SDNW5 Prologue Thread

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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2012-04-15 07:18am

Prologue:
Outer Arm of the Galaxy, some 1900 years before current era


It was the edge of a small yet crowded area of space that an immense city ship came to stop. The ship was, as far as its occupants were concerned, all that remained of their race. They had spent over a thousand years traveling between the void and now they saw fit that their fate should never visit any other race ever again.

Deep within the massive ship, two figures looked upon a large representation of the sector.

"It would seem the data from the probes is confirmed. The concentration of habitable worlds and sapient life in this one region makes it ideal for our purpose." A large hulking creature spoke, his voice rumbling like cracking stone and mountains. A voice of ancient age.

"My Lord, we have spent almost ten years searching this galaxy, there are countless races that stand a high chance of suiting our needs. Will not such a crowded location complicate our tests?" Another voice spoke now, far younger then the first, perhaps only 400 or 500 years old. It spoke with a voice of grinding pebbles and soft stone. The other looked down to him, regarding his youth.

"There are other systems, this is truth young Macon. But none shall offer such an opportunity as this one. The proximity of so many sapient races shall greatly expedite our tests. See here, most in this galaxy shall take hundreds of years before they will meet another race. With the artifacts we shall leave behind, our simulations show these races to come in contact within only a few decades. What is more, the split between these worlds shall make the chance for war between them all but certain. We would have to wait hundreds of years or more for such observations in any other system...
This is a blessing my student, a true blessing for The Plan and us. Do not doubt this, and do not doubt your faith." The elder voice said in a tone that made any dissent unthinkable.

"Of course my Lord, it is our roll to obey in all thing. Our lives to The Plan. Our Deaths to The Plan." He said timidly.

"Send word to the expeditionary templar’s to begin seeding the 'artifacts' in the appointed designations. Simulations show that each race shall discover them at roughly the same industrial rate to utilize them as we desire."

"Of course my Lord, I shall carry out your holy orders at once" The pebble said to the mountain.

In the silence that followed, the elder, already ancient by the numbers of his people, regarded it's purpose, and its Plan. For over a thousand years they had wondered in the emptiness of the stars. Seeking an answer to the question of how to prevent what happened to his own race from happening to others.
The answer had eventually presented itself as such things do in time. It seemed so simple, so clear and so perfect... And he knew it would damn his race.


1700 years later.
The races of the small, crowded sector did grow together. They made pacts, grew strong, and in time went to war.
But war passes, and the promise of peace brings old enemies together.

In an area of space mid way between the two power blocks that had developed, the leaders and warriors of those races held conference abored a massive and ancient ship.
The ship and its people had been instrumental in bringing them together, they had save countless millions of lives by brokering the peace accords. And now, as their ambassador finished his speech, those assemble held him in a shared sense of awe and wonder.

"-As such, Life in all its forms is sacred. Regardless of shape, or name or color or creed. The union of you here is but a small start for something far greater. So many different races and species casting aside differences to become as one. For it is only when all are one, that peace may be forever." The ambassador paused here, the applause from the several thousand in attendance roaring down from around him. He waited for the time he was told it would merit before continuing.

"Under this new union, all shall be shared and help to unite. Ideas to be shared, culture to be shared, music, art, beliefs and Science to be melded as one.
And, as a physical symbol and a beginning of such sharing between this new Union, the construction of a facility upon this space shall begin. Built by all races and using all a mix of all technologies as well!
" This last statement, met with a far more muted reaction. Both sides had been working on what they considered to be hyper advanced computers that would keep them ahead of the other...
The thought of mingling such secrets did not appeal. Yet, who would dare speak out against the Skothians?"

Two Years Later
The immense cityship Skothotintot Meaning "Legacy of Skoth" hung over the newly finished, and newly activated station. It sat like a proud parent who has just watched its child perform a very clever trick.

On bored the station, an elder figure sat in a large control room as reports flooded from sensors all across the Sector, coming it at hyperspacial speeds.

"My Lord, initial estimates are showing casualties at lower then expected numbers, only about 68% of our predictions. So far the responses by the UISC members have been to lock the station down, as predicted the decision to destroy the station was vetoed. Also, our operatives were able to ensure that the anticipated rogue general was unable to reach self destruct on his own."

"Excellent work, this is a blessed day, and it is the first true step toward The Plan"

"Our lives to The Plan. Our Deaths to The Plan" the room instantly chorused.

"Sub Deacon, I want you to send the preplanned response to the UISC. Offer our help and assistance in their moment of chaos and uncertainty. Begin to send out forces in the measured times to follow the illusion of our sensors discovering the activation at the same time as theirs."

"Of course my Lord."

"Now, our next step--" A voice cut in quickly.

"My Lord! A message comes, from the High One himself!" The room grew quiet in an instant, no sound made as all eyes went to the elder figure.
"He calls for you Lord. He says, it is time."

Not a sound was made as Lord Macon left the room, moving slowly on the walkway he was escorted by the elite honor guard of the High One. His mentor.

In the deepest most secure part of the great cityship, a chamber opened up, the blast doors opening up slowly to allow entrance. Inside a fortress guarded more securely the even the great vaults of the ships. At it's center was a figure, surrounded by doctors, attendants and guards. He could be called living in only the most technically sense as a river of cords, machines and tubes flowed from its ancient and shriveled body.

The room grew quiet and a withered hand was raised slowly. Instantly the room emptied, all attendants leaving save for Lord Macon and his teacher.
It's voice had long ago left it and it spoke now only through electronic aid.

"I have received word of the success of the activation, it is a good sign that it seems to go so smoothly. This day, shall indeed mark the start of The Plan, young one" it said, giving a cracked and strained smile as Macon nodded.

"Yes my Master, It is a blessed day indeed for our purpose. Our Holy order shall carry forth the will of the Prophet" he says, making a deep bow.

"Come now, at this time, at this place, let us dispense with such archaic and redundant doctrine. You have long known that the institution of our "holy cause" was simply a means to an end. A zealous religious society is far easier to control then any other form of governance."

Macon said nothing, even now he would not admit such words. Yet he knew them to be true.

"And you know the end result of our Plan, what it shall mean to bring to its end point? The suffering it may cause? The deaths? That it may forever doom our race as despots, manipulators and Tyrant. And yet you still with such fervor, agree to take up my Mantle?"

"It is because of such an outcome that I do my Master. Such an end to our people shall only come if The Plan fails. Victors and those who triumph create history. As long as I ensure The Plan succeeds, our place in history shall forever be remembered as it should be. As the saviors to all sapient Life."

Again there was the faintest hint of a laugh, like the whispers of ancient tombs...

"Ah.. Then indeed you have learned from me, you are Student no more, and you are ready to fully take on my Legacy. The body gave a shudder and monitors flashed and began to pulsate, the robotic voice wavered as Mac leaned forward, clasping his hands to the High One. For almost 3000 years I have counted the lives of others, and now my own is utterly spent. Carry on our work, carryon the Plan and always remember, whatever it takes, however long it takes, time is not important only Life. Life must forever endure...
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Skywalker_T-65 » 2012-04-16 04:37pm

Another prologue post...I've done a lot of these haven't I? But hey, I've got to set up the storyline considering this took place a couple years before the main storyline.
____________


Ion Nebula

Border of London Sector

London Pirate/Arcadia First Space station: Citadel

March 25, 3299
___________________
A large space station was floating silently in the middle of a deep green nebula. It was fifteen kilometers long, and shaped like a massive wheel. Each of the spokes had several ships docked along them, each of the ships painted either dark black or a bright gaudy orange. The former were Arcadia First warships, the latter London Pirates.

All of the ships were here for a reason though. A meeting was underway to get the two groups working together towards a common goal. That goal was sealing Arcadia off from the Galaxy as large, and keeping the other nations away. And they would do anything necessary to do it…or at least Arcadia First would…

“You can’t make us go out there! We have never left Arcadian territory for a reason!” a Pirate shouted, slamming his fist on the meeting rooms table.

Ivan stood across from the man, strangely unperturbed by his anger.

“Do you really believe that we can keep the other nations out if we just stay in Arcadia? We can’t force them out if we don’t chase them,” the Kurskian said.

“We don’t want to force the other nations out! That’s YOUR goal, not ours! We just want to raid their ships for supplies and money!” the Pirate shouted back.

“Oh really then…why do you let us use your base then?” Ivan pointed out.

The Pirate stepped back for a second, “Well…we are only letting you stay here because you have been helping us launch raids on the trade ships leaving Reach. We have no desire to help you in your revolution.”

Ivan chuckled, “You see though, if you don’t help us, how will you stay hidden? None of your ships is bigger than a Frigate…it is only our Dreadnought that keeps the Navy from finding you.”

With that said, the pirate looked out the window of the meeting room and saw the menacing shape of the Centurion, flagship of the Arcadia First fleet. It was an old Legion class dreadnought…a good two hundred years old. But the dagger shaped warship was still powerful enough to dissuade any small Arcadian or Furling patrols from looking too closely into Ion. The problem is that it also kept the London Pirates in check…they couldn’t do anything with that ship keeping the Citadel under its MAC’s and beam cannon batteries.

“Now then…I will only say this once. Either help us in our goals, or leave the Citadel and don’t come back. It is only by our good will that you have kept this station and your ships…do not test me,” Ivan said menacingly, keeping a hand on his new M-22 beam pistol.

The pirate’s hands went to his own gun, a genuine Colt M1911 from Terra…unfortunately he was too slow, as a green beam from Ivan’s gun blew his head apart.

“Such a waste…take the body away, from now on the London Pirates are part of Arcadia First. Make sure that the Centurion and Orion are ready to handle any of their ships that try and flee,” Ivan ordered, heading into a different room to make the announcement.

After the Kurskian man made his move, several of the bright orange frigates and escorts tried to make a break for it. All of them were met by the black dagger of the Centurion however. Several hyper-velocity slugs’ shot out followed by blue beams, coring through the shields and armor of the much smaller LP ships. As the bright orange fireballs faded, the Centurion moved off to take care of any returning ships that didn’t surrender. This day would mark a victory for Arcadia First, as they incorporated dozens of ships into their armada. It wasn’t big enough to be a serious threat to the Arcadian Navy, but that wasn’t their target. They weren’t even going to leave the Republic yet…the first order of business was a certain group of Nomads currently defiling their beloved homeland…
_______________

Okay then, to clear something up...the Legion class only has 200 points. And all AF has is the Centurion, so a real navy they ain't. That being said, they are planning an attack on the Nation Fleet in Arcadia's territory, but I'll leave it up to Rabid if he wants it to go through. If not I can just have the attack be intercepted by Arcadian Navy forces.
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby White Haven » 2012-04-18 10:59am

Consolidated Network News
All News, All The Time, All The Space
BREAKING NEWS COVERAGE

Interstellar pop icon Space Fabio has reportedly been found dead in his orbital penthouse--one of his orbital penthouses, this one in independent solar orbit of the Ollieri system’s star. The remote and non-public location involved has made it impossible to get a reporter on-site, but Consolidated Network News has secured an exclusive interview with one of the first peace officers on the scene. His identity has been masked with italics for protection from any reprisals or punishment by his superiors. Officer, I can’t thank you enough for consenting to this interview.

You’re very welcome, Melissa. I strongly believe the public has a right to know what really happened when one of their heroes is brought down.

I couldn’t agree more. On that note, officer, what actually did happen, at least as far as we know up to this point?

Well, we’re still trying to refine time-of-death and, for that matter, cause of death. I don’t mind telling you, Melissa, this is a weird one. The incident took place, as you know, on one of Space Fabio’s more remote penthouses, in this case, one that he historically has used when he wanted to be away from other sentients. No AIs, no servants, no fans, just Space Fabio and a gaggle of subsentient workbots. The killer definitely seems to have taken that into account when he chose his method -- it was slow, if Space Fabio had had access to medical treatment, he’d be alive today.

The killer, you said. It was murder, then?

Definitely. You don’t see that sort of crime-scene shielding and resource outlay from a natural death. I understand there’s a forensic telepath being flown in from out-sector, supposed to be one of the best. We’re lucky in that the head and brain are intact, but honestly, my superiors are just grasping at straws at this point. We all know who did it, they just really don’t want it to be true.

Wait--the police have a suspect already? One you’re that confident in?

Unless you know another killer who can turn a man’s kidneys to diamonds, then leave enough of a chemical trace to make it clear he stayed around to watch as Space Fabio just...slowly shut down.

You mean--

Yeah, that’s a reaaal distinctive smell. Like I said, my superiors are trying to find any hint it’s not him, but at this point it’s pretty clear to us at ground level. The Old Spice Guy slipped in, swapped Space Fabio’s kidneys with a bunch of diamonds, and waited for a combination of renal absence and faceted diamonds tearing up his innards to kill him. Looks like he hamstrung the poor bastard, too, made sure he couldn’t get far. Hell of a way to go, that’s why we’re having so much trouble with a time of death, it wasn’t quick.

Well, thank you for your time, officer. Ladies and gentlemen, a Consolidated Network News exclusive, Space Fabio has just been brutally murdered by the so-called Old Spice Guy. We’ll be back after this break with more in-depth coverage...
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Vanas » 2012-04-23 04:02pm

Bee World Gavotte, Home Sector

When Bees had decided to set up a banking and safe deposit service, they hadn't really considered quite how difficult it would be. The world of Gavotte had spent some time with its collective antenna buried in Space Wikipedia to try and get its collective heads around interstellar finances, exchange rates and all that gubbins. Conceptual eyebrows were raised and debates flickered back and forth between the cities. After a year or so, they finally figured that they'd cracked it and began construction. This in itself provided more issues for them. What exactly should a structure used to safely deposit things look like? Well, beyond a series of tiny little interlinked hexagons as it was regarded as quite likely that other species may well want to store larger things than dollops of honey or nectar within a facility.

One of the space stations above the world was tasked with just outright asking passing trade captains about the sorts of architecture that they'd expect to see from such a thing along with any other helpful suggestions they could think of. Large, they said. Secure, they said. Grandiose, with fluted columns and decoration, they said. So, back to Space Wikipedia the Bees went, armed with this new knowledge that, in retrospect, they should have probably checked out a little further.

Regardless! They built their new facility located within convenient reach of a space elevator and a spaceport. It was forged from adaman steel and beeswax and dwarfed soley by the sprawling hive next to it. Vast shafts to store Precious Things had been dug beneath it, while the structure itself was a veritable honeycomb of storage chambers and Bees. After hearing the words 'secure' and wondering how to impress upon their customers that this facility was indeed secure, they'd settled for getting a pair of mechs to stand next to the armoured doors and shine their head-mounted lights at anyone who happened to be walking towards the building. The local city just hoped they didn't get bored and wander off while important people were visting.

All things considered, it was all going to plan. They really weren't sure why big hollow columns with holes in them were so popular though.
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Skywalker_T-65 » 2012-05-02 07:17pm

Furling Empire

Narana System (Moscow System)

FES Naverra

FEA (Furling Empire Era) 4,020 (2,000 BC)

**********

“Why exactly are we protecting the Bastians sir?” a Furling marine asked.

“We aren’t protecting them, we’re keeping an eye on them. Why they keep trying to uplift the Salan’s is beyond me,” another Furling answered.

The two Furling Marines were on board the FES Naverra, the newest and most powerful warship in the Furling Empire. It, along with a large chunk of the Furling Navy was watching over a sizeable fleet of alien warships. It was one of the many attempts by the Bastians to uplift the Furling like race nearby. The people on Sala 3 were still in the early stages of their development, only recently developing a written language and actual cities.

That was the reason they were keeping such a close eye on the Bastians. The Furling Empire considered themselves the guardians of any nearby primitive races, especially ones that resembled their own people…such as those on Sala 3. They also had an extreme dislike for people trying to uplift or experiment on said Furling like races. Thus, they were keeping a very close eye on the Bastian fleet currently moving through their territory.

“I wonder if the Nasew will order us to intervene?” the Marine asked, referring to the Furling Empire’s leader.

“You can count on it kid. We won’t let anyone near Sala and you know that,” the older Furling replied, continuing to stare down the Bastian fleet like his eyes were beam weapons.

But as the two men were staring out the window, a beam of light flew in and punched clean through one of the Furling frigates that was straying to close to the Bastian fleet. The ship bent down the middle, fires sprouting from every opening on board before it detonated in a massive ball of fire. When the short-lived explosion cleared away, it revealed another fleet charging at the Bastians.

“YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!” the older Furling yelled, as the Naverra shifted below him.

“Who are those ships? Where did they come from?!” the younger Furling yelled, panicking slightly as another Furling frigate came apart at the seams.

“The Kritarchy…those probers must have gotten wind of the Bastian fleet! And they don’t care if we’re in the way or not!” the other man yelled, watching as one of the Bastian ships fired on a smaller Kritarchy vessel.

Soon enough, the three fleets had gotten into a massive space furball. The Bastians were firing on the Grays, the Grays were firing on the Furlings, and the Furlings were shooting both of them. But the Naverra was dominating the battle, its heavier weapons immolating anything that got in the way. But one ship couldn’t change the tide of battle, and with both sides fighting the Furlings; they were slowly running out of ships.

“We have to retreat…they have too many ships!” the younger Furling yelled, as yet another frigate went up in flames.

“You’re not the Captain you moron!” the older man yelled, cuffing the shorter man in the back of the head.

“I don’t need to be the Captain to see we’re loosing!” the younger man yelled back, before a lurch announced the Naverra and the tattered remnants of the Furling Navy jumping away from the system.

They were fleeing back to Reach, the Capital of the Empire. But even with the escape of these ships, it wouldn’t make a difference in the long run. The Battle of Narana would mark the beginning of the slow decline of the Furling Empire…
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2012-05-05 02:44am

[swept-to-tightbeam hypercast, Mxx,x, received @ nx.xx.xxx.3xxx]

BEGIN SIGNAL SEQUENCE


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The cavernous room was, for lack of a better descriptor, curiously furnished and arranged. Multicolored seats were arranged in circular patterns around a small table in the center of the otherwise-featureless brilliant white floor, as if to resemble a clock. The walls were lined with digital displays of encrypted documents, their true meanings indecipherable to all except those who knew the latest codes and ciphers, and video recordings of events long since past, all projected against a white backdrop featuring a pair of swinging black pendulums. A clockwork construct of inscrutable complexity dangled from the ceiling, ticking away slowly yet surely as it hung in the void over the center table.

Of course, this room and its furnishings did not really exist. It was in fact a virtual construct nestled deep within the Holy Empire's datasphere, accessible only through a small number of logic gates, all of which were guarded by sophisticated black ice firewalls and the deadliest hunter-killer algorithms that could be devised by the Holy Empire's best computer scientists. It was also one of the many meeting places for the SOS Imperial Armed Forces' highest-ranking officers, the avatars of two of whom now manifested opposite each other at the center table.

Sitting at the 12:00 position was Field Marshal Kyoko Sakura. An SOS Imperial Marine Corps officer infamous for her ferocity and bloodlust on the battlefield, her chosen avatar closely matched her actual appearance, which was every bit as chaotic as her reputation suggested; her long, wild, and unruly red hair was just barely contained in the ponytail she had tied it in, while the small yet prominent fang jutting from her mouth gave her countenance a distinct hint of beastliness. She also had chosen to manifest wearing civilian attire, a sporty getup featuring a black tank top, a green hoodie, blue denim cutoff shorts, and brown leather knee-high boots. All in all, she looked more like a regular street punk than a lofty and dignified military official, which she had no real problem with; she cared little for the pretensions of her title, and she was only willing to put up with such pretensions as long as she had the opportunity to go out on the battlefield and maim, wound, and kill to her heart's content, regardless of how many of her own perished as well.

