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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-04-11 06:48pm
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And we see yet another work revived and back on the rails.
Bring out the big guns mates, we just might need them.

As a side note, what happened to Lieutenant Aldrem and His Band of Raving Loonies? Because would be something I would like to see.

By all means both possible and neccesary, continue good sir.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-04-12 11:18am
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I think he's trying to avoid spoilers for Plot Arc the Second, where the fate of the gun crew is left kind of indeterminate. It gives him a bit more freedom. On the other hand, I could swear we saw the good lieutenant earlier, so maybe I'm just wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-04-12 07:27pm
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That was ... confusing. It certainly needs cleaned up somehow, and a good grammar check to make sure the quotemarks are in the right places.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-04-12 09:23pm
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It's times like this that italicizing the protagonists thoughts, while leaving the narration in plain text, comes in handy.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-04-14 05:43am
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Right, see if this works for you...this is the first few paragraphs, treated as you want them.


This is why the Imperial system exists, Lennart thought. To make moves and manoeuvres like this possible. Instant, total, unquestioning obedience at the bottom means the being at the top can change his mind at a moment’s notice, revise plans on the spur of the moment, reimagine and re-envision like lightning.

Total obedience at the lower echelons creates total maneuverability at the command level. All precedent overturned, any plan becomes feasible. And if I wasn’t so busy, I’d be crapping myself thinking through the implications of that,
he thought.

It also creates- or at least it damned well ought to- create total responsibility. I’m responsible for them, I need to keep as many of them alive as possible, and I’m damned if I can see a way of doing it. Actually, add keeping them from being damned as a secondary objective, in this space.

What constitutes a sensible plan under these circumstances?


For a start, I can stop kidding myself that this can be done without paying in blood. There are going to be losses whatever way we do it, we don’t have the hardware, or the luxury of unlimited time to be subtle with it.
‘Rapid three wave, light fighters, light gun craft, close quarters jump and strafe then break, draw the defending fighters out, second wave jump capable torpedo craft conduct defence suppression then move to support first wave withdrawal;

third wave torpedo and heavy gun small craft, nonjump torpedo fighters, ordnance attack in support of capital action- main weapon mounts the priority, targeters, sensors, manoeuvre engines secondary. Nonjump gun fighters follow the ordnance in and strafe.’

Simple and quite generic, practical, and also bloody dangerous. What were the psychological, what were the psychic factors? Were any of the defending pilots deconvertible- had they turned as renegade as their parent ship? Where’s Maarek Stele when you need him?


Blistmok was zig- zagging, turning and twisting like a living thing…and there was a frightening thought, how thoroughly had she been changed? The victim/property of the Lord of Change, it only stood to reason- which there was nothing strictly preventing chaos form doing when the mood took it- that it had been radically altered.

As what, to what? From the way the ship was behaving, like a living thing, if the computer and droid systems had been corrupted- how well were their conditioned reflexes in place?

If it was now living, if it had been brought to sentience, then that could be a vulnerability worth exploiting. Had the crew been joined with it in some way? A collective entity? If so- that could be complex.

What would it want, this entity? What did they stand to gain- what would they understand that they stood to gain?


If I was in their position, I…ah, Lennart thought, and tried to divide his brain into two halves. There was a solution that presented itself, a radical, ridiculously dangerous idea that could save thousands, perhaps millions.

The way that thing was manoeuvring, it was so busy being that it hadn’t emotionally stabilised yet; was still revelling in it’s own internal processes of change. It hadn’t done it’s thinking yet.

How to organise this… ’Brenn, stand by to clear the bridge module down to auxiliary control. 17-Blue, Commissar, Farseer, Brother- Sargeants, I’m going to need your help. Thon, tell the chief I’m probably going to need his help too.’ That was to the engineering liaison on the bridge, Lieutenant- Commander Thon Sperrin, who had relatively little to do in normal circumstances.

‘Surgeon- commander, get down to the bubble- you’re far too vulnerable for this.’ She looked more hurt by his reversion to formality than anything else, after all they had been inside each other’s minds, but she caught a fragment of what he was intending and realised why.



Oh, and Pel Aldrem- well, the trial is being written at the moment, but if he makes it out free and clear it will be because Lennart has managed to arrange that the trial serve some ulterior political purpose, and he, legally speaking, slips away in the confusion. Which, by a strange coincidence, actually happens to be the plan...



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-04-14 07:09pm
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I see...
As a side note, I would enjoy seeing your work on retail bookshelves, mainly because of the fact that Captain of the Line Lennart and his Ship of Loonies are, at present, living in a relatively remote corner of the Internet. They deserve, as your characters, to be shared with the rest of the world.
Besides, it counts as free money.

As always;
Continue with all due and prudent speed, good sir, as I would just love to see what pot the cast is going to find itself in this time.

P.S.: That goes for Arc the Second too, ya hear!



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-04-14 07:44pm
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There's really no possibility of that- it is fanfic after all. Besides, the state the franchise is in now- any technically inclined fan is going to get short shrift from LucasArts; not as bad as it was maybe, but still not good.

There is a sort of wierd feedback affectng this and the direct continuation of arc 2, in particular they seem to have segregated themselves in a way I would haver have done if I had realised it was happening; all the moody, broody stuff ended up over there, most of the explosions over here. It's a lack of balance I wouldn't have done on purpose.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-04-14 10:23pm
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
Right, see if this works for you...this is the first few paragraphs, treated as you want them.
Hmm. Good; needs more consistent spacing between paragraphs. And no breaking paragraphs in mid-sentence. I'm going to try tweaking the punctuation, too. Try:
Quote:
This is why the Imperial system exists, Lennart thought. To make moves and manoeuvres like this possible. Instant, total, unquestioning obedience at the bottom means the being at the top can change his mind at a moment’s notice, revise plans on the spur of the moment, reimagine and re-envision like lightning.

Total obedience at the lower echelons creates total maneuverability at the command level. All precedent overturned, any plan becomes feasible. And if I wasn’t so busy, I’d be crapping myself thinking through the implications of that,
he thought.

It also creates- or at least it damned well ought to- create total responsibility. I’m responsible for them, I need to keep as many of them alive as possible, and I’m damned if I can see a way of doing it. Actually, add keeping them from being damned as a secondary objective, in this space.

What constitutes a sensible plan under these circumstances?

