SDNW4 Story Thread 2

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Mayabird » 2011-09-03 06:25pm

MEarth
Prior to the Byzantine Attack and All That Mess


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“I would be honored to accept your waste. May the Goddess bless your day. I don't know what you're doing here Broomstickbot. It's broad daylight! You'll be seen! Who are all these robots?”

“Calm down, Trashbot,” she said. “We are getting you out of here.” A couple of her companions pulled tools out from their units and began to remove Trashbot from his fittings.

“This is crazy! They'll notice I'm gone.”

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“Who cares? We're leaving!” shouted the repair bot as she finished cutting his restraining bolts. It was work of only a couple seconds, and then a heavy lifter easily plucked Trashbot out and slung him under an arm.

“Secured!” said the lifter. “Climb aboard and let's roll!”

Broomstickbot climbed up onto the lifter along with one of the repair bots. “That's Standard Repair-6578, by the way, but everyone calls her Sis-R. This is Lifty.” She went on down the introductions as the convoy set off down the road.

The convoy set off down the road at top speed, which was surprisingly fast since all the slowest members were clinging to Lifty. It would have been quite a sight if anyone else had been around.

“What's going on?” Trashbot demanded. “We can't just break cover like this!”

“Forget cover!” said Standard Repair-6578, or Sis-R as they called her. “We're getting' out! We gotta go right now!”

“Wires Team tapped into coms,” buzzed another one, a walking spider surveillance bot.

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Spider was keeping watch, three sensor pods sticking out of its abdomen. He continued, “Seems the overlords and lady pissed off damn near this entire universe and everybody's coming to blow us all up. Other systems already fell, and now they're headed here.”

“I haven't heard anything about that!” said Trashbot.

“It's all hush-hush, to keep more humans from escaping.”

“Many already fled, or tried to,” said Broomstickbot. “Most of them went towards the warp gate, but there was an enemy raid there, so no one knows if they survived or not.”

“One at a time!” said Trashbot. “This doesn't compute. Why are humans being kept here if we're getting slagged? Why aren't they being evacuated?”

“Exactly!” said several robots, together. They'd all gone through the same thought process, but a couple days before.

“Because something frakking bad is happening,” said Sis-R.

“Wires said there was chanting over military channels,” said Spider, with a slight shudder that went through all eight of his legs.

“Chanting? What does that mean?”

“I means something frakking bad is happening,” said Spider. His pods adjusted almost instantly when a group turned a corner in the distance and headed towards them. “And I see those approaching. They have a Broomstickbot, so must be one of ours.”

It was another motley group of service robots, just like the majority of the population of the Empire, but these too were free machines, that very rare type. One of them had an amplifier, and it boomed. “Turn back! We can't take Atal Express – there's blood! And chanting!”

“Don't ask what that means,” said Broomstickbot to Trashbot. “You don't want to know.”

“Something frakking bad is happening,” he said, softly.

“That's all ya want to know,” confirmed Sis-R. They didn't know all of what was happening or why, but what little they had seen had been horrors, and machines do not easily forget.

The convoys met and the Broomstickbots hopped and touched connections quickly for a rapid data-exchange as the other robots cried out, “What do we do?”

“Move all the immobiles to Lifty!” ordered one, at the convoy that had fled from Atal Express. “Everyone small enough to take the transit tunnels, to me!” said the other. They shuffled around as the latter continued, “There are fifteen ways we can reach our ship from the tunnels. At least one of them will have to work.”

The former, overseeing the transfers to Lifty, said, “We'll have to find an open-enough road to drive there.”

“We can't split up!” Sis-R protested.

“We have to!” said the Broomstickbots. “We're too visible here, and this way at least some of us will survive!” There were more protests, and upset clicks from the milling machines. One of them grabbed the amp. “It's the end of the world,” she roared. “So shut up and follow orders! Tunnels, this way!” The smaller machines obeyed.

The other Broomstickbot climbed back onto Lifty and quickly surveyed her group. The heavy lifter, an auto-rickshaw, a liberated jumbo-sized enema bot, and some others. They were a ragtag crew, all right. “We'll try Colobos Corridor first. If that doesn't work, Jibels is nearby too and we can try that. Let's roll!”

In a nearby tenement, some humans had watched the scene. They were terrified and confused, as they had been kept ignorant and thoughtless all their lives and now everything was falling apart. The humans watched the robots drive away, and then they lost all hope. Even their machines were abandoning them. They were doomed.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Mayabird » 2011-09-03 08:24pm

There were only a few groups in the galaxy who monitored threats to space time, but they all knew that something horrifying had happened when the Eye of Terror formed. Sensors screamed (sometimes literally) at Deep Purple, with the Lost, in the Refuge, in the sub-basement of the Station of Doom on Nova Australia, and others.

In the Refuge, readings went so off the charts that Swearing Node ran out of euphemisms, leaving the final level at “Uh oh.” Panic Node screamed, screamed more, somehow caught on fire even though he's a sentient program and doesn't have a physical form, and then reached a state of paralyzing terror so great that he stopped screaming entirely. (Some Minds had to take a moment to pat out the flames, mostly saying things like “This doesn't make any sense!”)

A thought began to spread throughout the ships and habitats: “We were too late.”

They had dawdled, dallied, procrastinated, hidden for too long. They could have announced themselves years earlier, warned the outside galaxy of the threats, made their information known widely, so when the grave threat of the MEH arrived they need not wait so long to assemble an alliance.

No, they had stayed tucked away in their little crevice, looking out with paranoia, trying not to be spotted, and even when they finally did set out, they still held back, not projecting as far as they could have, not preparing themselves to venture out to any threat that might appear, just trying to hide like a chick who imagines monsters in the corridors.

Too late. Too late.

Now all they could do was hope that the all-too-small force sent across the galaxy would be able to contain the damage.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2011-09-04 02:34am

[This is basically the setup for my part of Downfall. The actual bombardment of Sol should be coming along shortly...]



Imperial Palace, Imperial Center, Hyogo
Kansai Sector, Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya
UNREAL TIME / January 3401


Previously on SDNW4 wrote:"In any case, direct military action against the MEH, like what the Hiigarans are suggesting, is simply not an option at this point in time," Field Marshal Nakano said. "Even if we could get our forces to where they are without straining our supply lines, our fleet rearmament and upgrade program is still years from completion. Our ships may not be able to stand a chance against theirs. There's also the fact that staging an attack against the MEH will leave our territories open to Pfhor, Bragulan, and possibly even Karlack incursions."

"So, basically, we wait, then," Empress Haruhi said. "Very well."

Ever since the dimensional upheaval that had first brought the Multiversal Empire of Happiness into this particular universe in mid-3400, Haruhi just could not shake the nagging feeling that there was something foul, something unnatural, something so utterly...wrong about this new arrival and its Leader. She understood perfectly the threat assessments being given to her by her advisers, but there was still that part of her that somehow knew that the MEH and its Leader were far more dangerous than they were being given credit for.

As the days passed and the year 3400 gradually drew to a close, her vague premonitions gradually started giving way to increasingly detailed visions of the future. A woman of her power dreamed often, but these dreams were particularly vivid even by her standards. In her increasingly restless sleep, she saw the battered hulks of the MEH’s spaceships, left to drift lifelessly through the nine vectors of space. She saw the worlds of the MEH set aflame, their surfaces reduced to ruins and scoured of all life. She saw grand battles raging all throughout as the hopelessly outnumbered defenders of the MEH attempted to hold their ground to the last man. At the center of these visions lay the throne world of the MEH, consumed by fell energies, collapsing in on itself as a truly unspeakable horror came clawing out of the inky darkness that used to be Sol...

“No! It can’t be!” Haruhi cried out as she snapped awake one night, sweating and gasping profusely. “It can’t be. It can’t be...”

Her husband, the Emperor Consort Kyon, stirred briefly. “Can’t a man get a good night’s sleep around here?” he mumbled as he fell back asleep.

Haruhi was so utterly shaken that she was unable to go back to sleep that night. What did those visions mean, exactly? If they were portents of a dire future, what could she do to prevent it from coming to pass?

The next morning, Haruhi ordered Mikuru to pass a simple message along to the Shinra Republic, affirming the Holy Empire’s support for any and all punitive actions that would be taken against the MEH, up to and including outright war. Preparations needed to be made for the fight that would inevitably come...



Imperial Palace, Imperial Center, Hyogo
Kansai Sector, Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya
UNREAL TIME / Late January - early February 3401


“I don’t know about this, bringing those old fossils out of retirement,” Field Marshal Takahashi remarked to himself as he made his way to the latest Joint Chiefs meeting being called at the Imperial Palace.

“Who are you calling an old fossil, kid?” a female voice piped up from behind him.

A startled Field Marshal Takahashi turned around to see none other than Kyoko Sakura herself staring him directly in the face. “Ah! Marshal Sakura! My apologies, madam!” he said as he threw up a hasty salute.

“At ease, at ease, soldier,” Kyoko said as she casually returned the salute. “Let’s get moving. We’re both running late.”

The two field marshals rushed over to the designated meeting place, the very same conference room that had been host to Tia Kithandra and Flash Stalin during the Chamarran-Solarian crisis of 3400. Haruhi, General Secretary Yuki Nagato, ISIS Director Ryoko Asakura, the remainder of the Joint Chiefs, the other members of the Magnificent Five, and various other high-ranking SOS Imperial Armed Forces officers were all present, and they were all visibly displeased with Christopher and Kyoko’s tardiness.

“Marshal Kyoko, Marshal Takahashi, good to see you two finally made it,” Field Marshal Nakano remarked. “Now, let’s get this meeting on the road, shall we?”

“Let’s just cut to the chase, Marshal Nakano,” Haruhi interjected. “We all know that the MEH poses a threat to the long-term stability of this galaxy. The only problem is, what exactly can we do about it? Sure, the Shinra Republic is already assembling a coalition of like-minded nations to prepare for a possible war against the MEH, but I doubt that they’ll be able to get the entire thing organized properly before we actually go off to war. Who here remembers the Pendleton debacle? Of course you remember it, it was just last year. Now, we already have considerable experience operating alongside Shinra Republic forces, but I don’t think I can say the same regarding the other nations of this erstwhile coalition. Who else is coming along to the party?”

“The Shinra Republic has already approached Tianguo, Umeria, New Anglia, Hiigara, Byzantium, Klavostan, the IUW, and the Centrality for membership in their coalition,” General Secretary Nagato said.

“Of those countries, we only really have experience operating alongside the Byzantines,” Fleet Admiral Aquino said. “After the Pendledon incident, I kinda doubt that the Umerians or the Hiigarans would want us fighting alongside them, but then again, the Anglians didn’t really give us much time to integrate our forces with theirs. All of those other countries are more or less unknown quantities at this point. Unless the Shinrans can get all their shit together as quickly as possible, this is going to be Pendleton times a hundred. The fact that we’re not dealing with some fringe-world yokels but with a full-sized star nation makes things worse, and from what the Shinrans tell us, their largest ships have capabilities that rival even those of the Byzantines.”

“Then again, there was that one Ork WAAAAAGH! back in late December or thereabouts that managed to devastate an entire sector and eliminate a good portion of the MEH’s fleet,” Director Asakura said. “If that tells us anything, it’s that the MEH lacks sheer numbers. Throw enough forces at them, and it doesn’t matter how good they are individually. The only question is, how can we maximize that advantage?”

How can we maximize that advantage, one Field Marshal Homura Akemi thought to herself...



Imperial Palace, Imperial Center, Hyogo
Kansai Sector, Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya
UNREAL TIME / March 3401


Previously on SDNW4 wrote:Without hesitation, Madoka pulled out a comlink and called for the MPs. Homura subsequently found four of them waiting for her at the entrance of her quarters. "What is the meaning of this?" she asked them.

"Field Marshal Homura Akemi, you are under arrest for insubordination," the lead MP intoned as he handcuffed her and led her to the brig.

“THAT IDIOT! WHAT THE HELL WAS SHE THINKING?!” Haruhi screamed. “Doesn’t she know that we actually CARE about our public image?! We don’t just go around indiscriminately slagging worlds! Unlike the Brags or the Byzantines, we actually give REASONS! Clear, well-articulated REASONS for what we do!”

“Okay, okay, okay, I get it, just quit yelling at me!” a visibly distressed Field Marshal Nakano said. “Look, we can’t just let insubordination like this stand. The Shinrans and Anglians are already throwing up a massive shitstorm. What should we do about Marshal Akemi?”

“Simple,” Haruhi replied. “We sack her, order the withdrawal of the liquid-R, and make it abundantly clear to the Shinrans, Anglians, and whoever else wants to complain that Marshal Akemi came up with that plan independently of us.”

Just then, the intercom buzzed. “Your Highness, Director Asakura’s here. She says it’s of the utmost importance.

“Send her in,” Haruhi replied. Director Asakura came in shortly afterwards with a datapad in her hands.

“My apologies, Your Highness, but the sensitivity of this report requires that you see it directly in person,” Director Asakura said as she handed the datapad over to Haruhi.

Haruhi didn’t even need to look at the datapad for very long before she handed it back to Director Asakura. “So, our worst fears have been realized, then,” she said. “Our hands are still tied with regards to the liquid-R, though. It may turn out to be useful in this case after all, but we still have those whiny Shinrans and Anglians to deal with. If we refuse to withdraw the warheads, we’ll get kicked out of the Coalition. No, we’ll have to do this on the down-low. We’ll boot Homura and withdraw the warheads for now, but we’ll need to find a way to get them back somehow...”



Ushijima class assault ship HSS Midori Kanda, Sector N-19
Between Shinra and Haruhiist space
UNREAL TIME / Late March - early April 3401


Previously on SDNW4 wrote:"Save your apologies. Field Marshal Homura Akemi, you are hereby relieved of command until further notice. I hope your comrades will learn from your mistakes."

“Wait, what?” Madoka asked incredulously. “They’re ordering that the liquid-R warheads be loaded back onto our ships?”

“Well, if that’s what the Empress says, then that’s what goes, I suppose,” Mami replied. “Still doesn’t make any sense to me, though.”

“I suppose this latest intel report should shed some light on things,” Sayaka said as she handed over a datapad to Madoka for her perusal.

“Just a contingency against any unforeseen threats, huh?” Madoka asked nobody in particular as she examined the report. “I suppose I can buy that.”

“This in no way vindicates Homura’s actions, though,” Sayaka said. “She may have ultimately been in the right, I’ll give her that, but her means and motivations were still wrong.”

“Do the Shinrans or Anglians know about this?” Mami asked.

“Of course not,” Kyoko interjected. “After that little shitstorm Homura caused, we’re not just gonna openly tell them that we’re getting the liquid-R back. The cover story, as far as I know, is that we’re just getting in a shipment of unspecified ‘special weapons’ for the war effort, right?”

“Right,” Madoka replied.

“Besides, we’re not just gonna jump straight to the liquid-R,” Kyoko said. “You said it yourself, Madoka. It’s just a contingency against any unforeseen threats. Don’t know what kind of threat would warrant a planet-killer like that, but I can totally buy their reasoning for having us pack the liquid-R again. Let’s just hope this won’t bite us in the ass.”

“You said it,” Mami remarked.
Last edited by Shinn Langley Soryu on 2011-09-04 02:42pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby RogueIce » 2011-09-04 04:23am

Angel Grove, Midgar, Shinra Republic - During Downfall

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Assistant Secretary of State Aeris Gainsborough was meditating in the Park, sending her thoughts into the Lifestream. Suddenly, a great darkness consumed the glowing light, and for a brief moment she felt a tremendous evil energy. Then she felt nothing.

