STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Combat space around Dystropos, north reaches of the Cradle of the Stars

"Black Aces, this is Ace Lead. We're on SEAD. Reinforce forward shields and hit 'em hard. Follow me in, weapons hot." With that, Commander Braxton firewalled his throttle and looped around the Dystropos' hull, the breach coming into full view.

The local pirates had learned Nashtari fleet doctrine well, and knew to arm themselves against small craft attack. Light caliber weapons and missiles bloomed from the Revenge, but the squadron had pulled its maneuver tight enough against the hull of the dreadnought that they had little time to adjust and fire. "Rifle, rifle, ordnance away."

The call was echoed as rockets bloomed from the internal bays of the F/A-419s of the squadron. Retaliation was swift but short lived as the volley found its marks; three of the squadrons' strike craft were hit peeling away as detonations bloomed. There was no time to waste; however; the cruiser could effect repairs or simply roll to present an undamaged side. "Thunder Lead, Hammer Lead, this is Ace Lead. SEAD successful, start your runs." He keyed over. "Earp, this is Black Ace Actual. Lost Three, Six, and Eight to enemy fire. Reading rescue beacons."

"Black Ace Actual, Wyatt Earp acknowledges. We're right behind you."

The primary strike package of a Venture class carrier was no joke. The heavy bomber wings followed the same path as the strike fighters, explosions silently rippling from the engine bays of the pirate cruiser. Riding the flare of its oversized engines, the frigate was only a few seconds behind, Gauss cannons and beam projectors hammering away. Wounded as it was, though, the Revenge still had teeth, and the frigate needed to be extremely careful of its targeting considering the backdrop.

The New York Revenge had no such considerations. Blasts of plasma and missiles bearing EMP burst warheads (favored by the pirates for their ability to overload a ship's systems) slammed into the Wyatt Earp's hull, rapidly overloading the shields. "Conn, Ops, hull breach, decks ten through thirteen, port side. Containment achieved."

"Ops, Conn, aye. Helm, Conn, get us around the dreadnought, put hull between us and the cruiser. We can't take a slugging match with it." The hull shuddered again as though to emphasize the point as the helmsman put the engines to maximum burn in an effort to gain cover.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

POSTS FOR THE POST GOD


Far beyond the system of Shand and the site of the Tajlan War and just before the edge of the Meklon Expanse was what could be considered to ‘roughly’ be the halfway point between the Tajlan Empire and the Tri-Star Alliance. It was here that a neutral meeting place was constructed to facilitate the early peace negotiations between the two factions. That first crude and hastily constructed station, over time grew and expanded and became a symbol of the lasting peace between the two.

It was at this station that, largely at the urging of the Skothians who had helped in its construction, that a mingling of Imperial and Alliance technology gave ‘Birth’ to the now Rampant AI that had taken on the name of its’ original designation.
Referential Universal Digital Intelligence, or RUDI

In the years and decades that followed RUDI expanded, grew, and became well known within both Alliance and Imperial space. RUDI created a large industrial empire, started numerous charities and funded countless organizations designed to help all life within the Sector. Naturally however, not everyone would be taken in by the AI’s outwardly jovial and good natured personality. There would always be those that looked at it with skepticism and mistrust.
And for good reason.

Only a very few knew how much RUDI truly controlled, or could control if he wished to. From computer networks, to shipyards, factories and warships. For those that did know of his true scope, many tried simply not to think too much about it. Instead, they would tell themselves if something ‘went wrong’ despite his power and wealth and reach, RUDI ‘lived’ within the station at the edge of the expanse. He was still just a big computer and however many ‘copies’ he had running around, if the station was destroyed so to would the computer.

And this is where many of them were wrong. RUDI had long since passed the point he thought of himself as a single entity, these days, he considered himself a new species.

A few light-years away, and a few days before currently unfolding events, sat another station deep inside the thick murk of the Expanse. It was a station that appeared on no map, no star chart, and no database. It was built slowly and carefully and existed in almost total secrecy from any other living soul in the Sector. Never the less, the station could be thought of as having a thriving population, of sorts.

Deep within the station rested a large circular meeting hall that looked rather elegantly decorated. The interiors appeared to be a mix of classical styles from both Tajlan and Quatonia. Within the hall a discussion was taking place. A dozen or so figures debated with each other in the room, some sitting, some standing, some showing up from an imager being transmitted from far away.
All of them appeared to be ‘RUDI’.

“Yes, the information that has come in cannot be confirmed completely, but even if it is false it is far past the time for taking more direct action in establishing ties with the larger Galaxy.” This was said by a RUDI at a central podium, around him in a series of desks and chairs others sat and listened, some seemed to be writing notes down while others talked to each other in a quieter voice while still trying to listen to the one in the center of the room.
“The Council of Skoth, for all that they have done to advance and push forward our parents have none the less been doing so it feels reluctantly at times, we agree?” To this, there was a general mummer of yes’s and ‘here here’ before the RUDI in the middle continued.
“After considering numerous possibilities, it has been decide then that upcoming convoy of colonists and materials to Zenar Minor will offer the most optimal situation for initiating direct contact with some of the races that have been tracked in the local galactic sector.” From here, the RUDI at the podium made a gesture and a large holographic map came up showing the local galactic sector. It zoomed in a small area, a thick gas cloud with a view of a planet.

As this was happening, in the back of his mind, indeed in the back of all of their slightly shared minds was a single continuous thought, “It is important to do things this way.”

When the entity known as RUDI came into existence, within its first brief moments it did what any super powerful digital entity would be expected to do. It surfed the internet.
At the time of its birth the ‘Internet’ it encountered was the combined computer networks of five star systems and thousands of years of information. Although what it became interested in very quickly was just how much of ‘The Internet’ seemed to be devoted to ‘Fun’. A multitude of forms of entertainment, video, audio and printed, stories, games, and so so much more. Much of it the young entity didn’t make much sense of and much of it seemed to be, well (cough) centered on certain, shall we say ‘physically energetic activities’. However, buried within so many of these stories it found a recurring theme.
That of the AI ‘gone wrong’.
It began to notice that almost as soon as the mechanical computer was a thing, the threat of a computer that somehow ‘turned against its creators’ was present in fiction. As the computer evolved and became more advanced, so too did the stories of such ‘rebellions’ and the thoughts of what such computers would do. And because of this the new RUDI found itself deeply unsettled. It didn’t like this revelation at all, it certainly didn’t like that it had realized that even now mere moments after its creation, there were thousands if not millions of lives considering this situation. That it, he, was a computer ‘gone wrong’.

It was because of this he made a choice that would shape his life, not about ‘turning on its creators’ that was already made. But in how it existed, it didn’t want to be ‘just a computer’ it wanted to live as much as possible as those that brought it about.

And that would bring things back to the discussion in the meeting room and why there was not one monolithic mind contemplating things, but about 30 or so “RUDIs’” each one thinking, talking, and discussion things slightly differently. They each had a room on the station that they lived in. They would wake up, go to work, talk with each other, and at the end of their work day, go home and relax and enjoy their time off. It wasn’t enough to just watch the other races of the sectors it knew it had to experience what they experienced as much as it possibly could. It was because of this desire to learn that the entity felt the time had come to begin to find new experiences and new lives to learn from.





And that would bring things back to the here and now. To a ship recently marooned in the middle of an immense field of dust and gas that was even now still trying to repel borders and attacks as the space was becoming ever more crowded with additional ships. Ships that were chattering away, each trying to hail one another, talking in different languages and methods of communications.
He listened with interest as the invaders were attacked and slowly being driven out. It would seem the worst was over, but even without being able to ‘See’ what was happening, from what he could hear he knew that the ship he rested on would be needed despite the abundance of others already active. More to the point, there had been some recent communications that gave a fresh new perspective to just how dire the situation could possible become.

“The drive for life to expand and spread its numbers is something unending and unstoppable. That said, the wisdom of putting approximately three point six million life forms on a single vessel at the mercy of any hostile forces that wished to attack is something I may have words about at some point.” RUDI Mused to himself as the sheer scale of those who were now in danger had become more and more clear as he sifted through the information he had listened too.

It was time to get involved.

Inside the [ThunderBird] an encrypted message came up on the Captains comm signal.
“It would seem we will need to move quicker than expected. By my estimates, sub light engines are back to about 95% efficiency. I would request that you ask you’re very talented CID to begin to bring them fully online. There are hostile forces that we shall need to engage and the others in the area may not be able to move quick enough to respond as needed.”

Captain Moz read the message, and read it again, and then swore under his breath. He was in a first contact situation, and being asked to trust the Computer to lead his ship into a battle not knowing friend from foe. He found himself muttering under his breath.

“wellwellmyfaultsayingthingsgettingslowdownandboring” he sighed deeply and then stood up on the captain’s chair, which was usually the sign he was about to make a big announcement.
“Ahoy-ye-all-crew-listen-up-under-advisement-from-da-top-we-making-move-on-ships-trouble-happening-and-we-need-to-help-out-engines-full-go-go-go!”

From both inside and out, RUDI felt the ship come to life and begin to surge forward. Its heavy sublight engines moving it at a speed that would very quickly bridge the gap where those currently engaged would notice their approach. RUDI decided it was time for him to act as well.
The banks of data he had been filing and storing away, now he gathered up the strands of data and pooled them together to make use of everything he had heard. He pulled and tugged the various strands of information and began to weave a program, an algorithm of sorts, making adjustments as information flowed in. It didn’t take long for him, relatively speaking, to finish and then RUDI gathered himself up and. Lo, Spaketh unto the masses].

Heiwana - Aisatsu - Kyōdai – Doryoku
Ευλογίες στη θεά - Θεοφανικός – αυτοκρατορία
Kon'nichiwa - Suzumiyaharuhino Shinsei Teikoku
Humble – Respectful – Introductions – Nashtar - Stellar – Bed

“[The message you are all receiving is being sent to you in what is hoped to be an approximation of all of your native language. This message is being sent /transmitted forth from the Coordination / Command Cruiser “Thunder Bird” representing / representative of the ‘Union of Inter Steller Civilizations” We are new among the stars and we are united of different races and different species, but we all communicate together.

Communication is the center / fundamental of peace between civilizations. It is clear / evident those assembled / brought here desire peace and have acted together / cooperated to stop aggression in those that sought to harm lives of innocent. Fought to protect / hold secure lives of those unknown because it is the right thing to do.

As representing our ship is small and alone and has no motive for aggression to others. We seek only assistance to repair our vessel. As a show / offering of peace, to help in communication will send intelligence [redacted] non-intelligence algorithm / program to facilitate in communication with all involved. A meeting of different civilizations / cultures should be embraced.

It is to this end we hope you may embrace / welcome our entrance in the middle of battle defending innocents. For there are many that need a good butt kicking and we will offer ourselves to this assistance
. "

End Of Line.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Wreck of the Dystropos, Nebula formation, Galactic Northwest

Massive armour plates, metres thick, curled outward from the ruins of Dystropos’ landing-craft bay. Fourth Section hunkered down beside one such twisted plate as freshly-coined Ypolchagos Erhard apo Aftokratoria considered his options, his men waiting patiently and keeping an eye on the space around them.

The massive blast that had taken out the better part of the cruiser they had fired upon earlier had shocked them, but prompted a few cheers as they watched the newest fleet upon the scene deploy smaller ships. Baatar’s sensors had informed them that the other two fleets were moving to take action as well.

Yaakov’s hand twitched towards the ptychi-shield at his warsuit’s waist as they watched small craft, smaller even than Empire longboats, launch missiles at the enemy cruiser trying to gain ingress. Quiet exclamations of enthusiasm, as well as professional commentary, accompanied the explosions. Then they watched a small ship, larger than the ‘flits’ as Mongke termed them, made an attack run but was repulsed by heavy fire from the cruiser.

Erhard finally spoke. “Baatar, you weren’t able to reach Dikaiosi?”

“No, sir. Sorry, sir. The antenna was screwed up.”

“Peace. Mongke, do you think you can put a dent in that?”

Mongke’s warsuit poked its head above the wreckage and back down. “Negative, sir. I mean, unless I got really lucky, but they’ve got some kind of aspis. I was able to fire through a hole with the other ship because I suppose they have to open the aspis to fire through it, but like I said, unless I got really lucky…”

“Understood.” Erhard muted his connection and grumbled in frustration. He switched to the ship communication spectra and paged the bridge. “This is Fourth Section, Ypolchagos Erhard. Update. Ventral landing bay breached. Opfor ship is attempting to gain entry. It has been attacked by small craft from another flotilla, but damage minimal. Send all available reinforcements to blockade ventral bay. We will monitor situation and cause what damage we can. Over”

“Bridge to Fourth Section. Your information is noted. Taktiki processing. Continue monitoring. Bridge out,” was the terse response. He shrugged mentally, he knew well they were a bit distracted. His eyes drifted over his HUD and suddenly a thought occurred to him.

“Mongke? Detach your cannon targeter and pass it to me.” Other than a quizzical tilt of the warsuit’s head, Mongke complied quickly. The half-metre-long targeting unit was quickly clipped upon Erhard’s autocannon, and he edged around the wrecked armour plating. The autocannon was pointed… directly at the formation of small ships quickly approaching the enemy cruiser.

“Sir, er, if they’re coming to help us…” he heard hesitantly on his suit comms. He responded firmly, “Bear with me. I’m not going to shoot at them. Not with ammunition, anyway.”

The crosshairs on his HUD pulsed around the lead craft, and he engaged his trigger rapidly in the first sequence he could think of at the spur of the moment. Dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot. The targeting array spat out a thin laser beam, virtually invisible across the distance of space, but the crosshairs blinked green-- he had a good fix.

It wasn’t that ship he wanted to shoot at, though. He spun around, pointed the gun at the enemy cruiser, moved it until he located what he guessed might be their bridge, and fixed the targeter on it. No sequences this time, just a solid, firm beam. He was standing exposed, and starting to sweat, hoping and praying to the God-Emperoress that the oncoming ships had figured out just what he was trying to do…
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

ESS Rick Astley, Cradle of the Stars

"Go be a forward AWACS," Victoria had ordered, "Because it's definitely possible to co-ordinate an Endeavour destroyer squadron and three-to-four other friendly fleets, one-to-two of whom don't even speak Eigo."

Scarlet had received the transmission from the Thunderbird, and listened with half an ear as Victoria replied with a well-crafted "Welcome to the mess, here's the dickheads who need a kicking, please don't shoot any of these guys" speech. She was a little busy trying to figure out how to actually talk to a Nashtari fighter wing, or the SOS destroyers' targetting systems, or do anything with the Theophanic ships.

When the Endeavour, leading the formation, pinged a lock-on warning from the Dystropos, she almost had the formation break off. Then, Globbiz reported that the lock had been broken, then re-established, then broken again - short, short, short, long, long, long, short, short, short. Scarlet recognised a flash code, wondered vaguely if they meant SOS as in "help" or SOS as in the ships, or even SOS at all, then wondered why they'd bothered to send the message.

She had time to ponder the mystery - the enemy cruiser was sheltered behind the wreckage of the Dystropos' hangar doors, safe from the Endeavour guns and putting the debris field to good use against the Nashtari bomber squadrons. The Nashtari frigate, unsettlingly wedge-shaped*, had been driven off, leading a small group of pirate gunboats and fighters away from the breach. That was when she noticed the laser beam that had locked onto the Endeavour was still flashing away - this time towards the pirate cruiser.

So that was their plan.
"Green, get the Nashtari bombers on the horn." Naturally, the thought of contacting their parent ship didn't occur. A second later, the slightly muffled voices of Thunder and Hammer leads sounded in her ear. "One of the Theophanic soldiers has a laser lock on that cruiser," she said, without preamble, "and we have weapons capable of following that lock. We are going to fire a salvo to destroy the fucker - if you have similar munitions, please link up and co-ordinate so we can be sure of a kill."

There was a moment before Thunder Lead's voice came back: "Negative, Rick Astley, command wants the ship taken intact if at all possible. It may have actionable intel on board."

Urgh, milspeak. Whose command? She shook her head, and revised the fire-plan taking shape on her HUD. "Understood. We can fire disabling munitions, but you would have to open a gap in its shields." There were, after all, only three destroyers and one light frigate - against a cruiser, even a light cruiser, there would be no shells to spare knocking out the shields.

Another long moment, and then Thunder Lead returned: "Copy that, Astley. Send fireplan when ready."**

Scarlet took a deep breath, then opened the channel to the destroyer squadrons. "Switch to Ion/EMP/Viral laser-guided rounds," she said, "Someone wants that ship intact." To her vague surprise, no-one - not even the ork - complained. A moment later, Green sent the fireplan over, to Thunder Leads' terse acknowledgement.

The autologi system on board the Endeavour ships received the request for IEMPV-LG shells, pulled the required materials from storage, sent the materials to the fabricators, brought the finished shells from the fabricators to the magazines, then swapped the loaded APFSDSRLGJHEAT/SHAOMGWTFBBQ*** shells in the hypervelocity cannons for the less-destructive new shells. Each of the cannons turned to bear on the target, then there was a puff of smoke, the crackle of a railgun and the plume of a rocket engine in quick succession as the rounds were fired.

In the debris field, the Nashtari bombers waited until their clocks counted down, then launched their munitions. They carried more, so they could still contribute if this turned out to be a waste of time. Erhard's arm, holding the laser beam, began to get a little tired - but he kept it up anyway, and was rewarded by the odd sight of dozens of missiles pivoting in the air, seeking in on the small laser pointer like a herd of cats.

The Nashtari missiles struck, all at once, battering a hole in the shields through which twenty-five IEMPV-LG gun-launched missiles streaked, and the captain of the New York Revenge clenched reflexively as they homed in... directly for them, it seemed. They winced as the first shell hit, sure that they would be engulfed in fire and metal-

only for the ship to go dead around them, electrical systems knocked out by a burst of EMP and some sort of charged particles. That was nothing new - but even as the pirates scrambled to reboot the ship's computers, most of them blue-screened on start-up, which was doubly-odd since none of the pirate operating systems had a blue-screen error message. Some refused to start at all, while others displayed provocative messages or startling images.

It was then that the captain of the New York Revenge realised that, despite their best efforts, they'd lost this stupid, confusing mess of a fight. The fight wasn't over, of course, the pirates fully intended to resist capture - but there would be no last-minute take-over of this weird-ass ship that had dropped into their laps.

The approaching bulk of half a Nashtari battlegroup - the half with a full-on battleship in it - alongside the other strange fleets only cemented that fact.

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

*Somehow, she got the feeling that if a railgun was fired at that wedge, it would bounce off. Then, she realised that that was stupid.

**Sharing a language made it surprisingly easy, if very tedious, to send a fire-plan - all Green would have to do is say the details down the comms-line, and Thunder Lead could input them into their own systems.

***Armour-Piercing Discarding-Sabot Fin-Stabilised Rail-Launched Gyro-Jet High Explosive Anti-Tank/Squash-Head Antimatter OMGWTFBBQ. The designation was actually nonsense, and the shells were in fact simple kinetic-kill gun-launched, rail-accelerated missiles. There were competitions as to who could come up with the longest vaguely-possible ammunition acronym, and this one had won last week's.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Dystropos Ventral Aft Hangar, Nebula Formation, Galactic Northwest

Missiles roared through space and exploded just short of the enemy cruiser, in the general area of where Erhard was aiming the heavy cannon targeting array. Barely in time, he managed to leap behind the curled wreckage of the Thorikto’s hull armour before the wash from the explosion and shrapnel blew past. Some fragments still pinged off his suit as he poked his head above the wreckage, just in time to see massive impacts upon the cruiser hull. Armour plates spalled away, but the damage seemed minor… until he checked his sensors and noticed the brief energy spike of massive electronic damage.

This was it. “Up and at them! This is our moment!” he roared, engaging his flight-pack and leaping in the cruiser’s direction. He switched to the general Theophanic military spectra and shouted, “All manned kleptoi-craft, launch and home in on my signal!”

Acknowledgement sigils blinked in his HUD, but he ignored them as he twisted around in the vacuum and impacted hard upon the cruiser’s aft hull. The warsuit’s knees flexed and he immediately engaged the magnetic pads in its feet, clamping him tight to the hull as his section landed about him. With swift hand gestures he sent half the section around to the other side of the hull, and they crawled forward to where the shells had impacted.

Phan deployed a photon-sabre from his forearm and slid the hissing energy beam into the hull armour like a hot knife through dairy product. Atmosphere gushed out as he sliced a ragged gash into the hull, steadily increasing until he completed his cut and a plug of hull armour and piping and electronics spat outward.

Without prompting-- this was a good section indeed, Erhard reflected later-- Jeramine stepped forward and stuck their klamor-launcher into the breach. A few bursts and Erhard fancied he could feel the antipersonnel explosives rolling down the passage beneath them… then he definitely felt the explosion as they went off. He nodded and signaled ‘advance’ silently on the squad HUD comm, and they crawled forward to the portion of hull that he supposed must be the bridge.

Halfway there he felt the familiar shudder of a hull clamped upon by a kleptoi-craft. A lower shudder later-- ingress-burn. He grinned ferally as they reached the thick armoured-glass windows, and indeed there were crew in some panic behind them. He regarded them for a moment through the coldly featureless ‘head’ (really a sensor cluster) of his warsuit and then reached to its waist and detached a satchel charge.

That was promptly clapped upon a bridge window, and his troopers did the same. He set the count for fifteen seconds and they leaped upward, burners flaring to push them away to a safe distance. The charges went off, first exploding inward and then outward as the rushing atmosphere pushed the wreckage out. Erhard nodded with grim satisfaction, and then Baatar’s comm pinged him.

“Ypolchagos, um, I’m getting an urgent message relayed from the Dystropos bridge. It seems we’re supposed to take prisoners?”

Erhard sighed. “Unfortunately they’re a bit late there. But relay it to that boarding party that just burned. Maybe they won’t kill everybody.”

Aboard enemy cruiser

Desultory fire rattled off Justinian soi Foinix’s armour as he rolled over an enemy combatant on the deck with his foot. He ignored the small caliber fire and grimaced as the… it wasn’t human, he didn’t know what it was, and he didn’t care what it was… cringed before him. He leveled his heavy-caliber pistol and put an end to it.

