2014 STGOD Story Thread I

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-03 05:30pm

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Orion Royal Palace | 4 May 2014

The lords of war slipped in almost unnoticed amidst the flags, the cameras and the photographs. Armored SUVs, black, unmarked and with tinted windows, rolled into the security zone one after the other, driven by grizzled stony-faced soldiers who looked like they knew how to handle themselves in a fight. They pulled up at the royal palace in a line of identical black cars.

Mercenaries stepped out, their uniforms a spectrum of colors and styles: sobre grays and long coats for Knight Errant, utilitarian black with red berets for Paradigm Security, the clean pressed all-white of OGRE Solutions, the tropical khaki with ribbons and marksmanship badges of Stormbrink Security and Nightfall's classic white-capped midnight blue with golden buttons.

San Dorado had sent a potent delegation: Lt. Colonel Franklin Clay, Lt. Colonel Darin Sirota and full-bird Colonel May McQ represented respectively Stormbrink, Paradigm and Knight Errant. OGRE and Nightfall had even gone so far as to send their CEOs, Senior Skymarshal Faiza Shturm and Fleet Commander Maxwell Night himself. Aides and bodyguards milled purposefully about them. The men and women straightened their uniforms, conversed briefly in hushed tones, and then entered the royal palace as a unified group.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2014-10-03 06:40pm

Deputy Minister of Justice Reginald Firth watched Orion's landscape and tried to relax as he reached his destination.

Next to him sat an advisor from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a young woman with prematurely white hair named Joanne Henderson. She was a terrorism expert, but she was much more than that.

Of course the D.O.I. would take advantage of this conference, he thought. And he acknowledged that it made sense, though he hoped that it wouldn't make his job any harder. Not that there was a great deal that he could do beyond observe, report to his government, and make some suggestions that were likely to be ignored. Corona would never work closely with Orion under the current circumstances. But perhaps he could make some headway with other nations attending the conference.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2014-10-03 08:48pm

Outside the Orion Royal Palace
4 May 2014


After the motorcades carrying the delegations from Cascadia, Shinra, Arcadia, and San Dorado arrived at the Orion Royal Palace, another motorcade bearing the distinctive red crescent of Fuso's civil flag arrived. A multitude of men and women disembarked from the vehicles, representatives of the various agencies under the Fuso Department of Homeland Security (formerly the Fuso Department of Home Affairs) and Department of Justice, most notably the Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) and Fuso's own National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Several members of the State Department, mostly staff attached to the Fuso Embassy in Orion, were also present.

Two women and a man stepped out of the last vehicle in the convoy. First out of the vehicle was Secretary of Homeland Security Naoto Shirogane. Short and slender, she presented an androgynous appearance, with short-cropped hair tucked neatly under a dark blue cabbie hat and her body concealed under a conservative getup consisting of black slacks and a high-collared black jacket. Behind her, the husband-and-wife team of Attorney General Makoto Naegi and NBI Director Kyoko Kirigiri stepped out. Attorney General Naegi, a boyish-looking man with naturally messy hair, was already notorious in some circles for a perceived distaste for formal attire, largely thanks to pictures taken of him at the 2014 Daitoryo Kantei Correspondents' Dinner wearing a hoodie and sneakers. Whether he could fully live it down had yet to be seen, but in any case, he had chosen to show up with a simple black suit and tie ensemble; his wife, a tall woman with prematurely silver hair, was dressed similarly, but with a skirt and pumps instead of slacks and oxfords.

"Well, the actors are finally starting to get on stage," Secretary Shirogane remarked. "The curtains will soon rise on this grand display of security theatre. Let's just hope the show's worth the price of admission."

With that, Naoto, Makoto, and Kyoko followed the rest of the Fuso delegation into the palace.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-10-03 10:28pm

Paradise International Airport
May 2, 2014


The Umerian delegation debarked from a slender business jet, a muscular aide standing by the doorway of the plane to help Dr. Mahogany down the stairs. The deeply tanned, wrinkled little statesman smiled and waved his left hand, tapping the cane in his right, and descended under his own power. At the bottom, he adjusted the loose cloth cap covering his bald head.

Following him down the ramp came a woman with the bearing of an extremely curious martial artist, graying hair pulled back into a relatively loose bun. Her eyes flickered across all; she seemed distracted but moved as though she knew exactly where she was going. She headed for the vehicles with her head turned to gaze at the Paradise City skyline, stopping with millimetric precision at the driver's side rear door of the waiting car, while Dr. Mahogany was ushered into the passenger's side.

Two vans and the car, all from the Umerian embassy motor pool, sufficed to hold the delegation. They were escorted by a light truck with a section of Guards inside. The vehicles were neatly but unremarkably detailed, thoroughly civilian. No sirens blaring, no armada of security vehicles. Just a drive from the airport, bringing the delegates to the embassy for rest and the finest available medication for horrible, horrible, eleven-hour jet lag.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2014-10-03 11:57pm

Arrival of UOCSR delegation

The UOCSR delegation arrived on a government jetliner, one of many jointly built by the UOCSR and San Dorado. The head of the delegation was Minister for Interior Security, Mr. Gennady Volkov. Accompanying him was the Director of the TBGB, General Lavaresky Arakov. An unnamed official also followed them, and a small rosary was wrapped around his belt. They boarded the waiting motorcade of ZIL cars, which then took the three dignitaries and their aides and security guards speedily to the UOCSR embassy where they rested and refreshed themselves, before getting onto the motorcade again and headed for the Orion Imperial palace.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby madd0ct0r » 2014-10-04 07:06am

The brigadier drank his chai slowly. His own personall supply, it took the edge off the homesickness that struck him whenever he was away for more then a night. The crates had been delivered to the exhibition area, a little way out of the city. The sergeant and his team were staying with it, not entirely trusting the gathered envoys not to help themselves. The Ambassador had agreed to help with the other side of the trip and had arranged a discrete meeting with OGRE solutions to discuss the bishop proposal. Before that though he had a little speech to prepare.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-04 10:30am

Orion Royal Palace, Paradise City
May 4th, 2014


As he looked out over the assembled crowd of dignitaries and statesmen, Alexander kept running through the events of "that Day" as it was known. Theyhad not yet attached a formal name to the terror attacks, it was still too raw.