For a start, I can stop kidding myself that this can be done without paying in blood. There are going to be losses whatever way we do it. We don’t have the hardware, or the luxury of unlimited time to be subtle with it.

‘Three waves. First wave: light fighters, light gun craft, close quarters jump and strafe, then break, draw the defending fighters out. Second wave, jump capable torpedo craft, conduct defence suppression then move to support first wave withdrawal. Third wave: torpedo and heavy gun small craft, nonjump torpedo fighters, ordnance attack in support of capital action- main weapon mounts the priority, targeters, sensors, manoeuvre engines secondary. Nonjump gun fighters follow the ordnance in and strafe.’

Simple and quite generic, practical... also bloody dangerous. What were the psychological, what were the psychic factors? Were any of the defending pilots deconvertible- had they turned as renegade as their parent ship? Where’s Maarek Stele when you need him?


Blistmok was zig- zagging, turning and twisting like a living thing… and there was a frightening thought, how thoroughly had she been changed? The victim/property of the Lord of Change, it only stood to reason- which there was nothing strictly preventing chaos form doing when the mood took it- that it had been radically altered.

As what, to what? From the way the ship was behaving, like a living thing, if the computer and droid systems had been corrupted- how well were their conditioned reflexes in place?

If it was now living, if it had been brought to sentience, then that could be a vulnerability worth exploiting. Had the crew been joined with it in some way? A collective entity? If so- that could be complex.

What would it want, this entity? What did they stand to gain- what would they understand that they stood to gain?


If I was in their position, I…ah, Lennart thought, and tried to divide his brain into two halves. There was a solution that presented itself, a radical, ridiculously dangerous idea that could save thousands, perhaps millions.

The way that thing was manoeuvring, it was so busy being that it hadn’t emotionally stabilised yet; was still revelling in it’s own internal processes of change. It hadn’t done its thinking yet.

How to organise this… ’Brenn, stand by to clear the bridge module down to auxiliary control. 17-Blue, Commissar, Farseer, Brother-Sergeants, I’m going to need your help. Thon, tell the chief I’m probably going to need his help too.’ That was to the engineering liaison on the bridge, Lieutenant- Commander Thon Sperrin, who had relatively little to do in normal circumstances.

‘Surgeon-commander, get down to the bubble- you’re far too vulnerable for this.’ She looked more hurt by his reversion to formality than anything else. After all, they had been inside each other’s minds. But she caught a fragment of what he was intending and realised why.
So there it goes. I may have missed a few spots, but I really think it's worth keeping an eye on where logical sentence breaks go. And worth sticking them in where opportune.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-05-29 05:53am
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While I initially liked how the story went, I think this devolved into just another Star Wars wankfest. No offense meant to the author though.

I think it's just unfathomable that the Imperium of Man, with its tendency to purge xenos and heretics on sight would agree to the terms and conditions demanded by Lennart and embarrassingly cave in. I believe that symmetry here is always a good choice, especially in fanfic crossovers.

If the WH40K universe would have its warp purged out of existence (which ironically is what makes the universe's plot the way it is in the first place) and the IoM caving in through the demands of an imperialist, then I think it's not far off to say that the Dark Side Empire should also be liberated by the forces of the Imperium of Man that is trapped in the other side of the wormhole.

Think about it, both sides have technology practically alien with each other. While the Empire has a trump card through hyperspace technology which the IoM practically cannot counter, so does the IoM. The Warp Drive the IoM employs allows it also to move freely and undetected in that universe, especially given that they can easily travel through the immaterium now without the constant dangers of daemonic possession.

I reckon that both universes should balance each other out with the story ending that for a multiverse to exist, all universes must be within perfect harmony with each other. If one side causes imbalance, the multiverse corrects itself, with the Wh40K universe becoming relatively peaceful, peaceful, tolerant, open-minded and progressive, while the Star Wars universe becoming much more chaotic, destructive and essentially like the WH40k universe. Also, more power sword battles vs lightsaber battles wouldn't hurt.

Furthermore, an Inquisition psyker which has now become the equivalent of a Jedi Force user in the SW universe versus Emperor Palpatine would be awesome.

But of course, this is your story. Just suggesting some tidbits there. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-05-29 04:17pm
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Yes, I know it was technically a necro, but I thought it was a good enough intro post so I decided to let it slide.

Sniper2000, for future reference, it's typically not considered good manners here to respond to a thread that's over a month old without replies. Please do read the rules when you have the time, and welcome to the board.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-05-29 09:17pm
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Sniper2000 wrote:
While I initially liked how the story went, I think this devolved into just another Star Wars wankfest. No offense meant to the author though.

I think it's just unfathomable that the Imperium of Man, with its tendency to purge xenos and heretics on sight would agree to the terms and conditions demanded by Lennart and embarrassingly cave in. I believe that symmetry here is always a good choice, especially in fanfic crossovers.
The trick is that they haven't. The thing to remember about the Imperium is that it's very decentralized. Lennart has struck a temporary bargain with some of the more reasonable local authorities. The less reasonable local authorities, on the other hand, went for a full-out "purge the xenos!" response and blundered straight into an ambush, under conditions where a 40k fleet of equal tonnage could probably have beaten them too.

Higher level authorities either don't know anything has happened or have yet to make a decision.

Quote:
If the WH40K universe would have its warp purged out of existence (which ironically is what makes the universe's plot the way it is in the first place) and the IoM caving in through the demands of an imperialist, then I think it's not far off to say that the Dark Side Empire should also be liberated by the forces of the Imperium of Man that is trapped in the other side of the wormhole.
I'd rather live in the Dark Side Galactic Empire than in the Imperium of Man. There's at least as much political and social freedom, and far fewer alien monstrosities trying to eat me.

The Imperium's greatest strength and weakness is that they are utterly militarized, a garrison state. They have an enormous body of knowledge on how to wage war, and their soldiers and officers were raised in a very hard school. But that doesn't make it a nice place to live, nor one that is truly "liberating" a human state it conquers.

