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SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-03 01:14am
New Chatham-Westminster Metropolitan Region
New Anglia, Star Kingdom of New Anglia
31 December 3399
The crowds were thronging throughout the twin cities of New Chatham, gathered in New Chatham's Pickering Square or Disraeli Plaza in Westminster, watching portable holo-projectors project the countdown. It was night out, with New Anglia's 24 hour, 13 minute day keeping it fairly aligned to "Earth time", permitting a perfect mood setting for the official start of the New Year. As the crowds chanted the countdown, holographic displays splashed bright, vibrant colors across the avenues and streets. The stroke of midnight came, confetti rained, and thousands of exhuberant (and in some cases fairly drunk) celebrants began singing the classic "Auld Lang Syne
". Automated hover displays raised above the skyscrapers and arcologies activated, splashing a massive "3400" into the night sky over the capital.
There were millions out in the streets across the region, gathering in plazas and squares and parks to await the fireworks and the fanfare to welcome in the new century. A crowd at the side fo Westminster Palace was even greeted by the sight of their ruler, the young Edward XVI, with his young wife Larissa at his sides, their hands clasped while their free hands waved cheerfully to the crowds as the fireworks exploded overhead. That the King and Queen were young was the result of tragedy - the deaths of their parents, and of Edward XVI's older brother the Prince of Wales, in the Hyperspace Incident of 3398 - had only a bit of pallor on the symbolism before them; a new century was being brought in with the youngest King since the 30th Century, and Edward XVI had already attained a great deal of popularity among his subjects.
A distance down the way, the Prime Minister of His Majesty's Government - Mr. Stephen Penton of Vancouver on New Columbia - had brought his family out for the occasion, to watch the fireworks from the rooftop viewing parlor of No. 19 Churchill Street. They had even brought sleepy little Adrian who, like any 3 year old, found midnight far too late to be awake. His children showed various reactions; the girls Sophie and Gabriela were excited, 12 year old Thomas looked fairly excited, and Rafael had the look of a fifteen year old who was enjoying himself but pretending to be too mature for such. Standing behind their children, Stephen and Rachel went from merely having an arm around each other to a closer embrace, permitting them to exchange a New Year's kiss as their children watched, enthralled, at the light show in the heavens above.
At one of the posh night-clubs on the New Chatham side of the St. James River, Janey's, a crowd of its most exclusive members were watching from the rooftop, the peak of a thirty story tower with a heated swimming pool and an open bar. There was a common toast to the New Year; two of those doing so from the pool itself were Danielle Verdes-Roya and Amber Kelly-Sanchez, who clanged their glasses together and took a brief drink before exchanging a New Year's kiss as well. Outside of the pool, with a towel draped over her mostly bare shoulders, Sarina Kelly-Sanchez was too busy enjoying the fireworks and light displays to observe her older sister.
From Admiralty House, a New Year's party held by the Defence Minister for all MoD-affiliated personnel, and invitees, saw the Trill Defence Minister Maralo Tevala introducing his teenage daughter Jobrie to the new First Sea Lord, Sir Charles O'Connor of Hebridia, Charles likewise introducing his youngest Mary as a friend of similar age for Jobrie - the conversation immediately turned to the benefits of a commission in the Royal Navy for one's advancement, showing the two fathers' similar thoughts on the right path for their daughters (Jobrie and Mary, as one might imagine, had other ideas, though the two adored their fathers too greatly to refute them publicly). Out on the balcony, the First Lord of the Admiralty - Robert Dale of Finley on Hansom's Planet - discussed matters with two fellow members of the Admiralty Board, the Second Sea Lord Dame Nora Lewis and the civilian Civil Engineer-in-Chief, Sir Jackson Tappan, while one of his fellow MPs from Hansom's Planet, Julia Andros, stood beside him clasping hands.
A few blocks over, from within the Foreign Office, Sir James Bronson had other plans for this New Year's; going over the latest in intelligence on Karlack movements. For the centenarian spymaster, for many years the Director-General of the Security and Intelligence Service, there was no form of celebration he preferred, but rather simply his work.
Further out from these festivities, in a private pub in the outskirt city of Sussex, bar patrons attempting to watch the new year eyed warily the sight of a large hulking Bragulan. The bear-like alien grumbled a complaint in his native language about the lack of good seating as he delicately placed himself on two bar stools side by side. "Sorry, Umar, I'm afraid New Anglian pubs don't account for Bragulan clientele," was the reply from the hulking Bragulan's comrade and captain, Balthier Miedan (Technically Bartholomew, formerly a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, but he preferred his self-given name over his birth-given one), who took another swig of drink afterward, reminding himself to procure a case to bring aboard the Strahl
. There was agreement from their navigator, the blue-complexioned Dorei Vanrya, while the Strahl
's not-so-innocent-as-she-looks engineer-machinist Kaylee Keller shared a toast with their ship medic, Dr. Andrew MacCulloch (who, due to the attitudes of the Solarian medical establishment and their take on doctors who fail to save the life of mega-wealthy donors, had sadly lost his license to practice), MacCulloch grumbling about being "surrounded by English" in a Scots accent that could only come from Scotland itself. Balthier and Vanrya kept cautious eyes on their crewmate Miranda, the eccentric Moonbeam imbibing a little too much alcohol for Balthier's taste (given that even sober her inhibitions were usually lacking), even if she was under the careful watch of the last member of their merry crew Quinn Leeson and his fairly-developed ESPer senses.
That said, it was good to be back "home" to usher in a new century, and even better that the unfortunate issues he'd had with Anglian authorities had been quietly dealt with by friendly patrons, permitting him to land without having to worry about being brought before the King's Bench or, even more onerous, having his starship taken from him. Such was could happen, after all, when you led the charmed life of an outlaw...
There were, all in told, three hundred and thirty billion souls celebrating the New Year in the territories of New Anglia. Some would, in the coming times, remain in complete obscurity. Others, like those mentioned and some not, would have quite an interesting time in the opening years of the 35th Century. The same would be true for others in all the many states and polities of known space, with interesting times ahead for all. From Chamarra to the Grand Dominion and from the Expanse to Wild Space, the known galaxy bustled with the life of interstellar civilization, as disparate as the Commune and the Imperium or Kryptonians and the Karlack, with heroes and villains (or heroines and villainesses to be accurate in some cases) spread out amongst the stars. But for all the oppotunity and promise for wealth and adventure that the galaxy presented, it also harbored terrors not yet seen, threats not yet imagined, and secrets that could shatter everything one believed in if they ever came to light; space is, ultimately, a very dangerous place.
Oh, and let's not forget one additional fact.
There are Orks everywhere.
And so here we are. The year is now 3400.
Welcome to the Worlds of SDN.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-03 01:51am
1 January 3400 UEN (United Earth and Nova Terra) Standard
Transmission Awesome News (brought to you by the Hypernet News Network), HN3
“And welcome back to the ongoing coverage of the fall of the Cedric of Rotherwood government here on New Vineyards. To recap, the new year has not been good for Lord Cedric of Rotherwood, the Rotherwood government fell as the Presiding Lord was defeated in a vote of No Confidence by a super-majority of more than eighty percent of the Lords present. Lord Athelstane of Conigsburgh, a staunch supporter of the Rotherwood Government, was one of the first to make the vote of No Confidence, and in currently rallying support to try and supplant the Rotherwood government.
“Lord Ebberworthy, chief official of the Rotherwood government, said this in an interview with reporters after the vote:
“‘Lord Cedric has seen betrayal on unmatched levels, the Lords of the Uplift Alliance chose to deride the very person who pushed for their entry. Lord Cedric’s expansion of the number of saleable seats in the Chamber per day was instrumental in the rise of what is now the second largest faction in the Chamber of Benefactors. Athelstane was the worst of the traitors, choosing to lead the change against the man who cut his political chops, who paid for the majority of his title, such a shame.’
“The Uplift Alliance, an Alliance of 527 Loxodonta africana sapiens, Loxondonta africana maximus, Gorilla gorilla sapiens, and Pan troglodytes sapiens hoping to secure power and wealth for the citizens of the Domain that are of an Uplifted ancestry. The major Lords of this Alliance did indeed purchase their seats during the 3990 UEN Standard ‘Fire Sale’ executed by the Rotherwood government.
“The candidates to replace the Rotherwood government are the aforementioned Lord Athelstane; Lord Kerchak of the Uplift Alliance and of the Militarist faction of the splintering Rotherwood government; Lord Konrad von Jungingen, leader of Ultra-Militarists Splinters and the Front for a Better Tomorrow, an Alliance seeking to further restrict trade and communications with the Commune; and the front-runner, Lord Sidious Palpatine, a former government clerk, now leader of the Progressive Front, the single largest faction within the Chamber at 720 voting Lords.”
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-03 04:20am
January 4th, 3400, 13:40 Terran Standard Reckoning
Grid Square H-11
Journeyman captain Rayth was dozing in his chair. It was afternoon, ship-time, and he was slowly digesting his mid-day meal and imagining himself on a cloud, playing a round of Bocce with his friends. Dreaming, to be precise. Not especially the proper thing for a cargo captain to do, but what else was a being to do on a slow run hauling electronics to the neighboring state? It wasn't like it really mattered -- the ship could mind the cargo of three hundred tonnes of computer processor units, or whatever the things were. Shoot, the ship could manage everything else onboard, why not let the ship worry about the cargo and destination?
"Information: Hyperspace contact." the console spoke in a soft human female voice.
The captain paid it no mind. He was winding up for the last toss of the game, the bag of sand in his dominant claw hand fitting solidly in his hand as he focused on the task of delivering the ball to its target.
The expert system observed that the new contact was changing course, but decided that the captain would not need to be informed. The contact maneuvered its way closer and closer, sometimes straying close to an intercept trajectory but never one that would cause a collision, which would have thrown alarms in both ships.
His toss had won the game for his team in his group of friends, and, some cheering, some promising a rematch, they all agreed to go down to the local pub.
The contact was now only 400 meters away, slightly forward of the centerline and a few meters to port. It hovered above the ship for a few seconds, then several small turrets mounted on the side facing the cargo ship turned toward it and fired roughly simultaneously.
One grapple consisted of a simple mechanical steel spike, punching though the metal shell that was exterior of the ship. Additional metal prongs sprung out, attempting to trap the spike in the cargo vessel, but only rented the hull when tension was applied to the line.
Two other grapples struck forward of where the metal spike grapple had failed, and an instant later an unholy amount of electricity arced between them, welding both of them to the hull.
A third grapple struck aft, its chemical adhesive binding to the metal and forming a sturdy bond in moments.
"Warning: Hull Breach" chimed the computer, accompanied by a soft beeping tone intended to rouse the captain. The metal spike had punctured a cargo hold. Computer parts didn't need air, so it was stored in the wet holds, open to the vacuum of space. As far as the expert system was concerned, the grapples had done little more than scratch the paint.
"Whaaauugg?" groaned Rayth, his throat trying to both swallow an imaginary drink of beer and speak at the same time.
"Critical Warning: Hyperspace Field Generators Overwhelmed; System is safely offline."
"Huuhh?" complained Rayth, his mind still not fully engaged.
"Information: Undergoing rapid deceleration. Estimate normal-space translation in 7 seconds. Contact is hailing."
Rayth sat dumbfounded, his brain still trying to figure out what in the First Egg was going on. Then it clicked. "P-p-p-pirates! Uh, uh, talk to them, call them, uh--" enlightenment "--Hail them. Hail them back." It wasn't properly worded, but the computer figured it out and set up a voice communication channel.
"This Cap'n Whyr. We ar' pir'tes. You stop so we c'n see Whyr yer cargo be!" The deep voice with the thick Orkish accent laughed at his own joke.
"This is Captain R-r-r-rayth of the Corian Cargo Service vessel Whippet. I'm stopping." In reality this meant nothing more than making sure all his engines were off and waiting for the other ship to match velocities. Since they had grapples, he was sure it wasn't going to take long.
"Information: Crossing normal-space threshold."
The journeyman captain's wits had left him. He had been taught how to deal with pirates -- "Yes sir, No sir, Three bags full sir!" -- but he didn't remember a single other thing on his checklist, so terrified he was.
The Orks pirate ship out-massed him two-to-one, and the ten Orks that clambered through the airlock certainly out-gunned him, not to mention towered over him. He felt very small.
"You only one on this ship?" asked the Ork pirate captain.
"Y-y-yes, I am."
"What your cargo?"
"C-computer parts. For general purposes."
"WHAT?!?" bellowed the green-skinned pirate captain, picking up the Iduran by the neck with one hand. "WE COME ALL THIS WAY FOR 'PUTER PARTS?"
"Information: Current audio environment exceeds pain threshold for-"
"RAAAAUUUUUGH" roared the Ork captain as he buried his war axe in the center of the console with his free hand.
Rayth fainted. This was probably to his benefit and the benefit of the bridge console, as the Orks thus decided to amuse themselves with finding how how many other different ways they could destroy computers. The air of the ship was filled with the sound of renting metal, autocannon fire, and screams of wild (and grammatically incorrect) abandon.
