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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-19 12:39am
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Jedi Knight
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Posts: 901
Location: Kansas City, MO
Septimus Sector (J:14), Raelin Military Intelligence Building, Davon

"Sir, I have indications of war mobilization by the Imperium of Man, but I'm not sure against what."

"Us?" asked the supervisor.

"I don't think so. I mean, to put it simply, we didn't do anything." said the analyst.

"How'd we hear about this?"

"Well, you don't cancel leave for every last person in your military without anyone noticing. The local economies alone would have a visible hiccup."

"Everyone? What the hell are they doing?"

"The Bragulians are probably mobilizing as well. We have rumors of fleet movement over there. Also, Solarian aerospace defense industries stocks have shot up, anticipating demand for starships." interjected a second analyst.

"What inspired all this?"

"Maybe the Collector station incident?" inquired the first analyst.

"Oh, please," said the supervisor "why would the Imperium and the BSE go to maximum combat readiness over that? They have no interest in Collectors!"

"Uh... I can't think of anything."

"Yeah. Find out why they're really mobilizing and get me a report within an hour -- I've got to go brief the colonel."

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-19 01:51am
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Emperor's Hand
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Joined: 2002-07-03 01:09pm
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Location: Florida USA
Royal Palace of Fynn, Altair
Planet and Kingdom of Fynn, Sector X-13
22 February 3400



Druni was escorted into the bedroom by a pair of Sentinels from the local Chapter. Zara was there, seated on her bed, wearing a rich-looking nightrobe undoubtedly forced upon her by the palace staff. She looked fairly good for having been shot with a high-caliber gun less than 48 hours before, but modern medical tech could never be underestimated. "You may wait outside," Zara said to the two young women flanking Druni. Druni was in her full robe assort, marking her an Acolyte, though she was not permitted to hold her saber due to her status as a Sister under Confinement. "Master Zara." Druni bowed respectfully. "I am pleased to see you are well."

"Thank you, Druni." Zara set her hands on her lap. She kept her voice calm and reserved even as their minds gently pressed together, allowing a sharing of emotional states. "Hilda and Bianca have informed me of what happened. You showed quick thinking in acting as you did, even though it is forbidden. But you know that you also acted impulsively."

"Yes."

"Druni, you will most likely be sentenced to a Trial of Contrition," Zara continued. "I do not know for certain what you will be expected to offer or take as punishment in the Trial. They may reduce your permitted attempts at the Trials, require you to remain confined to the Cloister and placed under intensive training.... they may even revoke your Apprenticeship."

Druni nodded sadly at that. The last note was of special weight; having an Apprentice taken from you for misconduct was a mark on the record of a Knight as well. Zara would likely have to wait a time, and undergo review, before being permitted another Apprentice. "Would they permit me to lay upon the Suffering Table?", Druni asked directly.

"No. You are not considered a full adult yet, the Order would forbid it," Zara answered.

"I see."

"Druni, I took you as my Apprentice because I was told you were considered unlikely to be taken, despite your skill," Zara continued. "You have been a difficult student at times, but I know you mean well, and I am proud to see you have grown in skill and wisdom."

Druni lowered her head. "I do not feel as if I have, Master."

"I know. But it is there," Zara assured her. "But something has occurred to me, Druni, in considering your past and your thoughts."

"Yes?"

Zara looked her directly in the eye now. "Do you want to be a Sister of the Silver Moon, Druni?"

Druni almost answered "Yes", out of habit. But she stopped herself. Zara could sense her feelings; she would know the "Yes" was an empty one, said because it was expected of her. "I... I do not know," Druni admitted finally, searching for the words to say. "I appreciate what the Order stands for, I really do. I believe I can use my Gift for good purposes. But... I mean all of my Gift. And I am not very religious, Master Zara. I do not believe in the Goddess or the Deity, I never have."

That drew a nod from Zara. "Go on."

"But... I do not know where I would go without the Order. My parents expect me to stay in it, even if just as laity. If I leave I will not be welcome back home. They would consider me a threat to my younger siblings," Druni continued. "They would.... hate me."

Zara, in turn, almost resisted that, but when it came down to it she couldn't be sure. She didn't know the Jestanis very well. And the Tryni were a very spiritual, conservative people, arguably the most conservative of the Dorei Republican nations. Some of the Dorei cultures didn't treat parent-child relations the same way Anglian culture did; a child who defied his or her parents' commands or strict expectations could very well be disowned by the family, if the breach was great enough. "Druni..." Zara reached forward and put a hand on the girl's shoulder. "I am going to be truthful with you. I believe that, if you are truly devoted, you have the potential to be a respected Sister of the Order. But only if you are truly, fully devoted If you are not, then it would be wrong of me to insist you say. It would only hurt everyone involved. If your heart is not in the Order, it is best for you to find what you truly want in life. There are other organizations that exist for those with the Gift to aid the unfortunate. Or you may simply decide to have a quiet life. You must decide."

After a period of silence, Zara brought her hand back. "Have lunch with me, Druni," she said sweetly, "and let us talk of lighter things. We will have four days to consider your decisions on our trip back to New Anglia."

"We are leaving?", Druni asked.

"Yes. We were recalled, after all, though we are being permitted to stay long enough for King Charles' funeral." Zara closed her eyes for a moment. Tears appeared there, tears of pain as she thought of how much it hurt Hilda to be orphaned. "Would you like to have your confinement here in the Palace? I could supervise you..."

"No, you need to recover," Druni answered. "We can have lunch together but... I must think on these things, Master Zara. And I shall do so back at my cell."

"It is your choice. Now, go bring the Sisters back in, and I shall arrange a meal from the Palace kitchen..."



Hilda stood alone in the Gardens, not far from where blackened bushes indicated Druni's little error of the other morning. It was like she had provided them a warning of what was to come, in a way too vague for them to realize how the day would go.

The fine blouse and dress she wore now, and the jeweled tiara on her head, were painful reminders of what had happened. Her father was gone, taken from her, murdered. Her heart was full of pain and rage at this. Her father, her precious Daddy, who had joyfully bounced her on his knee when she was a small child, who had been there in so many happy childhood memories, had been taken from her in a moment of murderous brutality. Her mother was gone, her brother, her father... Hilda had no one close. Her cousins were not; her father had been an only child and his father's cousins had spread themselves across the planet, being distant in the line of succession and focusing on private ventures to maintain a lavish lifestyle beyond the yearly stipend provided them by the Royal Treasury.

She didn't even have Zara. She felt bound to obey her father's wishes, to avoid scandal of any kind by continuing her relationship with Zara until the wedding. Zara would be returning home upon her recovery and King Charles' funeral.

Hilda was going to be alone now. For the first time in her life, fully alone.

She sensed a mind approach. She turned to face Count Dupreè. He bowed politely to her. "Your Majesty, I am afraid I have another set of commissions you must sign before the day is over," he said.

"I see." She drew in a breath and looked out at the garden.

"Your father will be missed. It was a great honor to serve him. I can only hope I serve you just as well," Dupreè continued. He approached closer. "I do apologize if I seemed abrasive over Lady Zara. I am looking out for the best interests of the nation and Royal Family. I did not mean to impugn on the dignity or worthiness of Lady Zara in any way."

"I see," Hilda answered coldly. "But she's the one you should apologize to."

"Very well."

With that said, a thought came to Hilda. "Has the Chancellor called back yet? He stated he had something to brief me on."

"Not yet," Dupreè replied. "I imagine he is busy directing the Government in continuing to settle things after His Majesty's assassination. But I shall tell him you are expecting to hear from him soon."

"Yes. We have a wedding to plan, after all," Hilda noted. "I will be in shortly, Count. For now, though, I wish to be completely alone."

"Yes, Your Majesty."

Hilda didn't watch him leave. She looked out at the pond in front of her. A mother duck and her ducklings were swimming about it - the garden's caretakers kept them fed and cared for, seeing benefit in fauna bringing more life to the garden. Tears formed in Hilda's eyes.

Feeling more alone than ever before, she began to cry bitterly.



Dupreè secured his office and turned on his computer systems. A neural interface band settled on his head let him send and receive sustainable amounts of data from the planetary network. Usually he used it for carrying on the business of the Palace and Royal Family.

He had a different purpose today.

Software covered his tracks, altering his computer's data to imply he was looking on commercial websites for supplies for the Palace. He surfed instead to a private served connected to the network, hidden behind special cover protocols. No DNS system in the planetary net, or even interstellar hypercom, knew this site existed, save those who knew of it.

A presence was there; another visiter to the server. Status, Green 4?

It was disquieting trying to speak with his mind. Dupreè was not a CompInt; he didn't have the ability to order his thoughts like they did. All is well, Green 3. His Majesty's death has greatly afflicted Hilda. She will grieve for a long time.

So it seems.

I, too, grieve, Dupreè continued. Why didn't the Organization protect him?

We are not omnipotent, Your Lordship. Our resources and means are limited. A brief pause, only a second for Dupreè but it felt quite longer for Green 3. The Plan is on track, though. King Charles will be fondly remembered by the entire Sector when our long work is finished. The marriage is the First Step to the Future.

Yes. Hilda is anxious about it. She is... alone now. The Lady Zara must return home while she will remain here. I have never seen her like this.

All things in good time, Your Lordship. There are forces who are trying to stop the Plan. We must make sure they do not interfere with the wedding. From that wedding, the Steps will proceed. The Future depends on our actions this year.

I understand. I shall keep a close eye on Her Majesty. I will lay everything on the line, even my life, for the Plan, Dupreè assured Green 3. And now I must go.

Understood, Green 4. And good luck.

Dupreè disconnected himself from the net system and returned to work. Despite the King's death, the Plan was on track. He had to make sure that stayed that way.

He thought of Hilda and Zara and felt pity. He didn't hold any real hostile feelings to the latter. He had been forced to summon them, though. To let them be real, to make sure his insincere anger was not felt by the ESPers. We must all sacrifice for the Plan, he thought to himself. The Future required it. He was sure that both Lady Zara and Queen Hilda would understand, if and when the time came that either should learn of the Plan....



”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.

Moderator of SDN, Former Spacebattles Super-Mod, Veteran Chatnik

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-19 03:16am
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Jedi Master

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The Battle of Kanazawa Shipyard


Kanazawa Fortress
The Empty Quarter
24 February 3400


The Woukou had skimped on their anti-ESPer protection, and now they were paying for it. Salita Gajasa disentangled the handles and cruel thin wire from around the dead bandit fortress commander's neck, and then stashed the garrote close at hand, whilst quickly searching the corpse laying on the bed for weapons that did not have to make the tradeoff between concealment and firepower like hers did. His heavy energy pistol would be very nice indeed, if she had to shoot her way out. Feeling out with her powers, only the main bridge of the fortress was shrouded to her with some sort of anti-ESPer field. That mistake had let her make it this far, and now it would let her complete the rest of her mission.

Those whom passed her in the corridors of the asteroid fortress thought it unremarkable, their minds nudged by her to do so. Her excellent disguise of the heavy pistol in the fancy silk outfit, and the way it exposed so many more other tempting areas to look at, helped ease and misdirect their otherwise-disbelief. Staying away from the bridge, there were still so many other sensitive areas that were open to her, like the communications room she entered.

It was, however, not empty, as a single pirate sat at the computer that dominated the one wall of the room, and was using it to watch pornography. Engrossed as he was in it, even when he turned to see a beautiful woman holding a gun, he simply had no chance to react as the covert energy pistol in her hand fired a low-power beam, more than enough to drill a neat hole surrounded by a bloom of cooked tissue through his skull. Shoving him aside and minimizing the porn, it was easy to bring up the FTL comms system, and quickly scripted it to begin a delayed broadcast. Rearranging the pirate to have his own weapon in his hand, she let the porn again dominate the screen - perhaps it would confuse anyone sent to investigate.

Leaving the room, she had a few good spots in mind to hole up near the hangers, because everything was about to get quite active aboard the fortress, and she would need to make her escape at just the right time...


RKS Hasanuddin

"Sir, FTL comms is picking up a signal on the wide-band, it's coming from the asteroid."

"Excellent, it seems our agent is keeping up her end of the operation. Let's not disappoint on ours. Fleet, initiate final hyperspace jump to target!" At Admiral Khalil Amazigh's order, Hasanuddin and the squadron of starships around her leapt forth into hyperspace. The refit hyperdrives felt different in some indescribable way to him, and it'd played merry hell on patrol schedules and shipyard crews while he'd had them swapped out in preparation for this operation, but the increased reliability in shoal conditions made up for their other flaws.

--> Click here now for semi-timed musical accompaniment! <--

As the Klavostani battleship and her squadron emerged from hyperspace at the edge of the deep-space asteroid field, dozens of Woukou ships of were scrambling into motion around the asteroid fortress. No less than three gargantuan Woukou cityships floated out by various mobile heavy industry ships, all these ships clustered around a framework in space, as the nomads briefly became stationary for the act of reproduction - inside lay another cityship under construction. For all that their agent had attempted to remove at least one of their commanders, the Woukou pirate warships were deploying out in what seemed to be a decently-organized fashion to oppose them alongside the fortress.

However, it was not just an entire Klavostani battle squadron that had turned out to fight the Woukou this day. At the rear of the formation, a number of tug starships clustered snugly around the form of something large. Whilst its projecting forward hull greatly resembled that of most Klavostani ships, the rear half was not a sleek engined hull, but a bulkier mass. This was not a ship, but an OWP, a single beam cannon of tremendous scale - a device that served as a high-energy physics experiment and a major planetary defense weapon all in one. And now innovated as an offensive siege weapon, once Khalil'd successfully pried it from the kicking and screaming clutches of Shroomindanao's system defense forces.

Blossoming away after detaching, the tugs got themselves clear of the Klavostani OWP as it powered up the rest of the way, shields flickering to protective life around it in position at the front edge of the fleet.

"Admiral, the OWP reports ready to fire in seven seconds."

"Target the roidfort. All ships, synchronize firing with it." He paused until the countdown reached zero. "Fire!"

The fringes of the single huge barrel crackling with incipient discharge, blinding energy leapt out towards the asteroid fortress. As the fortress had once proven in the past, it had relatively light shields for its size, choosing to rely more on point-defense and the free armor of the big rock. Whilst able to soak up smaller-calibre beam cannon fire relatively easily, the OWP's beam immediately penetrated through the shields, the bolt pounding a deep molten shaft into the rock, far deeper than any that already marred its ancient surface, or those that the beam cannons of the rest of the fleet added.


Okami

Warlord Ichimoto snarled a fierce curse under his breath as he watched his hopes evaporate with the firing of the OWP. He knew what its like were, something he'd only ever seen from afar, with damned good reason. That was an entire Klavostani battle squadron out there, a force that he barely considered himself superior to alongside Kanazawa Fortress. That was the only reason he thought this place safe enough to stop for the months it took to build another cityship. Clearly, he had underestimated the ingenuity of these Klavostanis.

He could stay and fight, he knew he could still maul them badly... But despite any silly samurai pretensions the Woukou kept, there was no honor in annihilating his part of the Red Dragon Clan's fighting force, he would be a fool to fight a battle of attrition with Klavostan. And where the hell was that fool Morozumi, and why wasn't he scrambling the fortress' fighters? At least despite the ferocious energy weapons pounding Kanazawa was taking, its carpets of small-calibre weapons kept the torrent of Klavostani missiles well back from the rock's surface, for now.

Ichimoto sighed in despair even as he realized the one and only way he had out of the Klavostani Admiral's well-executed trap. It was the option that would cost him the least, because the Klavos had assuredly won this battle.

"Communications! Message to all ships; Form wall of battle alongside the fortress. All civilians to evacuate immediately. And launch the cityship. I intend to ram it down the Klavos' throats!"


RKS Hasanuddin

As sensor input poured in, the tactical display became more refined over time, and the computer tagged out the enemy ships as a mix of familiar Woukou models - thirteen of their raiders and three cruisers - and one that brought a frown to his face, the clear silhouette of an older-model, refit Klavostani battleship, still clad in the paint that had previously befitted its role as the flagship of the defensive fleet of the independent planet Ramal, who thought they'd be safe with their new ship. Until the Woukou hijacked it. Something about that train of thought screamed to Khalil that he was somehow missing something more still.

"Admiral, the Woukou fleet is moving into formation around the roidfort."

"I see them. Have the OWP continue firing on the fort, target their fleet with ours." He waited a moment and a half, knowing the refire times of the various ships in his fleet by heart. "Fire!"