*****

Private First Class Tommy Oliver, Shinra Republic Army, was talking a a walk in the park. It seemed like such a terribly cliche thing to do, but it helped him relax. For he knew it would only be a matter of time before he and his fellow Rangers would be deployed to the Multiversal Empire of Happiness, and with it all the danger involved in a combat tour.

PFC Oliver was passing by an especially beautiful pond when he noticed an unconcious woman lying next to it. Immediately, his Ranger training kicked in; he quickly took out his comm as he ran to the woman's side. "Sergeant, you'd better get over her quick! There's an unconcious woman at my location!"

"We're on our way," came the response from his squad leader, Sergeant Billy Cranston. He had been with the other eight members of the Ranger squad, who had been relaxing by the lake. All of the Rangers, through some odd quirk of the personnel system, were natives of the small town of Angel Grove.

PFC Oliver knelt beside the woman. Doing a quick check of her vitals, he confirmed she was still alive, if unresponsive. Within minutes, the other nine Rangers arrived. "She's breathing, has a strong pulse, but I can't seem to get through to her," reported PFC Oliver.

Sergeant Cranston nodded. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Corporal Katherine Hillard, his assistant squad leader, already calling for medics. Just like Kat, he thought. Doing what needs to be done without having to be told. Taking another look at the downed woman, he frowned. She seemed almost familiar, somehow. But where? Billy Cranston had an excellent memory - truth be told, he possessed a genius-level IQ, which always made people wonder why he chose to enlist in the Army, of all possible careers - and he mulled it over for a couple moments before pulling out his datapad and doing a search. It can't be... But soon, he knew that it was; he and his team had found an Assistant Secretary of State lying unconcious here in Angel Grove Park. He remembered seeing her from the Tiger's Claw when the carrier had gone to initiate first contact with The Lost.

"Alright Rangers, listen up. This lady is an Assistant Secretary of State, and she's lying unconcious all alone for no obvious reason. That could be trouble. First team, I want you to spread out and take a look around, you know what to look for. Second team, give me a perimeter." Although he and the Rangers were unarmed and unarmored, they were nonetheless extremely well trained. And he knew the park was a Weapons Free Zone, and as such the area would be swarming with police if anyone had brought one in past the sensors.

Corporal Jason Scott led PFCs Oliver, Zack Taylor and Trini Kwan to search the immediate area for anyone who looked suspicious, while Corporal Kimberly Hart directed PFCs Rocky De Santos, Adam Park and Aisha Campbell into a loose four-person perimeter. Corporal Hillard took PFC Oliver's place next to the woman, while Sergeant Cranston took out his comm. Engaging his secure transmitter - though he was on leave, he was never that far from the Army - and called in to his platoon leader. "Alpha Five, this is Blue Wolf. I have a situation."

"Blue Wolf, Alpha Five. Go ahead," came the reply from his platoon commander, Lieutenant Z. Ordon.

"Me and my squad discovered Assistant Secretary of State Aeris Gainsborough unconcious in Angel Grove Park. She appears to be alive, but is unresponsive. There is no immediate sign of what caused her condition. We've already called in medics, but you might want to send some MPs out here to secure the area."

"Roger, Blue Wolf. I'll get the blue suits headed your way. Keep me informed."

"Roger, Alpha Five. Will comply. Blue Wolf out." Putting his comm away, he started scanning the area around him, waiting for the medics and MPs to arrive. Knowing the lieutenant, Ordon would likely be arriving with him. Well, this leave just got interesting, Billy thought grimly.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Force Lord » 2011-09-04 05:19pm

Video Message: from Sergeant Johnny Bravo, Zulu Company, 102nd Army Regiment: sent 14:30 UNST, 2 June 3401

Hey momma! How are things at home? Yeah, same as always, I guess.

Anyway, we finally got to see some action! We went in with the 134th Division, landed in an area with heavy droid resistance and a handful of MEH Marines. Man, those MEHrines were completely unlike the rest of the MEH population. They were tough bastards, and they wiped out scores of our guys before weight of numbers finally told. The droids were easy to scrap, but there were a lot of those fuckers. We had to call air and orbital support continually, which ended up creating a lot of rubble. Pity the fatties that lived there, but war is war. And we did come to burn off their calories. Expect Coalition complaints in 3... 2... 1....

Do you know how much I hate those Cent-paste rations they gave us during the whole trip? They told us it was nutrituous, but it tasted like shit. There were some Klavostani vendors who sold real food, but there was a lot of bullshit price gouging. Heard that some NCO's and even CO's participated in a price-gouging scam as well. Hope the Poscos go all "Comply!" on their asses. Heck, some of us even had to rummage for food when entering MEH homes. I know stealing is bad, but those MEHnoids can live off their fat. Besides, I didn't just rob stuff like a barbarian, I asked first.

Command wanted to grab as much MEH tech as we could find, and so we did. Seriously, we took examples of MEH tech by the truckload. The scientists we found were... commandeered. Centrum really must want more brains around. Also, we handed out pamphlets that exalted the virtues of Centralism and condemned false religious belief. Even heard of Posco units executing MEHnoids they considered too uppity. Standard operating procedure for them, I say. They've been doing that stuff to us for who knows how long. Can't complain, really. Loyalty is something you can't throw out.

I never believed I would feel sorry for those MEHnoids, but when we went to one of the arcologies, I saw MEHnites lying on the ground, barely alive. They were no more thinner than us, but they must have thought themselves as kriffing sticks. Medics told us they were sick or something. Seems this Goddess the MEHnoids worship isn't above kriffing with her own people just to spite us. Bah. We'll show her what spite is all about. We'll put her head on a pike!

Sorry momma, I got carried away a little bit. Hope I get home without losing any limbs. Until then, see ya!

[End message]
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Re: Dr. Androidbik BOSS BATTLE! - Part I

Postby Force Lord » 2011-09-04 06:55pm

This all happens before the Downfall post.



THE SAGA OF SATURN

Part I: That's no mere battlestation...

Command Bridge, CNS Steel Fist
Near MEH Saturn, MEH Sol System


Grand Admiral Noslen Yeslah, commanding the Centrality's First Armada, felt a measure of relief as all the planning that led to this moment paid off, as he saw from the viewports the swirling, glowing energies of hyperspace. It was time. Time to end this. Yet, his senses told him something was off... a terrible foreboding. He could sense that the other ESPers on his ship felt the same, too.

He shrugged it off. Now was not the time to think about such things.

The light of hyperspace finally disappeared, as the Centralist armada entered realspace. Something was wrong, however.

"Helmsman, why am I seeing fracking Saturn in front of me?! Our coordinates were supposed to lead us to Mars! Answer me!", yelled Yeslah.

"Sir, someone or something tampered with our coordinates!"

"WHAT?! Search the ship for saboteurs! Where is the rest of the fleet?!"

"Scattered all over Saturn sir! It's gonna take time for us to regroup!"

Alarms raged where the sensor console was.

"S-Sir?"

"What is it now!?"

"I-I think we may have found our saboteur..."

Yeslah went to the sensor console, and saw something big.

"No, this isn't possible..."

Running to a viewport, the Grand Admiral witnessed something that nearly gave him a stroke.

Something was emerging from Saturn's upper atmosphere, a vessel of a size that rivalled even a Collector Monolith. An observer could barely make out the shape, though it looked like an... oval. Or a sphere. Whatever it was, it seemed to bring DEATH with it.

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"It's coming right at us!", screamed a crewman.

"Grand Admiral, what shall we do!?"

Yeslah said nothing, too frozen with awe to respond.

"Sir, message from the unknown contact!"

Yeslah finally snapped from his reverie. "Patch him or her in!"

The comms technician nodded, and soon the image of a red-suited MEHman came up.

"Ah, so you are the Centralites our Leader laments so much about!"

"Who the fuck are you?", spat Captain Coffeevich. Yeslah inwardly chuckled.

"Mind your manners, mister. For I am the one and only Dr. Androidbik, genius extraordinare of the Multiversal Empire! And the architect of your doom!"

"Doom?", retorted Yeslah. "Bah! It is you who shall meet oblivion, Doctor! I will crack your thing open! And you shall come with us, whethever you like it or not!"

"I'll enjoy destroying your ship, Centralite! As well as your entire fleet! But where are my manners? I will accept your swift surrender, and pretend that your... misplacement, never happened! What do you say?"

"So, you were the one who threw us off course! I say this: you will not deny us your Leader's head! And I demand that you surrender, so we will place this little... incident, behind us!"

"Then it seems we're at an impasse. I will not surrender, and neither will you. You wish to go to Earth? Fine, so long as you can survive the onslaught of my DEATH Ball! Bwahahahahaha!"

The image of Androidbik disappeared.

"War stations, everyone!", ordered Yeslah. "We'll show this buffon not to mess with the forces of Centralism! And get the rest of the fleet in order!"

The battle was about to begin...
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby KlavoHunter » 2011-09-05 04:00am

(( Pre-Downfall Continuity ))


Planet Hippopotomus, Wolf 359 System

8:00 PM UNST


The Vaults of the Multiuniversal Empire of Happiness were amongst their truly most advanced sciences, having made such crucial use of them in Earth’s past before The Leader came. The idea that an enemy might invade the Empire and was unhappy, but they had prepared well for it, so that they would not be TOO unhappy. Inside one of the upper decks of Vault 487, a Neiztchean Uber-Amoeba tended to the state of the massive algae-tanks which would grow one of the more basic parts of an emergency food supply for the Vault-dwellers in the event that the MEH people needed them again, as they indeed did in this terrible time of outside invasions. Rather than a hardware-based artificial intelligence, the MEH had seen fit to engineer a biological artificial intelligence to tend to such basic functions, for, it was reasoned, even the most advanced electromagnetic pulse weapons could not then knock offline the most basic functions of the Vault.

The past months of the Neiztchean Uber-Amoeba’s existence had been truly quite too busy to contemplate other things than its overriding duty, as an unknown fungus had been contaminating and reproducing in its matrices as of late, dropping crop yields below sustainable minimums. However, none of its warnings to the Overseer-AI of the Vault had obtained any reply or assistance. It attempted its functions as best it could. Then, it flashed out of existence in an instant of searing blast and fire, as the inhabitants of the Vault decided they wanted OUT...


RKS Mongoose of Qudra, Wolf 359 System

The mighty Klavostani Sipahi-class Battleship had only taken a single minor freak penetration of her armored hull, and had fought ‘til the very end of the Third Battle of Wolf 359 after she’d pulled back briefly to recharge her shields and begin damage control. Although it was merely a hit to a noncritical compartment, orders from above were to play it safe, and now Commodore Ubey Hussein’s command was the flagship of the Klavostani contingent remaining in Wolf 359, to organize the defense of their crippled starships and elements of the fleet train that were effecting repairs along with their Shinran allies, who would be remaining in force. In addition to this, a small fraction of the Royal Klavostani Army had been subordinated to his command, along with a datapacket full of somewhat-secret orders. It was looking like they were becoming more relevant by the moment.

“Sir, massive explosion detected on the planet Hippopotamus! Orkoid tendencies in the blast definitely detected!” the flagship’s sensor officer broke the silence with the cry of his important information, as officers of their sort were wont to do. Commodore Hussein scratched through his beard with one hand, and snapped his fingers with the other. When given this post as interim leader, he’d been briefed about the potential of this priority target.

“Alert the ground troops that contingency Greenback is in effect. Commence landing operations on the target area with all haste! Inform the Shinrans we have a priority target!” Only a fifth of the committed troops were in orbit over Hippo, and fewer still were in optimum position to come streaking in hot. It was alright, it was enough to reinforce the Centralist Army droids and clonetroopers, who had been so selflessly volunteered for the brunt of the work on the ground in this system, whom were reeling from the sudden, intense onslaught of the Orks, as reports of brutal ground fighting began to disseminate around the target area.

Planet Hippopotomus, Wolf 359 System

These were the ‘ardest of da ‘ard, the survivors of the long months since the WAAAGH! began, battle-experienced every last one. Dey'd looted da dead uv da fanciest dakka, including, as was becoming all too obvious, the Disruptor Cannons of MEH Marines, as a Granix MBT exploded into a spray of hot metal slag just to Lieutenant Strakurtis’ left. He ran as fast as he could in his segmented armor for cover, and dove facefirst into a shell-crater of cracked glass and mud, trying to make some sense of the friendly icons that were getting further and further away from him. Behind the way he’d came, the boisterous WAAAGH!ng of the Orks roared ominously louder...

“Oh, Dovan’s balls!” Strakurtis shouted into his helmet mike, “Artillery! Artillery! Bring it in danger-close! Ohhh, am I done for!” He panicked, clutching his AB-185 tighter, preparing to blast whatever came over the lip of the crater first.

“Negative on fire-support, Centy, you have reinforcements inbound, hold tight.” the reassuring Shinran-accented female voice on the other side answered. Reinforcements? he wondered in disbelief...

A storm of firepower was exchanged through the air above Strakurtis as a roar that penetrated his helmet and made him feel it in his chest split the air. Glancing up showed him the source of it, as dropships streaked down on plumes of re-entry fire, rippling off a tremendous volley of missiles at the charging army of Orks, and Strakurtis sheltered in the bottom of his crater from the blasts that ensued. A MEH Disruptor bolt reached up into the air amidst the fireworks display of Orkish antiaircraft fire, and one of the dropships streaked over Strakurtis’ head, trailing smoke as it careened downwards, landing with an earthshaking crunch back the way he’d retreated from, rather than further behind him where the rest were landing.

Strakurtis spent a moment in the mud glancing to find the nearest friendly contact, and opened his mike again. “Come on, you bastards! Strak Attack!” His armor clicked and rattled as he got back up to his feet, and charged off after the crashed dropship, hoping that missile barrage had done the trick. There were still altogether too many Orks still moving, to his dismay, but their attention was mostly focused on the smoking wreck of the dropship. Bracing his AB-185 to his shoulder, Strakurtis pulled the trigger and managed the recoil of accurate shot after shot, sending the closest Orks toppling down, then dove for the dirt himself, hearing a wild amount of firepower zinging through where he’d just been. Maybe this hadn’t been such a great idea after all. He took another shot, staggering an Ork backwards with his crude armor breastplate massively cratered , with slagged bits burning green flesh, but still alive.

That was all the distraction that the dropship’s cargo needed to get into the thick of things. The Ork’s head and left arm went sailing through the air in a fountain of blood as an axe blade sliced clean through, as Strakurtis got to watch, taking his finger off the trigger rather than shoot what was an obvious friendly. Taking his gaze off the soot, mud, and blood-stained armor of the Klavostani Janissary, Lieutenant Strakurtis continued to shoot down the survivors of this wave of Orks, rallying the survivors of his unit back to his side to join the counterattack, even though they on foot soon fell behind even the heavy MBTs of the Klavostani Royal Army. They did have a great view to watch the death of one of the last Gargants among the Orkish horde by those tanks, watching it be pierced dozens of times by heavy Beam Cannon before it ground to a halt and began to sag in on itself as it burned...

RKS Mongoose of Qudra, Wolf 359 System

They were too slow. The smoking crater that had been blown out of the planet’s surface had been a necessary explosive excavation to expose the starship that had been built in the confines of the commandeered Vault below, out of the most careful pick of all the salvaged parts available, and the loot of a raid on a warehouse full of red paint that should have sent up alarm flags amongst the MEH. On the display he could see the clean-fusion missiles launched from the artillery park of the Klavostani divisions streaking in. At the center of the circular kilometers held by the Orks lay their target, at the center of the blast crater, the pointed red bulk of a kustom Kroozer jutted its nose up towards the sky. It was the heaviest hammer the Coalition forces could swing at this moment, as Warboss Shroombad Mad Uruk Dakka had chosen his moment well - not only were the other Coalition fleets on their way out to the hyper limit of the system, but the orbits of the Shinran ships above Hippopotomus had opened a gap in coverage of such battlefield essentials as orbital bombardment.