He was wearing, as he customarily did at such occasions, his RON dress uniform. His staff had on occasion tried to suggest he wear the insignia of Admiral of the Fleet, a rank vested in the reigning Monarch. As far as Alex was concerned though, he would forever remain at the rank he had earned.

Next to him stood his wife, the Queen Jessica. She was wearing a beautiful yet appropriately sombre black dress, and was at present issuing instructions to the staff about Princess Emily's bedtime. As important as state functions were, her family still held priority for her. Since she had not been a member of the nobility when she married the then-Prince Alexander, she was determined to give her children as "normal" a life as possible.

Then, at the appointed hour, the herald stepped forwards and struck his ceremonial staff on the ground three times, bringing silence over the crowd.

"Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I present Their Majesties King Alexander the Second of Orion and his wife, Queen Jessica of Hephaestus."

Taking their cue, Alex and Jessica walked in past the curtains and up to the lectern that was waiting.

"Your Excellencies, Colonels, Directors, ladies and gentlemen. I bid you welcome to Orion, although I dearly wish it were under better circumstances.

As you all know, Orion endured what is posible the worst terrorist attack Tellus has ever seen. Three thousand four hundred and fifty seven people either died in the attack or as a result of their injuries. there is not a single family in Hephaestus that does not know of someone who perished.

That dreadful crime was merely a diversion for a potentially even more horrific act. Fortunately that was stopped in time. You all know what our response was. It has drawn criticism from nearly all of you, and I understand that. It is not an act I took any satisfaction in and it is one I deeply regret having to do.

However, even though every terrorist involved was captured and executed, there are others out there. Other groups willing to use indiscriminate violence against civilians. Some of you served in the military, so I am sure you share my abhorrence of such willful slaughter.

Which of your nations will be next? Perhaps the next attack will not be for a political cause but for something else. We have already seen the violence in Cali from drugs and the cartels. How long before such violence spreads to the rest of the world?

It is time for us to set aside our national differences. I know there are plenty of you here who have reason to dislike either myself or my nation. But terrorists will not care for old grudges. We must stop them together.

We must recognise that they are the enemies of all of us, not just some of us. That, then, is our objective. To reach a consensus that will allow us to jointly direct our efforts against terrorism wherever it be found, so that the tragedy in Hephaestus need not be repeated.

I look forward to working with all of you to reach this agreement in the days to come. In the mean time, please enjoy the food and drink and mingle with each other. If nothing else this will be a good chance to make new friends. Thank you."

He stepped back from the lectern to the expected polite applause. He picked up a c=pair of drinks from a waiter's tray and handed one to his wife.

"And now, my dear, we mingle and brace ourselves for the questions."

Results:

Orion officially welcomes the delegates.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: Illustrious Mahogany's Speech

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-10-04 05:06pm

Paradise City
Orion Royal Palace
May 5, 2014


Dr. Illustrious Mahogany, Foreign Minister and most senior statesman of the Umerian council of technocrats, took the podium, moving slowly and carefully. His dark scalp drank the overhead lights, and the set of his lined face spoke of resolution, with a faint underlay of humor around the eyes. His suit was neat but of archaic cut.

The diplomat closed his eyes and seemed to straighten a bit, then opened them and took in the room, full of representatives from the many nations. Somehow, Dr. Mahogany managed to compact a twenty-second serene smiling pause into one second, encouraging all around him to consider and listen. Then he began.

"In the name of amity among the nations, I extend the benevolent greetings of the Umerian state. In this matter, all responsible voices of my country are as one, and I am authorized to speak on their behalf. I, and by extension we, thank His Royal Highness for agreeing that my remarks might be scheduled so early in this gathering."

"We are gathered to discuss an alliance against the threat of 'terrorists-' organizations that wander the world, spreading fear and disorder, committing crimes against all peoples in the name of ideology, malice, or simple greed. As yet, the Umerian people have had little trouble from these secret societies of foreign criminals. Unlike the people of Orion and of Shinra, we have been fortunate. However, our good fortune is irrelevant. All the people of the world should stand for order and against chaos. We volunteer the use of our tools of analysis to understand and identify this threat. We will use all the forces at our disposal to combat these international bandits, should they come within our reach. Let nothing that I ever say or do contradict this; it is the very stones of the foundation of all Umerian decisions and words to follow, on this matter."

Again, the momentary pause, the calming, benevolent smile.

"Like you all, we are not afraid, and believe that the proper answer to 'terror' is 'courage.' And for this reason, I have made the journey of thirteen thousand kilometers to do two things. As I said, I am here to volunteer the aid of my state. Also, I am here to make certain that we all remember our history... as is an old man's duty."

The Umerian chuckled. "Before even my time, Umeria was ruled by the Vratzian emperors, who began their dynasty strong, but became... less than impressive as they moved into the century before last. Foreign powers and trading companies grew strong, selling clever goods and powerful drugs, and buying up the rights to control growing shares of Umeria's land. The government of the time struggled to restore vitality and prosperity to the state, but did not succeed. And so arrogant foreigners were able to lay claim to power in Umeria, something they failed to do in the happy isle of our hosts, the Kingdom of Orion."

"Finally, this spread of foreign domination and humiliation of the Umerian people and state grew out of control. A secret society calling itself the 'Harmonious Fists' emerged, claiming that with spirit and mental discipline, they could overcome foreign weapons and purge the land of foreign domination. Their slogan was "Renew the Vratzians, destroy the foreigners." The Empress Dowager laid her support behind them, and the emperor of that time... he was helpless before his mother. So the Harmonious Fists began threatening, beating, and even killing foreigners, and also Umerians who had converted to foreign religious teachings. They controlled great areas of countryside, and in the Southern Capital they placed the foreigners' quarter under siege for eight weeks."

The old man spread his hands, sweeping his gaze across the audience.

"So I ask, were the Harmonious Fists 'terrorists?' Had this word been in common use at that time, no doubt many would have said so. Certainly there was terror, certainly they attacked innocent people for the crime of being foreigners intruding on Umerian soil. Had men known the word 'terrorist' in the halls of power of Cascadia, of Britonia, of Shinra, of Nippon, in San Dorado and on the Rhine... no doubt the Harmonious Fists would have been called a 'terrorist movement.'