The blazing beam from the OWP erupted out again, stabbing a beam deep into the rock in a way that suddenly silenced several of the many guns on the fortress. Khalil's staff had put together a firing plan for the OWP that would take best advantage of what they knew about the roidfort, to fatally break it up. At the same time, 68 main beam cannons lashed out across space for their enemies, some continuing on in a slowly-dissipating streak across space, targeting spoofed enough by ECM, while others crashed into Woukou shields with all the violence of the surf against sheer cliffs.

The Woukou's return volley thundered back from all their ships and the many guns and box launchers of Kanazawa, for the moment giving as good as they got, blistering Klavostani shields. In between them, missiles bloomed into explosions as they were intercepted, or did the intercepting themselves. Disciplined volleys soon broke down into ships simply firing as fast as they could at the enemy, both fleets starting to slug it out, shield strengths dwindling towards failure. In the distance, there was a flash as one of the factoryships jumped out. Khalil cursed, and then what lit up the holodisplay made him curse again.

"What is that cityship doing? They're launching it from the shipyard, does it have hyperdrive already installed?" As it continued to maneuver towards the battle, rather than away, its intentions became all too alarmingly obvious to the Klavostani Admiral. He had not expected them to try and ram the OWP. Clearly, when their agent had made her escape, she had failed to neutralize the truly skilled enemy commander. Such was fortune in espionage operations. In the distance, another ship hypered out.

"Damn it all. Re-target the OWP on the cityship, and draw the fleet's formation back a little, we're not going to be able to crack that rock as fast as I'd like. Launch Valkyries for point-defense." Stepping down some from the raised flag bridge level, Khalil addressed the Hasanuddin's Captain. "Captain, I want this ship to remain at the front of the formation - tighten the beam cannon spread for tight single salvos. If we do hit something, I want it put down fast. I believe the enemy will be withdrawing very shortly." The Captain nodded, and relayed those orders.

The 4th Battle Squadron of 3rd Fleet crisply maneuvered into a more conservative attack formation, letting the larger ships take the lead, where their heavier defenses could more easily hold up to the ferocity of these final minutes of battle. As the more numerous screen of 9 destroyers fell back behind the 4 cruisers of Khalil's command and Hasanuddin herself, the larger vessels, and the carrier in the far tail position of the formation, began to disgorge a flurry of starfighters. They raced out barely ahead of the fleet inside of designated safe corridors, their own beams and missiles blazing out to shoot down incoming enemy ordnance.

Pivoting about relatively slowly, the OWP soon brought its massive cannon into line with the kilometers-long cityship that was hurtling towards it ever-faster as its engines flared as brightly as they could, all safeties ignored. Aboard the ship, workers were stranded in many compartments deep in the ship, helpless and ignorant to their fate, as their lives ended in a light more intense than any they'd ever known. Far from seriously armored or shielded, what the cityship did have was mass, and lots of it. Tens of thousands of compartments flared into vapor as the beam ate its way in, the intense center of the beam coring in deeper to scourge the engine room into gutted uselessness, no longer driving the ship on faster, but the remains continuing inexorably still on its final course.


Kanazawa Fortress

Even though it, for the moment, was no longer suffering the quakes that came as the enormous beam ate into the asteroid, the fortress was in complete chaos. Their panic over the signal they'd found calling the Klavostani fleet in had only intensified when they discovered their commander dead in his quarters. Those connected or clever enough were deserting their posts to escape out through the hangers now, before the Red Dragon fleet withdrew. Salita leaned tight back against the wall as she felt out with her ESPer senses, and knew that the way between her and the hanger was likely as deserted as it was going to get. She certainly wasn't staying to get blown up along with this damn rock.

Walking slow, she allowed a gaggle of pirates to make it through a cross-corridor first, rather than come into view of them, and then she began to run like the wind the moment they were past. Barefoot as she was, she was as close to silent as one could get as she raced up behind a single pirate walking at a more dignified pace towards the hangers. Just as she came close enough that he began to react, she leapt up to get a very good grasp on the man's head. Telekinetically shoving him to put him off-balance, her hands did the rest of their well-practiced move to break his neck. Dropping the body to the floor without another thought, she drew the heavy pistol she'd taken off the fortress commander as she pressed the buttons to open the large airtight door to the hanger.

The hanger was chaos, with Woukou prepping fighters for launch, and others were loading up transport craft with as many as could pile aboard before their pilots' patience ran out. Her heart raced, feeling serious worry for the first time in this operation. Nobody had noticed her in here yet, but when they did... She felt the presence of hundreds of minds, tried to sort them out into the shapes of ships in the hanger. There, that one was mostly deserted!

She felt her would-be assailant's intentions before he carried them out, a hand reaching out to grab at her arm with filthy words in his mouth. The words that came out were still filthy, but in utter surprise at the sight of the big pistol, and a ferocious bolt of energy struck out with force that blew apart his upper torso into a mixture of big gory chunks and pink bloody mist. Surprisingly, this did not immediately arouse the attention of the entire hanger, as already many disputes had been resolved in this way aboard the fortress, especially as the rats fled the sinking ship. For those close enough, however, many reached for their weapons, while others ran for cover.

She ran, aimed, and fired, again and again, carving herself out a path between her and her only way out. Those who drew weapons in front of her died first, followed by those who were physically in her way. Those behind her would feel their arms yanked and jogged as their fingers squeezed on triggers, their fire going wild. By the way she was still breathing, running, and killing, she was successful in keeping herself from being shot. There was the ramp! Racing up it, she reached out to hit the control panel with a blood-slicked foot, drawing her smaller pistol as well, and rained suppressive fire from both weapons down the ramp until it closed up spacetight. Energy weapons sang against the outer hull, whilst slugthrower rounds bounced off with a metallic noise.

Salita felt only three more people inside this ship, and she knew she could fly most anything human-designed. Time to relieve herself of her unwanted passengers and get out of here...


Okami

Warlord Ichimoto was disappointed as the OWP's beam seared out again towards the hulk of the cityship, the energies of it rending countless tons of starship into vapor and micrometeoroids, instead of a single deadly projectile. He so wished to see this expensive investment of his smash into that Klavostani toy, cost them what they were costing him right now! While more of the civilian fleet hypered out behind them, one of the Raiders in the Woukou wall of battle was finally caught by the intense volleys of the Klavostani battleship. Hasanuddin's eight heavy-calibre main forward guns had futilely probed out together for many volleys now, but finally they'd landed a strike on the already-weakened pirate vessel, and it simply exploded in a blossom of fire, atmosphere, and wreckage.

At the sight of that, several other Woukou Raiders that had been severely battered broke formation to physically shelter briefly behind Kanazawa, desperately recharging their shields so they could stand out on the line for a while more - the smaller Raiders were not truly designed for fleet combat like this, and it showed. Still, so long as Ichimoto did not demand too much of them, they would do here today. If those damned lazy civilians would hurry up and jump out! As if his sheer anger had frightened them into it, the first of the three active cityships streaked away into hyperspace.

He ignored the slightest shiver that went through Okami as a beam struck her shields, while the old bitch snarled back with her own guns. He approved of the way the Klavo fleet shied away from the still very much ferociously alive fortress, rather than pressing in so confidently as they had while the OWP carved into it. Nonetheless, the maiden and final voyage of his cityship was buying them precious, precious time, as its disintegrating hulk required yet a third hellish blast from the OWP to disperse the dangerous masses that still hurtled on course.


RKS Hasanuddin

"Enemy ramship neutralized," the staff AI aboard the bridge intoned, as the graphic depicting the cityship finally de-rezzed under the third beam pounded into her. The forward viewscreen lit up glaringly for a moment, and Hasanuddin shuddered as more enemy beams struck her. The Woukou were damned lucky he wasn't eager to get close to that roidfort, or else he would've taken this battle from standoff range to far closer, where targeting sensors couldn't be tricked so easily, where missiles had only moments in flight, where fleets could tear one another apart shockingly quickly.

"Continue the OWP fireplan on the fortress." Khalil bit his lip after giving the order, and then waited, watching as the battle raged on. In the distance, to his anger, more of the Woukou civilian starships continued to flee to safety. Trying to find them in the Empty Quarter would be next to impossible when they were on the move. A strike with these vital pieces of Woukou infrastructure temporarily tied down to one location was the holy grail of antipirate operations, and the prize was slipping through his grasp!

He furrowed his brow, and intently stared at the tactical plot. Stratagems to speed along the battle's outcome formed in his head, were analyzed, discarded. Nothing fancy could do it here, that clever Woukou Warlord aboard that brazenly-painted battleship would be able to take advantage too quickly. The OWP strobed out again, punching another shaft deep into the body of the asteroid fort. Already, some sections of the fortress were starting to go dark, while one that had previously been disabled suddenly snarled to life, unleashing a heavy fusillade of beams that made one of the Barbarossas fall back even further quickly.

There was a distant, faint thunk as the reloads for Hasanuddin's main missile cells were rammed into place. Along the battleship's spine and belly, the big armored doors protecting those vulnerabilities swung open, and another volley of heavy antiship missiles roared out, orienting themselves towards the enemy for their terminal course. Before the last of them was shot down in a flare of premature matter/antimatter annihilation, another cityship had made its escape.


Okami

Ichimoto spared a moment to glance over as the main lift to the bridge slid open, where one of his lieutenants walked in. He gave the man an acknowledging nod, and then looked back to the battle. As Kanazawa slowly crumbled - literally - under the devastating assault, shuttles and fightercraft raced out from it to find FTL-capable ships that could bear them away, dodging through a growing field of debris, as the quakes that rocked the asteroid every time the OWP's beam punched in caused fragmenting rock to spall off. Despite this fantastic punishment, Kanazawa was a tough old rock, and continued to fight on. But Ichimoto knew better - Kanazawa was dying, and this position would soon no longer be safe.

"What in the Hells is taking Oryoku Maru so long to spool up her drive?" Ichimoto snarled, glaring as another enormous beam stabbed into Kanazawa - this time, there was a notable secondary explosion that burst out a spray of rock and debris that forced one of the Woukou cruisers to heel over and evade. "Give me a direct channel to Oryoku Maru!" There was the equivalent of a mike click in his neural implant.

"If you do not jump to hyperspace by the time my weapons are in range, I will destroy you rather than see you captured. Okami out." Ichimoto hoped he would not have to carry that threat out. Granted, the cityships were not expecting to move for several more months yet, but that was no excuse for them to be so slow about escape - it was the one job expected of their crew, to keep their hyperdrives in top condition. If this took much longer, he would have that ship's captain's head.

"All ships, begin withdrawing on the flagship. Helm, break us off, plot course for Oryoku Maru and that shallow shoal salient." Okami's engines surged for their new course. The fortress soon began to burn up the few unjammed comms signals with pleas to not abandon them, as still even more craft launched to escape, but they were left far behind by the powerful drives of the warships. Ichimoto could really care less, all the Red Dragon men aboard had long since gone, and the fortress was an installation operated by the Steel Pillar industrial clique. There would be bad blood over this, but he could survive it.


RKS Hasanuddin

Across the bridge of the flagship and throughout the rest of the fleet, a cheer rose as the Woukou fleet turned tail and ran, even as the more numerous, smaller-sized flank guns on that enemy battleship blazed out in one last parting shot as she came about. The elation was kept as brief as necessary. Khalil briefly cracked a grin.

"Good! Now close in on that rock, heavy strike formation! Fire at maximum rate!" As another titanic bolt stabbed into the fortress' guts from the OWP, the Klavostani squadron closed in like hungry piranha, Hasanuddin leading the charge in to close range.

In her main gunnery compartments, the sensor displays started to become much more clear, resolving the huge roidfort into a more detailed craggy surface, studded with highlighted weapons emplacements, which the gunners could easily lock onto. When the battleship fired like this, the sheer rock was insufficient protection for these guns, and they were silenced permanently.

Entire sectors of guns failed as power supplies were cut off, and many missile launchers had run dry, separated from their magazines. The worst to come, though, was as the missile duel quickly fell into Klavostani favor, and the fleet successfully pounded multiple antimatter missiles deep into her guts, as the OWP carved away. In a titanic crescendo of destruction, Kanazawa Fortress began to break apart, going from one of the bigger rocks in the field to many of the smaller.

Despite this victory, however, the retreating Woukou fleet was lit up briefly by the final cityship's escape to hyperspace, and with it, any meaningful victory for Klavostan. Then the pirate warships jumped out, and the battle was over, save for the mopping-up of those insignificant ships stuck in the area.

Khalil turned his head at the approach of the man in the Intelligence uniform who approached him, the other ESPer on this mission.

"Admiral, I am in contact with Agent Gajasa. She would be..... On that ship, there." He pointed out a tiny speck on the holographic display, which zoomed in and expanded, showing the profile of the craft, which waggled its wings as it was pinged all the more intensely by sensors.

"Good to know she made it out of there. Dispatch a squadron of Valkyries to escort that ship in. Have the Janissaries on standby to secure enemy prisoners from other craft that survived that."

The battle over, the Klavostani squadron's tugs and very lean fleet train would rejoin the main fleet, lingering only a short while before departing back again for civilization...



"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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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-19 12:15pm
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Location: Florida USA
National Palace of Tyconia, Carwen
Grand Duchy of Tyconia, Janus System, Sector X-13
24 February 3400



Reina had arranged to meet Anthony Silva while she was out for a jog through the Tyconian Palace Gardens. He jogged alongside her, visibly trying not to look at her too intently The look on his face told her that he knew what was coming. How could he not?

The assassination of King Charles had hit Tyconia like a thunderbolt. Reina had certainly felt like she'd been kicked in the gut; the Fynnian monarch had been so kind and courteous to her and was the most respected man in the Sector, arguably. She had given the order for the Tyconian flag to be maintained at half-staff in mourning, until the King's funeral and burial. She would be going to attend and, honestly, to try and console her bride. She could well imagine Princess Hilda's - Queen Hilda's - grief and loss. At least Reina still had her (bold, overconfident, headstrong) younger sister to have family Hilda had... nothing. Not until they were together.

They stopped under some shade, in a secluded area of the Garden, monitored only by sensor systems here. Reina took Anthony's hand in hers. "You know what this all means, don't you?", she asked him.

"Of course," he answered. "We have to break it off. Always knew it'd come..."

"Yes." A tear went down Reina's eye. She liked Anthony very much, even... loved him. "You're going to find another girl," she assured him. "You'll fall in love with her, you'll marry, and there'll be a bunch of little Silvas running around. And if you or her or they ever need help, I will be there."

"I know, Reina," Anthony said. He brought his other hand up and wiped the tear from her eye. "But I'm going to take a while. It's going to be hard to find a girl as smart and funny and..." He stopped himself, taking in an embarrassed breath, and placed his lips against her's for a goodbye kiss.

The passion of what was supposed to be their last kiss was strong. It was the kind of kiss you gave someone after a long separation, in anticipation of further intimacy, not for a goodbye. There was a mutual temptation that said "One last time. Let's be together one last time". But they ignored it. Reina took the lead in ending the kiss, after which she hugged him quickly and strongly. "Goodbye," she said, almost sobbing.

"Goodbye," he answered. After she pulled her arms back, Anthony Silva turned and continued to jog on, right out of Reina Schweizer's life.

It took Reina a few moments to regain her composure. She did, though, and went about her day.


Royal Palace of Fynn, Altair
Planet and Kingdom of Fynn, Sector X-13
30 February 3400



The funeral had come and gone. Many leaders of the Sector had attended. King Larsen of Ivalice, the Presidents or senior officials of almost all of the Sector's states, such that the absences of the Cornelian royals were excessively glaring. Even the Valkyrate had dispatched Princess Karolina, the 59 year old Heir-Presumptive and Aunt of the current Matriarch. To top it all off, King Edward XVI and Queen Larissa had attended, a gesture following on from the mutual tragedy of the Hyperspace Accident.

Most importantly for Hilda, Reina had been there to provide company, and Hilda had cried on her shoulder in the privacy of her father's study. They had talked privately of how things would be for them; both had sworn that they would be affectionate wives and lovers for each other. Perhaps, even, they would genuinely be in love after a time.

Zara had also been there, with Druni and Layla and Bianca. They had exchanged goodbye hugs and a quick, short goodbye kiss before Zara's departure for home. Layla was remaining in the Palace; Hilda had made an arrangement with the Order to use her spare time to finalize Layla's training, with Bianca overseeing it. As such she had not officially left the Order yet, but she would soon enough.

For now, though, Hilda was alone again. Her father's study loomed around her, painfully silent and full of sweet memories made bitter by what had transpired. As she remained quiet, fighting back more tears, there was a knock on the door. A Lifeguard soldier escorted Chancellor Kasan in and was waived off. "Your Majesty," Kasan began. "Are you okay?"