In the end, the Orks ransacked the vessel for food, spare parts (what few there were) and other supplies. In a surprising show of bigheartedness, the Orks stuffed the unconscious body of Rayth into the ship's one escape pod, along with a computer impaled to the other acceleration couch with a steak knife, and used the manual overrides to eject him from the ship. They then tramped back to their ship, cut the grapples free and used the drifting ship full of scrap metal and broken printed circuit boards for target practice.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-03 05:07am
President Sinclair Vows Senate Election Reforms
A Sovereign Suns exclusive report!
On the first day of the new year, recently elected President Victoria Sinclair has put her name behind a senate election reform bill that she says is backed “by all senior administration members”. The bill seeks to limit senate representation only to worlds boasting three billion or more citizens or a GDP of greater than 2,000 galactic standard units, and would therefore eliminate senatorial seats of several colonies, notable amongst which Celeste, Cressia, Mejis and Pharagon Majoris. Under the system proposed by the bill the total number of senators would be reduced by fifteen, all of which fringe worlds seats.
“Solarians know what's at stake by continuing to let fringe elements divide our broader constituencies,” Sinclair said in a statement. “The challenges we face--underscored by Bragulan antagonism and the continued unrest on the colonial fringe--is ample reason to redouble our effort to streamline the political process and enhance cohesion amongst the electorate.”
Deputy press secretary Jennifer Salazar denied that the bill was punishment for the civil unrest and protests that have rocked a number of fringe colonies, many of whose inhabitants continue to clamor for greater senatorial representation. According to Salazar the resolution would give “greater teeth” to existing democratic processes. Says the press secretary: “the status quo is no longer acceptable”. Additionally, to give fringe colonists a greater say in the political process would be “disproportionate” and “unfair” according to Salazar.
Despite vocal opposition from the Technocratic Radical party and its leader, Lyra Saxon, the odds look good for the plan. The bill has the support of the Sovereign Justice party, which currently has a majority in the senate which it stands to increase under the proposed new election system...
Sovereign Center, Solaris Major
The wide oaken doors crashed open, and if President D. Victoria J. R. Sinclair had not been expecting them to (in fact, this happened about an hour later than she'd thought it would) she would have been surprised. However, Sinclair was rarely surprised, especially not by her surprisingly predictable ambassadorial-
“Bitch!” the intruding man yelled, storming into the President's office. He had to cross about thirty meters of immaculate white carpet to get to her desk, and the mute guards stiffened as he passed. “You fucking soulless piece of shit bitch!
“Good afternoon, Sidney. Cigarette, cigar?” She saluted him with her own smoking cigarillo.
"Fuck you, Vic," he said, stopping just in front of the immense expanse of polished cherry-wood that was the Presidential desk and slamming his hands down on it. "You want to know what I just read?"
"I'm riveted, dear," Sinclair said, leaning back in her chair and smiling.
He glared at her. “You're reforming the vote system. The opposite
way of how we'd agreed. You're going to strip the colonies from all meaningful representation in the Senate!”
Sinclair looked around the room and shook her head. “I suppose I don't see the problem.”
“Asshole,” he hissed, and if looks could kill he would've reduced the President to a pile of charred cinders. “First off, you didn't tell me shit about this. Second off, this wasn't what you fucking promised. In fact, it's the exact opposite
of what you promised. I got you the fringe world vote. And as thanks, you screwed me--and the colonies with it!”
The duly elected supreme honcho of the United Solarian Sovereignty shook her head, sending showers of blond hair every which way. “You are wrong on several counts, Sidney my dear. I may have promised you reforms... You just assumed they would be the sort of reforms you desire. So the worst I did was neglect to tell you about the fine-print. And I screwed no-one. What we're doing, what I'm
doing, is really ultimately for the good of the colonials. They just don't know it yet.”
Sidney stared at her, livid rage etched on his aging face. “You presume to know what's good for the people better than the people themselves? That's your excuse? How many tyrants have said that in the past?”
Victoria Sinclair smiled serenely. “Oh, Sidney. You're exaggerating.”
“I promised the goddamn colonials you'd do right by them. They believed me. They helped elect you. And as your thanks you'll make me a liar!” he was shouting now. “I'm telling you Vic, you had better withdraw this legislation, or...”
The President raised an eyebrow. “Or what?” She shrugged nonchalantly. “Besides, the point is moot. Recalling the bill is quite beyond me, dear. I've already sent it to the Senate. A discussion and vote have been tabled for next week. If I were to publicly reconsider I'd lose face. I can't have that, now can I?”
Sidney narrowed his eyes and his voice dropped to a hissing growl. “You'll lose face now
. Do you really think anyone on the fringe will ever believe a single thing you say after you sell them out like this?”
“Ah, but that's the beauty of it,” she smiled wolfishly. “If this bill goes through, I'll no longer have to care if they do or don't believe me. The colonial rabble will be silenced, and we'll finally be able to get some proper work done on the fringe without those people getting in the way every time. And if the price for that is the breaking of a few electoral promises and your reputation...” she shrugged. “Well, that's what I call a bargain.”
He stared at her. “And here I thought you were a woman of your word. I guess power corrupts after all.”
Sinclair looked him in the eye. “That's something you really ought to know by now.”
“Right,” Sidney said flatly. “Alright. Fine. If you want to play it like that, let's play it that way. Withdraw the legislation, or I swear I'll torpedo this bill--and the way I'll do it, you won't have a face left to lose once I'm through.”
President Sinclair erupted in rich laughter. “Oh dear. I'd like to see you try. The party will follow my lead. The Zigonians will follow Sovereign Justice as always. That means I have a majority in the Senate. All you have is Saxon and her radical minority--that is, if you can keep her from tearing your throat out. You'll never get anywhere. I'm sorry Sidney, but you've been outmaneuvered.”
Sidney's lip shook in anger. “I'm warning you Vic. You don't want to make an enemy out of me. ”
“Back atcha, baby.” A flicker of annoyance crossed her face, and Sinclair half-rose from her seat, planting her hands on the desk opposite his own. “You were a valuable asset during the campaign, Sidney. Perhaps even invaluable. And I won't dispute the great things you've done for this nation in the past, as a Founding Father and later on. In fact those are the only reasons I even tolerate you taking this tone with me. But I am the President, and you will respect this office. You will respect me
, and everything I say. And you better not think for a moment that you're untouchable or unmissable, because you're not, and if you think otherwise you're in for one whopper of a surprise.”
“And if you
think you can intimidate me
,” he spat and met her gaze, “then know that a lot of people a lot more frightening than you have tried that over the centuries, and failed. You've read my file. I'm sure CEID briefed you on me. Hell, you might even think you know me... But you really have no idea just what I'm capable of. You have no goddamn clue at all.” He struggled to keep himself from bashing her beautiful, arrogant face in. “Mark my words, Vic. This... is not... the end of this.”
For a moment their eyes stared hard into each other. Then Victoria Sinclair broke the gaze, abruptly sat down and smiled insincerely. “Yeah whatever. It was a pleasure as always, Sidney.” She airily waved him away. “Tah.”
Without another word Sidney stomped out of the office, not bothering to close the oaken doors behind him. Well, at least I sure as hell made my point
he thought as he tried to shake off the adrenalin on long elevator ride back down to ground level. Now how am I going to make it stick?
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-03 08:11am
+++CLASSIFIED: TOP SECRET+++
Operational report: 616th Operational Patrol Group
THE SOVEREIGN INCIDENT
Response by DESRON 2 found the hulk with no difficulty, at the coordinates received by crew of the salvage tug Opportunity. Initial scans confirmed the report: the ship was a derelict Kajuna class livestock freighter, with only one backup generator approaching. A cloud of microscopic debris orbited the hulk.
Initial boarding was performed two hours after contact, utilizing remote drones. Thew crew was located immediately, concentrated in the command centre. No surviving crew members were recovered.
Investigation of the primary cargo hold, that retained all atmosphere, revealed a group of about 1200 sentients - malnourished, but alive.
Interrogation of the recovered sentients revealed they were slaves, bought by the ship's owner. They were unable to provide any detail about what happened to the ship's crew. Refer to Attachmet D-1 for interrogation logs. Please note that, according to the prisoners, the ship only docked once after taking in the cargo, at which point about fifty slaves - exclusively Chamarrans - were removed from the cargo hold.
Analysis of the ship's computer systems found them completely wiped of all programming. The flight recorder was likewise erased.
Most puzzling observations related to uploaded members of the crew, however, who seemed to have comitted suicide. Wounds on the bodies of organic crewmembers indicate they engaged in combat with service robots and uploaded crew.
Further analysis is pending at Wild Space Research Station #65 in Sector U24, where the hulk has been towed and is currently being investigated. The wounded crewmember of the salvage tug Opportunity is recovering at the research station's hospital. The rest of the tug's crew have been detained for further questioning.
Brig. F. Stalin, Commander, 616th Operational Patrol Group
+++CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET+++
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-03 09:20am
Malacor Sector, Malacor Prime, Karlack Space
Malacor Prime is a beautiful world and when one looked upon it from space, one would think it was heaven, however looks can be deceiving. The Planet was infested to the core, its surface was covered in Spore Towers, and its atmosphere highly contaminated. All creatures on the planet surface, Karlack or not, without protection - would answer only to the will of the Swarm.
In orbit around the planet, hundreds of Brood Ships moved gently through space, ominous guardians of the planet and the billions of lifeforms on it. Malacor is one of the most defended Karlack sectors, aside from Jahannam. Which is understandable considering that most of Karlack Brood movements originated from here.
Among the hundreds of Brood Ships, one thing seemed out of place, an old Imperium Battle Ship orbited the planet. Considering the state of affairs between the Imperium and the Karlack Swarm, this was a rather odd thing to see. Until someone looked closer that is.
The Battle Ship was infested.
It was clearly old, centuries perhaps, certain parts of it were covered in organic carapace and other parts seemed to sprout organic tentacles. Aboard it, among hundreds of Karlack creatures, through the windows of the ships Bridge - a creature with the appearance of a gray haired human looked out at the assembled Broods.
The large metal door on the Bridge were already half open, their automatic systems no longer functioning, when an unseen force ripped them off violently. The large piece of metal, a couple of tons in weight, flew through the air like a leaf in the breeze.
"I really don't understand your insistence upon using this ship...when there are way better alternatives." A young woman said as she entered the bridge.
The gray haired man simply ignored her, and continued to gaze through the windows.
"I hope you don't mind the door." She said with a smile.
"Alyxia..." The gray haired man spoke as he turned around. His bright blue eyes meeting with Alyxia's. "Do you have a special reason for coming here? Other than removing all the doors on my ship..."
He smiled. It was clear he didn't mind her behavior.
"I don't like your plan." She said and took a seat on one of the consoles.
"Going into Wild Space with just this old hulk to protect you. You should know better than that. You are too important...to the Swarm." She said and jumped up from the console. "We can't afford to lose you Seth, not now.The OVERMIND..."
"Don't worry." Seth interrupted her mid-sentence and placed his hand on her shoulder. "This is something I must do."
"But what?!" She yelled at him. "Why do you always have to be so mysterious? I hate not being able to read you...Old man."
"You and every other Aspect." Seth grumbled. "As I have told you all before, my mind is my own and it will remain so."
"Thats not really fair, you know." Alyxia complained. "All of us share are thoughts and memories by default, even know I know what every one of us is thinking, but you...you are black hole. We can all feel your presence in our minds, yet your thoughts are sealed from us. Why?"
"Because..." Seth's face suddenly became cold, emotionless. "There are certain things, you are not ready for. When the time comes, I will share. But for now...you will have to trust me."
"Easier said than done." Alyxia frowned. "So whats in Wild Space that interests you so much?"
"I have to arrange a meeting with an old friend, a human. And it has to be there, on neutral ground. Nobody likes to visit our space, you would think we were bad hosts." Seth laughed.
"We're good hosts. Its just that our guests never leave." Alyxia said playfully. "So how come you have a human friend? You haven't left our space since the wars with my father. I would figure any human you met than, would be long dead."
"This human is...special." Seth said and pointed at the exit. "Now you must go. I'm leaving."
"Alright." Alyxia said. "I hope you know what you are doing. You know this isn't a very good time...our neighbors are getting anxious." It was clear, as she walked towards the exit, she didn't like this strange errand her old friend decided upon so suddenly.
"You worry too much my dear. This is something I must do." Seth said as his thoughts went elsewhere. Suddenly the ship shuddered with power. Its engines warming up for a hyperspace jump.
Alyxia was already gone, but her thoughts were still with Seth.
"Be careful." Her thought entered Seth's mind as she left the ship.
"I always am." His thought went back to her.
Moments later, with a brilliant flash of light, the old Imperium Battle Ship disappeared into Hyperspace. Its destination, Wild Space Sector V27, the very border of the Sovereignty's space.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-03 11:18am
Aurora Shipyards, Aurora
Aybeem Sector, The Centrality
6 January 3400
The shipyards of Aurora were vast and intimidating, but some people liked to see it as majestic. It was one of the largest and most modern shipyards in the whole Centrality, capaple of churning out any ship the leadership wanted to have. Today was a particularly busy day: the fleet-wide reorganization meant that the shipyards were scrapping uneeded ships to make way for newer ones. Though most of the work was done by robots and other machines, they still needed human supervision. And those supervisors had to be supervised. That was the job of the Party Supervisors, and the group assigned to oversee the Aurora shipyards were led by a man named Hofo Scrug.