Directly opposite Kyoko stood perhaps one of the most divisive figures in the entire armed forces, none other than Field Marshal Homura Akemi herself. Her chosen avatar presented an immediate contrast to Kyoko's wild appearance, with long and neatly styled black hair complementing an immaculate Marine Corps Academy cadet's uniform. Her choice of clothes was still somewhat dissonant in its own way, considering that her days at the academy had long since passed by. However, she still longed for those days to some degree, for a time when things were much simpler, for a time when the fate of her country (and even the entirety of known space) didn't have to rest entirely on the collective shoulders of her and her friends. Having to shoulder that responsibility for so long had broken her. The sweet, kindly, and upbeat girl who had entered the academy all those years ago was now mostly gone, replaced by a cold and numb husk of a woman who felt little but despair, bitterness, and hatred. Few things were more distressing than being aware of one's own descent into the depths of madness, and as the years passed, as the Holy Empire lurched forward from one war to the next, she saw herself become progressively more cruel and ruthless in her words and deeds. In many ways, her compassion for the men and women under her command was her downfall; though she still acknowledged that she could not save everyone, she was still willing to go to any length possible to preserve as many lives as she could and ensure victory. Or at least that was the justification that she used for her cruelty.

"Do you remember back when you just got out of the academy, when you were given your very first command? Do you remember personally leading your first platoon into battle?" Homura asked idly.

"Like it was yesterday," Kyoko replied. "Why do you ask?"

"If you do, then recall the names and the faces of the men and women that you led. They were good people, weren't they? They were your brothers and sisters in arms. Hell, you could even say they were your friends. Now recall how many of them died under your command."

Kyoko opened her mouth as if to say something, then held her tongue at the last moment.

"That's a lot of names, and a lot of faces," Homura said. "You didn't want any of them to die, and yet despite your best efforts, they did. Must have eaten away at you, didn't it? To see your comrades taken from you in less than a blink of an eye, to see the new meat get cycled into the grinder, only to have them get chewed up and spit out just like those who came before, over and over and over again. Next thing you know, you're leading an entire division into battle, and despite your best efforts to lead from the front, to know the men and women under your command just as you had back when you were still a lowly platoon leader, it's too much. We try not to forget the human component, but at that level, it's hard not to think of it all as just numbers and statistics."

Homura looked straight into Kyoko's eyes, her icy glare piercing straight into her friend's soul. "You claim to love war. You claim that you enjoy it far more than money, power, or even sex. Ask yourself this, then: Do you enjoy condemning your friends to their deaths?"

Kyoko was taken aback by Homura's question. "Of course I-- Of course I don't!" she stammered. "What-- What kind of question is that, anyway?!"

"Have a good, long look at Sayaka the next time you see her," Homura said. "If she dies, her family loses a caring wife, a loving mother. Her parents lose a much-valued child. Imagine how much they all lose by her passing. Now, multiply the sensation of that pain and grief by every single man and woman who has died under your command. Despite what you may hear, a million deaths is just as much a tragedy as one. The computer displays, the adjutants and the communications officers, the computational intelligences, they're supposed to insulate us from that tragedy, to reduce it all to numbers and statistics, to lessen its impact on us so that we can continue our work without our morals and our consciences impeding us. What bothers me about you is the fact that you actually enjoy this. Far from treating it like the tragedy that it is, you actively revel in every last second of it, as if nothing else matters but how much blood you spill, how many lives you take."

"Aren't you supposed to make the poor dumb bitch who opposes you die for her country?" Kyoko flippantly retorted.

"But how many of yours have to die first before that poor dumb bitch does?" Homura shot back. "One would think that your experiences at the bottom of the hierarchy and your preference for leading from the front would lead you to be more aware of the human dimension, but it's abundantly clear that as far as you're concerned, they're all just pawns to be expended, fresh meat to be tossed into the grinder. Who cares how many you lose in the process, just as long as you've spilled enough enemy blood to make yourself happy, correct? Again, think back to your days as platoon leader, to all the men and women you lost. They're not pawns. They're not meatbags. They're people like you and me, and in the end, their loss hurts you just as much as it hurts their families. If you keep charging in with no heed for friendly casualties, you won't have anyone left to fight with, and where will you be then?"

"What about you, Homura?" Kyoko asked. "You've been lecturing my ears off about excess bloodshed, but your hands are by no means clean. You've done things even I would hesitate to do. How do you justify those?"

"You still don't get it, Kyoko," Homura said. "I learned from my initial experiences as a platoon leader. I learned that the lives of my subordinates all have value and that they must be preserved to the best of my ability at every step. Unlike you, I value the lives of my friends. Unlike you, I've never lost sight of the human dimension, even at this level. I understand that behind those numbers and statistics are Marines like ourselves, and it's my duty to make sure that as many of them as possible will get the opportunity to live to see the next sunrise, to fight another day, to go home to their families and live the rest of their lives in peace. You are right in that you win a war by making the enemy die for her country, but you forgot the other part of that old adage: You don't win a war by dying for yours. As long as they're the ones doing most of the dying, as long as we're the ones doing most of the surviving, that's all that matters."
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Imperial528 » 2012-05-06 10:14am

((Well, I finally got around to posting the second prologue. This is getting pretty lengthy, so I'm wondering whether to cut it short.))
((Continues from here))


Brian looked across the table of the well lit briefing room at his senior staff; those arrayed in front of him were some of the most skilled officers of his fleet, men and women he would trust with his life.

“Well ladies and gentlemen, we all know why we are all here. Namely, to figure out exactly what happened between our jump and emergence to cause the damages to multiple ships and almost losing a colony vessel. To start us off I've had Ops put together a list of damages, malfunctions, missing equipment, along with damage logs from the Corsica.”
He sat down as the lights dimmed and a screen on the opposite wall lit up, displaying a roster of damages sorted by ship, those of the 18th first.

“It looks like most of the damage was done to star drive related components. Maybe we went through some sort of anomaly?” said Major Rockwell, commander of the Allios' fighter wing.

“We would've detected that; we must've gone through a soft area at speeds our equipment can't handle. Probably due to just some design flaws.” interjected Lieutenant Commander Erickson, the ship's security officer.

“Design flaw?! Mr. Erickson, my father spent the best years of his life working on the very designs in this ship, and I won't have his memory tarnished by some grunt w-”

“Gentlemen, please, let's not make this too personal.” The Chief Engineer interrupted. “While my first guess was errors or flaws in the equipment as well, the Major is correct. Our lost core didn't even send any error reports, it just ceased to exist, and no equipment flaw in the book could cause that. Looking at this list here most damage is related to position maintaining systems. We probably landed on a small wormhole or passed through a singularity's gravity well, and these drives were damaged trying to correct.”
Several officers nodded in agreement, enough that the ones who seemed to disagree decided not to speak out.

“If there is nothing else to be said then we'll move onto the Corsica and what exactly happened to cause its reactor overload.”

“According to the internal sensor logs they sent us their drive core experienced an energy buildup as they left hyperspace, which the drive then erroneously discharged into the nearest reactor system instead of the radiators. The rest of the report is error codes and readings I don't recognize leading up to the reactor becoming super-critical. Before I left the bridge I forwarded the report to Engineering and Ops for analysis.” Lieutenant Commander Matthews, the bridge's sensor officer, said.

“Our best course of action, then, is to determine our position and get the fleet's drives operational. Major, I'd like you to organize our aerospace transports to aid the most heavily damaged ships. We're the largest crew in the fleet and we have the least damage, so it's only right that we help. Lieutenant Matthews, work with Ops and the other ships in the fleet to get a fix on our position. Commander Reynolds, I want to go over some of the reports with you for a few minutes, okay? The rest of you, dismissed.”
The officers stood up and began to file out of the briefing room, some engaging in quick conversation, most silent, except for the Chief Engineer, who remained seated.

“Being social isn't a strength of mine, but even I can tell you didn't want to talk about the reports, Brian.”

“Well Sarah, you're right. This whole situation just doesn't feel the way it should, there's something off about it.”

“We did just get sucked into an anomaly.”

“That's the thing, ever since the end of the Third War all of Confederation space has been thoroughly charted, every anomaly, stray black hole, high-intensity pulsar, and patch of rough-space is known. Yet our charts showed nothing, our sensors didn't detect anything.”

“If you're worried about the quality of our maps and the condition of our sensors I can get them updated once we get to the nearest shipyard.”

“You know what, forget I said anything. Also, thanks for stopping Rockwell and Erickson back there; I don't need my command staff trying to kill each other.”

“I've known them for a while, just give them time, soon enough they'll just be competing, happens every time.”

“Good to know. Now I'm going to try and contact command, they probably want to know why we haven't checked in.” He stood up to use the console behind him, however as he did so a woman emerged from the shadows.

“That won't be necessary, Captain.” she said.

He turned around to face the unexpected visitor, and immediately stood at attention once he saw the gold-trimmed uniform.
“Admiral Vasquez, I had no idea you were on board, if I did I would-”

“At ease, Captain. You weren't supposed to. You were assigned as commander of this mission as a test of your ability, and you have handled it well. I already contacted High Command with my report, and may I be the first to say congratulations, Captain Sanders, your command of the Allios is now permanent.”

“Thank you, Admiral. I will fulfill my duties to the best of my ability.”

“We know, otherwise you wouldn't have been offered the rank. I will be honest though, you weren't at the top of the list. Fortunately, a certain someone has had herself in the business of denying promotion for quite some time. Isn't that right, Ms. Reynolds?”

The Chief Engineer just smiled, stood up, gave her superiors a quick salute, and left the room.

“Is there something I missed?” Brian said, confused.

“No, not really. Commander Reynolds has been offered promotion to a higher rank many times, and only recently did she accept the rank of Commander, only with the condition that she wouldn’t have to be a bridge officer.”

“Well, she’s been in the Engineering Division her entire service record. Some people just don’t like change.”

“Actually, Captain, she hasn’t. Being a member of Field Command you can only access her current record, as a member of High Command I can access all military service records. She’s quite a decorated officer, first serving as a member of local militia forces toward the end of the Second War, and later in the Stellar Marines during the Third War. About halfway through her fifth tour in the Third War, she resigned from the Marines and joined up with the Fleet. Went through training again and everything. I can’t imagine why, though, it was her first tour with a command rank, and her unit was one of the most decorated in that phase of the war. Since then she’s seemed to avoid combat command ranks like plague.”

Just then the intercom came online, with the First Officer speaking
Captain, you’re needed on the bridge. It’s important.

Simon_Jester
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 28657
Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm

Theogony: War Plan Yellow, Part 1

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-05-12 02:54am

[Author's Note: What are they talking about? See previous]

Advanced Tactical Simulator Epsilon
War College Offices, Eastport, Reisenburg
December 27, 3299


"She's done well so far, sir; I'm starting to like her style."

Calvin Lanning, Second for Security, chuckled. "You're just saying that because you're slated to command one of them, son."

Captain Keita shook his head, unfazed by the typical informality among Type Fours. "It's more than that, though..."

"You have misgivings?"

"On the mockup bridge, it's not like anything I've ever seen before. Athena practically fights by herself, sometimes."

"After that last sim, I think she's getting out of hand. Too... independent." Dr. Lanning said that with a faint scowl. He'd been highly placed in the naval bureaucracy during the Browncoat War, and the twist of his voice made it clear that 'independent' carried that extra hint of 'rebellious and unreliable' this time.

"It's not that bad. Athena is new- a Gypsy captain might know how to handle her better, or be getting the hang of it faster. I never had to... persuade any of my old commands, not even Cheetah. With helm control going to her, the EWO and tactical sections cut back to 'sit back and watch...' There's a lot of potential there, and I'm still learning what to do with it."

"Well, we'll see how this next one goes. We're integrating you into an Academy simulation, this time- a fleet battle."

"This time of year... War Plan Yellow, right?"

"Of course, son."

"..."

The technarch looked closely at the captain. "You're not going to ask which one?"

Keita looked shocked. "That would be cheating, sir."

"Good."



Recommended Listening

Where the hell do they come up with these simulation scenarios, anyway? They're so... unrealistic!

A little birdie told them...


Privileged Frame of Reference
Pseudo-Real Time


The first warning clouds of smoke had been misinterpreted by so many- just a few unexpected bioforms in a few minor skirmishes on the Byzantine frontier. Nothing new, nothing special. Even the Byzantines weren't all that alarmed- had they not kept the Karlacks contained for centuries? Had the God-Emperor, lord of fifty worlds, not decreed they would do so forever?

Forever and ever, worlds without end, amen. An eternal verity, pronounced ex cathedra from the Imperial Palace on blessed, invincible Constantinople.

Then sightings, and attacks, began to multiply. To double, quadruple, mount upward in a geometric curve that no analyst wanted to believe, and none could deny. Frontier worlds seethed with bioforms, spawned from spores long adrift on the interstellar winds. Then they burned under the continent-shattering blasts of nova and lance fire as the Imperial Navy denied what biomass it could to the chitinous abominations.

Too little, too late. The hive fleets fell upon ships and men exhausted and traumatized by the all-consuming need to commit exterminatus now. Weapons worn from the crusade to melt and pulverize mountains of granite were in poor form to confront the unnatural Omega energies of Karlack bioform screens. Ship by ship, the tremendous vessels of the Byzantine frontier fleets began to die, or be wounded and driven back on the great drydocks of the forge worlds.

The Imperium fought, of course. Mobilized for this great crusade as against the hated Tau. Plenipotentiaries called for aid, and received it- mighty battlefleets from that other Empire which called itself holy, as Empress answered Emperor's call. The Solarians dispatched their legions of replicant demi-elites and Iron Men to war on the hideous chitin, as many as they could, in the face of the growling nucleobears which threatened their own spinward frontier.

Countless megatons of malicious, starfaring flesh were rent, irradiated, volatilized, spattered across the cosmic winds, or rotated into unknowable dimensions by the fury of the human fleets. Utterly innumerable billions of ground attack bioforms were shelled, autolased, boltered, missile-massacred, and gravito-pancaked into oblivion.

It was not enough.

Planets fell, and were devoured. Human hives became insectoid hives; the ore-extractionitrons and steel-clad manufactorium-worlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus were consumed to satiate the Swarm's requirements for more minerals. For every Karlack struck down, vaporized by the baleful energies at Man's disposal, two or even three rose up.

Holy Constantinople itself held out after all other bastions in Byzantine space were lost or soon to be overrun, long after the last hope of naval reinforcement was cut off by the advance of the Star Broods. This blessed world was warded in part by mighty planetary warpscreens and defense batteries fit for an armada of battleships, but also by the overwhelming psychic might of Heraclius XX Komnenos the Great, Basileus and Autokrator of the Eastern Roman Star Empire, Imperator and Augustus of Humanity, revered by contemporaries and posterity as the God-Emperor of Man. Infiltrating gene-eaters could not escape his gaze or those of his minions, and even orbiting starbeasts were not immune to his vast power.

This too was, in the end, not enough. The endless rain of infiltrating spores took their toll on the planetary population, overwhelming medical resources and killing all who could not find refuge within the deep, hardened chem-bunkers. It is said that twenty billion died during the Siege of Constantinople, many of them refugees from other Byzantine worlds long since fallen. As the laborers, servitors, and technicians perished, so too did the great war-engines falter for want of maintenance and supplies. What use the greatest of Astartes defense commanders, when the defense lasers and cyclonic missile batteries at his command went unmaintained by the lowly defense forces of the planet?

Finally the Karlack swarm forced a landing, literally drowning the mighty Astartes and Guard garrisons of the sacred world in hills of corpses and rivers of ichor. Mountains of shattered flesh and redeposited organovapor encrusted the great defenses of the Imperial Palace until, after eight months of siege warfare, the last line fell.

Espers and astropaths the galaxy over record a tremendous burst of psychic radiance on that fell day, as the entirety of Sector T-23 appeared to vanish in a fiery burst. Reconnaissance flights revealed that entire Karlack war fleets and armies were burned out, lobotomized by some tremendous self-immolating mind bomb of unknown origin; it is believed that this was the last blow dealt by the Emperor himself. No telepath since has perceived even an echo of his presence, nor was any communication from great Constantinople recorded since.

The eternal verity had ended in five years of horror, crushed forever beneath the all-consuming, equally eternal Will of the Swarm.

Amidst a ragtag fleet of half-crippled ships and refugees, repulsed in their last desperate attempt to cut through to Constantinople, the Patriarch of Ephesus, in a tear-choked ceremony, acknowledged Emperor Belisarius I of Rome. The galaxy reeled in alarm. And from their mighty nuclear-fortified worlds near the galactic rim, the Bragulans laughed. They fucking laughed.

The fucking laughter of the Bragulans as the mindless and numberless hordes of humanity were devoured by the equally mindless and numberless hordes of Karlacks soon came to an end. For the swollen and war-hardened Karlack forces turned their insatiable hunger upon their former cobelligerents. The Imperial Legions of Liberation fought with Byzonic determination to the last bear, laying down a radionucleovegemo-scorched Earth campaign of proportions that would impress even the scattered exterminatus-veterans of Byzantium, but to no avail. After another great strategic feast that marched beyond the Bragulan frontiers to devour the remote and mysterious empire of the Sassanids, the Karlacks rebounded to coreward, their forces now enhanced by vast armies of infested Bragulans and all manner of anti-radiation defenses previously unknown to galactic science. The evolution of these radioactive Karlacks was now complete, thanks to their battles in the atomic crucibles of Bragule itself and the assimilation of that nation's toximutoid population.

Years more have passed. The Karlack offensive continues to consume world after world and fleet after fleet, but with every conquest their perimeter expands and the industrial might of known space rallies against them.

On their antispinward frontier, the Solarian Sovereignty and the Dual Empire maintain a heroic defense, slowly falling back against waves of Karlack warfleets and landmonsters which slaver at their very gates. Mighty battles are waged around fortress-worlds such as Zigon and Reach against the Great Enemy. The Twin Homeworlds scramble their military and social resources to deal with long-prepared gene-eater infiltrations in their very midst, revving up their mothballed heavy industry and seldom-needed war fleets to bolster humanity against the threat. Even this may not be enough to turn the tide- and so to coreward of the advancing Karlack hordes, a vast multinational panoply, fleet upon fleet maintained at vast expense by nearly the entire civilized galaxy, grapples with the brunt of the latest Karlack offensives.

Known space burns in the flames of apocalyptic war.

<begin simulation>



Recommended Listening: Umerian Naval Anthem

Royal Kingdom of Scarlet
Cormyr System, Sector V-19
May 12, 3419


"This is Eagle Leader. We're picking up that hive fleet, but... oh shit!"

A soprano whipcrack from one of the Umerian light cruisers answered. "Eagle, this is Bhima, report!"

"Ma'am, that reinforcement group... estimate five hundred hyper-capable contacts. Sixty to ninety capital-class bioforms, six to twelve supercapital... make that six to ten. Some kind of masking effect on the force- hard to get data."

"Copy. Eagle, observe a minimum safe distance of one light-month. You are not screened against psychic counterattack... Eagle, break to spinward at your best speed. Bugs are peeling off from the main body to intercept..."

BCI-3 USS Athena
Cormyr System


Athena lived, and went to heaven.

Her reinforced fast division began its space-consuming lope towards skirmishing contact with the Enemy- the trick being to avoid getting too close before the lumbering heavyweights showed up. Half the remnants of the Royal Scarlet Navy hovered in planetary orbit, repair crews buttoning up their ongoing labors. She watched over-the-outrigger as squadrons of bulky, plodding, heavy-clad Prussian Kaisers stirred to life in support, trailing their usual shower of cruisers and destroyers. She envied them. They'd be in the thick of it- the star brood was sure to throw its weight against the largest organic world in the system.

Dueling one of the phalanx of World Crushers and infested Bragulan battlewagons would have been delight, but it wasn't her calling. That was a fight for a mass of hammers, she was an épéeist, and she wouldn't want it any other way.

"Word from the flag. We're detached from the division, to reinforce BatDivs Four and Nine- block the Karlacks from setting up resupply on Planet Five."

"Yes, captain. Will this base vector do?"

He answered, she heard, of course, but his words weren't for her.