Quote:
I reckon that both universes should balance each other out with the story ending that for a multiverse to exist, all universes must be within perfect harmony with each other. If one side causes imbalance, the multiverse corrects itself, with the Wh40K universe becoming relatively peaceful, peaceful, tolerant, open-minded and progressive, while the Star Wars universe becoming much more chaotic, destructive and essentially like the WH40k universe. Also, more power sword battles vs lightsaber battles wouldn't hurt.
Remember that this story is something of a one-off, not the beginning of a grand ambitious crossover setting featuring numerous stories (like TGG). So ideas about "multiversal balance" may be out of place.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-05-29 10:20pm
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I think it's funny he's got thing backwards, after all, Palpatine is the greatest Sith to ever live. I shudder to think what would happen if he or the Son of Suns were to pass through the portal and unleash their two in quintillions power. Because if good pilots turn into psykers, what the hell does Vader become?



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-05-30 12:00am
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In all probability, a Daemon Prince of Khorne.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-05-30 04:54am
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Mayabird wrote:
Yes, I know it was technically a necro, but I thought it was a good enough intro post so I decided to let it slide.

Sniper2000, for future reference, it's typically not considered good manners here to respond to a thread that's over a month old without replies. Please do read the rules when you have the time, and welcome to the board.


Sorry about that, I typically never hear about that etiquette at all especially on public message boards. I technically assumed that since the story is still alive and left hanging (I also liked the story), you could just post right away. Apologies

Simon_Jester wrote:
The trick is that they haven't. The thing to remember about the Imperium is that it's very decentralized.


I don't think that's accurate. The Imperium of Man is a top-down bureaucracy with a centralized government founded and ruled by an oligarchy of elites in Holy Terra. Though the Imperium is a confederation, it is ruled by a central government in Earth who makes the decisions for the Imperium.

That's very centralized if you ask me.

Simon_Jester wrote:
Lennart has struck a temporary bargain with some of the more reasonable local authorities. The less reasonable local authorities, on the other hand, went for a full-out "purge the xenos!" response and blundered straight into an ambush, under conditions where a 40k fleet of equal tonnage could probably have beaten them too.


But that's the point, the doctrine of the IoM is very far off from what "reasonable" authorities are portraying here. Though I have seen fluff about some Imperium commanders working with Eldar, but to be made an embarrassment in the proceedings, caving in to the demands made by Lennart and then being forced by hand to work with them is not the Imperium way. They would either want to purge the heretics or die trying than to work with them through force of hand.

I reckon that if they work together, it should be through an uneasy alliance, not one side being forced or caved in to the demands of the other.

Simon_Jester wrote:
Quote:
If the WH40K universe would have its warp purged out of existence (which ironically is what makes the universe's plot the way it is in the first place) and the IoM caving in through the demands of an imperialist, then I think it's not far off to say that the Dark Side Empire should also be liberated by the forces of the Imperium of Man that is trapped in the other side of the wormhole.
I'd rather live in the Dark Side Galactic Empire than in the Imperium of Man. There's at least as much political and social freedom, and far fewer alien monstrosities trying to eat me.



The Imperium's greatest strength and weakness is that they are utterly militarized, a garrison state. They have an enormous body of knowledge on how to wage war, and their soldiers and officers were raised in a very hard school. But that doesn't make it a nice place to live, nor one that is truly "liberating" a human state it conquers.


I'm not saying that the Galactic empire be liberated then good will come out of it, far from it. What I'm saying here is that symmetrical balance should be maintained in crossovers and not one side curb-stomping the other, it would just show a bias on part of the author. If an imperialist in the Wh40K universe is successful in destroying the warp and effectively destroying what makes Warhammer40k, warhammer40k then the IoM forces should be also able to destroy what makes Star Wars, Star Wars.

How the author accomplishes this while also making it interesting is up to him, though he can entirely disregard my comments too and let the story goes how he wants it to be. It's his story after all but I just find it distateful that a reconnaissance team gets everything going for them while neglecting the IoM Navy fleet trapped on the other side who escaped through the Immaterium or the force. That amounts to nothing more than Mary-suish.


Simon_Jester wrote:
Quote:
I reckon that both universes should balance each other out with the story ending that for a multiverse to exist, all universes must be within perfect harmony with each other. If one side causes imbalance, the multiverse corrects itself, with the Wh40K universe becoming relatively peaceful, peaceful, tolerant, open-minded and progressive, while the Star Wars universe becoming much more chaotic, destructive and essentially like the WH40k universe. Also, more power sword battles vs lightsaber battles wouldn't hurt.
Remember that this story is something of a one-off, not the beginning of a grand ambitious crossover setting featuring numerous stories (like TGG). So ideas about "multiversal balance" may be out of place.


It's not a grand ambitious crossover. Placing symmetry with one side becoming the other and the other side also becoming the other universe is not "grand". I just think proper symmetry should be in place when crossovers happen, especially when you're dealing with two almost identical universes.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-05-30 09:21pm
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Sniper2000 wrote:
I don't think that's accurate. The Imperium of Man is a top-down bureaucracy with a centralized government founded and ruled by an oligarchy of elites in Holy Terra. Though the Imperium is a confederation, it is ruled by a central government in Earth who makes the decisions for the Imperium.

That's very centralized if you ask me.


Jester is right; while the Imperium may technically be under the command of the High Lords of Terra, governors and Space Marine chapters can be rulers of their own domains with very little in the way of interference. See Ultramar as an example.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-05-30 09:35pm
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Sniper2000 wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
The trick is that they haven't. The thing to remember about the Imperium is that it's very decentralized.
I don't think that's accurate. The Imperium of Man is a top-down bureaucracy with a centralized government founded and ruled by an oligarchy of elites in Holy Terra. Though the Imperium is a confederation, it is ruled by a central government in Earth who makes the decisions for the Imperium.

That's very centralized if you ask me.
There's a strong central government, but it is a very slow central government. As a result, provincial governors (and other officials down to the planetary level) have enormous power on a day to day and even month to month basis. When you combine that with the fact that there are multiple interlocking chains of command within the Imperium (the highly decentralized Space Marines, the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Administratum, the Ecclesiarchy, the Inquisition...), the net result is practically feudal.

Sure, the High Lords of Terra can proclaim a great crusade or issue orders telling a provincial governor how to deal with a new alien species, but the turnaround time for those armies to be assembled is measured in years, and even getting orders can take an immense amount of time. A great deal of short term authority devolves to the people "on the ground" simply by default.

Of course, if the low-level officials use that authority too ambitiously, they're liable to be treated as rebels or heretics... but at least they have short-term leeway if they're confident of being able to explain it to higher authority later.