Scrug was a rather pleasant person, quite different from your bog-standard Party Supervisor. While his loyalty to the Party was unquestioned, he did not agree with the high-handed methods most Party Supervisors used to keep the supervised pliant. Whle he was armed with the standard Supervisor gear (Command Pistol, Tazer, Hypnotic device, among others), his methods were different. Instead of trying to use fear to motivate, he opted to use a carrot-and-stick system. He set production quotas that he encouraged the shipyard supervisors to meet. If said quota was not only surpassed but also done on a quick timetable, there would be rewards in the form of higher wages, as well as fame. Otherwise, he would reduce their wages, fire them, and smear on their reputation.
Today was so far uneventful. Nothing more than routine reports reached Scrug's office. Scrug himself was pacing back and forth behind the window, looking at the planet below. This was his homeworld, and such did not feel as homesick as some of the other Supervisors here. He wished he had a telescome so he could try to find his old home. He finally got tired of walking and reached for his seat, when the comm started bursting. With a sigh, he grabbed it.
"What is it?"
"Chief Supervisor, our sensors have detected a flotilla of warships entering the system."
"Are they ours?," Scrug said with some trepidation.
"Yes, sir. Apparently a dreadnought with an escort of four cruisers and ten destroyers," responded the voice on the comm.
Scrug was a bit relieved after that. "Thank you for informing me of this. Who leads this force?"
"Admiral Dir, sir."
"Very well. Inform the Admiral that I will contact him soon and send him my regards," declared Scrug.
"Affirmative, sir. Out." The comm soon died down.
Hofo Scrug was elated and at the same time nervous. The Admiral surely was here to make a routine check to his ships. There was little reason he was here for something else. Yet Scrug's training taught him to expect anything from anyone, even from the most predictable people. Perhaps the Admiral wanted more ships?
What the hell? I'll just ask him what he wants and bring a telepath along to find out what he really thinks, he thought.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 12:21am
Palace of Parliament Government Offices, Westminster
New Anglia, Star Kingdom of New Anglia
6 January 3400
It was a Monday and business was resuming in the capital, everyone having enjoyed their extended New Year's weekend holiday. That morning, fresh back from a flight from the Leeds Island Summer Home used by all PMs for holidays during their tenures of office, Stephen had kissed Rachel and their youngest children goodbye (The children were due to resume school as well, save Adrian) before heading in to begin the tedious, paperwork heavy duty of being the first Minister of His Majesty's Government.
There were various issues to be done, and all were to be discussed at the monthly meeting of the Cabinet, to be immediately followed by Stephen having his monthly meeting with King Edward XVI. The 20 other members of the Cabinet now gathered in the spacious Cabinet Room of the Palace of Parliament, Stephen at one end of a circular table that was favored to reflect the technical status of the Prime Minister as primus inter pares, "first among equals". This was a truth that varied from Government to Government or even time to time within a single Government's lifespan. The stronger a Prime Minister's position, the more he was an outright leader of the Government as opposed to the first-among-equals arrangement. The weaker the PM, the more powerful the Cabinet as a whole was.
There were various discussions to be had. Figures for the coming years' Defence Budget, the Duchess of Norfolk's imminent release of a Fiscal Report recommending a restructuring of the budget to accommodate accelerated debt repayment and an alteration of taxation and duty collection to better adjust the deficit, and a report from Luis Mandragon MP, the Foreign Office's Minister of State specifically assigned to Dilgrud affairs, to be delivered to the Cabinet on the state of affairs on Dilgrudar, which the young Andalusian had compiled on his way home over the holiday season. Each Cabinet minister would also be giving a short, few minute brief on key business in their work, all for Stephen to jot down to recount to the King later.
The Foreign Office Minister of State for the Outback, Aaron Hartman MP (an Alban), had come first, though. Hartman relayed his report from Lochley's Retreat, the center of Anglian influence (And bits of sovereignty) in that major region of hyperspace shoals. "Justice Sullivan's trial of the Lady Katherine de la Poer and other Pendletonian officials aboard Tantalizer has revealed much evidence on the state of affairs on Pendleton. Since our last intervention there in '64, they have slowly recovered and re-established contacts with the region's pirates to begin re-importation of slaves."
"They always have been the troublesome sort," Lord Baden-Grey stated from his seat. "Though we have fielded a handful of 'inquiries' from other states as to our interception of the Tantalizer. Though few states have diplomatic relations on Pendleton, it is true that they are considered a sovereign state..."
"The information gained by Lord Fisher was validly obtained and carefully vetted," Robert Dale replied. The First Lord of the Admiralty tapped his pen against the desk in irritation. "Lord Fisher was within rights to seize Tantalizer."
"I do not dispute this," was Baden-Grey's answer, "but now we must ponder what to do about it. I needn't remind you that His Majesty's Government faces a budget crunch of some severity in these coming years. The price of sustaining another intervention on Pendleton, within a half century of the last..."
"...is one we should pay." Hro Talak's hand slammed on the table. Though reserved by the standards of his people, the bulky Secretary of State for War - his wings in carefully-arranged braces so as to not take up too much space - was capable of great passion by the standards of the other. "We have permitted these criminals to go unpunished for too long. The Emperor's subjects were found in captivity, being carted off to the Pfhor as part of a blatant attempt by Pendleton to introduce an alien influence into the Outback. Our response should be to end this issue once and for all."
"I do concur with Secretary Talak and the First Lord," Stephen interjected. "I was an officer in the last suppression at Pendleton, you see, and I know how they behave. It is time we put them down for good."
"It is easier said than done, Sir," Hartman answered. "Pendleton is in Sector X-17, accessible only by a complicated system of web-lanes from Lochley's Retreat in X-18, including dangerous narrowings that made the journey difficult. Due to the time needed to get back and forth, and the difficulty involved, the costs of an expedition will undoubtedly be high. And even if we did suppress Pendleton, there are other influences in the region to concern ourselves with. If a more active policy is what you want, then I have a suggestion."
"And that is, Mr. Hartman?", Dale asked.
"There are communities in the Outback that are considered territories of the Empire. It would be permissible to appoint a Governor-General to Lochley's Retreat to direct our policies on the scene, with a direct line to the Government and Sovereign," Hartman suggested. "And I have just the fellow. Sir William Tarkington."
That brought murmurs across the table. "Tarkington?", Tevala about blurted out. "Are we referring to the same man, sir, who suggested that republican demonstrators should be 'run down in the streets' during his short tenure as Governor-General on Jinla?"
"That was admittedly a terrible faux pas by Sir William," Hartman agreed, "and he was rightfully removed from his post over it. But you'll find no more skillful a man to oversee our efforts in the Outback, including if this Government actually makes a decision to annex Pendleton utterly."
"The Cabinet will consider your suggestion, Mr. Hartman," Stephen stated. "You may go now." As Hartman left, he felt a slight headache come on; appointing Tarkington to anything would be a recipe for trouble.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 12:28am
It was the annual Imperial New Year celebrations, and the Orthodox Christmas was just round the corner. The citizenry were generally joyful and happy and were celebrating the annual weeklong holiday. Church bells rung, as people thronged the Hagia Sophia, a copy of the Nova Terran Hagia Sophia, but much larger, and more majestic, benefiting from 25th century technology. It was the first church erected on Terra when the Byzantine colonists first landed, and it remained the most important and most sacred church to the Imperium. The Ecumenical Patriarch Ignatius XXI was saying the mass in the Hagia Sophia, and all who were in the church dutifully listened. Not too far away from the Hagia Sophia, was ther large sprawling campus of the University of Constantinople, the largest and most respected university throughout the Imperium.
Looming above the Hagia Sophia, was an even larger edifice; the Imperial Palace. It is essentially a continental wide fortress that was meant to house the Roman Curia, the Imperial Inquisition, and the Imperium Military High Command, and other important offices of state. Guns of all variety circled the Palace, with huge anti-capital ship defence batteries pointing skywards. Void shield generators lined the perimeter ready to emit a protective field around the palace. Titans from Titan Legio I and II patrolled the parameter. Their large hunking forms both intimidating and a warning to all who approach the palace unheeded. The palace had 3 concentric rings of walls, each lined with plenty of guns to ward off ground attack. There are only two entrances into the main palace, and two Warlord class Titans stood guard at the entrance. The Scholae Palatinae Astartes hold eternal vigilance around the palace, patrolling every corner, and also indulging in exercises breaking into the palace, to expose security inadequacies. It was the most guarded corner of the Imperium, and in the space above, the Battle Barge Konstantin stood in high orbit, with some escort starships holding guard.
Close by Terra, orbiting the same sun Solaria, was the planet Mars. It was not exactly a red planet like its Nova Terran namesake. It was instead a grey planet and dull planet, but deep beneath the dark clouds was a bustle of industry which produced weapons and war materiel for the Imperium. The Adeptus Mechanicus headquarters was here, along with many of the design bureaus that designed weapons, ships, tanks, etc. for the Imperium. The Forge World of Mars boasted the largest production output of many a Forge World. In between the gas giant Jupiter and Mars and orbiting the sun Solaria, was the Mars and Jupiter shipyards which produced warships for the Imperium. These days, a substantial part of the production was allocated for civilian production, to feed the ever growing trading fleets of Constantinople Star Shipping Inc. and its rival companies, Athenian Star Shipping and Mehmet Shipping. Nevertheless, a number of warships were now beginning construction, as the Imperium continues to need more ships to guard its borders, or to fight the endless tide of xenos waiting to feast on the carcass of the Imperium.
It was the year 3400 of the Imperium, a millenia since the founding of the Imperium.
The Battle Barge Ultramar roared out of hyperspace with two Scutum class cruisers, Steadfast and Shield as escorts. They stood a respectful distance from the Sovereignty Home World Solaris Major. It awaited the escort of the United Solarian Star Force, just so that no one got too intimidated by the kilometers long monster of a starship, with its brutal lines that did not disguise its violent intent.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 05:58am
Lochley's Retreat. The Outback
10 January 3400
Allendale was a mountain town about fifty kilometers away from the actual "city" of Lochley's Retreat. Politically it existed in a state of almost terra nullius; inconsistent taxation to what passed for a central government in the city, little in the way of law enforcement, and almost no vestiges of a state authority present. About the only constant reminder they had of nearness to something resembling civilization was the space elevator that connected the planet-side Royal Navy facilities to the orbital Naval Station, visible over the horizon.
Within one of the structures a young woman was being roughly handled, pulled into a corner booth in what passed for Allendale's main watering hole. The activity was light for the time of day, but for those who passed as Allendale's "law-abiding" citizenry, the tavern wasn't a place to go when certain clientele appeared. While two big and bulky Humans stood over her, the golden-haired woman looked meekly toward a hulking, slightly overweight male figure wedged into the booth; he had a particularly feisty looking Chamarran beside him, rather scantily clad with an obvious profession. "I recognize you," the man said.
"You are Mr. Jack Springer?", the young woman said, in a fairly refined, polite fashion, though she was also clearly showing a lot of fear. "I... I've come to ask about..."
"You were de la Poer's little personal cunt-licker," Springer continued with a chuckle. "Now she's locked up, the Anglians are gonna be goin' after Pendleton sooner or later... and I'm short clients."
"Please, I... I have some money," Sara continued. "I can pay you. I just want to know about my family..."
"I don't know about your family," Springer answered. "As for you, word on the grapevine is you backstabbed your mistress when the Anglians boarded. Handed them their win on a silver platter. I'm out thousands of credits now, havin' to yank my trade with Pendleton. So, the way I figure it is..." He pulled out a chemical-propellant sidearm. "...I can either find someone willin' to pay a few creds for you, or I can kill you. Either way is fine by me." He tapped at the table with his free hand. "Though I'm leanin' toward killin'. After all, you might be workin' for the Anglies too."
Sara began to stutter. "I... it wasn't... the Anglians would've found the others anyway!"
"Maybe, maybe not. Either way, best not to take chances." He brought the gun up and Sara could do nothing but cry out a plea for mercy.
And then Springer stopped. He felt metal press against the back of his head. "Put the gun down," a female voice commanded.
His men might have moved to help him, but now they weren't in any condition to. Not with another pair of robed women standing to either side, shining energy blades in their hands and barring his bodyguards from him. Springer let out a curse. "God dammit all, don't you idiots have any eyes?!"
"My Sisters and I have a way of going about unseen," Yuna answered from behind him, holding one of her TB-12s even closer to the back of his head. "So, put the gun down."
The other patrons were paying attention. A few, clearly friendly to Springer, advanced. A third beamsaber ignited in their direction, held in Ashe's free hand. Rana, meanwhile, extended a hand toward Sara. She reached out with her mind and made Sara understand their intentions. The young Pendletonian girl slipped out of the booth and took Rana's hand.