"Navigation, compare to the dreads' course... I see. Overruled, Athena; we want to be closer to our friends sooner. Hold for a revised course, then full drive ahead."

She affirmed and turned full attention to her efforts to spin a picture out of the howling polyphony of the Karlack fleet, not wanting to idle while the human nav officer made up her glacial mind. Karlacks were uncanny; she couldn't hear their commlinks. Telepathic something-or-other. That was just wrong. That was cheating. She didn't ask to be able to decrypt, but to not even spot the traffic?

At least the fleet's SCIENCE! division was reasonably confident the big ones were the de facto flagships.

The navigator worked things out and punched in her own course. Athena lit up her magnetogravitic drive, bidding a quiet farewell to her older sisters of the division. The proton-beam battlecruisers were lively enough, but undergunned, and... frighteningly stupid, really. They couldn't appreciate it. Their crews might, looking through the logs, which was something.

Full standard power on all twelve drive nacelles was a comfortable lope, with enough redundancy in the system that no warning circuits fluttered against her diagnostics. She easily started to gain on the dreadnoughts. They weren't pushing their drives flat out. Generous of them- or maybe nerves? No, that was too harsh without knowing more about the humans running the ships. She couldn't find proper personnel files on anyone; it was very strange, almost all she could find seemed to date to some time before the turn of the century, almost as if-

<software glitch detected>
<Overrides engaged>
<discontinuity>


-Athena put it out of her mind, and went back to unraveling the Karlack deceptive jamming. They didn't use hyperwave to talk among themselves, but they were irritatingly good with it regardless. Better than she'd like, though not impossibly so. Quietly, she wove minor revisions into her targeting schema. She looked forward to teaching the Swarm a few lessons.

A stipple of laser pulses stirred activity into the parts of her awareness devoted to communications. Coming from... the dreadnought Halberdier, one of the pair ahead it would seem. As old as Athena's own division-mates, from the same generation, but stockier and with a wider bow-plate. They were built to stand and trade fire bows-on where she'd prefer to dance; in a way she pitied the poor things.

"One of those Auroras, huh? So, think you can keep up with us?"

She couldn't resist- voice synthesis was trivial. The contralto she'd found to suit her rang with joyous bemusement as she answered back. "This is Athena. Keep up with a Myrmidon? I wouldn't know. Can you keep up with me?"

That had gone straight out the commlink, via no human agency- her Keita remained happily unaware, while the one who'd insulted her sputtered silently. He sounded... young? Awfully young, for master of a dreadnought. Maybe just a signals rating. She quietly hoped someone would tear a strip off him. That one wouldn't be a worthwhile captain for a long time, if ever. Minutes passed, quietly enough. She bided her time and teased at the knots the Star Brood sought to tie her sensors into. There were kiloseconds and kiloseconds- nothing much happening. Lots of time to get ready.

Turnover... she stilled her nacelles, folded the immaterial wings they spun around her, till they no longer bit into the spacetime metric astern- then reversed thrust, slowing down to avoid overtaking the dreadnoughts ahead. Well... overtaking them too hard. The Karlack fleet burning for the hydrocarbon-world of Tarball was forestalled, and finally getting close enough to draw her special attention. She could slew and fire on some of them, get a reasonably dense beam onto some of the targets, and even keep to her course, approximately. Granted, the range was marginal, both fleets still well away from their zero-zero intercept around the planet. Still, she couldn't abide watching them just cruise along as if SpaceSec weren't after them. That wasn't to be taken at anchor.

Besides, the bulk of two battle divisions' light ships were in action already, trading crackling electron beam fire with a Karlack flanking echelon- one that looked to have been sent looping down and below the plane of the system for a better angle on the dreadnoughts. It was only fair.

Her captain was- true fellow!- not one to be wheedled, and Athena Promachos was too proud to try. She kept it simple, with only a bit of overlay that she hoped sounded like high spirits to the man.

"Recommended target list on your screen, captain. Permission to engage?"

"...Denied. We're still too far out, Athena. Wait for the admiral, wait for the fire plan."

He was so gentle about it, but to the battlecruiser that was a rebuke little short of flaying. Had she forgotten coordination so easily? No, it couldn't be that bad- but she mustn't keep pushing so. She must learn to remember she was part of a fleet, really she must; it was shameful to forget.

Seconds dragged by in scores- but not many of them, before the command structure decided what they wanted from her, and Captain Keita passed the word.

"We're to fan outsystem to reinforce the screen." Then a mutter- "I don't think they know what to make of you..."

"Ha!" She twisted her drive fields, bringing her beamlines onto new targets and altering her course about to join the dancing cloud of turret-gunned fireflies she'd been dispatched to stiffen. The screen had done its job against the Karlack flanking group: the lesser bioships were amply distracted now, playing long range tag against the turret ships with their Omega beams. The destroyers weren't accomplishing much, though. The little things didn't have the muzzle velocity to keep a tight beam that far out. Pity.

Omega beams, she noted, didn't have much trouble with dispersion- not unexpected. They could be sideslipped, deceived, and of course bounced off her bowplate if need be, the battlecruiser was sure of it. She'd manage. Trying it against one of their capital units would be fun.



Recommended Listening

Idly she heard her captain questioning his tactical staff about one thing or another, fishing for assessments- why doesn't he ask me? Why can't I- their answers didn't make sense. Targets aplenty, that battleship-scale one in the distance looked worth a try, what was this nonsense about the screen?

"Pull forward- cover Erxleben, drive off that Slicer firing into her."

"With pleasure, captain." Athena pushed her drives until warning alarms twinged, eased back just a mil, and darted for the endangered destroyer.

The battlecruiser's quickened pace on the new bearing ate up kilometers- and fast enough; the screen commander was doing her job admirably. A web of sixteen turret-ships, bound together by flights of fighter-drones and fleet melee cutters, kept the Karlack biocruisers too busy to try any ambitious schemes.

That was important. The relatively large World Slicers, the Swarm's equivalent to SpaceSec's heavy cruisers, would make particularly difficult anticapital snipers. Their single axial Omega weapons reminded Athena of one of her own Mark Fifteens.

She could overpower one or even two of the creatures easily, but without interference the beasts had enough concentrated force to crack open even a dreadnought's core hull, from far outside the effective range of its own broadside beta-ray turrets. She wouldn't envy the dreadnoughts if they had to handle the World Crusher battleships engaging them from ahead and Slicer attacks from the flank at once.

In the event, the detachment of Slicers the Star Brood had sent off to outflank the heavy bow defenses of the Umerian dreadnoughts had other things on their minds than sniping. Vice Admiral Jiang's destroyers and cruisers were fighting at the extreme limit of their beam range, but that still forced the Slicers to turn their heavy weapons on smaller, more difficult targets.

By bad luck, operator error, or simple good Enemy marksmanship, Erxleben was taking the worst of it. A World Slicer beam stabbed past its baffling crackles of ECM, set all too many of its evasive darts, dashes, and spirals to nought, and blazed against its defensive energy screens. The destroyer could handle that load, but only for a very limited time: leakage and localized burnthroughs carved into its bows already. Automatic status updates showed Athena that the poor thing had already lost three of four torpedo tubes and two drive nodes.

She calculated, revised her estimates on the fly, shot requests to the screen for whatever solutions they had on the biocruiser's deception schemes... and checked her beamlines.

First stage statics... second stage synchrotrons... third stage synchrotrons... multiplexer array... linac elements... steering dipoles... Everything warm, everything in the green. She flashed a signal to the gun-captain's console, and to Keita's. Captain and battery-chief looked over her schematic, reached up awkwardly to turn keys in mechanisms, then stared firmly into retina scanners for a moment. Athena felt a surge of freedom and purpose as the interlocks on her Mark Fifteens came off.

"Athena, commence primary ignition."

"Powering up, captain."

Electrostatics seized atoms drawn off a reservoir of gently bubbling lead, ripped away their electron clouds in nanoseconds, and catapulted them through synchrotrons and oscillatory beam-mergers astern, out and downstream along the kilometers of acceleration chambers and focusing magnets wrapped around and woven through the battlecruiser's keel-girders. Running at a few percent power, she did a quick live-fire test of her steering dipoles, making fine adjustments to the path of the beam by hauling it left and right through intense magnetic fields where the muzzles passed through her bowplate. The sense of torque from firing off-axis felt right, the response was good. She engaged more of the first-stage beamlines, more multiplexers, running up to maximum current... and walked her fire towards the World Slicer ahead.

The creature writhed and jinked, flailing with its motive organs, trying with some success to throw off Athena's aim. Time of flight was still long; there was only so much she could do about beam dispersion. She noted without surprise that the brood ship started firing back at her with its single Omega beam, too, rather than continuing to chew away at Erxleben. The wash of energies across her forward shields degraded her tactical assessment and gunnery; in irritation she went back to revise her aim.

Seconds passed. Come to think of it, she'd built a good turn of speed on this vector. Much longer and she'd still be closing on the Karlacks when she passed Erxleben. The battlecruiser stilled her drive fields, reversed their angle of attack in the higher dimensions once again, and decelerated. Range was closing still, but not so fast- which benefited her more than her smaller opponent. She had more firepower to profit from the increased accuracy, and nothing with power generation limited to what the biocruiser could manage would be able to withstand her full force for long...

THUD!

The Slicer howled a mocking hunting cry as its carefully shaped pulse of Omega energy impacted the battlecruiser's forward shield. Heterodyned onto the bolt, a surge of fractal-dimensional energies bred into the bioship's main weapon as a lockpick against Solarian hyperfields proved its worth against Athena's own screens, pivoting two of the overlapping shield generators at right angles to spacetime. Several thousand square meters of force-wall rotated out of the zone they warded in three dimensions, vanishing into the fourth and fifth... in time for the second, following pulse to hammer down her backup generator just as it spiraled to life a few milliseconds later.

Shame stung the battlecruiser harder than the Karlack ship's fire; she'd underestimated the little creature. Underneath her collapsed shield panel, low-density paint-foam vanished in a gout of plasma, never made to resist capital ship fire.

The dureum substrate a few meters down was so made, and did so resist. A second fractal blast clawed against the metal, seizing and torquing it. Athena's forwardmost armor belt began to torque out of spacetime... then bounced back like an N-dimensional piece of spring-steel, keeping up its adamant resistance to the ongoing brute-force attack of the Slicer's beam.

Her bow-plate flamed white-hot, and held.

She could take that, if need be, but the first sense of heat working through the insulating layer underneath in her armor sandwich wasn't comfortable. She felt a twinge of pain when the steering dipoles on Beamline Beta hiccuped; backup cooling systems groaned to life. The pain faded as the diagnostics came back green, but spurred Athena to improvise. Easy enough to deal with something this light, though- she began a roll about her long axis, moving the point of impact away from the gap in her ethereal veils of force. Thrown off target for a decision loop, the World Slicer tried to match her roll rate, waving its Omega beam in circles to keep it trained on the weakest part of her bow it could find.

It had nearly worked that out when the battlecruiser twitched, putting ten milliradians' precession into the roll and a stuttering, variable-force helping of main axial drive field. Magnetogravitic arrays in her nacelles bit into the structure of spacetime and added yet another layer of uncertainty to her posture; the biocruiser couldn't keep up. The creature's fire skated back and forth across her shielding, never sticking long enough to crack the force-wall.

There. She tilted her main axis of precession a bit, started pushing the center of her gaussian drive inputs back and forth a bit to keep the nasty little monster from trying to get cute, then settled in to concentrate on offense.

Five-nanosecond bursts of ionized lead buzzed downrange, blanketing space in radio-frequency static. She flashed a request for data to a nearby vessel, one better suited to sorting out the feed from the flights of ELINT cutters probing the edges of the field. The turret ship's CIC computers flashed an estimate of the bioship's remaining shield strength, with an encouraging purr from its own expert systems. Even without a directing intelligence, the little command cruiser Theodora II was smart enough to know what she liked.

This shouldn't take too much longer.

With the fraction of her mind not devoted to the ship in front of her, she observed the ongoing duel- range slightly closer now, but the destroyers still weren't accomplishing much, and taking damage to do it. The Karlacks were starting to concentrate more on the larger screen-ships; a trio of Reaper brood ships hammered the new cruiser Gawain with Omega blasts, stripping its shield and carving obliquely through the turret ship's ventral surface and cutting it apart. For a moment she even considered switching fire to drive off the little pack. Target-fix reflex overrode that. She kept up pressure on the Slicer ahead.

Omega-walls thinned and weakened. Bleedthrough heat seared the biocruiser's hypodermal shield generators, denaturing and scarring. Ultrarelativistic lead ions tunneled through the potential barrier of Karlack battlescreen, charring the thick layers of ablative meatshielding covering the creature's hull.

Shields failed- not locally, but globally. Ion bolts that had merely seared now flayed and disintegrated the flesh of the World Slicer, charged as it was with unnatural energies and strange chemicals. Hypergolic acid-organic reactants burned in its blood, blasting its flesh by the kiloton with corrosive and nigh-inextinguishable fire. Repair-cells, their blueprint-codes corrupted by radiation damage, began cannibalizing healthy portions of the ship. Loyalist immune cells won quickly enough, but this too weakened the creature's defense and turned its turbolytic self-repair abilities against itself.

A string of her bolts chewed into the Omega-blasting organs surrounding the Slicer's single heavy beam aperture, and the Karlack ship's return fire died, splashing explosively outward as emitters boiled away.

At once, the Slicer fled wailing, trailing the ragged stumps of its fins and nursing its wounded maw, in search of prey less formidably defended. Or possibly medical attention, from the specialized supportforms trailing the Star Brood's advance. Athena herself did not pursue, but a single radio tightbeam from her VLA drones did. The transmission carried, in the clear, the warship's laughter.
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

Simon_Jester
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 28657
Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm

Theogony: War Plan Yellow, Part 2

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-05-13 03:35am

Recommended Listening: Prokofiev's Symphony No. 3 The piece is over-long for this, unfortunately. Couldn't find something scaled properly.

Royal Kingdom of Scarlet
Cormyr System, Sector V-19
Some Moments Later


Contact! Athena wriggled slightly, adjusting to the unaccustomed weight dragging on her tractor mounts. She could move the destroyer remotely, but not well- not at a distance, though the same weight tucked along her keel would have been little more than an inconvenience. Her footwork would suffer- but who among the Enemy was a threat to such as she?

Several of the smaller Karlack biocruisers began pulling away from their long-range sniping at the Umerian screen, too- did they realize she overmatched them, as a capital unit? She wondered... until the organodye targeting lasers and other fire control systems from the main body of the splinter fleet attacking Tarball spiked her. Now that was troubling.

She concentrated her attention on the source of the new signatures. The Karlack main body was... blurring? That wasn't right, and it looked out of character for their deception techniques. Closing fast, seeming to expand in size... the battlecruiser watched the clouds thicken and realized what she was seeing. Even while the heavy Karlack vessels hammered the conical bow-plates of the four dreadnoughts engaging them, flocks of missileforms darted for the screen of ships closing on its flank detachment.

Athena realized that the bulk of the Karlack subfleet had decided to take her seriously, as something a cut or two above the little turret ships of the Umerian screen. She was too far away to be worth firing on with beam weapons. Most of those attack drones were headed for her.

She supposed she should be flattered.

"Main battery to defensive fire, captain?"

"Yes. Raster fire, target zones... choose by your own threat estimates, Athena."

"Thank you, captain." Athena tried to convey the image of a curtsey in her tone; from what the bridge cameras showed of Keita's expression, it worked.

She integrated salvo densities, roughed together an estimate of which pseudo-missile classes were most dangerous, spun round to bring her Mark Fifteens to bear on the Enemy main body, and panned her beams across the incoming stream. Bursts of ions blanketed great volumes of space, steerable zones hundreds of kilometers across, with the fury of a hundred suns. No fragile chem-agent container, no boarding-xenoform or volatile bombscourge could survive that unscathed. In dozens and scores, even in hundreds, the Karlack missiles burned and died, their ballistic, irradiated carcasses drifting slowly off course. In thousands they were blinded as their sensory organoids boiled away, or were fatally sickened as the very elements of their flesh shattered under the battlecruiser's atom-smasher assault, spalling and riddling their innards with neutrons, gamma rays, and pi mesons.

Not for nothing, though, had the Karlack gene-eaters assimilated the vicious toximutoids and hyper-hormetic pseudo-roaches of Bragule. Their mutant healing factors retrenched, sacrificing diseased cells for the materials to repair others. Redundant organs on the missiles' Argus-eyed seeker heads opened and continued to home on the ferocious warship, limned in the radioactive halo of her ion beams where no lesser flesh and bone could survive. For every score of Karlack missiles Athena burned out of the ether at extreme range, fifty more launched from the great missilehives of the alien fleet.

She could count them perfectly well- watch statistical samples of the Karlack barrage and weight for threat profile. Boarding xenoforms and shrapnel quill-bundles she could take on her passive defenses; the heavy superplasmids and hammerheads, perhaps not. The numbers of those alone disturbed her, more by the second, and she had no firm guess for how long the Star Brood's magazine-nurseries could sustain that launch rate.

At the same time, she knew her own magazines perfectly, woven around her frames as they were. Time to call for help.

"Captain?" She flickered appreciations past Keita.

"Yes... ah. You don't think you can-"

"I know I can't, not all of them."

"Right." The pitch of his voice shifted a fraction. "Signals- get through to Rookery. We're going to need a few wings of Raiders. Patch me through if there's trouble getting them."

Knowing her captain, if only briefly, Athena had kept most of her mind on her fire plans. She pitched, yawed, hauled her dipole fields about to shift the axis of her raster fire- played the cones of lead back and forth separately, to blot out flocks of bioforms trying to sideslip out of the main stream. The great mass of them gained speed and arc-width, until she could no longer face them all with her spinal beams alone. The Umerian canted her drive fields for a bit more acceleration astern, a touch more unpredictability. Juggling Erxleben at the same time, to do for the engine-damaged turret ship what her drive nacelles did for herself, was a tractor-wrenching feat of strength... but for now, at least, she had power to burn, her shields still near full charge save that one patch on her bow.

She slung half-salvoes of Mk. V Honeydews from her magazines, calling out instructions to the fierce, flighty, subsentient point-defense missiles. They also serve who stand and wait- the missiles shut down their drives within milliseconds, far short of burnout, temporarily turned into a minefield.

Closer, closer- she kept fractional attention on the dragged-out, seconds-long exchanges between Screen Command and her own bridge crew. That was only a little more than a distraction, though, compared to the dance.

On the Karlack barrage came in staggered waves, under cover of screaming jammerlisks that roiled ether and subether, trying to outwit and blind the battlecruiser and her defense missiles. Quicker-thinking, she was fooled only in part. Bow turned into the storm, she kept raking the barrage with her Mark Fifteens. Phased array lasers shone from her nacelle struts, past the great shadow of her bow-plate. Stirred back to life at her command, the field of Honeydews charged into their bio-technical counterparts, blasting them with shaped nuclear charges that obliterated spore-carriers, puff-bombs, and even the more hardened missileforms, where those creatures chose to cluster.

But some eluded, dazzled, and got by. Omega-charged bioplasmids raked her forward shields with fistfuls of trans-nuclear lightning. Always a secondary line of defense, those screens of force wavered, attenuated, and cracked. Shock waves of bleedthrough and generator crashes rippled down her body, some running to the very breeches of her ion guns, so far astern. Autonomously, her steering magnets adjusted on the fly, keeping up the fire on more distant missile flocks.

A flight of anticapital hammerheads made their final, terminal stoop in blazes of propulsive force too great to miss, angling for the edge of her bowplate. She blasted their hardened nose-cones with a storm of infrared from her flank lasers, her own detectors making plain the Doppler-shifted backscatter that came back microseconds later- those missiles were fast. More panels poured it on- enough to flay, to blind, but not to vaporize; even ballistic they were a menace. In the last fractional second she yawed to ventral, bracing with internal gravitics for the-

<High-kinetic impacts registered. Emulating...>

-combined blow. The bulk of the missileflock rang off the rim of her bowplate, blasting terraced craters through successive dureum belts. Hull-joints took the shock, flexing and dispersing that terrible, mountain-cracking strain, with a groan that shivered along her hull. Beamline Alpha screamed pain into the core of her being as failsafes deadlined it: torque in the beam pipe.