"I am not," Hilda admitted. "And I will not be okay for some time."

"Then perhaps I should..."

"What, precisely, is it you came to tell me, Chancellor?", Hilda continued. "What is it that cannot wait, or be said, in the Privy Council?"

Kasan drew in a sigh. "Majesty, it is perhaps best if we waited...."

"No."

At that point, Kasan knew if he hid it further, he would only irritate and anger Hilda needlessly. "Very well." He walked over and took a seat opposite the study table from where Hilda was. "Your father and I were unsure of when to tell you this. Or whether to at all, because the indications are so vague..."

"Tell me what?", Hilda said blandly.

Kasan drew in a breath. He folded his hands on the table. "Your Majesty..." For a moment he fought to find his voice. Some of his instincts were screaming for him to hold back. The evidence was still so very circumstancial. And if it got out....

"Would you like me to just go into your mind and learn it?', Hilda asked plainly, with a hint of irritation.

Swallowing, Kasan shook his head. "No, that is not necessary. I'm just... worried about the repercussions if this spreads."

"I have no one to talk to," Hilda said honestly. "You needn't worry about me."

"Sadly true, Your Majesty." Kasan steeled himself and continued. "Your Majesty, National Intelligence has processed a report following the Anglian investigation into the Hyperspace Accident, concerning the Anglian-flagged vessel that attempted the emergency transition and caused the hyperspace explosion that claimed so many lives. They believe the vessel was false-flagged."

That piqued Hilda's interest. "False-flagged?"

"Yes. Its registry alphanumeric did not match any known ship in the Anglian registry. And the records on the ship were inaccurate, the model of hyperdrive did not fit the telemetry data the Anglians collected prior to the explosion. Along with the detected power spikes and some question as to why a crew would attempt to force a transition in their circumstances..." Kasan sighed. "If the report is accurate, Your Majesty, then we have every reason to believe that the Hyperspace Accident was not an Accident."

Hilda's eyes widened. "What?"

"In fact, going by the report... it was intentional."

Hilda's spine straightened. Kasan could feel shock and horror coming off her mind and swallowed. "All those people...." She looked to Kasan. "Are you telling me my mother and brother were killed because of some assassination attempt on the King of New Anglia. But who..."

"Your Majesty, it is unfathomable that the late King Edward was the target," Kasan said. "His royal yacht was hours ahead of schedule, there was no way those responsible could have known his yacht would enter the blast range. No, if this was a political assassination, the only conceivable target was..."

Hilda thought she would be sick. "Mother and George," she gasped in horror.

"Your father," Kasan replied. "He was scheduled to depart that day too and had left only half a day before. It's possible whoever set the operation in motion was unable to call it off."

"Or my mother and brother were the targets!", Hilda shouted. She could feel rage build; that her entire family was claimed by assassins...!

"Majesty, we can't be sure. For all we know the report made an error and the entire thing was a terrible accident. The Anglian investigations did reveal that their own Government had become unacceptably lax in hyperspace safety protocols," Kasan pointed out hastily.

"Why would someone want to kill us?", Hilda wondered aloud. Her first thought went to... yes, them. Those bastard Cornelian royals. Tyrants drunk on power, and the so-called "King Steve the Great" was a madman of the first order who slaughtered his own people on the slightest pretense. Butchering innocent people just to get to her family was exactly the thing they'd do. "The Cornelians probably did it," Hilda raged. "Bastards! I..."

"Majesty, please, calm yourself," Kasan urged. He saw her blue eyes drill into him and was quickly reminded that he was a non-ESPer in a room with a combat-trained ESPer. It was a sobering realization. "Even if the report can be corroborated, and we're working on it, it will be impossible to tell who was responsible."

"We don't need to. This is just the sort of thing those bastards would do," Hilda retorted.

"Majesty, we need proof even then!" Kasan became very worried now that this would prove a mistake. "And if any of this leaks it could cause a major interstellar war! Millions, billions, could die!"

Hilda paused at that. She considered his words. If a state in this sector was responsible for the Hyperspace Accident... the New Anglians would take the lead against the perpetrator, that was for sure. Their King, Queen, and Prince of Wales had been slain in the incident, as well as hundreds of innocent Anglians.

But if the Anglians entered Sector X-13 with military force and sought to destroy, and take over, a state there (and such would likely be pushed in Westminster by angry, vengeful ministers and MPs).... the French and Ascendancy would possibly respond. Other powers - the Empire State Republic, Shepistan, the Dominion, Umeria, Prussia... - could get pulled in. A major interstellar war could erupt.

Tears came to Hilda's face as this horrible possibility weighed on her. She slumped into her chair. "Leave me, Chancellor," she sighed. "I thank you for informing me of this, but I want to be alone now. You needn't worry about me reacting to the news; I shall pretend I have never learned of this."

"Yes, of course Your Majesty. And thank you. You have rewarded my faith in you." Kasan got up and slipped out quickly and urgently.

Hilda sat alone, her mind a blend of rage and hate and sadness and grief....



”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.

Moderator of SDN, Former Spacebattles Super-Mod, Veteran Chatnik

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-19 02:54pm
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Location: Poland
Shinn-Hokkaido, Tannahaus Sector
Solarian space

April 1st 3400, T+5 hours

Saying the situation in Shinn-Hokkaido was "tense" would never do it justice, though it was the preferred descriptor used by the military. Adding "fragile" would bring the image closer, though not by much. For anyone looking at the stage right at that moment - and better yet, plugged into the battle net - words like "powderkeg" or "mexican standoff" came to mind. The CI in charge of the system's defenses, known as Echo Six, didn't make value judgments like that. It was too busy trying to follow orders while having hundreds of dumbass organics under its control.

What the hell are we waiting for? Let us at 'em!

Phoenix 23, orders are to hold fire. Will I have to lock out your weapon controls?

But we've got them right there!

Phoenix 23, you will follow orders. I'm locking you out.

Echo Six, this is Glory Flight, we are ready to engage! Just set us loose and we'll tear the syntethic xeno scum apart!

Negative Glory Flight, you will hold position.

Echo Six, Phoenix 21, picking up activity in the rear of the Collector formation. Could be a pincer attempt.

Echo Six, Vulture 34, we are in position to intercept the bogeys!

Echo Six let out an electronic sigh. It wasn't often that a CI would show annoyance, but these incessant humans were starting to get on its proverbial nerves.

Orders repeats: Do not fire until fired upon. No agressive movements are to be undertaken. All units will acknowledge.

Echo Six received all data packets confirming receipt of order. Glory Flight did not acknowledge, so it was switched over to the control of the Consensus, its human crew locked out from decision-making.

Can we at least get an explanation of what we are waiting for?

Echo Six, Phoenix 21, I have another arrival in the system! Looks like a high-speed courier and a squadron of fighters. Designating it as C6751.

Phoenix 21, open a priority corridor towards Shinn-Sapporo, redesignate contact to Envoy 11. All units stand by for envoy transfer.



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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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-19 04:40pm
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Co-written with PeZook!


Approaching Shin-Sapporo Station
Shin-Hokkaido system


Image

The growing bulk of Shin-Sapporo Station filled the windows of the hyperyacht. Its sole occupant had crossed his arms and knitted his brows as the yacht began decelerating and its escort fighters pulled away. The station was an ore reprocessing and transshipment facility, located out where the system's asteroid belt would've been if Maibatsu hadn't mined it out long ago. It sat practically halfway between the two opposing fleets that dominated the system – the assembled mass of the Byzantine, Solarian, Cevaukian and Haruuhist armada somewhere behind him; the Collector monoliths and their escorts in front of him.

Sidney Hank could see the Collectors in more ways than one. Superhuman eyesight allowed him to pick out their inky black hulls against the backdrop of faraway stars. Feeds from the tachyonic sensor arrays of the fleet flooded his implants, informing him of every minute movement the alien ships made. And etched on the back of his eyes, the glowing lines of the Datasphere seemed to bend around the monoliths and their tiny escorts in a most peculiar manner.

How reassuring he thought. Digital fingers brushed against his mind, reminding him to focus on the more pressing matter. “Yes, I know. I'd still feel more comfortable doing this with a pack of Wild Geese behind me,” he murmured to no-one in particular. Data trickled through his neural uplink, his own expanded awareness – that part of himself which, in a fit of digital schizophrenia, he'd chosen to call Dionysus – a soothing permanent presence in the back of his mind. With a mental command he switched to full-DNI communications with the CompInt for the duration of this ridiculous meeting; after all, it wouldn't do for the Solarian ambassador to appear to be talking to himself.

The yacht slid into position next to one of the docking pylons and with an audible hiss the airlocks engaged. Sidney straightened his grey suit. Here we go.

Image

The station's main promenade was empty, all of Shin-Sapporo's residents had been evacuated the moment it became clear the Collectors had been headed for this system. The ambassador extraordinary looked around, saw his counterpart had not yet arrived, and nonchalantly sat down in a comfortable chair at one of the bars lining the promenade. Then he collected one of the half-empty drinks that had been left behind in the wake of the evacuation. If he was going to have to wait, he might as well make himself comfortable.

He didn’t have to wait very long. With a hiss, a massive steel door on the other side of the promenade opened. Three roughly humanoid figures entered the empty station: with enhanced senses, Sidney could make out their hunched silhouettes, and facial plates resembling ancient Egyptian death masks. They stayed at the door, though: a fourth figure entered the room: this one looked exactly like a human female.

For some reason he wasn’t quite sure of, seeing her face in the light made Sidney Hank slightly uneasy.

Image

“Ambassador”, the woman said. She didn’t approach very close.

“Ambassador,” Sidney replied, nodding curtly and pointing to a nearby chair with the hand in which he held the now three-quarters empty cocktail. “Have a seat? We might be here for some time.”

She sat down, though seemed annoyed by the request for some reason, “You are the decision-making construct of the Sovereignty?”

A half-smile curved Sidney’s lips. “That’s one way to put it. I take it that makes you the diplomatic unit, yes?”

“Correct”, the woman nodded stiffly, “My shortened designation is Unit 5. I like your suit, by the way.”

“Likewise,” Sidney said, trying quite hard not to look too far down Unit 5’s chest. Who knew how the Collector might interprete that. “So. I suppose I should ask what you folks are doing here.”

“We have come to demand reparations for the destruction of trade station Epsilon Zeta.”

“You have, have you?” Sidney narrowed his eyes.

“Your decision makers have stated a reason for undertaking that operation. That reason is incorrect.”

“As much as I’d like to take your word for it, I’m afraid I’m going to need something a bit more convincing than your say-so. You’ve seen our evidence. It’s pretty damning.”

“You have made an unwarranted assumption about the nature of the perpetrators of the crimes listed in your message based on incomplete evidence.”

Sidney flashed her a smile. “So. It appears we agree there’s crimes involved at least. We’re making progress already. Well then, what evidence are we missing, exactly?”

“You have performed an analysis of hyperdrives used by the perpetrator. You have failed to notice, however, that these drive modules were not utilizing production-run Collective technology.”, Unit 5 brushed a lock of hair aside - a very human gesture, though almost certainly programmed into the chassis, “We know this because we know the identity of the perpetrator.”

“A guy called Legion,” Sidney affirmed. He finished his drink and picked up another abandoned glass. This one seemed to contain an inferior whisky. Oh well. He nipped it. “We’ve found out that much.”

“That is merely a designation, not an identity. The mind designating itself ‘Legion’ is a rogue operative of our special intelligence division. We’ve been attempting to apprehend it for some time.”

Sidney paused ever so briefly at that. She’d just told him more about the inner workings of the Collector... well, collective, or whatever it was, than CEID had been able to find out in centuries. That was pretty spectacular in its own right -- and, unless she was stringing him along with bald-faced lies, it was pretty telling. “This guy must really be pushing your buttons.”

“An interesting expression, but mostly a correct one. Legion is a security risk we cannot let run lose. I’m sure you see why.”, Unit 5 made a gesture towards the outer hull of the station, “His actions threaten the security of the Collective.”

He nodded. “I can imagine. Well, this is all very interesting, but we find ourselves in a bit of a bend. The guy responsible for quite a bit of mayhem and economic upheaval in the Sovereignty is, by your admission, one of your own. Or was. Either way, it makes you at least partially responsible for his actions.”

The woman narrowed her eyes, “Ambassador, guilt by association is a logical fallacy.”

That earned her a derisive scowl. “Oh please. We both know that when you build a lethal weapon, it runs out of control, and kills a whole bunch of people, you’re responsible for that.”

“Your retaliation has caused one thousand three hundred and twelve sentient mind-deaths.”, Unit 5 pointed out matter of factly, “Minds not in any way involved in this matter.”

Sidney shrugged. “If it makes you feel any better, I don’t think CEID’s approach was very subtle, or tactful, or for that matter right. But let’s not get hung up on who killed who-”

“Very well.”, the machine interrupted, “We are prepared to provide assistance in apprehending Legion. In exchange, we demand reparations for destruction of the station.”

“Sounds positively swell,” Sidney replied. “Now, what kind of reparations, and what kind of assistance would we be talking about?”

Sidney felt a wireless query from the woman, who was requesting to send a data packet directly to him. Surprisingly enough, the protocols all matched standard Solarian data - which was either a piece of good research or some very subtle hacking. Either way, with strong firewalls prudently thrown up by Dionysus, the file was received and analyzed.

It contained a list of names - a very long list with exactly 1312 positions, as well as planetary adresses and ship specifications.

“In order to repair the damage caused by these mind-deaths, the next of kin should receive reparations valued in that file. This will cover expected lifetime profits they have lost due to the attack.”, Unit 5 explained helpfully, “The Collective, from its side, requests the following.”

She sent another data packet. Sidney has finally found the weirdness he expected from the start.

Code:
64 biography records of Solarian pop singers
Medical data on left-handed twins from the last 150 years
Complete star charts of Sovereign space from 3124
Data on Spatial Anomaly 345A
Sovereignty calibration procedures for stellar observation telescopes
Specifications of Antikhytera-class civilian Heim Drive intrasystem freighter
One personal data computer
Photograph of Key West skyline
A specific set of carricatures of Imperator Byzon from 3383
Sample of President Sinclair’s DNA


Sidney surveyed first the list of names. Taken together the reparations would cost quite a bit of money, but nowhere near an amount that would inconvenience the Sovereignty in any way. If push came to shove he could finance that himself without breaking a sweat -- in fact, he had to confess to himself there had been days he’d spent more on lunch. Of course, it had been a very excellent lunch... He shrugged again and went over the requested items, then tried not to let any confusion show. Still, it might be bizarre but they hadn’t requested anything outrageous or sensitive. “I’m sure we can make this happen. So, about that assistance you were talking about?”

“We will detail a Special Circumstances patrol group to the search. Six patrol craft and ten operatives. If they are granted permission to operate in your space, I’m sure your intelligence apparatus will be able to use them most effectively. And the fact the craft will be equipped with our hyperdrives will vastly ease any search efforts.”

Sidney opened his mouth, then closed it again. A frown creased his brow. “And how would these operatives work together with our own? You must know that your hyperdrives are of... unusual interest to our, uh, intelligence apparatus. They might be... Tempted.”

“We are aware of that. That’s why one of these ships will be a cruiser. I believe you call them the ‘Viper class’. Charming.”, Unit 5 smiled, “Anyway, I’m sure it will ease any problems related to attempts to seize the technology by force.”

He shrugged. “If you’re not worried, I’m not worried.”

“We will of course take other security measures. Our analysis of the situation indicates the offer is very, what’s the expression?”, she frowned theatrically, “Generous?”

He shot her a dazzling smile. “Well, it sure beats our two sides beating the crap out of each other.” Sidney took another sip of his drink. “This has been a surprisingly productive meeting, wouldn’t you say?”

“I concur. We expected a less rational approach to the situation, judging from your state’s previous track record.”, She said. Obiously thinking the meeting concluded, the machine stood up and turned around as if to go. Sidney hesitated for only a moment. “Say,” he began. Unit 5 turned around. “You... wouldn’t happen to know about any Collectors sending me... messages, would you?”

“Messages? Of what sort?”, it was hard to read her, but Sidney could swear she seemed reserved and on guard. Her bodyguards twitched ever so slightly, too.

“Messages of a...” He paused, partially because he didn’t want to give away the game too soon, and partially because he didn’t quite know what to make of them either. “A historic sort, I guess you could say.”

Unit 5 froze for a second, and Hank’s implants caught a sudden flurry of electronic activity. She appeared to have a direct subspace connection to somewhere else: possibly one or both of the Monoliths, “I cannot immediately confirm there were any messages sent to you from the Collective. What did they say?”, she seemed unusually curious while saying that.