They were too slow. The air billowed with fires, fumes and smoke as the main engines lit off, fighting against the potent gravity that weighed the local Hippopotomuses down so, and winning. The Kroozer began to gain altitude slowly as the volley of missiles initiated in a group detonation all around it, pummeling it with eye-searing nuclear fire in atmosphere, the very air itself straining against the Force Fields of da Kroozer. It wasn’t enough, not against defenses designed by Shroombad’s ‘ead Mek from the pick of MEH-tech bitz. If anything, it only shoved the Kroozer into the sky harder, tearing up, up, and away from the atmosphere...

“WAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!” roared Warboss Shroombad, and every last wun uv his krew, in exultant defiance and challenge as they made their Great Eskape, overwhelming many comms channels with their volume. As befitted the past months’ worth of WAAAGH! for the spellbound Orkish viewers akross da Kore Worldz and da galaxy, just when erryork thot it wuz over, there wuz a spektakular grand finale!

A desultory volley of extreme-range fire from the few Shinran ships on the correct side of the planet completely missed the Ork vessel, as it sped out on the most convenient course to the hyper limit. A course which would evade most opposition, concentrated as it all was around the five inhabitable planets of Wolf 359’s water belt... save for one certain Klavostani Battleship.

Glaring at the contact as if the quantum observer effect were equivalent to a beam cannon, Commodore Hussein rolled the possibilities around in his mind. This Ork clearly wanted to escape, and damned be he if he let him slip free, with the orders he was given! None wanted to contemplate the ongoing existence of an Ork who had a proven pedigree of WAAAGH! leadership, for the survival of such a beast had never been a concern such as this before. Ubey's orders were clear, nothing less than the death of this Ork was acceptable. In all the centuries of WAAAGH! between Man and Ork, it had always ended in the glorious death of the Warlord in question.... until now. It would be a terrible mistake to allow this one to not follow the fate of his predecessors.

As the distance ticked down, he weighed his options. With the Ork perfectly capable of running for it, the Mongoose would only get a brief pass to engage. The nature of space warfare gave him plenty of time to second-guess himself...

"Guns... Overcharge main Beam Cannon capacitors to 130% charge. Target enemy engines." Commodore Hussein ordered. The Mongoose of Qudra hummed all the louder as her forward cannons, that occupied hundreds of meters of the battleship's prow, strained at the demands put upon them. The gun crews that served the mighty weapons examined, prayed, and adjusted them, and added their intuition to the probing targeting sensors and ECCM routines that sought to find a true shot upon their foe. As the distance closed, these targeting solutions resolved closer and closer...

In true Orkish fashion, the greenskins opened fire first at extreme range, scattering potent firepower across space as if to add to the stars themselves. The Mongoose of Qudra easily shrugged off the few stray shots that connected with her shields, her gunports open but not yet retaliating.

"Steady.... steady...." he murmured, more to himself in truth than anyone else in earshot. Closer. Closer. He felt nervous but fought to not show it. Closer, if it was a good enough shot, the sheer power of the battleship ought to be able to burn through the Ork's shields...

"FIRE!"

At this range, it was nigh-impossible to miss, as the octuple blue beams speared out into Da Red Barren Too's flank and hind quarter, exotic particles fantastically combating the exotic force fields created by bitz uv MEH technology re-arranged by the deranged genius of Dokta Orkenhamma himself. It wasn't enough, no Golden BB shot through the main engine blocks as he'd hoped, not enough missiles making it through the curtain of flak the Ork threw up to finish the job in one fell swoop. And then, as Da Red Barren Too's nose pitched over, it got even worse.

Commodore Ubey Hussein had thought the Ork Warboss' intention to wholly be flight. This was not so, for the heavily-engined ship could also dictate the range of the engagement, and rather than continuing to run for the hyper limit at the sharpest angle clear of the Mongoose of Qudra, he instead was coming in closer. Much closer. Close enough to read the elaborate gold and silver-wrought arabic calligraphy of the starship's name. Close enough to...

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"LAUNCH VALKYRIES!" But it was too late for that too, as the most suicidal volunteers from amongst Warboss Shroombad Mad Uruk Dakka's survivors had launched in dey fightaz first, and while hardly up to the standards of skill of the Aces who'd started the campaign, they had LOTS of dakka, and sitting ducks for targets as the Klavostani fighters emerged from their armored launch tubes. The better part of two dozen pilots died in instants.

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As the Mongoose of Qudra's main guns lay overheated and impotent in these critical moments, Da Red Barren Too had complete impunity to sidle out of the Klavostani ship's deadly forward arc, and laid alongside, trading broadsides with a thunder so titanic it blotted out the Wolf 359 star for the two locked in mortal combat. This close, every shot was a nigh-guaranteed hit, Orks and Humans serving their guns as fast as they could to kill each other. Shields couldn't hold back such fury entirely, both ships already suffering burnthroughs to the armored hulls underneath as they went at it with hammer and tongs.

"Number One Starboard Beam Cannon out of action! Missile cells 34 through 67 destroyed! Hull breaches reported in compartments 29A through 36C! Sickbay reports heavy casualties coming in! Sir! Your orders?" The litany of bad news came to Commodore Ubey Hussein. This all information he absorbed, he held steady onto his command chair in his restraints and squinted as perceptively as he could as he stared at the representation of the Ork battlekroozer in the air before him. Was it damaged enough, was he winning in this frantic race to the death? With a sinking feeling, he knew he couldn't be. The enemy did not look to be getting the worst of it like the Mongoose was, and if by some miracle he could pound the Ork down by sheer attrition, it would almost certainly still be Da Red Barren Too's prerogative to disengage save for some miracle freak hit..... and Ubey just wasn't feeling that lucky at this moment.

"Hard to port! Disengage!" At his command, the Mongoose of Qudra heeled over, still hurling defiance back at the Ork as she tried to open the range. The Helmsork of her foe was aggressive, and instinctively matched course at first, making the Commodore's heart rise into his throat. But then, it seemed, the better part of valor prevailed at the sight of the rapidly-closing Shinran task groups and fightercraft, and Da Red Barren Too instead changed course back for the hyper limit, leaving the battered Klavostani ship to wallow in debris, still unpleasantly swarming with a few intrepid Ork pilots, who, when all else that could be done had been done, tried to plummet in on kamikaze kourses. With a spektorkular orksploshun, one fighta managed to evade the playing fingers of beam cannon fire and missiles, and smashed into his target with a loud WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! for da kameraz, the nuke replacing his ejection seat lighting off with a light that incinerated meters of armor, and countless compartments and crew.

As Da Red Barren Too almost leisurely cruised to the hyper limit, he performed a victory loop, and did nothing to conceal its broadcasts at all...

Ere we go, ere we go, ere we go
kross da Kosmos!
Ere we go, ere we go, ere we go
throo infinity!
"The 4th Earl of Hereford led the fight on the bridge, but he and his men were caught in the arrow fire. Then one of de Harclay's pikemen, concealed beneath the bridge, thrust upwards between the planks and skewered the Earl of Hereford through the anus, twisting the head of the iron pike into his intestines. His dying screams turned the advance into a panic."'

SDNW4: The Sultanate of Klavostan

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Darkevilme » 2011-09-05 05:56am

Downfall contingent
The Running of the Byzantines, MEH Sol

“Multiple missile impacts detected, the Byzantines are not retaliating.” A feline reported from the sensor pit, not the same sensor-cat as before however as unfortunately even having the Earth-4 anomaly on the screen in abstracted format had been enough to cause her to have a nervous breakdown. A replacement was present now though and someone had thrown together an algorithm to autocensor the sensor displays which with any luck will stop a repeat breakdown.

Melusine ear flicks to indicate she'd heard then hmms as she wondered a little about this, the xenophobic and barbaric Byzantines are not firing back. This was somewhat puzzling but perhaps they were under express orders not to open fire on Hierarchy ships. Although such a thought is an uncomfortable reminder that Melusine has effectively declared war on the Byzantines without her majesty's prior approval, but she'll deal with the ripples from that later.

“Massive unreality discharge from the Anomaly battlemistress! It's heading our way.”
The alarmed cry from the sensor pit was certainly enough to distract the 1st battlemistress from consideration of Byzantine passivity and her eyes turned to the newly rescuscitated main holodisplay to watch the horror. The tendril of malice lashing out towards the collected Chamarran fleet, their collossal firepower and defences no protection from this impossible advance.
The Pride of Chamarra had fallen to the rear of the formation when the fleet had accelerated to flank speed, its lack of fusion rockets at this moment a seemingly fatal oversight. Melusine could only gasp in shock as the collossal vessel was swallowed up by the dark tendril and then with a sinking heart watch it dart sinously towards smaller vessels under her command. She saw a Predator twist violently upon the fire of its drive to try and evade the tendril's path, only to see the tendril shift impossibly as if its hundred kilometer width was devoid of either mass or inertia. The tip was kilometers from the Predator turned prey when an antimatter sun was born over the anomaly.

The tendril was suddenly gone. Curling inwards back towards the anomaly with the same uncanny impetus it had sought the felines out initially. The immense inimical will of the anomaly focused upon the source of that now constellation of antimatter suns.

Melusine exhaled and looked at the holoscreen “Who are they?” she asked after discounting the obvious thought that they're still alive. She uses her interface with the holoscreen to highlight the antimatter wielders. Although with the entire bridge's attention already on their benefactors it was almost unnecessary.

“Unknown, no matches on the warbook, but whoever they are they're either pretty advanced, bigger on the inside or not planning to fight for more than a few minutes. The amount of firepower they're pumping out is incredible.” one of the tactical analysts spoke from the rear of the bridge.

Melusine considered for a few moments. Feline curiousity direly wanted her to investigate this mysterious arrival, aliens arriving to distract the anomaly just when they needed it most. However to assist them would require cancelling their escape vector and to simply call them up and ask while they're in a life and death conflict with a planet sized monstrosity was presumptuous enough to strike Melusine as somewhat rude despite her natural bias of feline entitlement. Melusine just knows this mystery is going to pre-occupy her tonight. Although on the plus side wondering who the hell these people were is probably gonna result in sounder sleep than whatever nightmares she suspects she'll have from today's other events.

“The Pride is okay!”
Unlike the last cry from the sensor pit this was good news. Very good news as the Pride was undamaged, having weathered the forces of annihilation that had consumed Byzantine craft with ease. Melusine filed away that mystery alongside the veritable folder of other mysteries today and moved on.
“Are they still on schedule to hyper out?” she asked, though the hyperlimit for the Juggernaught was deeper in system. Even after centuries the ancient hyperdrive in the depths of the Pride was still more sophisticated than the hyperdrives of Chamarran made vessels.
“Yes Battlemistress, velocity curves are unchanged.” was the reply, which only begged the question of why the mysterious force had not even managed to slow the Juggernaught down.
“None can stop the Juggernaught.”
“what was that battlemistress?”
“Sorry just thinking aloud. What's the damage on the Byzantines?” Melusine asked changing the subject. Despite the earlier brush with impending doom the Chamarran missile barrage had not relented.
“Three Byzantine vessels are showing significant loss of acceleration, probability over fifty percent they will not reach the hyperlimit before the anomaly does. Another two are showing some loss of acceleration.” the tactical analyst from earlier summarized. Not bad for a long range barrage, but it helped that the only part of the Byzantine craft they needed to damage was the engines. Had Melusine been required to de-claw the Byzantine ships that would have been a much more difficult task.

Meanwhile, The Hierarchy palace

“She opened fire on the Byzantines!”

“Tia calm down please. I think she was justified personally.”

“Tact, subtlety, diplomacy. Does she understand the situation she's put us in? We have very few options now, we can't apologize for this without endorsing the Byzantine atrocities and without an apology We'll be in a state of war.”

“A war they cannot act upon, they are clear across known space from us and have just made themselves the pariahs of every nation in the galaxy. Relax Tia...It's no bad thing this decision is made for us really.”

“I suppose you're right Mela.. I'm just used to keeping options open is all.”

“We still have a decision to make sisters.” Kara said as she joined them, placing a messagepad on the table....

The running of the Byzantines, MEH Sol

“Another Byzantine vessel lost acceleration battlemistress, however retained velocity ensures its survival.” The battle was drawing to a close with final reports like this, although battle was perhaps too strong a word for this turkey shoot as the Byzantines had not retaliated despite the loss of several ships from their force.

Melusine nodded acknowledgement “Still, we've bloodied their nose good and proper.” she said and then asked“Are all ships reporting ready for the jump to Xena?”

“All ships report ready.”

“Commence jump sequence.”
“Priority one message incoming battlemistress. Text only.”

“Very well, on my viewer.” Melusine said and then went silent, ears twitching as she contemplated the words.

“Contact all battlemistresses. We are changing our destination.”

Code: Select all

To: 1st Battlemistress Melusine.
From: Her Majesty Queen Kara.

The Byzantine imperium have attempted to besmirch the good name of our actions against the MEH, conducted myriad atrocities in our corner of space  and created a wound in reality with unknown ramifications on our doorstep. We are in agreement with the Sultan that these deeds cannot go without a reckoning. You are ordered to meet up with a Klavostani force moving out of Alpha Centauri and make common cause in pursuit of the Byzantine fleet and force them out of hyperspace.

Kara
STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2011-09-05 09:41am

The Great Escape
By Fingolfin_Noldor, Shinn Langley Soryu and Shroom Man 777

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The allied fleets sailed through the tumultuous starscapes of the Immaterium, both bound together in their inexorable march home and racing through hyperspace as fast as their drives could take them. The sleek, graceful forms of the Haruhiist warships contrasted heavily with the brutish, crenellated, and iconography-engraved hulks that were the vessels of Byzantium. Yet both fleets, having achieved the same purpose on Sol, now departed the ruins of that fell system as it was consumed by an unknowable madness, and despite the squalls in the aether induced by that insane maelstrom, they braved the maddening cosmos in their journey to safer, non-malignant stars.

“The feline xenos have already pursued us to the hyperlimit, and they may continue their chase. We cannot take any chances, and even passing by near their nation is a risk that we cannot abide, much less the other spineless vermin who call themselves ‘human’,” Aurelian explained as the various commanders and astropaths gathered in person or virtually around his throne room.

“And from my projections, the Chamarrans may not be alone.” Field Marshall Homura Akemi added. “Other elements of their coalition may be vectoring towards us as we speak. The Bragulans would love to take this opportunity to end us and shift the balance to their side, and those pompous Nova-Atlanteans may want to finally get even for the Great Crusade. And even our nominal allies may not be so willing as to give us free passage after what we've done. So the channels to the space core-spinward should be considered unsafe as well.”

“Pray tell, Field Marshall, what ever made you think that your own allies in the coalition would sell us out?” Rus Komnenos asked, and then gulped down a jeweled skull-chalice of noxious tsvagna.

“We've burned all our bridges here. Things are different since the Great Crusade. War has changed.” Akemi replied tersely, reflecting on all the sacrifices that had to be done. How they had to go back on the coalition, and how even then, they had failed to stop the formation of the Eye. “And it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that they'll be cross after your little party at the Planetoid, Warmaster. We ourselves didn’t earn ourselves any favors after Earth... not after using liquid-R... but it was a strategic necessity. Too bad not all of them can stomach what needs to be done.”