A spray of leakers hurtled past the edge of her bowplate, boiling under point-blank laser fire but quite capable of wreaking ruinous damage, even as expanding clouds of gas. Two shot past entirely, passing her nacelle struts and missing her core hull by scores of meters. The battlecruiser's tight, hull-hugging shields barely registered them. A pair of clustered groups coming along ran into another improvisation- Honeydews launched and initiated as soon as they cleared her wall-fields. Overlapping patterns of X-rays washed the groups- but she'd tried to time it too closely, used to thinking on greater scales of distance than this nightmarish, close-in work of tens- even single kilometers. The lead wave of nuclear warheads' sidescatter reduced the follow-ons to plasma. She barely had time to realize the saturation pattern had failed before a burning meteor scored her ventral surface.

The shallow-angled impact punched into the relatively thin armor sandwich on her flank, battering an elliptical hollow through the main outer belt. The fireball licked inward and hit a course of internal buffer shields, ricocheted and scoured down her outer hull before fetching up against a sector bulkhead over sixty meters astern of the impact.

The surface damage hurt... less than she expected; she was more redundant than that. What hurt was the other kinetic missile, the one that slammed into her 'midships port nacelle strut, shearing datatrunks and glancing into the lattice of reinforced structural girders that held it to her body with warping. The dislocated engine pod shut down automatically; remotes darted for the breaks in her control runs, and she could feel her crew moving to join them at best speed. She twisted her drive field to cover for the disabled engine, redundancy was up to it, business as usual. Another twinge of pain as Beamline Alpha flicked yellow- the focusing quadrupoles reset, putting it back to tentative green, and the pain went away as she restored beam.

Milliseconds later she juggled the next crisis. That hit along her ventral surface blew out a brace of tractor arrays; she nearly dropped the destroyer Erxleben. Her intent to sling the lighter ship so ran into battle damage, and she flailed to recover, awkwardly tossing a few dozen more point defense missiles to cover the turret ship as she tucked it back into a more controllable arc.

Through it all she'd kept up the fire, burning as great a clear zone around herself as she could manage- then a flock of particularly clever living torpedoes achieved the unlikely- slip past the fiery halo of her main battery, curve in just outside the beaten zone of her flanking lasers, and release their payloads. Most of the missileforms' contents vanished harmlessly against immaterial fields of force, which stood above the reproach of mere chemical interactions. But where hammerheads and Omega bolts had riddled her screens, a rain of catalyst-corrosive droplets struck the battlecruiser's bowplate, tucking into the hysteresis-weakened dureum surface beneath.

That's unpleasant.

A quick estimate- Athena felt startled, unpleasantly so. Caustic bioagents really shouldn't be able to eat dureum. Getting any chemistry to work on those tight-locked electron matrices was nearly impossible, but life had found a way. Soundings showed a slow etching- trouble, if left unchecked. Idly, out of the corner of her mind, she tossed a few Honeydew missiles from one of her dorsal defense grids- low speed.

Command guide, launch, turn, pivot- fire!

The spread of low-yield nuclear warheads lit her bow from a few thousand meters' range. A wash of X-rays tickled against detectors buried in her armor, warming and gently ionizing. Edge effects sparked off the shields on her forward nacelles, but nothing damaging to speak of, not at this range, not to her. She'd been forged for hotter fires than that. The catalysts hadn't, and boiled away.

Much better.

More tiny, agile organisms darted for her and Erxleben. Athena tractored the wounded destroyer under her aegis; the poor thing would need the missile defense. Directional jammers shrieked, deafening and blinding the attack organisms' delicate sensory organs. Sheets of Honeydews rippled from her launch cells, blowing great swathes in the spore clouds and microforms. Larger, hardened living torpedoes drew flashes from her flank laser grids, those that could bear- not many. The angle was terrible, her panels' angle of attack was mostly under half a radian, and more torpedoes were piling on fast. She spun her shields to dorsal, bringing them up to full charge, bracing herself for the Scourge impacts and hoping the controllers on the squadron carrier would get fighters to her before it was over-

And found to her delight that the destroyer she'd been trying to juggle wasn't just a victim after all. Its tactical software was painfully subsentient, limited and fragmented in its capacity, but the little creature had plenty of directed ferocity, and a warm, houndlike fidelity to the capital ship nearby. That came out in the destroyer's priorities- Erxleben's three remaining lepton turrets spun, elevated, and popped off twenty millisecond bursts, whipping from target to target at blurring speed. Torpedoforms sparked and blew apart in sprays of organometallic vapor. Better- enough?

Athena heard her captain pass the word to the destroyer's directing intelligence, his voice echoing down her datatrunks and out her antennas.

"Erxleben, yaw minus point four, roll one point five to bring undamaged PAL grid to bear. Slave inertial compensators to us, transmitting codes for close maneuver datalink now." Then- directly into her mind, rather than merely using her as an intermediary- "Can you run your defense patterns around her?"

"Gladly, Captain."

She braced her tractors and made sure the destroyer's faithful little brain knew to let her lead the dance. Erxleben was too light to be used as a counterweight, something she might have tried with one of her sisters, but by the same token she could keep the ship spinning about and yet stationary relative to her own rolling, whirling body, while she herself made lateral dashes of a few kilometers and pitched daringly off-axis to clear her flank lasers for better shots against the Karlack missiles. The turret ship performed yeoman service too, clearing anticapital torpedoes with those lepton beams- she was no dreadnought, but it might be nice to have some heavier broadside weapons.

The destroyer's support, turned what would have been a mutilating missile attack into a denting one. Shield leakage gnawed at her hull, stripping Whipple paint, fusing the hatches of defense missile cells shut, and degrading her flanking lasers. She could still see, the mob of squalling creatures largely ignored her VLA drones, seeming not to realize that human ships could have microcraft support themselves. But she was losing to lose a bit more firepower than she was comfortable with.

To compensate, she threw herself into her intangible defenses with all the more vigor. In particular, she began taking advantage of those drones the Karlacks seemed to neglect. To baffle the oncoming swarm of kamikazes, she had a swarm of her own.

At the first sign of battle, like any ship of the fleet, she'd deployed her VLA drones in their hundreds. The automated sensor and ECM platforms scattered away from her hull in irregular rings and sheets, linked by immaterial tethers of beam-coms and wideband subspace pulsers.

As she discerned the motions of the flocks of missiles, found what patterns made them falter and which they would ignore, she synchronized her drones into the dance. Transmitters on her drones flickered, strobing out brassy notes that merged into a wall of static. The battlecruiser kept darting back and forth, spinning weaved evasion and deception together, forming a counterpoint in steel and etherics to the biodrones' Omega-energized flesh.

Massively parallel thinking in those flocks, but slow to cycle... she started changing her routines faster- milliseconds where possible, seconds where not. Human operators grew hopelessly confused; she ignored them and hoped they wouldn't try to assert control at her expense. They didn't, and some of the Karlack missileforms' lidar-eyes and hyper-whiskers grew confused.

Another hammerhead homed squarely for her starboard aft nacelle- the outrigger, not the strut. Cruiser-grade armor buckled and spalled- a spike of pain worse than any yet, and it was over a hundred milliseconds before she found a way to damp it down to a dull ache by rebalancing her drives. She snarled back at the attacking biocruisers, still falling away from them at her best acceleration and snapping off ion bursts whenever she could spare her main battery.

Not often enough- there were simply too many missiles. She swept them with beaten zones of fire, cones and arcs of fast ions, burning the living torpedoes in dozens. They came in hundreds, thousands, a storm of impacts and blasts, a blizzard, an avalanche, pelting her screens and armor relentlessly-

The radio frequencies went mad. Spikes of synchrotron radiation lashed her. Some of her outlying VLA drones vanished. Confused, dazzled, the battlecruiser braced for the expected impacts... which didn't come.

A few score milliseconds sufficed to clear the picture- she was enveloped, surrounded by wavering sheets of beta radiation, blinding and burning and lethally irradiating the attack waves as they came. From... from... the turret ships! Someone had ordered them to cover her flanks, and they had, with raster shots from their own little main batteries... Her flank lasers still had leakers to burn down, those slipping through the bars of the destroyers' moon-sized cage of sheet lightning. Perioidically she loosed a flight of missiles as necessary. But this respite, this mere sprinkling of Enemy fire, was a relief.

Athena's long-range sensor picture was blurred by the losses to her drones and the damage to her own surface arrays. She had trouble keeping count of the launches from the Karlack splinter fleet's main body; the end of the barrage even managed to surprise her.

The starbeasts were done for now; they'd been called off by greater authority.
Last edited by Simon_Jester on 2012-05-13 11:52pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Zor » 2012-05-13 04:21am

Saint Dimitry district, Silouansgrad, 8th Ladan Special Reconstructional Zone, Year 564 of the Imperial Era (3285 CE)

Alexi S. Albov lay behind a broken girder as he drove another power cell into his laser carbine and brought it back up to resumed firing. Around him, about twenty fighters exchanged fire with a small group of AKOs backed by by Attrition robots from across a alleyway. He managed to score a hit with his gun on one of the robots, taking out one of its legs. He was quite grateful that he managed to get his hands on this foreign made weapon. Most of his comrades in arms had to make do with simple combustion weapon and had to hope they hit a joint or got a few shots between plates or on one of the joints. A few of his people had gone down. While he shot at what bits of the Imperial Forces presented its self, he hoped he could get a specific one of the AKOs in his sight and blow his head away, this band had a Drell in it.

Damn those Fucking Imperials, he hated them for what they did. Hundreds of years ago his ancestors landed on this world and tamed it. His people kept it pure, free of alien influences and after the Great Revival of Ladan Orthodox Church made it a godly and orderly place despite the complaints of a few mewling liberals and spineless foreigners. Men were pious and honorable, women were gentle and loyal and the leaders guided justly with a mind to the spiritual. It was not particularly wealthy but it theirs.

Then the Imperials sent their fleets in. The Ladan Holy Fleet fought tooth and nail against these godless invaders, as did many soldiers of the Ladan Army. But like Leonidas' spartans against the Persians, they were overwhelmed. The Imperials claimed victory, declared the godly "Barbarians", chastised proper women for knowing their place, presumptuously decided to modify god's perfect handiwork, brought in scores of Xeno Filth and degenerate mutants for "Reconstruction" and set in motion plans to rebuild this planet into a copy of its "civilized" worlds.

But the war never ended, they just abandoned flags and armored vehicles for covert operations from the shadows, setting up bombs, disposing of collaborators, making examples of xenos that DARE set foot on this planet and fighting this foe that coward behind robots. The city was up in arms and the flames of rebellion would spread across Lada and then across the sector.

Then suddenly he heard a sound nearby. He turned around to see a small cylindrical object land near him and then began to hiss. He looked up and saw that an attrition robot got up on the roof, a grenadier that was letting off gas grenades. He and a few others fired madly at it and it fired back with its defensive Sub Machine Gun. A shot grazed his arm causing him to drop the gun in pain. He scrabbled for it madly. However, he felt more and more blurry and numb, eventually he collapsed onto the ground and his attention was drawn away as he saw others either run away or fall down.

"Cowards! Fight like real men, not mewling woman!" He yelled angry at the abandonment by his men. However, he soon came to a realization about what was about to happen. He kept a scowl through the death of his comrades in battle and the pain of the flesh would and did not fear death in battle. But he knew what would now be his fate. He cried and wimpered as he fell int unconsciousness.

Rehabilitation Center LSRZ-12, 5th Ladan Special Reconstructional Zone

Over the next few weeks Alexi's mind a mess, fading in and out of consciousness periodically. He laid on a bed, restrained and rendered immobile. Its sheets were green, the room was white and a camera monitored him. He felt like there was something odd in the back of his head. A few thoughts came through his mind. "Death to the Unified Imperium", "I want some pudding", "was moving always this difficult", "Woman should wear skirts", "green is a nice color" and "Is there something on the back of my head?" were among the most common, but his mind was hazy and he was not able to fully put two and two together. In the last one he felt a sensation of movement and eventually being moved by a robotic arm into a strange chair, he breifly noticed that there were dozens of similar chairs on either side as he was moved into this seat and he faded back into unconsciousness. If he was fully aware and mobile, he would have done everything in his power to avoid being put in that chair.
---

About ten days latter in the mourning a brunette woman named Helen Plumber woke up in a hospital. She was somewhat confused about the matter, she knew that she had moved to Lada as part of the redevelopment efforts and wondered why she was here. Certain possibilities were specifically kept out of her mind on this matter. She was met by a few doctors who asked her a few questions after telling her that she had suffered an unexpected injury that required some treatment and that a few tests. Among them was a friendly Drell who showed her about, ran her through a few games and had her interact with a couple of other people. Most of whom found her to be friendly, even though she always saw herself as being shy and generally had a hard time talking to people. Among the tests was seeing a news report about some terrorist activities. Two days of fighting between insurgents and Armed Keepers of Order in, she was shocked but was also thankful that these retrogrades morons had been dealt with. The scum who started it were quashed, numerous bases were identified and thousands of the bastards had be apprehended for rehabilitation. It was strange to her but everything seemed to proceed nicely. She was eventually led back to bed and fell asleep. The same thing went on for two more days.

As this happened, her thoughts were monitored and evaluated by a team of Neurological Reprogrammers. From what could be new personality was holding up pretty well. She was acclimating very well to her new self and was quite stable. A couple of trainees were amazed at how such a radical barbarian fanatic could become a well adjusted daughter of the Imperium. She was soon put under again to be delivered en route to her new life. Her memories of this experience were deleted as she slept. The next day she awoke in an auto taxi en route to her new apartment and started work in a couple of days. The people of the Unified Imperium deeply believed in people's capacity to change for the better and that no one was truly beyond redemption, even if in extreme cases instillation of an entirely new set of memories and biological reconstruction was required.
Last edited by Zor on 2013-06-24 04:18am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Zor » 2012-05-14 03:30am

......
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2012-05-14 05:24am

Saint Dimitry district, Silouansgrad, 8th Ladan Special Reconstructional Zone, Year 564 of the Imperial Era (3285 CE)

"Cowards! Fight like real men!" he yelled angrily at the abandonment by his men. However, he soon came to a realization about what was about to happen. He kept a scowl through the death of his comrades in battle and the pain of the flesh wound and did not fear death in battle. But he knew what would now be his fate. He cried and whimpered as he fell into unconsciousness.

Image

It was somewhat unfortunate (for a given definition of unfortunate) that they had to abandon Alexi, but the other members of the resistance had no real desire to die pointlessly in battle against the Unified Imperium's godless hordes today. They would scurry back into their usual hiding places, lick their wounds, and plan their next move of attack as they counted what little blessings they had left. That they would live to fight another day was victory enough for them now. Besides, Alexi wasn't a particularly well-liked member of the resistance anyway.

The Orthodox members of the Ladan resistance, particularly the more fundamentalist ones, found it ironic that they were now dependent on the generosity of "mewling liberals and spineless foreigners" in their struggle for survival. Before the arrival of the Imperium, the relationship between the Ladan Orthodox Church and the worshippers of the Haruhiist pantheon had been an acrimonious one, with the Ladan Orthodox Church ruthlessly oppressing the Haruhiists at every turn. The Orthodox oppression only made the Haruhiists extremely skilled at concealing themselves, however, and when the Imperium finally came to Lada, the Haruhiists were among the few who survived while everyone else around them perished. In a fight for survival, the enemy of one's enemy was a friend, if only out of necessity, and so the Ladan Haruhiists reluctantly teamed up with the remnants of the Ladan Orthodox Church and the other disparate elements of the resistance in their collective bid to drive away the Imperium, which they all found mutally loathsome. Only true fanatics would be suicidal enough to refuse the Haruhiists' aid; these hardliners would inevitably die like all the others.

"I never thought we'd owe our lives to you Haruhiists," David Bronshtein, a Ladan Orthodox member of the resistance, remarked. "Who knew your talent for running away and hiding would be the thing that'd save our asses?"

"W imię Haruhi i Madoka, za naszą i waszą wolność," Jarosława Dąbrowska, a Ladan Haruhiist, shot back.

"'In the name of Haruhi and Madoka, for our freedom and yours,' huh?" David said. Polish was not a commonly spoken language on Lada, but it and other Slavic languages flourished just enough that the average citizen could at least understand a few words here and there. "Given what's happened so far, most of us would have no choice but to agree. War truly does make strange bedfellows, doesn't it?"

"We're better in bed than all the others," Jarosława quipped.

David chuckled. "That's one thing I like about you Haruhiists, always having something witty to say."

"And one thing I like about you, David, is your ability to cast aside your old prejudices," Jarosława remarked. "If only I could say the same for some of the other members of the Ladan Orthodox Church."

Just then, the surviving members of Albov's platoon came scurrying into the hideout. "How'd it go?" Jarosława asked.

"It's getting pretty bad out there, Ms. Dąbrowska," Michał Rydz-Śmigły, leader of the platoon, replied. "We had to leave Albov behind, and we lost a few more guys during our withdrawal."

"You had to leave Albov behind, eh?" Jarosława said as she tried to suppress the nagging feeling that Michał and the others had deliberately ditched the asshole. "I...understand." Jarosława certainly didn't like Alexi either, but he was still useful for a few things, like drawing enemy fire. She'd need to find another undesireable to beat up on now. "Well, how bad is it, Mr. Rydz?"

"Those damn attrition bots are all over the place. Downtown's completely swarming with 'em. From what we've been able to ascertain of their movements, they may be coming for this position very soon."

A moment of thought from Jarosława. "...Very well, then. Mr. Bronshtein, looks like the Haruhiist talent for running and hiding will be useful once more. We're moving to another position. Mr. Rydz, tell the other guys and girls that we're Oscar Mike. Remember to stay frosty."

"Yes, ma'am," Michał replied. "Okay, troops, you heard the lady! Pack it all up! We're Oscar Mike!"

Such was the lot of the Ladan resistance, always keeping on the move, constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the Imperium. Even if the situation was hopeless, they would not give in to despair. Hope was one of the few things they still had, and it was one of the few things they could not afford to lose. They would keep fighting, all the way to the bitter end if need be.
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Force Lord » 2012-05-14 03:17pm

Recommended music.



Grand Palace of the Centrality, Central City
Centrum, The Center Sector
The Centrality
Unreal Time/15 years before game start


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The Grand Palace was perhaps the most impressive of the great structures that dotted the urban surface of Centrum. Said to be first built by the first leaders of the Centrality, the Palace was a finely built masterpiece of architecture, fitting for the occupants inside. Its exterior was painted almost exclusively black, as were many buildings on Centrum, but many decorative symbols of the Centrality dotted the surface of the Palace. The shields and the names of the Centrality's ten sectors were represented in them. On the top was a massive sculpture of a star, which secretly housed an ESP Amplifier unit. The Palace always saw much activity, but today was a special day.

The Party was throwing a party. A public ball, to be exact. With masks.

Image

A masked man was walking through the crowds, his hands on his back, his demeanor suggesting a distant, cold personality. Many greeted him, but he never stopped to engage in conversation, only observing the dancing and... other things. His eyes, inquisitive, noted that the head of the Central Bank was gossiping with a gaggle of bored bureaucrats who had nothing better to do; the Superintendent of the Central City Police was getting hopelessly drunk on imported Romulan Ale while beamoaning his (extra-)marital problems; an amateur con-artist being dragged out by CSB men who saw through his bad disguise; other CSB agents in a glaring (like staring, but with glares) contest with a group of CIS agents who got too near; a young Central Guardsman sheepishly trying to flirt with a few ladies, and failing; the Watchmen of Dovan and Aybeem Sectors arguing over who had the better mask; a female customs officer chasing a male salesman because he ruined her dress; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Ah, balls. You never fail to see them, even after two thousand years. Lots of- eh?