“They were... Questions,” Sidney frowned. “Unusual questions. Questions I haven’t been asked in a... very long time.”

“I’m...”, Unit 5’s voice trailed off. Suddendly, her bodyguards straightened out, and the rainbow of electronic communications enveloped them as well. For a person enhanced to Hank’s level, it was the equivalent of an excited conversation, though its precise nature was unclear due to heavy encryption.

“This is...”, for the first time, the machine seemed thrown off balance, “...unusual...”, she chattered wirelessly some more, before finally looking at Sidney, “There’s a strong possibility there were, in fact, messages sent to you from our networks. We could pin-point which one exactly if we receive copies.”

Sidney circled the heavy glass in his hand as he considered that possibility. Then he came to a decision. He looked the Collector in the eye. “Fuck it, why not. I’ll get you copies. Consider it... A show of good faith.” He smiled.. “D’you feel like grabbing a drink? We have the bar to ourselves, you know...”

Unit 5 smiled playfully and ran a circle around an empty glass with her finger, “You embarrass me, Ambassador. I might blush.”, she leaned forward. Hank could swear her breasts became larger since the beginning of the conversation, “Did you have anything else in mind, besides a drink?”

He looked at her, then at his drink, then back at her, and tried to force his expression into something neutral. He chuckled. “Oh, I’m sure we could think of a way to pass the time. After all, we wouldn’t want the folks outside to think we had an easy time of it, would we?”

“Excellent”, Unit 5 smiled again. Her face suddenly started to melt and turn an unnatural teal color. Liquified, the flesh receeded, uncovering the metal skeleton underneath.

Image

“It’s too bad organic gender roles are not applicable in this case.”, she said, her voice turned into a synthesized, robotic rasp.

The ambassador extraordinary at large took a look at the liquid metal face, then downed the rest of his glass in a single swig. “Hell, lady, I’ve done worse things in my day.”

“Do tell”, the evil-looking robot took a glass and leaned on the table, “I’m sure these are interesting stories.”

He smiled again. “You know, I think this might be the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”



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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty

There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-20 12:40am
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Location: Florida USA
Tasker Cloister, New Caroline Islands
New Anglia, Star Kingdom of New Anglia
2 March 3400



Shayera noticed the concerned look on Zaria's face as they filed into the Cloister's Trials Room. "Are you okay, Apprentice?"

"Today is Druni's Judgment Rite," Zaria answered. "I'm worried something horrible will be her punishment. And all over pyro..."

"Those are the rules," Shayera noted calmly. She found her apprentice a seat beside a pair of Human Sentinels. There, they sat and waited. Shayera looked up and recognized the formal Accuser, Knight Jena Grotan, a Lushan Dorei. Unsurprisingly, Zara Delmar stood as Advocate for her Apprentice. Druni arrived after them, flanked by two Sentinels assigned to her by the Knight-at-Arms, Micaela Lupo, who stood ready to announce the arrival of the Tribunal.

If Durni had been a full sister, the three Masters assigned to the Cloister would have been in the Tribunal, led by Master Long, with two Knight-Captains as extra members. But Druni was still an Acolyte; therefore it was Ann Wu who was head of the Tribunal when Micaela announced their coming. All stood and bowed their heads in ritual respect as Sister Ann and the other Rectors in the Tribunal, including Cassandra, took their seats. "Rectors of the Cloister, I am Druni Jestani, daughter of Gerol and Sulai, of Beyar in Trynia, Acolyte of the Silver Moon. This is my Advocate Zara Delmar, daughter of John and Anna Delmar, of Chatham-upon-Fraser on New Anglia, Knight of the Silver Moon."

"Very well," Ann stated from her seat. "And who Accuses you?"

"I am Jena Grotan, daughter of Perlo and Zeya Grotan, of Greto in Lushan, Knight of the Silver Moon, standing as Accuser," Jena said.

Ann nodded. "And what does Acolyte Druni stand accused of?"

"Negligence while acting in the field and breaking the Code through use of forbidden arts, the manipulation of Fire and Electricity," Jena replied.

"You have evidence of this?"

"Yes. Witness statements from Knight-Captain Bianca Magi of Chapter Mattan and Knight Hilda Altan on assignment to Chapter Mattan," Jena said. "As well as holoprints off the results of Acolyte Druni's use of the forbidden arts. Furthermore, Sisters Bianca and Hilda are available by hypercom if the Tribunal, Advocate and Accused wish to question them."

"Very well." Ann looked to Druni. "Before we begin reviewing the evidence, does the Accused or Advocate have anything to say?"

"Yes, Master Ann," Druni spoke aloud.

Both Zaharia and Shayera were paying close attention, for their own reasons. Shayera was genuinely interested in what was playing out here; Zaria was scared for Druni, who was the closest thing to a lover she had. She had spent the week since learning of Druni's misconduct dreading the worst, that Druni would be forced out of the Order and she would be required to shun her. Sure, there were other girls... but Zaria actually liked Druni.

It was clear to Shayera that Druni and Zara had discussed this. She could sense a serenity from Druni that was not customary for the young girl in most cases; she had made a decision and the finality of it was calming to her. "Master Ann, I do not refute the charges. I freely admit that I acted impulsively and used arts deemed forbidden in the Code, out of desperation."

Zaria whimpered. "Oh, Druni, no...."

Ann nodded. "Has your Advocate indicated to you that by admitting such, you now face immediate Judgment?"

"She has. But I have more to say."

"Very well. You may speak before Judgement is passed."

Druni nodded. "Master Zara has advised me to think long and hard on what I want to do in life, and where my heart lies. I have done so. I admit I am.. not always someone who thinks things through, but I knew this decision, this Rite, would be important. So I have spent my time since considering myself and my place in the Order."

"My parents sent me to the Order to be educated properly in the Gift. I thank the Order for giving me this. And I believe the Order's cause is just. As for my place in it... I have, with great thought, realized that my heart is not in being a Sister of the Order, or remaining in it. And so I state my intention to leave the Order and pursue my own life."

Zaria stared in wonderment. Shayera was not wholly surprised to hear it. She was, though, interested in seeing just how the Rectors would react.

The Rectors were in telepathic communication together, musing amongst each other how to react. "If it is your decision to depart the Order, then under the laws of New Anglia we must honor it, and no Judgement against you will be passed. But you know that this is a decision that cannot be easily taken back. A bond that is broken cannot easily be restored. Few are ever allowed to come back into the Order once they depart it."

"I know. I have thought long and hard, Master Ann. I do not know for sure where my heart is leading, but I do know it is not leading me toward the Order," Druni answered.

"Very well. Do you consider this your Rite of Departure? Or would you prefer doing so later?"

"You may do it now." To say otherwise was, of course, to demean what she just said. Why wait if she was certain of this path?

Ann nodded. "Very well." She stood up and walked around the half-circle table where the Tribunal sat. She stepped up to Druni and gripped her Acolyte Robe. Druni showed no resistance as Ann slipped it off her, revealing her sleeveless vest and trousers underneath. "Then let all see here that you, Druni Jestani, have Departed the Order of the Silver Moon of your own free will. We consider you relieved of all oathes you have made to the Order and of the duties, responsibilities, and privileges of being one of the Silver Moon. Be aware that as you never attained the rank of Sentinel, you will not be considered one of the Departed unless the Order Council bestows upon you that recognition."

"I am aware, Ms. Wu," Druni replied. She bowed her head respectfully.

"You will be given quarters over the next couple of days in our guest wing," Ann continued. "The Order will arrange for you to stay in a youth hostel somewhere on-planet. Upon a preplanned trip by an Order vessel to Doreia, you will be informed and permitted passage there and to your home."

"Understood. I thank the Order for its hospitality. May the Supreme Being continue to bless the Order in its pursuits." Druni bowed again to the Knight-Captain and Tribunal, then to the Accuser, to the assembled, and finally to Zara. "Thank you, Lady Zara, for honoring me during my time as your Apprentice. May you enjoy happiness and prosperity, and..." Druni smiled mischievously, "may your next Apprentice be easier to educate."

Zara smiled back at Druni and bowed. "And may you find your way in life, Druni Jestani. My prayers go with you."

With that done, the assembled dispersed.




After a gun marksmanship training session, Zaria and Shayera were ready to finish the day. They walked along the Cloister courtyard. Shayera could see her Apprentice was upset. "This is about Druni leaving," she said aloud.

"I don't want her to go," Zaria sighed. "I... I have fun with her as my roommate. We understand each other. And..."

"And you enjoy her for other things too, I imagine," Shayera interrupted, smirking. "Well, you can't make her decision for her, Zaria. I suppose you could offer to leave too, if you want to stay with her." She nudged Zaria in the ribs. "Thinking of leaving, my little Apprentice?"

"Of course not," Zaria insisted. "I.. I want to serve the Order. I just wish Druni could stay."

"You're not Bonding with her, are you?"

"No, not at all," Zaria insisted. "I just, well..."

With Zaria's blush growing redder, Shayera found the end of that statement. "The sex is excellent?"

"Well, yes.... Druni's very enthusiastic, y'know. Even more so when I've got her tied up with bed sheets, like the last time." Zaria giggled nervously as Shayera gave her a look that was part wonderment, part amusement. "She was going to get back at me too. Said things about finally getting to count my spots and lots of tickling."

"Oh, how horrible," was Shayera's deadpan reply. Feeling her apprentice's sentiments and with a bit of romance in her mind already, Shayera said aloud, "Well, she'll be in the Cloister for another two days. You can spend time with her."

"Pardon me, Master Shayera, but you have been kicking my ass in training."

"Yes, well..." Shayera smiled at her. "You've done a good job, Apprentice. You've eared some reprieve. We'll reduce the number of training trials for the next couple of days."

Zaria's expression brightened. She threw her arms around Shayera's waist in a hug. "Thank you, thank you very much!"

She ran off, leaving Shayera to fold her arms and smirk with some satisfaction. And now that she'd set her apprentice up, she had someone to speak to herself. She headed to the dorms for the full Sisters, specifically the Knights on the upper floors where they got their own rooms to themselves. She knew where Cassandra's room was and wanted to talk with her. Perhaps, even, finally, deal with her feelings and the decades of frustration as Cassandra was clearly wanting to.

She was approaching Cassandra's door when she heard noises from within. Shayera was rather familiar with the sounds of a couple people making out. She almost opened the door but didn't; she could sense the second mind inside, another of the Sisters.

With cheeks burning, and a bit of frustration in her, Shayera walked on to heard to her room.

Her passing was note inside. Cassandra and Micaela Lupo finished kissing each other and looked toward the door. "She went on," Micaela lamented. "And the way she was thinking..."

"Curse your timing, Micki," Cassandra muttered, her lips a quarter of an inch from Micaela's. She resisted the urge to kiss again long enough to say, "I've been trying to get her into bed for months now," before she kissed Micaela again, deeply.

We should go get her, Micaela thought. II wouldn't mind...

She would, Cassandra answered, before overpowering Micaela and forcing her onto the bed.


Galicia House, Westminster
New Anglia, Star Kingdom of New Anglia
3 March 3400



With the day's session of the House of Lords finished, Danielle had returned home to Galicia House to have a late lunch and relax. Within half an hour of being home she was undressed and reading a journal on starship engineering by her poolside. A glass of soda remained iced and fizzing on the lounge table beside her pool-chair, allowing her to take sips as she read and let her body tan in the warmth of the day (which would only last the day; as the sun went down she would have to go in or risk catching a chill as the temperature dropped below 20 degrees Celsius to the nightly low of 12).

She wasn't paying attention to anything around her until Amber called out, "Aren't you being a bit bold?" This prompted Dani to look up to see Amber who was, depressingly, dressed in Parliamentary attire. "Weren't you going to attend the Committee meeting on Foreign Aid?"

"No, I decided not to," Dani admitted, putting her book down. "And it's still warm enough until sunset. Now a week ago I'd be nippy. Then again..." Dani smirked. "I've always wanted to try polar tanning."

"Adventurous," Amber answered with a smirk. "As much as I'd love to stay and tan beside you, I've got to get home. Sarina's intercession week begins today and if I don't keep a tight lid on things our apartments are going to end up on the front cover of the tabloids with headlines blaring about nightly orgies."

"Give her my regards," Dani noted. "I'll just have to come over some night this week."

"Oh, that won't be necessary," Amber answered. "I... you're more comfortable at home, and we don't have a lot of..."

"It's not like I have to sleep in my own bed every night, Amber," Dani pointed out irritably. "Besides..." She smirked. "I want to see this 'dungeon' you've talked about."

Amber blushed. "If you insist," she sighed. Suddenly she recalled something with an "Oh!" and pulled a letter out of her purse. "Janice asked me to give this to you when I told her I was coming to find you. You've been invited to some function next month. The arrival of the new Lord Priest of the Lushan Church of the Eternal Goddess," Amber said.

Dani rolled her eyes. "Yes, I'm sure they sent that to just about every Lord on the roll who's not an elected peer," she grumbled. "You'll probably get one too. Ignore it."

"It's on the 28th. I don't know, Dani, it might be fun to attend." Amber smiled seductively. "A nice evening out to kick off the weekend? And we can introduce our new dresses to society."

"Which?"

"The ones we got for Christmas,' Amber said. "The Juliani dresses."

Dani seemed to consider for a moment. "Those?" A sly grin crossed her face. "To see the looks on their faces.... yes! I think we shall go! Let me know when you get an invitation, I'll have Janice mark it on my calendar when I'm done suntanning! Thank you for the brilliant idea, Amber, we're going to scandalize the entire House!"

Amber let out a giggle of anticipation as she leaned over to give her lover a goodbye kiss. "See you in the session tomorrow," she said afterward, sitting up again and leaving.

Dani watched her go. After looking to her book, she decided she'd rather get some swimming in first. She hit a button on the table to send a wireless signal to summon her maid, Wei Len, before she waded into the pool and began to swim about, enjoying the relaxing warmth of the water on her skin.



”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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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-20 03:09am
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Waterville Academy for the Gifted, Sichuan, Sector W-8
February 18, 3400


Image
(Dora Lakatos, currently one of the star pupils at the Waterville Academy)



It was vanishingly rare for her to be so busy thinking about something that she almost ran into someone coming around a corner. On her way back from the latest round of testing she managed it. Dr. McDougall, not so preoccupied, sensed her coming from far enough away to step back. “Hi, Dora!” Student and teacher clicked en rapport with the immediate ease of two high-grade telepaths, aided by years of familiarity.

The senior psychologist grinned. “How’d the practice go?”

One reason their rapport was so natural was that both preferred to use the telepathy for images and complex concepts, sharing the simple things in speech. Even the best human telepaths were limited by a brain evolved for verbal communication and body languae; not using them was wasteful. It’s more efficient... and I like to hear people say things. “I held the plateau for just under six minutes.”

On the low bands she felt a surge of joy with a sparkling halo of pride. Not without reason; that was a new record for her... and higher than anyone else on Academy record had ever gone by almost a factor of three.

“Geppetto’s working on a new paper on the metacognitive plateau. Coining another of his phrases for it: “second order quasi-stability.” Don’t know if it’s entirely accurate, but...” That was accompanied by a wave of explanation. Introducing technical terms was much easier between scientists who could bounce the way they thought when they said it to each other.

Dora smiled. I think we’re cheating.

<Nonsense; if we couldn’t do this we wouldn’t be in the field to begin with.>

And she was in the field these days, as more than just a subject. The Academy had been the first school she’d ever seen that actively cultivated metacognition, with a large enough faculty to do it as more than a one-on-one tutorial relationship. In her early days at the Academy, she’d spent her off time doing the metacognitive equivalent of calisthenics- within two year she was pushing the limits of the discipline, and within three, she was helping the researchers as much as learning from them. It was a virtuous cycle: when your field of study was the underlying nature of thought and how to develop one’s mental abilities, a new lesson didn’t just make the ones beyond it possible; it often made them easier.

The curriculum had long since evolved to self-study, with guest speakers brought in more or less ad hoc. She’d gotten so used to having something to do that she’d been picking up new hobbies even faster than before she came here. What was particularly helpful there was that the Academy seemed to have an almost boundless access to teachers, from strange-state physics to sabre fencing. If someone who could explain something new wasn’t in-house, they could be found on surprisingly short notice.

She’d never been happier.

“Hmm. Any word about Konrad?”

“All right, as of the latest report. He’s had a few... interesting times, but he’s got a very capable minder on him, someone who should be more than fit to deal with anyone they’re likely to throw his way.”