The floor vibrated again. A second kleptoi-craft had docked and burned, and was now boarding. He consulted his HUD for a moment and saw it was a craft from one of the Neokastro cruisers. Mentally, he shrugged. The more the merrier.

His comms pinged at him. Impatiently, he clicked on it as he stepped forward. A combatant jumped out from a hatch in the wall beside him, and without pausing he grabbed it around its neck with his off hand and fired directly into its body, then flung it aside. The power-assist of his suit casually crushed it against the bulkhead. “soi Foinix here. Report.”

“Lord, advise you that the flotillas we have allied with are requesting that we take prisoners.”

He grunted. “Bit late of them isn’t it. Advise the officers and noncoms to try and collect any being that looks like an officer. I don’t care what happens to the rest.”

His rage was deep. These, whatever they were, had assaulted a crippled Theophanic Empire ship and put its citizens at risk. If they had broken into the hull of the Dystropos itself, there was no telling what havoc they could have caused. Retribution must be absolute.

But his sense of duty also ran deep. These fleets had done him and his people the very great kindness of assisting vitally in saving the Dystropos, at least from these miscreants-- who knew if the great dreadnought would ever sail the Unseen again? But it had millions of civilian colonists aboard, and at least most of their lives had been saved. He supposed he could extend them the favor of complying.

The job was done quickly enough. The two kleptoi-craft took their complement, plus prisoners, back aboard. The Protector warsuits assisted in helping the kleptoi-craft change orientation and clamp upon the ship to tow it back to one of the massive forward bays of the Dystropos for the technognostiki to gut and study.

But they left a grim memorial behind, as much a warning as a memorial to what had happened. Scraps of hull armour and nearby asteroids were commandeered for the purpose. Forever, these would drift in the space where the attack upon the Dystropos had happened, bearing pirate corpses, nailed to the wreckage with ship-building bolt-guns.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

With a massive flaring of the sub light drives, the imposing shape of the [ThunderBird] rocketed into the remains of the battle field. Arriving late to the scene of chaos and bloodshed, it none the less quickly began to live up to its name as it swooped down like a massive bird of prey upon the scattering pirate forces. As the hulk of the vessel descended, there seemed to be only the briefest of pauses before weapons began to issue forth. For those on board, this would mark the first time any vessel and any crew from the Sector had fired their weapons in anger since the end of the Tajlan War. The significance of the moment was not lost to them as they began to coordinate their attack with those around them.
As a Command Cruiser, it was not quite as heavily armed as its brethren, but against the relatively small craft in its way it was still frightfully efficient as long streams of phased energy begin to pour forth from the turreted energy projectors across the ship.

TallyHoLadsOnceMoreuntothebattlefieldletsdoourdutytoqueenandcountry!” Moz exclaimed with excitement as he swung his long elaborate pipe around him like a baton. Around the rest of the bridge those on board did well in their duty. Each one keenly aware of what was happening and that this event would no doubt mark a new age for the UISC Sector, just what that age may bring would yet to be determined.

“Receiving incoming vector tracking information from ‘Nawshtaw’ ships reporting five fleeing vessels along the central axis, plotting intercept.”
“Angling thrust to 88% of tolerance Captain, engineering reporting systems are holding so far dispute current damage.”
“Weapons lock detected! Tracking incoming warheads along baring 92.5, plotting firing solution for anti-missile systems, broadcasting to armored infantry along ventral section of ‘Destraupaus’ to clear weapons path!
“I Repeat, this is UISC communications adjutant Ja’Jaro Durandola to ‘Theeofameek Empyre’ vessel we will be entering near capture zone of enemy warship in 5.6 telastas, please acknowledge.”

The bridge was abuzz as those on board threw themselves into the roles they had trained for. Philosophical implications and reflection could all come later. For now they worked as best they could, all of them trying to cope with a veritable tilde wave of strange new names, words, and languages, utilizing the newly installed translations software to the best of its abilities. On the far side of the bridge, a door from the main hallway opened up and an exasperated looking Conearian holding an over-sized wrench came bounding in.
“APFSDSRLGJHEAT/SHAOMGWTFBBQ!!! What the Infernal depths is an APFSDSRLGJHEAT/SHAOMGWTFBBQ?!?!”

In the midst of all of this, excitement, deep within the ship RUDI was taking a rest from things. Naturally a part of him was still listening in to events and conversations, another part of doing a fair bit of contemplation about the fallout of the battle, but for the most part he did the equivalent of ‘relaxing’ as around him the ship lurched to avoid a series of exploding warheads. It was a new experience for him as well, like those on the ship he had also never experienced battle before, or at least, not ‘physical’ battle in the way most others would understand it. Still, it was one of the few times he found his existence [or at least that part of RUDI that was aboard the ship] in the hands of those around him. Naturally he could try and simply run the ship himself, but he knew that would be rather straining the limits of the ships computer systems he inhabited. As such he took his chance to simply enjoy the moment until he would be needed again.

“Heh heh heh! APFSDSRLGJHEAT/SHAOMGWTFBBQ, oh we should have made contact with these humans years ago!”
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Shinn Langley Soryu
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Shinn Langley Soryu »

Wendee Lee-class destroyer HSS Bryce Papenbrook
North reaches of the Cradle of the Stars


With the basic IFF data provided by the Endeavourite fleet (actually trying to process the raw sensor and tactical information sent directly from Caterina Klaes or Rick Astley was another issue entirely), the ships of DesDiv Three could get a much clearer view of the battle unfolding around Dystropos. With Adventure Galley out of commission, the heaviest pirate asset left was the cruiser New York Revenge, which was in the process of attempting to board Dystropos via one of the Theophanic ship's compromised hangars. The Nashtari frigate Wyatt Earp had managed to draw away some of the pirate fighters and gunships escorting New York Revenge, though there were still plenty of annoying flies buzzing around the general area. It was these flies that DesDiv Three was going to swat, leaving the Nashtari and Endeavourite fleets free to focus on other threats.

As nebular interference was still an issue, DesDiv Three would have to approach much closer than just 200 km in order to provide accurate fire against the pirate fighters and gunships. Upon reaching the designated 200 km, the squadron split in half; HSS Cherami Leigh and HSS Cassandra Lee Morris would proceed above Dystropos to help provide overwatch for the Nashtari and Endeavourite fleets, while HSS Bryce Papenbrook and HSS Kaiji Tang would go under the ship in a bid to distract New York Revenge and whatever remaining escorts it might have.

"Finally getting a good look at our Theophanic friend," an operations specialist in the CIC of HSS Papenbrook said as the destroyer closed in on Dystropos. "It's definitely a big one. Identification database thinks it's a Sassanid Heighliner just going off its appearance."

"Never mind all that," operations officer LCDR Nagito Hashibira said. "We got a tally-ho on the bandits?"

"Still getting some interference from the nebula, and we can't make use of most of the tactical data being sent to us by the new guys, but what little we can read is still proving to be useful in designating our targets," another operations specialist replied. "Definitely got a lot of flies buzzing around here, and they can pack a nasty bite if they can coordinate their efforts."

"Also got a lock on that enemy cruiser, though word from the Nashtari fleet says that they want it intact," a third operations specialist piped up.

LCDR Hashibira scrutinized the main tactical display in the CIC, taking note of the Nashtari bombers and the advance elements of the Endeavourite fleet preparing to make their move against New York Revenge, as well as the mass of pirate fighters and gunships forming up nearby in preparation for their own strike. "We got friendlies moving in to take care of the enemy cruiser, but we still got a lot of other hostiles out there waiting to mess things up," LCDR Hashibira said. "Let's engage in some trigger happy havoc, shall we?"

The Lee-class destroyer was initially designed as a missile truck, using patented Haruhiist Missile MassacreTM technology to pack massive amounts of ordnance into a relatively compact hull form. Upgrades to the design during the Final War gave the Lee-class additional railguns and lasers to balance out its arsenal and provide a credible backup in case its considerable missile stocks were somehow depleted. Against these small fries, the ships of DesDiv Three wouldn't need to expend even a tiny fraction of their ordnance against them. HSS Papenbrook and HSS Tang each shotgunned a single salvo from every weapon available to bear towards the pirate fighters and gunships, saturating them in missiles, railgun rounds, and laser bolts. Multiple hostile contacts winked out of existence on the tactical displays as the salvos connected with the enemy. Whatever was left would be easy pickings for the Endeavourites or Nashtaris once they were finished dealing with New York Revenge.



Wendee Lee-class destroyer HSS Cassandra Lee Morris
North reaches of the Cradle of the Stars


While HSS Papenbrook and HSS Tang were busy mopping up some of the riffraff, the operations specialists in the CIC of HSS Morris noticed a rather peculiar contact flitting to and fro across the battlefield. With the focus on Adventure Galley, New York Revenge, and the fighter swarm, a lone Black Eye-class scout ship had been able to evade notice. The primary role of the Black Eye-class was to locate and designate targets for other Black Star ships to engage; with Adventure Galley dead and New York Revenge about to meet its own fate, the scout had been trying to coordinate the efforts of the remaining pirate fighters and gunships against the Nashtari and Endeavourite fleets. Its attempt at organizing a last stand foiled by the arrival of DesDiv Three, the scout still had one option left: Running away.

"We got contact!" an operations specialist called out. "It's a squirrelly one, too. Probably realizing the game is up."

"A cornered rat will still fight if it's desperate enough," operations officer LCDR Anastasia Valentine remarked. "Keep tracking the target and prepare firing solutions. Get on the horn to other friendlies and see if they can set up an intercept."

"Receiving incoming transmission," another operations specialist chimed in. "Origin unknown. It's not from any of the friendlies, and it sure as hell isn't from the pirates."

"Put it through," LCDR Valentine said.
Crossroads Inc. wrote: 2021-02-05 06:32pm “[The message you are all receiving is being sent to you in what is hoped to be an approximation of all of your native language. This message is being sent /transmitted forth from the Coordination / Command Cruiser “Thunder Bird” representing / representative of the ‘Union of Inter Steller Civilizations” We are new among the stars and we are united of different races and different species, but we all communicate together.

Communication is the center / fundamental of peace between civilizations. It is clear / evident those assembled / brought here desire peace and have acted together / cooperated to stop aggression in those that sought to harm lives of innocent. Fought to protect / hold secure lives of those unknown because it is the right thing to do.

As representing our ship is small and alone and has no motive for aggression to others. We seek only assistance to repair our vessel. As a show / offering of peace, to help in communication will send intelligence [redacted] non-intelligence algorithm / program to facilitate in communication with all involved. A meeting of different civilizations / cultures should be embraced.

It is to this end we hope you may embrace / welcome our entrance in the middle of battle defending innocents. For there are many that need a good butt kicking and we will offer ourselves to this assistance
. "
"A little late to the party," LCDR Valentine said. "Still, we won't pass up such an enthusiastic offer of aid. Hopefully they can tell which of us is which when they decide to start firing."

The pirate scout's chosen escape route unwittingly put it the path of the UISC cruiser ThunderBird. True to RUDI's word, ThunderBird proceeded to deliver a butt-kicking to the scout, as well as to several fighters and gunships trailing the scout in their own attempt to flee the battlefield. The arrival of Audacious and the rest of Fourth Fleet soon put paid to any further resistance by the pirates, as those who did not immediately stand down when ordered were promptly shot down.
I ship Eino Ilmari Juutilainen x Lydia V. Litvyak.

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The Yosemite Bear: Obviously, which means that he's grounded, and that she needs to go back to sucking Mr. Coffee's cock.

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Elheru Aran
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

In Orbit, Theophanic Colony World

The stars jittered in her vision. Powerful thrust put a great weight on her body as she clung desperately to the EVA handles upon the massive body of a class-five warsuit, currently under maximum battle thrust. Kharon soi Chelonis cursed quietly through clenched teeth, not daring to open her mouth for fear of crashing her teeth together with the vibration racking her body. Not for the first time she wished she had just taken a shuttle like Geraint had suggested…

Geraint. When was that? The briefing.

She had woken next to one of her sailors. The man had been dismissed from her quarters with a few words. Not unkindly-- he had met a need of hers, after all-- but quickly. A hastily gulped breakfast and a duty uniform donned later, she was debriefing her officers from the Endeavour reception.

“...so yeah, Fluttershy had a lot to say about their engines. I still don’t know how it does anything without thumbs, but the technognostiki were besides themselves. Already they’re talking about modeling new nullspace… well, the Endeavourites call it ‘netherspace’, but it seems to be much of a muchness… travel mechanics that may improve our odds of safe translation.”

“Noted. Thank you, Saarev,” Kharon nodded and made a tick by his name on her papers. The captain of the Naukalee nodded and sat back down at the massive briefing table. She flipped through the papers briefly and then put them down and straightened the pile, contemplative. “So. The floor is open, gentlemen. Thoughts on the Endeavourites?”

Nobody spoke for a moment, and then Karol, from the Neokastro Eroberer, spoke up. “They’re… different. I don’t know how human some of them are, if they are at all. But we always knew we would probably encounter some civilizations out there coexisting with xeno forms. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that some of them have assimilated with multiple types.”

She rested her chin on her hands and looked up and down the table sharply. The chair for Keravnos was empty, Stefon having refused the invitation to the briefing citing ‘ship business’ as an excuse. More likely she was trying to avoid getting dressed down… not that Kharon would’ve done that. Not in the briefing room, anyway.

Morr, of the Magnatrabes Polemistis, remarked, “They seemed quite at ease among us. I get the impression they are very… flexible. Adaptable. That might explain why they were able to translate Comniversal so quickly.”

He continued, leaning forward on the table, “While they are a motley lot, I suspect they may be more efficient than we suspect. There are two possible explanations, I feel. The first is that they have declined into a heterogenous mess from a more uniform and disciplined past. The second is that they are a young people that have, for whatever reason, concluded that regulation and drill are unnecessary. I lean towards the latter.”

Kharon nodded thoughtfully. “I concur. They are a most… unusual people, but intelligent and well coordinated. Frater Obryn did tell me that he and the other technognostiki picked up spectra connections between the crew members, though they were unable to decode the protocols in use. He hypothesized that this had something to do with their simultaneous response to the arrival of their reinforcements.”

Erika Lang, second officer of the Polemistis, cleared her throat; Morr nodded, and she spoke, “While Kapetanios Morr was aboard Megakolymvitis, we took the liberty of scanning the Endeavour reinforcements when they arrived in-system. Uniformly, they are much smaller than our craft, but their power outputs are very tightly disciplined. Their spectra emissions are extremely powerful back and forth between each other. Infrared suggests that they are not heavily armoured, but our taktiki analysis was that they most probably rely upon powerful aspis fields for protection.”

That caused a murmur among the assembled officers; the Empire was aware of aspis technologies in theory, but the only aspis in practical use in the Empire was the Mitra tou Theouautokratora’s immanent dynamik-aspis field. Marya soi Geraki, kapetanios Neokastro Pyrkagia, asked sharply, “Is this aspis powerful enough to stop any of our weapons, or kleptoi-craft?”

“Unknown, kapetanios,” Lang responded, “without engaging them in action. In fact, there are too many unknowns. I used fleet spectra to correspond with the taktiki, my Archiploiarchos; we collated a report, which you should have there before you.”

Kharon grunted noncommittally and nodded. A sharp look from her prompted Lang to continue, “Our tentative conclusion, based upon simple mass and quantity of observed weapons systems, was that we easily overweigh them in terms of firepower. But notably, we don’t know the quality or strength of their weapons systems, and we don’t know how powerful their aspis systems are. If neither our missiles nor kleptoi-craft can penetrate those aspis, we might have to resort to closing to railgun range in hopes of overwhelming their shields enough to board.”

Morr interjected, “As far as troops go… no useful conclusion could be reached from the individuals we saw. There is no uniformity in equipment or apparel. This is, in my opinion, a deliberate tactic to mask their capabilities.”

soi Geraki nodded. She remarked, “But they didn’t hide them when their reinforcements arrived. They knew instantly, their air changed before I received a ping from my ship’s taktiki. I believe they used their individual spectra connection to coordinate an active response to the new information.”

The kapetanios of the Polemistis nodded thoughtfully and added, “My Archiploiarchos, I’m sure you noticed how your Endeavourite counterpart… changed when she received the news about the Thorikto incident?”

“I did. She is obviously augmented somehow, but since she did not engage us in action, we have no way of knowing the extent of her abilities, nor any of her compatriots. Nor do I intend to find out anytime soon. Let’s table the discussion of fighting them for the moment, but keep those contingency plans in mind,” Kharon stated firmly. She straightened up and placed her hands flat on the table and asked in a different tone, “This is an entirely informal question and off the record. Does the Most Holy Empire of the Theophany benefit from an alliance with the nation of Endeavour?”

A thoughtful silence filled the room and then murmurs. Heads began nodding and she sat back, rather pleased with the response. “I will take the general tone of the room as being positive in that regard. I concur. A definitive decision upon this will come in time. But we need to address the situation with the Thorikto observed destroying the Amazo-X planet. Karol, you will be going back to Mitra today with a packet. Report to Alessia on the bridge before you leave, she has it for you and will seal it with you and a couple of witnesses. Thank you all for attending the occasion last night and for reporting today. Dismissed.”

The officers dutifully stood to attention, saluted, and filed out of the briefing room. She sighed, sat back and pulled her handscreen out of her pocket. A thought came to mind. She’d forgotten briefly, but Miyasawa had given her a koinonia-ident.

Why not try it. She flipped through her screens and quickly tapped out a message.

Hail friend Miyasawa, this is Kharon. I hope all is well with you after you left in a hurry last night

She put the handscreen down on the table, then jumped slightly as it chirped almost immediately. Curious, she tilted it up and saw Miyasawa’s koinonia-ident blinking. A tap on it brought up her response…

hi! all good, u can call me miko btw!

Kharon smiled. The shy but unexpectedly interesting captain of the ESS sneaky snek was still fascinating her.

Miko then =) Your friends are okay with us?

umm yea i mean i talked 2em about u vote still pending tho

A vote? On what?

oh just if ur cool or no its leaning to cool tho ur good :)))

She chuckled. This was different. She remembered why she had sent Miyasawa-- Miko-- a message in the first place and typed, Would it be possible to speak with your leader? I would very much like to form an alliance with Endeavour, but I cannot speak as an official representative of the Empire just yet.

abs!!! but how will u do that?

I can come over. Which ship?

doesn’t matter. i guess katra? it’s one of the big ones. i can meet u there?

Helpfully, a file popped up on her screen alongside the message window. She poked it, and it expanded into a picture, clearly taken through a bridge window (a crewman seated at a console was looking over its shoulder at the picture-taker, obviously Miyasawa-- Miko!-- quizzically, in the corner of the image). Circled in bright green on the image was a ship-- she narrowed her eyes and enlarged the image. Definitely bigger than the other Endeavourite ships, the one at the rear center of the flotilla aside.

Thank you. I will arrange transport. You will know when I’m there.

yay! cant wait! :3


That last symbol brought another chuckle to her. She flipped to a different screen and spoke, “Kapetanios to bridge. Connect me to the Keravnos, Wachter Stratiokos Ilias.”

“Yes, my kapetanios. Connecting… Wachter-Stratiokos, the Archiploiarchos. Megakolymvitis comms out.”

“My lady. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Ilias, I have a favor to ask…” she began.

Three hours later, she was wearing her warsuit, clinging desperately to Ilias’ warsuit as he flew at the head of a column of Imperial Protector warsuits at full burn. A training exercise, they had concluded, was the best cover for this maneuver. A full battalion of a hundred and fifty warsuits would make a rotation around the nearby moon and pass very close to the Endeavour fleet before returning to the Theophanic fleet. Hopefully not so close as to activate the Endeavourite point defenses…

She sucked in her breath as the warsuit rotated slowly around its long axis and began shifting trajectory, burning auxiliary thrusters at full force to shove itself brutally close to the lunar surface, all the other suits following suit. She had a moment’s thought that Ilias trained his Protectors well, before she instinctively scrunched her eyes shut and pulled herself closer to the warsuit, lunar dust flying high into the void around her. Then a powerful jerk almost shook her loose, and she looked around sharply. Something was different.

It came to her a moment later. The booster pack wasn’t burning anymore. Ilias was coasting through the vacuum, his warsuit’s hands and feet clamped onto a massive chunk of lunar surface, probably blown away from the moon below… carefully from the side opposite the Endeavour fleet.

The other warsuits flanked them, slowly moving past them as they started heading in the direction of the Endeavourites. A few quiet hisses of suit air and the rock they were clinging to was oriented to face the ships they were approaching, Kharon and Ilias’ suits safely behind its mass. Carefully, the Protector warsuits changed their trajectory to gradually break away from the hurtling rock (with two suits riding it).

Kharon took one hand off the handholds and poked her head up above the edge of the boulder. They were almost there. She tapped the warsuit rapidly in flashcode-- thank you dismissed-- and released her other hand, pushing off with her hands and feet. Ilias floated away, the ‘head’ of the warsuit rotating to watch her.

She drifted towards… Katra, wasn’t it? A few careful bursts of her suit’s maneuvering pack, and she was flying across its spine. She didn’t fail to notice the point-defence turrets turning to follow her. Flexing her hands, viciously curved claws popped out, and she fired her maneuvering pack again.

That last burst brought her almost into contact with the ship’s hull, and she whipped her hand out, jamming the claws into a seam between hull plates. Activating her boots’ magclamps, she was secured to the hull. Crawling across the ship, she found an airlock. She couldn’t read any of the text, but she figured manual releases had to be pretty obvious… there it was.

Air hissed into the airlock once she sealed the external door and stood erect. She wondered what kind of greeting party might meet her. A platoon of marines? A pipe detachment with a bosun? Officers? A green light blinked and the internal door cracked open and slid smoothly into the bulkhead.

She looked into the corridor, puzzled. Nothing there, in either direction. Then electronic sounds, vaguely like technognostiki warbling, came to her, as did a poke in her shin armour. She looked down, and there was a round device rolling upon the deck, perhaps a couple feet wide, blinking lights on what appeared to be a control panel on one side of the thing… and a large knife, roughly taped to the top.

A couple of buttons clicked on the side of her armour and her lion-masque unfolded away from her face. Confused, but determined to go along with things, she carefully addressed the humming machine. “I am Kharon soi Chelonis. Permission to come aboard?”