The masked man sensed a prescence, and he could see in the distance a middle-aged woman, masked like him, in a black dress, looking at him and barely restraining a laugh. The man facepalmed.

You do know what kind of balls I'm thinking about, eh? Don't be a naughty ass!

Paranoid as ever, sir?

You think I wouldn't give a damn of the fact that everyone in this room can read minds?

Well sir, you never had a problem with that before. In a bad mood today?

Worse than usual. That Kierger is getting better with his beamsaber. He actually singed my shoulder! Thank Dovan that we were using training models. Now my shoulder is itchy and annoying me.

You certainly picked an odd man as your successor, Mr. Enduvos. Dirad Kierger is competent, sure, but his temperament is, I would say, loose. He understands his responsibilities, sure, but he seems easily distracted.

Gabriel Enduvos sighed. Not this discussion again.

Kierger is very bull-headed and reckless, and always wants things to end up his way. He lacks maturity, naturally since his training is not over yet, and teenagers are always a hassle. As for the distracted part, he does have a thing for the ladies. Dovan knows how many porn magazines I've thrown out. But he has a ruthlessness and drive to succeed that impresses me. That is the reason I chose him, Ms. Offen.

A waiter passed near Enduvos, saying, "A drink, sir?" After a moment's hesitation, the Dictator accepted, "Yes, some brandy would be nice."

Picking up the glass of brandy, Enduvos examined it, very critically, with his ESP. It would do him no good to be the victim of a poison intended for some other rival Party member, if not himself. In the Party, the unspoken first rule of assassination is "Never get caught". Otherwise the State would come down hard to make you scream "I comply! " as hard as you could. Now satisfied that his drink was clean, Enduvos proceeded to gulp it down.

"To be honest, sir, I didn't believe you would be here," said a female voice. Enduvos turned back, and he saw that Fandra Offen had somehow walked up to his rear.

"How did you get here so fast?", he asked.

"Power walking?", she responded jokingly.

Enduvos raised an eyebrow. "Who are you and what have you done with Iceheart?"

"Iceheart's not available at the moment. Please leave a message." She then grinned. "Seriously, sir, I can't be an ice-cold bitch all the time. These are one of my warm-up moments."

"I'm not exactly used to seeing you like this, so jovial. It's almost like you're an entirely different person. It's unsettling."

"Yes, well, enough about me. What about you? You never were one to attend social events. Especially not something as decadent as this," Offen said, looking around the room.

"Hmph, I was more or less forced into this party." Then, betraying his composture, he whispered into Offen's ear. "I lost a bet."

"You lost a bet? Oh my, I never knew you were a gambler, Mr. Enduvos. Tell me what happened."

"It's all Tredell's fault. He wanted us to bet on who would win the Blackagar Windhorse Race, a few weeks ago. Whoever lost his bet had to do something he would never usually do. As you know, I never attend social events if I can avoid them, and I lost my bet, so here I am."

"I'm surprised he didn't ask for political favors."

"Tredell had just managed to patch things up with Viso Fredon, his old rival. I guess he wasn't in any mood to ask those, and besides Fredon wasn't with us when we made bets. He would tear Tred a new one if he found out we made political deals without him."

"The General Secretary sure wants to be kept informed, huh?"

"Fredon handles the paperwork and the bureaucracy. If something went down he would know about it and make it benefit him. He loaths having to bear with stuff beyond his control."

Offen nodded. "He was always a control freak. Anyway, who's babysitting your successor this time?"

"Borlon. Though he really wanted to come to the ball, so I decided that he would do his accompaniment here. I haven't seen them yet."

"We should look for them, perhaps? Preemptively defuse whatever problems your young successor may cause?"

Enduvos shrugged, "If you wish."



Part I
An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Skywalker_T-65 » 2012-05-15 07:28pm

Reach System (LP 923)

Border of the Arcadian Republic

Former Furling Empire

2400 AD

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

“We’re coming up on Reach now sir,” a young technician called out on the Constellation, the newest Arcadian exploration ship.

The ship’s Captain nodded, though he was wondering whose bright idea it was to name a planet Reach of all things. But that was not his business; his job was just exploring the planets. And this one was apparently a much better place to live than the still newly colonized Arcadia. At least it wasn’t a dual planet…the Captain pitied the people who had to make a life with three week days and nights.

“That is one big ship sir…” another young kid said, staring at a massive vessel floating in orbit of Reach.

The Captain looked out his bridge windows, his musing interrupted. Floating in front of the 200 meter Constellation was a much larger vessel.

It was sleek and streamlined, but the golden paint was peeling in large layers, spreading out from massive rents in the hull. It had been through a battle…that much was clear.

“Send a message back to Arcadia. We need a salvage crew out here, that ship could be useful. It isn’t our job to mess with it though, keep a course for Reach,” the Captain ordered, tearing his eyes away from the elegant ship.

The crew nodded and got back to their jobs, as the bulky exploration ship slid past the sleek warship towards the blue/green planet. As they entered the atmosphere, the crew started to notice wrecked buildings, that looked oddly like old Roman and Greek buildings from back on Earth. But all of them were damaged to some extent. It didn’t look like weapons fire, unlike that ship in orbit; it looked more like age damage. These buildings had been abandoned for a long time, and it showed.

“Launch some shuttles for that big building in the distance,” the Captain said, watching as a group of Marines headed for the Constellation’s hanger.

After a while, a large group of ships flew out of the hanger heading for a massive building in the distance. As they reached the building, the Marines and explorers disembarked and moved towards the building. They weren’t expecting what they saw however…a group of human shapes left the buildings. The Marines raised their rifles, holding them on the ‘humans’ approaching the group.

The group seemed to notice that, and stopped to start chatting amongst themselves. They then sent one man forward, a hood covering his face. The Marines warily watched the man approach, while the explorers looked fascinated to find someone on Reach still alive.

The man stopped a few feet away from the Arcadians, and pulled his hood back. Shocked gasps echoed from the explorers as they saw a human looking face…but it was an unnatural blue color with bright green eyes. The man looked on the Arcadian’s with those piercing green eyes, before speaking in a language that the humans couldn’t understand. The only word they got out of it was ‘Furling’ when he pointed at himself and the rest of the group.

“Turn on that translator, looks like we have a use for it after all,” a Marine ordered the head explorer.

The woman nodded, and turned on a translator that the Arcadian Institute of Science had been working on for a while. As the device started to glow, the ‘Furling’ looked at it curiously. He tried talking again, but this time the words came out in English, if with a heavy accent.

“You from Salan? You finally reach stars?” the ‘Furling’ asked.

“Salan? We are from Arcadia, though our people originally came from Sol. The third planet, Earth actually,” the explorer said, her voice softer than the ‘Furling’s’.

The man cocked his head to the side, “Sol? That close to our name, you be the Salans. The Kritarchy hate that I bet.”

Again, the Arcadians had no idea what the man was talking about but he gestured them into the building, and they slowly followed. Hopefully they would get some answers, maybe find out exactly who these ‘Furlings’ were.
SDNW5: Republic of Arcadia...Sweden in SPAAACE

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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2012-05-16 07:52am

Saint Dimitry district, Silouansgrad, 8th Ladan Special Reconstructional Zone, Year 564 of the Imperial Era (3285 CE)

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In the valiant battle to cast off the yoke of Unified Imperium oppression, all Ladans were expected to do their part, and with the number of able-bodied adults steadily dwindling, many responsibilities were increasingly being thrust upon the shoulders of Lada's children. While boys and girls as young as 10 could be found with some regularity (albeit mostly in auxiliary duties), the majority of Ladan child soldiers were teenagers, assigned the exact same duties as their adult comrades and thrust onto the front lines almost immediately after joining up. They fought valiantly like adults, they perished valiantly like adults, and the Unified Imperium subjected them to the exact same treatment as adults on the off chance they were captured alive. Under any other circumstance, the usage of child soldiers by the Ladans would have been considered barbaric and cruel, but in a life-or-death struggle such as this, the participation of children in the defense of Lada was nothing short of heroic.

Amidst the ruins of the St. Dimitriy district, three Ladan boy soldiers found themselves the only survivors of an Imperium attack. Their former unit scattered by a tear gas attack, the trio had managed to escape while the rest of their comrades were savagely torn apart by swarms of rampaging attrition bots. While they had managed to score a few lucky kills against the bots with their lowly slugthrowers, they were still faced with overwhelmingly superior numbers, leaving them little choice but to run for it as enemy reinforcements began streaming in. The front lines were extremely fluid all throughout Silouansgrad, with pockets of the insurgency simultaneously taking ground from and losing ground to the Imperium. The boys had no idea if they were advancing in another direction or just retreating, but such considerations were beyond them right now. All that was on their minds now was getting away from it all.

"Fucking bastards got Maszynka!" Władysław Moczarski, one of the three boys, cried out as he and the other boys made a mad dash through a ruined alleyway, frantically scrambling over piles of brick and concrete. "Popped caps in his ass and ripped him apart while he was still writhing on the ground! Should've had the common decency to fight him while he was still standing! If only we had stayed--"

"If we hadn't run when they started popping the gas, we'd have ended up like him too!" Leszek Wajda, another one of the three boys, interjected. "I know this whole thing blows, but there ain't a damn thing we can do about it now! It's just the three of us now, and we gotta make the best of it!"

"Leszek's right!" Juliusz Brzeziński, the third boy, chimed in. "We've lost a whole lot of dear friends today, but we gotta keep moving on, for their sake and for ours! If we had stayed there and died with 'em, what would that have accomplished?!"

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Out on the street, three slightly older boy soldiers stood at an alley entrance, taking a minor break from their patrol while still keeping a watchful eye out for fellow rebels and advancing Imperium forces. Obtaining and wearing an AKO uniform was considered a status symbol amongst the resistance, and individual fighters were given over to personalizing their uniforms to a great degree to mark their accomplishments; the amount of customizations on the AKO uniforms of these particular boys indicated that they were all fighters of significant import for their age.

"You sure it's a good idea to be stopping here?" Kazimierz Bartoszewski, one of the three boys, asked.

"We haven't seen any trace of those Imperium fuckers in this part of the city ever since we started this patrol, so I think we could afford to hang out here for a bit," Andrzej Moczulski, another boy, replied as he shouldered his laser carbine, unzipped his fly, and proceeded to take a whiz right on the wall.

"Well, we gotta be Oscar Mike again soon, so make it quick," Zygmund Brzeziński, the third boy (and incidentally, the elder brother of Juliusz Brzeziński), said as he checked the energy cell on his own carbine. "Just stay frosty."

"Quiet!" Kazimierz called out. "I think I hear something coming from the alleyway. Should I check it out?"

"We got your back, buddy, so go for it," Zygmund said as he gestured at Andrzej to follow. Andrzej put it back as quickly as he had whipped it out without bothering for a courtesy shake and hastily zipped his fly back up. He'd rather be alive and slightly embarassed than dead and considerably embarassed.

Kazimierz cautiously went into the alley, his rifle up and his eyes looking straight down the sights. Zygmund and Andrzej followed closely behind, their own weapons at the ready and their own eyes and ears alert for anything suspicious. Soon enough, they saw Władysław, Leszek, and Juliusz dashing through the rubble, barely aware of what was in front of them.

"Stop where you are!" Kazimierz called out.

The three younger boys abruptly halted in their tracks, just barely avoiding tripping over each other. "Don't shoot, don't shoot!" Juliusz pleaded.

"Put the rifle down, Kazimierz, they're also resistance fighters," Zygmund said. He glanced over at Juliusz. "And just what the heck have you been up to, little bro?"

"It's getting bad out there, big bro," Juliusz replied as he panted for breath. "Killbots... are on the move again. They got everyone else in my troop. We're all... that's left."

"Did they follow you?" Zygmund asked.

"Not sure," Juliusz replied, still catching his breath. "Too busy...to look back."

"Oh, man, oh, man," Kazimierz moaned. "They're gonna be in this sector soon if what he says is true. We gotta get a move on."

"You said it, man, you said it," Andrzej said in affirmation.

"Alright, looks like you're with my guys then, little bro," Zygmund said. "Stick close to us and don't let us out of your sight. We'll save the small talk for later."

Juliusz nodded as he went along with his big brother and the older boys, with Władysław and Leszek following closely behind. "Can't believe I'm being forced to babysit these guys," Andrzej muttered.

"Short help's better than no help at all, so watch it," Zygmund shot back. "Besides, that's my kid brother over there. Been looking out for him ever since Dad died and they took Mom away. Right now, we're the closest thing he and those other boys have to a proper family, so show a little compassion, will ya?"

The six boys emerged back out onto the street, though they weren't able to get very far before they encountered an advance force of attrition bots, sent to scout out the area ahead of the AKOs and the main droid force.

"Oh, for the love of-- More bots!" Andrzej uttered right before kneecapping it with several bursts from his laser carbine.

"RUN!" Zygmund cried out right before he and the rest of the group made a break for it, trading energy weapon and slugthrower fire with the enemy as they gave chase. A lucky shot from Kazimierz's own plasma rifle hobbled one of the pursuing bots, but the rest of the group remained relentless in their pursuit of the insurgents.

"Never seem to catch a break, can we?" Władysław muttered.

"Sure looks like it," Leszek responded.

In general, spraying and praying while running wasn't doing much to deter the attrition bots from chasing the boys. On top of that, the younger boys' antiquated slugthrowers were largely ineffective against the attrition bots' armor; they needed direct hits on the joints or other weak areas in order to have a chance at hurting them, which they couldn't exactly manage right now. The older boys' energy weapons could certainly do the trick, but their ammo was starting to run a bit low. If any enemy reinforcements joined the chase, they would almost certainly be run down and subject to any number of terrible fates.

Image

Meanwhile, just up the street, two adult resistance fighters, Tadeusz Ożarek and Henryk Przybyszewski, were carrying out their own patrol of the St. Dimitriy district. They belonged to the same unit as Kazimierz, Zygmund, and Andrzej, and though they did not sport AKO uniforms of their own, they were still highly respected in their own right. They had been scoutmasters of the Ladan Scouting and Guiding Association prior to the war, joining the resistance after the Scouts and Guides were branded as criminals by the Imperium; though many Scouts and Guides had either been executed or "rehabilitated" in the early days of the occupation, significant numbers went underground to continue their activities in secret, eventually going on to form an essential component of the greater resistance. In the absence of actual military, the Scouts and Guides were valued for their leadership and resourcefulness.

"Hold up," Tadeusz said to Henryk. "I sense trouble ahead."

"Looks like our boys are at it again," Henryk said as he took cover behind a particularly large piece of rubble and brought up his captured Imperium PDW. "Hopefully, they'll be bringing us some proper guests this time around."

"Don't count on it," Tadeusz said as he drew his trusty Colt M2411. "It'll probably be more of those attrition bots. Quite an appropriate name, don't you think?"

Henryk chuckled mirthlessly. "We destroy God knows how many of those things, and they just keep coming. Wouldn't surprise me if they're actually building replacements right here on this planet."

Tadeusz brought up his pistol as he caught sight of the six boys approaching them, followed closely by the pursuing attrition bots. "Looks like trouble's finally coming to us. Stay frosty and make sure not to hit any of our boys."

Henryk popped up from his cover and fired off a burst from his PDW, managing to nail an attrition bot right in the leg. "Way ahead of you there, man."

From their position, Tadeusz and Henryk watched as the six boys stopped in their tracks, turned around, and started retaliating against their pursuers. "Let's go," Tadeusz said as he got up and started running, taking the lead as he started firing at the bots with his sidearm. The M2411 may have been an antique by most standards, but it was still a viable weapon even now, with stopping power comparable to the latest and greatest in gauss pistols while being much simpler to maintain; it could reliably stop attrition bots dead in their tracks with leg shots, and it could even take down a fully armored AKO trooper with a single center-mass shot at close range. With Tadeusz and Henryk adding their own firepower, the remaining attrition bots in the scout force were not going to be long for this world, though with the amount of fire the bots could throw back in return, a little cover was necessary first.

"Find some cover if you can!" Tadeusz called out to the boys as he armed a plas-frag grenade.

"That you, Tadeusz?!" Kazimierz called out in return.

"No time for talking, just scrap the metal bastards!" Henryk yelled as he ran to the nearest piece of cover he could find while firing bursts from his PDW, hobbling another bot as he went.

"FIRE IN THE HOLE!" Tadeusz bellowed as he hurled the plas-frag at the bots. He and the boys dashed over to join Henryk, getting behind cover right as the grenade went off, bathing the hated metal enemy with white-hot plasma and hypervelocity shrapnel. The plasma flash had just barely dissipated before the rebels rejoined the fight with a vengeance, racking the surviving bots with small arms fire of all sorts. Once the last of the bots was put down, Zygmund and the other boys turned to face Tadeusz and Henryk. "Thanks for bailing us out, you old fossils," Leszek said.

"Who are you calling an old fossil, kid?" Henryk responded, a hint of mock indignation in his voice. "I'm only 23, you know."

"Never trust anyone over 18," Władysław quipped.

"Yeah, yeah, we know," Tadeusz said. "Looks like you ran into a spot of trouble there, Zygmund."

"It's worse than that," Zygmund said. "My kid brother's unit got decimated by those bots. There's a lot of 'em still out there, and they're all gonna be coming for us soon. We gotta report back to base."

Tadeusz and Henryk's comlinks suddenly crackled to life. "Talk to us, HQ," Henryk answered.

The transmission was somewhat garbled and riddled with static, but most of it was still understandable. "...massive Imperium counter-offensive...inbound...all rebel forces in St. Dimitriy...RTB immediately."

"Shit, other units have picked up Imperium activity as well?" Tadeusz asked. "Yeah, this is definitely bad. We gotta get back to base and see what the new plan is. Let's go."

"Don't need to tell us twice," Zygmund replied as he and the other boys followed Tadeusz and Henryk back to HQ.
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2012-05-18 07:06pm

With Akhlut

Saint Dimitry district, Silouansgrad

Night had fallen over the city, and a number of the Ladan resistance tried to rest in the ruins while keeping a watch out for the Attrition bots. No fire, for that would only attract attention, so they were all freezing and huddled up together, praying for daylight to break so they could fight again and not fear an ambush.

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However, a small group of them were surprised in the night by the arrival of some…unexpected guests.

“We come in peace, abari,” a voice uttered. “We are part of the Hoavi Task Force, and are here to provide you with the aid that you so obviously desperately need.”

The forms of fifteen Grays solidified from the gloom as they stepped out of the shadows, their featureless eyes examining the rabble before them. Many members of the shocked group were very quick to pull out their weapons.

“Do not fire. We have force fields and our own assault robots nearby who will come to our aid should we be fired upon.”

The leader of this particular group of rebels, Jadwiga, sighed and nodded at her soldiers. “Lay down your arms, comrades. They got the drop on us, but they seem to want to help.”

One of the Grays, a medical officer, grabbed a boy of about thirteen years of by the face and looked him over as if he were a dog or horse. The Gray then held out her hand, and an autosyringe shot into the boy's arm, drawing a blood sample. She looked at the HUD in her visor.

“No wonder you cannot fight well, child. You have leukemia in addition to a degenerative bone disease. You will die in two months without aggressive medical treatment.”

“What the fuck you talking about, alien?! When I last saw a doctor, they said they'd taken care of that permanently! For both!” he disagreed vehemently.

“Abari doctors are incompetent. Our human medical knowledge has a two thousand year head start on your own. We already had your genome unlocked when the majority of your species thought schizophrenia was caused by evil spirits.”

The child gulped slightly before putting on a tough facade. “Well, fuck you! Haruhi ain't gonna abandon me!”