“A minder?”

“A personal friend of mine, actually.” James used the low bands more than was normally his style for this, giving her a sense of the man’s pattern. Not so much in words, but...

Strong, dependable, capable, fairly deep thinker. Sense of honor you could bend steel on, that’s what drove him into Syncretism, and into a monastery at that. Sounds like a good man. She echoed that last to him.

“Sounds like a good man.”

“He is. Name of Glazer. Joined the Brotherhood about eight years back after some... difficulties at work. I knew him from before, you see, and helped him find somewhere to go, so when we got word about your brother, I called in a favor.”

“Knew him at work? And what kind of work might that be?” James had stopped broadcasting on the high bands; that was usually a sign that he knew he’d gotten close to his work with ForInt... and that was usually a good time to try and show him up.

“Oh, nothing much, just helping with a few projects that peripherally involved his shop.”

“Let me guess, Herr Doktor... Gardening. Lily? Iris? Heather? Rose?” She pulsed a silent thought at him: Strange flowers for a strange country... and winked.

It was amusing to watch James harumph; they’d done this dance before. “Dora, you’re not cleared for that and you know it. If I need to work on my blocks...”

Her smile faded, because it was a serious problem for all she could joke about it. “I think you do. There’s a gap... so.”

The parapsychologist blinked, then sighed and gave her a wry, lopsided grin. “I see. I’ve never, ah, crossed swords with anyone who operates very gracefully on that band, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. ForInt tends to underestimate just what some people’s espers are capable of.” He sighed again. “Better to learn here than find out elsewhere. I suppose I’ll have to spread the word; thinking about it, a lot of my colleagues would have the same problem. Thank you.”

“Always glad to be of service.”

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-20 10:35am
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Location: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
"He is here." Jarra said with a smile.

"You son of a bitch. That ship is..." Najrds shouted, ready to pull out his gun.

"Relax." Jarra stopped him. "You will not be harmed. He has other plans for you."

Upon seeing the infested Imperium ship up close. "Shit!" Was all Najrds could say.


The Outback, Sector X-20
Planet Meskhenet, Edge of Karlack Space
Image
As the large space station slowly orbited the planet bellow, the men and Orks present aboard it were waiting for the creature who summoned them there to arrive. Creature was the only appropriate term one could give to an Aspect of the Karlack Swarm. Jarra had been a good host and managed to convince his guests that they would not be harmed by the new arrival. Which turned out to be a rather difficult task, especially in the case of Najrds Cirak. He and his band of mercenaries had barely survived their last encounter with the Swarm, so it was understandable that Cirak didn't like the current situation.

The massive metal door opened with a hiss and a tall man dressed in black came through. He moved closer to the assembled group and looked over them with his bright blue eyes. Shooting Najrds a wicked and unnerving smile.

"Gentlemen and Orks. I'm glad you could make it here on such short notice." The blue eyed man said and stroked his beard. "We have much to discuss."

"It is an honor to once again be your host." Jarra said. "Everything was arranged per your instructions...Seth." Jarra had worked with the Aspect known as Seth for a long time, but he was still unsure of how to address a creature that was so far beyond his comprehension.

"This better not be a trick." Najrds interrupted. "If you try anything...know that I have come prepared."

"Please Mr. Cirak, there is no need for that. We mean you no harm." The Aspect Seth spoke with a reassuring voice. "The Swarm does not hold your previous actions against you. All is forgiven as they say."

"Somehow I find that hard to believe." Najrds said.

"Please Gentlemen, let us sit down and discuss things." Jarra said pointing to the large table and chairs in the room.

"Get dis started Humie!" The Ork Warboss Magsog Grotork suddenly said. The Warboss didn't like spending too much time with Humans, unless he was killing them. He liked spending time with Karlacks even less. Soon everyone, even the Ork, took a seat at the table. Their escorts staying back, a bit further from the table, ready to respond in case of trouble.

The Aspect sat at the head of the table, with Jarra next to him. He was about to tell them all why they were here, and what exactly did the Karlack want with them.

"You are all aware of the recent events on Janus Colony. Some of you were even there." Seth said, his blue eyes directed at Najrds. "Events there have convinced us that certain actions must be taken in order to ensure that things go the way we want them to. It is for that purpose that I have gathered you here."

"We're listening." Najrds said.

"Its quite simple really..." Seth began. Suddenly the room shook and thunderous roar echoed through the station. Alarms blared immediately, as everyone got up from the table rather quickly, pulling out their weapons, fully expecting some kind of betrayal. A quick look through the observation window revealed that this was something more.

The infested battleship upon which the Aspect arrived was now nothing more than a flaming hulk, with large pieces of it flying through space. Then another explosion shook the station and activated even more alarms.

"What the hell?" Jarra shouted as he tried to communicate with his subordinates and find out what was happening.

Najrds got up from the table and moved towards the exit. "Time to leave." He said looking back at the others. "I guess we'll have to postpone this." Suddenly the Aspect was standing in front of him, startling him, how he managed to move that fast was a mystery for Najrds.

"What do you want?" He said.

"I need a ride." Seth said. "I will make it worth your while."

"I..." Najrds was about to speak but was stopped by another series of explosions. "The station is falling apart." Jara shouted from behind them. "Fine." Najrds said. "But you better not try anything." "Of course not." Seth said and followed Najrds and his men down the corridor, towards the "Crna Ruka". Which was still docked with the station. The Orks and Jarra were already on their way out. The station was about to collapse in on itself.

"Boss. What the hell is going on?" A robotic voice could be heard through Cirak's comm. "All hell is breaking loose. Thats what. Get the ship ready to leave. I'm on my way." Najrds shouted into his comm as he and his group ran towards the airlock. Alarms blaring all around them, showing just how dire the situation was.

A couple of moments later they were on board the mercenary warship. Najrds spoke into his comm. "We're in. Now get us out of here." His voice was calm, but managed to denote the urgency of the request.

The large ship fired up its engines and moved almost instantly, trying to put as much distance as possible between itself and the doomed station. Seconds later the Ork ship tried to do the same thing, but it was too late, the station exploded in a fury of atomic fire. The Orks were caught in it and their ship was ripped to pieces by the tremendous blast. "Crna Ruka" managed to escape with only minor damage, and was now making its way to the edge of the hyper limit.

"What the hell was that?" Najrds shouted.

"Somebody wanted one or all of us dead. Luckily for you, they weren't completely successful." Seth said.

"For me? And what about you? You would have died with us." Najrds obviously didn't like the fact that somebody had tried to kill him.

"Not really. I'm not that easy to kill." Seth said and smiled.

Their conversation was interrupted by the beeping of Cirak's comm unit. "Najrds, we have a problem." A female voice said. "What?" Najrds didn't like what he was hearing.

"Three ships, big. Unknown affiliation. On an intercept course." The female voice spoke with urgency. "And Najrds...their weapons are powered up."

"It seems someone has come to finish the job." Seth said. "This isn't good."

"No shit." Najrds barked. "This is just what I needed."

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-20 01:54pm
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[Author's note: this discussion revolves around the fighter-weight Mark Five "Honeydew" and Mark Six "Galia" missiles employed by Umerian small craft, and by Umerian starships in the point defense role.]

Central Administration Complex, Prime City, Reisenburg, Sector W-7
February 15, 3400


"You wanted to see me, Jianjun?" Jack Holloway, Third Technarch for Security, clicked off the display on his office desk, and looked up at Dr. Cheng, head of the Bureau of Armaments. A toothy grin shifted the creases of his lined mahogany face.

"Yes, Jack. As I said, it's about the Mark Five."

"And what happened to those poor bastards at Pendleton?"

"That's just the most dramatic example of the problem recently, I'm afraid. Honestly, we've known this was coming a long time, but none of the options seem palatable. You've read the recent white paper?"

"Yeah, but I'm just a old Ground Force warhorse, so let me go over it from the beginning. But sit down, sit down!" He winked. To someone who'd worked with him for a while, that didn't mean exactly what it sounded like; it meant Let me look at the problem from the ground up and see if you forgot anything. Holloway was smarter than he looked- and a damn sight smarter than he pretended to be.

The old soldier laced his fingers behind his head, leaned back, and started talking. "The warhead focusing on the Honeydew still works fine, but the overall punch is too low to put a hole in milspec starship shielding even at point blank with maximum focus."

"Yes. At Pendleton, Magnolia took nearly three hundred Mark Fives with superficial damage. And that was against a Mako-class recon destroyer, right around a hundred years old. We're... very concerned about the use of the Honeydew in the 'general purpose' mission."

"And that was Honeydew-Lambda, with the rapid refocusing hardware. So we know they all were fuzed right?"

"Yes. Some of the survivors reported trouble with the software, but everything worked as per spec. The problem wasn't hardware or software bugs, it was just the missiles not putting enough power on target."

"Does this affect the Mark Five in the point defense role? Against small craft and missiles?"

"Missiles usually aren't well protected, so... probably not. Fighters could be more of a problem- honestly, there have been incidents that make me worry about Honeydew-Lambda's performance even against some of the better shielded small craft threats out there, like the latest-model Vipers. And there could be real trouble from those superheavy missile boats that Tianguo's supposed to be working on. There, the jet from the shaped charge could drill the shields easily enough, but only at tight-angle settings or firing from close range."

"So we wind up either keeping the PK on a hit by using tighter focusing settings and giving up hit probability, or hitting just as often and having trouble knocking them out?"

"Right."

"Your boys had three proposals: the production boys want to switch out for the Mark Six, the R&D boys want to redesign the Mark Five, and half the Operations department wants to just say "fuck it" and give up being able to kill hard targets with the Honeydew except in overwhelming numbers. Who's got a good plan?"

"Honestly? None of them. It's a sticky situation, and I'm not sure there is a good plan. Switching out for the Mark Six means scrapping... Klono's teeth, hundreds of thousands of the existing launchers and finding room to put the bigger launchers for the Galia on board. You'd recover the firepower for the general purpose role, yes, but you'd lose so much throw weight and tie up so much production capacity for the refits... I don't know what the production oversight group was thinking."

"They're just bitter that we took away responsibility for ship refits from them back in '89. Since it's not their problem anymore, they figure they can get away with ignoring it. Might have to drop the hammer on a few of them."

"Oh, I will. It's a stupid idea; we'd have to refit something like two thousand cutters, and I don't know what we'd do about the Interceptors except try to turn them all into bastardized junior-achievement Lancers. Then there's the launch cells on the starships, though since those are mostly antimissile anyway, we might be able to get away with not refitting them. Still... definitely a last-ditch option. If we'd just been able to..."

"Jianjun, I was there when they decided not to go through with full development of the Mark Seven proposals back in the early Eighties. It seemed like a good idea at the time to the people in a position to make it. It's not your fault." Anyway, the Galia has the punch, but it's too big to be replaced for the Mark Five on a one-for-one basis. So what else have you got?"

"R&D wants to redesign the warhead, make it bigger without expanding the chassis. That might actually work, too, but their design studies all sort of breeze over the question of where they're going to put a bigger warhead. All the preliminary studies I've ever heard of would involve sacrificing space that the Honeydew-Lambda uses for targeting sensors and the drive. We'd get the punch we need back, but we'd be looking at a slow, half-blind missile."

"And what about Ops?"

"That's mostly driven by their being buddy-buddy with the Strategic Defense Institute. SDI shot us a memo on the subject; they've been pushing for the Mark Seven for years, so it's no surprise what they want. They advocate downgrading the Honeydew to a point defense missile in future doctrine and rushing the Mark Seven Mod Zero into production as soon as we can get a new round of prototypes working. It might even work for the next generation designs; if we get to them fast enough we should be able to modify them to fire a reasonable Mark Seven design on the fly. But it means giving up GP missile capability on all the existing hardware, including a lot of system defense platforms."

"Let me guess. Something to look into, but not a good short-term solution in your opinion?"

"Yes. Any viable Mark Seven would have so many new features thrown on that we'd need years to debug it properly. I'd much rather go with a tried and true missile bus and a better warhead, but that means either the Galia or a lower-performance Honeydew, and I don't like those options."

The Third for Security nodded. "You're right, it's a mess. Hmm... I can't promise anything, but we've got a few leads that might give us a breakthrough in warhead performance in the near future. Let me get back to you in a few days, after I've had a chance to talk to Maxim. For the time being... give R&D the go-ahead to start tooling up for an enhanced-warhead version of the Mark Five; they've probably got a few designs on the boards already."

"All early-stage concepts, but yes, they think they could have a new mark out in a few years given the budget."

"And at least throw the Mark Seven people a damn bone, too; they were right all along even if most of us didn't want to admit it in the Nineties. Besides, for the first round of refits on the Fleet 3410 construction Cal wants to have some new small craft hardware ready in any case. Definitely if we're going to roll out those heavy manned cutter-carrier designs."

"Jack, I'm not sure that's a good idea..."

The Third for Security laughed. "I know, I know. But just in case we lose the argument, we have to be ready to do a good job anyway. Wouldn't do to send the first production run of Devastators into action with nothing better to throw than Honeydew-Lambdas, now would it?."

"True, but I do not like it."

"Well, let me hash it out with Maxim. We may be able to boost the yield on the Mark Five without butchering the chassis too badly if some of what his boys are thinking of pans out."

...

Results: The Umerian Bureau of Armaments, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Security, is on the lookout for ways to boost the yield of the shaped-nuclear warhead in the Mark Five general purpose missile.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-20 11:56pm
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Dr. Chernov turned back to Spozavik. "Thank you for your kind words, Mr. Shpechtkov. Now, originally I had planned a tour of the capital world's sights before we got down, as mentioned in the documents we forwarded to Miss... Grbyechov? Is that right?" He turned to the slim red-brown female, who nodded. That wasn't quite right, but it was within the bounds of regional accents... perhaps Chernov's research was not quite so comprehensive as Spozavik had first thought?

The Umerian continued. "But, because of your early arrival, the plans may need to be slightly modified. It's nearly dark at many of the sites of interest, for one thing, and it is rather late in the day even to take in the sights of the capital properly. Perhaps we could rearrange the schedule, have a brief preliminary meeting to discuss some of the key issues at stake this afternoon, then retire for the night and have the tour tomorrow?"

An efficient arrangement, or so it seemed to Spozavik. The Bragulan rumbled agreement. "An efficient arrangement."

"Good. Then if you would care to come along, we shall be happy to ferry you to the offices of the Foreign Ministry in the Central Administration Complex; from there, it is only a short jaunt to your hotel after today's discussions are over."

PRIME CITY, REISENBURG, Umeria

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After pondering the great ramifications of their unfestooned cityscape and its implications on the Umerians’ sociocultural tactico-strategico-militaro-politico makeup, the aircar finally entered Reisenburg's Central Administration Complex. For a second, Spozavik's ears perked up when he thought he saw something festoon the buildings of the complex, but was disappointed to see that the overhanging banners were simply designations of where they were with arrows pointing to directions of wherever. While not as tactically advantageous as a blinding hologram billboard that could be used as cover, Spozavik still took note of the directions the overhanging banners provided.

If ever a big chase broke out, he would know where the exits were (if the Umerians hadn't deviously placed incorrect directions on those banners just to trick him) and he could make like Agent Bragga and escape any pursuers - albeit without the advantage of Shepistani danger-close fire missions nuking all the innocent civilians around him. Already he missed the warm confines of Battlestar Annapolis, with its thick armor, comforting primitivism and nuclear weapons ready to hand. Which was an ironic thought, since Umeria was a nation living under the shadow of Shepistan. Though why, he had no idea, the Shepistanis were such nice humans.

"Well, we're here." Dr. Chernov said, smiling pleasantly as their aircar landed them near the offices of the Foreign Ministry. It was about time. They disembarked. "Watch your step, and your head."

"Thank you," Spozavik grumbled as he did, avoiding hitting his head on the aircar's gullwing doors as he left the vehicle. Without further ado, they were led into the Foreign Ministry's offices. Having docked at one of the upper levels, they didn’t have to change floors to get to a function room, and a good thing too- for three Bragulans could hardly fit in a single puny human-sized lift!

Spozavik perspired a little. One of the things the Umerians had forgotten was to set the air conditioning to meat locker temperatures, and he rued forgetting to bring his freon-filled jacket. He wondered if it was intentional, maybe the Umerians meant to discomfit and unbalance him to make him more pliant in the negotiations.