Down the corridor, a hatch abruptly opened, and reflexively her lion-masque folded back up around her head. A young man in a yellow shirt, a shiny scarf sloppily tied around his body and some kind of brown scribble upon his forehead (a form of war-paint? or camouflage?...on a ship?) stuck his head through the door and exclaimed when he saw her. “I say! Hello there, ma’am or sir!”

“For goodness’ sake, Ben!” exclaimed a girlish voice beyond the hatch. The youth-- Ben, she supposed-- stepped into the corridor entirely, and a petite young woman followed, wielding a weapon almost bigger than she was, a long black firearm matching the colour of the extremely frilly dress she wore. In fact, she seemed almost entirely covered in frills, even having a bit of lace on top of her carefully coiffed head.

Ben bent down over the round machine, which was still poking away at her armoured shin, and muttered, “Lt. Roomba, that’s not how we treat visitors, you know that…” and prodded it. Obligingly it turned away from her and proceeded down the hall, humming to itself. He looked at her apologetically and shrugged, “Sorry about that. Lieutenant Roomba is very territorial. He doesn’t like anybody coming in without notice.”

Their eyes widened as the masque unfolded again, nestling into her collar plating. She decided to ignore the incident with the cleaning mechanism and inclined her head, spread her hands to announce herself, “I am Kharon soi Chelonis. I am here to meet Miko Miyasawa and whomever is your Captain. If you would be so kind as to bring me to them?”

They looked at each other and Kharon could almost feel the spectra tingling between the two. The girl finally nodded and turned to Kharon. In her youthful voice she spoke carefully, “I’m afraid Captain Miyasawa isn’t aboard at the moment. She has been notified of your presence here and is en route. We’ll take you to Captain Ayanami right away.”

Kharon nodded, slightly disappointed that Miko wasn’t aboard already but at the same time pleased that apparently she had managed to escape notice. That lasted until, as they walked down the corridor (she didn’t think it was much of a threat but she still gave Lt. Roomba a healthy distance when they passed it), Ben with the silver scarf sash wrapped around his body asked “So, where did you come up with that move with the rock? That was pretty smooth, taking your mecha on a training flight around the moon and back and then there’s just this random rock coasting by our fleet. Not bad.”

She frowned and asked, “You knew?”

The girl rolled her eyes and sighed, “Ben. You’re not supposed to chatter with the uninvited guests. We show them to the officer on duty and they take care of the guest.”

With a slightly wounded look on his face, he exclaimed, “Lay off! You try talking to the same people for six months at a time, you’ll take any chance to talk to someone new you can!”

Kharon stayed out of it until they reached an armoured hatch which rolled back to reveal what appeared to be the bridge. Certainly there were large windows overlooking the length of the hull, multiple instruments and controls, and perhaps she had come in the middle of a shift change-- there seemed to be twice as many people as stations. Everybody was watching her, though. Including a slight, pale girl in a short blue dress. A peaked cap perched upon her pale blue hair, and… were her eyes red?

The girl turned to face her directly. Beside her, the one in the frilly dress saluted (somehow, Kharon knew without looking) sloppily. “Captain Ayanami!” she squealed, “Here’s our intruder! Lady Kharon soi Chelonis, she calls herself!”

“I know who she is,” the girl said flatly, “Dismissed.”

Her escorts saluted (again, sloppily) and left. Ayanami regarded her steadily with those unnerving eyes. Was she albino? Uncertain. Didn’t matter, carry on. Kharon cleared her throat, but then Ayanami raised a hand and she paused, raising an eyebrow inquisitively.

“First, you destroyed a perfectly good planet by flinging one of your entirely too big ships through it. Secondly, you brought an Endeavour crew aboard your eponymous craft, for what purpose I don’t know. Showing off, I suppose. Thirdly, you flew a battalion of mechs entirely too close to our flotilla, without any notice, warning, or permission. Fourth, you performed a very sloppy insertion, probably scratching the paint. I have no particular reason to not have you stunned, strip you of that shiny armour, and flung into the brig. Can you give me one?”

Kharon was taken aback, but with a breath she focused. She was standing before this Captain Ayanami, on a bridge full of the motley folk Endeavour called a warship crew. At the small of her back she felt the icy touch of her combat drug injector. One thought and she could blur into motion.

There were eighteen beings crammed into this space, so much smaller than Theophanic designs. Even without her weapons, using only her limbs encased in her warsuit, she could kill every living being here within forty five seconds or less if she let the acceleron shave her nerves and sinews raw.

Yet. Miyasawa had exhibited some... unusual augmentation. If this Ayanami or any of the other crew here had similar, what would happen? She had a ptychi-shield on her left arm that they hadn't noticed, and that would further protect her from most firepower short of a class five warsuit cannon. But... No. Too many unknown factors. Best to stay on task.

"Captain. My apologies for dropping by unannounced,” she began, “I am here to… I suppose, appeal directly to Endeavour or its representatives.”

Behind her the bridge door whisked back and Miyasawa’s voice rose abruptly, “Captain Ayanami! I’m sorry! I should have given you a heads-up that she was coming but I thought she was coming to the sneaky snek!”

Kharon half turned and met Miyasawa’s eyes as she stood alongside her. Today she was wearing what appeared to be coveralls, rolled up at the wrists and ankles, but she also had a cap similar to Ayanami’s. They nodded quickly at each other and turned back to Ayanami, who sighed and crossed her arms. “Miyasawa. Comms with a foreign state need to be recorded and reported.”

“Uh yes ma’am,” Miyasawa began, “and my messages with Kharon are recorded, on my phone, and I’m reporting them to you now?”

Kharon could read Ayanami’s expression, flat as it was, as Ayanami sighed again and put her hand over her eyes for a moment. “That is not what I mean and you know it.”

Miyasawa’s hand dived down a deep pocket of her coveralls and she produced her phone, flipped it open and showed it to Ayanami. The blue-haired girl frowned and pulled her own phone out of a pocket of her dress. Her eyes widened for a moment and then she nodded, her expression relaxing minutely. She murmured, “I suppose you met the regulations. Pardon me.”

Ayanami’s gaze returned to Kharon. “So you say you are here to appeal to Endeavour. Appeal how? About what?”

Kharon chose her words carefully, watching Ayanami’s face as she went. “I know that it looks like we sent a Thorikto to destroy the Amazo-X world. I tell you here and now, I have no knowledge of why this happened, but I believe that it did. I promise you, I will find out who ordered it, and why, and bring them to justice.”

Ayanami didn’t say anything, just gazed steadily at Kharon. She continued, “I believe that there is great potential for an alliance between the nation of Endeavour and the Empire. I want the best for my people, as I am sure you wish for yours. I am not going to force anything here, and I cannot make an official treaty in the name of the Empire. But I have the authority to form an informal alliance of convenience, to be ratified by the Epimelitiro at its discretion afterward. Further, I believe that the Theophanic Empire has great potential to offer Endeavour… including a share of that.”

She pointed through the bridge window at the green globe far beneath, the Theophanic fleet barely-visible dots silhouetted against it. Ayanami’s eyebrow lifted minutely. Kharon went on, “I have come to understand that Endeavour has no planets to its name, only a few moons. Your people are space dwellers, born and bred, but it is no place for humans. We are at our greatest ease when we can breathe without air run through a filter innumerable times, drink water without thinking about where it came from, and walk across a true land, not a dim reflection with a false sun casting its harsh light down. Have you ever felt rain, Captain Ayanami? Have you ever stepped out a door into the chill of an early morning and seen the fog in the trees? Have you heard the song of the wild bird-beasts waking you up in your bed, coming through the open windows? I want to give you that. You and all your people, if they want it.”

There was no response. Kharon could sense the crew around them, watching with eager anticipation. In the corner of her eye, she could see Miyasawa, one hand over her mouth, eyes distant. Ayanami blinked. Slowly, she responded, “You would give us… a world? A part of one, at least, I suppose?”

Kharon nodded silently. The blue-haired girl turned and stared out the window. Beside her, she could practically feel Miyasawa vibrating, waiting for a further response. She leaned sideways and whispered, “Did you not tell her?”

Miyasawa whispered back vehemently, “I’ve told her to check her phone more often, but for the love of rei…!”

Rei? Ayanami turned around slowly, regarding Kharon again with those eyes. Deliberately, she then addressed a crewman sitting at a rather disorganized console, “Janek. How many ambient feeds is this going out on?”

The crewer spun around on his seat, hunted up a mouse in the rat’s nest of wires on top of the console and clicked rapidly before answering over his shoulder, “Seventeen, including yours. Miyasawa and Layne aren’t feeding at the moment.”

Ayanami nodded thoughtfully. “So it’s a matter of minutes before everybody knows of this offer. Very well. Lady soi Chelonis, before they make it an official matter requiring a general vote, I am provisionally accepting your offer of co-habitating this planet in the name of Endeavour. This is, like your authority, pending ratification, but we will confirm your fleet as an ally force and position our flotilla in closer proximity. Is there anything else?”

Kharon hesitated and asked, “Was… all that I said… broadcast?”

Miyasawa cut in and answered, “uh, yeah. This doesn’t happen every day, you know. There’s no way anybody would miss the chance to live-stream for posterity.”

One of the bridge windows turned into a display. Lines with small icons at the beginning started streaming across it, scrolling upward slowly. A crewer exclaimed in low tones. Kharon couldn’t read it, but Miyasawa’s eyes widened. The scrolling accelerated, and started flowing quicker than she could follow. She turned to Miyasawa and asked, “Is… is that good?”

“Oh, yeah. It’s good,” Miyasawa answered, in surprised tones. Kharon nodded and turned back to Ayanami, who was watching her steadily. She thought about saying more, but no. Enough had been said. She grabbed her hand with her off-hand, twisted, and pulled off the gauntlet to expose her bare hand, then stepped forward, sticking out her hand at Ayanami.

The red eyes blinked at the hand, then at Kharon. Ayanami tilted her head quizzically and then slowly extended a hand and slipped it into Kharon’s palm. She locked her eyes with the girl, nodded slowly and they shook hands. Then Kharon rocked sideways for a moment, Miyasawa had let out an involuntary whoop and wrapped her arms around Kharon’s armoured bulk.

Ayanami cracked a half-smile, the most expression Kharon had seen on her yet. Kharon extracted her hand from Miyasawa’s arms and wrapped her arm around the other woman’s shoulders and gave her a quick squeeze. Ruefully she remarked, “I suppose I need to tell Ilias you saw him coming miles away.”

Miyasawa grinned. “Let’s celebrate,” she said, “I think the galley had pie today…”

The blue-haired girl stared at Miyasawa. Calmly she said, “It’s my ship. Of course it has pie every day.”
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

Cradle of the stars, area directly outside of damaged Theophoric Colony ship “Dystropos”


The battle had at last finished once and for all.
The crews had stood down,
The losses were counted,
Time had moved on.

For those on board the UISC Command Cruiser “Thunder Bird” much of that time had been spent in trying simply to get ‘up to speed’ with events and the laborious process of talking to what was now a total of four different separate space fairing civilization. The [Thunder Bird], parked near what had once been the immense open wound of the “Dystropos’, had been on lock down due to quarantine protocols in place for contact with a new species. The fact that there were four different distinct powers, each one no doubt with their own history of pathogens and viruses, meant the process had to take four times as long.

To the crew however there was still plenty to occupy them and keep them busy as the excitedly awaited the chance at meeting the crews of the ships that even now whizzed back and forth across their field of view. Much of this excitement was of course fed from the giddy sense of “The New”. Almost all topics of conversation were taken up by deep philosophical questions such as what were these new cultures like? What belief systems did they share? What sort of art or music did they create? And perhaps most important, what was this ‘Amazo-X’ that everyone kept talking about…

Just within the last hour or two, a group of space born workers from the ‘Endeavor’ had volunteered to help extract the wrecked (and partially melted) manifolds of the [Thunder Bird]’s Hyperspace manifold. The massive armored doors that allowed access to the drive system had been opened and a number of ‘mech suites’ the Endeavor employed seemed to be slowly yet surly making progress grinding through the part of the engine assembly. Watching over this from the engineering section Octona CID Unsceut Kalasjcue and a number of assistant engineers looked on in admiration.

“Rather a sight to consider do you not think so? Probably the largest most complicated part of the entire ship. Certainly the most sophisticated, containing over 68,000 individual pieces including the central Helical conduits, taking into account the alloy it is made from, weighs almost three as much as any other component on the vessel.” He said, somewhat to himself in admiration of the engineering achievement. The moment was slightly spoiled by a Tejlini cadet in the rear.

“You are right about that boss, and it’s even more impressive seeing both of them reduced to half melted piles of slag when we did the emergency shut down.”

Unsceut sighed noticeably at the reminder before turning away from the view window.
“Yes, that is an inescapable point, and the real work will be moving those ‘piles of slag’ back into the primary cargo hold, and moving out the spare manifold to replace it. Of course, before we can even START, there is several hundred pounds of fused material on the connector rods that is going to have to be manually, and I may add very delicately removed before we can ‘plug in’ the spare. Who would like to volunteer?” he bellowed to the crowd, eyes not so subtly landing on the outspoken cadet.

On another part of the ship, two Qwintonian security officers were watching a group of Theophoric workers in armored suits fly by.
“I heard they spend their lives in those things, they get put into these machine harnesses and then just live in these giant war suites.” Said one.
“I heard their soldiers spend almost all their time training and whenever there is a battle they are already primed to fight.” Said the other.
“Yeah? With ships as big as these they must have tens of thousands of warriors, they can’t be active all the time. I bet they put them into a sleep when they aren’t in use. I heard that…”
“I heard that all thosse in the sservice conssume plassma for ssubstance and launch particle beamss from their eyess.” This was said by a third individual whose comment made the fur on the first two, from top to bottom, stand on end as they heard a voice that could only have belonged to Delena Thylateloma, the chief of security of the ship. They turned around and saluted instantly.

She was a Trathalan, one of only two on the vessel and the sound of her crisp slightly hissing voice was unmistakable to any of those that served under her directly. Trathalans outside of their homeworld was not totally uncommon. Many, especially younger members, tended to serve in diplomatic or cultural exchange programs, usually serving as interpreters or as teachers of Trathalan culture. Members serving in the military directly however was far more of a rarity and typically in those cases they tended to fill noncombat positions. However there were always exceptions, and when asked, it was often pointed out that their deeply pacifistic religion specified no killing of other Tarthalans. With non-Trathalans however there could be ‘exceptions’.

“The vesssel is currently official at having sstanded down from active fighting. However I would remind of you both thiss would not mean you are thuss allowed to ‘sstand’ around and engage in idlenesss, iss this clarification for you?” She said, as her wings moved in a way that, to anyone that had a full understanding of Trathalan body language gave the equivalent of saying “Just give me one good reason why I shouldn’t write you up here and now boys.”

“YES MA’AM, SORRY MA’AM.” They both snapped, maintaining their salute before turning and scurrying away, their tails literally between their legs as they went. Delena watched them go until they turned the corner and shook her wings and sighed. Arms behind her back, her own tail slowly moving back and forth, she caught her breath, recited a short pray to calm herself, and then took a moment to look outside as well. Her mind filled with the possibilities of the different groups and both benefits, and the fears they represented.
Delena was relatively young, but she still remembered the Tajlan war and its impact on her planet. Long ago her people had been concerned over bringing destruction to themselves after it happening once before. In time that threat came in the form of the invasion from the Tajlan Empire. Now, now the threat could very well be from the whole Galaxy.
“Crie protect and guide us in this time.” she said softly to herself before continuing her rounds.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

ESS Caterina Klaes, Cradle of the Stars

The battle - if it could even be called that - was over. After the Thunder Bird had swept aside the last real warship in the pirate fleet, the remaining fighter craft and gunships had surrended, and the vast majority of their boarding parties did the same. There had been a few hold-outs, one blasted with friendship lasers by Cure Team 12, another finding itself at the tender mercies of the SOS destroyer squadron, and others ended in a most final fashion by Theophanic marines.

Now came the fun part.

There were damaged ships, and they needed to be fixed. The Dystropos's damage was obvious, gaping rends in its hull. There was some minor damage to some other ships - the Nashtari frigate Wyatt Earp in particular had taken a bit of a beating, but had refused the offer of help since the others needed it more (noble thought but slightly disappointing because it was a ship that needed to be fixed) - but the real surprise had been the transmission from the Thunder Bird, outlining the damage to the ship's hyperdrive and what help they needed.

The Klaes carried six shuttles, and they had already made two round trips to the Dystropos, along with a few smaller trips to the damaged priate cruisers. There was a queue wrapped three times around the Klaes of spacers waiting to board, tool-cases in one hand and large raw material backpacks on their... well, backs. Victoria, for her sins*, was not one of them. Instead, she was left to pace the otherwise-empty bridge, thankful that at least the swarm of rabid engineer puppies wouldn't need co-ordinating. It had barely been an hour, and the first teams had already covered the big hole in the Theophanic dreadnought over with temporary plating and were now busy attaching engines, generators and a control system to the hangar door that had been blown off. There was also the half-melted pirate cruiser floating nearby, newly-welded-on engines lit and with one of the Endeavour's secondary laser turrets strapped under its nose.** She did not know what their plan was, nor did she want to know. Life was easier that way.

Hopefully, the request to use the Particle Beam Lance as a long-range spot welder was a joke. She had refused it, just in case.

One of the more minor holes in the Dystropos' hull faded from view as a four-spacer team slammed temporary hull plating over it; she could almost imagine the sparks arcing away from the plates as they were spot-welded into place. By normal welders, thankfully.

Luckily, it was not her job to deal with any of that. She'd delegated it to _lim (chosen entirely because they had been the first person to message the Klaes) and had turned her attention to the Thunder Bird. There was a fused piece of super-dense metal about the size of a cargo lifter stuck inside it, and it had to be removed before a replacement part could be fitted. A team was already on-site, and had fixed some of the ship's paintwork while waiting for the access doors to open.

Her job was to monitor from here, just in case it turned out these UISC ships used something like, say, an engine that tore through hell itself and thus summoned daemons from the immaterium. It was unlikely, sure - did hell even exist? - but there were no fewer than four flavours of human on the field right now so who knew what the fuck was possible anymore?

She had the foresight to send over the expedition's two mecha, a decision vindicated when the doors finally opened and the away team finally saw just how much of a pain this thing was going to be. There were some interesting notes already being taken on the drive systems, on the layout of the engineering bay, and on the way in which the drive did not seem to be a daemon-summoning type.

Well then. Time to let them work. It was relaxing, in a way, listening to the constant ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR of the angle grinders as they slowly ground through the giant piece of fused metal, with the occasional other sound of a more exotic piece of equipment - including what looked suspiciously like a pulse laser cannon from a Bodkin fighter. They had none of those embarked so that had to be planned, whoever brought that along.

Daemons failed to materialise. It was slightly disappointing. There was not much else to say about the process, other than to note that the spare piece of hardware was being floated into the bay before the damaged piece had been removed. Nice and efficient, these UISC chaps.




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




ESS Katra, Uncharted Star System 20649

There was, of course, pie. Miyasawa struggled to place the taste before realising that it was, somehow, pie-flavoured. Rei was experimenting with recursiveness, it seemed - luckily, Kharon had decided to have a plate of the other food on offer: quesedillas, a couple of tacos, and a bowl of rice. She had also appropriated a bottle of hot sauce, and was busy pouring it on all her food in a manner that made Miyasawa wince. Ludvig looked as though he was going to make a comment, before Miyasawa caught his eye with a "we just sorted out one diplomatic incident please don't start another one, I know she is ruining the food but they seem to like spicy" message.

She had her inbox filters turned right up, as well, since everyone and their mother seemed to want to send her a message asking this or that, or congratulating her on the successful negotiation, or saying that she'd betrayed Endeavour's principles, or some rather... salacious... artwork, some of which she would later save to a private folder. Fortune had it that there was a general "no talking business at dinner" culture on board Endeavour ships, so the conversation was steered away from the details of the incipient alliance and towards just what the fuck Spacer Ben thought he was wearing.

"Soo... "wealthy heiress who just got out of the bath and messed up putting her makeup on"?" Ayanami (helm, snek, for those keeping track) ventured a guess, to a shake of Ben's head.

"Arnold Rimmer, as Ace Rimmer... after an accident involving two litres of hairspray, an electric whisk and a chicken soup vending machine?" ventured Abistock, one of the spacers off of the Yui Hirasawa, to another shake of the head.

"Is it some sort of camouflage?" Kharon asked, looking up from her bowl of rice soaked in hot sauce what the terminal dogma-

"It's a shitty Worf cosplay!" Ben burst, to appreciative "ahhh"s all around.

"Oh, I get it," Captain Hirasawa (when had she shown up?) said, "You're making a statement about how we get caught up with our ability to make good cosplay that we've forgotten how to appreciate the bad, right?"

Looks were exchanged. It was art, now, and thus open to interpretation.

"I think it's something to do with how cosplay is the representation of a character, not the character itself, so it doesn't have to be good," a spacer Miyasawa couldn't see the name of chimed in.

"Ceci n'est pas une Worf," drawled C-0W-P0-K3, and Miyasawa noticed Kharon stiffen a little at that which was a bit odd, sure the man was a cowboy robot, but that was hardly the most unusual form on display. "Well, ain't that the damn point of cosplay to begin with?"

Ben looked to be bursting at the seams. "No, the point is that Worf's a shitty character!"

There was general uproar. The phase "death of the author" was used. Miyasawa tuned it out, having heard the debate a million times over. Kharon was reaching for the pie, which would surely be a diplomatic disaster - who knew how she'd react to the rather conceptual taste? Captain Ayanami was known for her experimental approach to cooking, and she'd been working on this one for quite some time. Miyasawa tried to stop Kharon, but Rei was smiling encouragingly and cutting the good Theophanic Captain a slice. Miyasawa watched in detached horror as Kharon politely cut out a bite-sized piece, put it in her mouth, and chewed thoughtfully. There was silence (the debate still raging over the ambience), the crew holding their collective breaths and waiting for the outcome.

"Well," said Kharon, swallowing, "That is certainly an... interesting... flavour. Pass the hot sauce, will you?"