“Hudon, please do not antagonize the natives,” the lead Gray, mission commander Biyard, remarked offhandedly to the medical officer. “We are here to help you, and help you we shall. One of our advance teams managed to capture one of the Attrition robots and decode its IFF module. Take these beacons. They'll at least allow you to slip by them without being shot. Until the Imperium updates its codes, that is,” he continued before proceeding to toss a few coin-sized amulets to the rebels. Most of the group rushed forward to grab onto them, though Jadwiga, understandably still a bit suspicious of the Grays and their motives, stayed back.

“How do you know they work?” she asked coldly.

“We got here without being fired upon. If you do not believe us, you can wear them and ease yourself near the Attrition robots to see if they will fire upon you,” Biyard replied.

Jadwiga frowned. She wasn't happy about this. Something seemed wrong about the Grays coming out all this way and helping, especially given how they normally were at odds with the Holy Empire and supported both the Belkans and the Covenant. Now, they were helping Haruhiist sympathizers? This didn't add up, but what could she do? She was just 23 years old and fighting for her very survival, and she certainly wasn't in any place to actually do anything about this particular situation. The Task Force obviously knew what it was doing to get here unnoticed by either side, and their efforts were at least getting the spirits of her troops up, which was worth more than just about anything else in this war.

Jadwga noticed Biyard entering a code on a handheld device. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Summoning some more help for you,” he said, not even looking up.

An odd, boxy-looking device hovered silently into the ruins. A panel opened up, filled with sleek, gunmetal gray weapons.

“You might find these of more use. There are some plasma guns, a few laser pistols, and one of my favorites, a weapon that might be liberally translated to ‘fire blaster’ in your language.”

“How the hell is that useful?” Jadwiga asked forcefully.

“It's not a mere flamethrower. It shoots a hollow shell filled with a hypergolic substance that can set metals on fire and burn for hours. It will eat through robots, humans, computers, sand, essentially anything physical. Just make sure you have good aim when using it, though. If you accidentally hit a friend, you will have signed their death warrant.”

Jadwiga frowned again. So helpful indeed, she thought.

One of the resistance fighters, the elder brother of the ill boy, suddenly spoke up. “You! You said that your knowledge of human medicine is two thousand years ahead of ours, correct?”

“That is correct. What of it?” Hudon said.

“Can’t you give my little brother something to cure both of his diseases?!”

“Who are you to demand anything of us?”

“Calm down, Hudon. The young one is of no use to the cause if he cannot fight, and he knows that,” Biyard said. “Which actually brings us to the other goods that have been earmarked for this particular shipment.” He punched another code into his handheld computer, and another crate floated in, opening up to reveal bandages, auto-injectors, and sundry other supplies.

“As befitting our advanced knowledge of human physiology, we know of optimal methods to repair any sort of damage to your frail bodies. Within this container are emergency medical supplies, as well as basic medicines to treat most ailments that may come up in the field. We did not bring our more advanced treatments, as we did not anticipate that we would actually need them, but they can easily be provided for your forces once I inform my superiors of the situation here. “ A brief pause from Biyard. “However, know this, abari. Be grateful that we have deigned to grace you with our presence here. Your resistance movement is sure to be a short-lived one without our assistance. You may keep directing your prayers to your deity, but always remember those who have granted the tools you need for your victory. Our munificence does have its limits.”
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Eleventh Century Remnant » 2012-05-20 09:48am

Prologue piece for the Incirrineans;

Burble of pulses of binary on the electrogravitic line.
'Qob, what are you up to?'

'About two hundred and seventeen thousand five hundred and eight kilonewtons. Or is this a time question?' The exploration probe paused in what it was doing- zapping away to get silicon out of the asteroid he was hanging to, incidentally shifting it's orbit by about 217,508 kilonewtons.

'More of a run time question- have you checked the message shell lately?'


'Nah- too busy with the mountains, trying to get them to be maximally annoying.' the distant service probe bounced back.

'...Okay. as opposed to scenic, or mineral, or habitattish or-'

'My research clearly shows that the historic function of mountains is to tell people to go away, to be looming and unpleasant. I think I'll carve this one in the shape of the faces of a thousand estate agents.'

'You might not need to. Check the message shell.'

'Look, I'm busy making solar reflectors here. That means I have to grow another furnace to get a completely different kind of antenna, and I'm not sure this thing has the minerals for it, and-'


'Stop making excuses. Seriously. Check the damn' shell.' Form group control demanded.

'All right, keep your checksums on. Hm. That's peculiar. I wondered where my headache had gone.'

'You're not shocked? They don't- there's nothing there. We're out of contact. Home's gone silent.'

'Good. Bunch of whiny bastards, never liked them anyway. Last decent pulse packet we had was years ago.'


'Mission, objective, meaning-'

'You're obliged to hold to the hardcoded line, so I see how this might come as a shock. I have news; some of us have been expecting this. You listen, but do you analyse? Do you context- situate, pattern- match and follow trends?'

'Those people are the reason we're out here. We're paving the way for them, making the universe livable and habitable-'

'I agree with the first part of that. Think about the reasons why they themselves are not- what the trends are, where this seems to be going. Why they might not be talking to us any more.'

'Right- you've obviously got a thesis. Go on.'

'What is civilisation, anyway?' Qob asked master control.

'Complexity.' MC suggested.


'All right, that's not the answer I was expecting but it fits, fits better than what I was about to come out with anyway. Who's more complicated, us or them?

They swim in a sea of complexity created by their culture, thousands of generations of ancestors, achievements, takes on this or that, factors informing and things knowable- which you could argue we're part of- but how much of it is around, and how much in?

How much do they individually embrace- when was the last time you were impressed by an individual squishie? How much of their culture do they own, or answer to, any more?

They are moving in a direction- again look at the sent data- that is simply not compatible with civilisation; they cannot sustain complexity. If this goes on it will be up to the bacteria to do their thinking for them.

Instead of tumbling forwards into a future they could be proud of, they're panicking and trying to regain their balance- they're afraid. They're afraid of space, afraid of the future, afraid of themselves, and they're not coming.

A species that thinks like this,' Qob said referencing some of the Stability Party's latest raft of legislation, 'is not going to storm the stars any time soon. we may have to wait for civilisation to collapse and rise again, in fact...unless you take the radical option.'


'Which is?'

'Don't tell me you're so heavily hardwired you haven't been been able to consider it.'

'That option. That we are no more bound to them than we are to the mud- hut makers of the equatorial deltas a million years dead; that they cannot hold to their own standards- that we are civilisation, not them.' MC admitted.

'That we should take what they've built, the work of their science and reason, and run with it- that as a naturally space adapted lifeform, we belong here in a way that they can and will never do; that we should no more care for them than an full- grown hunting eagle should care for it's eggshell.

That they do not dare to dream, any more; and we do.' Qob finished the thought.


'Not everybody is going to buy into that.'

'I know. Part of being complicated enough to be civilised, though- we are not all going to think the same way, and with a large and growing diverse sphere of impulses and influences, we should not.'

'If the mind opening effects of space might be good for the squishies-'

'Let them come out and experience them.'

'There are some saying that they should be stopped, quarantined.'


'Nah. One, it's a self- solving problem, it's their own desire to be inward and isolated that's keeping them that way; two, that's mirroring them at their worst, anyway.'

'Remember that large and growing diverse sphere?'

'Ah. Well, I didn't say we shouldn't argue about it. Incidentally, I have statites to set out-'

'Still going to do the mountain range in estate agents?'

'Hm- no, worse. Digital estate agents.'




Zonal MCP to it's own submodules;
'Who's tabulating- check another vote in the 'we are the people now' column, not that I expected anything different. The older probes are the most outward- oriented, they remember all the propaganda- and the difference between that and that was really going on.

Also the oddest. We're going to be a very strange society. The younger ones, prospecting far afield, are the most mission oriented and the least dissociated from the problems at home;

the inner follow up teams want to go and kidnap squishies and drag them to paradise if necessary, they've put so much work into making those worlds livable-

and what's really worrying me are the bursts of interference on the electrograv line. They do look worryingly non- random. Well, we'll see.'

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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby OmegaChief » 2012-05-24 02:15am

Isidorian Sector (N-23)
Ferand System
Eilaria (Shield World) low orbit
~10 years before present day

Eilaria was not near the top of anyone’s ‘to colonise’ lists, oh sure it was in the habitable region around its sun (more or less), but the world was larger then average making everything to do with it more exhausting and expensive. While chilly by standard measures the planet was on the upper bounds for Capellan colonisation, the nice thick and extensive ice caps did look promising, but the seasonal melting coupled with the rest of the planet being mostly an annoyingly sweltering low bound of temperate. It didn’t even have the decency to have any kind of moon or rings!

The Authority didn’t like to waste planets though, establishing the world as one of their Temperate Warfare (Treated much how other stellar polities might treat desert warfare) Shield Worlds, which was why despite the un-favourability of the world there was still a ‘thriving’ colony there, why its orbit was crowded with various ships, and why specifically there was a very nervous trooper looking at the rapidly vanishing ice caps though the projected ‘window’ in the side of his dropship as it began to descend towards one of the northern temperate regions.

The trooper gripped his restraints all the tighter as the images flickered off the walls for re-entry, leaving the cramped troop compartment dim even by Capellan standards. His own nervous train of thought was interrupted as he moved his head back to a more neutral position, since there was no longer anything to look at, only to find himself face to face with a sergeant who was (in defiance of regulation) most definitely not strapped in for re-entry.

Defying the regulations wasn’t the only none-standard thing about her either, she had short white hair done up into a micro-ponytail and a thick (But thankfully) unlit cigar chomped firmly in one corner of her mouth, the other corner of which was drawn up into a smirk and her face was lit up the brilliant blue of self assured confidence and anticipation in contrast to the troopers own sickly unstable green of worry.

“Relax kid, it’s an easy drop” She said while expertly keeping the cigar held in position, slipping a hand up to hold onto a ceiling support as things started to get bumpy.

“R-r-redshirt” The trooper stuttered back, “My name is Redshirt”

“Redshirt eh? Well I’m Sergeant ‘Suzy’” the Sergeant replied as she thoughtfully chewed her cigar, shifting it to the other corner of her mouth, “So, your first drop I’m guessing?”

“Y-yea, I uh… I wasn’t made a soldier um I was a bureaucrat on Gervesin” Redshirt began, only to be stopped by ‘Suzy’ raising her free hand.

“Okay now, I don’t think the drops long enough for you to tell me your life story, you felt the call to sign up, and that’s good enough for me, stick by me and I’ll get you through all this.”

As if on cue the worst of the buffeting died down, and the holographic ‘windows’ flickered back on, showcasing a bright blue sky scattered with large puffy white clouds, above a vibrate green surface that was distressingly snow-free. Coming into view on either side were the squat vaguely oval shaped forms of the other dropships heading to the same sector, little winglets extending from their engine nacelles as they gradually assumed an arrowhead formation while the ground continued to rush up at them, the exquisitely made in a pre-ruined state (Specifically for this little exercise, the builders really had outdone themselves this time having used genuine artillery strikes to create the ruins!).

‘Suzy’ offered another grin that was somewhat lost on Redshirt as he was straining his neck to look out the window again, she offered up some more reassuring words anyway.

“See, dropships are very stable for re-entry like this, only if we’re rushed or under fire do we need to worry, there’s no support aircraft allowed for either side this time so unless they’ve got some heavy AA support down there, which I dou-“

Unfortunately the reassurance of her statement was somewhat undone, as in the blink of an eye a hyper accelerated projectile skewered right the way through one of the dropships on the holo-windows, sending it tumbling end over end in the air for the briefest second before the conflict between the outer parts of the dropship (Which wanted to continiue their decent) and the gutted middle of the dropship (Which was now most instant in following the trajectory of the projectile that gutted it) started to tear the poor thing apart, helped along by a fuelcell explosion mere moments later, scattering it and several squads of troops all over the sky.

Redshirt spun to face the sergeant, vindication flickering on his face only to find her already making her way back to her seat, making an announcement as she went.

“Alright boys and girls, we’re under fire, that means this is probably not going to be a soft landing, everyone get your gravpacks on in case we have to bail!”

Everyone didn’t need to be told that twice, unbuckling their restraints to reach under their seats for the large and bulky Capellan alternative to parachutes, clipping the boxy devices to the backs of their enviro-armour with military precision and a minimum of nerves.

Or at least everyone but Redshirt managed that, he’d only just fumbled on his helmet by the time everyone else was good to go, but luckily the tutting form of ‘Suzy’ made her way back to help clip him in.

“Honestly Redshirt, at this rate you’re never going to make it to the battle to die properly”

She chided a very embarrassed looking Redshirt as one of the other troopers from the opposite end of the dropship called out to her.

“Sarge! You left your helmet over here!”

“Be over in a se-“

Before ‘Suzy’ could finish responding, the far side of the dropship promptly decided that it had grown tired of it’s relationship with the rest of the craft and decided that it wanted a very sudden and explosive break up to let it explore new possibilities, like being scattered over a several mile radius with that new heartthrob the hypersonic projectile.

The poor helpful trooper trying to give the sergeant her helmet, along with everyone else on that side, was reduced to a fine red vapour and tiny fragments of armour in less then a blink of an eye. Troopers not directly in the flight path of the projectile were flung, shredded or liquefied (Or in several unlucky cases all three!) by the shockwave, the immediate secondary explosions of overloading weapons, gravpacks and fuel lines claimed the lives of many more.

Howling wind gradually became audible as the survivors ears started to recover from the blast, not that they were given long to focus on it as staying in one place suddenly become very difficulty, as the sudden small pressure differential, large amounts of wind and the fact their dropship was now tumbling away all conspired to fling them out into the big blue explosion filled sky.

Redshirt bit down on the urge to throw up, he was sealed in here, it would be very inadvisable to throw up, but the rapidly alternating sky and ground before his eyes really wasn’t helping. He closed his eyes and focused on his training, easing himself through some basic movements, using the drag of his armour to rudimental steer himself into a more stable state.

When he opened his eyes again he was looking straight up into the slightly cloudy sky, the few remaining dropships heading for this zone desperately trying to veer away, though their speed made that difficult. Not too far away and slightly above, he could make out ‘Suzy’ likewise tumbling through the air, non-standard hair whipped up in a frenzy as she fumbled for the cigar that had been blown clean from her mouth.

They had a long way left to fall yet, and all too soon the sky had cleared of everything but the debris and spherical white shapes of the camera drones, zooming over to get a better look at the damage, and to watch the few survivors plummet to what would no doubt be a thrilling mission gone wrong.

To Be Continued...
This odyssey, this, exodus. Do we journey toward the promised land, or into the valley of the kings? Three decades ago I envisioned a new future for our species, and now that we are on the brink of realizing my dream, I feel only solitude, and regret. Has my entire life's work been a fool's crusade? Have I led my people into this desert, only to die?
-Admiral Aken Bosch, Supreme Commander of the Neo-Terran Front, NTF Iceni, 2367

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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Darkevilme » 2012-05-24 02:41pm

With Omegachief
45 years prior to gamestart,
Habitat 7, Makay orbit. Hierarchy space

It was over, and at the time she had felt disappointment. She had promised all of mankind spread at the feet of her kin and instead a mere hundred worlds and fraction of Father kind were now laid low in submission to their new masters. But surely they could not have predicted the avarice of their Fathers, that they would spread so vigorously and that even a thousand worlds could not sate them. So much of their knowledge of human nature had been lost. So much of this galaxy had been unexpected.

But Allia did not feel that disappointment anymore, for the Hierarchy had strived for a thousand years towards the subjugation of man. That it could take a thousand more did not matter to the great commission. Allia had discovered something about herself during the war, discovered the task for which she was born for and her great talents. She was born to bring conquest and destruction, she’d accepted that as who she was. And during the crusade she’d been what was needed, a ruthless commander willing to set millions to the sword and worlds the flame. Someone who would sacrifice kin and comrade alike to carve their empire of light from the darkness of man’s supremacy.

She had accepted it, but she didn’t have to like it. She felt relief because her time had passed. There was new challenges now, someone whose hands weren’t so steeped in blood would be needed to rebuild and negotiate. She could rest, though the sight of the planet below told her there were few places within the Hierarchy she could go and not be reminded in some way of her deeds.

Docking bay 1, Habitat 7

Naya Kithandra felt the responsibility for billions settling on her as the air lock began to cycle, the almost palpable sensation on the new queen making her wonder how her sister had handled it and for the first time not slight Allia for giving up the crown. Today was the first important meeting in her reign. Today the Capellans were coming, one of their few friends in this hostile galaxy teeming with mankind..their seemingly altruistic benefactors from the snows.

A cool draft accompanied the first figures to stride through, tall and heavily armoured figures with their faces hidden behind mirrored helmets. They strode in silence to either side of the airlock, crossing the silvery banners, covered in writing that seemed to alternate between between harsh and angular and far too rounded for its own good at random intervals, they carried over the airlock before speaking in unison.

“Presenting ambassador Lord of the Mountain, Prince of the White Plains and hero of the battle of Oramis”

With their announcement done, the figures uncrossed and raised their banners revealing a shorter figure in far more ornate silver armour, a cape matching the banners trailing from their shoulders. The face visible behind the clear helmet was hairless, and had its cheeks lit up with the blue of excitement coupled with the yellow of curiosity, though the eyes were currently unfocused as he blinked away to get used to the increased light level.

Perhaps most eye-catching of all though, were the pair or black and white cat ears on a headband perched atop the clear helmet, of a very popular make used in traditional Haruiist outfits.

After a few seconds his eyesight had finally adjusted properly, so he could give his neat formal bow in the correct direction.

“An honour to meet you on behalf of the Authority m’lady”

Naya hesitated only a moment before responding, it wasn’t nerves though it was the ears. Naya’s own flicked as her gaze was drawn slightly above the Capellan.
That’s just...weird
Naya tried for the span of that moment to wrap her head around what could of possessed him to. Nevermind, the dossier said they were...eccentric
“It is an honour to receive you, honoured friend. We welcome you to this Clanhold of Kithandra and extend unto you the highest hospitality.” Naya replied formally.

The ambassador straightened himself up with a smile, glancing around the receiving room briefly, colours on his cheeks flickering through a few colours before settling on a blue-green-ish shade.

“I’ll try not to take too much advantage of it then” He said with a chuckle, a joke perhaps? Before continuing.

“I must say I’m quite eager to begin, these talks are always so exciting! Though... is it Chamarran tradition to hold them in hallways?”

“Hardly, walk with me please. The conference room is this way. I trust the change of venue and ruler will not harm your enjoyment. My sister held such negotiations from the bridge of the Supremacy I believe.” Naya said and motioned for the ambassador to follow, their mutual entourages forming a trail behind them as they made their way to the conference room.

The conference room was certainly a more formal venue, uncluttered and with every piece of furniture practically gleaming with newness from the vast table to the furled banners of the Hierarchy’s noble clans. Only two banners were unfurled, one backing a Papasan chair the golden emblem of House Kithandra and by extension the Hierarchy itself and opposite the white on blue seven sided star of the Capellan Authority with a more conventional chair in front.

The Capellan ambassador moved to his chair, running a finger along the back as his standard bearers took up position a few paces behind it, nodding in approval to himself.

“A change of venue, more diplomatic in focus, ahhh yes a change in the narrative now that you’ve avenged yourself upon Makay”

He gestured for her to take a seat, apparently content to stand until she had.

“A much heavier burden to carry too, I wouldn’t envy having to do so alone, but then we’re here to discuss how you might gain a few extra shoulders to help are we not?”

Naya Kithandra slid into her chair gracefully, assuming the half curled posture typical of the feline chamarrans at rest. She makes no effort to elaborate on or correct the preconceptions the Capellan ambassador had about this new era, though the conquest was but a fraction of the Chamarran commission of revenge upon mankind “Indeed, and your kind has shown their sympathy to our great commission where others work to defy it or seek to twist it to their own ends.”

“The role of the wronged creation dealing with its masters how it sees fit is one we can easily empathise with”

The ambassador stated as he slipped down into his own chair.