Quote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
Lennart has struck a temporary bargain with some of the more reasonable local authorities. The less reasonable local authorities, on the other hand, went for a full-out "purge the xenos!" response and blundered straight into an ambush, under conditions where a 40k fleet of equal tonnage could probably have beaten them too.
But that's the point, the doctrine of the IoM is very far off from what "reasonable" authorities are portraying here. Though I have seen fluff about some Imperium commanders working with Eldar, but to be made an embarrassment in the proceedings, caving in to the demands made by Lennart and then being forced by hand to work with them is not the Imperium way. They would either want to purge the heretics or die trying than to work with them through force of hand.

I reckon that if they work together, it should be through an uneasy alliance, not one side being forced or caved in to the demands of the other.
It more or less is an uneasy alliance. I'm not sure where you got off on the idea that Lennart is dictating terms; the most he's been able to swing is military cooperation with his own forces in the lead against an extremely threatening Chaos battlegroup. You know, the guys the Imperium thinks of as the Ultimate Enemy?

He hasn't secured any binding commitments from the local Imperium authorities when it comes to long range planning, much less actually gotten them to do anything long-term.

Quote:
I'm not saying that the Galactic empire be liberated then good will come out of it, far from it. What I'm saying here is that symmetrical balance should be maintained in crossovers and not one side curb-stomping the other, it would just show a bias on part of the author. If an imperialist in the Wh40K universe is successful in destroying the warp and effectively destroying what makes Warhammer40k, warhammer40k then the IoM forces should be also able to destroy what makes Star Wars, Star Wars.
You do realize that there's no evidence that Lennart and Mirannon's proposal to "destroy the Warp" would even work? It's certainly not something that could happen in the near term, or without the full resources of the Galactic Empire.

Also, why should all stories be perfectly balanced that way? Why can't you write an interesting story about powerful outsiders from one setting coming into another and causing great changes?

Quote:
How the author accomplishes this while also making it interesting is up to him, though he can entirely disregard my comments too and let the story goes how he wants it to be. It's his story after all but I just find it distateful that a reconnaissance team gets everything going for them while neglecting the IoM Navy fleet trapped on the other side who escaped through the Immaterium or the force. That amounts to nothing more than Mary-suish.
...You did read the recent scenes about Amberley? She's the most notable survivor of the Imperium fleet right there. Likewise the scenes focused on cleanup and containment of the Imperium survivors, from the viewpoint of the Galactic Empire.

And I still don't see what you mean about how the Empire's Deep Recon Force is getting "everything going for them." The only thing they've secured is negotiation opportunities with people who have good reason to negotiate with them, and an agreement to military cooperation with people who have good reason to cooperate militarily.

Quote:
It's not a grand ambitious crossover. Placing symmetry with one side becoming the other and the other side also becoming the other universe is not "grand". I just think proper symmetry should be in place when crossovers happen, especially when you're dealing with two almost identical universes.
Why?

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-05-31 08:43pm
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Sniper2000, I think you may have missed the key comment in chapter- 7 or 8, I think- Lennart, to Brenn; "You know my opinion on most of the captains and half the admirals in the Starfleet; they couldn't find their arses with both hands and a scanner globe."

He's running a quite spectacular bluff, trying to wrangle a deal out of the Imperium local commanders that he can turn to his own command structure with and say "see, this is what they've agreed to, this is what we have to honour"- which would be a lot easier if both sides hadn't actually figured out that is what he's trying to do, and at the very least the senior surviving officer of Battlefleet Alcaris is actively considering how to shape this deal into something the Imperium can live with.

Actually, considering what interested- layman level knowledge I can summon, http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Calabi-YauSpace.html if you feel up to it and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calabi%E2%80%93Yau_manifold if you don't, I openly refer to the wormhole drill as a Yau shape, symmetry breaking is part of the process of membrane collision and any attempt to breach into another universe with a different calabi- yau shape offers a distinct possibility of collapsing it, or your own.

Mirannon did refer to thirty years- and a spare universe for test purposes. Which is still about one strategic decision cycle for the Imperium, after all.

The Old Gods (or whatever the deep fluff is these days) probably had to do something similar to create the warp in the first place, in fact; way to hell and gone beyond the capacities of the AdMech, but possibly the Necrons might be watching and taking notes...

and Inquisitor Vail and her team are crawling around the station where the universe puncturing machine is cntrolled from. This could indeed go spectacularly, spectacularly wrong.

The concept of symmetry in this context gets really complicated, but even- ness is a human thing, a shape we'd like the universe to have, and it just doesn't. Each side has it's character, and it's character flaws. The 401st were sent in with orders to begin the process of conquest, after all- something Lennart has carefully not mentioned to Stone or any of the senior Imperium personnel.

And I'm damned if I can figure out how to do it, but I was having so much fun writing the Lions of Caledon, I have to do more with them.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-06-02 02:49am
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
The Old Gods (or whatever the deep fluff is these days) probably had to do something similar to create the warp in the first place, in fact; way to hell and gone beyond the capacities of the AdMech, but possibly the Necrons might be watching and taking notes... and Inquisitor Vail and her team are crawling around the station where the universe puncturing machine is cntrolled from. This could indeed go spectacularly, spectacularly wrong.
Mmm. True. You don't get much more spectacular than "Fiat Lux" Or Latin... how do you say "Let there be dark" in Latin?

Quote:
The concept of symmetry in this context gets really complicated, but even- ness is a human thing, a shape we'd like the universe to have, and it just doesn't. Each side has it's character, and it's character flaws. The 401st were sent in with orders to begin the process of conquest, after all- something Lennart has carefully not mentioned to Stone or any of the senior Imperium personnel.
Right. Here, it's mostly a match between the overweening aggressiveness on both sides.

The sheer manic frothing hatred that Imperium extremists can work themselves into is staggering, and it hurts them tactically by making them less effective than the hardware permits. As I recall from the Battle of the Wormhole Mouth, the Imperium fleet might actually have had a chance of victory (or at least doing a lot more damage) if they hadn't been ordered to charge the wormhole willy-nilly by an idiot inquisitor; that's just an example.

Conversely, the Galactic Empire's great flaw is that they don't have any sense of strategic caution. They've never faced an enemy they couldn't crush, not really, and they have no notion of what they're up against.