But another thought struck him. Maybe they genuinely didn't know Bragulan temperature preferences, since official Bragulan propagandas to the outside galaxy would never give any hint of Bragulan physiologic weakness and instead emphasize how they could stay comfortable in temperatures ranging from absolute zero up to the boiling point without breaking a sweat (while puny humans would be dead) to fool the gullible humans. The only reason why he was comfortable in the Annapolis' CIC was because the ship was so old that portions of its internal heating had broke and no one had bothered to fix it, and had instead sent the old ship to the Anglian-led coalition as a gesture of badwill towards Shepistan's neighbors. Like Umeria.

The Umerians also had the foresight to have heavy duty chairs ready for Spozavik and his comrades. It wasn't difficult to extrapolate the weight of a Bragulan with those slide rules the Umerians liked to carry around with them for some reason, Spozavik mused.

"So, let's have the preliminaries, shall we?" Dr. Chernov began.

"Da," Spozavik agreed. He looked around, saw Gryza sitting beside him with a lightweight ten pounder miniature computer on the table ready to take the minutes of their meeting, while their stormtrooper-chauffeur-bodyguard sat nearer to the door, ready to rip the faces off any interloping ambusher (or to block Dr. Chernov's way if things got unpleasant and the human tried to escape, though Spozavik hoped it wouldn't come down to that since he thought the human was OK). Even relatively petite Gryza, who he suspected was another IBGV agent Gryznk had sent to watch him, could've easily used her ultralight computer as a bludgeony blunt force weapon. Satisfied, Spozavik decided to begin their preliminary meeting to discuss some of the key issues at stake this afternoon.

"The Bragulan Star Empire, under the great Imperator Byzon's new Fifty Year Plan, wishes to enact glasnot and bragstroika and bring increased openness to its relationships with other galactic powers, to improve Bragulan international standing and influence in the greater galaxy. As such, we are extending our peaceful hands of friendship to nations outside the Koprulu Zone." Spozavik began. "And what better way to do this than through trade?"

Chernov smiled. "A wise strategy. We ourselves have found it much easier to keep up relations with nations that have very different political systems when there is ongoing trade with them.”

"Indeed, Dr. Chernov. I noticed when we talked about the Umerian Chrome Age, you mentioned that you're short on chromium these days," Spozavik returned the wink the human had given him earlier.

"Indeed. Most chromium deposits on our own worlds have been exploited to a great extent; the metal is subject to careful recycling, but even so is mostly rationed to industrial use.”

"I see. How unfortunate, and this means you have to make do with anodized aluminum. But the Bragulan Star Empire would be willing to export chromium to Umeria as we don't have much use of that stuff, anyway. We never had a Chrome Age. And the bulk of our resource extraction operations means you can probably have a little... Chrome Renaissance, if you will. You'll get more chrome for the buck than from that little Feelipeens shi- " Spozavik stopped himself from saying 'shitworld', remembering that such terms for excrement were impolite for humans. In Bragule, it was not a problem as excrements were ideologically tolerated figures of speech for things considered doubleplusungood in Bragspeak. "That little Feelipeens backwater. Their output is meager compared to the emissions of Bragulan planetary resource excretion."

By the cue Chernov had given earlier, Spozavik knew that the human already knew this. And judging by the conspiratorial wink Chernov had given earlier, he probably also knew that Spozavik knew that he knew this too. That was why he had chosen chromium as the first topic of discussion. Whatever anyone did or didn’t know, though, it made sense. While Bragulans had little need for chromium, to the Umerians it might be a very valuable commodity, a luxury even, judging by their preference for Chrome Age aesthetics. The exchange rate might be very favorable...

" I see." Dr. Chernov nodded. "Very interesting. I’d have to look at projected shipping costs; you’d be sending your products a very long way indeed, but it’s quite surprising sometimes how cheap bulk cargo shipping"

"We can also ship in bulk mighty Bragulan forestry products. Like most human worlds, Umeria has ecological laws preventing the wholesale deforestation of entire planets. The Bragulan Star Empire has no such qualms, and we can export unimaginable quantities of killed trees processed into things like paper and furniture," which was quite in high demand not just for retro-stylish writing material, but also as an alternative to the three seashells used throughout the galaxy. Origami was also an expensive luxury. Back in Altacar, Spozavik had heard that the rich had taken it up as a status symbol while the poor had to make do with recycling papers that were used to substitute the three seashells. Hmmm. Idea. Spozavik smiled. “Doesn't Umeria use the three sea shells? You know, Dr. Chernov, paper can be an excellent substitute for the three sea shells.”

Chernov blinked. “I think it might be best to worry more about the high end of the paper industry. Writing paper is a niche market; most quick-growth tree cultivars make for low-quality paper that is only useful for, ah… low value applications, shall we say?”

He nodded and made a little note on his cute little human personal note-computer, then started talking again. “That said, I have notes from the Ministry of Security. They are quite interested in Bragulan missile technology, though I can’t pretend to be an expert on the subject myself…”

Spozavik was genuinely excited, so it was very easy for him to fake excitement. “Ah, yes, our legendary Spud missile is the pride of Bragule and the terror of its enemies! Fit to make a God-Emperor bleed! Perhaps you are considering it for your own planetary missile batteries?”

“As I understand it, that might be problematic; most of our planetary missile bases are fixed-size and built to use missiles of our own design. We’d wind up having to do many terastarbucks’ worth of work on the silos, I’m afraid. It was the Space Security Force that contacted us, really; do you have a rapidly-deployable box launcher for space defense missiles, something along those lines? We’d be interested in buying a sample on a preliminary basis, for test launching. In fact, the Bureau of Armaments has informed me that they’d be willing to pay for a light freighter with samples aboard to make warp transit from your home systems…”

“Hrm.... Sounds like your Bureau of Weapons wants an express delivery. We can send a vessel with missiles from Bragule to Reisenburg via warpgate in short order. I just have to make the arrangements. ” Spozavik looked at Gryza and made sure she got that down. “I must say, we have covered quite a lot in this preliminary discussion. Mineral export, papers, and now weapons. We are making good progress.”

"Well, agreement in broad is always easy to achieve when the parties have similar objectives in mind. Details are more difficult, but we can address those another day, now that the essentials are in place." Chernov gave the Bragulans another not-creepy not-toothy smile.



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After the brief preliminary meeting, Spozavik and his people took a quick recess where they were shown their accommodations. It was one of Umeria's 'special alien needs' hotel facilities near the Foreign Ministry's complexes. The whole hotel facility was designed to cater to the wants and needs of foreigners, visitors and extra-national dignitaries, up to and including a myriad of alienoids. Thus the architectural styles were many and varied, customized to the preferences of each division's clientèle, and walking through the place's miniature streets felt like taking a stroll through the galaxy.

Somehow Spozavik felt relieved when he saw festoonments on the buildings. Compared to the sterility of the Umerian cityscape, this little corner felt like... well, definitely not home since none of the puny humanoids and alienoids around him could ever grasp the sheer grandeur of mighty Bragule. But it felt more like... an okay temporary residence, which to him Altacar had been for a while now.

On their way to their lodgings, they passed by several seemingly innocuous sights that Spozavik nonetheless took note for their hidden significance. One, worm-like alienoids were leaving the duty-free shop of the Shepistani complex with stacks of Upper Marlboro cigarette cartons - this meant that Shepistani Intelligence would be operating somewhere nearby and should trouble ever occur, there were friendlies who could possibly help.

Two, he noted the holo-neon signs that showed the seedy Solarian Sovereignty section, and a man in black suit with shades turned his head and Spozavik was sure he was being watched - nobody would wear sunglasses indoors and at this hour, so there were definitely CEID agents lurking in Umeria's capital. Spozavik found it disturbing and knew he must investigate further.

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Three, he saw some of the Spin Zone's pseudo-Zigonian lizardoids, the moxli, playing with human children in a garden. They were clad in helmets and padding and wielded bats, while the puny human children had sticks. They seemed to be playing tag, using the bats and sticks for tagging one another or something. This information had no espionage implications for Spozavik, but it did remind him of his own childhood... and that of his children's. A pang of nostalgia and home-sickness hit him.

They arrived at their rooms. The stewards and bellhops tried to help them unload their luggage, which was being carried by an overworked automated wagon, but the puny human servants could not handle the weight of superior Bragulan travel bags and suitcases - which were made out of stainless steel and lined in light armoring, so they could be used as shields if anyone attacked a Bragulan traveling out into the strange and dangerous galaxy. Out of consideration of the straining humans, Spozavik told them to butt off and the Bragulans unloaded the luggage themselves.

Spozavik inspected his suitcase, to check if everything in it was still in order. It was. Meanwhile, Gryza took off her freon-filled jacket and Spozavik enjoyed the sight immensely as he watched her shed it. Under it, she was wearing a practical, yet nice looking shirt that accentuated the contour of her mammaries. It also had a patriotic slogan written on it, though Spozavik couldn't tell if it was an ironic mantra fashionable with the ideologically risky youths nowadays, or if it was a serious one. Gryza smiled at him as she wrapped her red jacket around her slim waist.

Caught in the act of ogling, Spozavik couldn't doublethink fast enough to save himself and ended up making a feeble chuckle and saying 'nice ideological shirt motto' before sitting down to remove his shoes, which had retractable ceramic knives cleverly hidden in them. Meanwhile, Gryza turned on the air conditioning and set it to subzero temperatures. Spozavik thanked her for that and reminded himself to bring a freonic coat for the dinner later.

Comfortably barefoot on his bare bear feet, Spozavik went to the toilets to excrete the in-flight bronto burger meal he had earlier and make space in his mighty digestive tract for the dinner he would have later. He felt relief while he did so, and it seemed as though the Umerians had the foresight of having robust plumbing up to mighty Bragulan standards. The thought of the Umerians knowing about human-Bragulan toilet problems due to his previous mission with the Shepistanis, and the possibility of the Umerians having gained intelligence on that, briefly crossed Spozavik's paranoid mind but he was too relieved to care for the moment. He did his business and went to clean up, but then he noticed that something was terribly wrong.

When he went to reach for the papers, he found them curiously unpresent. Then he realized that he was right in his guesstimation, and that the Umerians did use the three seashells.

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"SHITS!" he bellowed, surprising Gryza and their stormtrooper guard.

But before they could ask him what his boggle was, there was an electronic beeping sound, and before Spozavik could react defensively and kill whatever it was that was attacking him with strange sounds, he noticed that a device on the wall had printed out a tiny piece of paper - a written reprimand for using foul language.

An idea struck Spozavik. He had never bothered to learn the three seashells prevalent in puny human societies throughout the galaxy. Thanks to this device, this time he wouldn't have to either.



Dinner was an hour away, and Spozavik was about to prepare. But the day had been long and tiring, with so much sights and sounds and smells, he had learned quite a lot about Umeria and had done quite a lot too - everything from reconnoitering Reisenburg to making business deals with strange old human officials. Truth be told, Spozavik never much liked his cover as a diplomatic trade liaison, but IBGV agents could never choose the assignments given by their handler. With Telescreen Gryznk, it only got worse. The boredom and monotony of his diplomatic assignment was making him slow and dull. Altacar. Vowels. Umeria. Chromium. Ugh. The only excitement he had recently was the whole escapade at Pendleton with the Shepistanis, but even that was only a brief respite.

Spozavik rubbed his head and laid down on his bed. It wasn't too small or too big, but just right. While he recalled all the activities of the day, somehow he was drawn to one thing in particular. While they were walking past the many hotel complexes, he remembered seeing a kipakt (which came from the same planet as the pseudo-Zigonian moxli, but were way bigger) walking down the street. In fact, he had seen several kipakt in the area. The Umerians were close allies with the reptiloids and lizardoids and dinosaurianoids of the NenAltKik, and they bore a resemblance to the Zigonian reptilians of the Sovereignty.

But Spozavik wasn't thinking of these factoids. No, the kipakt reminded him of his childhood - and his children. He remembered when he was a carefree cub back in mighty Bragule, where life was so simple and where he once had innocence. He remembered those days in school playing 'kick the human', where the smallest runtiest of cubs with the thinnest furs would be the designated human and everyone else would kick him. He had such fond memories in the Byzon Youth, and the kipakt reminded him of how in the Byzon Youth he had learned of Byzon's youth as well.

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It was a time when the Imperator was not yet the Imperator - as inconceivable as that might seem. The peoples of Bragule had suffered the horrors of the Great Civil War. Bragulanity was in great disarray and near death. But Byzon, great Byzon, had been a giant amongst his people. Both literally and figuratively. And one of the acts he did in his youth to silence his peers and prove his greatness to all his doubters (who he had shot later when he became Imperator) was wrestling a giant kipakt reptiloid. Or was it a giant Zigonian lizardoid? Either way, the reptilian was enormous - almost as enormous as Byzon himself! But not quite as enormous! After a great struggle where many tankskis were stomped, the Imperator defeated the creature and skinned it, using its pelt as a cape that would adorn his revolutionary uniform. He would also cook the creature's meats, and with it fed not only his revolutionary comrades but also the patriotic peoples of Bragule - the females and small children especially - who were starving from the famines.

Such a tale of heroism and bravery had inspired Spozavik, and it was then and there that he had decided to serve the Empire and Imperator to the fullest of his capabilities. Maybe even wrestle a kipakt or a Zigonianoid, he had hoped when he was young. The recollections of his youth revitalized Spozavik, reminded him of why he was here, why he was doing what he was doing, why he was an agent of the Imperial Bureau of Galactic Vigilance. So, even in Umeria, it was his job to maintain the Imperial Bureau's vigilance of the galaxy.

With renewed patriotic zeal Spozavik got up, put on his shoes, and wore a freonic dinner jacket to keep himself cool in unbragulanly human temperatures. Then with Gryza at his side, he went down to have dinner. Now he was ready for the most formidable Dr. Chernov.



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
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Last edited by Shroom Man 777 on 2010-10-21 02:54am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 12:04am
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P.N.S. Hellbender
In Orbit of Kingsport


Bessières snapped on the helmet for his combat armor, one of the most advanced lightweight power armor harnesses in the galaxy. Looming over him was Colonel Morgan in his MkXIII Infantry Harness.

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“Just like old times Benjy! Gonna git us some Pyskers…un-sanctioned ones, o’ course.” Morgan said almost with an afterthought. For some reason he had zero problem with the Spectres of the Psi Corps that were, on the whole, much more powerful and dangerous than the majority of human pyskers. “I have Gold Company leading the drop; you’ll be riding with me in my pod. Meanwhile our distinguished guests,” He eyed the two Bragulans and the Anglian Furry “Will be following in one of the drop ships.”

Vikim stared at the towering Mechano-man. While he was pleased that Young Yivgny’s location had been determined he was put off at the scale of the operation that was being undertaken. What did it say about the stability of the Dominionoids that an internal security operation required a drop by a company of Assault Marines? Bessières had mentioned something along the lines of a “Rogue Cardinal” being at the All Hew-mon Camp, although what a avian had to do with anything he wasn’t sure. He was jerked from his train of thought when the Hellbender’s 1MC turned on, with the BMOOW banging the fuck out of the ship’s drill.

“General Quarters, General Quarters, all hands man your Battlestations.” Yelled the voice over the shipwide intercom. “Prepare for jump.”

Bessières looked at the Bragulan party. “Brother Bears, Captain Greene is going to be riding down with you…ah, there he is now. I be heading to my drop pod now.” Bessières turned and followed Morgan down to the pod deck. Vikim turned to the commander of the Hellbender, who was wearing one of the Ubiquitous T-series “Light” power armor that was issued to Dominnioid and Shepistani grunts that didn’t undergo gene therapy.

“Commissar Vikim we need to board our dropship; we will not initiate the jump to Damascus until everyone is at their GQ stations.”

“Of course captain.” The Bragulan party followed him onboard one of the dropships in the landing bay. A pair of Hew-mon skulls were painted on the wings. A faint mumbling could be heard from Greene; obviously he was issuing final instructions to the Hellbender’s XO. Once the party was board and secured there was another cackle from the 1MC, which was feeding into the Dropship’s intercom.

“Jump.”

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"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 09:59am
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President Victoria Sinclair drummed her fingers on her expansive presidential desk, looked around her even more expansive office with a dissatisfied expression, and muttered “that was anticlimactic”.

Some of the assembled holograms shuffled their feet. Others looked down. Lord Solar Admiral Macaroth simply looked annoyed, clearly irritated by the fact he hadn't gotten a chance to test his mettle against the Collector flotilla. The only one appearing supremely unconcerned was Sidney Hank. The ambassador was still wearing his gray suit, although it looked like it was in need of a proper dry-cleaning, no doubt the result of the intensive negotiations with the Collector emissary. “Anticlimactic is good, isn't it? Or would anyone prefer duking it out with the Collectors in a system-trashing running battle?”