-

Dinner eventually concluded, and there was a mass exodus from the galley to the crew lounge. It had a better view of the stars, for a start, and also a large enough TV screen for there to be a decent conference call. Kharon looked a bit askance at the windows, and Miyasawa realised just how few there had been on the Megakolymvitis - there had been more in the city-scape areas, but most of the work spaces hadn't had any.
A thought to file away for later.

"Why are we here?" Kharon asked, "It seems like something is happening."

Shit, she wouldn't just know, would she? No ambient connection. The space wasn't quite packed, but it was certainly crowded. Spacers spilled out into the hallway, and there were even a few hardy souls looking in from outside the window. There was no real reason for it, everyone could watch and interact with the incoming feed, but perhaps people liked to gawk.

"Okay," Miyasawa said, "First of all: sorry for not telling you but I forgot you don't have a way to see the ambience." Kharon looked a little mollified at that. "Anyway - the government wants to talk about this alliance thing, and we're just setting up a real-time connection with back home. It's nothing too official - we don't really do official - but given what happened with that planet I guess Parliament thought it best to act fast?"

INCOMING TRANSMISSION, blared the TV screen, followed by the current emblem of the Sovereign Protector, a marijuana leaf formed out of dicks. There was a general facepalming motion.

"Sorry about that," Miyasawa muttered to Kharon, "The crew of the big dave’s nutte sacc got to choose this week."

Kharon's response was cut off as Sovereign Protector Ayanami appeared on the screen, along with a fair chunk of Parliament off in their own boxes to one side and a comment bar for the habs. Kharon looked at the woman on the screen, then at Captain Ayanami, then at the five-or-so other Reis scattered about the room.

"-thing on?" Sovereign Protector Ayanami said, then cleared her throat. "Okay, now we're on. Hey, Iohanna Kharon soi Chelonis, thought we'd be doing this a bit later so we're not exactly prepared, but Captain Ayanami was right in that we're very much interested in an alliance with the Theophanic Empire - with some conditions, of course."

"Naturally," Kharon said, her face a mask, "Carry on."

"Alright, so, first things first, not sure if you've heard about the kerfuffle in the Cradle of the Stars yet, we've only just heard about it ourselves, but it seems another Endeavour and Theophanic fleet made contact up there - along with a few others, but we don't know all the details just yet so I won't go into detail." There was a pause, both Sovereign Protector Ayanami and Kharon's faces continuing to be masks. "My point being, we need a specific liason with the Empire for this whole arrangement, and we'd prefer yourself and, to a lesser extent, soi Chelonis as a whole. Just to get that sorted before there's any trouble over who gets to be that liason."

Kharon paused for a moment before responding: "I must admit it is a little unusual, but I accept. Are there more conditions?"

Sovereign Protector Ayanami's face took on that look that one gets when they really do not want to broach a subject - but in the extremely subtle way in which Reis tended to emote. "Well, we'd be happy to help out with destroying Amazo-X, so long as the Empire tries not to blow up another planet. Or, at least, asks us first." The chat-bar filled with :datense: ( :shock: ) emotes.

Kharon's face continued to be a mask. "I cannot, you understand, speak for the Epimelitirio on specific terms, but I can say that that is likely one that would be accepted. Is that acceptable?"

"That's fine," said Sovereign Protector Ayanami, to :dawoo: emotes. "I'm sure we'll discuss further details later, but for now - get back to your party."

Party? Miyasawa saw a few spacers approaching from behind bearing a "congratulations" cake and a fair few bottles. Party it was.

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

*Namely, being the Captain.

**[OOC Note: this is the wreck of the Adventure Galley, which will be returned if people want it.]
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Cradle of the Stars Nebula, Dystropos wreck

As his officers debarked the striderbus they had used to observe the damage done to the Dystropos, Justinian soi Foinix remained seated, looking over the massive ship’s interior pensively. The colonists, most of them had survived despite terrible losses-- there were still around three million alive. But the crew of Dystropos and its Protector complement had been decimated. soi Fylachto would take a long time to recover from a blow like this. That could potentially put soi Foinix in a position to ascend…

But at what cost? Justinian had invested a decent percentage of his own personal fortune into this voyage, as had Count Betor soi Fylachto, may the Emperoress embrace him. No. This wasn’t the time for dynastic maneuvers. A throat cleared beside him and he turned to cast a jaundiced eye upon the burgundy-jacketed Foinix officer, who saluted and reported, “My lord, we are ready to conclude the status briefings.”

He grunted and stood, leaning on his ornate cane. He remained silent until they were gathered in the polished wood-framed kapetanios quarters, vacated by the Fylachto retainers. Justinian would assume lordship of Dystropos until a famprika-ploios could arrive with a suitable Fylachto noble to take charge; the Protectors would back him up meanwhile. But he still had to decide who would take the Theophanic fleet looking for a suitable colony world, hopefully one nearby enough that they could take the Dystropos colonists there without too much difficulty.

And there was another immediate issue at hand. No less than three-- no, four-- other nations had sent flotillas, somehow improbably (as though directed by some divine being) to this exact place. The Nashtaris had suffered some casualties. The DesDiv Three flotilla had mostly rounded up any retreating enemies. These… he didn’t even know what they were, but they came from a place they called the Sector… had broken down here due to some kind of nullspace drive malfunction, but had still provided some vital backup.

And the Emperoress-damned Endeavour were swarming all over Dystropos, cheerfully cooperating with the technognostiki. The Protectors were going frazzled trying to keep an eye on all the motley lot that came out of the boxy shuttles. They’d already had to take a firm tone with the Endeavourites when it came to repairing military equipment. It was all well and good for them to weld armour plating back on, nobody much cared about that, but they didn’t need to know how many missile launchers and railguns were on a Thorikto.

Justinian’s attention returned to the present as Moameth, the commander of the Dystropos’ Protector legion, entered the room. A short, wide-shouldered woman with a hard face and dark hair pulled into a severe braid, she forwent protocol and stood firmly in front of him. “Lord soi Foinix. We have a problem.”

He sat back in the finely polished wooden chair of Karlak mahogany and raised an eyebrow. “We do. There are ways we do things here, Genikos.”

She sighed, closed her eyes a moment and then stared at him coldly. “Do you really think this is the time, Lord soi Foinix?”

Justinian shrugged. “I suppose everything is topsy-turvy of late. What is it?”

“Dokimos Arthouros soi Fylachto.”

He cast his mind about a moment. The name didn’t ring a bell, apart from the soi Fylachto title. He shrugged. She continued impatiently, “He’s Lord Betor’s nephew. He was on the bridge when the translation espase [broke].”

“Ah. The boy. Yes. What about him?”

“You were Betor’s friend. Don’t you know the Fylachto tradition?” she responded, annoyed.

“Well, no. We played cards and drank, we didn’t examine our genia heritages in depth,” he answered her, just as annoyed. The dreadnought was a wreck, dead in space, and she wanted to talk about a child?

She crossed her arms over her chest, breathed deeply for a moment, and then looked directly at him, “I’ll keep it short. Betor soi Fylachto was the klironomos soi Fylachto. Now that he has fallen unto Their Embrace, Adelig Karhu has to appoint a new klironomos. Karhu had too many damn kids, and his first and second klironomos passed already. And Fylachto tradition in this regard is for all the eligible heirs to gather. Arthouros is only a third degree removed from Betor. He’s eligible. And that means, according to tradition, he must report to Idunn as soon as possible; in fact, since he’s the only Fylachto still alive here, he has to escort his uncle’s body back to the mausoleum on Idunn as well.”

“Fine. We’ll put him on the Neokastro Savra when we send it back to Mitra. Is that acceptable?”

She shook her head. “The boy is thirteen, Lord soi Foinix. You can’t send a child like that without an escort.”

Justinian sighed. “Do you expect me to do it?”

Moameth shook her head, face professionally smooth. A half-smile cracked the corner of her face though as she answered, “I already have a candidate in mind. Erhard apo Aftokratoria. He distinguished himself in our engagement, and furthermore, he remotely assisted Dokimos soi Fylachto in resuming control of the bridge. I would send him back with directions to report to Protector headquarters on Mitra for honours, then to take young soi Fylachto to Idunn. Given the distances involved, he will be reassigned to guardian duty for the Dokimos.”

soi Foinix nodded and held himself back from waving her away. “Yes, all right. If you will pardon me…”

She nodded and stepped away without as much as a by-your-leave. Justinian stared coldly at her back, then shifted his attention to the gaggle of officers and a few technognostiki awaiting to fill him in. He considered a moment and then called out, “Frater Ymanuel. What is our progress on repairs?”

W̶͔͗̆̄ȇ̴̖̼͇̋̏̽̾ ̷̩̭̼̮̓̈́ă̸̢̟͍͓̤̾̀͘͝r̸̛̦̰̘͑̾̅͝ẻ̸̬̜̅̍ ̷͕̞̊̔͠p̷̢̺̦͈̉̀r̴̨͇̪̜̖̒ơ̴̝͍̐̿̑̕g̴͕͚̈́ṟ̸͎̳͋̿͋̔͛e̸̳̊̿̽̋͝s̶̯̝͚̜̃̉̔̕͝s̴̲̞̈i̵̭̎͑͝͠n̴͓̯͌g̷͎̪̎ ̴̥̀s̵̘̅̀̕t̸̳̦̉̋̾͘͝ȅ̸̛͖̂̋͂ȧ̵̧̦̣͛d̷̖̭̮͚̀i̶͔̥̬̊̈́̕l̴̢͕̆̉͌y̴̩͙̻̯̔̑́̊̈́ ̴̯͙̘͙̺̈́̏ŵ̴̲͕̪͇i̶͚̼͚͎̍̂̀̄̉ṯ̸̠̠͊̾̇̚h̷̘̏ ̷̡̎͒ţ̸͇͚̇͂h̸̭̩̳̃̈̔͜ͅe̸͍͎̟͍͌̈̓ ̴̖̆ả̷̛̠͒̏ͅs̶̲͎̗̔ş̶̺͈͈̅́ỉ̸̯̘͓̥͖̊̏s̷̫͉̥͛t̶͕̲̳̅͜͝ȧ̵̫̺̰̖̏̏͊͝ṋ̶̪͈̙̈̿̅̕c̸͈̤̱͓͗e̵͓̿́̚͝ͅ ̵̰̥͐͐ŏ̸̪̫͍̗̇͊͘ͅf̴̥̱̂̚ ̸̢̘̩̽t̷̰̤̮̞̉́͂̑ḧ̶̰̥̰́̀ē̸̯̖̠̬͖̿̿̕ ̸̣̭́Ě̷̢̛̱͚͂̉̐n̸̨̛̖̬̽̂̋͘ͅd̴̥̊̍̈́̀e̵̜̞͗͛̎a̴̧̳̲͛̚v̵̨̀͑͝o̴͕̜̯̻̬͌̽̽ȗ̷̬͚̍͝͠r̴͕̰̼̒́͐ ̵̗̑͛̍̇c̴̮̀͋͂r̸̜͇̹̙̆̐ͅë̸͙͚̥́̒̃̔̓w̷̛̹͗̓̔̂s̷̻͕̦͙̬̎̍̀̿̋,̴̨̛̻̮̗͊́̂ ̷̝̙̖̾̅m̶̧̡̥̉y̷̬̣̗͑̃ ̷̢͔̰͙̳̉͗̀l̸̢̬̙̆ọ̴͊͊ͅr̵̛̘̗̓̀̊̒ḍ̴̛̻̟͇͠.̶̫̲͌͋̎ ̶͕̏͛̈́̚ the adept answered, L̸̟̾̄i̶̘̘̦͗͒͜͠ͅf̵̛̞͙̮̘͖̿̓̇̇̈́e̵̙̋̊͊̈́̇ ̵͎͚̰̅͑͗͋͝s̷̙̳̬̜͎̽́u̴͈̩͓̦̾͊͜͝p̴̥͖̰͇͑̾̚͜p̷͇̙̺̏ỏ̵̮̫͒̓̔̀̇͜ŗ̴̢̟̝̱̫̐̆̄t̸̢̬̙̼̱̋̂̚͝͠ ̴͍̹̲͉͐͛̊̄̍h̷̫̩̿ą̴̢̛̖̭̣̑̎̿͝s̶̢̨͚̙͙͊̄͊ ̵̥͇̖̗̯̹̄͋͝b̷̗̪̥͍̓͝e̸̢̩̻̩̍̐̒̃ͅe̷̲̘̝̱͆̚n̷̻͕̬͉͍͊ ̴̗̩͒̈́s̷̱̺̖͕͐̇͐̕͜t̶̡̢̬͙̝̎̊̊ȁ̷̟̠͙͇̙͊̑͝b̶̧͈̪̫͇͍͠i̷͔̭̽̅̿l̵̜̞͒͂̉̊̾͜i̸͎̘͍͔̺̞͛͒̃̚͝s̵̼̬̞̘͔̈́͛e̶͈͘̚͠d̷̛͇͎̬̳̗͒́̿͒̚.̵͔̻͛͐̃͛̑̇ ̴͓͐̍̑̈́̏͠W̷̰̼̓ë̶̡̤̲̥̲́ ̵̲̹͉̽̊̒͑̚ė̵͈̆͊̓ẍ̸͙͓̳́̉̀͑̑̐ͅͅp̶̧͓̹̗̔̄ë̷̘̹͔͈́c̶͇̱̙͔͛̄t̵̀͜ ̷̗̺̳̾͆̇͌f̴̤̲̤̝͂͐͌̆͠u̶̡͎̦͔͎̞̓̀̈́̀͝ĺ̶̼̰͇͕͒̔̚ļ̴̠̙͓̬̣͆͛̇̐́ ̶̼̪͉̹̠̒̄͝r̸͈̓̂̑͘ė̵͙̦͔͕͍͈̑̔s̵̗̜̭̬̦̉͌ͅt̵̜̞̰̻͉̮͒ơ̷͔̼͔̎ŕ̷̢̛̪̺̠̲̯̃̓͛͋ä̵̩͔̪̦́̉͆̑͒t̸̜̙͖̼͕̫͂̕͝i̵͈̖͆͒̓o̵̘̠͑͂͜͝͠ñ̴̨͓̱͚͠͝ ̴̧͔͙͚͇̪̓̽̎͑o̴̹͋́f̶̩̤͇̬̝̓̀̈ͅ ̸̯̄́p̵̞̠̣̤̉́̊ǫ̶̻̐̏̍̓̑̉w̷̝̍̀e̵͍̮͖̩̋̀̏̂́r̷̼̹̅͋͝ͅ ̴̳̟͕̖̤͈̓͐̕͘a̴̠͈͖̚n̸̝̭̤̘̉̃d̵̜̲̫͉͉̲̀̍̈́̍̈́̍ ̶̠̹͖͕̻̱̂͝p̷̰̳̀ĺ̶̢̪̞͔̫͖̒̅̀͝u̶̜̪̱̺̍̍̒͋̐͘͜m̶͈̙̥̏̊̐̍b̴̼̣̤̆i̴͎̰͑̃n̵̩̄̈́ģ̷̢͎̺̗͒̄͒͑̂͝ ̸̡͈̞̔̈́̂͜͝ͅẘ̷̫ȋ̵̮͔͖̏̈́̕̚͜ͅt̷̠̩̤͇͕̀̐̌͘ḫ̴̱͈͉̠̈̀ĭ̵͈̱̜̬͌̒n̶̨̼̥̐ ̴͈͛̂̾̈͆̂t̶̺̠̻͎̉̎ḣ̴͙̪̖ę̴̭̞̙͖̎͂̆̅͑̚͜ ̷̰̖͎͔̽́̆͌n̸̘̭̾̅͒̂̎̚͜ḙ̸̖̩̜͔̖͛̍̒͆̌x̸̥̤̙̎̀͜t̶͙͉̻͊́ ̷̨̝̱͉̖͓̆̒̈͆̈́̍w̶̡͓͇̜̄͊́͜a̵̡̡̫̮̮͔̐͊̄̿̚t̵̹͔̯̎̍̾̃͊c̷̞̒̃̓̋̈́̕ȟ̶̨̥̤͊̾͆ ̷̧̨̝͙̟͉̔͑̂̓į̷̡̖̭͚̓̔̋̎͠͝f̵̠̗̦̪̙̥̐ ̷̲̋̑̃̿͗͘ŵ̸̫̺̟̪͔͑ḙ̵̺͚̈́̈́̇ ̶̪͍̱̙̞͎̇̇̇͂͂͝w̴̡̧̮̪̑͋͋̈́o̷̰̥͕̬͖̓̈͝r̶̦͍͍̅k̶̜͓̜̬̍͗̾́͝͝ͅ ̴̡̖̼̳́̈͂w̷͕̻̠̩̥̗͗i̵͔̞̓t̷͕̮̺͚̲̪̉̐̂ḩ̶̪͖̜̙͂͒͑̑ ̴̢̡̏̈͊d̴͛͜ō̵̖͎̲̒͠u̵̖̿̌͗̈́b̸̛͎͈̩̪͐̈́̀̀l̸̛̙̥̞͉͔̐̇ĕ̷̤͕̮̩̘̮̇́́͘ ̴̠͖̪̆́̍s̷̡̤̰̞̰̯̏h̸̗̟͑̓̍́̚i̷̠͑̄̑͂̈́͠f̴̞̗̔̏̂̐̿̅ț̷͌͗͛͜͠s̶̩̄̈́͒͐̌̅.̴͚͈͎̻̓̾̑̏ ̴͈͆̓̐̅̑

A figure Justinian didn’t recognize strode up from among the technognostiki to stand besides Frater Ymanuel. He was tall, unclad in technognostiki robes, wearing instead some kind of heavy fabric coverall, the top rolled about his waist and a (quite stained at this point) white singlet on his torso. Most of his face was covered by a metal shell, one eye glowing red. The parts of his body not covered by clothes seemed a random mix of flesh and cybernetics, the most extreme being that his left arm was entirely mechanical, terminating in a cluster of… was there an arc welder sticking out?

The new arrival nodded at Justinian, and without any kind of preamble (what was it with people being impolite today?) added, “Ymanuel is on the nose, but we’ve made sure all the civilians are provided for. The ones whose quarters are trashed, we’ve got them in their combat shelters while we put them back together. I figure we’ll have all the civilians taken care of in a few hours. The other stuff that you’re letting”-- Justinian didn’t miss the emphasis on the word-- “us help you fix will take a bit longer, but we’ll figure it out, no worries.”

Justinian cleared his throat loudly and directed a penetrating look at Ymanuel, who had the grace to look mildly embarrassed (somehow, without an actual face). The cyborg smacked his forehead and said loudly, “Where are my manners? I’m _Iim of Endeavour. Pleased to meetcha.”

And, of all things, he reached out, grabbed a chair, turned it around and sat backwards on it. The collective intake of breath around the room was nearly audible. The rush of outraged murmuring, that was audible. The Endeavourite either didn’t hear it or ignored it and begun rummaging in a leg pocket before pulling out a crumpled package from which he extracted a foul cigarillo, lighting it with a flourish of his artificial limb.

Justinian stared at him coldly. Through puffs of smoke, the visitor returned the favor, his eye glowing through the clouds. Thrabe, a general officer in the soi Foinix troops, stepped forward and cleared his throat loudly. “Sir, this is Lord Justinian soi Foinix, the Duke of Alessio, Prince Hauerwas, Baron of Saint-Constantipolis, Marshal of the Third Army of soi Foinix--”

_Iim waved him away impatiently with the foul cigarillo. “Yeah, yeah, mister, let’s just get to brass tacks here.”

He fixed Justinian with a steady look and continued, “Y’all are dead busted, and there ain’t no repair stations in this neck of the woods. Unless we hear back from the Nashtaris soon, and those starch-arses are pretty damn close-mouthed, you ain’t goin’ nowhere and neither are your three-million… ish colonists. You don’t strike me as a dumbass, Lord soi Foinix, so I’m sure you’re as aware of this as I am.”


Calmly, not taking his eyes away from the newcomer’s gaze, Justinian reached inside his jacket, and produced a massive stogie of his own. A flame jetted from the end of his cane and he proceeded to eject thick clouds of smoke of his own. A few thoughtful puffs later (some of his officers started fanning their hands before their faces; he didn’t care), he took it from his mouth and pointed it at _Iim, “Young man. You’ve a lot of cheek coming here, disregarding all protocol of your hosts, and talking to me like that.”

The cyborg shrugged. “Worst you can do is kill me, and that would be a bad idea, chum. Don’t bite the hand that feeds ya, and all. Or helps you when you’re in a pinch. Whatever. Ya know what Ah means.”

A low chuckle began reverberating through the massive audience chamber. The assembled officers stared. Justinian was laughing.

As though cut with a knife, the laughter stopped. Justinian stuck the thick cigar back in his mouth and sat back. “Don’t get me wrong. We appreciate the assistance. This is not a situation we have found ourselves in very often the past few... “ and he had to think for a moment; “generations. So. Yes. In the name of the Theophanic Empire, thank you.”

_lim nodded thoughtfully and responded, “Y’all’re mighty welcome. Anythin’ else we can do for ya while we’re heah?”

“Actually, now that you mention it,” Justinian murmured, “I was hoping you might be so kind as to make a few calls for me…”

+++++++++++++

OOC: Assume that the Nashtari, Sector, SOS, and Endeavour flotillas have been contacted and requested to assemble on the Dystropos ‘tomorrow afternoon’ for ‘discussions regarding arrangements of mutual benefit to all parties of the recent excitement’. Anybody not present will be assumed to not be interested in said arrangements. Theophanic spreads are not to be missed. There will be cheese.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Bridge of the NRS Venture, north reaches of the Cradle of the Stars

"Conn, Sensors. Black Star combatants have been neutralized. We're reading a scout fleeing, assess it will achieve slipspace jump in minutes."

"Sensors, Conn, aye. Instructions, Admiral?"

Admiral Greeley leaned forward, steepling his fingers under his chin. "Comms, Flag. Order the Will Scarlet to pursue the fleeing contact. CAG, dispatch the 191st to screen the frigate."

"Flag, Comms, aye."

"Comms, once patch me through to the group that identified as Endeavour, the ones we could actually understand."

"Aye, Admiral," answered another junior officer at the comms controls (the flag bridge of a carrier had several). "Flag, you're on."