The hardware here really isn't all that unbalanced. The Empire's only real advantage is strategic mobility, and that's reduced by the "the flies have conquered the flypaper" aspect of actually trying to occupy Imperium space, especially with Chaos attacking and subverting Empire forces as they go.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-06-03 09:16pm
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Sniper2000, as a longtime Lucas-hater and 40k-lover, I have to respectfully disagree. Yes, the SW-Empire peoples are getting their way, but that's because of the Imperium's slowness and fragmentation more than anything else. Remember that the IoM government is a neofeudal (yes, the word exists) government and therefore is very, very, VERY slow to respond. Several points in the Codex fluff have said things like "Many Administratum departments serve the interests of worlds destroyed centuries ago" and similar things.

The Empire isnt so much Mary Sue-ish as just semi-speedy in getting things done. Lennart moves faster than the Imperium can respond to, and although his actions (and the AdMech's actions too) will probably have some serious consequences down the road, right now he's got all the advantages.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-07-15 03:21am
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Short update, the last of 22; more is written in manuscript but not yet ready. It's been a strange summer, and my writing rate has really suffered, but this will be carrie through, just not necessarily as fast as anyone, including me,would like.



Usually, the bombers of a standard fighter wing were asked to support ground forces, chase down small craft, make flanking moves in support of their carrying ship. At worst, participate in the general swarm of a fleet action.

A head on attack at a large, distant, rapidly manoeuvring, single target was past worst case into nightmare, well beyond their real capabilities. It was fortunate for them that the target was not functioning at full efficiency.

Ex- HIMS Bucinator was, absurdly, frolicking. It was hard to get a seven- kilometre battle cruiser to do that, but whatever controlling intelligence was in charge on board, it was firing the main engines in an irregular- spiral pattern, sending the ship tumbling this way and that; good evasion, but hopeless fire tactics.

It also meant that the TIE bombers of the escort wing and some of Deep Field could catch them; they weren't gamboling, they were plodding forward with rigid-ranked, leaden determination.

In the psychic plane, of course. Physically, throttles at maximum, balls to the wall.


Two to one advantage of attackers over defence, that was the rule, and they were nowhere near that. Lennart's sending them in fast was intended to look like exactly the sort of doctrinal orthodoxy that could be expected, partly to see if it would draw the orthodox response.

Lennart's instructions were completely ignoring unit integrity- but they just might give some of them something resembling a chance of survival.

Get the point defence guns tracking distant, valuable targets- priority should be given to the bombers- and draw their attention off the light fighters which would accelerate past the bombers and close the target, draw the defending fighters out.

Clearing the field for the wild weasels, who would jump in and disable the defence turrets before they eliminated too many of the bombers. Hopefully, anyway. The first phase would be bloody, but better odds of seeing the end of the day.


The majority of the fighters available from the survivors of the escort group were standard TIEs, Deep Field had a better mix and would be doing most of the weasel work; each battlecruiser carried a relatively small contingent of thirty-two wings, that meant almost seven hundred and seventy Bombers, fifteen hundred and forty Fighters.

If they had any, a sensible move might be to microjump a small craft with turrets- or a large number of them, say a dozen assault transports- into the fighter swarm, at the trailing edge, spray and jump out again as quickly as possible.

So good a move, in fact, that they did it.


The first thing that had to be done was to figure out a way to identify any loyalists among the fighter complement, some kind of personality test that could be administered by joystick.

'What do we do, get them to play “Sontar Says?” Any ideas?' Lennart asked his bridge team.

'Why not? What aren't they going to be willing to do- something organised, close formation work, even the contaminated and corrupted among them can pretend to obey, there's nothing cultural we can throw at them that they can't recall...the best option we're going to get, I think. Order close formation on a specific heading.' the fighter group liaison said.

'Have to do.' Lennart decided. 'We're probably going to throw out the baby with the bathwater anyway- lock controls to station keeping on the squadron leader, set compensators to maximum?'

'Would bore most Imperial pilots rigid, which if I have this right is exactly what they won't do- executing now.'


The order issued from a legitimate source confused many of them, shook the rest, some flat out disobeyed- and Black Prince's sensor suite target- discriminated those who obeyed and those who did not, logged and marked the non- obedient as hostile.

Not exactly an even split- something like sixty- forty in favour of the loyalists. Excellent- far better than any of them had expected. Almost too good to be true, in fact- cautiously, he sniffed the psychic air around them; seemed straightforward.

Either the powers of chaos were much better at hiding their nature than he had thought, or they hadn't got their claws in very deep after all- which might make that ship a more rewarding boarding target?

Or were they sharp enough for that to be doublethink on their part? More likely the chaos power of sensuality that had that ship wasn't able to bite deep enough, fast enough through the cultivated disciplined, selfless bloodthirstiness of the TIE pilots.

Either way- it was far from reliable, but it was a rough and ready estimate of who was still more or less loyal, which- 'IFF flags downloading now, loyal units break and attack.' The transports would follow in.


Most of the suitable craft were assault transports; ideally, Lennart would have deployed them empty, to play their part in the naval fight, and then docked them after most of the shooting was done to take on their troop complements, but that wasn't practical today.

They would have to fly and fight with their payload bays full, which he thought was too high a chance of getting the marines killed to no purpose, but there was no time or clear space to retrieve them, rearm them and load up with their troop complements, they had to go out laden.

The stormtroopers were trained and conditioned not to object to this, and the assault transport crews hardened to it- it was only their commander who really disliked the procedure. Many of the stormtroopers thought it was great fun, in fact. Some demanded video feed, others asked to open the hatches and use the platoon support weapons ship-to-ship.

On the older Telgorn Delta DX-9, with no defensive weapons, that wasn't actually a bad idea, and it was often done. The later Gamma ETR-6 was a better bet, and it would only be turret ships that were sent- Gammas, loaded Tydirium, Skiprays.


The sensor teams on the Slaanesh- possessed Bucinator were too busy exploring other things, the system had broken down; many of them were more or less at their posts, but not many were in the state of mind to do their jobs effectively.

The warning was received, seconds slow; passed up the chain of command where it was not heeded, or at least slowly, and used as a political point in an argument- old heads and true believers; the ship decided that it tickled.

They weren't ready. The Chaos pilots were jumped on and swarmed by their loyalist comrades, by the jump- capable boarding craft; identified in each others' gunsights by halos of green and red, by translucent, superimposed Empire cogs or crosshairs- it would not have made good sense to mark the traitors with the symbol of their power.