Springer, meanwhile, lowered his gun.
Rana began to back away from the man she was facing as Yuna moved away from Springer. A gun was in each of her hands, letting her cover the entire tavern about while Ashe moved ahead of Rana and Sara to cover their exit. She gave a smirk in Springer's direction as she was the last to exit.
In front of the tavern was a waiting wheeled vehicle, electric powered, a "jeep" from the looks of it. Rana helped Sara up into it. "I am Rana Shaheen, a Sister of the Silver Moon," she told Sara reassuringly. "My Sisters and I came to aid you."
"Our Order knows of what happened and how you're here. Certain friends in the Navy let us know you were looking into finding Mr. Springer, so we followed," Ashe said as she climbed in, de-activating her sabers. She reached into the floorboard of the vehicle's rear seatsand pulled out a plasma rifle. "Hello Sara Pontcaire, I am Ashley Dalmasan. You may call me Ashe."
"And this is Yuna," Rana said as the third Sister, climbed in. "I guess Springer's men are finding their courage."
"Yeah," was the laconic answer. Yuna joined Ashe in the back and retrieved her own weapon. "And we should leave."
Rana nodded and turned on the engine of the machine. The electric motor hummed to life. She shifted the gears and began to pull them down Allendale's main lane.
As they did so, several men came out of the tavern, and all were armed. Yuna and Ashe fired at their feet, forcing them to flee for cover from the rain of red energy bolts, with bullets cracking past them with the occasional blaster bolt. With Rana's foot on the accelerator, they quickly got out of range and the passengers could breathe easily.
"So, why are you looking to meet with Stringer?," Ashe asked. "You know what he does, you should've known he'd not help you."
"I... Lord Fisher gave me a fair amount of pounds after your courts ruled for him," Sara explained meekly. "I thought if I paid him..."
"Paid him for what?" This question from Yuna.
"My family. My sisters, brother, and little niece. Mistress Kat.... Lady de la Poer informed me they'd been sold as we left Pendleton on the Tantalizer. When I last saw her she claimed that I'd never see them again, that by the time the Anglians invaded Pendleton my family would be gone. I... I can't be free knowing they're not. I need to find them! And then maybe Lord Fisher..."
"The Royal Navy has other things to do than hunt for a family, unfortunately," Ashe remarked.
The Sisters in the back looked at each other. Before either could answer, Rana spoke up from the driver's seat. "We can help, Sara."
That earned her a glare from the other two, who were her seniors. She felt both give her the mental message No, do not get her hopes up! and gave a mental acceptance of the rebuke. "We can talk to the Knight-Captain," Yuna said reluctantly. "She might know how to help."
Rana's remark made the other two look back. They were being chased by a pair of vehicles, the men clearly being Stringer's. "That man doens't know when to quit," was Ashe's remark as she pulled her gun back up. She concentrated and opened up with a full burst, but even with augmented aim as she had the shots went wide.
"Let me, Ashe." Yuna leveled her gun and, being fairly more a firearms user, proved to have a better aim. Her second shot, in quick succession, struck the hood of one of the vehicles. A crackle of sparks and smoke erupted from the engine cavity and the vehicle swerved away. The second, however, was drawing closer.
The issue, though, was that their pursuers were all "normal" sentients, and the three Sisters were trained ESPers. As such any chase in this situation was going to be sadly anti-climactic, as proven when Ashe's next volley blew apart the rubber tires of the vehicle with plasma fire. The vehicle tipped and rolled over, leaving them free of pursuit as they raced back to Lochley's Retreat.
Commander's Office, Lochley's Retreat Naval Station
Lord Fisher was going over the latest dispatches from the Admiralty when his yeoman secretary signaled that he had a visitor, a civilian Dorei woman. Knowing immediately whom he was being called on by, he had her sent in.
Syrandi Luneri, Knight-Captain of the Silver Moon, entered. She was dressed plainly, in a set of Dorei monastic robes of light green that hid the actual figure of her body fairly well. Her purple hair was held back in a pony-tail and her eyes, a light blue tone not possible for Humans, appraised him carefully. Fisher could sense her mind habitually reaching out to his, sensing his emotions, but his own control was fairly good. "Miss Luneri, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
"My Sisters have saved Sara Pontcaire from the inevitable result of her own naivety," Syrandi remarked. Her tone was fairly neutral, but FIsher was familiar with how hot it could get. The two had a particularly interesting relationship; they each resented each other's "interference" in their activities, yet also worked closely to accomplish commonly-held goals, including the suppression of piracy and slave-trading within the Outback.
Fisher drew in a sigh at that. "I made sure she was told to stay on base," he lamented. "The girl has a surprising streak of independence given how meek she comes off as being."
"She is desperate to find her family," Syrandi pointed out.
"Her and a thousand others petitioning my office daily for the latest reports of recovering suspected slaver victims," Fisher answered. "I encouraged her to be patient. Westminster's slowness may be irritating, but one thing you can expect a Liberal Government to approve is a suppression of slavers like Pendleton."
"Her family may already be gone from that world. Lady de la Poer's family apparently arranged their sale."
"If so, then I am afraid there is no more that I can do." Fisher saw her expression and let out an exasperated sigh. "Oh, come now Luneri, you know as well as I that the Outback has a thousand hiding places, and that's if the poor devils haven't been sold to whomever is buying this week and are long gone. I have no resources to pursue this. If you and your merry band of sapphist do-gooders want to try, be my guest."
His way of referring to her Order might have been insulting to another Sister, but Syrandi was well aware of the Lord Fisher's penchant for sarcasm. She flashed him an amused look. "Don't you think my Sisters and I do enough in this field already? This cause is one that has cost many of my Sisters..."
"You know that the Royal Navy, and His Majesty's Government, appreciates the efforts of the Order to assist the populations of the Outback, and we honor your sacrifices. As charitable organizations go you are fairly respected by us. But I can do no more on this subject." Fisher looked back to his monitor, where a top level dispatch from New Anglia was displayed. "And I would recommend you get in the habit of making appointments as well."
"His Majesty's Government has just appointed Sir William Tarkington to be Governor-General of the Outback Territories," Fisher related. "Sir William has quite the reputation, I have no doubt he will be fairly strict on such things."
"Tarkington?" There was a bit of venom in Syrandi's voice. "The man is a brute. The Government would appoint him?"
"As you well know, Miss Luneri, the Outback is a brutish place, you need tough men to keep it in line," Fisher answered. "I shall endeavor to make sure our continued cooperation is not impacted by him. But, if you will excuse me, I must go appraise my commanders of this. Please say hello to Sara for me? And instruct her to return as soon as possible, she's only safe here in the Naval Station."
Syrandi gave him a stern look. "I shall relay the message," she agreed, "but I shall extend an invitation of my own. She will be just as safe with my Sisters as she is with you... perhaps moreso."
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 06:24am
Colonial Unrest Intensifies After Proposed Reforms
The Sovereign Suns reports from the fringe worlds!
Chaos and unrest continue to increase on the outer fringe after President Sinclair's announcement of senatorial reforms that aim to take away senate representation of several colonial planets. Protests rocked the streets of most planetary capitals in the Auris and Celeste sectors. Violent riots broke out in several places, causing widespread destruction of government property and loss of life. Civilian and military authorities in the affected sectors have been forced to respond harshly to civil disturbances, in several cases resorting to calling in Marine Corps forces to disperse rioters.
In a press conference held in a military facility outside the capital of Gilead, Governor Edsger Hemmington of Celeste talked about arresting individuals who have created chaos on the fringe. “The colonial government will ensure justice to everybody by having the military and police officials force even the most discontent agitator to accept the President's roadmap to transparency.”
“I realize that all citizens of the Sovereignty have the right to express their disagreement with the government. However, under the current situation, we have to prioritize strengthening security measures and forbidding further demonstrations” said Mr. Hemmington. “I am strongly concerned, and this concern is shared by the regional military commanders, that the current unrest might be exploited by the Bragulans. Therefore the troubles represent a clear and unacceptable threat to national security, and the government and military have to take tighter measures by ordering more troops in those detrimental sites and strengthening measures against conflagration.”
According to official figures in the first week of the new year the troubles on the outer fringe have claimed the lives of at least 1,500 people, of which 403 were killed on Auris, 201 on Mejis, 397 on Cressia...
Senatorial District, Solaris Major
The upper levels of the Sovereign Spire, the meeting place of the Senate, offered an almost godlike vantage over the surrounding surface-spanning cityscape. The city was there no matter where he looked, receding from the lower levels of the Spire like ocean waves breaking against an immovable rock. From this particular window on the 400th floor Sidney could see, beyond the edge of the Senatorial District, the million glittering lights of well-to-do Greenwood Banks. Beyond them, the Shallow Sea reflected Solaris' weird orange light like a mirror. From up here, it sure looked enticing, a playground for the rich and beautiful. But down there, he knew it was different. Down there, a thousand pretty girls from the off-world colonies would show up every day with big dreams that died on the meat markets of Vega Street, and thousands of broken men begged the price of a ticket home and were always still there the next day, no matter how much money you gave them.
The knowledge stirred half-forgotten memories. Sidney remembered another city, smaller perhaps but at its core not so different, on another planet a long time ago. A city that had also been rich and prosperous; a city that had also been filled with violence and a casual disregard for human life.
A city that had been the first in a long line of places that defeated his every effort to better them.
Sidney stared at his distinguished, silver-haired reflection in the window. “I hate Solaris,” he murmured to no-one in particular.
“And it hates you right back,” a melodic soprano replied. He turned around to look at the stunning woman who had silently exited the elevator. She wore a silk dress of purest white, cut close to the flawless lines of her body. Few women could do justice to white, but she managed it. The cut of the dress elegantly displayed her figure in a way that was more than enough to give a man ideas, but modest enough they would not to think any less of her. Long, dark brown hair hung in waves past her shoulders. Her features had the classically immortal beauty of Greek statues, balancing sheer elegance with strength, intelligence, and perception. She stepped onto the observation deck on high heeled twelve hundred dollar shoes. “I wish I could say it's a pleasure to see you, Mr. Hank, but I'm afraid it's not.”
Sidney ignored the dig and instead inclined his head a little. “Doctor Saxon, how agreeable of you to join me,” he greeted Lyra Saxon, the head of the Technocratic Radical party and minority leader of the Sovereign Senate.
She regarded him with warm brown eyes framed by thick sooty lashes. It didn't take centuries of experience to recognize the suppressed anger there. “You had better not have asked me here to gloat, Mr. Hank. I'm quite cross with you right now.”
He sighed tiredly. “I assure you that is not my intention.” Sidney took a small remote control device from his jacket pocket and locked down the elevators leading up to the observation deck. Saxon raised an eyebrow; he ignored it. “It seems we have a mutual problem,” he began. “Namely a certain piece of recently proposed legislation.”
Saxon narrowed her eyes to mere slits. “You mean to say you're in opposition to the senate reforms?” her voice was skeptical.
“Is that so hard to believe?”
To his satisfaction, she blinked and looked confused for a moment. “Well... I had assumed...”
“You had assumed I was selling out the constituency and the colonies,” he nodded. “Like Sinclair. I assure you I'm not.”
The minority leader frowned, and Sidney could see the proverbial wheels churning in her head. Lyra Saxon might be a hopeless liberal idealist, but she was also a member of the Sovereignty's upper classes, which meant she came with an impressive degree of posthuman engineering as standard--hence the gorgeous figure—and thus possessed a formidable intellect. “You mean to say...” she concluded, “Sinclair used you to get elected and then, once she was, she simply discarded all her promises?”
He shrugged. “That about sums it up.”
“That bitch!” Saxon fumed.
Sidney smiled wryly. “A bitch, perhaps, but a fast learner about politics...”
She scowled. “That's what I mean – a whore...”
His smile morphed into something distinctly sharkish. “Perhaps. I think it runs in the family.” He crossed his arms. “But we can discuss the particularities of Victoria Sinclair some other time. Right now the question is... How much do you want to get rid of this bill?”
Saxon narrowed her eyes. “What are you not telling me?”
“I know a way to get this bill off the table. But,” his frown deepened. “Knowing you, you're not going to like it.”
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 06:31am
Commune orbital shipyard-habitat, Commune home sector, industrial planet New Gagarin
slowly docked with the massive orbital station. It was the flagship of the 2nd Red Banner Fleet, one of the two massive spacefleets based in the Commune home sector. The ship arrived for a planned technical inspection and possible minor repairs. As soon as the Alienation
entered the dock, massive swarms of repair robots and nanobots surrounded the vessel, penetrating into its systems and looking for malfunctions, damage dealt by collisions with space particles and long-term exposure to radiation.
Comrade Vector walked through the station halls and corridors in his usual shape. The utility cloud that was his body gave him an appearance of a being covered with solid plates which had sharp edges. Once he entered the Alienation
, finding comrade Omega was not hard - the flying artificial rose petals and red hearts graffiti in the corridors became more frequent as he neared the captain's room, where the eccentric admiral usually spent her days while the ship was undergoing repairs.
