 14 years. As such, I did my duty faithfully as Imakwa dictates; I protected my charges and let no knowledge of the Mo-itlapaltayomixi escape from those who worked on it and let no spy come upon it.”

“Very well, Tewktyao.”

Tizokik waited impatiently. She had hoped she made an impact. She feared she didn't.

“I hereby motion to strip Kenkahweykwa-acalli Tizokik of her rank and officer's commission, as well as those of Hweykwali-acalli Xautemok, Tlakozin, Nezahwalpilli, and Maghan. Hweykwali-acalli Sandaki, Mpande, Kakamatzin, and Akolmiztli are to have their stipends reduced by one third, while the rest of the Hweykwali-acalli-Yaloa are to have no penalty upon them. All in favor, vote as such. All opposed, vote as such. All abstaining or absent, do not vote.”

Shit. she thought. She watched the electronic board on the wall as it lit up with votes. An automated percent in the 'For' column quickly added up to 67%, while the 'Against' column only had 21%, the remainder absent or abstaining. She sighed. And, now, the Hwekwali-acalli-Yaloa would need extreme restructuring, and, worse, her protege Maghan would not succeed her as the Kenkahweykwa-acalli.

- - - - -

Kwi-acalli Palace

“Officers, we are facing extreme problems now, as a full five members were completely booted out, while a further four have been stripped and have lost a great deal of prestige and respect. This leaves us with four Hweykwali-acalli in charge of Axayakatl-class ships, two in charge of system fleets, and two in charge of expeditionary fleets. We are, in short, totally fucked,” said Hweykwa-acalli Letsopa, a moxi with ochre red head feathers and mud brown eyes.

“Now, Letsopa, I wouldn't go that far,” chirped Xatlatoa, “I think we are merely shat upon at this point. We can rebuild. I know a few Tlaka-acal who are ripe for promotion, and we can have a vote to replace our friend Tizokik.”

“Actually,” a newly promoted kipakt interrupted, “it might be prudent to rehire her and promote her to Hweykwa-acalli.”

A heavy silence hung in the air.

“What the fuck are you smoking, Yamparika?” Letsopa asked.

“Just listen to me, old man; see, the Mo-itlapaltayomixi needs a Hweykwa-acalli to pilot it, and she knows it inside and out. Why not put her in charge of it?”

“How did you become a Hweykwa-acalli? That's an insane idea. That's a recipe for all of us to get thrown out by the Eealtepekali. You can bring that idea up to the Eealtepekali yourself, just leave us out of that,” Letsopa said.

And so they continued for hours, still deciding on how to fill in the new gaps they had, eventually opting to promote three Tlakali-acal to Hweykwa-acalli from the ranks of those who commanded Sasidwi cruisers , two from Mohlabani commanders, two Kokopalalatik and two Ikal commanders.

And, then, an informal vote with the single rule that one could not vote for one's self.

Letsopa somehow won, in spite of himself.

“Well, I now question where the Kwi-acalli is going if you're choosing me to lead it. But, I'll accept being the new Kenkahweykwa-acalli. Yamparika, as my first official command, you're to go through with your crazy scheme. Ask the Eealtepekali if they'll accept Tizokik as the Hweykwa-acalli of the Mo-itlapaltayomixi. Do it tomorrow.”

“As you will it, commander,” Yamparika said, overexaggerating a bow toward Letsopa.

- - - - - - -
Eealtepekali Building

Yamparika stood before the Eealtepekali, not betraying his considerable nervousness.

“Delegates, the Kwi-acalli has a special request for you. Now that we have the Mo-itlapaltayomixi built and ready for defense, we are now in dire need of a Hweykwa-acalli to command the ship. Unfortunately, we are lacking in those most familiar with the ship, and hence my presence before you, esteemed delegates. We wish to give Tizokik a new commission as a Hweykwa-acalli.”

A furor erupted among the Eealtepekali, showing their displeasure.

“Delegates, please, quiet. I know this is unorthodox in the highest, however, we are willing to make concessions. She will be exempt from the Hweykwali-acalli-Yaloa, and have a pay grade equal to a Tlanitlaka-acal, as well as being on level three probation. She will only be in charge of the Mo-itlapaltayomixi and nothing else; her budgets for the ship will have to be approved by at least three members of the Hweykwali-acalli-Yaloa. Is this acceptable to the Eealtepekali?”

A quick vote. 47.5% voted “for,” 46.3% voted “against,” and the rest abstained.

“Thank you, delegates, for your consideration. The Kwi-acalli thanks you.”

Yamparika sighed immensely after reaching the corridor. He took out his phone and called Tizokik.

“Ma'am?”

“What are you calling me for? I'm planning my retirement,” she growled.

“Cancel those plans, ma'am. You have a new commission for commanding the Mo-itlapaltayomixi.”
SDNet: Unbelievable levels of pedantry that you can't find anywhere else on the Internet!

Grif
Youngling
Posts: 106
Joined: 2009-01-04 02:45am

Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Post by Grif » 2010-07-06 10:54pm

Argenti Parliamentary Complex, Argent
12th January 3340

“Yes, Dulec, what is it?” Jonah sipped the expensive Earth-grown coffee with care. Such prized drinks are hard to come by outside the UN territory, and even more so for nations located out in the galactic rim. Gregory Dulec sat at the other end of the PM’s desk.

“You might want to take a look at this.” said Dulec, handing Jonah a file marked Top Secret on its cover. Jonah took the file with interest and skimmed through the report.

“Chamarrans are mobilising their battlegroups? Are you certain, Dulec?”

“This source has always been reliable. Officially, it is a response to the Ork warlord who has been known to operate around Chamarran space.” Dulec looked troubled by the report.

“You don’t believe the story.”

“I don’t. This is overkill even for eliminating a mere Ork warlord. No, Jonah, something else prompted this level of response. ASU is working on our network in Hierarchy space, but so far we have been unable to uncover any solid leads.” Dulec shook his head.

“Keep digging Dulec. I’m sure ASU will turn something up.”

Just then, his comlink chimed. “Sir, Defence Minister Wards is here for his briefing.”

“Send him in.” Jonah replied. “We’ll discuss this later Dulec. For now, please stay. I’ll need your input on the New Kuching mess.” Dulec nodded and leaned back in his chair.

The oaken doors to his office opened a moment later. The large figure of Wards strode into the room.

“Good morning Jonah. And you, Dulec.” Wards nodded to both. Without prompting, he started his report.

“The New Kuching situation has been contained. The main body of the rebels was pushed out of the city. There are still pockets of resistance in the city. They are being eliminated as we speak.”

“And the casualties?” queried Jonah.

“3490 of our soldiers, unknown number of civilians, estimated to be tens of thousands. The city was heavily damaged in the fighting. Jim is already up the roof about the damage to the city and the local economy.”

Jonah sighed heavily at the toll. The repercussions from this incident will be felt far and wide in the federation. “We’ll need to call an emergency Cabinet meeting to deal with this mess. And the new Chamarran development” Wards arched an eyebrow at the last sentence.

"Yes, Jonah. I'm interested to hear about this Chamarran development." said Wards.

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