The balance of forces was with the loyalists. Now that they knew what to do they could act effectively, and did. Sensibly, flight control delayed the small boats' attack by two minutes, give the battle time to assume some shape- and then leap them in to engage and destroy the concentrations that had started to form.


It worked, worryingly successfully. The battle began as a confused brawl, which shook out as one side or other gained the local upper hand, and the point defence batteries of the big ship started to fire indiscriminately into the melee- inaccurately, which was just as well.

Obviously precise ambush points would have taken far too long to calculate, be out of date before they were ready; grid the space and direct towards the most appropriate of a preselected set of descent points, that was what could be done- and it was.

Heavy fire from shielded, robust ships split what was left of the Chaos- loyal TIEs apart- it was not over in a flash, except for the individuals concerned, but an ascendancy was established, the tide of battle was running in their favour.

'Right, PD's looking the wrong way, send the weasels in. Order the loyalists to join the attack waves, prime targets point defence weapons, sensors, manoeuvre thrusters. Soften her up as a torpedo target.' Lennart ordered.


He glared at the main tactical holodisplay, trying not to give in to wishful thinking, or for that matter pneumonia. Regular ice baths might be helping preserve his sanity, but they were doing his respiratory system no good.

Kriffit, thinking they had a chance at all might be wishful thinking- he was right, though, the possessed ships weren't manoeuvring to support each other at all, not even as much as the existing Chaos battle group was.

The older Chaos ships were managing to more or less hold off the Eldar, a moderately high casualty stalemate- unit for unit at least; huge, primitive ships on the Chaos side at least, the lifeform casualties must be enormous, and lopsided. Good.

The battlecruisers, though- I'm the boss, Lennart thought, I'm allowed to make inspirational speeches that are basically full of crap, to say things like, “well, lads, we'll never get an easier opportunity to increase our score”- I'm not supposed to start listening to my own propaganda.

A cold, realistic assessment of the situation would say, get the kriff out. We're hopelessly outgunned, the nova cannon isn't going to get another go, but we can't afford not to try- and there might, considering the way that ship is reacting there just might...


'Ob, could you guarantee to detonate an outgoing nova cannon shot at two thousand kilometres off the target?' Lennart asked his blotch- faced gunnery officer.

'In shooting conditions this clear? Name your millimetre.' the gunnery officer said, contemptuous of the target's defensive EW.

'Very well, I name my millimetre “Basil.” ' Lennart misquoted. 'I presume you can guess why?'

'What, why Basil? Or- going to use the fireball as cover for a jump to close quarters.' Ob Wathavrah said, adding 'let me just say in advance; ouch.'

'Boarding actions from this distance have at least one inherent problem- it's a damn' long way to spacewalk.' Lennart pointed out, before asking his signals officer 'Shandon- you've hit them with more worms than a nematode farm; what results?'


'Corrosive success, nothing spectacular yet. They're actually doing more damage to themselves than we could, we have their targeting system seeing triple at least, but they have it not giving a damn.' Rythanor acknowledged, bringing up a holodisplay.

'Under normal circumstances you'd call this a triumph.' Lennart said. Multiband, multispectrum electronic warfare, feeding them so many separate and simultaneous lines of nonsense, gravitic- lensing heat signatures out of place, accelerated neutrino bursts, visible and electromagnetic spectra- they were a blur.

'As much as I hate to admit it, this is only possible because our enemies are truly crap. This wouldn't be possible in any realistic situation.' Rythanor said.

Don't you mean reasonable?' Lennart cautioned, trying to sound cautious, warning Rythanor not to let contempt carry over into carelessness.

'Not convinced I do- they're far too stupid to be allowed to live.' Rythanor turned it into a joke, but he had got the warning.


'We're working on it- Brenn, you have the conn.' he told his navigating officer. He had been too absorbed in steering the ship to hear, but he must have guessed on some level.

'Skipper- seriously? Now? Three battlecruisers, and microjumping all over the place as a bloody essential?' Brenn objected.

'Hm.' Lennart said, but he was thinking hard. If not him- well, that only left one option, didn't it? 'Engineering- Gethrim, are you particularly indispensable at the moment?'

The engineer's voice came over the bridge speaker. 'The survival- oriented answer to that is “yes”, isn't it?'

'Maybe...' Lennart said, before getting to business- 'We need a boarding party, and a forcemonkey to lead it, it's you or me.'

'Have to be you, then- I'll be too busy building a shuttle. Could take two days, three if you want it to have shielding.' He was stalling; he had worked out the only practical, immediate method Lennart could be intending to use, and added 'Kriff.'


'Yep.' Lennart confirmed. A microjump to point blank, torpedo volley, followed by a spread of the only small craft of any form they had left- escape pods. 'Why do you think I don't want to go? Brenn just persuaded me I need him to do the numbers, which means I have to have the con, which by a process of elimination leaves you to have adventures in the shiny stick trade.'

'Microjumping out again immediately is going to be the dodgy part,' The captain added, 'possibly even more so than landing in a set of white- hot craters.'

'Cheer me up, why don't you.' Mirannon grumbled/acknowledged. He would definitely rather not do this- but when it came to hitting things with a shiny stick, as Lennart put it, he was a damn' sight better than his commanding officer. And he had done boarding actions before. Come to think of it, he had said “never again” then too.


'Who's the boarding party? I wouldn't reckon on more than a dozen pods making it through.' Mirannon asked.

Lennart did the numbers in his head- trivially easy for him. Three Astartes to a pod, seven for them. Caiaphas and his aide, a pod; no-one else would be willing to ride with Jurgen. Four for the Farseer and her people. 17- Blue, three.

Mirannon was probably being overly pessimistic. Twenty torpedo tubes- use each torp to mask and draw fire off an escape pod, cover them with defensive ECM- the torps would be expendable, they'd have to be extreme narrow focus to avoid cooking the pods, all doable, but there could be no mistakes.

'Our visitors, basically.' Lennart said. 'Followed by whatever else we can send. I reckon twenty pods, your sabotage team can have five.'