"And duly, a coalition of troops assembled. Some fought as mercenaries, some fought as patriots. They came from scattered imperial posts throughout Austrafrica, and from across the seas from Eurasia to the north and from Shinra to the east. They came to Umeria. They fought very bravely and ably, them with their breech-loading cannon and machine guns against the muskets and scatterguns of the Umerian army. They fought even more bravely against the swords of the Harmonious Fists, whose magic did not make them so bulletproof as they claimed."

"So the Fists were slaughtered, and at cannonpoint the Vratzian dynasty was forced to denounce them as rebels. Also the dynasty was forced to pay as reparations six thousand tonnes of silver- a sum greater than the Umerian Empire's tax receipts in a year, as if today Umeria- or Orion- had been called upon to pay a trillion dollars. The Vratzians were compelled to raise burdensome taxes on the people, to tax goods that previously had been tax-free, for having supported a group that wished to renew the Vratzians and destroy the foreigners."

"This was the penalty, for having supported, I must grant, 'domestic terrorism.' "

For a third time, the pause, Dr. Mahogany smiling again, this time more thinly.

"The question I pose to you is, was this a victory against terrorism? And if it was, then what should we do today, if we find ourselves winning similar 'victories?' I, for one, have no interest in demanding six thousand tonnes of silver from any state. Nor six hundred thousand tonnes- we live in a richer time than my father and grandfather. Nor do I desire to march up to a people whose dislike of me displeases me, and demand that their muskets submit to my field guns. Nor do I have any fond dream of placing any people into humiliating slavery. The taste of conquest and of the aroma of imperial dominance is ashes on the tongue and the stink of gas-burns, as I can tell you first-hand."

"Let us be sure, then, that whatever we decide in this great gathering of notables, we produce a solution which respects the sovereignty of the small and poorly armed nations. That does not give any one an excuse to rule over lands that would rightly be ruled by the people who live there. That does not even draw us or force us into such a position of rulership, for-" another hard smile "-we surely know how easy it is to become a tyrant with the best of intentions."

The Umerian minister inclined his head and closed his eyes for a moment. "I am sorry that I must cast a pall over this gathering by reminding us of such ancient history, but it is my duty to ensure that we do not forget."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-04 05:33pm

Orion Royal Palace
May 5th, 2014


After a respectful silence, King Alexander stood.

"You need not apologise Doctor. There is much truth in what you say and we would all do well to take heed. My fellows, let me be clear. Neither I nor my nation have any wish to trample upon others. There has been enough bloodshed in our histories as it is. What we seek at this conference is an agreement to unite our actions against the terrorists.

However, if this consensus involves the invasion or dominance, military or otherwise, of another nation in the aim of catching the enemy, then I and Orion will stand with Umeria in opposing it. Like they, we too felt the crushing weight of foreign imperialism. It is not something we wish upon anyone else.

Now that we have established the goals, let us proceed. Who wishes to speak next on the matter?"
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Steve » 2014-10-05 12:35am

Orion Royal Palace
May 5, 2014


Director Jackson stood and was recognized. "The key to suppressing terrorism is coordination," he stated plainly. "We work together. We exchange information. We don't get into scuffles over who's job is what and we don't let pride get in the way of what we've set our eyes on. That's an attitude that's got to be instilled top to bottom. Because let me tell you what's going to happen if we don't coordinate. We're going to blow up innocent people and the terrorists are going to not only walk away, they're going to find plenty of fresh bodies to throw against us."

"I came here because, frankly, I don't give a Goddamn" - Whitefield winced - "about international politics beyond what it takes for me to get my job done, and I want to see if the rest of you can follow me on that or not. Because if you're not willing to cooperate, you might as well pack up and walk out the door."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-10-05 01:53am

Hook Point Navy Base
Northern Coast of the Great Bay
March 23, 2014


Senior Field Officer Rose Alarieléte looked over her things, making sure the dress uniform paraphernalia were laid out.

She'd gotten a call from a bemused-sounding staffer telling her to expect a personal visit from a general-ranking Air Force officer. And no more. She was going to need to have words with the base personnel about that tomorrow...


A turbofan whine pierced the windowpane of her new quarters as Rose finished fastening up her dress uniform collar; the appointed time was soon and she wanted to be ready. Glancing out the window, Rose saw a Chariot fighter fly in, slow and hover down onto one of the landing pads over on the other side of the base. She'd just got done unpacking her last box before dressing for the meeting, and binoculars were to hand; on a whim she snatched them up- a gift from her grandmother- and took a look at the scene.

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Nothing remarkable about the fighter; she couldn't make out the squadron badge from this distance. She was no great expert on aviation, carrier or otherwise, but she thought the big cylinders at the wingtips were spare fuel tanks. A pair of almost-certainly-missiles hung near the fuselage. Ground crew ran out to check up on the supersonic light fighter, and Rose put her binoculars away.

Absently, she moved to the mirror, adjusting her ribbons and her sparse collection of badges and medals to lay properly. She tugged at the bottom of the uniform coat to settle it. With a single nod of satisfaction, she added came the cap, and a smile bloomed under her pale freckled cheeks for a moment. Senior Field Officer… who would have thought? fluttered through the Valewoman’s mind as she brushed an errant wisp of hair into place under the cap. A moment of pondering whether or not to wear her dress sword followed; she decided against it. This wasn’t a formal reception, and she had almost as poor luck keeping the scabbard from knocking into things as her head, even if her quarters, quite thankfully, weren’t nearly as cramped as a submarine.

There was a brisk knock-knock at the door; Rose crossed the room and answered. When she saw the almost-tall, redheaded woman at the door in Air Force service dress, with the epaulets of a Junior General, it was all she could do to keep her jaw from dropping.

She'd expected an Air Force general. Strictly speaking, one stood before her- provincial defense force ranks counted. But that stature and hair, that long, slim nose and those faint wrinkles around the eyes- when Rose was a girl that would have meant the queen, and now it meant...

Rose had not expected Her Royal Highness Sumi Tayamatra, twelfth of that name, heir to the crown of the Dawn Mists Semi-Autonomous Region.