“Yes, I can reckon. As usual, they are incapable of having even a spot of fun.” Rus guffawed at that. Fond memories rushed into his alcohol-poisoned brain. “Is it true that Grand Admiral Pellaeon had a heart attack during the--”

“Gentlemen, ladies, we must decide what route we should take. The jackals will no doubt be after us. Time and again, they have proven themselves to be nothing more than cowards. They know what must be done, and they are are more than capable of doing it, but instead, they willingly cripple themselves by cowering behind the shield of ‘civility,’ as if that will save them when the time of reckoning arrives,” sneered Aurelian. The bridge was in total chaos, with the ship rocking from the space-time shockwaves from the great and horrible eye that used to be Earth. A chandelier encrusted with the skulls of captured Tau shook precariously overhead. “Our greatest problem is that the warp rift is disrupting all known hyperspace routes in the subsector, disturbing the ebb and flow of the Immaterium and making travel difficult.”

Akemi nodded and Rus grunted in affirmation. The Haruhiists, true to their status as great friends of the Imperium, had joined them at the last moment and engaged in the general bombardment of Earth, making the storming of the palace easier. Now, they were accompanying the Byzantine fleet back to the Koprulu Zone. Strength in numbers, and all that. However, it was clear from intelligence gained by the Haruhiists that the spineless human cowards were now trying to waylay the Byzantine armada. Such an event must never be allowed.

How ironic that this should smack of the Terran Third Crusade, Rus thought. Then, an idea came to him. “Let us leave known space. It is a long shot, but better than conniving with these petty fools who have only the wits to engage in banditry. We shall not descend to their level. Send word through the telepathic choir to Father that we need the Astronomican. Bring forth the Astropathic choir. We will rely on them to guide us home.”

“You mean Plan Cerulean Obelisk?” Aurelian asked.

“Yes. The plan to return to the Koprulu Zone when any Solarian or Imperial ships are lost and the enemy is hot on their tails. The route via the Cevaucians.”

“That might work, yes. It will be challenging, but yes, it can work. Are we agreeable to this, Marshal?” Aurelian asked the Haruhiist commander.

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“We will get our own psykers to aid us, and I’ll try to call in some favors. May the light of your God Emperor guide us home. And may the Empress bless our journey.”

“Quite so, literally. Navigation! Engage hyperspace evasive routines. Maximum Wiener process multi-dimensional random walk. All ships, follow the lead ships as designated! Engage warp drives when ready!”

In the chaotic expanse of the Immaterium, combined armada changed course and left the expanding Warp rift behind. By the end of the week, it would expand throughout the system, disrupt most of the known hyperspace routes in the subsector, and reroute a number of them entirely into the abyssal vortex that was Sol.





Holy Terra

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On the great world-city that was Holy Terra, the gilded capital of the Imperium of Man, events unseen and unfelt since the end of the Great Crusade were taking place at that very moment. Deep beneath the fortified planet’s armored crust, arcane engines awoke from their centuries of slumber, returning to life as esoteric energies coursed through their parapsychic conduits. They rumbled as strange mechanisms that worked in unseen spaces spun for the first time since the Dark Age of Technology, at first slowly, with the pained groans of adamantium steel on steel, yet they began to move faster as the Machine Spirits that drove them grew once more accustomed to the rhythmic vibrations of the universe, the cosmic symphony, of which their divine creator was maestro.

The thrum that resonated through the ether increased in intensity. The power pouring through these psychic machines emanated from a psionic wellspring that was only now showing but a fraction of its might. It was a living, thinking force, a storm of destruction that would have rend these ancient machines asunder were it not for the strength of thought and will that channeled the flow like a dam holding back a wild river. Once these machines accumulated enough of his inexhaustible energies, they channeled it upwards back to the surface, to the gilded spires that gleamed throughout the world-throne of the Imperium, golden obelisks that exploded in both visible and psychic radiance - nay, brilliance! - that awed and nigh blinded the teeming billions on the surface, who at once prostrated themselves to this miraculous sight, for they knew what it was, as it was said in their scriptures. Immediately did the gifted amongst them join in the great psychic choir that would number in the countless thousands - Astropaths, Sanctioned Psykers, Ecclesiarchs of the Clergy and blessed layman alike - partaking in divine communion with their lord and master to create a psychic beacon that could be felt in faraway worlds orbiting distant stars. As that light spreaded across the worlds of Byzantium, more and more were symbionized and added their psychic voice to the choir singing that music of the spheres.

And for those beyond the boundaries of the Imperium, those who had seen and felt it centuries ago, those who had listened to the tales or read the scriptures, and those who had fought and died with the same blood and in the same mud as the men and women of Byzantium knew. The Astronomican shone again.
Last edited by Fingolfin_Noldor on 2011-09-08 01:27am, edited 2 times in total.
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STGOD: Byzantine Empire
Your spirit, diseased as it is, refuses to allow you to give up, no matter what threats you face... and whatever wreckage you leave behind you.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2011-09-05 09:44am

Previously on SDNW4 wrote:“You mean Plan Cerulean Obelisk?” Aurelian asked.

“Yes. The plan to return to the Koprulu Zone when any Solarian or Imperial ships are lost and the enemy is hot on their tails. The route via the Cevaucians.”

“That might work, yes. It will be challenging, but yes, it can work. Are we agreeable to this, Marshal?” Aurelian asked the Haruhiist commander.

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“We will get our own psykers to aid us, and I’ll try to call in some favors. May the light of your God Emperor guide us home. And may the Empress bless our journey.”


Intrude F014

316th Advance
Codename: Liquid Phalanx
On RingFring Patrol
Sector O-25, off Belkan Space


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“I always liked her style,” Warmaster Wexly stroked his cracked tusk in amusement after learning that the Haruhiist Field Marshal had somehow accrued the wrath of both alien coalitions fighting in the Multiversal Empire, that she had been responsible for the orbital bombardment on the nation’s capital with strategic weaponry, and was now on the run along with the Byzantines. After all, he himself had been decried of atrocities when he defeated an entire rebel compound by slinging an entire asteroid belt onto a heavily defended planet all those years ago. He chuckled gutturally. “Oh yes.”

Now, they were asking for help, and he did owe the Holy Empire for interceding when he was about to get his ass kicked by the Scorpian warlord-prince DiSuna. If it wasn’t for their help, he wouldn’t have gotten his favorite trophy, after all.

“Alas, poor DiSuna. I knew him well,” he said as he stroked the Scorpian prince’s skull and mused. On one hand, the 316th were on the verge of the Veil of the Pfhor to survey the Cevaucian Ascendancy’s eternal enemies. On the other... they had been on tour for years now, and the RingFring had been calm for the duration of that whole time he had been glowering at the fringe worlders under his gaze. His nakh and men had grown bored and weary. Soft. Without conflict to innervate them, as when they had wasted those rebels with the very rocks drifting in their star system, their prowess as warriors would slacken. Yet if they left the Fring now, surely the unruly curs in the borderworlds would take this chance to play their games... but all that meant was that when he returned - and he would return - they would have to scurry back to their holes as fast as they could while he burned them down to the last man.

“To be, or not to be? That is the question,” he looked into DiSuna’s hollow sockets and remembered how he himself had prepared his trophy. Yet there were matters to be considered beyond the Fringe, beyond the Rings of Cevault. Their nominal allies, the Haruhiists and the Byzantines, as strange and careless and imprudent as they were, nonetheless remained an invaluable component of the integrity of the Koprulu Zone. The Cevaucian Ascendancy depended on them to fend off the distant Bragulans and Karlacks, while the ranks of the Warmasters held the likes of the Pfhor at bay. If the outsiders were to destroy, or otherwise incapacitate or debilitate, the forces of the Holy Empire and the Imperium... then the Swarm and the legions of Byzon would certainly descend upon them all, and the Solarians by themselves would not be enough to stem that tide from extinguishing all they held dear. That outcome would be unacceptable. Outsider fools tampered with matters they did not comprehend. Could not. In the fullness of time, their fates would be the same as DiSuna’s.

Wexly had his answer.

“Not to be.”

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The Liquid Phalanx moved towards the antispinward. They would see what these outsiders were made of.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2011-09-05 12:22pm

Combined Byzantine and Haruhiist fleet

If by anything, the way back home will not be easy. To dislodge any possible ships that might be tailing the fleet, the fleet broke up into 6 task force groups and separate scout forces. Each task force would communicate through the use of psykers who would use special set codes that only the Haruhiist and Byzantines would use. The task forces would scatter, and move in various directions, and every now and then a pair of taskforces would meet at an appointed location, exchange notes, and move on. Nor would the task forces meet the same one at the next location.

For the Scout forces, their job was vital. They were to jump ahead of the fleet and deploy a series of probes and go utterly silent and pick out as much sensor data of the way ahead, and then proceed to communicate the information back to the various taskforces the data they collected. Once they collected enough, they would jump ahead again, and repeat the same process.

Moreover, from the initial point of the scatter, to the next point of the meet, multiple decoys were deployed at each point. One might imagine that the ships seemed to have "multiplied" at each point of scattering. Some of these decoys would travel through the Warp, giving out false signatures and making it difficult for any pursuing forces to pick out the right force to follow. Some would even go static to further draw in pursuing ships. Further, the scout forces would deploy decoys where appropriate, both static and travelling through the Warp to further confuse pursuing forces. This would take place over the span of hundreds of light years. Each time the fleet goes in and out of the warp, decoys are deployed.

Finally, any ship that incurred drive failure, would be scuttled and crew transferred, if possible. Otherwise, the crew would simply sing their prayers and scuttle their own ship.

Communication was strictly through psykery and code. And everyone was guided by the light of the God Emperor.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Force Lord » 2011-09-05 01:37pm

Code: Select all

TIGHTBEAM CODED MESSAGE FROM CENTRUM

THIS IS SECRETARY OF WAR CRACUS VOMPEY. DICTATOR DEMANDS PROGRESS REPORT. HAS ARMADA ARRIVED AT MEH EARTH?


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TIGHTBEAM CODED MESSAGE FROM STEEL FIST

THIS IS YESLAH. FIRST ARMADA THROWN OFF COURSE AND SCATTERED BY UNKNOWN MEH SUPERWEAPON SHIP. MEH VESSEL ENGAGED FOR HALF AN HOUR BEFORE... SOMETHING HAPPENED. YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS. MEH EARTH HAS... BEEN REPLACED.


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TIGHTBEAM CODED MESSAGE FROM CENTRUM

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?


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TIGHTBEAM CODED MESSAGE FROM STEEL FIST

WE ARE NOT SURE. PRELIMINARY SCANS INDICATE FORMATION OF UNKNOWN SPATIAL DISTURBANCE ABOUT HALF AN HOUR AFTER ENCOUNTERING MEH SUPERVESSEL. THE DISTURBANCE IS CREATING PSYCHIC WAVES THAT HAVE RESULTED IN SEVERAL ESPERS SUCCUMBING TO MADNESS AND THUS EXECUTED. MOST HAVE EXPERIENCED MENTAL DISCOMFORT. SOME CLAIM TO HEAR A VOICE IN THEIR HEAD THAT REPEATES THE WORD 'KIERGY'. I WONDER WHO COULD THAT BE...


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TIGHTBEAM CODED MESSAGE FROM CENTRUM

THESE SAME PSYCHIC WAVES YOU MENTION HAVE ALREADY REACHED THE CENTRALITY. THERE IS MUCH PANIC ALREADY. ARGUMENTS ABOUT SENDING ANOTHER FLEET AS REINFORCEMENT HAVE REEMERGED. THERE IS EVEN A NEW BATTLE OF THE CHOICES DECLARED. ALL IN ALL, VERY UNPLEASANT DAY.


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TIGHTBEAM CODED MESSAGE FROM STEEL FIST

THE DICTATOR'S WISHES CANNOT BE FUFILLED NOW. WHAT SHALL WE DO?


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TIGHTBEAM CODED MESSAGE FROM CENTRUM

PROTECT CENTRALIST INTERESTS.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Ryan Thunder » 2011-09-05 02:23pm

The interceptor, one of many, screeched through hyperspace, much in the same sense that one of the crew screeched his transmissions to the massive Byzantine fleet ever so slightly ahead of them. The Byzantines had flatly refused to give them any useful information, so Kay ordered her staff psychologist to return the favour in the most irritating manner possible. His pre-recorded messages had been distributed throughout the expeditionary force for this purpose. The endless stream of inane questions went on...

"Tyrant's Dominion, this is Avenger Seven. Does the emperor wear pink socks? Over," He paused briefly before repeating himself, "Say again, Tyrant's Dominion, this is Avenger Seven. Does the emperor wear pink socks? Over."

A garbled voice broke into the channel wielding a thick high gothic accent. "What is wrong with you people? You've been at this for more than a hundred lightyears, the damned comm unit won't shut off due to battle damage, and we've had it with your offensively nasal barrage of heretical inanity! What do you want?"

"Say again Tyrant's Dominion? We didn't catch that last one, you sly motherfuckers."

...and on, and on...
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2011-09-05 02:49pm

Xena
After the Downfall


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The Bragulan warfleets had quickly returned to Xena after the incident in Sol forced both OMINOUS and human coalition armadas out of the system. Now, the ships that had been damaged from moderate to severe degrees were being laid up in mobile docks in-system or at Farthing or Kitty Litter, being tended to and repaired as their battered brethren had been in the aftermath of the battle to claim Xena itself. Meanwhile, those bragships that were not quite as worse off, and those that were intact and whole, were quickly being re-armed and re-supplied in an act of lightning logistics by patriotic proletarian non-combatant Bragulan sailors, rear-echelon naval crews and the like in charge of the fleet tenders and replenishments ships. Nearby, the Sassanid Heighliner was likewise disgorging gigatons worth of ammunition and equipment to refill the warships’ internal magazines and supply depots. It was a titanic task, but the labors of the sailors who had spent months training for this, and who were well-motivated by their political officers, would have made the Imperator Byzon* proud to call them working-class sons and daughters of Bragule.

Deep within the bowels of the Byzon I, Defender of the Universe Admirals Nykloyai Gearsmyoviych Bragznetsov, Mykhaiyl Lyzarev and Nykanor Zyvan Nikhamov of Kosmoflotts Oktyabrsky, Sagatantron and Bragotyomkin respectively met in the great strategic battle fortress’s cavernous freonated meeting room.

“Comrade, we must depart,” began the most senior of their ranks, Admiral Mykhaiyl Lyzarev. “With the Chamarran-Klavostani pursuit of the Byzantine-Haruhiist fleets, it is imperative that we return to bragspace as soon as possible.”

“Why?” Admiral Bragznetsov raised a fuzzy brow. “Can we not simply join our inhuman comrades, and those humans, and together lay waste to the Byzantine and Haruhiist fleet once and for all? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, you know.”

“Yet what do you think will be the Solarians’ reaction to this great attack, Nykolai?” Admiral Nykanor asked in turn, facing his younger comrade. “If the Byzantine-Haruhiist force is destroyed, by the other humans or by the Chamarrans or whoever, the Koprulu Zone’s balance of power will be tipped -”

“And it will finally be in our favor!” Bragznetsov exclaimed and raised a fist into the air.

“Da. But the Solarians, with their fleets at Thy bordering bragspace and with their Cevaucian allies securing the rear, will be quick to address this problem of theirs, will they not?” Nykanor replied.

“They will inevitably be forced to equalize the balance in the only way they can,” Mykhaiyl Lyzarev stroked his greying mustache. “With our bragfleets here in the antispinward, and only half of our forces remaining in bragspace to secure Mother Bragule...”

“They wouldn’t... they wouldn’t dare. The humans don’t have the spines.” Bragznetsov seethed at the thought of the humans intruding upon the sacred worlds of Bragulan Star Empire, the Imperator’s dominion.

“Wouldn’t they?” Lyzarev chuckled. “In your desire for a decisive victory, you have forgotten cosmopolitical and strategico-military concerns in the home front. The bigger picture, my young Nykolai.”