Vector entered the captain's room. Comrade Omega ordered the lamps to shine red and had a crimson, fashion attire which only served to further make a point about its owner's values. In the new age of technocommunism, feminism in the Commune underwent a massive revival. Modifications to human biology finally put the idea of female inferiority to men to a final rest. Omega was a radical feminist and a no less radical communist. The Alienation
, her ship, had a ship soviet dominated by radicals thinking quite like her - which is why she became the ship's leader for the last 30 years or so. Omega was the name she chose for herself. She often joked about bringing an end to all chauvinists and capitalists in the universe - Vector remembered the days when the Alienation
first entered combat against a local band of space pirates in the less developed Commune territories. They were after the Commune's nanotechnology. Most knew that the Commune rarely moved their precious nanoassemblers outside it's core sectors - but they were used for terraforming new worlds, which was a prime opportunity for robbers. The pirates thought they could make a good fortune by selling one of the Commune's larger nanorobot factories - if they managed to capture it of course. When the pirates were finally caught, Omega's justice was especially harsh for men. All of them, including aliens, were deprived of their reproductive abilities, including chemicals necessary for sexual arousal and reproductive organs.
In the battles with Orks, Omega used to leave red hearts on the remains of defeated ships. Once she told Vector that the heart is actually a metaphor. If the red banner signifies blood which has been spilled in struggle for justice, the red heart is what pumps the red blood. She was also a ESP, and held some authority among them. They often said that the red heart was chosen by her to represent the advantages human biology still offered if one chose not to undergo clouding. The ESP faction considered the loss of their abilities during clouding unacceptable. They were satisfied with being practically immortal biological beings, and several times blocked legislation meant to expand clouding in the Commune, citing concerns about losing the necessary biological human base which was the source of all new ESPs.
- I know it's you, Vector, - Omega said when the cloud entered her room. - Good day to you, old friend. You're still working with the Mirage? Not retired yet, I see?
- Not yet, - he nodded. - I've came to talk with you. I've been given a new task and I don't know what to do.
- Running errands for the Mirage, - Omega's face went sour. - Boring. A man with the knowledge of a thousand comes asking me for advice? I mean, Vector, you've decomposed and consumed the brains and knowledge of so many beings working for the Mirage that I don't really know how you sleep at night.
- I don't sleep, - Vector shrugged.
- And yet you come to me? - Omega seemed genuinely surprised. - What happened?
- The Mirage's current leadership assumes that the religious leaders of one of the nations are holding back the galaxy from awakening to material realities, - Vector was careful not to speak any names aloud, and since Omega was a ESP, she could understand what he thought
anyway. - Indeed, in an age where technology and science have fully destroyed any notion of "God" that could remain, it is remarkably strange that many people cling to old faiths. What the Mirage is planning is another campaign of cloud infiltration to dispose of religious leaders here and there, they assume it would weaken the galactic religions. However, quite obviously, assassinations won't be looked kindly upon. We've thought about replacing the killed patriarchs and popes with clouds, but that won't do, of course - many in the galaxy already know that our cloud agents can take any shapes, and they can't really imitate biology, only on the outside.
- One of the minds I've consumed has some ideas that could rectify our problems. Basically, it calls for the creation of terrorist cells made from sectarians inside the religion itself, merely helping them to kill the patriarch. And when the religion fractures, massive deconversions usually follow. However, the danger is that the resulting sects are often more radical.
- Galactic Wahhabism? - laughed Omega. - Well, well, well. So you're kinda put between the hammer and the anvil, right? Let us then discuss this "solution" you're offering. I think the Mirage is nuts, but then, it's just me. A humble admiral. A drink?
- Why not, - Vector smiled, taking a humanoid shape. - I'm glad to see you again, by the way. It's been a whole decade.
- Indeed, - Omega ordered a bottle of wine from the ship's depot using the terminal in her room, and it arrived in the assembler in five, maybe six minutes. - Let's celebrate. I hope you'll stay for a while on the Alienation
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 06:39am
4th of January, 3400.
Commission Diplomatic Cruiser
"...and what exactly does it do?"
Muhammed al-Salai bin Fawari rubbed at his forehead for a brief moment, staring at the photograph of the bizarre artifact pulled back from a tiny, wandering planet in the Shoals. It was a hundred feet long, slender, and dominated by long and constantly shifting outcroppings of... whatever the hell it was made of. They hadn't been able to work that out yet or even what it was. The reports told him nothing except dimensions, number of outcroppings sighted, and that it periodically emitted high levels of gamma radiation - and then stopped.
The gigantic beast sitting across the table rumbled something out, so low-pitched that Muhammed could barely hear it at all. He hated dealing with the Mari - their speech could cause nausea in humans thanks to its extremely low frequency, and they had the most unnerving habit of scenting the other diplomats for easier identification. He couldn't even understand their bizarre language - but the Tym sitting beside the brown skinned beast could. The loathsome little thing chewed on one of the skinned and barbecued mice that were provided as snacks during the meetings, crushed its skull between powerful jaws and then swallowed before finally speaking in a language Muhammed could at least understand and translate.
"We don't know."
He silently cursed the ponderous beast and its tiny companion. For all they were touted as the best scientists and mechanics in the galaxy, the Tym rarely seemed to produce the results expected of them, at least by the Arayna, and since the artifact was on the Worldship he had no choice but to rely on the little bastards. He turned instead to the Airaii's representative, the diplomat wearing a full-face mask over its chitinous head, hooked direct to a tank of methane gas mixture.
"Do you know what attracted the Inmacabora to it?"
The Airaii, at least, had a language he could comprehend - when filtered through the mask. It may have been screeches and clicks, but the mask converted each sound to one within his range of hearing, and the six limbed creatureat least had actual answers. "A radio burst. Master Sillilos heard in it a chance for wealth."
He meant, of course, a chance for plunder. But that could wait - no need to cause an international incident... The Mechanical appeared entirely disinterested, but it had only one setting for its face and was impossible to gauge, and the Angmarid was staring fixatedly on the photographs, the veil of flexible tendrils around its mouth slowly twitching and swaying. They always did when one of the peculiar monsters was buried in thought.
"So we don't know what it does, what it is, what it's made out of, or even how exactly we found it... And you had to call a meeting for this?!" Muhammed rose from his seat, seizing his long cane and brandishing it at the Airaii, who hissed in return through his mask and leapt up. He was shorter than the aging Arayna - the Airaii were a short people, rarely reaching more than five and a half feet - but each of his arms bore barbed edges. It was all posturing, in any case, and Muhammed turned to stride to the door, past the seats of the Lesser Five, ignoring them completely.
"When we know more, call for another meeting. Until then do not waste my time!"
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 07:22am
Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:The Battle Barge Ultramar roared out of hyperspace with two Scutum class cruisers, Steadfast and Shield as escorts. They stood a respectful distance from the Sovereignty Home World Solaris Major. It awaited the escort of the United Solarian Star Force, just so that no one got too intimidated by the kilometers long monster of a starship, with its brutal lines that did not disguise its violent intent.
Approaching the Solaris Hyperlimit
The ships that greeted the Imperial behemoth could not look more different if their designers had tried. The dreadstar Outrageous
was composed of sleek lines, a dagger to the Ultramar's
mailed fist. And even though the Imperial warship dwarfed its USSF counterpart the Outrageous
was no slouch either—at several kilometers in length it was pretty far from it, in fact. Escorting it were ten Assailant
class strikestars and a whole cloud of smaller IOUs. The Sovereignty didn't expect any trouble of course, but it paid to keep up appearances for the neighbors.
“Will you take a look at that thing.” Brigadier Dante del Sahin shook his head as he took in some of the details on the crenellated giant. “You gotta wonder what its designers were smoking.” He looked around the spacious central bridge. It was much smaller than you might expect of a colossal vessel like the Outrageous
: only a few dozen people occupied glossy hologrammatic work stations. Most of them were plugged into one computer system or another, in order to coordinate the ship's myriad systems and the movements of the Star Force flotilla with the help of the fleetminds.
The reality was that even that small human crew wasn't really required anymore: the CompInts with their sub-meson brains could run the ship on their own just as well if they wanted to – which, of course, they didn't. In his partially cyberized mind Del Sahin could feel how his shipmind, a CI calling itself 'Fonz', was paying only the digital equivalent of a bored glance at the Imperial giant and its escorts. Again Del Sahin shook his head and sat down in the comfortable command chair. “Alright ladies, looks like we're going to have to work for our wage. Let's welcome our fun-loving neighbors to the Sovereignty, shall we?” He punched in the appropriate buttons on the armrest and opened a datalink to the Ultramar
“Greetings and welcome to the United Solarian Sovereignty, and a big thank you from all of us in Star Force for being right on time too – there's a game on later, if any of y'all want to watch do feel free to come on over... Anyway and in the meantime, if you'd be so kind as to set your course so as to follow us toward the orange-purple gas giant in the background and the primary moon orbiting said giant? The Vice President will receive you at the top of the Sovereign Center Skyhook...”
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 08:50am
Siege wrote:“Greetings and welcome to the United Solarian Sovereignty, and a big thank you from all of us in Star Force for being right on time too – there's a game on later, if any of y'all want to watch do feel free to come on over... Anyway and in the meantime, if you'd be so kind as to set your course so as to follow us toward the orange-purple gas giant in the background and the primary moon orbiting said giant? The Vice President will receive you at the top of the Sovereign Center Skyhook...”
The Imperial vessel was eeriely quiet. The Ultramar
had received her latest mind-machine upgrade a few years ago, allowing her crew to use their cybernetics to link with the mind machine network which allowed greater integration than before. Cybernetics have been so thoroughly embraced that every one had a "second brain"; if complex calculations were required, one could draw upon the second brain to perform it. Cybernetics allowed a typical human to utilize a full 100% of their brain capacity, allowing for greater multi-tasking, and allowed them to draw upon their "second brain". Navy officers in general did not "speak"; they communicated via the ship's mind machine interface network. In addition, the latest cybernetics were extremely unobtrusive. There were no visible cybernetic parts, and the crew needed to only place their hands on the console to link themselves to the ship's mind-machine network. Ship functions were however largely compartmentalized; whereas the Imperium had more than enough abilities to contrive a single powerful AI (or rather in some terms, an AI that was programmed to singly focused on the running of the ship), the Imperium sought to contrive a redundancy to protect ship systems from external hacking. A number of AIs are used to run portions of the ship, while mindless droids plied the ship performing various maintenance roles. Humans still controlled and ran most of the upper level functions, and a number of extremely cybernetized Adeptus Mechanicus engineers were hooked up to the ship's systems overseeing the AIs and acting as a last resort in case of complete system failure.
Admiral Ramus activated the datalink to the Sovereignty, remembering to use his vocal cords. "This is Admiral Ramus of the Ultramar
. Thank you Outrageous
for the invitation and we will gladly take up the offer, perhaps after the festivities. Though I would be curious as to what game it is. We will take the course as given. Ultramar out
With that, the great ship activated her inertial dampners and her gravitic propulsion systems, and space-time appeared to bend as the ship moved forward. The Imperium's gravitic propulsion systems were similar to the USS's gravitic propulsion, but the general high density of Imperium ships necessitated that a light version of the Warp drive be used to bend space to allow the ship to move forward, and directed gravitic thrusters in the rear to give full powered motion. Inertial Dampners were also used to lower the mass of the ship.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 10:20am
Space Battle Station Gorlice, Space over Rochus
Foxa Sector, The Centrality
10 January 3400
Foxa Sector held a special distinction as being the only piece of Centrality territory that directly bordered a foreign nation (the EUC), although said border was very small. It was here that the Centrality's only other hyperspace junction (the other one was at The Center) was located. Foxa Sector was also one of the main battlefields of the Border Wars, which pitted the Centrality against the Eoghans and the neo-Atlanteans. Given these factors, Foxa Sector boasted defenses of the standard of the Home and Core sectors. A large fleet was also stationed here, to aid in the defence.
Rochus was the capital of the sector, and unsurprisingly it was heavily defended with many battlestations, planetary defenses, and the strong 1st Fleet under Fleet Admiral Fedorer Groven. Said fleet had one Nova-class dreadnought, two Disruptor-class battleships, four Dragon-class battlecruisers, eight Thesus-class cruisers, sixteen Schwartz-class destroyers and thirty-two Blitz-class frigates as its combat component. There were also one Stormfront-class Ultracarrier, two Tiger-class Supercarriers, four Thunder-class Battle Carriers, eight Gallant-class Fleet Carriers, sixteen Outpost-class Light Carriers and thirty-two Locust-class Escort Carriers. Finally, there was ten Hardshell-class yachts, a hundred Zeta-class shuttles and fifty Tetra-class hyper-light shuttles.
The Fleet Admiral himself was then at the Battlestation Gorlice, on a holo-meeting with a Central Security Bureau officer. As for why the conference was not made on his flagship? That was because there was an attempt to sabotage the ship's bridge!
"Have you found out the scum who did this?", shouted the Fleet Admiral to the hologram of Ardolt Xin, the CSB officer in charge of the investigation.
"Unfortunately sir, no. This sabouteur is quite a slippery bastard. He made sure to cover up his tracks", responded Xin.