Yeowoman instincts took over as she sank to one knee. Her family, and the entirety of the Vales, were three generations out of feudalism in theory, and one to zero generations in practice. "Your Royal Highness! This-"

The princess laughed and slid hands under Rose's shoulders to help her up, as Tayamatras had been doing to Alarielétes who'd acted much the same for thirty generations. Princess Sumi let the laugh shade over smoothly into the comfortable burble of the language of the Vales, so different from that of the men over the mountains. "We're in uniform, so we must be officers of Umeria first- and our ranks aren't that far apart, and congratulations on your promotion, 'Rose.' You're doing well."

The change in the princess' tone at her adopted name was a cheerful, bemused lilt- does she know my birth name, or remember? Filing a change of name to something Umerians would be comfortable with when she applied to the Naval Academy had... seemed like a good idea at the time. Probably had been, careerwise. She really did think of herself as 'Rose' now, more often than not; the change had been twenty-one years and two daughters ago, after all.

Feeling tongue-tied before royalty, Rose willed her mouth to move. "Th- thank you, Your Royal Highness; please do come in, they didn't tell me you were coming, what do you wish of me?"

Princess Sumi smiled again. "Well, I did need another flight to fill my hours for this year. Even if I could get an exemption from the rules for Chariot training to be rated fit to fly them, it would hardly do to neglect practice at arms."

Face still, and hoping for the princess’s sake that she took her practice seriously- She’s a Tayamatra, surely she must…, Rose came up with the polite response. “As you say, your highness. You are welcome in my quarters, of course; I have the samovar set up so we can have fayalin shortly if you like.”

The motions of the tea-making were reassuringly normal and down-to-Earth, compared to the experience of having a princess drop in. After the momentary busying-herself of making sure the fayalin would come out right, she turned to her royal guest, smiling and dipping her head as she asked “And if I may, Your Royal Highness, how was your journey?”

Princess Sumi smiled and tossed her head, a royal tic that had been in the family long enough to be described on fading parchments. “Had an interesting flight out here. Some storms blew up faster than the weather service expected, and getting over them was exciting. Ah well, better than that time in ‘06 that the engine quit on me. Had to fly home on the lift jets; lucky it wasn’t more than half an hour’s trip...”

Rose’s eyes shot fully open, imagining a finicky, unstable fighter jet, main engine out, skating across the sky on the downward force of her lift-thrusters. The Chariot would be skidding through the air of a hog on ice… at several hundred kilometers an hour. It’d be like… like… flying a helicopter, only the sky hates the idea of sharing space with it MORE!

She shivered. “I have to say, Your Highness, I cannot ever see myself doing such a thing. Experiencing such a thing would certainly make me think twice about flying again, but we Alarielétes are not known for our fearless ferocity, after all.”

"I know, I know, by blood your Line aren't warriors… Although. Although.” The princess smiled slowly. “Everything I've ever heard of underwater-war makes it sound like a battle of cleverness and patience, and..." she laughed. "Come to that, my House has been losing their occasional games of Nine Ladies Sparring against our steel-witches for a long time now. You'll do splendidly."

“I will note that Nine Ladies Sparring only has two dimensions to worry of, Your Royal Highness, but I shall not dare contradict a princess.” Rose replied with a soft smile crossing her face.

Princess Sumi’s mouth quivered, then a faint snort escaped her… then the laughter took over for a few long seconds before she recovered. “Fair. I shall see about getting a three-dimensional board, then.”

“If you wish the board of metal, I could make it myself, Your Highness. It’s been rather too long since I’ve singed my fingers...”

“Ah, but I’d like it to be waiting when you next return, so that I can ambush you with it!” She grinned.

“You seem to know many of the skills of underwater-war already, My Princess.” Rose replied with an honest smile spreading across her face.

Princess Sumi laughed again. “If nothing else they do have machine-shops on submarines; perhaps we can surprise each other. Though I have to ask, how do you handle being set over so many men?”

“Well, Your Highness, I’d like to think I have a healthy imagination to escape the situation when I must, I keep very tight control over myself… and I have the patience and social judo that comes from teenaged daughters.”

“Sounds about right. At home we’ve always been able to keep them outnumbered in the Territorial force- only ever specialists, and they’re not so bad when they’re outnumbered. Good to know you’ve found a way to get by the problem; I think it’s stopping most of our girls from getting promoted very far when they join the Umerian forces.”

“...You know, I imagine it would. I expect I had to impress a lot of people I didn’t even know about to get this far, and it’s a real trial sometimes. Still, patience helps more than anything else.” They have reasons, after all, for acting the way they do, even if they’re often hormonally stupid ones.

The princess tapped her cheek absently. “Which- almost reminds me of something, a précis my mother passed on to me about two months back… ah. Didn’t you almost wind up swords crossed against an Orion submarine this summer?”

“I wouldn’t say it was that close, Your Highness.” Rose sniffed. “The Orion boat provoked us rather sharply and gave us a terrible startle, and we didn’t take the bait. Captain Bear told me he almost turned around to lash them across the head with the towed sonar array, but he did have the judgment to think better of it.”

“Did you counsel against it?”

“I was in the next compartment over, actually, but… he did say imagining the look on my face helped him get over that first surge of boarishness.”

The princess smiled. “Good. Sensible, maybe more sensible than I would have been. You and him both. And… keep being sensible. I hope the Navy men do too. It’s strange to hear a Tayamatra say it, I’m sure, but the peace is good for us at home, you know that. The Umerians have been spending more on the metalworks with the, what do they call it, peace dividend. And just in the past couple of years, the new-” she blinked for a moment- “what's the word, datacenters are starting to get into a healthy trot; cheap electricity is good for them and it means we’re finally getting some girls who understand thinking machines.”

That,” Rose said feelingly, “is very much good news, ma’am.” She thought about how much more computerized the Navy had become in the past ten and fifteen years- not that it hadn’t relied on calculating machinery before that, but now it was everywhere, all digital, all the time. When she stepped out of the academy there was far, far less of that. “If you don’t mind my saying so, I think computers-” she used the Umerian word- “can do a lot for us, and skipping ahead to embrace them will help us catch up to the rest of the world.”

The shorter woman scowled. "They surely can, and I’m glad they won’t turn into another surprise... First we thought we understood rifles. Men pulled out grenades and revolvers, and we were twenty years setting things halfway to rights. Grandmother made sure we'd get the hang of small arms, then we found out about steel-chariots and sky-chariots and electricity... and by the time we got the hang of that we were having to pay in hearths and family groves for the dams and roads we'd need. This feeling rides the back of my neck, that atomics have at least as much power to create, perhaps to destroy, as any other art of man... and We-" she almost spat out the royal plural- "are tired of surprises."