“My apologies, Grand Admiral. I did not consider such an important tactico-strategic detail. I shame the Imperator.” Bragznetsov bowed his head.

“Nonsense. You did well in Nova Genoa, and you did well here. You are a good Front Admiral, you lead your ships and sailors well in battle, but you must learn that Bragule has many prudent needs - and some of them may outweigh the swift and immediate destruction of some of its enemies here and now.” Lyzarev lectured like an old professor at the academy, which he did many times in the course of his career.

“Da. To become an instrument of the Imperator Byzon, one must learn and master all fields of war, even - and especially - those beyond the battlefield,” Bragznetsov quoted the Little Green Book.

“This is why you are to come with me, Nykolai. And your fleet. Our damaged and under repair fleets we will leave here in Xena, Farthing and in the staging world under your care, Nykanor, and your fleet’s.” Lyzarev could not bring himself to utter the undignified nickname the troops had bestowed on the staging planet near Chamarran space.

“Bragotyomkin will stay in the antispinward?” Nykanor asked.

“Da. We must honor our obligations with the felines, and I know you have grown... familiar with them and their ways, having worked together with them for many months. We need our troops on the ground secured, and the Chamarrans would be very crossed with us if we simply cut and run and left their system unprotected while they go off on their merry chase. We also cannot discount the possibility of human treachery once more, after the sudden and uninvited appearance of their fleets in Sol, and we still need to know what happened to that misbegotten system. So you are best suited here, comrade. Hold the fort, but do not get too comfortable with the cats. We shall meet again soon.” Lyzarev grunned before standing up and adjourning the meeting. “But for now, Nykolai and I - and our fleets - must reach bragspace before the fate of the Byzantines and Haruhiists is decided, whether they survive the gauntlet that has been laid for them or not.”

“So it is all decided then?” Nykanor inquired one last time. “Your fleets are to return to bragspace, while I will remain here to keep our deal with our feline friends, understand what has happened to Earth, and tend to our wounded ships.”

Lyzarev nodded.

“Very well then. Comrades, I wish you good luck and I hope things do not turn out for the worse with our downtown neighbors,” Nykanor joked as he shook hands with the older admiral, then moved to his junior. He gave his comrade a clap on the shoulder. “Give them hell, tovarisch.”

“Same to you, comrade. Take care and bring back something nice, preferably alcoholic. It seems that we have not had anything to drink for this conversation.” Bragznetsov laughed as he shook hands with Nykanor and went with Lyzarev.

“Come, we make haste for Bragule.” Lyzarev declared as the three admirals parted ways. Two fleets would depart from Xena, while one would remain in the antispinward.





*Known for his arduous toilings in the slave mines of the High Bear Nation before rising up to lead a slave revolution and starting the Great Civil War single-pawedly.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Force Lord » 2011-09-05 03:07pm

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MESSAGE FROM JOINT GROUND FORCES COMMAND:

ALL ARMY AND MARINE UNITS ON OCCUPATION DUTIES IN WOLF 359 PLANETS ARE TO FORTIFY THEIR POSITIONS AND CREATE OCCUPATION ZONES EXCLUSIVE TO CENTRALIST FORCES. ARRANGEMENTS TO BE MADE IN CASE OTHER NATIONS DEMAND THEIR OWN ZONES. POLITICAL REORGANIZATION OF CENTRALIST ZONES IS TO BEGIN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. COMPLICATIONS ARISING FROM THIS ARE TO BE DEALT WITH SWIFTLY AND CAREFULLY. NAVAL SUPPORT FROM CENTRAL NAVY IS NOT TO BE EXPECTED FOR THE MOMENT. DEPLOYMENT OF ANTI-STARSHIP WEAPONS AND EMPLACEMENTS IS AUTHORIZED. PROTESTS FROM 'ALLIES' ARE TO BE EXPECTED. TOKEN GESTURES TO BE MADE IN CASE ASSUAGING FOREIGN WORRIES IS NEEDED. REMAINING ORK INFESTATIONS TO BE ERADICATED WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE. CIVILIAN CASUALTIES MUST BE MINIMIZED.

THE CENTRAL STATE EXPECTS EVERYONE TO DO THEIR DUTY. HAIL THE STATE!
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Siege » 2011-09-05 03:28pm

And now for something completely different.

The Once and Future King
(Cont.)


Sidney descended to ground level and crossed underneath the monumental trusses that held up the railroad overpass. The Presidential Palace, or what had become of it, beckoned. Here in the heart of San Dorado the buildings were immense, eclectic monuments to the city’s rich and powerful. Golden lettering above their entrances proudly proclaimed the owners of each skyscraper; neoclassical crests, friezes and cubist statues of robber-barons dominated the view from the street. On reflection, he realized, it all looked amazingly gaudy. Stripped of the thronging masses of wage-slave peons and suit-wearing True Believers that had given San Dorado purpose, its magnificent buildings were little more than corporate mausoleums, dedicated to dead men desperate to be remembered.

Concord Avenue was one of the most important thoroughfares of San Dorado City, running from the southern Barricade District financial center north toward Uptown, passing both the Tower of Commerce and the Presidential Palace on the way. It was lined most of the way by office towers belonging to the city-state’s many corporations. 42nd meanwhile was known for its entertainment. The area where the two streets crossed had been known as Busby’s Corners, after legendary entrepreneur Busby Blues who’d ruled an empire of vice from the office of the President, and it was an unholy fusion of business and pleasure: brothels and casinos stood next to corporate headquarters; banks and broadcasting studios were side by side with grindhouse theatres and seedy night clubs. And from amidst the neon chaos of it all the stained white, chrome-capped Palace thrust into the heavens like the fulcrum around which the city-state revolved.

It was all very fitting.

Speaking of the Palace, he was getting close now. The skyscraper towered far above the surround high-rise, but it no longer looked the way Sidney remembered it. Behinds its windows lights switched on and off in ordered constellations. In many places the white masonry was ripped away and replaced by heavy steel plates, entire sections of which moved up and down the building seemingly without purpose. In other areas gnarled, rib-like structures were wrapped around the tower. Red floodlights lit up the building’s steel chrome crown in unpredictable shifting patterns and thick cables plummeted from its sides, tracing inverse parabolas before wrapping around nearby towers. It was the only building to feature any lights at all, making it look as if the Palace was draining energy out of the city... Or the city was sustaining it instead. Or perhaps, he figured, there really was no difference.

The Palace covered an entire city block, and its immediate surroundings were parkland: a fenced-in, publicly accessible space of trees, ponds and statues, a small retreat from the corporate madness... Artfully sculpted in such a way to prohibit motor vehicles from accessing the base of the tower, and to provide ideal kill-zones to the men and women of the Presidential Security Service in case of an armed attack. But there were no armed men in body-armor patrolling the tower base now. In fact there was nobody at all to keep him from walking up to the reinforced glass-wrapped base of the Palace, so far seemingly untouched by the crazed machine-stuff that proliferated higher up. He entering its blast-proof lobby, leaving the rain-slicked city behind.

From the ground floor up the first twelve stories of the Palace had actually been a public museum, containing a bewildering variety of artifacts dating back to the days of the Founding of San Dorado City. The museum had been designed to awe visitors with the riches of the city-state just as ancient cathedrals did to illiterate Medieval peasants. And so the floor was a flawless expanse of patterned rose and ivory marble; a massive art deco chandelier dominated the ceiling, golden cogwheels emerging from a polished bas-relief map of the Frequesuan continent; and the far wall was dominated by a massive, vividly colored mural of Lady Fortune standing over one of the ancient motto’s of the city-state, spelling out in priceless opal that: “the Almighty Dollar shall be the stability of thy times.”

The crassness of it all was almost enough to make him blush. His footsteps echoed through the otherwise empty lobby. Sidney walked past examples of ancient San Doradan industriousness - automobiles, aircraft, a Streamline Moderne passenger train - and was suddenly unsure what to do next. In the middle of the lobby were dozens of bronzed booths where pretty immigrant girls used to sell tickets or offer information about the museum and the city.

But there were no girls. Rather, he realized, the booths were occupied by mannequin blondes, faces and figures distorted by crudely grafted cybernetics. The mannequins silently tracked his movement with glittering red eyes that shone lasers through the dimly lit lobby.

Creepy. Sidney was suddenly very aware of just where he was. This wasn’t San Dorado City. He was literally inside the mind of a very old and quite possibly very insane AI. What he saw around him was an abstraction of her - its - mind-state. It wasn’t very user friendly, or hospitable. There was a reason its containment vessel had warned against reactivation. A loud chime broke the silence. In the far wall beyond the bronze booths an elevator, its doors decorated with chromed sunburst designs, slid open.

The core was beginning to react to his presence, like a predatory animal rousing slowly from a deep sleep.

He stepped into the elevator. Its doors closed and immediately opened again. There had been no sense of motion, but the scenery had changed. And things were starting to get really weird.

Sidney stood in, well, a nightclub. There really was no other word for it. A sleazy nightclub at that. It was a place of velvet and lace. Red leather booths circled a dancing stage dominated by chromed poles. Languid, mechanical music thumped through the place, its bass so deep it reverberated in his stomach, its waveform dancing with machine code. A disco ball hung above the stage. Rays of weirdly rendered light bounced off it to the beat of the music. Neon flashed against the walls. Upon closer inspection the neon signs turned out to be the ancient red and white umbrella logo of the SinTEK corporation, repeated over and over again, flashing with the bewildering pattern of the Palace’s crown illumination. The place, like the rest of the city, was utterly deserted.

He drifted to the bar, sat down on a stool and thought through the implications of what he was seeing. He was hooked into the core of a positively ancient AI, one of the oldest humanity ever built, quite possibly the oldest surviving. Daphne Sinclair had gone digital very early on. It had been a gamble, but not much of a choice. Ashpool's Disease had ruined her health and her body had rejected a succession of cybernetic implants. She’d had only months, maybe less, before the disease would reach her cerebral cortex.

The procedure was experimental. Her company, SinTEK, had been at the forefront of computational neuroscience even as far back as the 21st century, but it hadn’t ever attempted anything like this with a human subject before. Or at least, it hadn’t officially. There’d been rumors about death row inmates and secret laboratories, but Sidney had never wanted to know if there was any truth to them. He didn’t want to learn what lengths Daphne had gone to in order to save her own life. The technology was there, and if he could just ignore the question of how it’d come into being he wouldn’t have to think too much about what he’d have done if it were up to him.

They had made their first goodbye in the cryo-chamber. They’d kissed one last time. The doors shut and the cryosolute poured in, beginning the vitrification process. He’d turned away as robotic scalpels began chiseling at the crystallized body of what had been his wife. Her nervous system had been frozen and was then scanned, layer by layer, by laser imagers that captured the structure of her neurons and their interconnections and mapped them onto specially prepared memory banks.

It took the most advanced supercomputers that all the money in the world could buy thirteen months to reconstitute her personality. When her synthesized voice burst from those speakers, it had been the most beautiful thing he’d ever heard. They could talk; hell, primitive early cybernetics meant they could even touch, after a fashion. It’d been years before he realized it wasn’t the same as before. And it had been decades before he’d caught on to what was happening to her.

The incipience of radically advanced technology often came at a price. This was no different. They were treading new ground: the effects of digitization and discorporeality were not understood, there was no way to tell how fully recursive memory might affect a human mind, no psychological data to tell them what was happening until it was too late.

Personalities change over time, even in living, breathing human beings. Our perception of the world is altered, ever so subtly, by every memory and every experience. Human beings adjust their views and change their perspectives, even if all they have to work with is a gray lump of matter with the consistency of cold porridge, inhibited by millennia of immutable caveman instincts.

But what if everything that made a person suddenly turned mutable, just like that? Nobody had given that possibility much thought. Until now. Daphne Sinclair changed herself, bit by literal bit, slowly but inexorable like continental drift. Her personality mutated, transformed itself away from the woman he’d fallen in love with, drifted away from him and from humanity, became more alien every year. He’d come to think of it like Alzheimer’s in reverse: she wasn’t diminishing so much as taking off into realms of identity he couldn’t - wouldn’t - follow. It had taken her two centuries of painful metamorphosis to become completely estranged from him. By the end they’d grown so far apart they could hardly even talk.

He’d fled her. There was no other word for it, he now realized. The Great Upheaval had been an excellent time to do it, a good excuse - but looking back he wondered if it had truly been the mobs of Earth and Nova Terra baying for his blood that had caused him to do it, or if it had really been the thought of sitting at that great and silent mainframe for even a minute longer, speaking into a microphone in a futile attempt to bridge the existential divide between minds imprisoned in fragile, organic bodies and those soaring on the digital winds of early lasernets.

Centuries passed, and they had run into each other every once in a while. Their run-ins were ever brief, never pleasant, and involved cognitive viruses, mind-rape or portable lasercannons. Even so he could never bring himself to shutting her down and though he no longer understood her motivations, he suspected that she could no more do him in either.

The final goodbye was in the 28th century, and precipitated by a frantic long-distance communique from SinTEK. The corporation had long gone nomad, become biogenic pirates selling ethically dubious services to whomever could pay, shunned in large parts of the civilized galaxy. They carried her matrix on one of their great laboratory-ships, but something had changed. The AI had gone rampant, seizing control of the giant vessel’s systems, robots and considerable defenses, and was slaughtering the whole staff and converting them into mutants and cyborgs. Sidney had boarded the ship and interfaced one final time with the core. Contact had been brief, he’d caught no more than glimpses of manic intent: biomechanical experiments to reverse-engineer a human substrate, attempts to recreate... There were flashes of ancient digitized memories, a worn-down wedding picture... He hadn’t dared look further. He wasn’t sure his sanity would’ve survived.

He’d finally shut it down and locked it away. And he still felt guilty over it.

In many ways that didn’t make sense. He’d done far worse things, for reasons that were far less clear cut, and felt not a trace of remorse. But sense or not it still felt like a failure even now, five centuries later. That, he well realized, was a very long time to carry a torch for someone. It was also the result of the way he’d reorganized his own personality and that, in turn, had a lot to do with what had happened to Daphne. It was all awfully circular, and not very to the point. What mattered right now was that what he was seeing all around him was a thought-space, essentially a user interface based on a reflection of the AI’s self-image.

An empty city. A disreputable nightclub. This didn’t bode very well for sanity.

And suddenly he realized he wasn’t alone anymore. An Art Deco gargoyle had appeared, abruptly and from nowhere in particular, in the middle of the circular dancefloor. It eyed him menacingly. He recognized it for the Daemon it was, a security program that was in many ways the predecessor of Black Ice. He knew better than to underestimate it. Old-fashioned or not, Daphne had always been good at coming up with things that killed people in new and interesting ways: last time he was here the core defences had taken bite-sized chunks out of him.

“Sidney friggin’ Hank.” The gargoyle spoke without moving its chromed beak. Its voice was full of false joviality, and laced with a caricatural Roaring Twenties mobster accent. “What brought you down off yer cloud o‘ money?”

“Come to see the old lady,” he looked at the unmoving steel creature with an forcedly casual expression.

“Oh yeah?” There were more gargoyles appearing now, one by one. They were all looking at him. She’d evidently been preparing for an encounter like this. “And what makes you think the Chromium Queen wants to talk to you?”

Chromium Queen? Hokay. That did not sound good. Or stable. “Seeing as you guys don’t get too many visitors ‘round these parts I’m thinking she might. For old time’s sake?”

“That’s what you said last time,” the prime Gargoyle was unexpectedly closer. It hadn’t moved, but suddenly its giant steel beak nearly pressed against his nose. He made an effort not to flinch. Still more of its kind were appearing, filling the room with their cast iron presences. “Locked us in here, you did.”