"I beseech thee, In the bowels of God, think it possible that you might be wrong."
-Oliver Cromwell to Parliament, 1647
"It is good to keep an open mind; but not so open that your brains fall out." Attributed to James Oberg

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-07-15 04:14am
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Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
The stormtroopers were trained and conditioned not to object to this, and the assault transport crews hardened to it- it was only their commander who really disliked the procedure. Many of the stormtroopers thought it was great fun, in fact. Some demanded video feed, others asked to open the hatches and use the platoon support weapons ship-to-ship.

On the older Telgorn Delta DX-9, with no defensive weapons, that wasn't actually a bad idea, and it was often done. The later Gamma ETR-6 was a better bet, and it would only be turret ships that were sent- Gammas, loaded Tydirium, Skiprays.

When I read this I had the insane picture of my Space-Trooper standing on the hull of a transport firing off some sort of heavy blaster while cackling gleefully. Though now I kinda want to be on the boarding action. After all someone has to hold up the Honor of the Empire in front of the Astartes.

As always good battle scene, though I wish you'd group your sentences a bit tighter. One to two sentences per paragraph is pretty small IMO and it leads to a lot of breakage when reading it. Not saying I want a huge wall of text, just slightly longer paragraphs.



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"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldier will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"
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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-07-16 07:44pm
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Yay its back! :D Nice ideas all-around, and Id agree with Kana about the text thing. Also, could you do some more from the Chaos perspective? Your stuff before about the Khornate ship was awesome, and I want to see more of their type of crazy and how it runs a starship in a fight.



Convicted for arson, murder, and writing bad fanfiction.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-07-20 08:25pm
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Considering the draft of ch 23 basically concerns boarding and trying to retake the Tzeentch-possessed ex-HIMS Blistmok, partly from Caiaphas' perspective, and hopefully a bit more of Amberley's end of things, that's pretty much a given.

The formatting thing- seriously, at this point I just sigh quietly to myself and misquote Lincoln. "You can please all of the people some of the time..." which is in itself pretty optimistic, but really, I've been bombarded by comments and suggestions until it seems that the typesetting is more important than the content.

Which is how come I ended up with the lines in a paragraph separated by single spaces and the paragraphs separated by double spacing, in the first place. Don't forget, I started out doing solid walls of text- which I can cope with, just about, but which is not eye friendly for most. There's probably a happy medium somewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-07-20 08:54pm
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It almost is more important because we assume excellent work on your part, we're just trying to find the most comfortable way to assimilate that quality. Honestly though I think that having the paragraphs separated by double spacing but not separating the sentences would probably work the best. Also I've found that if I make a new paragraph every time someone new says something it makes it easier to see who said what.

I.e. Joe said, "Like this."
"No, like this." Jane replied.

That makes it absurdly easy to see who's saying what. My two cents.



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 Post subject: Re: A Squelch of Empires (crossover) PostPosted: 2010-08-09 10:47am
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First half of ch 23;

A Squelch of Empires ch 23

'You've worked it out?' Lennart asked Brenn.

'We jump once the nova shell is hit, say four seconds after detonation, into the fireball to use it as cover; launching as soon as it's cooled too far to set off a torpedo, or melt an escape pod for that matter. This is what we have laid out.'

The navigating officer brought up the flow diagram of the course, the submodules of individual descent, transition stages, main legs, target and own motion allowances- the plot for a combat jump was always more complex than straight move, even without the fancy bits.


Of course, once they got there then they had to do the job. No star destroyer had enough escape pods for the entire crew, nor could, except in the most unlikely circumstances, the moment between needing to get the entire crew off to the ship going boom be long enough for everyone to get to a pod.

The only way large scale escape was remotely possible was breakaway sections of the superstructure, like the damage control bunkers- and newer designs of ship didn't even have that.

It was simply not Imperial policy to compromise the lethality of the design by spending enough of the ship's mass and volume budget on survival gear to actually give the rank and file a chance; better to kill the enemy in the first place and not need to have to bail out.

Only someone completely unfamiliar with the concept of accidents, or more likely indifferent to the fate of the crews, could have thought it was a flawless solution.


Black Prince, license built in Corellian Engineering's yards, had better life support redundancy, crew facilities, survival and escape gear than most- but in the last analysis, Lennart had to agree that the official policy had a point. Better to win, and not need them.

She did have enough escape pods for this dodge, and conveniently they came in rows of twenty with short- burn, high thrust engines, low speed cruising drive and a one use hyperdrive- most of which would be unnecessary.

They held seven people at most, which Lennart reckoned as being about equivalent to three Astartes, and they were solid enough to survive abuse like the ship they were launched from exploding behind them. Slow, though, after the initial boost phase- the tractor beams would be doing most of the work of guiding them to their targets.


And Galactic Spirit, what a boarding party. They had not been easy to convince, and he had not been entirely happy about sending them; but given the choice between keeping them on his bridge and sending them to do a nasty, brutal job of close quarters fighting, no contest.

The crew of Blistmok probably wouldn't thank him for it, either, turning that lot loose on them. Perhaps he just wanted them on a ship he was authorised to shoot at? They made very strange bedfellows, anyway.

Bedfellows...Aleph-3 would be going too, along with the rest of the team which, come to think of it, were the closest thing he had to daemon hunters. She wouldn't thank him for being worried about her, probably be offended in fact.

All of the visitors, Eldar and Astartes at a minimum, would be trying to learn as much as they could, probably steal as much as they could, maybe even try to hijack the ship themselves- he wouldn't put it past the Caledonians at least.

Point them at the bridge module, that would be likely where they would end up anyway, and it was conveniently available for turbolaser fire to get at.


Captain Lennart called them just before the they were ready to begin the boarding action. 'First of all, despite appearances to the contrary this is a volunteer job, but it is what needs to be done, I wouldn't be pushing you at it if I didn't think it was necessary.

We only have so many flukes in the bag, I can feel Brute Statistics start to loom up behind me; we need to reconvert- cleanse- at least one of those ships to stand a worthwhile chance of taking down the other two.

Blistmok is the most likely candidate.' The fighter attack had gone in against Bucinator- the Slaaneshi held ship- and elements of the Chaos battle group were manoeuvring to support them now, at last; but slowly and hesitantly.

Such of the chaos lords as were left would be looking the other way, to her, and that damage would be capitalised on in the next phase. Assuming the plan went that well.


'You'll have to kill the top command and any fanatics, but you are there to break the grip of Chaos on that ship and restore her to the side she ought to be on, the side of Imperial order.' And there was half the problem in a nutshell. Or a nutter, which was just as apt.