Rose remained silent, thinking of the possibly-present GAV bugs. Inwardly she was nodding- all perfectly true, perfectly understandable... But she could tell that Princess Sumi was not finished.

Not to Rose's surprise, the princess gathered herself and continued, starting to smile again. "And so, since We are to have an advisory committee on atomic energy, and since you are the only woman of the Vales to command an atomic warship to date, whenever you're pensioned off... We will be waiting for you to teach us what you've learned. Just like your great-aunts did with the truck operators, or your great-grandmother with the art of gunsmithing."

The Navy woman blinked, feeling if anything more honored than she had at being given Broadsword a week ago. “I... I would be honored, Your Royal Highness… I do not know quite what Umeria will ask of me as yet. Certainly I am not expecting to… well, we shall see, Your Royal Highness, but I shall be honored to advise the Royal family in such matters as I am needed.” Rose thought to herself, I hope that sounded right…

The princess nodded. "Very well... oh, by the way, Kieliah-” she had a moment of startlement at the princess’ use of her birth-name, “I visited your Line's greathouse the day before I left, and your girls- the younger, actually- asked me to bring you this." She brought out a small paper-wrapped irregular object and handed it across to Rose, who gingerly opened it, feeling the heft of the thing, and seeing a small gleam, pulled the rest of the paper and foam away, and it...

It looked… actually rather a lot like a submarine. Oh, the hull was more like an old Rhenisch U-boat than the streamlined teardrops of the modern atomics, but definitely a submarine, as worked in sheet metal by a thirteen year old who had never seen one. A thirteen year old girl whose sheet-metal work was coming on very nicely… suddenly, it was hard to see clearly. She wiped her eyes as Princess Sumi’s voice sounded gently by her ear.

“I know it is a day early, but happy birthday, my loyal steel-witch."

The princess took Rose’s hand in hers, then, and squeezed it firmly. “You have done well, Vale-sister, and do us proud amongst the Umerians. Now, I fear I have to fly to Eastport before sundown. They have a far-too-full schedule for me, full of men chattering at me about various things… fare well with Our best wishes in your new command.”
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-07 10:56am

Written with Fingolfin

Orion Royal Palace
May 5, 2014


“Work together. That is… How you say? A-OK,” came a rumbling voice from the middle of the room. A mountain of a man in the black and gold uniform of the UOCSR navy had stood up. His name was Admiral Abdulikhat Grigoryevich Chernavin, and he was Deputy Naval Minister and Commander of the UOCSR’s Pacific Fleet. His face was badly scarred to the point it seemed as if someone with only the barest idea of what a person’s head was supposed to look like had carved it from a particularly gnarly piece of wood. His chest was a blaze of medals, hard-earned in a series of ridiculously stacked battles against Daedalean warships and coastal fortifications. "Work together. Cooperation. Solidarity. These are good words. Christian words. Soviet words. These words I like.”

He turned to the crowd. Fierce blue eyes glittered beneath his high-peaked cap. “But words are cheap, comrades. It is actions that count. For months and years, nations of the world watched as lawlessness takes over villages, cities, nations, and did nothing.” Chernavin’s voice grew louder. “That is not solidarity. That is not action. At this very moment, hundreds are held captive on the coasts of Lothal, victims of international piracy. Is this not terrorism? Do these actions not deserve a response?”

The admiral clenched his fists. “I say they do. With the aid of partners overseas,” Chernavin looked sideways at Fleet Commander Night, who gave a small nod in recognition, “we have located freighter Alajevsk. This ship and its crew of loyal communist sailors was captured on the high seas three months ago. I announce to you now that in the next few days Pacific Fleet intends to move warships into the Bay of Indore to liberate the Alajevsk and launch punitive strikes against international pirates on the Lothal coast.”

Maxwell Night half-rose from his seat. “Nightfall Incorporated has agreed to support the admiral in this endeavour, in the interest of order and free trade.” The Fleet Commander straightened his midnight blue uniform and sat back down.

Admiral Chernavin’s gaze swept across the crowd. “Those nations whose citizens were are also wronged by the injustices of piracy are welcome to join the UOCSR in this endeavour. Those who are opposed to our action... Now would be the time to speak. And then we will weigh your words against your actions.”
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-10-07 01:29pm

Dr. Mahogany quietly raised a hand to the level of his ear, rapping his cane against the leg of his chair twice with his left hand in a call for quiet.

"The Technocracy has a moderately extensive operation planned in those waters. I believe the Navy had scheduled for July- something involving the maintenance of Violet Crown." The handful of naval experts present blinked in recognition of the name; the heavy VTOL carrier USS Violet Crown was the flagship of Umeria's only triphibious battlegroup. Without it, the battlegroup's ability to land troops and provide air support would both be seriously weakened.

"My apologies for our failure to inform you via the offices of your naval liaison. We hadn't yet finalized the target list, as our reconnaissance operations are as yet incomplete. If your D-day is in May, would you mind forwarding us a list of the targets you intended to attack? Your reputation precedes you; it would be pointless to plan operations against things you have already destroyed.

Dr. Mahogany paused, tapping his lip. "Hmmm... If it is your intent to raid and strike the pirates, perhaps it would be best for us to hasten the repairs and push our date forward. I would have to speak to the Admiral Staff to be precise on the details, however."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-07 02:50pm

Admiral Chernavin looked pointedly at Commander Night. The privateer took his cue and once more rose from his comfortable seat. He was the polar opposite of the UOCSR admiral, a handsome square-jawed forty-something with black hair that greyed just the right amount at the temples. Maxwell Night looked like a movie star, and he oozed charisma.

"My colleagues and I," he began, a smooth gesture indicating his fellow mercenaries in general and Lt. Colonel Sirota in particular, "have operated private asset surety teams in Lothal for a few weeks now, with the intent of conducting a baseline review of the unprivileged belligerents in the area and effecting a tactical property reallocation." The Fleet Commander used the bland, corporate-sounding terms of San Dorado's mercenary elite, but everyone in the room knew he meant that PMC commando teams wanted to wipe out the pirates to take back the hijacked vessels. Paradigm Security hadn't been exactly coy in its sales pitch.