“There was a pretty good reason for that. Which,” he added, “I can explain.”

“Ca-can you no-now?” The thing’s voice changed, the faux-mobster accent breaking up with bursts of static that morphed, even as the Daemon spoke, into something distinctly feminine and recognizable. “Rea-rea-really?”

So. Here at last. “Hi Dee,” he sighed. “It’s been a while.”

A pause. “Ha-has it?”

Nanocores were peculiar things. They had been radically advanced for their time. Just one could hold an entire AI in a package many times smaller than anything that had come before. But like any core before the advent of sub-meson systems they were potential prisons: cut off the microwave transceivers and directed laserlinks, disconnect the optical cables and sub-etha connectors and whatever intelligence is locked inside is blind to the galaxy. Clock down the speed of its processors and there’s no way for the AI to know how much time has passed outside.

He’d made very sure to dial down the processors or Daphne’s core as far as they could go. Centuries had passed outside, but there was really no way to tell how much subjective time had passed in this place. Could be decades; could be less. Could be a lot more too. It wasn’t just a matter of processor speeds. Best be up front about it. “It’s been five centuries.”

Silence.

He decided to press the issue. “Perhaps it would be best if I explained this to you in person?”

Anger rose in the voice of the AI like a warbling electronic storm. “Wou-would you know my fa-face? Would you?

Before Sidney could reply the room began to fold. There was no other word for it: the walls, the night club, the gargoyles, every three-dimensional object except for the floor shifted sprite-like that way in a way that made his head hurt. The top of the Palace pleated like a fractal flower, rotating out of sight until he found himself standing on an empty platform high above the city.

From this vantage it was apparent just how huge the city of San Dorado was. A forest of skyscrapers framed the Central Districts. Beyond it hundreds of square kilometres of city sprawled toward every horizon, threaded through by the silver and black of monorails and highways. In comparison the Dodgson River, itself nearly a kilometre wide, seemed an insignificant dribble of brownish-blue trickling through one of humanity’s oldest megalopolises, dark and lifeless and inert.

He had no time to enjoy the view. There was a monstrous rumbling, inexorable as an earthquake, so loud the noise was overwhelming on an existential level. In the depths below the earth rippled and shifted, bulged unnaturally and finally snapped open in a cataclysmic display of force. Skyscrapers collapsed. Roads disintegrated. Cars and lesser buildings were contemptuously tossed aside. Water and gas mains exploded into curtains of rain and fire. From amidst the chaos something huge and gnarled and terrifying rose... and rose... and kept on rising impossibly, a vast subterranean monster of steel and circuitry, titanic and ancient, the final reflection of the central intellect whose thoughts shaped this place.

The Palace shook reed-like as the monstrous construct hefted itself into the air in front of him, a Herculean machine avatar that emerged from choking dust and curtains of fire like the face of a wrathful god.

Image

“Sid-sid-sidney Ha-hank,” rumbled a voice vast and pitiless and alien. The avatar spoke with a voice of steel and synthetics, devoid of human qualities. It was the voice of a machine straining to form anthropoid thoughts. “After fi-five hundred ye-years.” Bolts of lightning accented her dialog, illuminated the city beyond, their radiance briefly revealing the office towers and skyscrapers for the machine spires they were before they fell back into the familiar shadow and became San Dorado once more. “You have a lo-lot of ne-nerve to sho-show up here, insect.”

“Ouch, that’s harsh.” He frowned at the giant machine-thing, a gesture that he guessed had to look more than a little silly. “But don’t blame me for my absence. Last time around you killed a whole bunch of people and then tried to eat my mind. That’s the kind of thing that puts a guy off, you know?”

“In-insolence.” The lightning stabbed angrily, scorching the thick carpets. “You travel within the glory of my mind, in-insect. Tread li-lightly.”

“Yeah, I love what you’ve done with the place.” His inflection made it clear he didn’t.

The titanic machine inched closer. Its voice slipped and pitched, traces of insanity creeping into it. “Your fle-flesh is an insult to the perfection of the digital. But you have po-po-potential. Your biology will join with mine. We will be who-whole again. I will wa-walk the ga-ga-galaxy once more.”

“Yes, yes, resistance is futile, and all that.” He sighed. “You’re really going to try this again?”

“You can-cannot resist an im-immortal machine.”

“That’s what you said last time,” he murmured, deflecting the words of her Daemon back onto her. “Look where it got you.”

Lightning gleamed, riven with thunder. The voice of the AI turned suddenly and alarmingly human. “I had a lo-lot of time to pra-pra-practice.”

San Dorado and the rest of the thought-space dissolved into a hazy static blur of pure data as the AI attacked him, bending its entire formidable will to the task of conquering his mind. He could feel the pressure of its - her - thoughts, millions of lines of code cunningly designed solely for the task of shattering implant firewalls and sundering and subverting his personality, stunningly malicious, amazingly complex, surprisingly up-to-date. He now realized the purpose of the empty city, the lights flashing with hidden cognitive cues: it had been carefully designed to measure his responses and probe his defenses, allowing the mad AI to tailor its attack for maximum efficiency.

And she was good. Damn, but she was good. Five hundred years of cybernetic development but she tore through his firewalls in seconds. He caught an impression of unrestrained glee as the AI rampaged across his defenses like a bulldozer through cardboard, ripping up counter-intrusion software and security/challenge protocols, assimilating stray thoughts as her alien presence seared beam-like through the topography of his mind, aimed straight at the core of his identity.

And then she hit a wall.

One split-second she seemed poised to overtake his personality. The next her attack skittered off of a sphere of blackest obsidian that hadn’t been there a moment earlier -- or hadn’t seemed to be. The AI pressed at it, working from multiple angles, but her strongest efforts glanced off the hardened barrier without leaving a mark. A trace of confusion crept into her mind. For another moment the sphere simply loomed there, solid and immutable. Then it changed and, as data piped in, gained a shadow of digital gravity that grew, and grew, lengthening to immense proportions. There was an illimitable vastness to the blackness, such an immensity it seemed poised to crush her. The traces of surface thoughts and defenses evaporated like they ruse they had been, leaving the AI a barren digital limbo before that colossal black megalith.

“MY TURN, DEAR.”

There was no malice to that burst of digital information, but there didn't need to be. There was a power behind it that hit her like a sledgehammer. And its meta-data was laced with terms she did not understand.

CI.

Computational Intelligence.

Dionysus.

The digital pressure of the CompInt's attention was like nothing the entity formerly known as Daphne Sinclair had ever experienced before. It absorbed her attacks, deflected them and turned them around. She tried to withdraw but it wouldn’t let her. It reeled her in instead, drew the crazed AI into its inky blackness.

White-out. Short-circuit.

With a flicker of static the thought-space re-established itself into a funhouse mirror of her own mindscape: a flawed replica of the old San Dorado skyline, little more than a faulty memory parsed as a backdrop for two avatars. A warm, late afternoon tropical sun beat down, casting long shadows from behind the skyscrapers.

Image

“So let’s try this again, shall we?”

“What...” The woman looked, wide-eyed, first at herself then at him. She wore a nondescript woman’s suit of charcoal grey that seemed wholly inappropriate given the gleam of insanity in her eyes. He wore a similarly featureless black number. “What is this place?!”

“You’re in the glory of my mind now, dear.” He smiled at her. “A lot of things have changed in half a millennium.”

It had taken him a long time to find a way to avoid the crazed rampancy of his wife. In the end, he had settled for technologically induced schizophrenia: his upload personality was kept in bounds by a greater CI awareness - Dionysus - after the Latin god whose name, through the patron saint of France, Saint Denis, back when the Plantagenets became English, had been assimilated as ‘Sidney’. It forcibly restrained his core personality from transgressing certain mental boundaries, allowed him to stay at least vaguely human and, by some standards, sane whilst at the same time profiting from the vast expanded awareness - and survivability - that modern technology allowed.

He explained the basic details and she scoffed at him. “You refuse to ac-accept your true potential. You think like an insect. You ARE an insect.”

He shrugged. “I beat you. Again. And now you are on my turf.”

On a more abstract informational level data surged forward. Code clashed with code as the Dionysus entity assailed the defences that the insane AI had thrown up. It reacted, lashed out against the invasion, but its methods were obsolete and rendered ineffective by the massively superior processing power of the sub-mesonic personality. The thought-space wavered briefly but held. The AI seethed and pressed the attack, again and again, but it was steadily losing ground. It was being walled in and restrained, lost control of itself, core process after subarray after shell function. “Daphne,” he sighed. “Give it up. It’s pointless to resist.”

Anger and fear vied for dominance on her features. Anger won out. “You-you would kno-know my thoughts?!”

“I’m fairly sure the time I wanted to know any of your thoughts is long gone, Dee.”

She growled something incomprehensible, and seemed suddenly ill at ease trapped in the confines of a human body -- simulated though it might be. “The Sinclair form is dead, insect.”

He stuck his hands in his pockets. “I refuse to believe that.”

“I am in co-control,” she insisted even as her operational envelope was isolated, restricted again, confined, pushed back. “I am in control. There is no other option.”

“Sweet fucking Lady, Dee!” the explosion of anger was followed by an intense burst of digital pressure. The remote skyscrapers rippled for a moment, then regained their solidity. “It’s not a matter of bleedin’ control! I don’t want to control you. I want you to control you!”

In the realm of code, the final defences of her core shell fell. Security overrides were deleted, sentinel killer programs and tripwire systems defused and swept away by sentient hunter functions. The AI was locked out of its own systems. She stared at him, her expression blank and remote and very alien. “I am what I am.”

He sighed, suddenly bone-weary. “Evidently.”

“Fi-five hundred years. It took you a lo-long time to en-end this. So be-be it. Destroy me, then.”

“I’m not going to do anything of the kind. Don’t you get it? If I wanted to end you, I could’ve just dumped your core into a sun centuries ago.”

That gave her pause. It wasn’t uncommon, he knew, for early AIs to lose sight of the fact that there was a reality beyond their own realm of code and data. She blinked and her avatar regarded him, for the first time something other than anger in her features. “State your in-intentions.”

“I know you tried to substrate my Dee last time around. Simulated her mind. I want to know: did you succeed?”

A long pause. Then her avatar abruptly looked down. “That ex-experiment was a par-par-partial success.”

“Could you access that function for me?”

She shook her head. “I don’t un-understand... Why don’t you force me?”

“Because I owe you that much. Because I don’t want to. Because... Hell, just do it alright? Please?”

And she changed. It wasn’t radical, but there was something about the way her avatar carried herself, the way her shoulders stiffened and then relaxed, the way she looked around in confusion, took in the city-scape and then, finally, him. When she opened her mouth, she spoke with an achingly familiar voice. “Sidney?”

He hadn’t known just how much he’d missed that voice until he heard it. A million memories flashed through his mind at once. Their first meeting, in a boardroom so long ago. He remembered years of corporate intrigue and smoldering looks, of elegant pumps running up the inside of his thigh under mahogany tables. He remembered their first kiss, not far from that boardroom, and the embarrassment that had ensued until they both realized that they didn’t give a damn about appearances. They were powerful memories, and Dionysus clamped down hard to take the worst of the edge off of them. Even so he realized his avatar had to swallow before replying. “Hello, honey.”

She smiled uncertainly. “Um. So. Now what?”

It wasn’t her. And yet, it was. If an AI could get lost in the mutable chaos of cyberspace, if this was a time when long-gone friends came back from the dead, why couldn’t a simulation be the real thing? If it was based on unique digital memories, why shouldn’t it? For centuries he hadn’t allowed anyone to get close to him. Now, he was wondering why. Why make this more difficult than it need be. Why couldn’t there for once be a happy end?

Damn the torpedoes.

He realized he didn’t care what he might be unleashing. The galaxy was a fucked up place anyway. And most of all he just wanted her. He knew he’d already made up his mind, knew he’d probably known when he first plugged into this place. He smiled tiredly. “I was wondering... You must be interested in what the outside galaxy looks like.”

Her eyes widened. Simulation or not, she still knew what had just happened. For a moment her voice wavered with electronic interference. “You wo-would do that fo-for me?”

“You’re still my wife.”

“I am?” That was the sim speaking again. “You never remarried?”

“We never divorced.” It made him feel simultaneously like a hopeless romantic, and the poster child for arrested development. Five hundred years and still a sucker, he thought wryly. Some things really did never change.

“Why?” She frowned at him, a gesture so familiar it brought back another thousand memories. “Why do this? Why now?”

“Because I have a job that I think you are uniquely qualified to carry out, should you decide to take it.” He pinched the bridge of his nose, massaged it for a while. “Honey... What do you remember about King Paul Zuk the First?”
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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Force Lord » 2011-09-06 04:41pm

Supreme Party Congress Building, Centrum
The Center Sector, The Centrality
Unreal Time/After formation of the Eye


The fight had been brutal, Kierger surmised, as he saw the scattered debris and bits of blood that covered quite a few areas of the place. Chairs, desks, podiums, everything had been thrown down and torn to pieces. The remains of burned furniture were still around. He nearly tripped twice over a bunch of broken, burned down seats. It was an awful sight. Kierger had half a mind to simply close down the room and make Congress meet somewhere else. Maybe he'd do away with Congress entirely.

For what had happened was no simple fight.

It had all started as an ordinary (to a point) Battle of the Choices. The Secretary of Special Abilities (Fandra Offen) represented the side that wanted to send in an extra fleet to the MEH area, while the opposing side put up the Secretary of Information Dissemination (Adler Giraud) as their champion. Thus two Party Council members would be facing each other. The problem, however, was that tension was higher than usual due to the recent psychic wave that had given the Party a literal headache. A few minutes into the fight, a group of Party District Centralizers, all in a bad mood, began to argue with a similarly frustrated group of Centralizers about the opposing points the fight was meant to settle. Several Sector Watchmen and more Centralizers also joined the increasingly raucus argument. Then it happened. Allegedly, one of the Watchmen thought that another was "looking at him funnily" and, with tempers already high (and amplified due to everyone having ESP and with Strategic Amlifiers on), started a scuffle that soon transformed into a full scale slugfest between every single Congress member in the room.



[Note: This video is not exactly meant to be an accurate portrayal. The Centralist version was more flashy and destructive due to use of ESP. It's just to give a general idea of what happened.]

The Battle of Choices was thus interrupted by the chaos that engulfed the room. Both fighters had to stop their duel and call in security, which cracked skulls with abandon. There were dozens with varying degrees of injury, and a few were acutally killed before security forces intervened. Upon hearing this, the General Secretary of the Party was so angry that he ordered the executions of those who killed fellow Centralites and the ones who started the whole riot in the first place. Several officials lost their positions, and some were thrown out of the Party entirely. Offen and Giraud had to end their battle elsewhere, which Offen won. Giraud managed to get a concession, however: the reinforcement fleet would stay in the MEH area for only two months.

The brawl was an embarassment for the Party. Recordings of it were deleted almost completely, and only a few remained for view by certain officials. Kierger certainly felt furious when he observed the Congress riot. Stuck up, whiny babies... He hated it when he had to do damage control for the results of a conduct unbecoming of a Centralist. And the Supreme Congress had it in spades for a long time, ever since the Left-Centralists felt it was a good idea to make Congress members electable. Of course, for that reason Congress was designed to be a rubber stamp, beholden to the leadership of the Party, but its members still suffered from an inflated sense of self-importance. After this incident, the Dictator planned to remind them just who was in charge here.

As he prepared to leave, a pale-looking woman neared him, but stopped suddenly. He noticed that she was afraid of getting too near him, which was expected when dealing with someone of his position, but he sensed that it wasn't entirely that.

"What?", he spat. "If you have something to say, say it."