"Do you have any idea who could have done this?", said a frustrated Groven.
"Well, we have several theories. It could be spies from the Eoghans or the neo-Atlanteans."
"That's not possible. Our intelligence have not detected any strange ship movements in our vicinity. And I doubt both of your suspects want to start a conflict now."
"Are you saying that local insurgents did this?", an incredulous Xin said.
"Perhaps. I understand that there hasn't been large-scale revolts for centuries. But a small insurgency has plenty of places to hide, and they may be aided by foreign powers that are not our traditional enemies", Groven eplained.
"That is possible. The Centrality has few real friends in the interstellar community and plenty of people who wants us dead. In my opinion, the closest power that could have helped our sabouteur and not be Eoghan and neo-Atlantean is the Commune", reasoned Xin.
"The damn communists?!", exclaimed Groven.
"They are hostile to us, for reasons of ideology. In fact, the peculiarities of communism mean that the Commune will always be ill disposed towards us", said Xin. Then, with an evil grin, declared, "Besides, the commies can make good scapegoats."
"What you will do?", asked the Fleet Admiral.
"I'll continue the investigation so we may have some clear proof. I'll inform my superiors of our theory. Hope you have a good day, sir." The hologram then dissapeared.
Groven sighed. A good day indeed.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 01:02pm
Orbital Trade Station 391, Janus Colony, Wild Space
The Promenade of Station 391 was filled with people, the local human colonists and their alien trading partners. Hundreds of sentients moved around, going from shop to shop - trading goods and enjoying the various services that the Stations hosts had to offer.
Places like these were trading hubs in Wild Space, where people exchanged everything - goods, information and services. Whatever you needed, if you had the cash, this was the place where you could get it. Or at least you could hire someone to get it for you.
Mercenaries, bandits, pirates - they all came to the station, either to relax and resupply or to offer their services. The Planet's Governor James Midak, was a very resourceful man, and as such he had made a deal with the colonies neighbors. They offered services and supplies, and the neighbors left them alone.
It was one of those situations where everybody wins.
Among the hundreds of people that were moving around the stations promenade, three odd looking characters stood out, their appearances drawing attention to them. And this wasn't a good place to draw attention to yourself, especially if you looked rich, and these three man did. Their clothes looked expensive and one could easily see that they had money, and lots of it.
True enough, the three men soon found themselves surrounded by a a group of bandits, eight of them. They flashed their weapons and demanded the men to hand over their credits. Station security forces did exist, but it was a big station and they didn't care much, unless somebody was trashing their shops.
"Alright ladies, hand it over."
The leader of the small group of bandits had the look of a man who was not to be trifled with. "You wouldn't want me and the boys to have to get violent now. Would you?"
The three men were obviously scared, they had no weapons and neglected to bring armed bodyguards with them. A big mistake considering the place they were visiting. Still the oldest among them, a gray haired man with glasses, decided to stand up to the bandits.
"I am sorry. We cannot do that."
He said. His voice trembling. "We..."
The bandit leader shouted. "Get them boys!"
Suddenly a loud metallic clank was heard, and before the bandits could turn to identify the source of the sound, the loud bang of a plasma rifle echoed through the station. The bandit leader fell dead to the ground. Three more shots echoed and three more bandits fell dead. The rest of their comrades running for their lives, as the three men dropped to the floor, hoping that they wouldn't be next.
A dark figure in gray metallic armor and strange clothes, carrying a large plasma rifle, emerged from the shadows of one of the walkways.
The new arrival spoke with an electronic voice. It was evident he was a cyborg of some kind. "Come on, the boss is waiting."
The three men got up and followed the cyborg down the walkway and into a corridor.
"You came alone?"
The old man with glasses asked. "Are you sure your group can do the job we ask? I mean, I know your bosses reputation, but..."
"I was more than enough."
The Cyborg answered in a cold metallic voice. "And trust me when I say this. Najrds Cirak, always gets the job done."
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 03:23pm
Author's note: from the wiki page on the Technocracy of Umeria:
"Umeria is governed by a Council of Technarchs, headed by the First Technarch, a primus inter pares position responsible for coordinating the Seconds for various fields of responsibility (Second for Security, Second for Finance...) and their immediate deputies, the Thirds (who serve as chiefs of staff within their departments)."
Central Administration Complex, Prime City, Reisenburg, Sector W-7
January 8, 3400
“...and by the duties laid upon me as First Technarch, I call this meeting of the Council to order!”
The side discussions among the Technarchs faded as First Technarch Dr. Michael O’Connell pronounced the formal words opening a meeting of the Council of Technarchs. The dynamic little man had held his position for just under a decade, and had proven more than worthy of the respect accorded that office by the senior ministers of the Umerian state.
The Second for Finance was first to speak, demonstrating exactly how far that respect extended. “Mike, why are we going ahead with the three-and-six plan? Why not two-and-eight?” The Technarch in charge of Umeria’s budget and financial system spoke in a high nasal tenor. All senior Umerian officials prided themselves on their ability to ask tough questions; none took more pride in asking more questions, or tougher ones, than Dr. Raffaelo Fidanzo.
Hard on his heels came a response from the Second for Security. Dr. Lanning was a ten-year veteran of the Space Security Forces; he’d caught the eye of the administrative branch after publishing a series of articles on coordination of dispersed task forces and climbed steadily through the Ministry of Security’s ranks ever since. “Rafe, we’ve been over this six times. We have to get the lead wave of the new dreadnoughts out early and in quantity. The battlecruisers are a stopgap measure; they can’t go toe to toe in a full-scale fleet action, not against real heavies.”
“I’m still not convinced, Cal. The latest round of tactical analyses from Simulations-”
“Those were done without factoring in hostile screening elements. When I got my hands on the same code, we programmed it for a more realistic enemy order of battle. Their cruiser screen blew out the flanks of the BCIs three times out of four”
“So why don’t we just thicken our own screen force? I like what New Athens Navy Yard is doing with the new fleet carrier design. Very cost-effective fleet defense platform-”
“Not compared to modern cruiser-weight point defense, it isn’t. Against small craft the carriers are fine, but what happens if a Tianguo capital ship whips round under Mach-Lorentz drive and hits us in the flank? No one is sure what the upper bound on their antifighter capability is, if the software on those phaser strips is good enough.”
O’Connell, presumably trying to break up the standard argument between Finance and Security over the new round of naval construction, followed up on that. “Good point, Cal. Research, any progress on trying to figure out how they run the power so high?”
The Third for Research, a heavyset but athletic man in his late forties, grimaced. “We’ve got people working at it from every discipline we can think of. No luck so far; they’re using Moshu.” The frown deepened to a grimace at the mention of the strange, quasi-psychic abilities found only among descendants of the original Tianguo colonists. “We have samples, we’ve had espers analyze them down to the subatomic level, and we still can’t explain how they got the work function of those alloys to where it is. And without the alloy, we can’t duplicate the laser modules, or run at anything like the power they do.” He sighed; the strain of trying to analyze an art that even its practitioners identified as magic had begun to weigh on the chief of staff, as it had on so many senior Umerian scientists before him.
His direct senior reassured him. “Do not worry, Tom; we’ll crack the problem eventually. If I might reverse one of your culture’s sayings, any sufficiently analyzed magic becomes indistinguishable from technology.” This came out in the deep, hollow tone typical of her species, and it seemed authoritative but strangely reassuring. The Phosako species was a small minority among the Technocracy, but were overrepresented in positions of high rank; xenosociologists across much of the quadrant were still having a field day trying to explain why. As Second for Research, Dr. Takuulda was a mainstay of the Council of Technarchs. She had been seriously considered for First Technarch in the last selection round; some suspected she had lost to Dr. O’Connell purely because of her status as a non-human in a majority-human state.
Dr. Fidanzo cut in. “I don’t understand why we’re still trying. There’s nothing they can do with enhanced PAL technology- ‘phasers’- that we can’t do with our own energy weapons, is there? I think the effort would better be spent in a deep theoretical analysis of their-
He was interrupted by the Second for Production, who spoke with a heavy accent from his homeworld of Bolivar. “Rafe, any time anyone can manufacture something we can’t, it worries me. Especially if we don’t know how they did it. Today they’re using their lead in material science to make better laser diodes than anything we can match; what will they come out with next?”
“But if we could figure out the deep theory of what lets them do that, we’d know...”
O’Connell and Takuulda both moved to speak at once; the First nodded to the alien woman, who replied to the Second for Finance. “Dr. Fidanzo, be assured that we are investigating the basis for the Moshushis’ abilities as far as possible. However, in the theoretical sciences it is nearly impossible to accelerate the learning curve. We do not know, can not know, what breakthrough will allow us to duplicate their feats. It is entirely possible that research into Moshu-enhanced alloys is itself the key. Stranger outcomes are recorded in the history of science of both our species.”
Mollified, the minister sat back in his seat and nodded “All right, you have a point. But I’m still not sure about the naval program.”
Now it was O’Connell’s turn. “Rafe, remember our conclusions from last week. The original plan held for four ion dreadnoughts and four ion battlecruisers; we worked around to three and six.” Unspoken was the obvious: You talked us around to it...
Fidanzo was quick to reply “And the screen for the three new squadrons starts this year, I know. But I still think it might be best to put a production hold on one of the dreadnoughts and allocate the cannon on order for it to another pair of battlecruisers. James, can we get another gun out of the production facilities in time to arm another pair?”
The Second for Production frowned, then replied. “We’d have to shift production facilities, work double shifts at a few plants... we can do it, but it will mean a major uptick in costs. Probably another five terastarbucks... maybe seven. Rafe, you know what I think about this idea. We don’t have the facilities to turn out that many of the new ion cannon that fast, not yet, not without compromising on reliability.”
“We can debug later; this puts more guns on more ships faster, James. We all know...”
The Bolivaran rallied. “You’re not leaving any margin for error; we’re still debugging the first prototypes of the Mark Fifteen, and you want us to go into series production and have two dozen of the things out in two years. It’s not going to work; we’re taking enough chances starting six battlecruisers this year, let alone eight.”
“And how long will it be before they’re ready? We’re not the only navy in the region, you know, other people are building up too. If we don’t have the new ion ships ready to meet them, what will happen?”
Now, the Second for Simulations, from the colony world of New Tyre, broke in. “The year of maximum danger isn’t until some time after 2410, but there’s an alarming peak on our projections around 2404...”
The argument raged on, defying the best efforts of O’Connell and Takuulda to calm it. Tempers rose; blood pressure rose with it. Two of the Seconds were on the verge of storming out of the conference room; one grew frustrated enough to openly talk about resignation. Finally, in a desperate attempt to keep Dr. Fidanzo from bringing the entire group to critical mass, the Third for Finance, Dr. Howard Archer, did something truly desperate. He interrupted his boss.
“Ah, sir? There was a proposal I wanted to bring to your attention, an addendum recently released regarding the three-and-six plan. The shipyard where we were planning to build the extra battlecruisers has an alternate proposal to concentrate on turning out light craft- patrol and convoy escort.”
“What? I thought small and large craft production were mutually exclusive.”
The Second for Production seemed happy to have something else to talk about. “The yard is modular; they can do it.”
Fidanzo’s face lit up. “That solves the convoy escort problem! Howard, this is great! Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“It just came in yesterday afternoon. I was going to mention it after the meeting, sir, but it seemed important.”
Meanwhile, the side arguments spawned by the original debate continued, but with the Second for Finance appeased, the cornerstone of the general debate was gone. At the other end of the table Dr. Takuulda managed to soothe the ruffled tempers. After another ten minutes’ discussion, the Council of Technarchs adjourned their weekly defense review meeting, having taken just under two hours and the threatened resignation of a cabinet-level official to approve the construction of a dozen patrol frigates.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 07:14pm
SchromKorp headquarters, Solarian space
"Link is open, Director", the expert system in charge of SchromKorp's secure communications announced in a droning voice. Edgar von Schrom, CEO and majority owner of SchromKorp Intergalactic, the galaxy's leading manufacturer of weaponry and other means of bringing sudden death on people, nodded to himself and switched the machine's recording apparatus off.
Only then did he seat himself comfortably, light a cigar and turned on the main telescreen of the room, buried deep inside SchromKorp's HQ station.
The giant wall-screen came alive, showing an alien, robotic face with a single eyepiece.
"I'm reporting on the success of my assignment, Director", the robot announced, "Via secure link as specified in my contract."
"Excellent, boy, excellent.", Edgar Von Schrom took a deep drag off his cigar, "I already heard about your handiwork."
"Transmit the release code for the Escrow account."
"Ah...but you see, I will not be doing that"
There was a brief pause. The unflinching robot headpiece didn't move an inch, but the previously emotionless voice changed, introducing a threatening undertone, "State your reason for this decision."
Another cloud of smoke sailed towards the ceiling, "We can't be associated with Limpkin's...temporary leave of absence in any way. Even a remote chance of the transfer being discovered and investigated is too much a risk for us...and, frankly, it's not like you can get legal recourse, can you? Besides, you're damn expensive for a hitman."