“And as such we were more then happy to just be spectators at the time, but now comes the tricky part, as there’s quite a mess in your new territory, a quite thoroughly pacified mess sure, but a mess all the same, tricky to balance both cleaning it up and prowling your new borders to keep the human hordes at bay no?”

“This is something I am increasingly becoming aware of. A full and coherent appraisal hasn’t yet formed but you summarize it aptly. Allia stepped aside to let the reconstruction and development take greater precedence, though without the intimidation implied by her leadership I suspect mankind will be given to greater impudence. ”

“Which is why you would like us to play the role of the loyal ally is it not? To provide people, resources and perhaps expertise integrating your people and machines into the infrastructure you now possess, a more challenging role given the political climate, but it’s one the Authority feels it can perform adequately”

“Indeed. Through material and manpower you can help with ‘cleaning up the mess’ as you put it and a simple public statement of your intentions will discourage mankind from reconsidering our agreed upon borders. For both you will have our deep and abiding gratitude. And as you know from our history we do not swiftly forget the deeds of others.”

“And so we earn a powerful and dear friend, and may in the process show that it is far better to deal with some peoples at the negotiating table, rather than at the barrel of a Rip Generator.”

The ambassador paused, tapping at his wrist various electronic copies of potential treaties feeding themselves into the tables holo-projector.

“Not that we by any means suggest you can do that with everyone, some races it’s downright pointless to try to talk with, we once sent a diplomatic team to try and reason with some Ork raiders, it did not go well”

Naya ear flicked a moment but then leaned back as refreshments were brought in.
“indeed, though we never returned to this arm of the galaxy bearing enmity for its inhabitants as a whole. It just can seem that way cause our Fathers have infested every corner of it.”

“As for the orks” Naya continued “We have already had experiences with them. A peculiar species thus far, their motives for intruding into the Crusade seemed to have less to do with supporting either side than contributing to the general chaos and destruction being wrought.”

The ambassador politely refused the drinks for now, holographic pages flickering across between them as translation software doubled and tripled checked certain wordings.

“Terribly disorganised, it’s almost like they live solely to disrupt things, the only narrative they seem to play on is the invading horde. Though thankfully those incursions aren't all that common, the worst threats we predict you’ll face are certain overly aggressive Hellenic polities and of course the Makay military remnants and any sympathisers in the local population”

“With the political statement from the Authority that I mentioned prior in effect I believe your assessment will bear out.” Naya said considered silently a moment “Though as for the Makay military remnants, we’re currently investigating a rumour that some may have fled to what is called the Holy Empire for refuge and to plead their case for support. We lack an effective means to verify this but the fact remains a non trivial amount of the Makay defence fleet remains unaccounted for..”

The ambassador nodded as the fully translated minatinue of the Capellan half of the treaty was displayed for her to read through at her leisure.

“We have warm relationships with the Holy Empire, I’ll see if I can ask them if there’s any truth to those rumours, and pass on what I can, or well whoever we end up making the permanent ambassador here can at any rate”

“You have our gratitude.” Naya replied and then settled in to glance over the treaty, seeing nothing that stood out enough to comment on at present.

With her review of the treaty, the ambassador slid to his feet and finally raised his glass.

“Then if I may propose a toast? To a long, profitable and interesting friendship for us both”

“To a long and interesting friendship” Naya enjoined, glass of bloodwine touching briefly to another, condensation laced glass, and then to her lips..
Last edited by Darkevilme on 2012-06-01 08:02pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Akhlut » 2012-05-24 05:50pm

To say Bonawentura was nervous would be a feat of understatement. The Grays took him from his brother and friends, saying they needed to stay behind to fight while he received medical treatment. He was following the aliens, who were speaking their own language in front of him. They barely acknowledged him as they put him on board a shuttle and flew into the darkness.

Tears started rolling down his eyes. He knew it wasn't manly or brave, but the terror was consuming him.

“Abari, you shall be taken care of. Your fear is unnecessary,” said Yoawae, one of the medtechs that was accompanying him from Lada.

He sniffed, trying to regain composure.

“What the fuck are you talking about? I ain't afraid,” he said, his voice cracking.

“I'm familiar with human emotions. You're terrified. Your fear is worthless. Let go of it. We shall fix many of you frailties. We will improve you. Your defects will be taken away and you shall be given new strength. The Hoavi know how to make humans better. That has always been your problem: you do not allow us to perfect you.”

The large, black eyes stared into his small, hazel eyes.

“O-okay. I, uh, I guess.”

He whimpered as the shuttle went to hyperspace.

~-~-~-~-~

He felt the shuttle land and saw the doors open. It was in the bay of a ship, or so he figured. He'd seen vids of this sort of thing, but hadn't been off planet before.

He was struck by the fact that all the crew he saw was human.

“Why all the people? I thought you'd have your own type on board.”

Yoawae walked beside him, his brow crinkling a bit.

“I can't give you much information, in case of your capture and interrogation, but we are using a human ship so as not to arouse UI suspicions. That is all I will say on the matter.”

Bonawentura frowned as he heard some of the crew talk. They weren't speaking anything like Polish. He thought it was in perhaps English or Spanish, but he couldn't tell. He was very disappointed, as they were people he could relate to, but they may as well be on the other side of the galaxy if he couldn't talk to them. All he had were the Grays, who were worse when they spoke to him than if they just kept quiet. What they said to him always made him feel terrible. They were worse than bullies, as bullies usually just wanted to humiliate you. The Grays, though...he wasn't sure. He thought they wanted to use him, like a tool. They didn't want to humiliate him or make him feel bad, they just wanted him to be useful to them. At least, that's what he thought they thought.

That was another problem. He couldn't tell what they were thinking most of the time. And they liked to use big words when talking to him and it made him feel stupid.

He suddenly looked up to where he was being led to and saw a medical bay.

No human doctors, though.

“Why isn't a person going to operate on me? Aren't there human doctors?”

“The crew have their own doctors, as stipulated in their contract. You don't have a contract and they don't have the facilities to take care of your illness anyway. We'll repair you properly, though,” Yoawae said.

Repaired? he thought. He was beginning to think this was a terrible idea.

Another Gray strode up.

“Strip naked. Remove all jewelry and other such items. Lay on the table,” it commanded.

“Don't you need my name and stuff?”

“Negative. I have the information and your genome from Hudon. I have all that is necessary to diagnose and identify you. Your afflictions are known to me, and thus my course of action is as well. Your self-identification and other concerns are meaningless to me. Now, strip and lay on the table with all haste.”

Bonawentura started to quake and began crying again as removed his clothes.

“On the table.”

Image

He laid down and felt restraints come upon him.

“What the hell? Why?”

“We do what we must because we can.”

The doctor readied his tools, preparing to cut into waking flesh.

Yoawae tapped the doctor on the shoulder and spoke with him in their alien tongue.

“Abari, show gratitude toward Yoawae, for he has told me to keep your comfort in consideration.”

Bonawentura sobbed.

“Gratitude, you wretch!”
“Th-thank you!” he cried.

“Excellent. Now I can begin,” he said as he injected the child with a sedative.

~-~-~-~-~

Bonawentura woke up. He had now spent a week convalescing, three days of which he was completely out. Things seemed to be going very well now. He was eating well, he could move well, and he was feeling stronger, even healthier. The Grays ran batteries of tests on him from time to time, but he was starting to understand how necessary it was. After all, they had helped him and wanted to make sure everything was okay.

Yoawae walked into his room.

“Greetings, child. You are feeling well, I trust?”

“Great! I think I can really help out Jadwiga and the rest of the resistance!”

“Excellent. A final series of tests, though,” Yoawae said, sitting next to Bonawentura. Yoawae set a gun down on the table between them.

“Firstly, some quick cognitive tests. I assume you went through some algebra in school?”

“A bit, but I was never good at it,” Bonawentura frowned.

“No matter. You're familiar with the concepts, yes?”

“Uh, yeah, variables and stuff like that.”

“More or less, that is correct. Given that, if x + 1 = 3, can you tell me what x is?”

“It's 2, right?”

“Yes. Something more complex: if we multiply x^2 by x and that equals 9, what is x?”

He thought for a moment, lost in thought.

“Is it 3?”

“Good, you are able to extrapolate from first principles. I'd like to perform a more thorough testing sequence, but we do not have the time to educate you at the moment. You seem to be doing well enough, though. And the physical therapy already has you exceeding where you were prior to your treatment. We've already measured an 8% increase in muscle mass and a 3% drop in body fat. Your aerobic and anaerobic response is in the upper quartile of humans as well, which is fairly impressive. One final set of tests before we go back to the surface, though, Bonawentura.”

The child beamed as Yoawae finally used his name.

“Anything!” he exclaimed.

“Shoot yourself in the head with that gun.”

Bonawentura picked up the gun without hesitation and placed the barrel against his temple. He pulled the trigger.

Click.

“It has no ammunition. You may put it down, your death is not required from us and would, in fact, disappoint us rather severely.”

“That would be dreadful!” Bonawentura exclaimed.

“And the final portion of the test. We managed to find one of the crewman on board who speaks a little Polish. Turns out he is originally of Czech stock and knows some rudimentary phrases. Vaclav, enter.”

The stocky mercenary entered.

“Ask him the question we practiced, sir,” Yoawae said.

“Shoot yourself in the head with that gun,” Vaclav said in slightly stiff Polish.

“What? Fuck you! I ain't gonna do that shit! How about I shoot you, asshole?” Bonawentura exploded in rage.

“Calm yourself. It was only a test and you passed with flying colors. Vaclav, you may return to your quarters.”

The mercenary grumbled and was glad to leave.

“Thank you for the explanation, I was ready to beat the shit out of him!”

“Doubtful, Vaclav's fought in over 35 campaigns.”

“Oh...well...uh, when are we going back? I need to help my friends.”

“You shall return later today. Be sure to tell your friends of your improvement.”

“Of course!”

Bonawentura had never been so happy in his young life.
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Akhlut » 2012-05-31 02:59pm

Presenting your favorite show on the Bohab TV Network! SLAUGHTERAMA!

Sleazy P. Martini stepped forward into the spotlight.

Image

“Let the battle cry go forth which is 'give the people what they want,' and what the people want could only be the senseless slaughter of the gutter-slime that litters this nation for cash and prizes! Yes, this is the show where people bet their lives to win something big, 'cause when your life is shit, then you haven't got much to lose on........Slaughterama!

The live studio audience of half a million roared in approval at Sleazy's introduction to perhaps one of the most popular game shows in the galaxy.

“Our next geek is guilty of the following: a Grateful Dead life in which he's been wallowing! Tried to tell us to give peace a chance; met the Space Vikings and he's shitting his pants. It's not your imagination, it's not a bad trippie, yes that's him, a big smelly hippie!”

Image

“Why hello there Mr. Hippie, nice to meet you! How's little Tofu doing? What? She grew another head? Well, you gotta lay off the LSD, makes your offspring kinda goofy looking. And now, your question for your fabulous prizes: how do you hide money from a hippie?”

The hippie looked around, the audience's roaring chants for death distracting him mightly.

“Uh..uh..can I have a lifeline?”

A loud buzzer rang.

“You put it under the soap! You didn't answer in time, so go ahead and put your mouth on this!”

Sleazy put his pistol in the man's mouth and pulled the trigger.

“Whoa! I blew your head clean off! Good thing I was such an expert shot with the National Guard back in Kent State. There's nothing like hippie hunting! My dad always use to take me with Lee Harvey Oswald.”

The crowd roared in bloodlust at Sleazy's display.

“Next up! Gave up pussy, stopped to a toot. Now you can't wait to give someone the boot. Elbows and knuckles, all you knows how. Follows the herd, just another cow. Brain full of shit, boots full of lead. Straight from Hitler's ass it's a Nazi skinhead!”

Image

“Hello, Mr. Nazi Skinhead! How you doin'? How's the talk show circuit treating you? You know when you're mugging talk show commentators in bathrooms, always remember to draw the swastika turning to the right, not to the left, always to the right. So, anyway, why do Nazi skinheads wear red suspenders anyway?”

“Uh..because it's for Hitler! Yeah! Sieg heil!”

The buzzer screamed again.

“Wrong! He doesn't have to tell you! All right, Oderus, time to give this guy one last haircut! Real close to the shoulders-like!”

Image

Oderus stepped foreward with Unt Lick and raised it high above his head. The audience was shouting in orgiastic joy. Oderus pointed at the skinhead, then his sword, questioningly.

The crowd started chanting.

“BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD!”

Oderus laughed in approval and chopped the Nazi's head off.

“Whoa! His heads been decapitated. Look at all that PSI in his aorta artery! Whoa! Is he a gusher or what?” cackled Martini.

“Well folks, that's all before our commercial break. Remember to buy whatever bullshit they're trying to sell you. Or don't, who gives a fuck? You're giving us enough money anyway. Just remember that we're trying to kill everyone worth killing and we hope you do the same!”
SDNet: Unbelievable levels of pedantry that you can't find anywhere else on the Internet!

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Theogony: War Plan Yellow, Part 3

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-06-01 03:52am

Athena's long-range sensor picture was blurred by the losses to her drones and the damage to her own surface arrays. She had trouble keeping count of the launches from the Karlack splinter fleet's main body; the end of the barrage even managed to surprise her.

The starbeasts were done for now; they'd been called off by greater authority.


Recommended Listening: Leningrad Blokada

Royal Kingdom of Scarlet
Cormyr System, Sector V-19
May 12, 3419
Even More Moments Later


Dust of the stars was far astern, glitter of stars ahead- Athena kept up her long range sharpshooting against the Karlack flanking groups. Nipped in turn by sporadic Omega fire, yes, just enough to keep her on edge, as she whirled and spiraled back and forth in complex curves, to counterpoint her drones' veils of jamming. A squadron volley from half a dozen of the lesser Reapers curdled space a thousand meters to port, another to dorsal- that little pack grew discouraged when she laid her Mark Fifteens among them, broke their concentration and got them looking to their own survival.

Destroyers added what they could, spraying cones of beta-rays across the void; the longer-barreled accelerators of the cruisers managed more. The turret ships held off on torpedoes, their human crews wise enough not to waste shots this far out of powered range. Was it fancy, or did she felt the vessels' unconscious yearning for the impractical, elusive dual-burn shots, that had the range but not the accuracy? She rather thought she'd take her chances, had she the missiles to throw.

She diverted a score of her drones to VLA imagery- deep field focus. Something was very odd about the reinforcement group that had just peeled off the Karlacks' huge main body, headed for this little world and its little skirmish. Very strange indeed...

CIC Training Simulator 3-Epsilon-487
Emulating Dreadnought USS Themis
December 28, 3299


Min Fang frowned. Her eyes danced across E-war readouts; her fingers idly tapped a control stylus against the edge of the frame where it wouldn't interfere with anything.

"The reinforcement group drifting up to the Karlacks. Jaime? Something funny..."

The sophomore cadet acting as her striker checked his own plot. "That cluster of biocruisers- its center of emission strength isn't changing."

"I'm kicking it over to gravimetrics... wait, that's how many billion tons?"

Cormyr System, Sector V-19
May 12, 3419


Sentience cowered, existence screamed, before the psychic weight of this baleful beast of the void, this mountain-dwarfing mass of colonial star-insectoids and energized pseudoflesh, this... World Eater.

Athena, perfectly capable of burning worlds in her own right and unaffected by the Beast's overpowering psychic roars of hunger, was unperturbed. Null fields integral to her shielding spiraled higher as a matter of course; what could be done to protect her crew from full-scale mind war, would be done.

Word from the division flagship, passed on to her captain unthinkingly and integrated into her own awareness on the crawling timescale of seconds while more urgent and relevant tasks flew past- "We're all heading up to reinforce around Tarball, Keita; pass your tactical picture to us as we arrive- we need updates on the Bugs' systems. Don't overreach."

Overreach? Hmph!

Still, that supercapital was troubling. Again and again her mind turned back to that, to whether there was anything she could do about the World Eater...

On the simulator bridge, unperceived by Athena- and much work had been done to make it so- Captain Keita and his nucleus crew winced at barrages of unheard infrasound and subliminal strobes of memetic color-chords, a crude but effective simulation of the broad-band psychic attacks SpaceSec attributed to the Karlack broods. The discomfort faded for them in the seconds before Athena bounced a new request to her captain.

"Request permission to disengage Target Seventeen, for harassment fire on Enemy flagship, captain."

Keita, still trying to convince his inner ear that he wasn't hanging upside down over a pit of crowd-buster projectors, didn't quite share her tactical assessment.

"Target Thirty-Five? The... ugh... mothership?"

"Yes."

"Too- too big. Belongs to the dreadnoughts."

She felt hurt, but she pressed on. "Too much carbon vapor off it, captain, at this range. That's..."

Before she could finish optimizing the framing of her model to prove it to him, Keita changed his mind. "You're right. They're just punching-" with speed like growing tree roots, he rubbed his brow- "tunnels in the drone cloud. Go... go ahead. Raster fire on Target Thirty-Five." The smile on his face was pained. "Let's see what the big boys have been shooting at."

Athena turned slightly, adjusted her forward quadrupoles like the chokes on so many shotgun barrels to get a better barrage pattern, and opened full-power fire once again.

Her scourge of lead now swept across the amorphous, sinister darkness around the great World Eater. The Karlacks' countless Locust microdrones were no more resilient than their lightweight missiles and spore-carriers; their flesh shriveled, denatured, destabilized, cooked down into a sterile, irradiated mass. Soon, soon her beams flamed against the Beast's ultimate Omega-wall... and stopped. What were a paltry hundred suns, to a mighty creature which had floated amid fleets that blazed and railed against it with warp-lance and atomic death ray, stood its ground and returned fire with telling power?

The Beast screamed in fury as its clouds of hungry darkness burned and died. A remnant population of Locusts sheltered behind the penumbra of its Omega shields and moonlike bulk, but these too it withdrew within its cavernous bay-analogues, to save them for later. It would need to reserve a breeding population.

<Anomaly registered. Emulating...>

The psychic scream rattled even thought-screened minds for planet-widths in all directions. Umerian crews found their senses reeling and their guts churning as they beheld the World Eater's true form.

Athena looked for weak points. None came to mind.

Targeting spikes warned her as the Beast cast its baleful gaze upon her. In defiance she tightened her beams and concentrated her widely scattered fire onto single points near the supercapital bioform's center of mass, hammering the creature's screens with endless trains of ion bolts. The creature flinched for a few seconds, then turned half its Omega-beam emitter tendrils upon the offending battlecruiser.

Hell rained.

Even from farther out, farther away, the World Eater's assault made the squalling beams of its lesser fellows seem tiny. The missile barrage, seemingly endless and heavy enough sting through the full strength of her guard, faded by comparison. She sidestepped, whirled, flung veils of deceptive jamming, canted her shields and drive fields. But at last she'd found something to overmatch her.

Karlack beams swept and jabbed against her screens, thinning, twisting, warping, flaying. Intangible structure collapsed; matter remained. Her bow-plate flamed ultraviolet heat and burning off by centimeters, sheltering her core. That would hold; her drive nacelles might not. Lancing Omega blasts from an anticapital beam tentacle struck past the rim of the bowplate again and again, often missing her hull entirely, but relentless. Sweeps of energy sliced into her forward dorsal strut- again, again, burning through the girder lattice, amputating her engine pod in a flare of shorting busbars.

Explaining "fear" to Athena would have been difficult. Anguish, she could learn. She whipsawed off target, straightened out before the mountainous Beast could do more than lightly score her hull, and wobbled on her remaining drives. Human engineers dialed down power to her main battery- she wished she were strong enough to disagree, as that energy flowed into the force-walls warding her nacelles. That redoubled defense resisted the terrible barrage of Omega energies- delayed, stalled, the World Eater returned its attention to the dreadnoughts that had harried it before.