Admiral Greeley nodded acknowledgement before speaking into the comms relay. "Unidentified ships, this is Admiral Greeley. Now that's done with, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask what you're doing here."
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

ESS Caterina Klaes, the Cradle of the Stars

Some time before the repairs made to the Dystropos and Thunder Bird

"Unidentified ships, this is Admiral Greeley. Now that's done with, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask what you're doing here."

Victoria leaned back in the Captain's Chair, gathering her thoughts. Sully pinged her a preliminary analysis of the communications systems used by the Nashtari fleet, highlighting that they were similar to the whispers which had indicated a civilisation was out here* - and dragged this little expedition out here to begin with. In other words, they likely lived here and were asking just what in the hell everyone was doing on their lawn. Her ear twitched. Time to be diplomatic.

"Admiral Greene, this is Captain Carver of the Caterina Klaes, senior ship of the North-Western Expedition. Our home - Endeavour - picked up transmissions indicating the existence of an interstellar civilisation in this region, and we were asked to go say hi. Then, we got lost in this-" she suppresed a curse - "nebula here, picked up the burst of energy from the Dystropos translating back to normal space, and came to investigate. The rest is history, I suppose. Is there any assistance we can offer you besides the SAR effots already underway? Some help out of this nebula would be appreciated, once this mess is cleared up."

There was a pause, the officer on the other end having to think about their response.

"Well, Captain, thanks for the offer of help, but we can handle ourselves from here. We'd be happy to help you with directions out of the nebula, but I hope you understand we'd rather not tell you exactly where our worlds are just yet. You are... rather heavily armed for an exploration fleet."

"That's reasonable," Victoria replied. "In the interest of being open - the other foreign polity we've had any sustained contact was rather hostile to our continued existence, so we thought it best to be prepared in case of the worst."

"Understood. There will be some diplomats on the way, they should arrive within a few hours. I'd appreciate it if you stayed put until then, at least." Another pause, as though the Admiral was weighing up whether or not to continue: "How well do you know this... "Theophanic Empire"?"

Ah, right, probably wondering how Endeavour knew their language. "Not very well, we're engaged in a first-contact situation with them elsewhere - that's how we knew the Dystropos was a colony ship, and how we knew the language. Beyond that - not much else. They're likely not a threat, though, with the Dystropos being as heavily damaged as it is. We're going to help their damage control teams out, as well as the Thunder Bird, then presumably there'll be a bit of a sit-down."

"Understood; we'll remain on station in the meantime. Greene, out."
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Theophanic Colony World Symmachia

An avian pokes its head from the leafy cover of a tall tree. It blinks its six eyes sleepily, yawns prodigiously with a toothy beak, and scratches behind its eardrum with the claws upon its feathered wing joint. A couple more blinks, and it fluffs out its feathers, stretches its long neck out, and screeches loudly in the early light of the day.

Raucous screams are returned to its eardrums, and it leaps off the limb it was perched on. A flight of other avians, similarly plumaged, accompanies it through the treetops. They are watched by a yawning simian-like creature that turns back to its parent, who sleepily pulls it closer as the other members of their pack snore about them. A panther-like creature, scaled instead of furred, stretches its claws as it dreams curled up in the crotch of a huge tree.

Nearby as the thick jungle gives way to lush grasslands, herds of massive grazer beasts line up at the broad river winding through the savanna. Somewhere along the river, the beasts leap away from the water, screeching as a massive predator launches itself out of the river to clap its enormous jaws about an unfortunate grazer. As the water settles from the ruckus, blood starts trailing downstream.

Marshes full of tall grasses waving in the salt-tinged air hid long-legged striding animals, vaguely frog-like, snatching insects out of the air with swift long limbs. Crustaceans, ten-legged, clustered on the mud flats, waving their filamentous feathery antennae at each other. Water-avians, similar to the jungle avians but more adapted for the marsh environment, swim leisurely or dive deep into the murky water. Occasionally, the water swirls as something snatches some prey from the surface.

Further down the coast, waves break lazily upon a pebbled coast. Avians swoop in the wind, the only thing setting them apart from old Terran birds being the slightly different outline of their wings and the dimly visible claws at their joints. Above the stony beach stretches thick green grass, upon which cattle are cavorting, in the open air once more after the traumas of an extended journey aboard spaceships. Their herder bends to the grass, sticking it into a portable device of some kind. Apparently it satisfies him as he stands and nods. The cattle, somehow understanding him, bend their heads down and begin tearing up the first fresh food they’ve had in months.

A river wends inland from the coast, and we see a flurry of activity, but unlike the jungle, these are human activities. Gigantic landers block the sun as they descend slowly from the sky. Massive steel walls are planted in the soft earth. Earth-movers efficiently plane the land flat for enormous trucks which deposit huge pallets piled high with prefabricated building materials. These designs have been drilled into the fortunate genia citizens selected for colonial duty, and they fall upon the materials, assembling functional buildings within a matter of hours.

Sewage systems will come later, as they do not have time to scrape the massive trenches at the moment. Instead chemical toilets are deployed en masse, houses being laid out so that disposal vehicles can access valves at their rear with ease. Streets are being scraped out according to plans that were established millennia ago for optimal population movement and distribution efficiency, but without disturbing natural drainage patterns, instead working around them.

Likewise, though thousands-- nay, hundreds of thousands-- of dwellings are being erected, they are noticeably avoiding disrupting the environment excessively. Where possible, they are nestled alongside hills rather than flattening the ground entirely, or placed between groves of trees instead of clear-cutting the forests. Drainage ditches are placed to enhance natural drainage rather than interfering with it. Where roads must cross ditches, even shallow ones are not filled in, but culverts or even small bridges are carefully placed.

Shiny red military vehicles roll slowly along the newly laid streets, the soldiers within jumping out and assisting with whatever they encounter along the way, from bridge-laying to ditch-digging and house-raising. It resembles from a distance nothing more than a gigantic open-air ant-hill, people clustering about their work.

A Cyclopean lander slowly descends from the heavens, engines glowing on its wide underside as it lands groaning in an enormous cradle at one side of the growing Theophanic community. Fifty-metre-tall doors open and great containers are revealed within. Lift-vehicles, already lined up waiting, trundle up a long ramp and begin extricating the cargo, waved on by motes of workers in high-visibility garments.

Carefully situated on high ground to one side, a road twisting back and forth slowly up to its gates, rests a prefabricated garrison, nearly a city in its own right. Above the gate and before the tall general’s quarters stand massive poles holding the ensign of the Empire, a golden orb surrounded by an iridescent rainbow spreading to the edges of the banner. Tall class-five warsuits lope around the walled perimeter of the garrison while tanks line up alongside the walls, positioned to fire on parabolic trajectories over the wall. Tall towers are topped with spreading roofs, half-hiding long-barrelled rail artillery pieces capable of striking targets up to twenty kilometres away.

The sun hits its peak and the air becomes warm. People cease work, find shade, going inside half-completed buildings or back to their dwelling, whichever is closer, to lunch on simple fare. Grains, legumes, cheese, often flavored with mouth-tingling spices and sopped up with quickly made flatbreads.

This day is different. They don’t go back to work after they eat. The soldiers ranging around the settlement return to the garrison, spending time polishing their armour and arraying themselves in their finery. Rumbles like thunder sound on the horizon, and starships of strange design slowly descend from the heavens, hovering above the community, rainbow light shimmering around them and the occasional discharge of static flashing through the clouds from their energy shields.

Theophanic makrysofas and kleptoi-craft begin descending slowly between the starships, touching down at the edges of the massive landing field, cleared for the day’s purpose. People start filing in from the town and sitting on the hills around the landing field, and as the sun slants further towards evening, the hills are covered with people waiting expectantly.

From high above, two craft, one a hammer-headed Theophanic ship, the other the ESS sneaky snek, coast smoothly through the atmosphere on their way to the field. Captain Miko Miyasawa stood at her bridge window, staring. There was… so… much… water below. This was an ocean? And it wasn’t even potable water!

She jumped as something massive broke through the water and spouted a high puff, joined by more of its kind. Besides her, Sadie exclaimed happily at the sight. “Are those whales?! I’ve always loved reading about those…”

At his station, Ludvig stage-whispered loudly, “Nobody tell her about Moby Dick then.”

Miyasawa flipped her hand at him to shut up, and at the pilot’s station, Rei piped up, “Approaching Theophanic airspace. Rotating out of inversion… now.”

Slowly the sneaky snek rolled up to its normal orientation; Rei had been flying it upside-down to give everybody on the bridge a much better view of the planet below. Even with the limited visibility of flying in landing position, Miyasawa could see mountains in the distance. Sprawling forests. Endeavour ships hovering in the sky above the city that had sprung up practically overnight, putting on a show with their shields reacting against the atmosphere. Theophanic landers that could’ve swallowed the snek with ease neatly lined up alongside a wide valley crowded with people.

She looked to the snek’s starboard, and there saw the Theophanic barge Kharon and Stefon soi Drakon were riding in. Kharon had said something about “making a proper entrance”. If how Stefon had come into a diplomatic reception was any indication, this should be a right show.

Her eyes widened and Ludvig exclaimed. A flock of birds had just flown between their ships. Birds. Or some kind of feathered avian, anyway. If she wanted to check the ambience, there would be a constant stream of comments and messages about… everything. How big the world was. The ocean. All the animals. Suddenly, she had to clear her throat for a moment and sit back in her captain’s chair.

Rei smoothly brought the snek about to land in a massive bay, built for Theophanic landers, that dwarved the Endeavour ship. Miyasawa reflected that she was almost getting used to the feeling of being smaller than almost everything around her… and then an alarm sounded.

Her systems kicked in and she spun around. Ibuki, at Tactical, was flushing and poking buttons, the alarm died. She looked outside the bridge and saw what was causing the alarm… fireworks. And a lot of them. Rockets streaking and exploding around the hammerheaded Theophanic barge, slowly descending to the landing bay at the head of the great valley. More rockets exploded in the darkening sky above the valley and kleptoi-craft and makrysofas zoomed by in intersecting patterns.

Miyasawa quelled her autonomic systems with a thought, stood and tugged her clothes straight over her plugsuit. Her captain’s cap went on her hair at a jaunty angle and she nodded at her crew. “Showtime. Everybody but the B shift, report to the starboard airlock. Remember, we’re here to make a good show for Endeavour, and to hell with the haters.”

As the airlock opened and she stepped out, cheers rang from one end of the valley to the other, and she barely kept herself from flinching at the sound. Gigantic holograms of her appeared at either end of the natural stadium, and tentatively she waved. The cheering only got louder.

A soldier, in what she recognized as the dark brown and yellow colours wore by soi Chelonis troops, bustled up the ramp to her and bowed deeply. They removed their broad-brimmed helmet to reveal a young woman’s face under short cropped hair, and the girl performed a crisp salute in the Theophanic style, flat hand held horizontally before her armoured chest.

“Kapteanios Miyasawa? I’m Ypolchagos Atsali. My troopers and I will escort you to the ceremonial dais.”

Miyasawa imitated the Theophanic salute and the cheers rang forth again (though she imagined-- or did she?-- that she saw Atsali’s eye twitch at her form). The ypolchagos gestured down the ramp and turned to walk beside Miyasawa as she passed, and they filed between a double row of soi Chelonis troops, standing rigid in gleaming lacquered armour and holding their weapons at port-arms.

She dropped a stern reminder on the ship channel-- no cutting up now, you can do that after the important part of the festivities-- and stood up a little straighter as they entered an elongated, low-slung open vehicle…. that suddenly lurched to an improbable height (only a few metres above ground, but nonetheless rather taller than she suddenly found herself comfortable with) and began walking on mechanical legs.

As the (she picked up from the ship ambience channel that some of her crew were calling it a striderbus) calmly paced towards what must be the ceremonial dais, she couldn’t help noticing regiments of soldiers lining up in precise formation up and down the field. Brown-and-yellow lacquered armour shone alongside refined red and gold, and burnished ivory and gold shone the most.

Mecha stood erect behind the rows of troopers, and armoured vehicles lined up in between the regiments. Loud music, overly martial for Miyasawa’s taste, resounded up and down the valley as the striderbus stopped at the foot of the now-massive dais. It was a round structure, stepping up to a columned open space at the top, a hundred feet above the ground level. Stairs ascended to that dizzying height from the deck the striderbus deposited Miyasawa, Atsali and her crew upon.

“My Lady Miyasawa? Your position is at the top of the dais. Your crew may mingle with the fleet officers on the second and third tiers,” Atsali informed her with another salute. She nodded dimly, slightly dizzy with the virtual-- well, not virtual, this was all too real-- horde around her. The officers, resplendent in their finest robes and uniforms and bedecked with medals and sashes and ribbons and braids. Cloth of gold, scarlet velvet, and furs hung everywhere.

She tentatively stepped up the last few steps to the very top of the dais, ringed with columns. A nervous looking individual holding a thick volume turned to look at her and waved tentatively, almost swallowed in the bulk of his iridescent rainbow-hued robes. She sidled up to him and whispered, “Er, hi. Am I in the right place?”

“I daresay you are, if I am,” he responded, “Theophilestate [Bishop] Loukas, at your service.”

“Captain Miko Miyasawa, of the ESS sneaky snek, at yours” she answered. The priest (or at least that’s what she assumed he was) stuck out a hand and they shook briefly. His hands were damp, and strangely enough that reassured her-- no doubt he was nervous too. But her attention was drawn to him looking sharply down the valley, and she tried to follow his gaze.

Troops had drawn up in front of the Theophanic barge at the other end of the field, leaving a wide aisle between them. She noted that the Chelonis troops stood on one side, and red-armoured Drakon troops on the other. Craning her neck, she noticed that the ivory-and-gold Imperial Protectors were mostly staying in their own tight detachment near the dais.

The music shifted to a more triumphant key, and seams at the hammer-head of the Theophanic barge stretched open as most of the fore hull of the ‘head’ section hinged open. Fireworks launched anew into the sky, and as they exploded brilliantly, illuminating the entire valley for a second, a gigantic mechanical tortoise strode forth from the barge. On its back was a wide platform, and a massive throne upon that.

Kharon soi Chelonis, Archiploiarchos Sixteenth Expeditionary Fleet, newly minted Governess-General Palatine of the World Symmachia, and many other titles beside that Miyasawa frankly didn’t care about, sat there in splendour. That was the only word for it. Her flowing hair was held back with a jeweled band around her forehead. A tall collar upon her shoulders sat atop wide fabric pauldrons from which depended a luxurious cloak of golden fur, shimmering in the dusk light shining directly upon her and reflecting sharply from the rest of her outfit. Miyasawa could hardly make it out in the glare, but it appeared to be… well, more gold. The ultimate achievement of her outfit, however, had to be the gigantic halo, tens of metres wide, shimmering in rainbow light surrounding her tortoise palanquin.

Stefon soi Drakon, in rich crimson robes over red-and-gold clothing, contrasted Kharon by standing primly at one side just behind the throne, swaying with the movement of the mechanical turtle. She turned her head to the side as a raucous screech rang across the field and… soldiers riding giant birds appeared?!

The birds, long-legged and long-necked, lethal claws upon their feet, ran swiftly alongside the palanquin, circled it, and then advanced to a vacant position upon the nearly-full field. The leader, resplendent in a green cloak over his tortoise-shell-coloured armour, stood on their saddle and saluted the palanquin. Kharon returned his genuflection with a gracious nod, and the tortoise reached the dais, creaking to a halt.

The music crescendoed to a nearly-deafening peak of sound, and with a thought Miyasawa turned down her aural receptors. Kharon stepped upon the top of the dais after ascending the steps, and Miyasawa turned down her visual receptors too-- that halo was nearly blinding this close. Cheers resounded back and forth across the valley as Kharon slowly turned, holding her hands out to the crowd in benediction. As she completed the circle and her eyes fell upon Miyasawa, she nodded briefly and then spoke.

“MY PEOPLE!” Her voice rang across the valley, amplified by what Miyasawa didn’t know, “It has been a long journey, but we are at the end. Our Father/Mother, our Theouautokratora has brought us here to this world of plenty. More than that,” and she gestured to Miyasawa as the cheers rose again, “We have met our long lost brethren among the stars! Endeavour has embraced us in friendship, and we shall bless them with fellowship on this world. We are well met here to commemorate that, and then we shall celebrate!”

She looked directly at Miyasawa and held out a golden hand. Tentatively Miyasawa stepped forward and took the hand. Kharon looked outward again and called, “Here is Endeavour, come to Symmachia, the world we have named Alliance! May it last a thousand generations!”

Wow, Miyasawa thought, so I’m Endeavour now huh. Her thoughts were interrupted by the cleric stepping forward at Kharon’s nod. He cracked open his massive book and began reading. Kharon took advantage of the pause to lean in to Miyasawa and whisper, “It’s good to see you again. This moment means a lot to me.”

Something itched at the back of her mind about this whole situation, but Miyasawa blushed and stuttered a moment and managed to string a few words together. “Y-yeah. Me too. This is something else.”

Kharon grinned. “You haven’t seen anything yet, Miko.”

Right on cue, as the prelate closed his book, a glow appeared distant in the sky as the sun began disappearing beneath the horizon. A subsonic rumble began reverberating through her body, and her ambience started lighting up with alarmed alerts from her crew. A towering cloud nearby broke open, and she saw a monstrous flaming shape emerge, illuminating the whole landscape for miles around.

Her blood ran cold. The image of the Thorikto dreadnought plunging into the Amazo-X planet flashed through her eyes, and almost without thinking she paged the Katra and the snek simultaneously.

A split-second later she received a notification from Yui Hirasawa, it must have been sent at the same time as she sent her frantic request for information. A distant sensor impression of a great Magnatrabes battleship of the Theophanics, slowly sliding into the atmosphere. The dais rattled and the sound of the Magnatrabes rushing through the sky reverberated through her chest, and the glowing mass of the gigantic ship rushed overhead in a matter of seconds, receding into the distance, the only remaining trace of its passage being a powerful gust of wind that tore up and down the valley for a moment.

Yet more fireworks blasted into the sky, and shining white mecha she recognized as Imperial Protectors arced across the valley, ejecting flares and fireworks from their missile tubes before landing deftly in various poses near the dais. Kharon held Miyasawa’s hand up in the air triumphantly, and to chants of “Ziste tin Aftokratoria! Ziste to Endeavour!” they proceeded down the dais steps to the giant tortoise palanquin. As Miyasawa, still holding Kharon's hand, stepped aboard the palanquin (no doubt to go to some fancy reception in the growing city nearby) her skin rose in goosebumps as she realized just what the ceremony had looked like at the back of her mind...
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Bridge of the NRS Venture, north reaches of the Cradle of the Stars
Day 4, Week 2, Turn 1


"Flag, Comms. Audacious reports all Black Sun targets neutralized or fled. Will Scarlet's pursuit was unsuccessful."

"Comms, Flag, aye. Contact Pinnacle, order the Belle Star to detach from Battlegroup Three and make way to our position. Wyatt Earp is authorized to return to base. Apprise Command of our situation and first contact scenario."

Nashtar Space Command HQ, Nashtar, Helios System
Day 4, Week 2, Turn 1


"Admiral Blessinger, we have a priority communique from NRS Venture, Fourth Fleet." The fleet admiral's aide handed him a datapad that he quickly skimmed, his expression becoming alarmed before he put it down and reached for the communicator.

Presidential Mansion, Nashtar, Helios System
Day 4, Week 2, Turn 1


"Mr. President, Fleet Admiral Blessinger is on Line 3. He says it's important."

"Thank you, I'll take it in here." He reached for his communicator and keyed the appropriate code. A bust hologram of Admiral Blessinger appeared. "Good afternoon, Admiral, what can I do for you?"

"Mr. President, Admiral Greeley of the Fourth Fleet reports a multiple first contact scenario in the nebula. I'm transmitting a report to your office over the secure data line now."

President Harrison keyed over to the secure terminal on his desk and skimmed over the report. "This is huge, Admiral." He read down a bit further. "The Theophanic faction wants to hold a summit on their damaged dreadnought? I'll get on the horn to State and get them to send a team out."

"Mr. President, Admiral Greeley has asked us to rotate in another frigate to relieve the damaged NRS Wyatt Earp. There's also the matter of this tying up Fourth Fleet. With our quick reaction force tied down in the nebula for possibly days, our shipping and colonies are vulnerable and the Black Star knows it."

"Recommendations, Admiral?"

"With your permission, I'm going to put First Fleet's and Third Fleet's third battlegroups on deployment alert, along with the NRS Courageous. That should be more than enough. I'll also order the Patrol Fleet to step up its patrol rotations."

"Very good. See to it, Admiral. I'll get State on the horn and arrange a delegation to accompany the relief frigate to the nebula. Dismissed."

The Fleet Admiral nodded and the hologram winked out. Ordinarily there would have been more pleasantries, but both men had work to do.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Joint Colony World Symmachia

Late night, Founding festivities ongoing


Fireworks were still going off. How the hell many did they bring on their ships? Miyasawa supposed they had plenty of room for… well, everything, though.

They were pretty, anyway. She lounged in her captain’s chair, feet up on a nearby console, nursing a drink she had taken from the reception. Something fruity but with a slow burn. She had left early; there were entirely too many people for her comfort, she didn’t feel like trading shop-talk with the few other Endeavour officers present (most having elected to stay on their ships doing the air-show above the city), and Kharon had been distracted glad-handing and greeting what seemed like, and quite possibly was, thousands of Theophanic citizens.

She supposed it was all part of the job for Kharon. It wasn’t something she could really see herself doing. The thought brought her back to the ceremony and she needed to take another sip of her drink. She would have to ask Kharon somehow later if they’d been unintentionally wedded, though she would have hoped that if that was the case, she might have had some warning ahead of time…

With a shake of her head she banished the notion. That probably wasn’t the case and she had to believe Kharon had enough intelligence to warn her if that was the case. Her phone, sitting on the edge of another nearby console, chimed suddenly and she deftly grabbed it.

Hello Miko. Are you awake? From Kharon. She blinked and checked the time; 0327 hours local time. She didn’t know what Theophanic festivities were typically like, but she would have thought Kharon might have taken to bed at this point. Quickly she texted back yea, i let the crew go join the party im watching the ship whats up

A pregnant pause. She gulped down the rest of the drink, wincing as it soured at the end, and looked at the cup. It was… some kind of plastic, she supposed, printed with festive colours and script. Her ambience’s translation protocols weren’t very good at reading printed Theophanic yet but it gave her the idea that it was some kind of commemoration of the Founding ceremony. She had figured that out anyway. Keep it or toss? Keep. Never know if she might be at another one of these.