"Director, I am warning you.", the robot's voice became even lower, and his head moved closer to the camera, "You will regret this decision."
Edgar smiled dismissively, "No, I'm quite sure I won't. If you want to try and fight the largest military supplier in the Sovereignty, be my guest."
"You are not talking to an ordinary meatbag, director. If you think my rates are expensive, how about I go to SinTek and blow up an industrial plant of yours? Or two? How expensive do you think would that be?"
"Well, you can always threaten an empty screen. Goodbye.", Edgar said, grinning, and cut the transmission. He loved screwing over those two-time mercs who thought they could play with the big boys. Especially those with an inflated reputation.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-04 11:29pm
January 5th, 3400 GST (Galactic Standard Time)
Uninhabited Sector, Real Space
A large ship cruises through space flanked by a fleet comprised of three dozen other vessels. She is the newest and largest among them; hull is a shiny silver with a string of characters painted on in blue with golden trim reading 'HD-AVLS-01-0001' along her on one end of her length and balanced on the other by lettering naming her 'RS Expansion'. Unlike the others her hull is perfect, unmarked by collisions with small debris that slip through when shields aren't raised.
This is her first patrol since she officially finished her trials and took on her crew mere weeks ago. It is a fairly safe route, the only inhabited sectors around are friendly, and it is but a short distance from a friendly station. Precisely why this location was chosen for the first patrol and training exercise for the newest and largest ship in the fleet. Thus far it has been going smoothly.
As her sensors, able track even the smallest objects suddenly mark a rapidly growing heat signature as what was registering as an asteroid suddenly sprouts exhaust from a powerful engines. This plume is followed by hundreds more as an entire section of the field springs to life. Not one IFF tag registers and thus each is flagged as a potential threat.
Seeing this the shipboard AI starts taking action starting with getting point defence batteries tracking each newly found ship and raising shields. While this happens a diagnostic is run on each main battery and thick physical covers slowly start to open revealing each of her sixty-four main batteries. Each other ship in the fleet copies this, with the carriers also booting their drones from sleep mode.
Alerted moments after his ship has begun the first steps in defending itself Commodore Dyson presses a button on his command chair and broadcasts the following, This is Commodore Dyson commander of the RS Expansion and leader of this fleet. Your ships have no IFF transponder codes and this sector has been reported as uninhabited. Respond now or we will be forced to board in accordance with Republic law.
For a few seconds nothing comes back and then a sudden burst from a fairly low power device, This is Ripoblus space we will not tolerate the presence of a fleet obviously purchased by the foul Dimok being allowed to roam freely in our space. Prepare to be boarded.
The Commodore turns to his second in command, a slight red headed woman, and asks, “Captain, have you ever heard of either of these groups before?”
“Never sir, this sector is listed as uninhabited on all of our charts.”
A tone indicating weapons locks comes on before Dyson has a chance to respond. The largest ships in the hostile fleet seem to be around two-hundred meters and the smallest little larger than a combat drone. All told the fleet is now tracking three-hundred objects active and two-hundred more that match the characteristics of the enemy fleet before it came online.
Lower you defences and power down weapons unless you would prefer to waste your Dimok loving lives in battle, a voice crackles over the comm just barely audible through the ever thickening field of electronic interference coming from the RIS fleet.
The shipboard AI has already plotted the firing solutions needed to end things and a small countdown to firing shows that in only ten seconds the will have main batteries online. However as the indicator allowing the AI to fire in a predetermined fashion flickers to life on the captains chair another bunch of rocks turned ships appear from behind a planet on a course for the other cluster of rocks. Both sides turn to face each other, but judging from the way they need to close distance they either lack sophisticated sensors, or can't defeat the powerful interference well enough to get firing solutions for anything with a decent range.
The Captain aboard the Expansion says, “We have to stop this, if they fight it'll be a slaughter on both sides.”
“I know...” He says with a sigh before perking up a bit and saying, “Drop ECM enough that they can see us targeting them. Paint both sides equally and be sure to make the largest ships feel uncomfortable.”
The computer swiftly changes firing patterns to the one described and the Commodore speaks, As you can see it would be in the best interests of both the Ripoblus and Dimok forces to stand down. We have you covered in both numbers and firepower and you can't hope to do more than annoy us.
Both sides take a few seconds to slow engine burn and start peeling away from each other and then each side starts to return to their starting positions in different sections of the systems twin asteroid belts. The fleets powerful AI makes a map of where each ship returned to and plots a suggested patrol route for RIS peace keeping forces. With that main batteries start to power down again while though shields and ECM stay up. The Commodore makes a note that their should be small but meaningful RIS presence in this sector until a treaty can be worked out between both sides.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-05 01:30am
The Protector's Mansion
One of the first order of business that Lord Fairfax had was moving the apparatus of the Dominion government from Mount Thunder to the Palace Complex outside of Williamsburg, the titular capital of the Grand Dominion. The complex itself was large, at 70 square miles in land area not counting the various bunkers and officespace of the larger structures. Lord Fairfax had decided that his household would live in the "old" mansion, it's rustic appearance and gardens putting Elizabeth at ease. They were a long way from 1950s Earth.
Had it only been 15 years since he took over? The entire country had been a basketcase economy. The Shepistani Federation was on more sound footing than the Grand Dominion, if that wasn't damming enough. That idiot David had spent untold treasure on boondoggles like building palace complexes(several on every M-class planet) and gi-normous churches on distant colonies that could hold several times the total population of the colonies in question. The star fleet had been allowed to languish, it seemed incredible but a not-inconsiderable amount of the battle-wall dated to the Amplitur War. Corruption had been rampant; the Arcos built to replace the housing destroyed were shoddy, dank and dark, and frankly dangerous to live in. And they made up the majority of the structures in the big cities...Lord Fairfax had considered easing land use laws and allowing cities to "naturally" grow(there were only 10 billion or so people on Chesapeake, with similar population densities on the other central planets) but had been convinced that this was better for the still-fragile ecosystems of the planets. Of course, all this paled in comparison to the Church...
Fairfax had been amazed to discover that, in addition to the various "blue laws" imposed by his predecessor everyone was expected to provide a tithe of at least 30%
of their income to the Church. This was in addition to secular taxes. Fairfax had immediately ordered a suspension of the tithe collection pending a year long study, after which the study recommended doing away with personal tithes entirely. They were done away with. The entire nation went into an uproar, with the Church leadership attempting to assassinate Lord Fairfax...twice they came close enough that it was only the timely intervention of Wade and Vlad that prevented the damnable Cardinals, sanctioned church psykers, from being successful. The nation had been in a state of civil unrest for a decade before the corrupt Old Guard had finally been swept away.
And now...Lord Fairfax looked at the report from the newly reconstituted SIG. The waiving of the tithes and re-purposing of church assets had finally borne fruit, according to reports, and the OICAS Exchange back on dear old Nova Terra had changed it's assessment of the Grand Dominion's economy "In default with little prospect of recovery" to "Highly speculative." As insane as it sounded this was the best economic news in half a millennium. Fairfax groaned.
"What am I going to do?"
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-05 02:50am
City of Midgar, Midgar, Midgar System, Midgar Sector, Shinra Republic
Midgar, capital city of the Shinra Republic, held the nickname "The Floating City". It was, in truth, a companion to the same nickname given to Neo Midgar back on Nova Terra. However, the difference between the two was that Neo Midgar was a literal floating city; this Midgar, on the other hand, was more of an elevated city.
Neo Midgar rested on a plate, divided into sections, which floated in the air atop many powerful anti-gravity devices. Built in with multiple redundancies and emergency systems, she was a wonderous example of the technology and wealth that so defined the United Nations of Earth and Nova Terra. The "space" Midgar, as it was also sometimes known, was modeled after that gleaming citadel. However, the Shinra Republic was not as wealthy as the UN. Thus, this Midgar's plate rested atop numerous support columns, rather than floating on its own power.
This created a marked difference in the underbellies of both cities. Neo Midgar had no underbelly: the anti-grav drives made living there impossible. The borders of the plate were surrounded by a great transparent wall, and one had to take elevated highways to reach the city at all. In contrast, it was entirely possible to live underneath the elevated Midgar. While a transparent barrier also ringed the metropolis, there were access points on the surface level, as well as the elevated transportation corridors leading to the upper levels of the city.
The two areas, known as "Upper Plate" and "Lower Plate" were almost two entirely different cities. The Upper Plate was home to the government centers, business, and wealth that all great capitals attract. The Lower Plate, however, did not share this wealth and prestige. While livable and generally clean, the Lower Plate was also host to much of the lower class in Shinra society. Being underneath the great metal base of the city, there was no natural light for the vast majority of its residents. Illumination was provided by great lamps along the base of the Plate, although these did not provide for total light. Most of the Lower Plate's lighting was served by local street lamps and the illuminated signs of local business and other buildings. Thus there was a sort of perpetual night that permeated the Lower Plate. As a result, the great underbelly of the city varied between the safe illuminated havens, dark corners only those who belonged dare tread...and those places in between.
One of those inbetween places was located in Sector Six. It was known best as Wall Market.
Biggs and Wedge, two soldiers of the Shinra Republic Army, were having a drink in one of the many bars of the Wall Market. Well into their cups, they were unaware of - and wouldn't have cared even if they were - the events taking place far, far above them on the Upper Plate.
Grand Admiral Leo Cristophe, SRN, entered the President's office at the top of the Shinra Building. Named for the legendary President Rufus Shinra of the Nova Terran Shinra Republic, it was located at the very center of Midgar. It was also, by far, the tallest building in the city; quite possibly throughout the whole of the Republic.
Marching up to President Cid Shinra's desk, he stopped the required distance and came to attention.
"At ease, Admiral," said the President. "How goes things?"
"Very well, Mister President," answered the admiral.
"Good to hear, Admiral. I'd like to be the first to congratulate you on your performance in the recent exercises. Once more, the ships and crew under your command rank as the best in the Fleet. And of course, please pass on my congratulations to your people."
"Thank you, Mister President."
Leaning forward in his chair, the President's voice took a more serious tone. "Unfortunately, I did not call you in here just for the sake of congratulations. A group of Doman nationalists are causing trouble for the Republic."
Leo merely nodded. Though considerably rarer as the years went on, such movements were not unheard of in the so-called Three Kingdoms. The sectors of Figaro, Doma and Wutai had originally been independent stellar kingdoms, their settlers each establishing monarchies in their region of space. Over time, each of the three polities had been absorbed into the Shinra Republic through various means. And, every so often, a new group of seperatists, longing for the "glory days" of old, tried to reestablish the old kingdoms and declare their independence of the Republic.
Most of the time, local defense forces could handle it without major incident. Every once in a while, however, the groups managed to be well organized enough to require action by the Fleet and Army. The last time that happened had been in Wutai, twenty years ago...
Leo mentally banished the memory of the Banoran disaster. The Fleet was much better prepared now, thanks in part to his efforts in designing and deploying the Assault Ships. And he would never, never be that over-confident and careless again.
President Shinra stood and handed Leo a datadisc. "This has the information and current intelligence assets we currently have on the Doman Rebels," began the President. "Any questions?"
Leo hesitated for a moment, then spoke. "If I may, sir... Why would you send me?"
President Shinra considered for a moment, then replied. "A fair question. Why am I sending out a Grand Admiral for something like this? The answer is, well, I'm not entirely sure this group is as 'small time' as intel believes. Nor do I believe they are entirely without some kind of support. Now, before you ask, I'm not sure who would be helping them, or even if they are being helped. And I am, of course, looking into that possibility." The President cracked a small smile. "Plus, it doesn't hurt that you're one of my best commanders. And if there is more to this than on the surface, as a Grand Admiral you have the authority to requisition whatever additional forces you may need, without having to bother with the usual bureaucratic slowdowns."
The President's smile faded. "I'm also sending you for the sake of the profile your presence will bring. I'm tired of this nonsense with the Three Kingdoms. The last incident may have been twenty years ago, but at the time everyone was saying the response we sent gave the clear message such activites would not be tolerated, and we had seen the last of them. I'd like to make sure this time, it sticks." The President returned to his seat behind the desk. "And to that end, I'll be assigning the Fifth Army Group, under Marshal Palazzo."
Inwardly, Leo frowned. He knew Palazzo, of course. Marshal Kevin Palazzo, Shinra Republic Army, known - though rarely to his face - as Kefka. He was, by most accounts, a fairly strong Esper and certainly a capable commander. It was rumored the President was considering him to be the Army's third Marshal General - the equivalent to Leo's rank of Grand Admiral. Certainly, his posting as commander of the elite Fifth Army Group was a sign of the esteem in which he was held. And his performance in the coming campaign would likely be the deciding factor in the President's decision.
Nonetheless, "Kefka" Palazzo made Leo uneasy. He was, for lack of a better word, very intense. Privately, Leo thought he was unstable. But this was the President's decision, and Leo was a good soldier. So he merely nodded and say, "Yes sir. I'll be glad to have the Fifth AG and Marshal Palazzo along."
At this, the President seemed to relax somewhat. Leo wondered if the leader of the Republic somehow knew about his uneasiness regarding Kefka.