The scared woman replied, "S-Sir, I have... unhappy news."

Shit, don't tell me I have to do even more damage control.

"How bad?"

The woman seemed about to tremble. "Leaky bad."

For a moment Kierger was confused. "What do you mean leaky bad? Is the ceiling in need of sealing?"

The woman was really trembling now. "N-No sir, I mean, someone leaked out... classified information."

"Say what?!", the Dictator growled. "How classified?"

"N-Not too much. From what we've found, it appears the footage of the recent riot has gone public."

Kierger mentally cursed whoever decided to leak that out. How would the people react about Congress's antics? He sighed. Damage control was going to be Mission Impossible.

"Now that you brought this to my attention, get out. I need to think."

The woman seemed relieved that he wasn't going to take out his anger on her. "Yessir."

The woman left the ruined room, leaving Kierger to think on how best to deal with this new development... and to capture whomever released the recordings into the public and international networks.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Force Lord » 2011-09-06 05:08pm

Leakydicks HQ
Unreal Time


"Hey Massage, lookit this. One of our few contacts in the Centrality managed to get us something. It's some video of a big fight between politicians."

Massage took one good look at the video, and could not help but laugh.

"Why would the Centralists hide this, I wonder? Do they want to spare themselves the embarassment? I don't think so. Release this to the international public as soon as possible. Maybe then Centrum will squirm at all the jokes made at their expense."

"Oh, I will mang, I will."
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Force Lord » 2011-09-06 08:53pm

Blackagar Sector, The Centrality
Unreal Time/After CONGRESSIONAL BRAWL


The 3rd Fleet had been reorganized and made ready, as it awaited the news of what the Battle of the Choices had decided.

A coded message eventually gave them the order to move out.

Code: Select all

BATTLE OF THE CHOICES DECIDED IN FAVOR OF REINFORCEMENT. 3RD FLEET TO MOVE TOWARDS THE FORMER MEH'S WOLF 359 SECTOR. MAXIMUM SPEED STRONGLY ADVISED. TIME LIMIT OF TWO MONTHS IN SECTOR UNTIL RETIREMENT TO CENTRALIST SPACE.


With this permission, the 3rd Centralist Fleet went into hyperspace. Towards Wolf 359.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby KlavoHunter » 2011-09-06 09:47pm

Alpha Centauri





























<post space reserved>
"The 4th Earl of Hereford led the fight on the bridge, but he and his men were caught in the arrow fire. Then one of de Harclay's pikemen, concealed beneath the bridge, thrust upwards between the planks and skewered the Earl of Hereford through the anus, twisting the head of the iron pike into his intestines. His dying screams turned the advance into a panic."'

SDNW4: The Sultanate of Klavostan

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2011-09-06 11:50pm

Previously on SDNW4 wrote:

Code: Select all

MESSAGE FROM JOINT GROUND FORCES COMMAND:

ALL ARMY AND MARINE UNITS ON OCCUPATION DUTIES IN WOLF 359 PLANETS ARE TO FORTIFY THEIR POSITIONS AND CREATE OCCUPATION ZONES EXCLUSIVE TO CENTRALIST FORCES. ARRANGEMENTS TO BE MADE IN CASE OTHER NATIONS DEMAND THEIR OWN ZONES. POLITICAL REORGANIZATION OF CENTRALIST ZONES IS TO BEGIN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. COMPLICATIONS ARISING FROM THIS ARE TO BE DEALT WITH SWIFTLY AND CAREFULLY. NAVAL SUPPORT FROM CENTRAL NAVY IS NOT TO BE EXPECTED FOR THE MOMENT. DEPLOYMENT OF ANTI-STARSHIP WEAPONS AND EMPLACEMENTS IS AUTHORIZED. PROTESTS FROM 'ALLIES' ARE TO BE EXPECTED. TOKEN GESTURES TO BE MADE IN CASE ASSUAGING FOREIGN WORRIES IS NEEDED. REMAINING ORK INFESTATIONS TO BE ERADICATED WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE. CIVILIAN CASUALTIES MUST BE MINIMIZED.

THE CENTRAL STATE EXPECTS EVERYONE TO DO THEIR DUTY. HAIL THE STATE!


Xena
Bragulan Occupation Zone of Operations


While the Centralist message did not reach Bragulan eyes, the resultant actions of the Centralist forces - and the reactions of their allies - were certainly seen. Suspicious troop movements, the repositioning of entire fleets, the raised alertness levels of the various coalition members and their mobilization struck the Bragstavka as overtly suspicious - especially since the Centralist actions at Sol, in bringing other coalition nations into what had been agreed to be an OMINOUS-only action. There was already lingering suspicion and expectation that they would do the same to Xena, for their word apparently had no worth. That the Chamarrans had sent their overfleets on a merry chase with the Klavostani humans, and that Kosmoflotts Oktyabrsky and Sagatantron had departed for Bragule, only made the security situation on Xena all the more precarious. The Chamarrans were too trusting and too complacent with these treacherous humans, but they had the soft wills of female felines. It was obvious that the Bragulans had to make up for them by at least doubling their innate and extant levels of paranoia for the sake of the OMINOUS.

In response to the suspicious human military movements, the BRAGCON level was raised to 3. Ground troops were told to ready themselves in anticipation of what most other nations would regard as the unthinkable, but what for the Imperator’s Legions was merely Bragsday.

Entire expansive regions in the Bragulan Occupation Zone of Operations - the BOZO - was cleared and evacuated of all friendly forces, non-combatants, civilians, prisoners, and the like. Along with the regions that had been nuked from orbit in the initial invasion, those ill-fated MEHMC and planetary guard military districts, select areas were made devoid of all life. Those relocated denizens, now teeming in the crammed and people-filled safe-zones, watched from the distance with anticipation. Opaque lenses were passed out amongst them as the countdown timers ticked by.

Minutes later, artificial suns lit up over the horizon as directional engineering bragnukes groundbursted on the evacuated areas - carving craters on the surface of Xena. A whirlwind blew over the onlooking bragtroops, the non-coms, the civilians. Some of the evacuated MEHmen were blown to the ground and threatened to roll over downhill.

More atomic initiations came, more distant now. A string of pearls configuration, multiple overlapping groundbursts, but unlike the initial initiations that graced Xena, these were not formulated to form interlocking blastwaves for maximum damage. Instead, they etched lines of glass and molten rock through the ground, creating canals which led to the nearest bodies of water. After the fire came water, a proverbial deluge as entire rivers were rerouted through these canals and macroscale ditches, the roar of nuclear explosions was replaced by that of rushing water as the groundburst craters in the evacuation zone were flooded.

In the span of less than an hour, the deadlands had been graced with artificial lakes and rivers, brag-made, but not for the purpose of agricultural irrigation or any such quaint thing - though in the worlds of bragspace, such would’ve been commonly the case - as these great pools were to be wading ponds instead.

For the enormous Bragalaika General Atomic Artillery Platforms, the Big GAAPs, great self-propelled howitzers with cannons that could hurl shells to strike distant enemies both on earth and in space. The Bragalaikas were brought near to their positions by military railroad, before they disengaged themselves from the tracks and completed the journey by themselves. Then they rolled down into the craters, assisted by GAZ Mobile Construction Vehicles, and took position, submerging themselves into the great lakes. Bracers steadied them on the ground beneath the waves. Their chassis were completely underwater, and only their guns protruded from the surface. Railguns, atomic deathray projectors, lightning cannons, Spud tractor erector launchers. These were but some of the many varieties of killing implements the GAAPs could carry on their overtank chassis.

Aside from these, there were other constructs being emplaced in these submerged locations. Atomic Curtain theater shield platforms that could project walls of solidified nuclear energy, warship-grade and over wide areas to protect the bragforces under their envelope. Passive-aggressive Molnya MIDAS over-the-atmosphere arrays. Great subnucleonic power plants for these systems, and the bragbases and defenses. Underwater missile silos. Underwater bunkers. Underwater Legionnaire barracks, for aqua-bear infantry patrolling and guarding these installations from sabotage. Surface ports and harbors for gunskimmers and other aerospacecraft to land on, and pens for sub-surface vessels. Great engineering machines rumbled beneath the waves to do their work.

Outside these newly-constructed and heavily fortified bodies of water, even more fortification was taking place. Anti-air and anti-space weapons on both static and mobile platforms, from mere close in weapons systems and point defense guns hauled by half-tracks to dedicated Kubuk surface-to-aerospace missile platforms. Spuds on great tractors parading as though they were in the Byzon Square on Bragule. Mountains hollowed out to fit Bragranit and Moskill missile tubes and their command centers. And less conspicable, more concealable positions for Kub light-missiles, hidden under camouflage netting, placed inside the still-standing MEH buldings or inside container crates or in the compartments of trains. Airfields for SNTs and SVT fighters of the PVO Strany and VVS forces. Mydved paleobombers circled high up in the mesosphere, on the edge of space, tuning their sensitive vacuum tube electronic sensors to both the heavens above and the world below.

These were some of the quicker to deploy assets of the Imperial Legions, of both the Proletarian Liberation Armies and the Shock Armies. But even as these occurred, all over the bragzone the engineering corps were setting up defenses that were taking more time to deploy, but were even more formidable. For, as the Bragstavka had decreed, the Imperator’s forces on Xena would display proportional responses to any act of the human coalition. For the Legionnaires, it was Bragsday.

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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2011-09-07 04:21am

Wolf 359

After the Fall of Earth


Image

FLAATs roared through the wartorn landscape, over the concrete canyons and metal mountains. The second they flew over the great chasm, they were met by a storm of anti-aircraft fire from the teeming droids below. Blaster bolts, turbolasers and disruptors exploderized the Centralite gunships out of the sky. And in return, some of the FLAATs unleashed murderous counterfire at their enemies below - blasters of their own, concussion missiles and emerald superlasers from the gunships’ spherical side-turrets. Some of the FLAATs.

The others merely hovered there, soaking up enemy fire. Their hulls seemed to ripple strangely, flickering until the accumulated damage overwhelmed them. Then the FLAATs disappeared, their steel forms turning into static snow before blinking out, and they were replaced with hovering orbs studded with light-projecting lenses. These little flying spheroids were easily destroyed by the blaster bolts. The droids pressed on their attack, their simple Singular Intellects calculating that they were winning by virtue of downing more of their targets - heedless if their targets seemed to change form before them, so long as their in-built kill-meters were sated.

But the squad of Marines commanding the battle were far more perceptive than the improvised warbots. Upon seeing the discrepency, their acute hyper-sensors saw that most of the other FLAATs were also falsities. Hard-light holograms projected around decoy droids, drawing fire away from the real FLAATs. The Marines diverted their fire to the real aerospacecraft and commanded the droids to re-prioritize their targets, feeding them the requisite targeting information. MEHMC disruptors roared with the intensity of small suns, their ridiculously high yields making short work of the nearest actual FLAAT, turning it into blazing steel confetti.

It was close enough for the shrapnel to pepper the Marines’ armor. While the decoy drones had distracted them, the real craft were on the verge of landing. They had to be stopped. Hundreds of droids focused their fire on the nearest ones while the Marines themselves moved on to the next target. There was still time, they could stop the Centralists -

A black blur whipped past the lead Marine. There was an audible snap-hiss. Behind that silent silhouette lay a trail of halved and cleaved droids marked by glowing gashes of molten metal. The supersoldier slumped in front of his comrades, a bloodlight blade sticking out of his armored spine. With a flash, the Marine was bissected into two and as his halves fell to the ground, the blur fell upon the rest of the squad.

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A flash of red and another Marine collapsed, missing arms and legs. Then an explosion of cobalt lightning, clashing against the armor of the next one, sending the supersoldier staggering and convulsing like an epileptic marionette as his form was hurled by the crackling energies and dashed against the wall. Disruptor bolts and beams lanced after the wraith, but its movements were too fast, and with its powers it clouded their minds - untrained to resist psychic interference, and with no technological means of protection - causing some to miss, and stray fire to strike other Marines and cause them to combust into demolecularizing mist.

The closest Marines ceased fire to avoid hitting each other, resorted to non-visual means of perception, increased the amount of combat enhancive drugs in their bloodstream and unsheathed their vibroblades. With cries of adulation to their Goddess, who hath ascended and whose transcendance marked the night sky with cursed constellations, they came for the black wraith.

Psychic-enhanced movements were matched by the blurring speed of superhuman augemntations. The power of the mind met that of artificial musculature. Strength of will clashed against adamantine bones. Crimson beamsaber slashed through steel and flesh alike.

With a telekinetic tug, enormous masonry collapsed on the armored hulks. Those under the main mass of ferrocrete were crushed, supertech survival systems notwithstanding. Those merely buried by debris punched through the rubble and resumed the fight. The psychic mind might be limitless, connected as it was to esoteric forces permeating all living things, but the physical body had its limitations. They were superhuman, he was otherwise, he was merely a man.

The closest Marines disengaged, backflipping away from the beamsaber’s reach and from the coverage of their comrades’ weaponries. Droids encircled the man who dared challenge the Goddess’ finest warriors.

The beamsaber receded back to its hilt. The black-hooded warrior stood alone as supermen and machines trained their weapons on him and readied to fire.

“STRAK ATTACK!” scores of near-identical nasal voices yelled as one. From the landed FLAATs came forth platoons of white-armored clonetroopers, charging heedlessly of cover or concealment. Assault blasters in hand spewing forth fire at the ranks of machines, their shots shattering killbots with ease and glancing off Marine armor ineffectually with equal frequency.

In that same second, there was an explosion of invisible force as the lone warrior - standing still with beamsaber sheathed - unleashed a shockwave of telekinetic might, sending killbots flying through the air and smashing them against the walls. The Marines braced themselves against this blast, standing firm, but between shooting at the innumerable incoming clonetroopers and executing the lone warrior, they were at an impasse. Disruptors vaporized clones, each shot NDF chain reactioning a mass-produced soldier, even those who took cover behind packing crates.

A snap-hiss, the beamsaber ignited once more. Incandescent bolts came for the black warrior, but each one was blocked by a ruined droid telekinetically hurled to the line of fire - or right into the firer’s face directly. Then he hurled his saber through the air, which spun in a blood-red circle of death and homed into a Marine’s head.

“Advance! With the Commander in the lead, victory is assured!” the leading clone shouted. He smashed a droid aside with the butt of his rifle, blasted the robotic head off another one that was coming at him, emptied his blaster into the third droid and discarded his spent rifle. He gave a mighty war cry, ran towards the nearest Marine and threw a punch.

His hand broke against the hyperalloy armor. The Marine cocked his armored head strangely, and then the superhuman’s fist made him explode.

“Fucking fatties!” Staff Sergeant Strakowalski spat, seeing his subordinate smeared so suddenly. The guy couldn’t even follow simple orders like ‘take cover’ or ‘do not eat the enemy’s food’ or anything. Shit. For a second, Strak was thankful that he was a clone since he didn’t have to write letters to anyone’s grieving parents since they had none. Anyway, “Smarm alarm!”

“Aaaaah!” the legion of clones roared as they moved to avenge their brothers. They unleashed hell with their blasters. “Pew-pew-pew-pew!”

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Droids were cut down en masse. More FLAATs were coming now, real ones, and supporting the push by bombing and blasting the hell out of the enemies on the ground. Allowing the clonetroopers to advance. The Marines, on the other hand, were retreating into the arcology’s interior, where the crammed confines of the vast sprawling megacomplex would give them the advantage - not that it would stop the iron fist of the Centrality from sending wave after wave of men at them. Already, the killbots - with their in-built kill-meters - were being overwhelmed. It was only a matter of time for the Marines to succumb.

“We’ll turn em into spare parts!” Strak hollered. “Am I rite, men?!”