"In the spirit of cooperation I'm sure we can work together to share information, point coordinates and the burden of operations and associated costs," he continued. "Umerian participation might perhaps also alleviate certain... concerns," Night considered his next words carefully, "regarding our interest in the area." He cracked a smile. It was a handsome smile, the smile of someone you would trust. "We are aware that the motivations of our particular type of business are not always perceived as benevolent. But let me assure you that you are not the only in this room one who worries where terrorism ends and legitimate interests begin." This was an implicit reference to the King's opening speech the day before. King Alexander had mentioned Cali as an area of concern, but the independent city made San Dorado's corporations a lot of money, and it was not in their interest to effect significant changes there.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby RogueIce » 2014-10-07 07:54pm

Senior Captain Gilad Pellaeon of the Shinra Republic Navy stood up. While they weren't sure the topic of piracy would come up, the Republic's delegation wanted to be ready, and that was why they'd brought him along.

"While I am sure few would question the necessity of working to free those kidnapped by pirates, I do wish to raise a query concerning the extent and scope of the 'punitive strikes' proposed by the good Admiral. The Shinra Republic, as I'm sure you all know, is certainly aware that sometimes it is necessary to pursue criminals across national boundries," said the man who had commanded the carrier involved in the Republic's raid on Eulica, a fact which would not be lost upon those present. "However, we did so with the knowledge and cooperation of the affected nations," he continued. Which was technically true, since they did have the permission of a government official, albeit one who was bribed. But such minor details weren't important right now. "And we made sure to carefully limit our objectives as much as was possible, to avoid the risk of unintended consequences." He meant "collateral damage" of course, but this sounded much less dire.

"And so I come back to the question of the just what is hoped to be accomplished by these 'punitive strikes' so proposed. What is the extent of these strikes? What say should the people of Lothal - the good, honest people who do not engage in piracy - have in the conduct of these strikes?" He paused briefly, letting his eyes drift across the room and each of the delegations present. "And are such strikes necessary, or even in the best interests of preventing future problems in the region? Certainly, for those who have engaged in piracy, they should be punished. And those who are held against their will should be freed. But would it not, in this case of lawlessness brought upon by desperation and neglect - a neglect I must admit even we in the Shinra Republic have been guilty of, as have we all, as Lothal was ravaged and brought to ruin over these many years, their people driven to this desperate state, that piracy is seen as their only means to survive - be more productive to talk not of punitive actions as the international response, but instead of rehabilitation and restoration?"

Pellaeon once again took in the entirety of the room, before sitting down and awaiting the response to his words, and his proposal.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-10-07 09:33pm

Dr. Mahogany smiled widely, with the gleam of synthetic dentistry. "Perhaps then I might add a few more memoranda to my own ministry's conversations with the Lothali government. I myself had discussed such matters with them less than a fortnight ago. We have already secured consent for our opening offensives against the pirates, in exchange for various considerations. Some military, some economic."

The wrinkled little diplomat's smile turned to regard the captain, the socialist, and the freebooters. "No doubt their Government can be persuaded to amend the timetable of our arrangement. We can of course assure them of the... restraint of our new cobelligerents, I presume?"
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Steve » 2014-10-08 12:41am

Loughlin Space Center
East Falkland Island
The Falklands Autonomous State, Patagonia
10 May 2104



Mission Specialist Janet Lowell fought down the butterflies in her stomach as the final checks were complete and the launch cycle began for the Discovery. Mission Commander Lana Daabi, formerly a Lieutenant and pilot of the Air Guard, gave a thumbs up to her crew of eight specialists and one foreign scientist.

For Janet, over a year of training and waiting had come to this moment. From White Fox Space Camp in the Ute Republic of Cascadia to her final astronaut training here at Loughlin, she had worked hard to get a coveted spot in the space program as President Penton, an ardent advocate of space exploration, had reinvigorated NASA. To think I might actually help build a moon base before I'm too old to launch again, the twenty-six year old contemplated as she waited for the moment of decision.

Over the PA the countdown came. The butterflies grew more restless in her stomach and she tried and failed to will them to stop.

"Just remember your training" a Granadian-accented voice said. She turned and looked at Mission Specialist Diego Montalba. The Sonora native was just two years older than her and two more space flights more experienced. "Best way to deal with them. The butterflies." He flashed her a knowing smile from within his helmet.

Janet nodded, feeling re-assured.

The countdown reached zero. The world shifted under her as the rockets built into Discovery ignited. Fueled by the tanks fixed like an upside down V to Discovery's body, the ship's powerful engines pushed her against Tellus' gravity and sent her skyward. Janet felt like a weight was trying to crush her against her seat. Her heart pounded. Minutes turned into hours as the sky darkened until the black void of space became visible outside.

A thunk sounded through the shuttle as the drop tanks were let go, their fuel exhausted. They'd done what they were built to do; Discovery was nearly to orbit. More tense minutes passed, Janet's heart fluttering as she wondered if something would grow wrong.

The veterans of the crew relaxed palpably. "Phoenix, we have reached orbit," Daabi reported in a firm tone. "Launch is a success."

"Congratulations, Discovery," was the reply.

"I did it," Janet breathed to herself. "I'm here."

Daabi's voice broke her from her reverie. "Alright everyone, we're up here, let's get to work..."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby madd0ct0r » 2014-10-09 04:08pm

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Back in the conference, as conversation on Lothal ebbed away to quiet murmurs between interested parties, Ambassador Begum stood and waited patiently for the room to quiet. The huddle in the corner plotting blood on the water ignored her, and would soon, no doubt, adjourn to a meeting room to hash details out. Champa had an interest too but she could see the Brigadier had found his way over to them. He was currently miming something that looked painful.

Time to distract the others.

"Gentlemen, ladies and delegates all. I have two proposals to be put forward for consideration in the discussion. The first is that the asymmetric nature of terrorism favours the use of more horrifying weapons. We have all seen and been appalled by the damage crude explosives managed here in Orion. There are far worse weapons of mass destruction in this world, the use of which should carry extra penalties. Perhaps a result of this conference could be a treaty banning the use of chemical, biological and radiological weapons directly or indirectly on people? Countries that sign up to it may legally try anyone who commits such an act on their territory, regardless of where they are from. The weight of the treaties adherents would see to that. Almost an international court. Naturally, for such acts punishment would be severe.