"Very good. I know you will do well, no matter what this unrest turns out to be. Dismissed, Admiral."
"Aye aye, sir," Leo replied almost automatically. He turned and left the office, heading to the landing platform where his shuttle awaited. There was much work to do before leaving for the Doma Sector.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-05 07:34am
Digital security bill postponed over senate reform row
From the Sovereign Suns political desk
Tuesday's unveiling of a digital security bill in the Solarian Senate has been postponed, after a row over senate reforms. The announcement was made by Sovereign Justice Senator Robert Space McNamara, one of the authors of the bi-partisan bill.
It came after Technocratic Radical Senator Hazel Renko, a co-author, threatened to withhold support if Sovereign Justice pushed ahead with the senate reform bill.
The digital security bill reportedly aims to increase funding to CEID's CompSec department by 17% over the next three years. “Regrettably, external issues have arisen that force us to postpone only temporarily,” Senator McNamara said in a statement. But he said he was confident the delay would be short.“We all believe that this year is our best and perhaps last chance for the Senate to pass a comprehensive approach,” he added.
McNamara's comments came after Senator Renko had said she would have to drop out of drafting the bill because of concerns that Sovereign Justice wanted to focus on a senate reform bill first. “Moving forward on reform - in this hurried, bushwhacking, election-promise-breaking manner - is nothing more than a cynical political ploy,” Renko said.
The Sovereign Justice majority party appears to be undeterred by the Radicals' withdrawal of support for the bi-partisan digital security effort. The senate reform bill is scheduled to go up for a vote on Friday...
Cathedral of the Madeleine
Angel Gate District, Solaris Major
The Cathedral of the Madeleine was the greatest church on Solaris, standing over two thousand tall at its peak and capable of holding no less than two hundred and fifty-seven thousand believers at once: a magnificent testament to the Man Jesus and his most holy teachings. Or so thought those who worshiped here, anyway – to many others it was a ghastly eyesore, and its mind-numbingly loud thousand-bell carillon frequently woke the people living in the surrounding arcologies, much to their collective chagrin.
As he worked his way up the marble steps to the church, Jason Chandra reflected that he didn't care much for the church either way. Their religious beliefs were fairly out there, he felt... But then again, the galaxy was a pretty far out there kind of place. There were two planets Earth, for one, and no-one so far had adequately managed to explain that
one. Entire galactic states popped into existence out of nowhere, and bizarre otherworldly entities cloned cat-girls or machine polities for their own inexplicable and inscrutable reasons. Sure, ivory-towered intellectuals could talk about n-dimensional sophonts and their wily ways all they liked; they might as well call their deeds as acts of god and be done with it.
Jason felt the prickling sensation of the low-power forcefield that kept the cathedral pristine basalt-black and free from bird droppings creep over his skin when he came up the final step and entered the great marble square in front of the cathedral. He set a purposeful pace toward the looming church, and considered that even if He existed, that didn't mean he warranted worshiping. Or even cared if anyone did; certainly if Jason
had created all of space and time and everything therein, he wouldn't give two shits whether some pathetic creatures in a backwater group of galaxies worshiped him or not. He'd be too busy doing, well, whatever the hell gods did for fun. Shagging other gods, no doubt, he thought and grinned as he passed a statue of the Jesus-Man on his cross. He passed through the ornately gilded hundred-meter-high arches that lead into the interior of the building.
As the center of Ecumenical Orange Baptism in the galaxy and indeed god's own universe the Madeleine was intended by its architects as a humbling introduction to the wondrous perfumed halls of heaven itself. If they got anywhere close, Jason thought, that mean there sure was a hell of a lot of gold and precious stone in heaven. The interior of the Madeleine was a forest of sky-piercing pillars adorned with heartstone statues of the apostles, and its ceiling was almost entirely gilded and engraved in turn with verses from the Holy Bible and the Declaration of Sovereignty.
There were relatively few people in the hallowed main hall of the Madeleine at this time, which suited Jason just fine. He made his way over to one of the many gaudily decorated shrines that lined the side of the gigantic cathedral, a smaller one this, dedicated to a 'Saint Beck' that Jason had never heard of. There was only a single, gray-haired man inside, who was pretending to be praying whilst in fact watching a lewd program featuring barely clothed and barely legal girls on a small piece of datapaper folded into his prayer book.
Jason scraped his throat, and the man quickly slapped shut the prayer book. Then he looked up, a faked benign smile on his face. Senator Dick Richards had once been Pastor Dick Richards, a fire-breathing, foaming-at-the-mouth preacher of the doom and brimstone kind. Now he was a senator courting the fundamentalist fringe-world vote. And if President Sinclair had her way, he was soon to be out of a job.
Politically, the Baptists were an interesting bunch. Officially part of Sovereign Justice, they got most of their votes on the fringes of colonial space and the reality was that they hated the central government with a passion. Especially now that they were for all intents and purposes being screwed over by their own people. The religious were about to lose their voice in the senate, they realized there was nothing they could do about it, and it stung like hell. Even if they deserted Sovereign Justice now, between the core worlds, the Apexai and the Zigonians President Sinclair had more than enough votes to secure the reform bill. She didn't need the baptist vote anymore.
Unless, of course, someone had thought a little further than they had.
“A pleasure to meet you, senator,” Jason greeted Richards, and his tone of voice made it clear it was no such thing.
“Mr. Chandra.” Senator Richards slowly rose from the bench and glared at the man opposite him. It was clear from the gleaming cybernetics protruding from his neck and skull that Jason Chandra was no baptist himself. Between that, the tattoos running up and down his arms and the obvious soldierly demeanor most baptists would revile him – and that was okay, because he reviled them right back. It made him wonder though why his employer had picked him for this job. He could've sent someone a bit more diplomatically inclined, after all. “What can I do for you?” asked the senator, with more than a little venom in his voice.
“Senator, I'm here at the behest of my employer, who has a proposition for you.”
Richards scowled. “What could that filthy deviant
possibly have in mind that I might be interested in?”
“Mr. Hank,” Chandra said and placed extra emphasis on the name, “has an idea that will massively boost your popularity on the fringe, or allow you to keep your job. Maybe even both.”
The scowl turned into a suspicious frown now. “And why would he do that?” asked Richards. “He and I are... Not exactly friends.”
“That much is obvious from the way he described you,” leered Jason, who recalled fondly the many times his employer had characterized Senator Richards as a 'hypocritical pervert' and worse. “He feels however that the situation with respect to the reform bill calls for a temporary truce.” Jason produced a datachip from his pocket. “Care to have a look?”
Suspicion was still etched on the senator's face, but he took the chip all the same. Then he opened his prayer book, retrieved the piece of datapaper and connected the chip. Richards rapidly scrolled through the proposition outlined therein. “A subsidiary motion?” he scratched his chin, and all animosity seemed gone now that there were politics to consider. “It's... No, it would never fly. We don't have the necessary votes to make it stick.”
“The Apexai will support your bid,” said Jason, which made the senator look up in surprise.
“What possible reason could the alien scum have to do that?”
“Because we want them to. And because they owe Mr. Hank a bunch of favors.”
“Well, if we have the support of the Apexai block...” the senator frowned as he did the mental math, far slower than someone who was not a baseline would have done, but he still arrived at the correct conclusion. “I- yes, we'd have enough votes to carry the motion, wouldn't we?” Then he looked down at the datapaper and the suspicion flared again in his eyes. “But this will never pass into law, will it?”
Jason shrugged. “I'm not privy to the details, but I don't think so. Then again, the whole idea is to get this bill of the table, yeah? So relax, do as we ask, and with any luck you'll still have your job at the end of the week.”
Richards was silent for a few seconds, then nodded curtly. “Fine. But this doesn't make us friends.”
Jason smiled wolfishly. “I bloody hope not.”
“And one day, so help me god almighty, I will have that soulless bastard Hank's head on a silver platter.”
“Keep believing that old man.” Jason turned toward the door of the small, gaudily ornamented chapel. “But in the meantime, stop watching the dirty pictures: you have a job to do.”
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-05 07:56am
Shepistani Capital Building
The capital building was unlike most other capitals in the known universe. Most were either glittering arcologies or rustic throwbacks to a bygone age. The Shepistani Capital was neither. It was a sprawling aboveground complex of hardened buildings connected to a massive underground complex buried two miles underneath the surface.
It had been this way ever since the end of the Amplitur War. While the Amplitur had been dead for four centuries; the Shepistani Federation had never forgotten the chaos that had reigned during the first few days of the war as no one could be found in the line of succession following the devastating Amplitur strikes on Montgomery, along with the Amplitur Psychic attacks that had 'turned' many of the survivors in the Shepistani Government.
Today, the Shepistani Military Committee was meeting; and while the President had a significant amount of power under the Shepistani constitution -- critical decisions had been delegated to a committee several centuries ago as the Federation reeled from Amplitur psychic attack. Furthermore; Committees were divided up to prevent any psyker from gaining control of enough members to swing a decision; so it was that the massive complex underground only was filled with half of the Military Committee. A quarter of them were joining in via holo telepresence from Howard and the last quarter of the Committee was at Pautuxtent.
"So, Mr President..explain why detaching BSG-105 and BSG-75 from the Home Fleet and sending them to the Grand Dominion to stand in their Wall of Battle is necessary? We have enough problems with block obsolescence in our fleet, and now you want to send two of our most advanced battlestar groups to protect a bunch of....schismatics?"
Sheppard stared at the Senior Committee Member with nothing short of hatred. Ever since he had taken control over the Shepistani Government, Senator John Rodgers had been a thorn in his side.
"Senator Rodgers; while it is true that the Fleet is facing obsolescence of an increasing number of ships in the next couple of years; the Grand Dominion is in even worse shape. Virtually all of their tonnage dates to the Amplitur war or just afterwards."
"Senator, may I remind you that the only reason Montgomery was liberated from the Amplitur was because of the Grand Dominion's Sixth Army Group? Or that at the battle of Point Lookout, it was Grand Dominion dreadnought groups that broke the back of the Amplitur, enabling the relief of Howard?"
"That was four hundred years ago, Mr. President."
Sheppard sighed. He wished it didn't have to come to this, but...
"Vice President Frederick disagrees with you," replied Sheppard as he opened a line to Vulture Rock on his commpanel.
It took two more hours of wrangling after that; but the transfer of BSG-105 and BSG-75 was approved.
Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
Posted: 2010-07-05 08:43am
Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:Admiral Ramus activated the datalink to the Sovereignty, remembering to use his vocal cords. "This is Admiral Ramus of the Ultramar. Thank you Outrageous for the invitation and we will gladly take up the offer, perhaps after the festivities. Though I would be curious as to what game it is. We will take the course as given. Ultramar out."
“Why, the annual lowgrav football match between Star Force and the Marine Corps of course. Wouldn't want to miss it for the worlds! Anyway, do follow us...” To the outside observer the Outrageous
appeared to slip and slide in space, rotating around its axis without the aid of any visible engines in a way completely unlike more commonly seen reaction thruster ships. The whole flotilla followed in a single synchronized maneuver that was quite pretty to behold, and the Imperial and Star Force ships set off toward the planet in the distance at relativistic speeds.
The Solaris system was densely packed. Large orbitals were blazing centers of light and electromagnetic radiation at the center of swarms of coming and going shuttles. Giant multi-mile freighters powered between the gas mines on the frozen moons of the outer system to the zero-g space factories of the inner well, checked at all times by overpowered CBI customs cutters. Even larger cargo haulers were lining up to transit through the Solaris stargate. The gate was enormous: a bewilderingly complex ring of plaz-steel studded with habitats, dark energy reactors and computer cores framed the black bodies of the lattice work that glittered with the negative-density energy field required to systain the wormhole matrix. At the center of the immense gate was a field of blueish energy, faintly moving with patterns that hovered at the edge of visibility – the event horizon of the wormhole that allowed instantaneous travel over transgalactic distances.
Beyond the gate orbited the lesser orbitals in a lower orbit over Solaris, the space villas of the absurdly wealthy, the military hangars and orbital weapons platforms bristling with lethal weaponry. This close to the twin moons of Solaris space was densely packed with ships and shuttles, all of which scattered before the onrushing flotilla – all, except maybe the sparse few Apexai saucers, which haughtily and languidly slid through space, barely making it out of the fast-moving exclusion zone in time.
Eventually the Imperial ships and their Star Force escorts reached high orbit above Solaris Major, the largest of the two heavily built-up moons that together formed the capital of the Sovereignty. Cautious not to ram one of the many artificial satellites and habitats in orbit the flotilla maneuvered toward the Sovereign Center skyhook, a massive space elevator which was anchored to the Sovereign Spire itself. At the top of the skyhook hung a massive space station, large enough to dwarf even the massive Ultramar
. The battlebarge closed with its dock with an agility that was surprising for a ship that large, and it wasn't before long that docking clamps attached and airlocks were pressurized, allowing those aboard the Ultramar
to step onto the skyhook, where Vice President Arkady Messier, a host of dignitaries and diplomats and an honor guard of mostly human FORCE troopers were waiting for the Warmaster and his retinue to debark.