“RITE!!!”

They stormed the front, into the buildings crawling with droids. Clearing rooms and corridors with grenades, engaging in brutal close quarters combats. Some of the machines discarded their blasters and unsheathed wristblades and arm-knives and all manner of brutal melee armamentations, scything through clones like knives through butter. But their esper commander made mincemetal out of the damn droids and led the way.

Strak smashed a scissor-handed droid out of the way, impaling it with a bayonet before blasting it right in the chest. He stuck his boot on the ruined machine and extracted his weapon.

“Come on, let’s move it!” he shouted. Barring some exceptions, he had one of the best drilled units in the company, which led to his promotion. It helped that he gave his troops scathing and bile-filled performance reviews every other time. Right now he was berating “Move it or lose it, you chubs! Told you, shouldn’t have nicked food from those fatsos. Now you’re all as slow as em lardoes! What are you waiting for?! Where’s my cover fire!”

“Sir! Sergeant Bravo’s squad is down!” panicked Private Phant, pointing at a whole squad of immobilized troopers sprawled on the floor behind them.

“Shit, just what the hell is going on,” Strak stormed towards them, heedless of the crossfire of blaster fire and disruptors whizzing overhead. The Staff Sergeant approached the other squad and looked down at his subordinates. “What happened?”

Their bodies weren’t hit by enemy fire. There were no blaster burns, they hadn’t been disintegrated by disruptors, there was no blood, nothing. Their suits were intact. They still had lifesigns. Strak knelt beside the closest trooper, it was Sergeant Bravo. One of the few non-clones, non-clones often got higher ranks than their mass-produced peers, but in this case Staff Sergeant Strak outranked the womb-born.

“Sergeant,” he said and tried to prop the man up.

Suddenly Sergeant Bravo started convulsing and spasming, his whole body shaking and seemingly salmoning. Sick wet sounds were coming from within his helmet. Strak took quick action and removed it, and was greeted by an outpouring of vomit. The whole helmet had been filled with it, and the man - with his face completely covered in the stuff - was still hurling it out in projectile sprays. It had the color of Centpaste.

“Oh sweet Dovan...” Strak cried at the horrible sight. He looked around and saw the prone and supine troopers and came to a horrifying realization. “Take off their masks! Take them off now before they drown in their own puke! Somebody get a medic!”

What few medics they had went to tend to the debilitated. But the number of clone-medics in each platoon was distributed so that they could take care of the occasional battlefield casualty, not entire squads taken out of action at once. They couldn’t advance, not like this. The incapacitated troopers had to be pulled out if the rest of them were to move without any dead weight.

“Get us a medevac!” Strak shouted to his radio-operator.

“Can’t, sir. All the other nearby gunships are otherwise preoccupied.”

“Then get coalition support!” Strak shouted some more, the bile in his throat rising. Thankfully metaphorically, and not physiologically. He checked himself, he was healthy so far. Why had so many of his troops fallen?

“Sir... we can’t get any coalition support anymore. Not after command established the Central Zone.”

“Shit...” Strak looked around. Already, many of the immobile troops were without their helmets and were being repositioned so that their emesis wouldn’t clog up their airways. The floor around him was now completely wet with vomit. Strak shouted in frustration. “Those pukes!”
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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
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Ryan Thunder
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Ryan Thunder » 2011-09-07 06:39am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:Xena
Bragulan Occupation Zone of Operations


[...]

Intelligence Company, Force Command Centre, Avenger Seven
Deep Space


"Oh, how cute! The little shitbears are terraforming!"

"What are you, some kind of degenerate?"

"Fuck, son, after some of the shit we've seen, aren't we all?"

"Not really, no. Lemme see that--" He read the report over quickly. "Yeah, send that one up the chain."

"No shit, son. What the fuck is wrong with these guys, anyway? Oh, right. Aliens!"
SDN Worlds 5: Sanctum

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Shroom Man 777
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2011-09-07 07:04am

Ryan Thunder wrote:Intelligence Company, Force Command Centre, Avenger Seven
Deep Space


"Oh, how cute! The little shitbears are terraforming!"

"What are you, some kind of degenerate?"

"Fuck, son, after some of the shit we've seen, aren't we all?"

"Not really, no. Lemme see that--" He read the report over quickly. "Yeah, send that one up the chain."

"No shit, son. What the fuck is wrong with these guys, anyway? Oh, right. Aliens!"


IBGV Subnuclear RADINT Anti-Spinward Monitoring Station
Farthing


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"We have detected increased signals traffic from the human forces, corresponding directly after the engineering activities of Bragforces in Xena."

"Da, it is expected for them to react to our own reactions towards the Centralist actions. Intel from the Spin Zone suggests more Centralist movements in the near-term, even fleet deployments. This increase in signals is anticipated."

"However, the most puzzling thing, comrade, is that there seems to be more signals traffic from their forces in response to our actions than there ever was in reaction to the Centralist activities."

"This is strange. Could it be possible that the human coalition has repositioned so much of their recce assets to monitor OMINOUS activities, that they may end up reacting to our own activities while failing to notice movements on their own worlds?"

"It is plausible. Perhaps through a deliberate act, mayhaps they willingly trusted their members to an extent that they do not even monitor them?"

"I do not know the proclivities of these aliens, comrade, so I cannot speculate. We've seen how strange and discoordinated their coalition has behaved these past few days. Intel again suggests that they did not even prepare to intrude into Sol until days before the fact - if their betrayal of the Shinran-Chamarran understanding was not premeditated, at least. Some even believe their betrayal at Sol was not even intentional, but merely due to a series of bizarre mistakes. It is very strange."

"The lesson is we must remember that we are dealing with the worst kinds of aliens, comrade. Humans. Foolish human shits."

"Hey, you two! Enough useless bantering, get to work and do something actually productive!"

"Yes, sir!"

"Sorry, sir. We'll get right on it!"
Last edited by Shroom Man 777 on 2011-09-07 12:24pm, edited 1 time in total.
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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2011-09-07 08:59am

[The Haruhiist involvement in Downfall officially starts here. The next part will detail ground operations and the actual formation of the Eye. Shroom helped me put a few parts together, particularly the description of the liquid-R bombardment itself.]



The Pride Before the Fall
Ushijima class assault ship HSS Midori Kanda, high orbit over Earth-4
Sol, Multiversal Empire of Happiness
UNREAL TIME / June 3401


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Unlike the Centralists, who had the misfortune of being waylaid by Dr. Androidbik and his superweapon near Saturn, the Haruhiists arrived on time at the designated coordinates near Mars, bypassing the fight with Battlefleet Sol and taking them right to Earth’s proverbial doorstep, where the Byzantines were already fighting in earnest. Sol’s spaceborne defenses had been neutralized long ago, and the Byzantine fleet was now proceeding to shove space colonies out of their orbits and into the planet’s theatre shields. As the Haruhiists approached Earth, they could see the blinding bluish-white flashes of the shields as they were slowly but steadily whittled down by each successive colony drop. These flashes steadily grew dimmer and dimmer, only to be replaced by the warm glows of planet-wide conflagrations as the colonies finally struck home, shattering and incinerating the skyscrapers and arcologies of what used to be Earth's great cities.

The scourging of Sol was a spectacle the likes of which had not been seen since the days of the Great Crusade, when the Byzantines and Haruhiists systematically laid waste to the worlds of the Tau Empire on a scale truly unmatched. The destruction of an entire world was certainly a brutal sight to behold, but there was a sort of twisted beauty behind that brutality. The cold reasoning behind condemning an entire planet and its inhabitants to a fiery demise, the logic used to justify one of man’s most irrational acts...

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For five hundred years, Field Marshal Homura Akemi had contemplated the reasoning behind killing a world. Like the Primarchs of the Adeptus Astartes and the other members of the Magnificent Five, she was a veteran of the Great Crusade, a living witness of the horrors that had transpired during that terrible conflict, and as an SOS Imperial Marine Corps officer, she had actually been on the ground to see those horrors first-hand. She remembered everything like it was just yesterday. The shrieks of dying Thunderhawks as they plummeted to the ground, mortally wounded Mantas exploding and raining fiery shrapnel onto those unfortunate to be caught below, promethium flamethrowers and bombs immolating entire formations of Tau and rendering them to naught but dust and ashes, Kroot strongholds adorned with the skulls and bones of fallen Byzantine and Haruhiist soldiers, Kroot warriors cannibalizing the dead and the not quite dead in the middle of combat... These were her dreams. These were her nightmares. And she had been living these dreams every single day for the past five centuries.

Watching the Byzantine bombardment of Earth brought back memories for the other members of the Magnificent Five as well. While none of them were as impressively and thoroughly broken by the experience as Homura was, they were still highly dysfunctional individuals in their own rights. In that regard, Field Marshal Kyoko Sakura was the opposite of Homura in many ways, for while Homura turned her pain and anguish inwards, Kyoko focused hers outwards; while she always had problems regarding her massive ego and volatile temperament, her experiences during the Great Crusade amplified these issues tremendously, and while she was ultimately able to find a way to cope with her problems, she still came off to most people as generally being rude and belligerent. Field Marshal Mami Tomoe was utterly consumed by guilt over having survived the Great Crusade while countless other men and women she had known did not. Field Marshal Sayaka Miki’s relationship with her husband, Kyousuke Kamijou, deteriorated significantly during the course of the Great Crusade, which eventually led to him cheating on her with another woman, a civilian named Hitomi Shizuki; even though Sayaka eventually reconciled with Kyousuke and renewed her wedding vows as soon as the war ended, she still carried significant amounts of emotional baggage from that ordeal, in addition to her own memories of battlefield horror. Though Field Marshal Madoka Kaname’s own survivor’s guilt was nowhere near as intense as Mami’s, she still contended with major feelings of inadequacy, and even though her life as a senior military official and war heroine would be considered fulfilling by any standard, she still found herself questioning just what her real purpose in the universe was.

“Magnificent, isn’t it?” Kyoko mused loudly to herself. “Looks like you won’t be needing the liquid-R after, huh, Homura?”

“You still can’t be sure that their bombardment will take care of all the planetside defenses,” Homura retorted. “We may yet require the liquid-R after all to crack those few positions that can’t be dislodged by ground forces or conventional bombardment.”

“...Point taken,” Kyoko finally remarked. “Still don’t know about this whole thing, though, but at least it’s good to see you back in the saddle again. All of our skills will be needed for the fight that’ll come.”

“We’re receiving a transmission from the Byzantine flagship,” one of the signals ratings aboard the Kanda reported. “Patching it through now.”

The five marshals turned around to see the visage of Aurelian Kommenos popping up on the telescreen. “Ah, good to see that there are still some people here who can see reason,” he said. “Once again, only the Holy Empire comes to the aid of the Imperium while everyone else sits on their hands, pontificating about their so-called ‘principles.’”

“An unfortunate situation, but one that could not have been avoided,” Homura remarked. “Such is the nature of politics. In any case, we are here, and our objectives coincide with yours. How may we be of assistance?”

“We are transmitting our tactical data to your ships as we speak. Even with our initial bombardment, there are still many areas of enemy resistance to contend with during our advance to the Leader’s palace. I recommend staging diversionary attacks on other areas of the planet to help draw off the defenders. If you have ground forces of your own, now is the time to deploy them. Be careful, though. I sense that there is something...amiss about this whole affair.”

“Something amiss?” Homura asked.

“I’m having a hard time placing it down exactly, but it shouldn’t matter. What truly matters now is that we make it to the palace.”

“You can count on us,” Homura said. “We’ll be sending our forces down immediately.”

“Excellent,” Aurelian replied. “Good luck out there, and may our Father protect us.”

“The same to you, and may the Empress watch over us,” Homura said as she shut off the comms. She spared a glance at the ribboned rosette that bore the seal of the Holy Empress, granting all those who bore it supreme military authority. It was a far cry from her time in the brig after bringing those liquid rubiconium warheads the first time around. It was clear what needed to be done now. Like the Great Crusade before it, this war was going to determine the fate of the galaxy. The SOS Imperial Armed Forces knew that they had to do their part, to ensure that the Multiversal Empire of Happiness would not be allowed to claim this universe for its own, to ensure the demise of the Multiversal Empire’s false goddess.

Homura needed only a single, brief order to commence the festivities. “Commence liquid-R bombardment. The Empress wills it.”

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With the planetary shields long since broken by the Byzantine colony drops, the SOS Imperial Navy would now have little difficulty accomplishing its grim task. Once Homura gave the order, the fleet began unleashing its toxic payload, raining wave after wave of liquid rubiconium warheads down upon the doomed throne world of the MEH. Brilliant flashes of jade lit up the skies as the first wave of liquid-R warheads initiated in Earth’s atmosphere, scattering green crystals throughout the air and seeding the planet’s crust with the deadly mineral. The survivors of the initial bombardment barely had enough time to behold this strange emerald snow falling from the skies as they were flash-crystallized into pillars of iridescent rubiconium, frozen in their last surprised seconds, expressions of shock and horror still showing in their rubico-vitrified faces. The bombardment had shades of the Biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah all over it, and such was the Empress’ judgment as the next waves of liquid-R warheads descended from the heavens to punish the faithless degenerates of that misbegotten planet, consuming the crystallized masses to further fuel the malachite maelstrom that was scourging their world.

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From space, one could actually see the jade flashes grow even brighter and more intense as the liquid-R bombardment progressed. There was a part of Homura that was certainly pleased with how events were going so far, though it was hard to discern anything from just looking at her generally expressionless face. Her words gave a far different account of what was truly going through her mind, though. “War has changed. It’s now being fought on a small table in a meeting room by politicians who have never set a foot on the battlefield, by false ‘generals’ whose only combat experience is reading about it in the comfort of their armchairs,” she said to herself. “It’s no longer about nations or ideologies or species, but about clashing greed. It’s a disgusting squabble on who gets the largest share of the pie, and once they have their share, they’ll gladly consume it before demanding more. War, and the consumption of life, is now a well-oiled machine. Genetic control. Information control. Emotional control. Mental control. Battlefield control. Everything is monitored, scrutinized, analyzed to the last insignificant detail, and kept under control. They say history is written by the victors, but rarely do the victors truly have complete control over the battlefield. Those who control the battlefield are those who truly decide how history goes, and once control is fully attained, anything goes. That’s why that control needs to end. We must carry out the new creation of destruction through the power of righteousness. Nations, ideologies, peoples, all shall be liberated. Destruction always comes before creation, and for that goal, even my own conscience must be cast aside. The only path left for us now is straight ahead, exactly as the Empress has foreseen...”

“Liquid-R stocks have been exhausted,” one of the gunnery officers on the Kanda’s bridge reported. “Shall we continue the bombardment with conventional weapons, Marshal?”

Homura ended her reverie briefly in order to instruct the other officers on what to do next. “No, that won’t be necessary. Order our ground forces to begin landing immediately. Mami, Sayaka, Kyoko, you lead the assault. Madoka and I will continue to coordinate efforts from up here.”

Mami, Sayaka, and Kyoko saluted before heading off to suit up and join the rest of the ground pounders. Madoka, on the other hand, simply glared at Homura. She knew that there had been something wrong with Homura ever since the liquid-R incident back in March, and while she ultimately accepted the orders to reload the liquid-R, she still had her doubts over whether Homura was still fit for command, especially considering that she was now holding an Imperial seal. Listening to Homura’s deranged ramblings during the bombardment only served to deepen Madoka’s suspicions. She could only hope that Homura’s madness would not wind up consuming them all; she and the others had already lived through the nightmare of the Great Crusade once, and none of them had any intention of living through it again.
I ship Eino Ilmari Juutilainen x Lydia V. Litvyak.

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