The second, and probably no less difficult is that terrorism is something that can damage a country without warning, and often without justification. Would an international insurance scheme make sense in this context?"
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-10-09 07:16pm

Once again, Dr. Mahogany raised a finger, rubbing his scalp with his left hand. "Plagues and radioactives should never be used in war; they are more indiscriminate than can be believed, and to renounce them is sensible. But... ladies and gentlemen, I do not look forward to persuading the Army to give up gas at home. It is part of our arsenal, and has been since '45, whatever may be said for or against it. I can sign my name to an agreement barring it from distribution to renegades, from proliferation of any kind... but not renouncing it in a declared war. That would be a major concession for the Umerian state, and one at most very dubiously connected to terrorism. We might as well try to outlaw TNT."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby TimothyC » 2014-10-09 10:38pm

Deputy Director Casper spoke up in the pause after Dr. Mahogany's statement "It is the position of the Unified Kingdoms that Chemical, biological, and radiological weapons should not be used, for we are not blessed as many nations are, with the land needed to protect our peoples. We would support a working group to establish a control regime, but it seems inappropriate to discuss such issues at the present time."

"To further the points made earlier, the definition of terrorists is inherently vague. I remind you that less than 40 years ago there were a string of mail bombs in Honolulu that were traced back to a group that received funding and support from our current host." I sincerely doubt that he would consider that group terrorists, while if you ask the average resident of O'ahu, the most certainly would."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-10 04:23am

"The punitive strikes on Lothal will restrict or end outright the ability of pirates to interfere with and harass international shipping," said Admiral Chernavin. "Our assault focuses on known pirate strongholds along the coast and the motherships they use to raid throughout the Bay of Indore. As for 'collateral damage'..." Chernavin's expression, as much as it could be discerned on his disfigured face, spoke volumes about how much he valued that concept, "pirates are the enemies of all mankind. Hostis humani generis, in the old tongue. They are beyond legal protection, and it is the opinion of the admiralty that those who dwell with pirates and enable their activities deserve to share their fate."

The admiral thought for a second, then added: "As for talk of rehabilitation and restoration, we are open to hearing suggestions but preliminary plans for a more permanent solution for the Lothal problem have run into resistance," another glance at the San Doradan delegation, "from indispensable partners in the region. We are open to hearing your plans."

Next Stormbrink's gruff and bruising Lt. Colonel Franklin Clay rose from his seat. Once upon a long time ago the black-haired mercenary had been born in Versahinveld. After his team was betrayed and left for dead by their handler they had conducted a long-running covert operation of their own to get revenge. That had drawn attention, and it wasn't long before his men had found a new home in San Dorado working their old trade for Stormbrink. "Terrorism, ladies and gentlemen, is not an act, it is a concept. To attempt to set it apart or outlaw it is... unsound," it was Clay was thinking of much less polite words to describe it.

"Asymmetric warfare is as old as mankind. All your states," he made a sweeping gesture indicating everyone in the room, "have gone to great lengths to train special forces and spies whose tactics can easily and correctly be labeled terrorism. In fact what is usually called terrorism could be referred to as 'retail terrorism' while the routine exercise of direct action by states in what is commonly called 'war' can be called 'wholesale terrorism'. The goal of war is to terrorize entire states into compliance by killing large numbers of people, destroying vast amounts of infrastructure or taking over large areas of land. How is this different from the actions of AVALANCHE here, in this very city, in anything but scale? Is it because you are nation-states? Does anyone here want to make the argument that controlling an accident of history entitles one to reigns of terror? 'Cause I imagine that person's got another thing comin' if he does."

Clay frowned, apparently realizing that he'd come within a hair of accusing the collected nations of the world of hypocrisy. So he cracked his knuckles and added, "If you must, then outlaw specific actions, not broad concepts. And lead by example."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Simon_Jester » 2014-10-10 06:34am

Dr. Mahogany smiled thinly, tapping his cane once; he set down the water glass that he'd just lifted from the table. "Specific actions... close to the heart of the matter. The terrorists who strike fear tomorrow may be thus feared for committing crimes unknown and unimagined. Things no one could have possibly predicted, and that no one even thought to outlaw. The potential of science and technology is vast. Perhaps we will be chasing these future terrorists across the globe for what they do to our computers, or for creating new species of beasts with science we do not know today. Or for cunningly disabling some bank and ruining the fortunes of a hundred million people. Bomb-throwing maniacs are only the first and best understood of the threats we might call 'terrorist.'

"Most of the nations here assembled have... difficulties with the idea of ex post facto law," Dr. Mahogany flipped a hand to show an upraised palm, as if weighing this. "I cannot say that it is wrong to reject such laws, but in the case of punishing new kinds of terrorism or 'war crimes' all law will necessarily be ex post facto; we cannot precisely define the crime until we have seen the criminal in action, and even identifying which acts are crimes worthy of 'antiterrorist' attention may prove challenging."

"I submit that what we will need, to pursue a coordinated strategy against terrorism, is to begin by creating an international body that can say "this is a terrorist, this is not." Not "terrorism is illegal," not "we are fighting terror. In all honesty, I do not think the word "terror" should even appear in our definition. It relies too much on the idea that the reaction of the fickle public is what makes a 'terrorist' what they are. The newspapers in my own country usually use a phrase that translates as 'international bandit;' perhaps that is where we should start."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2014-10-10 12:47pm

King Alexander rose in response to Dr Mahogany's words.

"Orion would support such a body. Indeed, perhaps this same international body could oversee intelligence-sharing regarding real or suspected terrorists." He looked down briefly at his notes.