The Imperial admiral looked like he was about to say something about that, then decided it was probably better to hold his tongue. His Haruuhist and Cevaukian counterparts on the other hand appeared glad enough a fight wasn't coming. Both knew they could now spin a good tale at home about backing up their allies and scaring away the creepy robots, and all it'd cost them was a bit of time and fuel. It was a good deal, and they knew it. In fact, from the look of smug satisfaction on Warmaster Tregio's face it was clear the alien was already thinking of how to use the remarkable course of events to expand his political power and influence back home. Brigadier Stalin on the other hand, looked a bit sour. “I still think we should've taken them. Next time we might not have a fleet like this to back us up.”

“Next time the Collectors will know to bring more ships,” Admiral Macaroth agreed with his colleague. His hologram flickered a bit, and his spoken words didn't quite synch up with the movements of his hologrammatic lips. “This was clearly a missed opportunity.”

“A missed opportunity to do what?” Olympic had dialed down the usual level of contempt in his voice because he was speaking to a foreign dignitary, but even so the CompInt couldn't quite stop sounding derisive. “To go to war with the Collectors? We need that about as much as we need the heat-death of the universe. May I remind you that quite apart from the Collectors there are still Pfhor, Karlacks and Bragulans out there? Our enemies would have a field day.”

“I would have to agree with Olympic,” General Makepeace nodded and ignored the haughty 'of-course-you-do' look the CI's hologram gave him. “We can scarcely afford a war with an enemy we know so little about, and who we will not be able to attack. We don't know anything about the Collectors – we don't know the locations of their worlds or any of their strategic facilities, we don't know how many Collectors there are, and we don't know how many ships they have. Strategic initiative would rest entirely with our enemies. To begin a conflict even when the opportunity to resolve the situation amicably had presented itself would have been monumentally stupid.” He nodded to the ambassador. “We've made our point, we didn't lose anything of significance for it, and we even opened some kind of dialogue with the Collectors. I believe Mr. Hank did an excellent job defusing the situation.”

Now it was Ambassador Hank's turn to look smug. “Why, I daresay I did. Come on people, what did we know about the collective before today? Nothing, except that they were crazy robots who liked to amass trinkets for some inexplicable reason. Now, not only are they not beating up our fleet, but we've managed to reach a form of detente. No matter how fragile this understanding might be at this time, it is a damned sight better than what we had before. Hell, they even promised to help us catch the saboteur responsible for getting us into this whole mess.”

“Like we can trust filthy xenos robots to keep their word,” the Lord Admiral spoke, forgetting briefly the company he was in. Macaroth realized his faux-pas almost as soon as he'd uttered the words, and stole a glance at Olympic.

The CompInt settled for just rolling his eyes in an overly dramatic fashion. “We might not be certain they'll keep their word, but we can't be certain they won't either. Leaping to conclusions may be the human thing to do,” Olympic managed to make the word sound like a terrible slur, “but it's certainly not the most logical. I advise we wait and see if the Collector security agents show up as agreed.”

“About that,” Sidney interjected and turned to face the representation of Abielle Magritte, who had thus far remained silent. “The Collector ambassador confirmed that they know of our interest in their hyperdrive technology, and that they would take steps to prevent us from obtaining it. I would suggest we do not try to ruin our understanding by, oh say, attempting to hijack their ships.” He narrowed his eyes at the DCEID. “And by 'us' I mean 'you', Director.”

Abielle Magritte feigned innocence. “I wouldn't dare,” she said, but her tone indicated quite the contrary. “Besides, simply observing the Collector ships and the way they operate in Sovereignty space will be an intelligence boon already.”

“Well then,” the President concluded. “One way or the other I suppose the situation is resolved.” She turned to the three foreign admirals. “Gentlemen, you, and the valiant men and women and other beings under your command have our gratitude for aiding us on this day. I will personally inform your governments of your gallant performance. We cannot thank you enough, and rest assured that if you were to ever find yourself in dire straits, the Sovereignty will stand ready to help you in your hour of need.” She exchanged a few more platitudes with the admirals before their holograms winked out one by one, the flag officers now having to prepare their fleets for departure. She then excused everybody else, but asked Sidney to hang on for a moment longer.

“So,” she said once every hologram except that of the ambassador had vanished from the office. She wirelessly pulsed a data-packet to the sophisticated computer system that allowed the presidential office to function as an interstellar teleconferencing system. Another hologram appeared, featuring the list of items the Collectors had demanded – a list that had reached the allies of the Sovereignty only in redacted form, for one item had been left off the publicized list. A trace of irritatation seeped into Sinclair's voice. “You promised them my DNA.”

“I did,” Sidney nodded. “I didn't think it'd be an issue.”

“You didn't-” the President sounded genuinely angry now. “Why the hell wouldn't it be an issue?!”

The ambassador rolled his eyes. “Oh come on. You modify your genome what, once a month? Hell, you were a redhead last time I saw you, and if I'm not mistaken that's genuinely brown hair now. What could possibly be in your genome that's so undivulgable?”

“That's not the point!” Sinclair fumed. “Didn't you think I might want a say in this? I'm the President, you know!”

“In case you were thinking of having me killed again, I hadn't forgotten,” Sidney replied dryly. “But I was the, ah, 'decision making construct'. It wouldn't have looked very decision-making if I'd had to ask your permission for every damned decision I took in there, would it? It's a small price to pay for not-war... Besides they insisted, and I didn't want to make a deal-breaker out of it. It was touch-and-go enough as it was.” It hadn't been, but there was no way Sinclair could know that. “Look, as a heir to the SinTEK corporation your DNA is about as tailored as it gets, but it's not exactly a state secret is it? And if you're afraid of them tailoring some kind of bio-whatsit to your genome... Well, then just change it. You do it all the time anyway.”

“I still think you should've asked me first,” Sinclair petulantly insisted.

Or what, you'll hold your breath? thought Sidney exasperatedly, but wisely decided not to voice that thought. He shrugged instead. “Okay. Fine. Next time I'll run it by you.” He spread his hands. “But hey, in the meantime, crisis averted. Ain't I awesome?”

Despite herself, Sinclair smirked a little. “That's why we pay you the big bucks. But sure. Job well done.” She looked him in the eye. “Will you be coming back to Solaris now? We should... celebrate this fortunate turn of events?”

He smiled in return. “Is that an order?”

“I'd make it one if I thought you'd give a damn.”

Sidney chortled at that. He looked at his watch. “Get me one of those fancy priority stargate transits and I can be there in time for dinner and medals.”



Image
SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty

There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 11:33am
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HSF Sneakily Does It, Shinn Hokkaido system

Arri ear flicks then uncurls partially on the command dais “What is it Callahan?” she asks simply, almost marvelling that she managed to doze off for a moment there. Then wonders why the computer let her do so with what they're sharing the system with.
“We have a developing problem shipmistress. But firstly I would like to inform you that while you were napping the Collectors and Sovereignty have both sent small craft to a station in the no mans land between them. I believe a diplomatic meeting is taking place.”
Arri wonders how long Callahan let her nap for but doesn't bring the point up, yet. “A problem for the higher ups not us, we'll send it in our report when we're able to transmit again. I just hope we're getting some decent sensor information stuck out here...What's the developing problem Callahan?”
“In under two hours we will be detected.” says Callahan simply.
“Next time we have a developing problem of that nature Callahan you wake me up immediately.” says Arri, her sleepyness vanishing in an instant as a ticking timebomb is introduced to her worries.
“It would have been unnecessary. There is no course of action that will allow us to prevent this occurrence.”
“And I'm Shipmistress and that was an order.” replies Arri and then nyahs and settles rubbing her forehead “Just tell me why Callahan.”
“Of course Shipmistress. As you know our outer hull is cooled using a heat transfer grid and Null sinks so as to remain at ambient temperature. However the absorptive properties of our hull that are keeping us from showing up on active sensors are also generating more heat than the cooling system can compensate for. Our external temperature is beginning to rise and depending on the sensitivity of watching assets we have between 1 and 2 hours before they can acquire an exact fix on us.” Callahan explains. Arri tail swishes in agitation as she first scrutinizes Callahan's rings, then the tactical holomap on the ceiling and then finally seems to finish thinking on this.
“Okay..lets go through the motions, I think I know the answer to these questions already. We can't use the gravity drive to slip out of sensor range can we?”
“Negative, sufficient impulse to evade sensor acceptably inside two hours would result in detection inside 10 minutes.”
“Thought so. Do we know what the reaction of either the Collectors or the Sovereignty will be to discovering us snooping around here?”
“Unknown. Standing orders are to prevent the capture of the cruiser in event of discovery however.”
“I know Callahan. I suppose we'll just have to hope it's not the Collectors who go after us first...that'd at least give us the option of launching the lifepods.” Arri says, though deep down she actually hopes the Monolith's don't move for the next two hours. The likely reaction that the Collectors and Sovereignty would have to them snooping around was bad, the reaction if they went with the plan and launched the probes would almost certainly be worse. Arri was beginning to suspect that this was not a mission Command expected her to survive, firing probes at a spaceship which had enough firepower to split a moon open was never something that was likely to end well after all. Arri was all for 'bettering the honour of her family' but she'd prefer to do so and remain breathing and there was a very solid line splitting risky from suicidal.
“Also Callahan, care to explain why our ship WASN'T designed to stay invisible in a situation like this?”
“The worst case scenario for the design was Argenti sensor networks not multinational walls of battle and Sovereignty scanners.”
Arri nyahs against softly at the answer, rubbing her forehead a moment “And why do they do things to the eleventh degree here?”
“Koprula Zone Rules.”
“Callahan? What in the name of the mystery does that mean?”
“I am uncertain, it is the most prominent set of key words in our cache of the Galactopedia on the subject however. Were we able to connect to the hypernet I could download a more detailed response to the query.”
“Great, just great...” Arri looks at the clock ticking down and settles in to wait for something to happen, good or bad.



STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 01:03pm
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Notice to spacers

ALERT: Imperial Byzantine Navy (IBN) warcraft transitioning Galveston Straight and adjoining sectors T26-25-24 at priority I hyperspeed. Non-human spacers are advised to avoid Wild Space hyperlanes in this area until such time that IBN assets have transitioned to ERE space.

CEID Central Bureau of Investigation - Starlane Security Department


OOC: ;)



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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty

There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 01:22pm
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Imperial Chronicles

"Yes, I know Admiral, we are all irritated," spoke Aurelian Komnenos, in the most soothing way possible.

"Those bastard xenos. We should have charged in regardless and force the rest of them to fight whether they liked it or not," cursed Macaroth.

"Well, remember that orc planet we encountered while we were transiting to Solarion space? I say we should do our bit for mankind and obliterate it from the face of the galaxy."

"Sounds like the ideal picinic. Xeno barbecue."

"Exactly."

====

Warlord Gorgoth never saw it coming. At first he thought the skies were turning black, until flashy things started raining from the sky. Within an hour, the sub-earth planet...




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STGOD: Byzantine Empire
Your spirit, diseased as it is, refuses to allow you to give up, no matter what threats you face... and whatever wreckage you leave behind you.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 01:27pm
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Koprulu Zone Rules

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It was midday, the pub was a sweltering oven. Rickety fans spun overhead, trying to keep the patrons cool while not falling on ‘em. There were few folks today, mostly at the table at the middle. Folk were playing cards while bystanders were enjoying a good drink.

Oh Susana, please don’t cry for me, sang the singer man by the piston-driven piano. I came from Hokkaido with a banjo on my knee!

“What say you, Mister Finch?” asked the man at the end of the table. He grinned cockily, cigar firmly between yellow teeth. “Did you come all the way from the Okefenokee to blow yer cash on some poker?”

“No sir, Mister Manning, I did not,” said Mister Finch, a big black man on the side. “I think I’ll fold.”

He threw his cards and went to get a drink.

“Never thought a coloured man was good with cards,” one of the bystanders said with a nasty grin.

“Frequesean-Solarian,” another corrected. “Folk over the Sovie Worlds don’t call ‘em that no more, they call ‘em Frequesean-Solarian. More polite, you see. Whutever a Frequesue is.”

“Whatever. Now them Space Injuns, they’s good with cards.”

“Shut up, boys,” Manning growled.

“Mister Manning, I’m gonna call your bluff,” said a gentleman at the tables end. He showed his hand.

Manning’s grin turned into a very big smile. He showed his hand, which wasn’t all that good. “Looks like you’ve got the better hand of me, Mister Lang.”

“Indeed I do,” replied the gentleman. “Now I imagine I’ll be taking all this cash to the bank for some depositing.”

“Not necessarily, Mister Lang,” Manning said, still grinning. “Boys.”

The bystanders went behind Lang and pulled him off his seat. “Now wait one second, what’s going on here?”

“You’re guilty of cheating cards,” Manning said plainly, still grinning. “Boys, put him to jail. Tomorrow, hang him at dawn.”

“No, wait!” Lang protested as he was dragged out of the bar. A big man in black walked by Mister Lang’s now vacant seat.

“Looking to play some cards, stranger?” one of the bystanders asked. “You better not be like that other fellow, that damned dirty cheater.”

Oh Susana, please don’t cry for me, sang the singer man by the piston-driven piano. Cause I’m going to Hochbaden, my true love for to see.

“Because it looks to me that I’ve won the previous game fair and square,” said Manning, still grinning. “My pappy used to say, ‘there ain’t nothing more deceiving than a low-down dirty deceiver’ and by Mister Lang’s example, I think my pappy was right.”

The stranger pulled a shotgun out of his coat, pointed it at Mister Manning. “Wrong.”

Image

The big stranger walked out of the saloon and into the midday heat, walking like as if nothing happened. But before he got to the other side of the road to call a coach, he was confronted by a gang of Manning’s associates – deputies, for aside from being the mayor of the town, Mister Manning happened to be the sheriff as well.

Despite the sizzling sun, the stranger regarded them coolly with his eyes. Not a trace of fear could be seen in him.

“Come on, boys,” said one of the deputies with a six-shooter. “We’re gonna ventilate this yokel, prompt and proper!”

“I’m gonna give you assholes a chance,” said the stranger, much to the amusing of his company. “How about some Koprulu Zone Rules?”

“What’s a Koprula?” asked another deputy, this one was bucktoothed and definitely inbred.

The stranger bent down to pick a tin from the ground. “Nobody draws until this can hits the ground.”

“Let’s have us some fun, Cletus,” the one with the six-shooter nodded.

"A-hyuk! This'll be a real killer!" laughed another deputy.

The stranger threw the can high into the air. As everyone looked up at the can as it reached its midair arc, he pulled out his shotgun and killed everyone dead with it.

The can hit the ground.

Draw.



Image Image Image
shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
Pink Sugar Heart Attack!

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 01:43pm
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Somewhere in Wild Space...

The Light of Final Comprehension was named so for it was what Bragulans believed the humans would experience in their final moments when the Light of Bragule-class ships unleashed their strategic payloads on hapless human worlds. That experience would be one of final comprehension, wherein they would finally understand their human folly and comprehend the greatness of Bragule - before accepting their fates and embracing the purifying Light of Bragule in atonement for their humanity.

Image

The subcruiser drifted through deep space, cold and unmoving. Silent. Undetectable. Its hull was of a different configuration than that of the Ungentle Wrath's hull*, but instead of flat sensor-deflective panels the Final Comprehension's hull was instead a long and hard cylindrical metal shaft coated in sensor-absorbent material that gave it stealth without resorting to cloaking fields and scatterscreens with their unique emissions. It was passive stealth. But the subcruisers were not meant to penetrate into scrutinized territories, but instead linger on for years in the dark spaces nobody looked at, where nobody went to, where nobody bothered with. Waiting for their final commands.

The commands had finally come, but the commands that came hadn't been the final coming that would have made the subcruisers come. Then, suddenly, there was the gentle touch of a signal. Light and quick, almost unnoticeable, at first. Then, as it traveled down the length of their shafts, the subcruisers began to take life, twitching in electric eagerness. But, alas, it was not the expected command that would've made them rise. Reluctantly, frustratingly, the subcruisers returned to wretched passivity. Today, they would not come.

The crews of the various alerted Light of Bragules huddled in front of their computer consoles, sensor displays, communications panels, command chairs and such. They shivered, for the temperatures of their subcruisers' interiors were way below freezing and even beneath the typically frigid Bragulan preferences. To make it worse, crews hadn't clothed themselves yet since emerging from cryo, for there was simply no time. The only way they kept warm was in eating sausage rations, their bodies using the protein and fats and carbohydrates to metabolize and burn for body heat, while they sat in front of their stations and waited the final command.