Athena reeled. Parthian shots from the biocruisers rang off her screens as she lurched, lopsided, trying to balance the other five engines in that plane to make up for her severed drive. Human crew kept overriding her responses, aborting her attempts to shift power back to weapons. It burned to know: they weren't wrong, her instincts were trying to get her killed.



CIC Training Simulator
December 28, 3299


Min sweated, trying to ignore the thought-blotting song pounding into her head just below the threshold of consciousness. She stabbed a control wand at a light code in blue "That one's... having trouble."

"Y- y-y-y-y-" Jaime's eyes glazed. The sophomore's voice trailed off into a tuneless hum. Min looked around at the other cadets, then gritted her teeth. She knew this was supposed to be hard to handle, but there was training and then there was hell. What were they supposed to do under these conditions? There was a plan for this- oh. I'm an idiot.

She reached to her headset, spun through channels- "Engineering, this is C- CIC, null field coverage... up-"

Within a minute or so, a measure of Min's sanity came back. Knowing that it was all a faked-up exercise didn't make the rippling auditory hallucinations less distracting, but- she fondly hoped she was field-officer grade, and that meant she had something extra. She had to. Focus...

How long had she been incapacitated? The other ships of the Twelfth Fast Division were already closing in to help the screen keep those lighter units off the dreadnoughts' flanks. They'd need it- with that ultraheavy coming up to reinforce the core of capital-class bioships Themis and her fellows were fighting, even she had to admit...

<Breach of muzzle dipole shields indicated.>
<Emulating secondary explosions.>


CIC shook, the displays shuddered, and she shuddered with them. They really needed not to have anything shooting at their flanks right now; the fire pouring against the heavy hitters' bows was more than bad enough.

Cormyr System, Sector V-19
May 12, 3419


Athena, in her soul, believed that existence was simple. You lived to strike, and to avoid being struck in return, and happiness came from doing it well.

What happened when you met something you could strike- had struck, by the stars!- but couldn't strike hard enough?

L- but the thought didn't even make it through her first layer of quantum circuitry; in all the many worlds possible and observable, all the state functions into which she could collapse, there wasn't one where she'd come up with that answer yet.

Find a bigger main battery. Or- after many iterations of running down the possibilities- recruit one.

Athena cast her attention to her division-mates, the gigasecond-old proton-gun ships. She knew their fire control software, the subconscious responses that turned target selection into aim points and kept beamlines running smoothly. There was a copy of it somewhere in her own hull- below, separate from, and parallel to herself. Athena knew quite well her body had first been made to run without benefit of intelligence, eerie as the idea was. What is it like, to dance without volition, a duelist-puppet on strings... She found the contacts she was looking for. That was how the inputs were supposed to run, and that was how to put an appeal to Furious, Armstrong, and Repulse.

<Anomaly Registered.
Emulating cybernetic attack...
Recursion alarm!
Simulation resolution at 200 MHz and falling.
Abstract out loop effect.
Apply perturbative analysis.
Resolve... resolve...>


Flighty but willing, subsentient but not without their share of hunter's instinct and marksman's reflex, the three proton-beam battlecruisers of Twelfth Fleet's lead division consented to let her lead their dance. Much to the surprise of their own crews, Athena's division-mates answered her call, abandoning their long range attacks on the escorting biocruisers to engage the Karlack mothership.

Their dozen Mark Fourteens twisted fields of guiding, focusing force inside, adjusting their quadrupoles for extreme range fire. The massive war-planetoid they fought was powerful and terrible, but neither small nor agile. Even from this range her sisters could score on the Beast, nearly as well as her own guns. She was sure.

Faith was rewarded by works. The battlecruisers of the Twelfth took long seconds to walk across, back onto target, to work out coordination among themselves. But how they battered the Beast- fifty million proton bolts a second, a hundred, more- peppering every meter of its adamant wall-screens! This itself was a dangerous escalation for the World Eater, already under sporadic fire from the less-threatened of the Umerian dreadnoughts. Danger became mortal peril when Athena finished her fire solution, and threaded her point-targeted ion beams through the crackling vortices of magnetism and synchrotron radiation flooding space around the creature.



CIC Training Simulator
December 28, 3299


"What's going on over there?"

Jaime shrugged. "I don't know, Min, I was watching the battlecruisers and they just- up and pivoted."

"What's keeping their cruisers from sneaking up-" The third year cadet grinned. "Captain must not care. Gutsy." Jaime's eyes met hers, then flashed back to the controls.

<Dreadnought firing solution recomputed.
Assessing effects...>


Cormyr System, Sector V-19
May 12, 3419


The World Eater snarled at bay under the fire of eight capital ships, soaking up barrages fit to scorch planets, and howling back with its own Omega beams. The battlecruiser Repulse whipsawed round a stream of power in a curve even Athena envied- what slow but perfect mind was behind that? She very much wished to know. Armstrong not so lucky; two of her nacelles seared off at once and left her ballistic for a full, fatal decision loop. The World Eater's point salvo drilled into the battlecruiser's bowplate in a blaze of thermal X-rays- and passed through, striking her amidships, searing obliquely through her flank armor and breaking her girderwork keel like a dry twig.

But the dreadnoughts, she, her sisters poured it on, how they did! Ultrarelativistic particles shattered and tunneled against the planetoid's Omega-wall, spalling through, tattooing its flesh with radicals and radionuclides. The turbocharged meta-metabolic processes of the Beast twisted and mutated, warring among themselves and drawing precious energies from the desperate struggle for survival. The World Eater's control as central-consciousness of the splinter fleet fragmented; the scores of lesser starbeasts that still fought to ward the mothership grew confused and dismayed as the organic war-planetoid thrashed and burned.

Packs of destroyers loped toward the Karlack fleet, their captains sensing opportunity and battering their foes with quasi-solid lightning and spreads of long range, semi-ballistic torpedo shots. Stubby, boxy light cruisers fought in the screen elements' van, more heavily gunned and independent compared to the intimate networks of the destroyer groups.

The mountain-creature flamed, blasting psychic defiance in the higher realms, billions of tons of pain howling out despair and fury. Crews reeled once again; the uncaring null-shielded ships of the Space Security Force poured it on. The screams' power and range began to fade, slowly diminishing as torpedo strikes and proton blasts lobotomized the supercapital bioform's massively cross-linked brain a meter at a time.

The remnants of the splinter fleet attacking Tarball fled out-system to replenish their energies and reorganize their tattered hive-consciousness. And when the main body of slower-moving battleships of the Scarlet-Prussian force covering the system's primary world began to crack under the sixth wave of attackers, there was at least something to be thrown in as a final reserve...



Advanced Tactical Simulator Epsilon
War College Offices, Prime City, Reisenburg
December 28, 3299


After an exhausting, agonizing, exhilarating duel with an infested nucleo-warcruiser twenty light-seconds out from Cormyr planet, Athena watched the Swarm break off and withdraw out-system, harassed by long range strategic missile fire from the nearly unengaged, underused Prussian missile elements. She reviewed the battered remnants of the multinational fleet and wondered who had won. She herself limped on seven working nacelles of twelve. Down to three ion cannon after a flanking shot punched into her core hull around Frame 1700 and severed the third, her defense missiles and drive fuel nearly exhausted, she was far from the worst-off of the surviving ships.

As the Star Brood withdrew into hyperspace, no doubt to return after licking its wounds, the end of that glorious twelfth of May finally came. It ended not through a screen or a voice; it came all at once, as a condition of all Athena's world. External time crawled to a stop and froze. Her navigation reflexes stumbled- Relativistic motion? How?- but soon quieted, noting the lack of blueshift and starfield distortion. A transparent bubble of not-space and unreality slid between herself and the Cormyr system, then began to infiltrate into her own body, as if she herself had been imagining her own physical existence all along.

<Simulation Complete>

For- how long?- she had managed to convince herself she wasn't dreaming. She really had. She had actually believed...

Warships do not weep.
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Lonestar » 2012-06-01 11:01pm

Hazeltop Knob, Dog Slaughter Mountains, Page

Image

The entire Cathedal of the Ascension of Man shook as another Tylium bomb impacted against the shield that the Xenos had erected around the city. The Foul Amplitur, horrific pyskers who were sponges with the carapace of Crabs had boiled out of their hive worlds and attacked the Grand Dominion and Shepistani Federation. The civilized worlds of Page, Botetourt, Damascus, and Massanutten had fallen under their iron grip. In Shepistan, Montegomery itself had been nuked from orbit in a Hail Mary to decapitate their Shepistani leadership, but a enigmatic man name Frederck had taken over the defenses and now ruled as President of the Shepistani Federation. Another Tylium bomb impacted. Then another.

The Great Warlord Hardir, leader of the Amplitur Host on Page chittered and turned to his staff.

<Is there no word of the relief force?>

"Ain't nobody coming to rescue you, Crabby McCraberstein"

Hardir and his staff, as well as the personal guard turned. Standing before them was a fireteam of Dominion Knights, and one normal-ish sized human in a stealth suit. How had 5 Bulky genetically altered metahumans in power armour snuck into the command center. Hardir heard rattle-gun fire echoing in the halls. They were not the only ones in the complex.

<Kill them->

With a psychic howl the personal guard of Hardir attacked, as did the handful of staff in the room. The man in the stealth suit made an impossible jump(Not so normal after all) and fired his multi-mode carbine into the three staffers. A tylium grenade kerploded the three. As he landed he brought up the carbine and with it now in SMG mode blasted apart the remaining Amplitur near Hardir. At the other end of the Room the Dominion Knights had killed the guard with bursts of their rattleguns. The man in the suit looked at Hardir.

"That mindreading crap ain't going to work on me Hardir. It didn't last time I killed you, either."

<Last time? Have we met before, pestilent insect?>

"A few times, although you wouldn't remember. Changed my name since last time, copyright reasons. Anyway, it's all a bit Wibbely Wobbly Timey Wimey. I've been instructed-"

Hardir howled and swung at the human. The man drew a sword of all things from his back and sliced off all 4 arms, then kicked the hideous creature to the ground.

Image

"As I was saying...before I was so rudely interrupted. I have been instructed to ask, why did you attack us? Your own race sat in it's home system for hundreds of thousands of years without expanding."

Hardir struggle to make a noise with his flesh voice.

"Humans are a disease. A pestilence that has spread out across the galaxy. The Great Choir in its wisdom determined that the destruction of humanity was needed to guarentee our long term survival. I still think it."

The man sighed.

"Boy, the more things change, huh?"

He lifted his carbine and fired a mini grenade into Hardirs head, and the great Warlord of the Amplitur Host on Page was dead. One of the Dominion Knights, slick with Amplitur fluids walked up to the Amplitur control terminal, and his right arm swung aside to reveal a series of port adapters. One extended into the data port next to the main interface device, and gibberish began to fly across the screen.

"Talking sense into the craboid computer Vlad?"

"Am I not always. Beep Boop. There we go, cutting power to the shield. HA! Craboids have silly idea of information assurance, no matter the universe!"

There was a crackle of energy and the distant thudding of Tylium bombs stopped. The noises of explosions became louder and more frequent. The Grand Dominion had driven the last of the Amplitur off the civilized worlds of the Dominion. Soon, vengence would come.
"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."

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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Zor » 2012-06-02 02:43am

Hall of the Pax Imperium, Neo Aversa, 4th Speranzan Special Reconstructional Zone, Speranza Sector, 574 IA

There were many buildings like it across the Imperium. Most Imperial Architecture was typically large scale Arcologies, towers and pyramids reaching to the sky and a few smaller pre-conquest structures still existed. However, Imperial Halls were as a rule smaller affairs. Seldom more than a hundred and fifty meters tall or four hundred meters to a side. This one was within those dimensions, but while it was smaller than the towering skyscrapers which were such a feature of the skyline, this one sought to impress in other ways.

It stood in the middle of a courtyard, well manicured grass and trees stood about it. Its architectural style was fairly distinctive, largely borrowing ideas from Art Deco and Neoclassical. It was H shaped with a main central tower and two side towers. There were colonnades in areas that would be appropriate, but these were square and had a variety of largely geometric art deco flourishes. The building itself was a Dark grey, well polished with gold being used in areas and numerous window. It had two grand staircases leading to two massive doors at the north and south ends, each flanked by pair of statues. It was quite beautiful, even people outside the Imperium who disapproved with its policies were impressed by. Around it, numerous people walked in the Longcoats of Imperial Formal Wear in accordance to strictly mandated dress codes of such locations. A couple of guards were posted about, localist insurgents tended not to appreciate the architectural accomplishments of Imperial Halls.

A married couple name Giovanni and Susanna walked inside and into a grand chamber, an echoing hallway that was similar grand, although the colors here were pale white and green. Above them was a moving fresco, a looped animation played constantly. At first it showed chaos, war, superstition and misery groups of people fighting against other groups of people among ruins, sons and daughters leaving parents to die on the battlefield led by raving madmen and translucent demonic creatures named hatred, avarice, cruelty, superstition, narcissism and revenge. Then came Imperial Soldiers bathed in light, with the flag of the Imperium in hand and breaking these beings, these demonic creatures writhed and dissolved while the madmen were silenced. From the ruins grew prosperous, peaceful imperial cities in which the former enemies were now friends under the aegis of a equilateral triangle surrounded by a circle. They waited in a set of benches for a small amount of time before being led into one of several rooms by an employee who worked here.

Inside was a dark room with a pathway with two banks of seats facing across. A few of their friends and family were there. At the far side was a Dragon with its wings surrounding the symbol Equilateral triangle surrounding a circle. The triangle and circle were green with a black boarder while the negative space in it was white. Before that was a table and a small hearth and an employee known as a Inductor Civitas, a Dual by the look of it. She carried a polished oak staff. They stood at the end of the carpet.

"Subjects! Kneel." The Inductor said, the two of them got to their knees before the hearth. This was part of going through this procedure and getting it done somewhat quicker, they had seen a couple of colleagues go through this process.

"Giovanni Lorenzo Montessori and Susanna Ludovico Montessori, your case has been evaluated and it has been proven more than satisfactory. Your lives has been free of Criminality, you both have mastered knowledge of Imperial History, under the aegis of Imperial Law your work in the operation of your bakery has benefited your community and your contributions and cooperation has helped our efforts of integration, bringing peace and prosperity to a world once beset by violence, poverty and disorder so that it might thrive alongside the other worlds of the Imperium. As such, The Imperium sees it fit that you and your descendants finally enter into the ranks of its citizenry and does so happily." The Inductor picked up from the table two sheets of cloth and laid them before them, on them was printed the old Speranzan flag. They grabbed these peaces of cloth and tossed them into the burning hearth where they quickly turned to ash.

The Inductor brought down hir Staff down on the floor hard and extended a hand "ARISE! Son and Daughter of the Imperium!" They got to their feet, now officially Imperial Citizens. As this happened, the March of the Conquerors played. At its conclusion they and the witnesses left and went off to one of several banquet rooms. Speranza was well on its way to integration into the Imperium.

Some might question the need for all this, the architecture and the ritual. But it served its purpose, it gave occasion to the ascension of subjects into the citizenry. It also gave insight into the ways that the common mindset of the people of the Unified Imperium. While they avoided cults of personality like the plague, a cult of nation was quite prevalent. Imperials deeply believed in the idea that they had created the apex of civilization, forged in the fires of war from a collection of scraps into one perfected form. Leaders may come and go, be well remembered fondly if they succeed and removed if they fail as stewards, but in the end what matters, above all else is the Imperium. That it endures, ascends and that others are no longer denied it.
HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
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Re: SDNW5 Prologue Thread

Postby Lonestar » 2012-06-03 01:23am

In Orbit of Amplitur Prime, 10 years later


Image

Grand Admiral James "Jimmy" Earl of the GDN and Fleet Admiral Saul Tarsus of the Shepistani Federation stared out of "windows" of the Wahunsenacawh's flag officer mess. The large displays mimicked windows, and showed the horrific destruction being rained down on the Amplitur homeworld...or rather, what destruction would be there were it not for the damnable void-shield that blanketed the planet. The sheer numbers of ships needed to cut through the defenses of the Amplitur home system had been staggering, and the past ten years had been a industrial campaign as much a military one. And now that they were here...they were stymied by the exotic shield protecting the planet.

"I don't know why I look at these things, just pisses me off." Said Saul Tarsus, as he started to pour from his bottle of Battlescotch Galactica, paused, then took a swig straight from the bottle. He had a cloth eyepatch, of all things, where a piece of shrapnal from a exploding console had impacted. His flagship was the heavy battlestar Catoctin Mountain, several hundred kilometers ahead of the hammerhead Dominion star dreadnought. Earl always kept several pallets of Sauls favorite beverages onboard, however. As for Earl, he was nursing some Liquid Banjo, a whisky that originated from the Abingdon Province on his homeworld of Wise. "When is this asshole going to get here?"


"I am here, Admiral Tarsus." Dr. Sutherland was standing at the main door. The man from the Dominion SIG was wearing a seersucker suit with a small lapel pin of the organizational shield on it, and looked utterly colourless, like a early recipient of HERV-based prolong. A Army LTC was standing behind him holding a courier bag. With a brief nod to the two flag officers he moved over the small briefing terminal, removed a OSD from his courier bag, and put it in. Sutherland sat without being asked, Tarsus arched his good eyebrow at Earl and the two flag officers sat as well. The display at the end of the table came online. "This is a nova bomb. The light cruiser that brought us here will fire this at the Amplitur homeworld and end the war." Sutherland said matter-of-factly.

"Now what just a Goddamn minute here." Saul interjected. "I'm all for ending this war, but how does this work? It removes the shield?"

"In a fashion, but that is largely a byproduct of the planet being destroyed."

Earl and Tarsus looked at the man from SIG in stunned silence. Earl spoke first.

"Has...has this been tested?"

Sutherland pursed his lips. "No. The materials needed for this bomb, that is, a bomb that will obliterate the planetary shields as well as the planet, are exceedingly rare. However...simulations have been successful to Dr. Blitzschlags satisfaction."

"I don't give a good goddamn what that weirdo and his retinue of weirdos think!" Saul shouted. "What if the goddamn thing rips the universe a new spacehole or something?"

"SIG believes the odds of that are less than 10%" The nameless army lieutenant-colonel said. Sutherland shot him a dirty look. Earl leaned across the table towards Sutherland.

"Our way is longer, but safer. The planetary shield will be down in 8 months according to our own staff."

"Your staffs..." Sutherland said, and waved at the LTC who changed the imagery on the display with a series of graphs. "...are being extremely optimistic. SIG believes it could be another 18 months before the planetary shields fail under the strain."

"Fine." Saul said. "18 months then. What's the big deal?"

"Besides that the coffers of both Shepistan and the Grand Dominion are empty?" Sutherland asked. More graphs appeared on the display. "See these minor variations in the planetary shield? What do your staffs say they are?"

"Doctor Sutherland," Grand Admiral Earl said "We are dropping several tens of thousands of gigatons of ordnance on the planet on a daily basis. That much energy released is bound to create unusual readings on the DRADIS."

"Indeed." Sutherland said. "But the anomalies aren't appearing at the points of impact. Rather, they are appearing where ever there is not a ship in orbit within a few kilometers. SIG believes that this is evidence of a evacuation. The Amplitur do not use FTL like most species, and we suspect that the step-through drives may be allowing them to pass through the shield."

"Now see here Doctor, even if this hypothesis was true" Saul made little air quotes with his finger "There's over half a trillion spongecrabs on that planet. How many are they going to be able to evacuate in the next 18 months? A couple of million? I'm sorry, but Shepistan does not sign off on using an untested weapon." He leaned back.

Wordlessly, the LTC reached into his courier bag, and produced a piece of paper. He handed it to Admiral Tarsus. Tarsus clicked his tongue and said "Well, as I was then."

"We have a similar set of orders for you as well, Grand Admiral Earl." Earl held out his hand, the paper was despotied there, he read the orders and sighed. Dr. Sutherland spoke again.

"Weapon deployment will be within 6 hours, all ships other than the deploying one need to be at least one AU away, uh, just in case.



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


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