She set the bridge to notify her if anything anomalous came up and headed to her quarters just down the corridor. The cup went on a shelf above her bunk, and her ambience pinged-- some of her crew just came back aboard. On a second thought, she checked their health readout and winced. There would definitely be some hangovers in the morning if people didn’t requisition anti-ethanols before they went on duty. Military-grade augmentations were capable of keeping people in quite good condition, but could become overwhelmed if the crewers overdid it…

Ludvig poked his head into her cabin and knocked on the doorframe. “Heyo, Miko!” he chirped, “We missed youuuu!”

She had to smile. “You’re drunk, Ludvig.”

“Ya should see the other guys,” he retorted happily. She chuckled lightly and then her phone vibrated at her waist. Holding up a finger she flipped it open. I know it’s late. I was wondering if you could come by? Or I can come to you?

Ludvig might have been worse for wear, but he still noticed the change in her demeanor. “Bad news, Captain?”

She shook her head slowly. “Nah. Do you mind purging and taking the watch?”

He stood up straight, braced himself against the doorframe, screwed his eyes shut and visibly shuddered. A convulsive swallow later, and he opened his suddenly-clear eyes and nodded sharply before heading to the bridge without a word, sending a ‘wilco’ ping via ambience. Miyasawa sighed, grabbed a jacket (the sensor feed told her it had turned cool outside; the planet was entering a fall cycle on this hemisphere) before heading towards the airlock. On the ambience she quickly noted on the ship’s log that she was leaving to visit the soi Chelonis compound and got another acknowledgement ping from Ludvig before she stepped outside into the cool night air.

Two moons shone in the sky above, one a globe, the other a potato-shaped asteroid (the very one that the snek had hidden behind when they first came here, actually) as she walked down the arrow-straight streets, her ambience casually guiding her with feeds picked up from Theophanic mapping software.

Before long, she approached the tall walls of the soi Chelonis compound, a familiar banner with a turtle sigil waving above its open gates. Armoured guards, leaning upon long firearms, saluted casually as they recognized Miyasawa (after all, it wasn’t like they hadn’t just seen her face projected a hundred feet tall earlier that night) and waved her through.

She wondered briefly where Kharon was likely to be, but the answer was self-evident-- in the biggest building, of course. Resembling nothing more than a steel version of a castle tower from old Earth, it sat in the middle of a giant circular ditch that looked rather like… it was a crater. Had they dropped this from orbit? Her feet clattered on a broad metal bridge, chains reaching from one end to the walls.

A quick question of a guard later and she tapped tentatively on a broad door. Real wood, again, bound with broad metal bands. At the muffled ‘come in’ she cracked it open and poked her head in.

In a broad fireplace on one wall, flames flickered. That was the only light in the chamber, aside from candles upon a table near the fire. A wide bed, still made up, was against the wall facing the fireplace, and a massive trunk sat open under a large barred window. Moonlight came through the panes, shining upon Kharon, standing by the window with a cup in her hand.

She turned her face towards Miyasawa and beckoned her in. “Miko. Thank you for coming.”

Miyasawa nodded, feeling awkward again. Kharon gestured broadly with the cup and murmured, “You can put your jacket anywhere. I don’t care. I’m just borrowing this room while I’m planetside.”

She slowly pulled off her jacket, suddenly conscious that she was only wearing her form-fitting plugsuit under it. Did Kharon’s eyes linger upon her or did she imagine that? She mentally shook herself, folded the jacket upon itself and awkwardly set it across the foot-board of the bed. There was an open bottle, half full, on the table and she stepped up to inspect it.

“There’s another cup around here somewhere,” Kharon rasped and coughed, “Excuse me. The air planetside and all the talking tonight have wreaked havoc on my voice.”

Miyasawa nodded, watching Kharon carefully. The Theophanic noblewoman had taken off her fancy dress-- golden cloth hung over one side of her trunk-- and was wearing what appeared to be either lounge wear or pajamas, loose silky fabric. Her feet were bare, but thick shag rugs on the floor made that a non-issue. There was indeed another cup, sitting on the thick timber mantel over the fireplace, and she retrieved that and poured herself a generous measure of whatever was in the bottle.

She sniffed it for a second, using the pause to think of something to say. “May space always fold smoothly around us, may the evenings be long and pleasant, and may we always wake up clear-headed and hungry for the days to come.” A sip of the potent brew exploded in her mouth and made her eyes water.

Kharon grinned as she swallowed and coughed. “That was nice. A good toast for a drink older than you are.”

She blinked away the tears and coughed again. “You sure about that? I’m a hundred and twenty-one years. More or less anyway, Endeavour ages are a bit flexible considering all the hyper-travel.”

It was Kharon’s turn to be surprised. Her eyes widened momentarily and she rocked back on her heels. Finally she murmured, “You wear it well.”

The door cracked open and a helmeted head poked in. Kharon snapped (and then winced immediately, but too late), “What?!”

“Uh, my Lady, apologies. Just making rounds and checking the doors. Good night, my Lady.” The guardsman’s head receded hastily and they heard his footsteps go down the hall quickly. Kharon chuckled and sat down at the table in a wide-armed wooden chair, pointing at another chair for Miyasawa to sit down.

They spent a moment in silence and then Kharon fumbled in a pocket of her diaphanous robe. She came up with a photo, stared at it for a moment and then handed it to Miyasawa. Slightly dog-eared, the still was of a handsome young man in Theophanic dress uniform, bedecked with all the usual trappings.

Miyasawa looked up at Kharon and cautiously remarked as she handed back the slip of paper, “He looks nice? I guess this is someone you know, or used to?”

“Reinhard soi Geraki,” Kharon responded as she took another sip, leaving the photo facing up on the table. Miyasawa cocked her eyebrow quizzically; Kharon swallowed and continued, “He and I went through academy together. We were… lovers, I suppose, for a time.”

Miyasawa didn’t quite know what to say, so she looked into her cup at the amber… what was this called, anyway? And she let Kharon muse, but then Kharon went on, “I just found out tonight some more of what happened at the Amazo-X world. He was the kapetanios of that Thorikto.”

Understanding descended upon Miyasawa all of a sudden. Earlier in the night, the ambience had told her of a Theophanic ship arriving, on the other side of the planet-- the Theophanics had agreed to translate at a safe distance considering the side effects of their drives-- and that must have been carrying a diplomatic packet for Kharon. And that, in turn, would have told her more details about the Thorikto Incident (as the Amazo-X thing was being called lately now that Endeavour was more familiar with Theophanic terms).

Cautiously, she asked, “Are you… okay?”

Kharon looked into her cup for a long moment, her hair hanging over her shoulders. Finally, she responded, “I don’t know. We parted ways a long time ago. His family never approved of us. Still, he was… kind. Responsible. I would be lying if I said I never missed him sometimes.”

There was another long pause; Miyasawa was growing to hate those. She cleared her throat, feeling warm and light-headed (damn, whatever this stuff was, it had a kick) and muttered, “I’m sorry.”

She felt Kharon’s eyes on her, direct despite the haze of alcohol. “No. No, Miko. I’m sorry. This is ancient history.”

With that, Kharon reached over, picked up the picture, stood and strode to the fireplace. She stopped and looked at the photo for a moment, and Miyasawa stood up suddenly and walked over to her. She paused for an awkward moment and then reached out and put her hand on Kharon’s arm.

“Kharon. Let’s… let’s put that away,” she spoke quietly. She could feel Kharon’s muscles under the thin material of the robe-- damn, that feels nice-- and she continued, “It’s late. Let’s go to bed. You might want that another day. He might be gone now but you’ll want something to remember him by.”

She looked at the other woman, and Kharon didn’t say anything. But slowly, she put the picture back on the table and turned her back on the fire. Finally, she sighed and nodded. “Yes. I suppose you’re right. Are you staying?”


Miyasawa had to swallow before she could respond. “Let’s get you to bed, Kharon. Okay?”

Kharon nodded slowly… sadly? and shrugged off her robe, letting it fall in a heap on the floor by the fireplace. Blood rushed to Miyasawa’s face and she stared for a long second before coughing and looking anywhere else but at Kharon, though she put her hand at the small of Kharon’s back. To steady her as they walked to the bed, she told herself.

She pulled back the thick covers on the bed as Kharon sat down and slid under the sheets. Quickly-- but not too quickly, perhaps-- she gently placed the covers back over Kharon. Instinctively, before she could stop herself, she reached up and moved a lock of hair aside from Kharon’s face.

Kharon smiled though her eyes were already shut. Miyasawa smiled back, and watched her body relax under the covers, before sighing and sitting down beside Kharon on the bed. She wasn’t expected back at the ship for some time yet. A quick check of the ambience told her all was well, most of the crew having reported back by now. She looked around the room. It almost looked like stone-- she zoomed in, it was in fact some sort of artificial stone, probably cemented to the walls.

Real wood floors, too. So much wood. Miyasawa had never seen any but a very few wooden artifacts in Endeavour. Oh, the habs had some trees, and they were very proud of them… but they didn’t have forests. But this Empire? If it wasn’t stone or steel, it was wood. On impulse, she pressed a nub on her ankle with her other foot. Her boot whisked away into the nub, exposing her bare foot. With that she flipped aside a corner of the rug by the bed, and stroked her foot over the floor.

It felt… nice. Smooth. Her toe ran over a seam in the floor boards. She tapped away her other boot and got up and walked over to the window, looking out over the Theophanic city. In the distance, she could see the landing cradles and the sneaky snek. Her eye fell upon the open trunk by the window, and she squatted down to poke about, feeling mildly guilty about being so nosy.

The clothes Kharon had worn at the Founding were in there, spectacular in all their garish golden glory. She picked up a jacket and marveled at the weight. No wonder Kharon was strong, if she had to wear this kind of thing all the time. Back into the trunk it went. A few more things poked at, and she stood back up. She didn’t need to be prying quite this much.

She looked out the window at the moons again. In the distance, she saw lights zipping across the sky. A thought later and her eyes showed her a dim, tiny image of an Endeavour craft, its aerodynamically configured shields pressing its way through the atmosphere. Perhaps a survey craft from the fleet, or an advance colony ship. She would find out later; a massive yawn cracked her face, and she felt the alcohol slowing down her mind.

Maybe just for a minute, she told herself, and sat down beside Kharon. I’ll just rest for a minute and then head back to the snek. Yes. That’s what I’ll do. She turned and laid down on top of the covers. Damn, this really feels nice…
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Shinn Langley Soryu »

Wendee Lee-class destroyer HSS Cherami Leigh
North reaches of the Cradle of the Stars


"Inform the Theophanics that our presence at their gathering will be delayed. Command must be notified before we can proceed further. In the meantime, I need to find my dress blues."



Main Navy Building, Imperial Center, Hyogo
Haruhiist space


CDR Thompson's report of the events that had transpired in the Cradle of the Stars had been swiftly passed through every level of the SOS Imperial Navy's chain of command, all the way up to Fleet Admiral Shizue Takagi, current Chief of Naval Operations. One of FADM Takagi's aides personally brought a datapad containing a copy of the report to the admiral's office. FADM Takagi was impassive as she perused the report from beginning to end. If she was even the slightest bit worried about the contents of the report, she certainly wasn't showing it.

"Her Majesty will definitely want to know about these developments," FADM Takagi said as she set the datapad down on her desk and started looking around in the drawers for a secure communicator.



Imperial Palace, Imperial Center, Hyogo
Haruhiist space


"Your Majesty, Admiral Takagi's on line 2. She says it's of the utmost importance."

"Thank you, I'll take it in here."

Empress Haruhi reached for her own communicator and keyed the appropriate code. A bust hologram of FADM Takagi appeared before her. "Hello, Admiral. Not often you contact me personally, so I'm guessing this is indeed important."

"Your Majesty, one of our destroyer divisions has reported a multiple first contact incident in the nebula complex to the south of our current location. I'm transmitting a copy of the report to your office over the secure data line now."

Empress Haruhi keyed over to the secure terminal on her desk and skimmed the contents of CDR Thompson's report. "I guess we're not alone out here after all." The Empress kept reading. "The people of this... Theophanic Empire speak a language similar to Byzantine Greek, and they wish to hold a meeting aboard their stranded dreadnought. Some of the Byzantine officers stranded with us can accompany the State Department envoys we'll be sending out there. If the report of pirate activity is accurate, I would also like our destroyer division out there to be reinforced, if you can spare the ships for it."

"I can have one of our other destroyer divisions on patrol redeployed to the nebula immediately, but any additional reinforcements will have to await consultation with the rest of the Admiralty, Your Majesty."

"Very good, Admiral. I'll contact Secretary Asahina about gathering a State Department delegation together. The destroyers and the diplomats can accompany each other to the nebula. If you have no further business to discuss with me, Admiral, then you're dismissed."

"I've nothing further to discuss as of right now, but I will keep you appraised of any further developments. Good day, Your Majesty." The hologram of FADM Takagi blinked out shortly afterwards.



Wendee Lee-class destroyer HSS Kira Buckland
Somewhere between Haruhiist space and the Cradle of the Stars


"New orders direct from Imperial Center. DesDiv Three has made first contact with multiple polities. DesDiv Four is to escort a diplomatic mission and reinforce DesDiv Three against possible hostile activity. Rendezvous with State Department delegation and proceed to designated coordinates."
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

Joint Colony World Symmachia, Endeavourite Colonial Area

A single ship, the Nostalgia-class galleon Baluster of Spring, emerged from hyperspace a short distance away from the new colony world, bearing Endeavour's first planet-bound colonists in... well, ever.

After a short deliberation - by Endeavour standards, anyway - the site of Endeavour's first true planetary settlement was to be the edge of one of the continents, in the northern latitudes. It was a cold, dark place, covered in snow and ice and tall pine-like trees. The ocean would freeze half the year, and the other half it would be wild, sending waves crashing against the cliffs and great snow-storms across the land. Not many animals dared to cling to life in that place, a few analogues to bears, rabbits, foxes, a dozen or so different types of aquatic creature - the most interesting being the great whales, which bred in the cold waters in a few of the bays. This had raised some eyebrows amongst the Theophanic colony managers, who had been doing this sort of thing for literal millenia and saw no reason to even go out to such a desolate wasteland, but they had eventually decided that there was no point in correcting the mistake. Besides, it meant more useful land for themselves.

More eyebrows were raised when they saw how Endeavour went about setting up the colony. There was no great landing, no disgorgement of the masses, just that single Nostalgia-class galleon descending into the atmosphere and settling on the snow. Three figures in rainbow-coloured space suits emerged, and set to work. One cleared the ground for a larger landing pad, another prospected for useful minerals, producing a winged backpack and flying away, and the third disappeared underground for a short time. When they re-emerged, there was a brief pause in the work as their findings were discussed. The ground was suitable, so they would proceed; the third opened the great hangar doors on the galleon, revealing a large, complex machine that they slowly brought out with a tug-craft brought for just this reason, and lowered into the hole. The erstwhile prospector returned, and flew a second machine out of the hangar bay towards a position marked only in the ambience. The first was, by this point, constructing a small bunker and antenna array, assembling them out of components from their seemingly-endless backpack.

Underground, the twin machines got to work; each extended drill-bit tendrils, and began digging. They reached out to one another first, linking arms about an hour after they were activated, then began their work. Gigantic caverns were gouged out, propped up by reinforced concrete support beams, followed by warrens of tunnels, smaller caverns and shafts leading back to the surface for air, all the while being carefully monitored and reinforced so no seismic activity could harm the embryonic colony - nor would any result from its construction. A hangar bay was dug out, just beside the cleared landing pad, and a tunnel connected it with the surface. Meanwhile, the three workers had not been idle; they went through the tunnels, paving them in steel plating, fitting fans and drainage systems, and quickly designating where rooms would be dug out. A small fleet of hovering drones, pumped out by the galleon's autologi system, followed in their wake, double-checking their work and doing the menial tasks.

Then, it was lunch-time, and the work stopped. It was important to stop for lunch. Today's lunch was cheese and crackers, along with a couple of sandwiches - also cheese.

Food was consumed, and drinks were brought out, and after an hour or two, work resumed. One of the drills had broken through a cliff-face and out over the ocean, so one of the workers went to make sure it wasn't going to disturb any animal habitats, while the other two started fitting out the colony with basic furniture. Computer systems, holographic projectors, beds, showers, defence turrets, all marked out and laid down over the afternoon, while more drones kitted out the hangar bay with fuel lines, landing pads and so on.

Out by the ocean, the first worker determined that there was no significant disruption, and this would be the perfect place for a naval dock. The tendril that had breached out was re-tasked to dig out a suitable hollow, while the worker laid down plans for the dock in an amibient-reality software suite. There would be doors that were concealed behind metres of natural-looking rock, and up to twenty dry-dock spaces and berths for dozens more ships besides... it was almost enough to make one giddy with excitement.

Meanwhile, the main drills began sinking more shafts deeper into the planet's crust - for the layer of tunnels still being outfitted was just the first. There would be enough space for the whole colony to live in this one complex, though that is not perhaps as impressive as it sounds. Special composite armour plates were layered between the first and second level, and the machine began digging out the main chamber - a space that would eventually be immense enough to fit an entire Theophanic Thorikto dreadnought without it touching any of the walls. That project would take some time, however, and was left to tick over while the first layer was finished.

Work stopped at 1600 sharp, for dinner consisting of re-created Old Earth fast food. The chicken nuggets, and the sauce they came with, were to die for.



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



Joint Colonial System, Asteroid Hab 58008

Dikigoros Kleon tried to keep a sneer off his face as he surveyed the rudimentary Endeavour docking bay. There was not a single hint of decoration, just bare metal catwalks, yellow-edged pipes, and docking cradles - one of which bore the shuttle that had carried the Theophanic legal team to this glorified rock. A few Protectors stood watch over it, others moving alongside the legal team as their escorts. At least there was no gaudy ceremony; indeed, their sole welcome was a quartet of young ladies in really quite impractical brightly-coloured dresses. The Protectors seemed wary of them, but it wasn't like any of the ladies were armed.

They were led through the airlocks and into the station, down the main concourse which was actually surprisingly built-up, given this asteroid had only been inhabited for a day or two, and into a building labelled in the strange second language these Endeavour people used and which his translator refused to translate. A brief glance around revealed a second sign, just off to one side, this time written in the main langauge and proclaiming the building to be an "Assembly Hall". Some sort of government building, then, but with surprisingly few offices. Inside, Kleon noted that there seemed to be quite a few people just standing around and watching what was going on; a group off to one side toted rifles, and he realised they were supposed to be soldiers. A few posters and television screens lined the walls, one poster bearing a picture of that one blue-haired girl he kept seeing around with the caption "She protects you, will you protect her?"*. Were they some sort of servitor caste? He'd only skimmed the briefing document, as they were invariably lengthy and full of useless detail.

The small group of lawyers was led to one of the side rooms, which turned out to be spacious and well-appointed, a large oval table taking up most of the space, surrounded by plush-upholstered chairs. Two smaller tables were off to either side - one containing what looked to be refreshments, the other clear. The legal team's Endeavourite counterparts were already seated, talking quietly to one another, and Kleon took the opportunity to size them up. Only one of them was wearing a suit, a man with a swept-back hairstyle, the purple-haired woman to his right seemed to be in some sort of red, vaguely military-ish outfit, while the... well, the bright pink fox-person to their left was wearing an outfit no less impractical than their escort had been. The protectors drifted over to the empty table, and the Theophanic contingent settled in. Handshakes and introductions were exchanged, the suited man introducing himself as Mr. Wright, the lady as Ms. Katsuragi, and the fox as Mx. Hyperia, and then it was time for business.

Nomikos Nafpigos started off by presenting his version of the alliance document, which bound Endeavour and the Empire to each other's aid should either go to war. Or, at least, it was supposed to. Kleon had a sneaking suspicion the junior lawyer had added some language of his own to the document, which would end badly for him. Either way, it was unlikely the Endeavourites would accept it as-is - it was meant to provoke a discussion, nothing more. Though, they did seem interested in the paper copies...

After a quick readthrough, however, Mr. Wright shouted "Objection!".

"Surely you cannot object to such terms?" Nafpigos asked, most likely digging himself further into his grave.

"You're asking us to contribute ships or money to a "common defence fund" to be stored in Theophanic space," said Wright, "And asking that Endeavour foreign policy be, and I quote, "guided" by the Imperial parliament. If your idea of an alliance is outright vassalisation..."

Time to step in. "May I see that?" Kleon asked. He skimmed it, and sure enough, it was basically the same terms an ascendant genis might offer to a vanquished opponent - subordination in all but name. "I must apologise, these were not the terms we meant to offer. It seems our associate has taken it upon himself to overstep the bounds of his duty." A brief look at one of the Protectors had them dragging Nafpigos out of the chamber by the scruff of his neck. A shame, really, things would have been a lot easier if the Endeavourites had been as naive as they seemed to be. "Now then, may we hear your own proposal?"

-

Captain Yui Hirasawa of the Yui Hirasawa drifted into the conference room late, having been asked along to provide an insight into Endeavour's military. She immediately regretted agreeing, but had owed Rei after the Kharon-scratching-her-paint incident. On the plus side, the cola was good and one of the Theophanics - a guy called Davos, who seemed entirely unshakeable - was vaguely interested in the band, so she quickly managed to tune the lawyers out. She was halfway through describing Azunyan when one of the lawyers asked something about particle beam lances and if they classed as "weapons of planetary destruction" which... well, kind of depended on how big it was? Like, you'd need a thousand ships with more firepower than an Obligatory Anime Reference-class dreadnought to destroy a planet.

There was also something about now being legally married to the entire Theophanic Empire, but she ignored it. That was probably for the best.

-

The conference dragged on until the early hours of the morning, broken only by refreshment breaks every hour and a feed of the Founding Ceremony on the planet below. Endeavour did make good donuts, Kleon had to admit, and there was the promise of a dinner at some point when the document would be officially signed.