It came.

Code:
GENERAL FLEET BROADCAST

> CONDITION LEVEL LOWERED TO BRAGCON 3.8
> > BRAGULAN SPACE FLEET GENERAL FORCES STAND DOWN
> > > STANDARD BATTLE GROUPS RETURN TO PREVIOUS BRAGWARDS POSITIONS - RESUME NORMAL DEPLOYMENT PATTERN

SUB-ENCRYPTED MESSAGE TO SELECT FLEET ASSETS
> MOBILIZED LOB ASSETS 1-8 IN AREA RETURN TO STANDARD 'COLD' CONDITION - GENERAL CREWS RETURN TO CRYO - DESIGNATED WATCHERS REMAIN ON STANDBY, CYCLE SHIFTS AND RESYNCHRONIZE CHRONOMETERS AS PLANNED

THE IMPERATOR'S MERCY IS INFINITE. HIS COMPASSION IS ONLY MATCHED BY HIS WRATH.



Image Image Image
shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
Pink Sugar Heart Attack!


Last edited by Shroom Man 777 on 2010-09-21 01:49pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 01:46pm
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Prussian Fleet

The order to turn back was heard by every ship in the fleet. It had taken some time for the information to reach the capital, but the war had been unexpectedly called off. And that meant that there was no need to fight any more. The ships changed direction, back toward the New Prussia sector. Hoffman definitely wasn't going to risk some trigger happy Byzantines or Bragulans blowing up the pride of his fleet. That was just common sense.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 02:46pm
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Pendleton, The Outback


Vlilyn Corbas watched with amusement as Cpt. Xader walked back and forth, his inquisitive eyes fixed on the rescued citizens. They were looking at him too, and with frightened curiosity. She knew that seeing a Black Beret in person was something a normal Centrality citizen didn't normally see.

The Black Berets. Famous in the Centrality for their daring actions and audacious tactics. In the battles with the Eoghans and the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth, they were always at the front line, and usually behind that of the enemy. While only a part of the elite Centralist forces, they were one of the most well known. Armed with their Hypervelocity Assault Rifles, they were readily recognizable by their distinctive black armor. It was designed with knowledge of the tasks the Black Berets did most of the time: fast, intense fighting. It gave good protection to its wearer, but was surprisignly light enough to not impair much the user's agility. The Assault Rifles themselves had technology that propelled the bullets much faster than ordinary solid proyectile weaponty. The Black Berets were given ammo cartriges with different colors: these denoted fuction. Yellow was Armor-Piercing, Blue was Shield Penetrator, Red was Inciendary, Purple was Poison, Grey was Anti-Personell, and Orange was High-Explosive. The most common was Grey, the most rare was Orange, and the others were somewhere in between.

Xader suddenly turned to look at Corbas.

"Ma'am, is it just me, or are these people more scared that usual?"

Corbas shrugged. "Cap, I don't think they see Black Berets often in their lives. Maybe never. But I guess they are just disturbed by this whole slavery situation."

"First off, we saved them, so just because they don't see BB's often doesn't mean we're asses. Second, regarding slavery, it's amazing how foreign media tries to place us in the same camp as scum like Pendleton, Bragule and the Collectors. The Centrality can be harsh, sure, but at least mantains its population clothed, fed, safe and healthy. We don't cross people who don't cross with us. We just believe in something that's different from what others follow. And if we have to be brutal to safeguard it, so be it."

"Well, that was quite the proclamation." She then, after a thought, said, "Still think they're more scared than usual?", looking at their rescued quarry.

Xader blinked, then remembered Corbas could read minds. "I dunno. Have you read their minds yet?"

"Let's just wait until this all blows over. Then, when we get back home, you will know."

Corbas went to look at the floor, but felt that she was being looked at. Lifting her head, she saw Xader standing still, staring at her.

"What are you looking at, mister?", she spat.

"These are traitors, are they?", he said with quiet coldness.

Corbas eyes widened.

"Wait, wha-"

"How do I know. I guess I didn't tell you that I was posted here because I am an empath?"

An empath. Why no one told her she was sharing space with another ESPer?

"I felt their fear, Vilyn. Fear of us. It was very suspicious from the beginning. I dug deeper and deeper until I felt something else. Anxiety. You found out something, yet you failed to report it."

Xader began to walk to her, a dangerously cold look on his face.

"You will tell me now, and I'll make sure no one knows about your...misstep. And I will bring this scum to trial."

Scared hushes were exchanged between the citizens. Xader turned his sight to them.

"Silence! Any unwise movements and you will be shot. You stay as still as ice."

He then returned his gaze to a uneasy Corbas.

"Shall we start your...confession?"




Part II of BB's POV.



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 04:29pm
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Lord_Of_Change 9 wrote:
Prussian Fleet

The order to turn back was heard by every ship in the fleet. It had taken some time for the information to reach the capital, but the war had been unexpectedly called off. And that meant that there was no need to fight any more. The ships changed direction, back toward the New Prussia sector. Hoffman definitely wasn't going to risk some trigger happy Byzantines or Bragulans blowing up the pride of his fleet. That was just common sense.

The Prussian trip to the Koprulu zone proved to be uneventful, the war they came to fight never happened, so they turned and began their voyage home. The return trip would prove to be far more interesting. As they moved through hyperspace, their sensors soon detected new contacts, lots of them, the likes of which the Prussians had never before encountered. Soon it became clear that they were being intercepted and that they were about to learn the reason why Wild Space was so dangerous.

The Prussians would have to stop and try to communicate with the locals, or turn back and try another route home. In the space in front of them, a fleet of ships awaited.
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The Karlack Swarm had prepared a welcome for the new arrivals to the sector.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 04:51pm
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The Presidential Center, Central City
Centrum, The Centrality


The sound of weapons fire had woken up Enduvos.

He had just cajoled Borlon into sending the recent messages towards Shepistan and the Grand Dominion, after the Central Intelligence Service confirmed the recent rumors of the so-called "pact" between Umeria and Zero. It was a risky operation, several operatives having to commit suicide when discovered, but the information was found, alright. Having Borlon do his part, however, was more difficult. The Foreign Secretary continually screamed that this had the best chance to backfire, but eventually shut his mouth when Enduvos pulled his "Vader Choke".

But today he was about to learn that party heads were not immune to blowback.

Just when he woke up, his eyes were staring at the barrel of a rifle.

"Fuck." That was his last word.

A rapid burst of fire, and Gabriel Enduvos was no more.

The executioner soon lifted his comlink and spoke.

"Sirs, the Interventionist has been terminated."

A voice came from the comlink. "Excellent. What of the Secretaries of War and Internal Security?"

"Finished, sir."

"Very well. Your promotion is assured."

"Thank you, Secretary General."

From the comlink, Secretaty General Viso Fredon laughed.

"The Centrality is safe from its own. For now."

Central Party HQ

"Now who will lead, Fredon? We both know that none of us have enough support." Falko Tredell, the Secretary of State, sounded doubtful.

Tagdef Borlon spoke. "Enduvos's succesor will do. However, he must be monitored. We don't want a repeat of Philus Tate."

Fredon sighed. "In the meantime, we'll form an interim regency to smoothen the transition. The three of us will form a Triumvirate until the sucessor is deemed fit enough."

"What shall we do about the Pendleton situation?", Tredell asked.

"And the diplomatic notes to Shepistan and the Grand Dominion about an alliance should be canceled immediatly and both informed about our changed position." Borlon was firm in saying this.

"Do that, Tag. And as for our prescence near the Outback, that has brought us nothing but trouble. Recall the 5th Fleet. Only a small force will remain to pick up our rescue ship."

The three men soon marched to begin their tasks.




Result: Coup!



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-21 05:09pm
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Location: Poland
Shinn-Hokkaido, Tannhaus Sector
Solarian space
April 1st 3400, T+9 hours

Tensions fell. While most of the system's inhabitants still had no idea what the hell was going on, those with access to at least basic information could see the two massive armadas slowly putting space between each other. Like two men armed with sawed-off shotguns, slowly backing away from each other, fingers on the triggers.

Curiously enough, that made the job of Echo Six harder, instead of easier. With each side expecting betrayal at any moment, double care had to be taken to avoid any unpleasant incidents: although the CI had to admit, the most hair-raising moments of this standoff were well and truly beyond them.

Well, not quite, as it would soon become obvious.

Echo Six, Phoenix 21, flight of Collector fighters is separating from their formation, heading 234 by 121.

Echo Six, Glory Flight, we confirm, Glory Flight was in a screening position closest to the Collector flotilla, Four bogeys in total

What are they doing? It looks like an intercept.

----------------------------------------------

The six Mantis fighter-bombers accelerated across empty space, guided by streams of data packets from their mothership. A single Scythe followed them - an ungainly box compared to the sleek, organic-looking fighters, it was loaded with EW equipment and heavy antiship ordnance.

With machine precision, the formation approached an empty point in space. The gunboat began sweeping the area with active sensors of unusual configuration and power: and pretty soon, found the source of the heat anomalies detected by the Monolith's pickets.

The fighters turned rapidly, maintaining perfect formation.Tthey began to quickly close the distance towards the interloper.

At the same time, Echo Six was surprised by a short data burst from one of the Monoliths, reminescent of an organic angrily demanding someone to get out of the way and stop staring. And the CI would gladly comply, except it had no idea what the hell the Collector ship was talking about.



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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 Post subject: Ride of the Battlecruisers: A Demonstration to Rimward PostPosted: 2010-09-22 03:31am
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USS Haruna, New Tyre Naval Base, Sector V-6
March 12, 3400


Admiral Antoni Lisiewicz looked out over his command, in high orbit over one of the planetary moons, and grinned. Fourth Battlecruiser Division might not have any first-rate heavy hitters, but he'd back his battlecruisers against anything less than a dreadnought squadron, properly led. He hoped he'd be the proper leader, if it came to it. He expected so.

Flag bridge's main display tank was still the standard light codes, but Lisiewicz had something different on his personal display: stylized images of the ships under his command, magnified large enough that they could all be seen in the same picture even over the scales of a fleet observing minimum safe distances for navigation.

The battlecruisers Haruna, Thunderbolt, and Armstrong made up the striking core of the fleet: three hard-hitting capital combatants, fast in hyper and optimized for rapid response and deep raids. Cruiser-weight combatants died fast under the hammer of a battlecruiser's triple Mark Fourteens. To be fair, he wouldn't want to be the one who took a ship like Haruna up against a cruiser wolf-pack; their flank protection had always left a lot to be desired when engaging widely separated single targets.

To cover against that, of course, there was the screen: two light cruisers, a half dozen destroyers, and a quartet of cutter-tenders loaded with a mix of reconnaissance, customs, and fleet melee types. His second-in-command, Admiral Quirino, led the screen from the fleet carrier Beehive, tasked to fill out the division's defenses with its swarm of over seven hundred drone fighters.

The battlecruiser division was a fast, mobile force, strong enough to handle almost any single ship or small fleet in space, but also well suited to quartering large volumes and sweeping them clean of enemy light forces or merchantmen. It was a command ideally suited to Lisiewicz's temper.

Family history made something of a legend out of their distant ancestors who fought among the Pezookian Lancers in the great wars of Nova Terra: in the Gaymean War against proud grayclad Shroomcoats, and again in the nation's struggle to resist the deadly legions of the Empire Reborn during the Great Wars. Always with that recurring undertone of being just a hair faster then the enemy, just a bit more daring than they'd expect, baiting, baffling, confusing, dancing around the foe.

He was looking forward to playing tag with the Prussians.

BC-Div Four was almost ready to move out. The assignment from Command had given him broad latitude:

Quote:
Fourth Battlecruiser Division, Adm. Lisiewicz commanding, is detached from New Tyre Station for independent patrol along the Grand Coreward Trunk. Visits to neutral worlds along the trunk are scheduled (see Appendix A). In addition, you have been assigned to carry out fleet evolutions (see Appendix B) as part of a general experimental program for battlecruiser doctrine.

4th Battlecruisers is also instructed to make sweeps of several regions near the Grand Trunk (see Appendix C) with an eye to rooting out potential pirate and privateer threats (detailed ibid.). This is particularly relevant in light of the recent annexation of Volksland.

Major action against Prussian forces is not to be courted, as a general war is not considered desirable at this time. But under no circumstances should the Space Security Force compromise the rights or privileges of Umerian shipping, or that of third parties from outside the immediate region. The Council of Technarchs is firmly committed to enforcing the standing international accords on the Trunk's security and neutrality, in both letter and spirit.

Reading between the lines, and looking at the private communications sent down to him by the Director of Operations, Command's objectives were clear. Taking advantage of the momentary weakness in Prussia's fleet caused by their decision to dispatch an expeditionary force to the Koprulu Sector, they wanted to make the League a little nervous about the security of their antispinward border.

The war plans for fighting the Prussians had always featured this aspect: ships dashing down the excellent navigation route provided by the Grand Trunk and striking to coreward into the Prussians' rear areas while their main force was tied down on the fringe fighting up towards Sichuan. Going by how cavalier they'd been lately, it was time to remind them once again just how tricky it could be to counter that.

Word from MiniFor was that the Prussians hadn't been taking Umeria seriously lately, and the top brass was trusting Antoni to help make sure they started paying attention again.

Command had been nonspecific as to how.


Last edited by Simon_Jester on 2010-09-27 08:52pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-22 04:22am
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LOST VEGAS, Shepvada

The moon was renowned for the city of Lost Vegas, a great habitat filled almost entirely with casinos and brothels. From orbit, one could see the neon lights of the various establishments glowing through the transparent dome of the moon-city. There, fortunes were made and lost in an instant - where games of high stakes Dominion hold'em and Koprulu Zone Rules blackjack were ruled by the big time high rollers, the rich and the fabulous who found wealth in risk and chance. Everybody loves a winner, Shepistanis included. But nobody wanted the losers, and those who had gambled their life away ended up literally doing so, flat broke and unable to pay for their accommodations and the air tax, they ended up getting thrown out of the Lost Vegas hab - where the outside world's barely terraformed atmosphere took care of them just fine.

Outside the glitz and glam of the hab, in the barely habitable expanse beyond the city limits, was a Viper fighter. It landed, thrust-reversers and landing skis allowing it to STOL in the rough terrain. It was an unmarked fighter, its Shepistani Navy colors and insignias had been covered with watercolor. A lone figure emerged from the cockpit and stepped foot on the gravelly ground.

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"Hee..." STARFUCK uttered tiredly, unexcitedly, exhaustedly. She was flying CAP from Faillon and the flight took her from planetside to moonside. It had been a long and uneventful trip, and STARFUCK's spacesuit diapers were all wet and in need of a change (she had forgotten to replace them in her previous flight). She considered popping some pills, but ever since coming out of rehab, she had been reluctant to go back into the habit. Lesson number two: Don't get high on your own supply, Frank had told her once. Of course, not everyone follows the rules, hm?

Officially she was flying a CAP exercise for TOPSHEP. Standard affair. But upon entering Lost Shep space, she killed her in-flight chronometer and guncam. Because, unofficially, she was in her first ever mission for the Fighter Mafia.

It was a pretty damn shitty mission.

The double-dealing thieving rat they had burninated yesterday needed proper disposal. No body, no crime. And that was STARFUCK's job. So the forward air controllers did her a favor and stow the body in the Viper's spare FATENING targeting pod while she told Crew Chief Tylenol (who Hushy had generously sent with STARFUCK and FAPOLLO to TOPSHEP to mind their planes for some reason) to fuck off.

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Fighter Mafia forward air controllers stowed the body in STARFUCK's Viper FATENING targeting pod.


They had done their job, and now it was up to her. She popped the FATENING pod open and hauled the body out. This wasn't the first time she had buried a body, but she was surprised at how light it was. The incineration by fighter fuel probably burned some fat off him, haha. So she placed the body on the ground and pulled out an E-tool and began digging him a shallow grave. In a moon like this, the air was so thin and there was barely any weather, so there was hardly any erosion to worry about when it came to grave digging.

With a 'hee' and a haul, STARFUCK shoved the corpse into the ditch and began filling it up. It didn't take her long to run out of breath, the moon's atmo was very thin. But now her job was done. No need to mark the grave. She went back into her Viper, sealed the cockpit shut, and lifted off Lost Vegas.

She reactivated her gun camera and chronometer. She had taken half an hour to land and bury the corpse, but to the camera and the clocks she was still on schedule.

"PIT VIPER, this is STARFUCK, CAP complete and am rounding back, over."

"This is PIT VIPER actual, copy that, STARFUCK. RTB."



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
Pink Sugar Heart Attack!

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