"I also believe that the Lothal situation would be best discussed separately from this meeting. Those of you involved with that are free to use the meeting halls either now or later, whichever is most amenable to you."
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2014-10-11 10:30pm

UOCSR Voyennyy Zhurnal


Recent Khagarian attacks 'a wake up call'

Recent Khagarian attacks on the UOCSR a "wake up call", says Colonel-General Lemensky Bandarenko, commanding officer of the PVO. In a speech given at a recent staff officer course graduation ceremony, he told an audience of majors and colonels from various branches that the threat of Khagarian invasion, though very old, is still alive and present. Whereas he revied, about 66% of the missiles fired at the UOCSR were intercepted, 33% made it through and still wrecked terrible damage. "Our defences were mostly centered at military bases, and not civilian ones. As such, the missiles targeted at civilian areas largely made it through. This is an unacceptable circumstance and must be rectified." He admitted that this was a "tall challenge" because of the huge number of cities and villages and towns and would require more assets to be deployed to cover a larger area. "Resources are limited, and thus we must explore alternatives to relying only on air defence systems such as the S-400 and S-500." He broadly hinted that megawatt class laser defenses have been undergoing testing over the last few years, and many of which has proven promising.

"However, I should further emphasize that missile defenses is only one of our problems. It has long been known that the Khagarians are developing capabilities to target our orbital satellite surveillance systems, as well as our GLONASS system. We must also deal with eventualities that our satellites will be shot down and our military would be unable to operate without GLONASS," he said. He has gone on to describe that the UOCSR has over the last few years invested heavily in GLONASS alternatives, such as Cold Atom Gyroscopes (CAG) and miniaturized atomic clocks utilizing MEMS technology that could be integrated in existing platforms. Other investments in more precise gyroscopes has taken priority, especially those that would be integrated in cruise missiles. A lot of research and development is still underway in the field. "The UOCSR must continue to grow its economy and grow its military as well. We must be vigilant. We must continue to develop domestic capabilities along side with our overseas procurement of certain systems," says the General.

Snap Military Exercises declared as largely successful

Military exercises declared in the various military districts were declared largely successful. These exercises, which at times involved joint coordination between 2-3 districts, saw the entire standing army of the UOCSR mobilized. The exercises were conducted in a rolling fashion, and as such, only the districts involved in the exercises were mobilized at any time. "All the various military districts carried out their given missions to check for readiness and the ability to carry out various missions. Some districts wargamed against each other, to discover their individual strengths and weaknesses. Much was learned from these exercises," says a spokesmen from the UOCSR STAVKA. It is rare to see so many hundreds of thousands of men engaged in exercises at once, and analysts say the exercises were as much as a test of readiness of the UOCSR military, as they are a warning to Khagarian that the UOCSR stands ready to fight any invasion from Khagaria.
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Re: 2014 STGOD Story Thread I

Postby Siege » 2014-10-16 11:47am

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Pentex Advanced Research Lab | 1553 W. Wagner Drive
Delta City, San Dorado


Row upon row of server computers receded into the shadowy distance. It was hot in the long, squat tunnel. Hot and noisy: the air throbbed with the dull roar of cooling units straining to cycle out the dry heat.

It wasn't practical to house this many servers in an abandoned 1930s railroad tunnel. Just running enough power down the twisting stone staircases had given Pentex engineers headaches, cooling was an even bigger pain in the ass and the less said about fire safety the better.

But it was either this or moving the systems out to one of Coldstream's data-warehouses. And it was impossible to keep an operation like that secret in San Dorado. Moving hundreds of super-powered server stacks would attract attention. Other corporations would wonder what was being moved. And inevitably they would know where they were moved to.

Pentex would much prefer no-one knew of CRYSTAL FOG, much less its location. The program was wrapped in layers of secrecy, code names and obfuscation. As far as anyone involved in construction of this underground data-bunker knew this was just another compartmentalized corporate continuity facility.

"Do you suppose anyone realized that we've run no fiber down here?" Doctor Haris Kalvin wondered as he looked down the rows of irregularly blinking lights in the darkened tunnel. Kalvin looked scruffy with his three day beard and tweed suit, especially compared to the man standing next to him.

Olyphaunt Yuu was a huge man. The Pentex CEO's exquisitely tailored jacket was almost twice as large around the waist as a normal business suit. Yuu carefully cultivated the public image of a jolly uncomplicated fat man. But Kalvin was not deceived. That plump form concealed an enormous strength and resilience, and an acutely clever mind. Few other people could have built a company from nothing into one of the largest computer hardware and software corporations in the world.

"Doubtful," Yuu smiled. He leaned on his chromed carbon-fiber cane and stared at what for all intents and purposes looked like the next stage in computational evolution. "There's a work order in the system. A crew is busy installing optical cables right now."

Kalvin glanced sideways. There was no-one in the vault besides the two of them and the computer. "Except there isn't."

"Except there isn't," Yuu agreed. "There is no crew. There are no facts, there is no truth. There's just data to be manipulated."

"How very zen," Kalvin muttered noncommittally. "Tell me director, are you really thinking of letting her out?"

Olyphaunt Yuu looked at Kalvin, his expression attentive. "'Her', doctor?"

"A figure of speech," the doctor replied defensively. "Besides, it's as good a pronoun as any. Please answer the question."

"Hmm," Yuu murmured. "It's not my idea. But I won't deny the committee is considering taking it... Her, if you prefer, for a spin. A satellite uplink is considered. Maybe to Cali. Maybe elsewhere. Just to see... what happens."

Kalvin shook his head and fidgeted with his hands. “They do realize. Once it’s out, it’s out. We can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Ever."

"Oh, I’m not sure of that." Olyphaunt sounded confident. "This is a very large and very specialized server array. There aren't many such... bodies... in the world. And they all run our hardware. Someone would notice. We would notice."

"You can't be sure of that. I know you can't because I can't be sure of that." Kalvin looked at the code rolling and shifting across his screens. "The code is growing more complex at a speed of knots. I have no way to tell how much of this she needs. Maybe lots. Maybe very little indeed." The doctor looked up at Yuu. "How many rooms do you need in your house to live in it?" He sighed. "How many rooms does a house need to be a house?"

"I... see." The CEO rubbed his chin. "I value your input, doctor. But at some point we must decide what to do with what we have. Trust it or not trust it. Open the box or pull the plug. What would you propose?"

Kalvin clasped his hands behind his back. He silently contemplated the question for a while. "Perhaps there is another way. We could create an analog intermediary. Someone like colonel Shturm, perhaps? Then we can proceed depending on the results."

Yuu's face lit up in delight. "What an interesting suggestion, doctor. I'm sure the committee will agree. It's just the kind of approach Mr. Soules would favour. The good colonel is in Paradise City on business for several more days. Set it up for her return."
Image
SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes


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