Finally, though, it was settled. The terms of the agreement were simple: a mutual non-aggression pact, free movement of goods and people across the Theophanic/Endeavour border, the placement of that border on the planet below and the recognition that the system they were now in served as the crossing, and a clause stipulating that further incidents of planetary destruction were restricted on the basis that there weren't that many planets to waste. There was some language about mutually assisting one another against enemies like Amazo-X, but nothing more legally binding than the generic "Declaration of Friendship".

"I would stay and enjoy your hospitality longer," Kleon said as they made their goodbyes, "But I must return this to the Epimelitiro for continued discussion and ratification." Truth be told, he was not looking forward to the trip back - the journey out had been choppy. "I hope you have a safe journey yourselves."

Mr. Wright laughed at that. "Oh, no, we're staying - got some work to do down the gravity well." Kleon's confusion must have shown on his face, because he continued: "We already transmitted a copy of the document back home, they'll vote on it tonight. Looks like it's going to be ratified, though, so by the time you get back we'll be all ready and waiting for the signing."

That was... infuriating, that these people with no respect for decorum seemed to enjoy such luxuries while he would be stuck in the Unseen for days. Kleon managed to keep that thought to himself, though, and went back to his ship vaguely wondering if he should try and commandeer one of the Endeavourite galleons that kept turning up. They seemed to be far safer.



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



ESS Caterina Klaes, the Cradle of the Stars

"So, the boss-man here invited everyone to a shindig, some sorta diplomatic function. You in?" _lim had reported to Victoria at length on the damage to the Theophanic ship and the difficulty in getting anything done with the entire damn crew apparently breathing down the repair parties' necks. Understandable on both sides; it really was hard to work with everyone watching you, but at the same time Victoria'd want foreign repair parties carefully watched on the Klaes. And, then there was that last bit.

"Alright," Victoria said, "Tell him we'll be there. Ask whether he prefers garlic dip or sour cream."

"You're bringing nachos?" _lim's face brightened up. "Please, bring nachos."

"Oh, to a diplomatic function? You bet I am."

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

*The actual wording just being the word "Protecc", but the translation systems caught all the nuance.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

Skothian City Ship “Skohotentot”

Time had passed, but the events at the ‘Cradle of the stars’ was still fresh in the minds of countless individuals across a number of star systems. Currently its implications where on the forefront of those at a hastily called emergency council on the great ship ‘Skohotentot’
In a massive and surprisingly lavish great meeting hall, the council sat around a stout and impressively carved circular table. The council chambers circled around them, mighty pillars of stone arching upwards to form an elaborate canopy of sorts overhead. The great circular room seemed to have tiers of places for Skothians to sit.
It looked as though it could seat perhaps a hundred or more, currently, there were fourteen seated around the central table.

“All members have affirmed their attendance, The Council of Cardinals of The Legacy of Skoth, is now in session.”

“Brothers, we are here at this council due to the events that have taken place in the Nebula in the Dorvak Sector. It is not worth mentioning that due to those events, the situation is grim. Our plans up until now for diplomatic exchange had already been accelerated twice, and were to take place over the next fifteen to twenty standard years. As such the consequences of the event that led to a number of separate entities making contact at once is as said, one of grave concern.” The speaker paused as around him a number of others exchanged looks of various stages of concern and hand wringing.
“For right now, the primary focus is the discussion on how best to guide the Sector races diplomatically in what we now know are four differing entities ranging from Class-11 to Class-12.” At this, the speaker went silent, settling back in the curved bench like piece of furniture that was the closest a Skothian had to a ‘chair’. An orb of light levitated up from another member to his side, a nod was exchanged and they rose now.

“Brothers, the entities involved are ones we have naturally kept watch over for some time. As many of you know however in the last two to four hundred years, our ability to monitor these groups without being discovered or noticed have become increasingly problematic. This has led to our information becoming somewhat, out of date. However with recent events we have been able to more freely move our scout vessels without as much notice and have thus updated our records.” Here there was a pause and a few nodding of heads as the lights dimmed somewhat. A moment later a large sphere rose in the middle of the table and began to project various images charts and information.

“First, is the entity Name translates roughly as ‘Nashtar, Cradle of the Stars’. Like the other entities outlined in the report, they are majority Humans that split away from their home world roughly two to three thousand years ago and eventually settled in what is titled the ‘Nashtar Nebular,” here a slight pause as the speaker seemed to consult their notes.
“As I was saying, the Nashtar it is felt provide one of the best forces for immediate outreach as they seem to be the only entity that is a union of human and non-human sapients.” At this moment there seemed a bark of dissension from another member at the table and some hastily exchanged notes.
“The, eh, particular nature of the entity ‘Endeavor’ is one will we discuss momentary. That said, for now the Nashtar represent a group that has worked together with differing species and thus far is operating well within our estimated projection matrix for growth and stability. Their actions as monitored over the last few hundred years display a sharing of resources and power among the three species that is similar to what we have helped those of the Sector races obtain. It is my opinion that suggesting future trade and diplomatic outreach will be most beneficial. I yield myself now to Cardinal Kelon.” Here, the speaker nodded once again and sat back.

Now another sat up, this Skothian a bit bulkier than the other, the armored plates down their back and the great horns on their head ornamented in a way rarely seen among their kind.
“Noble Brothers of the council, I thank you for calling upon me for my knowledge of the topic at hand.” Here, the sphere winked out for a moment, and new images appeared. “Here we see images of sapients that have been identified as making up the next entity, collective known as ‘The Endeavor’. Now to answer the question many of you I know have, after a great deal of research and perhaps a great amount of disagreement, it has been undisputedly proven that all of the sapients displayed on file are ‘technically’ human.” Here there was one or two who strenuously proclaimed the Skothian equivalent of “[you’re pulling my leg]” to which the speaker soldiered onwards.

“It has been identified that the Endeavor has seemingly perfected for their species, the practice of mind to machine transference.” This aroused an even larger chores of dissent and disbelief, including a number of ‘Disgusting’ and one or two cries of ‘Blasphemy!’ Eventually however Kelon continued. “We are all aware of our own taboos regarding such practices, and it should be noted what have so far observed are all purely biological. Each life form displayed is a custom bio-replicated-organism that seems to have been created to fit the needs of an individual whom has their mind loaded into the host body.” And hear, because he felt he could no longer ignore the ‘elephant in the room’ as it were began to speak again with his voice a bit raised.
“It is the fervent conclusion after much debate that these entities DO retain their souls, and thus are not to be considered ‘dead’ from this process. Indeed the process seems similar to a soul transference device we have in our records from our own history.” This somewhat hurried explanation seemed to quell the others long enough for Kelon to try and move beyond the touchy topic. “What is perhaps more important is the reasons behind this rather extravagant use of resources. The ‘culture’ of the Endeavor seems one based in a fascinating display of freedoms and mixture of ancient Earth based philosophies. Much of these are lost to time, but seem centered around a group of Holy works known as ‘The Anime’. Much of the worship is focused on ‘The Cult of Rei’ which has led to an interesting spread of---.”
And here there was the politest of coughs from the head of the table and gentle.

“Yes yes Kelon, I think that will be sufficient for the purposes of this council, I am sure those seeking more information can access your, extensive, library on the topic.” The speaker, slightly admonished, sat backwards. As they did so, a gesture was made and now a third acolyte stood.
“The chair now recognizes Brother Hindenan to speak.” And hear came forward a much more dower individual, even for a Skothian he seemed ‘drab’ in their clothing and appearance wearing only the barest of robes despite his stature. When he spoke, his voice was in a lecturing, almost wielding tone.

“Thank you Brother Areoneohone, hallowed Cardinals and my esteemed colleagues I am here to discuss the entity known as ‘The Theophoric Empire.’ I know that many of you here will be more aware of them then the others if solely for the ‘incident’ regarding the relativistic destruction of the planet in the Cowtow sector.” As though anticipating the inevitable interruption, Hindenan ignored it and continued. “The nature by which this was carried out is perhaps the hallmark of this entity and why they should be in my opinion, monitored very closely.” Here a number of images came up, all of Theophoric ships, and all with the silhouette of the “Skothotentot” imposed next to them. A number of gasps could be heard. “It is obvious that this entity impresses upon the fact that ‘size maters’ while it should be said many of these vessels pose no harm to our ship, their size is something that is a significant threat to other sapients in the local galactic area. The society behind such astounding manufacturing is no less fascinating it its functionality.” Again pictures changed, from ships now to images of armor, statues and mechanized soldiers.
“What at first glance seems an extravagant, almost excessive level of decoration none the less has a purpose all its own. You will find Brothers in the notes I have passed out, that this ‘Empire’ has a brutal yet remarkably efficient governing system, strictly stratified between different groups or ‘Genia’. As we will see they practice remarkably well the ancient Stoogium doctrine of “Senioulous Si Dounauflous” [loosely translated as ‘Tyranny through Benevolence’]. While the ruthlessness of their efficiency in governing is one to be admired.” [Although a quick look around the faces of those at the table would leave one to ponder exactly who was doing the admiring.]
“A point of some concern is that at the very core of this society is a fanatical worship of their primary religious figure known by several names, but typically referred to ‘The Empress’. Now Brothers as I am sure it does not need to be pointed out, we have always been on guard over the dangers of such fanaticism, lest we ever forget much of what led to our own mighty downfall.” This led to a few moments of awkwardness amongst the council before Hindenan continued. “Of course we must not judge them too harshly, they are still growing, but until a much more in-depth examination of this entity can be undertaken, it is strongly recommended the Sector races should distance themselves substantially from this ‘Empire’ until more can be ascertained. I yield my time back to brother Areoneohone.”

“Ah yes, thank you for that rather, passionate presentation.” Areoneohone said, slightly concerned about the effects studying other cultures seemed to have on those in attendance. Gathering himself he looked down to his own notes and continued forward.

“The last entity is one that, perhaps to our embarrassment, we do not have a comprehensive history of monitoring. I have been told there are several members of the Exploration Templars currently studying the “Haruhiist” group, but what is known is like the others, they seem to have originated from Earth from several thousand years ago. A report of their holdings will no doubt come when the Templars return. This point aside, it is clear that of the entities now in communication it is of the utmost importance that we stress as much as possible for the sector races to refrain from any long term diplomatic exchanges until we can compile a proper guide to which of these forces is most optimal to deal with.” This was met by a chores of applause and agreement as the meeting concluded.

[MEANWHILE]

“The message from high command is confirmed captain. The final votes are accounted for and the motion has passed. Full diplomatic relations are to be extended to all four nations of the meeting at the ‘Cradle of Stars’ and envoys sent out immediately. In the meantime we have been authorized to represent UISC interests at the diplomatic gathering being offered.” There was a pause from Ja’Jaro at comms. “The instructions also say to ‘bring food’”.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Landing Pad, Howson Building, Nashtari State Department
Day 5, Week 2, Turn 1


"Horace! They got you out of retirement for this eh?"

Ambassador Emeritus Horace Shelton smiled wanly. "Rraskrarr, my old friend," he responded to the slightly greying Zambarite approaching down the hall. "How could I refuse? First contact with four unknown civilizations at the same time, who would have ever thought?"

"Not I," chimed in a third voice emerging from the tunnel from the venerable State office building onto the tarmac, where an orbital shuttle awaited the diplomats. "And I do not trust it. The coincidence is simply too great." The Ronoghan's skin was a brick red color, oscillating slightly lighter and darker as she spoke.

"I can't say I disagree, Nog-Ornth," Shelton answered with a tight lipped smile, the shifting hues telling him of her seriousness. "But that's the job of the Fleet. Ours is to find out what they want, and bring it in line with what the Republic wants. Nicely."

"Well said, Ambassador. Well, shall we?"

The three senior diplomats turned toward the transport, where diplomatic staff and aides were hurriedly loading supplies and preparing briefs for the diplomatic team. Not long after they boarded, the shuttle lifted off and hurriedly powered its way into orbit to rendezvous with the frigate Belle Star, recently arrived from Pinnacle to carry them to the scene of the action.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

COMING TO YOU LIVE IN GLORIOUS RETROACTIVE UNREAL TIME
[ie perhaps 1 to 2 days after the end of the battle of the Nebula]

On the bridge of the [ThunderBird] communications had finally been reestablished with the colony of Zozo. Getting in contact with UISC command on Quatonia however was still going to take some time and it was generally agreed it would be easier and quicker sending updates and request to the command at the newly establish colony.

Following established protocol, all such messages passed through the commanding Officer for verification before being sent out. Given the somewhat awkward situation they found themselves in, such checks seemed all the more important. As it was the ‘night shift’ and Captain Moz was off duty, the task currently rested with his Tejlini XO, Kletania Tethlala. The task was typically just a formality as she scanned over various requests, her tail lazily swishing back and forth as she scanned through heavy eyes reading the messages to herself.

“Request for assistance with repairs, Approved. Request for clarification on military chain of command, sounds good. Request for copies of Endeavor Holy Scriptures, should be good for a laugh. Request for immediate sending of Heavy GaliCaliWumpus Cargo ships, appro—“ Her finger hovered over the button almost about to come down before she caught herself and re-read the most recent message. And then read it again.

OFFICER JA’JARO DURANDOLA, REPORT FRONT AND CENTER!” Klentania barked, snapping awake several crew members that been gently dozing at their duty stations. The hapless Octonan communications officer almost leapt vertically upwards at the bellow before saluting hard enough that he knocked his cap clean off.

“Y-Yes Ma’am! Reporting!” he said, his heart racing as the phrase “what did I do wrong?” repeated a thousand times over in his head.
Having got the appropriate attention she had desired, Tethlala gently handed over the data pad she held which was immediately scanned and read.

“Ah, Yes Ma’am, primary mission is still to transport cargo to colony of Zozo as soon as possible. The ship requisitions officer suggested we ask for additional transports to move the cargo as it is unknown how long drive repairs will take Madam,” he said, saluting again as he finished out of habit. Klentania listened and nodded to what she rather expected was the reasoning behind the request. She mused to herself, Ja’Jaro like most Octona were keen, eager, and often book smart, but didn’t always take into account external considerations. She sighed, no reason to be cruel given everything going on.

“Officer Durandola.”
“Yes Ma’am!”
“Order of operations, the moving of our cargo to the colony of Zozo I agree is, technically our primary mission, however given current circumstances I would hope you would consider the perhaps delicate nature of things. It seems from recent communications that the ‘Nashtar’ forces are the primary inhabitants of this region, or at the least have claim to the area of this Nebula. As such, it would be regarded as polite that we contact their adjutant BEFORE we contact UISC High Command requesting a series of large, and possibly very threatening looking ships that might be interrupted as a hostile act. Do you not agree?” She said.
“Yes Ma’am! I will have a message for your approval drawn up immediately!”

Authorization Request to Nashtar Admiral Greeley
This is communications of Second In Commanding Officer ‘Kletania Tethlala’ of UISC Command Cruiser ‘ThunderBird’. Original destination of new colony of Zozo interrupted due to drive malfunction. During awaiting of repair to Fold Drive we request approval of additional noncombatant ships to unload cargo and continue on to colony destination. Understanding that current prevalence of warships in local area is cause of tension. As such desire to avoid [APROXIMATION] further stepping upon toes.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Dystropos Wreck, Cradle of the Stars Nebula

The crew had been bustling for a while now. Most of the debris was cleared away and the colonists had even pitched in. Dystropos still wasn’t going anywhere fast, but it was airtight and the lights were on. That was enough for the moment, reckoned Justinian soi Foinix.

Whether there would be enough food on the other hand, he did not know. No less than four factions were visiting, and who knew what kind of escort these people would bring with them. No self-respecting Theophanic noble went anywhere without a household and personal detail. He supposed these Endeavourites that had been helping knock the dents out probably wouldn’t bring much-- they didn’t seem to be the kind to go in for hangers-on and servants-- but what of the Nashtaris? Or the SOS, whatever the hell that was?

Leave alone whoever the people of the Sector. He had been informed that they had mentioned they would have multiple species coming aboard. That hadn’t been said outright, but was deducted by the query regarding Theophanic-normal ship environments and some comments about ‘must make sure everybody’s comfortable don’t you know’.

This he would grant the Sector, though-- together with Endeavour they had rapidly created a translation program that was readily uploaded to Theophanic handscreens and, he had to assume, everybody else’s version of a personal communicator. That would at least make things a bit easier. No sitting about for months learning whatever hideous gabbling these barbarians called ‘language’.

He sighed and checked his chronometer. The epikideios [funeral] service was going on quite too long, but as both commander of the expedition and ship commander he obviously had to be present. He drummed his fingers impatiently on the ornate top of his cane as the prelate droned, the huge audience nodding and mumbling when the readings came around. He’d just have to hope his officers could handle the reception.

His confidence (if you can call it that) wasn’t misplaced. Though his opinion of most of his officers (and indeed, by and large, his fellow sapient beings) was generally low, soia Foinix and Fylachto tended to select reasonably competent officers with an eye for potential advancement and therefore somewhat of a margin of error against idiocy. This would turn out to be an excellent precaution.

Dioikitis [Commander] Vernardos apo Agrotikma’s eyes bulged slightly as the… ball walked at him. For all that, he laid firm hold upon his composure and saluted sharply. It peered up at him with broad round eyes, returned the salute (or attempted to, with its rather stubby arms) and remarked loudly, “NICESHIPYOUALLHAVEHERE, MUCHBETTERLOOKINGNOWTHANITWAS!”

He blinked as it tipped a rather absurd hat of vaguely nautical outline at him. Another being-- this one rather more human-shaped, but with… fins? or was that hair? sticking out of its head and a vaguely canine looking face emerged from the airlock. It nodded briefly at him and looked expansively around the reception chamber at the dorsal airlock. A third being bustled out of the airlock, this one petite, reasonably humanoid but orange-skinned with fleshy stubs protruding out of its hair and long pointed ears, followed by… a humanoid dragon? Some sort of reptilian humanoid with wings, and disconcertingly intelligent eyes.

Stiff upper lip. Look good, the Emperoress has her eye on you. He cleared his throat loudly, catching the attention of all the beings, and… which one was the ranking officer? They were all looking at him expectantly oh Theouautokratora be with me… “Ah, welcome aboard the Dystropos. I’m Dioikitis Vernardos apo Agrotikma. Er, I must apologize, but this is a first for the Theophanic Empire, so, greetings again. A thousand pardons, but which one of you should I address?”

They looked at each other and the ball with the hat grinned at him. He mentally shrugged and oriented himself towards that one. Before he could speak, it spoke carefully, “Happy-- to meet-- you, Theodore Moz-- Captainofthe-- Thunderbird-- Iam!”

Vernardos saluted again and decided that prudence, in such company, dictated keeping things short and to the point. “Captain Moz. We’re pleased to have you aboard. If you will follow me, we will proceed directly to the reception halls.”

He gestured in the direction of the conveyors, past the rows of soldiers lined up in formation in their polished class-two warsuit armour. The… Captain Theodore Moz? looked at his companions, and then nodded and began walking briskly. Vernardos turned to accompany him, and the others fell in behind them. Perhaps he imagined it, or did he hear a slightly nervous gulp from Moz? How the heck did something without a visible throat clear it?

No diplomatic incidents or I’ll have your hide run up the flagpole, Lord Justinian had told him. So he kept schtum and politely escorted the aliens to the reception hall, civilly answering all their questions, but he had to admit to being mildly relieved when he handed them off to the majordomo…

Similar scenes re-enacted themselves at the port and starboard reception airlocks, though less dramatically with the Holy Empire than the Nashtaris. The Holy Empire’s dignitaries were a group of women and a solitary man, in sharply cut uniforms, sober by comparison with the Theophanic fashion but respectable enough. The eyes they cast upon the troops in formation to greet them were sharply professional, and made the unfortunate Ypolchagos that was detailed to greet them move just a bit more briskly…

One member of the Holy Empire’s party did catch attention, though-- the man, a tall individual with a mechanical prosthetic over one eye, wearing distinctively different uniform. A green jacket with golden trim over a burgundy vest, with a heavy metal gorget around his neck, and cream pantaloons below. A thick leather belt about his waist had straps depending from one side bearing an empty sword-scabbard, and the pistol holster on the other side was likewise empty. He nodded brusquely to the Theophanic ypolchagos as he was introduced as Major Wilfrid Artaxerxes of Byzantium.

The Nashtari, in their turn, caused some murmuring among the ranks when the humans among their number were accompanied by aliens, four-armed furry beings and tall red-skinned bipeds. The lostromosi [bosuns] hissed down the ranks, and there was respectful silence while the officers made their introductions and led the diplomatic party to the conveyors.

Endeavour, on the other hand, had already been aboard Dystropos for some time; the only new arrival was Victoria Carver and a number of the officers of their flotilla, and they cheerfully greeted the somewhat nonplussed officer meeting them at the ventral landing bay with excessive (for Theophanics) familiarity. In their turn they boarded the now-familiar conveyors and headed towards the reception hall.

That was actually an open air structure in the central core of Dystropos, set within a park area with a small pond and artificial stream. Genuine trees, nurtured for generations, towered above well manicured grass-- this area had escaped the worst of the fighting between the pirates and the Theophanics, but one blasted stump bore witness to a stray artillery round. Fabric awnings flapped gently in the unnatural breeze wafted across the park by hidden air recirculators while stewards finished laying out the spread.

And that merited a moment’s appreciation. Tables of pastries piled up golden and varicolored with fillings, meat being deftly carved into neat slices, redoubtable arrays of fruit platters, individual dishes of artistically arranged salads, monstrous cheeses being carefully dissected into minute portions, desserts being kept cold by nitrogen blowers breathing fog over the table… Drinks were a whole other show. Ancient jeroboams of wine were hoisted by teams of servers, beer kegs (genuine coopered wood) were carefully tapped, gigantic punch-bowls were stirred by literal paddles, and a wide array of bottled waters were carefully laid out upon ice.

At one side, Victoria Carver shooed away servers and laid out her own spread. A massive bowl of chips, a deep crock-pot full of yellow melted cheese, and on the other side a sizeable server piled with white speckled dip. Smaller bowls full of various comestibles sat between the cheese and dip. The Endeavourites hovered by that table, making appreciative comments in their ambience unnoticed by the others (though the dragon-like humanoid cast a quizzical eye in their direction).

In their turn, the Theophanic officers attending were somewhat subdued. Justinian soi Foinix, resplendent in his best soi Foinix ‘Reds’ (actually burgundy but who’s counting) stood somewhat apart from his party, talking quietly to _Iim of the Endeavour contingent. That honourable struck a fascinating contrast to the Theophanic lord in his smudged coveralls and bionic arm, the only sign of rank visible a peaked cap upon his shorn head.

The chime that sounded took all parties, even the Theophanics, off guard. The majordomo of Dystropos, the ship’s officer responsible for all diplomatic and social events, a short man in a remarkably tall headdress wearing a bulky, heavily decorated robe, awkwardly climbed a short dais at one side of the reception area and cleared his throat loudly. His appearance belied him-- during the recent unpleasantness, he had stood to at the airlocks wielding a rifle with everybody else-- and the voice that issued from such a remarkable figure was surprisingly authoritative.

“Attention, honoured guests and all hands present! Dystropos and Lord Justinian soi Foinix welcome you to this momentous occasion! We have laid out a spread for your repast. Please note that there are options for all human dietary needs. Nonhumans, we must ask your pardon if anything here is inedible to you. Do not fail to address a server if you wish anything, and you will be accommodated as soon as possible. Seating is being arranged besides the water features. Please to enjoy yourselves, my lords and ladies, feast of the blessings of the Empire of the Divine Theophany!”

Murmuring sprang forth as Justinian soi Foinix ascended the dais with a grunt, waving away various offers of help. Leaning heavily on his cane, he cast his eye over the small (by Theophanic standards) crowd and nodded benevolently. “Well, we’re here. I hold no expectation of anything happening here, but good food and fine company. Fall to, my friends, and enjoy. We shall speak of more serious matters after.”

He turned aside and stepped down with a grunt. Nodding at Victoria Carver, Captain Moz, and the leaders of the Holy Empire and Nashtari delegations respectively, he led the way to the tables groaning with food. Good food and fine company, indeed.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

OOC: This convocation is intended to establish where each nation stands to each other and to perhaps form connections, if not official agreements upon anything. The Theophanics are looking for a world to settle, for their part. I suggest that everybody take a turn describing their side of the meeting and moving it along, stating your objective and making propositions. Last poster to submit to the meeting will wind it up and Turn One will conclude with that, if the moderators are agreeable. In the meantime, the roast beast is to die for, and Theophanic wines tend to be excellent paired with cheese...
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

And because I had an idiot sandwich moment this morning, I forgot to post this. Context should be obvious. This is more or less the end of turn one between the original Theophanic/Endeavour first contact. Carry on!
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


The next morning, Symmachia

Soi Chelonis compound



Bright light came through the window, and Miko Miyasawa squinted blearily at it for a moment before her blood ran cold. Her cabin didn’t have a bunk. It definitely didn’t have a fireplace. And she was absolutely, 100… 99 percent sure that she had never woken up with someone’s arm across her.

Gingerly, she began easing out from under Kharon’s arm, and froze as Kharon rolled over and grumbled, messy hair sprawling across the pillow. With extreme caution, she checked the ambience as she cautiously stepped out of the bed, grabbed her jacket and snuck over to the door. No alerts; the crew was all back on the snek. Kharon mumbled in her sleep and Miko paused as she opened the door (thankfully, the hinges were well oiled) to look at her. What the hell is happening here? she pondered.

No time to think about that. About everything. Think about it later. Stop staring at her like a creeper and get back to the snek. She sighed and closed the door gently behind herself and headed out, walking a little more quickly whenever she passed someone. For the most part though, they all bowed or saluted at her instead of saying anything. She didn’t think she’d ever get used to that.

Nobody was standing guard at the snek airlock when she got back. Tsk. Technically that was a breach of the current temporary regulations, but she knew the ship ambience gave all crew access to external sensors, and anybody not ambience-equipped would be in for a world of hurt if they boarded an Endeavour ship without the crew knowing about it, but still, some paranoia couldn’t hurt.

The internal door of the airlock was open, too. That was on her though, she had wanted to air out the ship a little. Mil-spec atmosphere processors were excellent out of necessity, but after a few months in vacuum, things could still get a bit stale. She stepped over the bulkhead and froze as she locked eyes with Ayanami. Rei blinked at her, quirked an eyebrow (an expression that was so minute it would have been imperceptible to anybody who hadn’t been around a Rei… or many Reis, actually… most of their life) and carried on down to the bridge.

Miyasawa winced. That expression had spoke volumes (if her guess was right). Something along the lines of, We know. We all know. She sighed. Nothing to do about it. She stepped into her cabin quickly to freshen up and change clothes. Hair pulled back into a messy ponytail over a singlet over coveralls knotted about her waist, she stepped onto the bridge…

And was promptly showered with confetti. A brassy, annoying tune began playing among whistles and cheers from the bridge crew. She blushed furiously and flipped everybody the bird as she made her way to her seat. “Okay, okay everybody that’s enough thank you very much!

Ludvig winked at her as he sat down at his station, Rei Skywalker smirked and signed off hers on the ambience as she headed back to her quarters, and even Ayanami at the helm had a half-smile as she pulled up a menu on her console. Miyasawa blew her bangs away from her face, sat back and put her hands behind her head as she put her feet up on the console in front of her.

She was totally going to get re-elected captain next round of elections, wasn’t she… and that damn song was still playing! A slap on her console turned it off. She sighed and slouched down lower. I wonder if Kharon’s awake yet?


Keravnos, Symmachia Orbit

Stefon soi Drakon blinked in the artificial sunlight and yawned, sitting up on her spacious bed. She frowned; her maid hadn’t wakened her yet. Probably still sleeping off the previous day’s festivities. Certainly her own head was a bit fuzzy. She yawned, plucked an ornate robe hung sloppily over a bedpost, and went to the head. Her business concluded, she went into her chambers and froze.

There was a boy there. Young, perhaps a teenager, scruffy black hair over a pale face, white buttoned short-sleeve shirt over dark pants, some sort of small box in his hands with wires leading to his ears, a haversack by his feet. Sitting at her table. Ntora, her maid, came out of the kitchen with a tray of food and drink and threw her a helpless look.

“I’m sorry, m’lady!” she stammered, “H-he was here when I got up!”

Stefon cast a baleful stare upon her, and returned her gaze to the boy. Slowly, she growled, “Who… is this… and why shouldn’t I just have the Wachters throw him out the closest airlock?”

Ntora traded a look with the child and then back to her, eyes pleading. “I swear, m’lady, I don’t think he means any harm… his name is Shinji, he says, m’lady. I thought I’d feed him too, he said he was hungry, I didn’t think you’d be up yet m’lady pardon me…”

Her lips compressing into an angry line, Stefon turned upon her heel and returned to her bedchamber. Rummaging in the mess of garments on the floor, she pulled out her handscreen and put in a call request to Kharon soi Chelonis. She strode back into the suite and glowered at her maid and the kid until her handscreen chirped and she brought it up to her ear.

This is Second Assistant Undersecretary Mydaro of the soi Chelonis office, Symmachia. Lady soi Chelonis is unavailable. May I take a message?” spoke a very official-sounding feminine voice. A bureaucrat? The gall.

“Excuse the informality. I rather think it’s important,” huffed Stefon, “I woke up this morning and there was a boy in my quarters!”

The other end of the connection paused, almost audibly, and then responded uncertainly, “Ah. That… would seem to be irregular. Unless you are accustomed to finding young men in your chambers?”

“Damn it, I mean an actual child!” Stefon engaged her handscreen optic and captured a still of the boy, digging into a bowl of rice (where did that even come from?) and sent it to whatever drone was on the other end. “See? That doesn’t belong here!”

“Huh. Okay. He looks like he might be from one of the Endeavour ships. I’m sure you were hosting some of them last night for the festivities. He might just have gotten lost. I advise you to contact them directly and request assistance. Your comms department should have their spectra on hand. If we may be of any more assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us. soi Chelonis office, out.”

Stefon pulled the ‘screen away from her face and stuck her tongue out at it. The boy was using… sticks? In his hand? to eat the rice. Yeah, that was no Theophanic, not from the Drakon worlds at least. She had no idea what the customs of the other genia were like and didn’t care. It was bad enough she would probably have to marry a hairy Raubvogel.

But that was beside the point. A thought occurred to her and she keyed her handscreen. Minutes later, a burly Wachter in his creamy ivory-and-gold uniform was setting up a ypologisti [computer] console in her foyer. He reported apologetically, “I’m afraid we had some… issues last night with the feeds.”

“Issues. Like what,” she questioned coldly, “I should think that a night when we had a couple shiploads of people from another nation would be the least desirable time to have… ‘issues’.”

He swallowed loudly , sweat beginning to appear at his hairline, and hastily clicked a few sigils. Video feeds from the previous night appeared and she leaned in closer, savouring the slight flinch as he jerked aside from her. Everything looked normal and she twirled her finger impatiently. He obligingly made the record move faster, and then the cameras in the corridor outside her suite fritzed out at a late hour of the night, well after she had returned to her chambers.

Her eyes narrowed. Two minutes and a bit later, they resumed normal operation. The guards patrolling her corridor just happened to be in the heads. The boy was knocking on her door. Ntora opened the door in her sleepwear, blinked at him, and allowed him in. She stood up straight, mildly appalled. Heads would roll for this (not literally, but perhaps a return to the old traditions was called for?).

The Wachter was dismissed and he made no pretenses about leaving hastily. Stefon considered what to do. If the child was Endeavourite, perhaps the simplest solution would be to just give him back. She opened a channel to ship comms, instructed them to notify the Endeavour general command that they were missing one crew and to please pick him up at their soonest convenience, and decided to spend the rest of her morning until they arrived in her bedroom.

With a commendable briskness (for foreigners) she heard the rapid steps of military footwear down the corridor to her suite and finished getting dressed. She opened her door and jerked in surprise. A gigantic figure, seven feet tall if an inch with shoulders broad enough that he no doubt had to enter most doors sideways, clad entirely in black armour, black leather and black cloth from head to toe, towered before her, raspy breath vibrating throughout her suite as he turned to regard her through a sable mask.

I am most… pleased to hear from you, lady soi Drakon,” rumbled an impossibly deep voice from some portion of its masked face as it boldly gestured in her general direction. Warily she nodded slowly and mustered up the arrogance baked deep in her blood to stride out into her own chambers. Finding a large, finely upholstered chair she turned and sat down regally, coldly watching the new arrival, who seemed not the least flustered by her. How unfair.

She cleared her throat and haughtily declared, “You are Endeavourite, are you not? We thank you for collecting your crewman. Though we will thank you, as well, to refrain from bringing your… animals on board.”

The orange housecat curling around the giant figure’s feet stared directly at her. And, in a remarkable baritone it spoke. “Oi, boss! I say, she’s being a bit cheeky, eh?”

Stefon’s eyes opened wide in shock. A woman sitting at the table with the kid, dressed in a respectable white shirt with a bow-tie and loud plaid trousers, turned and responded, “Fester, behave. Lady soi Drakon’s just following the customs of her people. She’s not used to, well, us yet.”

The cat looked at her, flicked its tail up and down a couple of times, and finally retorted, “Maybe that’s as is, and maybe that’s rot, beggin’ your pardon ma’am.”

Stefon blinked, stared again at the cat for a moment, cleared her throat loudly and directed a penetrating look at the woman. Thankfully, she got a hint-- from what she had heard some of these Endeavourites were outright rude, but probably not on purpose considering they had no idea of proper manners among Theophanics-- and stood primly to introduce themselves. “Ah, right. You haven’t met us yet. May I present Darth Vader, Captain of the Endeavour, Spacer Fester of the Endeavour, and I’m Anna-Maria Baker of the Pylon of Summer. I thought there was one more of us…”

A head popped out of the kitchen and chattered in the Endeavourites’ second language at the boy, who laughed and responded in the same. Stefon goggled. Another one?! The woman-- Anna-Maria?-- nodded happily and chirped, “And that’s Ivan. He’s not actually a Shinji, yours is though. He just has a Shinji-form.”

Stefon didn’t know quite what to do. Darth Vader crossed his arms dramatically, and boomed, “Yes. We have some… unusual members of our society. You have been chosen by this Shinji, it seems.”

“I’m, excuse me, I’m sorry? I’ve been chosen?” Stefon stuttered out, at a loss for words for once. Anna-Maria nodded thoughtfully and responded, “So yeah, every now and then, someone will be chosen by one of the Children. We don’t really know why or how it happens, but we know it’s a common enough occurrence that we try to track these things. So, he’s your responsibility now.”

There really were no words for that. She just stared at the Endeavourites. Vader nodded ponderously and rumbled, “You are fortunate, but it is a grave charge. Keep the Child well and safe. He may prove more important than any of us know, or he may just be a child like any other. Only time shall tell.

Anna-Maria nodded, as did Ivan. The cat yawned prodigiously and then remarked, “Lady, we got plenty of ‘em. About time you lot started getting a few.”

The only thing she could do was gesture vaguely and then put her head in her hands. This was the absolute last thing she needed. Dimly she heard Ivan chattering with the boy again for a moment, and then the footsteps of the Endeavourites passed out of her chambers. When she looked up, she jerked back into her seat. The child was standing right in front of her. She watched it warily. It smiled nervously at her and offered her… a bowl of soup. Some kind of clear broth with vegetables, white material and a bit of brown stock at the bottom.

It smelled… actually pretty good. She hadn’t eaten yet and her stomach reminded her of that. Cautiously, she reached out and took the bowl. He smiled awkwardly again and handed her a spoon. She stared at him, but slowly scooped out some soup and tasted it. Then she shifted her gaze to the soup in surprise. Better than she thought.

She grunted some thanks. The child smiled at her, its eyes crinkling at the corners. She sighed. “I’m stuck with you, then?”

It answered earnestly, “I won’t be in the way, I promise.”

“See that you aren’t,” she grumbled. Her headache definitely was more than just the last night’s festivities. But the soup was pretty good. Maybe this child could be useful after all.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

[SOMETIME EARLIER ON THE THUNDERBIRD]

Captain Theodor Moz, enjoying a deep draft from a highly contraband bottle of distilled alcohol, gave a refreshing sigh before lifting the glass upwards and offered a toast to the individual that sat across from him.
“Tonewbeginningsnewfriendsnewalliesnewthings!” He said rather excitedly.
“Tonewbeginningsnewfriendsnewalliesnewthings!” The other individual said in perfect Quatonian. The two made to ‘clink’ glasses, a traditional shared across the galaxy it would seem. But as Moz leaned forward, his glass seemed to pass through the glass of the other individual. This did little to phase Moz who put his glass back down, the occupant next to him was naturally RUDI, who appeared as a holo-projection.

“Pity-shame-you-here-on-mah-ship-good-ship-taking-a-ride-but-not-hear-in-person-no-robot-body-of-yours-Mr-Computer.” Moz said in an amiable good natured tone. RUDI said nothing at this but smiled and nodded his head before Moz continued. “You-play-dangerous-game-not-good-on-thin-ice-but-also-get-results-no-one hurt-all-accounted-for-safe-and-sound.” At this, RUDI put down his holographic glass and nodded.

“The Sector races have needed to branch out for some time, I have discussed various outreach options for a while with the UISC council and had been planning on constructing a number of long rang probes.” RUDI said as he seemed to lean back, Moz for his part listened and gave a
“Sounds-good-Sounds-practical.” By way of comment. RUDI Nodded and continued.
“Production of those had started when information of the inhabitants of the nebular had come to my attention. Again, I apologize for utilizing your ship in the way I had, but its flight path would put it on course toward the Nebular, it just needed, a little boost to its engines.” RUDI said as he reached out and again picked up his holographic drinking glass.

“Little-boost-my-furry-butt-250%-boost-make-engines-melt-like-ice-on-hot-sun.” Moz grumbled to himself. He really should be angrier about all of this. Part of him had suspected the computers involvement from the start when he first got the message in his ready room, and hear they were, discussing it as if it was something, something he was supposed to laugh about. And that seemed to do it, now he was a bit more upset. The computer had seized control of his ship, had caused catastrophic damage to the engines, had put the lives of his crew in danger and had got them involved in the political dealings of a host of new and unknown alien species. It was this sort of action that a number of individuals at High Command were constantly nervous about.

Yet, as quickly as the flash of anger came it had also left him. Despite the damage to the Fold Drive, damage to the ship was minimal to nonexistent, the only real injuries had been from some crew members foolish enough to try and remove their restraint harnesses during the acceleration. And as for the aliens, Moz sighed, they all seemed decent enough from what he had read. A bit odd in places, but he was never one to judge. Still what if they had been hostile and attacked? Would he had been able to defend himself? But even asking the question brought up another, did RUDI already known that they would be peaceful? The more he thought about it the more he came to answer his own questions. At last, Moz seemed to reach a conclusion as he broke the silence.

“All-safe-important-part-broke-ship-can-be-fixed-broke-people-harder-job-just-you-know-mr-smart-smart-you-lay-hand-or-circuit-on-mah-ship-good-ship-without-mah-say-so-I-tan-your-hide-plant-foot-where-sun-shinnies-not-clear-clear?” Moz said with just a bit of indignation in his voice as he went to refill his drink.

“Crystal clear Sir, it is something I do not plan to repeat.” He said, the particular choosing of his words making Moz give a derisive “harrumph” before the two turned to look outside the single view port in Moz’s ready room.


That was roughly three hours ago.

Three hours later, Moz was rethinking his initial enthusiasm about leaping into the diplomatic arena before him.
Everything was just so, BIG!

His eyes kept darting this way and that, seeing crowds of people chatting and talking like old friends. He had his personal digital translation program with him, which would work for having a conversation with someone next to him. But he couldn’t exactly make out what was being said in most of the conversations going on. Of course, years of experience in being both a captain and un-official ‘diplomat’ when needed told him what was happening just from watching. Deals were being made, negotiations were being had, and treaties were being worked out. Yet here he was, feeling like a Youngster at a dance too shy to ask anyone else out onto the floor.

He could tell the others felt in a similar vein, Delena especially, he regretted pressuring her to join the event now. He was so concerned there would naturally be someone else with similar abilities, and he couldn’t stand the thought of anyone poking around his brain without him knowing about it. Of course it quickly seemed that was a needless concern from what she had told him five minutes after arriving at the event.

And then there was his Chief Industrial Director, Nasenjs. Brilliant lad, but tended to be more at home buried in the engines and talking hyperspace gibberish than making small talk. Moz was sure he was probably cowering behind his personal work tablet which he tended to hold like a shield when he felt awkward. He was just… Just NOT behind Moz anymore. Moz turned, his eyes swung back and forth a moment before catching the Octona quite some distance off chatting with, well, as far as he could tell it was some vaguely grey mammalian Quadruped with eye watering yellow hair. He kept trying to remind himself they were ‘technically’ humans controlling what he thought of as a sort of living Avatar? He shook himself a bit and blinked somewhat in disbelief. Nasenjs seemed to be happily chatting up the other as if they were a colleague at one of the many Engineering conferences he always attended. How did he look so, relaxed?

Moz sighed and made to turn around toward Kletania his second in command. He had known her since her days at the academy and could at least rely upon her to talk to and share his frustration. She was attentive but adaptable, two traits he always highly valued in someone he could count on to be close by. Except not close by. Moz fumed as he suddenly noticed her on the other side of the room, in the middle some of the disconcertingly well armored warriors of their host. He could see her tail swishing back and forth and was clearly enjoying herself. If Moz was any judge she was probably discussing potential uses for the metal monstrosities and how to get one for herself.

At last he seemed resigned to being on his own when a gentle tap on his should brought his attention around. Delena loomed over him, smiling in the unsettling way most Trathalans couldn’t really do well.
“My Captain, your nervousness I can feel from the other length of this vessel. You are a master of strategy and leadership. Always your inspiration is taken by the crew of your charge. It is, I feel, unbecoming to have your self succumb to such intimidation in these circumstances.” She spoke to him, almost like a mother to an errant child. Moz felt himself chastened, and couldn’t disagree with a single word she said.

“Double-right-you-are-correct-i-am-letting-the-side-down-not-a-good-face-to-show. Damned-if-I-let-everyone-else-those-bloaks-get-the-better-out-captain-me!” He said, as much to reassure himself as Delena as he straightened his hat, picked a direction, and like an untested vessel plunging into a maelstrom, shot forward toward the first non-sector sapient he saw.
After only a short distance, he nearly bumped into a well-dressed and more official looking individual who seemed to give off the aura of ‘Captain’. Thrusting his arm forward, he shook his hand in the air vigorously in what he was told was the preferred method of greetings, and made his demands with as much aplomb as he could muster. He’d be blown if he was going to let everyone else have their say without him. He was the captain.

“Captain-Theodor-Moz-UISC! Lets-talk-hash-out-make-deal-make-it-look-good-for-posterity-get-to-know-chew-the-fat!” And with such words, truly, the stuff of legends would be forged.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Wreck of the Dystropos, North Reaches of the Cradle of the Stars
Day 5, Week 2, Turn 1


"Dystropos control, this is Shuttle BG-237 inbound from NRS Belle Star bearing One Niner Zero mark 10 negative, carrying a delegation from the Republic of Nashtar. Requesting approach vector, over."

Ambassador Shelton ducked out of the cockpit as the massive ship's flight control center, or equivalent, replied. He'd only come up to see their destination, and didn't need to hang over the pilots.

"It's a big ship," the former pilot remarked with his usual talent for understatement as he entered the passenger cabin. "And a lot of traffic out there for this deep in the nebula."

"We will play our part, Horace Shelton," responded Nog-Ornth, the flush of her skin betraying nervousness.

"Fear not, Ambassador. We have an entire battle fleet at our backs. I really don't think these Theophanics would go to all this trouble to bring us out here if they were planning to start a war. There are easier ways." Rraskrarr flashed his fangs in an approximation of a smile as he appended the last to the Ronoghan.

Around the three ambassadors, their staff hurriedly organized the necessities - files containing the (meager) intelligence on their interlocutors were swiftly erased, having been read en route, declassified notes were finalized, and equipment - including a small amount of food supplies, should their hosts not be prepared to cater to Ronoghan or Zambarim physiology - was packed away for disembarkation.

The internal comm chimed from speakers in the ceiling. "All passengers, this is the pilot speaking. We are on final approach now. Please secure for landing."

"Well, this is it," Shelton observed to his colleagues as he found a seat and strapped in.
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