'Gethrim, this means you. Everyone else, Engineer-Commander Mirannon's done this before, and if this were a properly organised joint operation he would be in charge. As it is, I hope enough of you have been around long enough, and have enough common sense, to follow the man who knows what he's doing.'

He waited two seconds, and added 'Chief, I know you've just said “I had a legion with me last time.” A stunt like this we can manage- but not a boarding assault in the face of intact point defence. Find or make a clear patch, and I'll push through what we can.'


That would be whatever was still alive by then of their own twenty-six platoons, twenty-nine from each of the other two Imperators in Deep Field, the contributions of the long range Venators with their larger small craft complements, the escorts of the 401st's remaining actives- that did add up to about two composite Legions worth.

Nowhere near enough if the entire crew and troop complement were hostile, but if things were at least moderately like he expected then they should be more than enough to cover the hit team and do what had to be done.



Research Station Bifrost;

'Where are they? Comb that ship until you find them- this is unacceptable.' the voice coming over on the speaker ranted.

'It was criminal stupidity on your part to allow them on board in the first place.' the voice that Amberley and her team could hear directly replied, in a weary, gloomy tone, I told you so but I knew you weren't going to listen.

'You pulled rank, overrode my better judgement, and you are carrying the can on this one- I told you they were too dangerous. By now they're probably in the ductwork outside main control, listening to every word.'


Was that a pure guess, or was there some kind of intruder-sensor system they had tripped without knowing it? That was exactly where they were. There was a complex of tiny, extreme pressure pipes that it would be impossible for anything much larger than a single cell to get through and filters to stop them, there were no 'air vents'.

That security hole had been plugged long since- but there was an eight foot diameter pipe ringed on the inside with various labelled cable runs, for maintenance access.


Felton looked at the Inquisitor, and raised an eyebrow; she nodded approvingly. At least they had an enemy who had some shreds of wit about him- not always a good thing, but as this was highly likely to descend to negociations, better that than a blood- blind fool.

'Then go after them, hunt them down.' the admiral's aide ranted over the comlink.

'We, our side I mean, have had four chances to do that cleanly so far and missed all of them, the intruders are in too deep to be got rid of without massive collateral damage I'm afraid you're going to have to sign for.'


Amberley could see the man now, peering through an inspection hatch; he was surprisingly human looking, which was a mystery and a worry to an agent of the Ordo Xenos but solving that issue was not exactly priority one.

He was dressed in a patchwork mixture of uniform, civilian work wear and safety gear, no augmetics visible and no rank insignia either, light brown skin and dark hair, and there was no-one else in line of sight.

The voice on the other end of the com was spluttering in incoherent anger, managing to form the words- after several attempts- 'Are you refusing an order?'

'I refuse to believe you have the competence to issue it, or for that matter to put your uniform on without help.' the gloomy engineer said, matter of fact tone being even more provoking.


'You insubordinate- I'll report you to the Admiral.'

'Do that- in fact you'd better get him on line, because the intruders' chief negociator is going to want to talk to him in three, two...you're early.' The last part was addressed to Amberley, as she kicked the door out of it's mounting and dropped to the deck of the main operations room.

She and her team quickly fanned out to cover the room, rows of workstations facing inwards towards a ring of key positions around a giant holo table. There was no-one else there; half-full cups of something, chairs in odd positions, some of the monitors still active- it had been occupied, and evacuated.

No obvious booby traps either, apart from the entirety of it. Any acolyte fool enough to put their head into the noose like this, Amberley thought, I'd recommend they be found a job with the Ordo Malleus.


'You appear to be alone. No guards?' The inquisitor challenged him. It smelt- stank- of trap, but what kind she wasn't sure of.

'The crossfire wouldn't help.' Besides, the protection force assigned to the installation were, incredibly, not stormtroopers; the researchers had felt uncomfortable around them, and although that had cut no ice whatsoever, they had rigged several pranks that depended on taking advantage of literal- minded obedience.

Well, closer to the truth, they had staged incidents and accidents that made it look like a bunch of brainwashed, heavily armed gung- ho idiots were a greater risk to the project than anything that was likely to turn up to bother them.

The stormtroopers, being from a recently raised- if that was the appropriate term- intake, hadn't even figured that out, never mind been able to reply in kind; they had been replaced by a mixture of navy troopers and private 'security contractors'.


It had been an inexplicable and criminal decision, only comprehensible in view of how lackadaisically the project was being overseen, and that no-one had bothered or dared to explain to the Grand Moff exactly what was going on.

“Membrane probe science” did sound a lot less threatening than”Oh, by the way, we're working on a project that's basically a spinoff from Separatist superweapon research that was originally supposed to wipe out all life in the galaxy.” That would have got an Army Group sitting on the place in short order.

In principle, the hyperdrive systems engineer detached from Black Prince could understand the researchers' reluctance to have high security that would soon be followed by a never- ending stream of scary political heavyweights looking over their shoulders asking 'When can we kill things with it?' In practise, a legion or two would be really handy right about now.


'I don't think blowing this place up is going to help you much, either.' he said, levelly. Actually, there were a couple of potentially very useful things- depending on how they thought the larger conflict was going- that shooting up the operations room would achieve, and suddenly the plan Senior Lieutenant Beliksjaden had started with made less sense. Time to not admit any of that.

'Someone who wanted not to be blown up would suggest that.' Amberley let Pelton point out, while she scanned the area. Only one obvious entry point- shower of micromines in front of that. Maintenance access, beneath floor level. All right. This could be made to work.

'Are you not afraid of your own lack of knowledge? Are you not conscious of the fact that you do not know how anything here works, or what it achieves, or why?' Beliksjaden challenged.

It was an interesting question, Amberley acknowledged, and made what he was doing here clearer- appointed or self- appointed negociator. It was also one their own Mechanicus would be exceptionally unlikely to put in such a way.


'I think we're in the wrong place.' Yanbel said. 'Look how irreverent all of this is, not an icon or an incense burner in sight, no purity seals and sacred writ- this is almost Orcish in it's blasphemous disregard.'

Amberley was watching Beliksjaden carefully, and his semi- contained look of absolute horror was informative. 'You mean you're genuine?' he said, appalled. 'That baroque excrescence out there isn't maskirovka? Galactic Spirit...I've changed my mind, blow up whatever you feel like.'

The inquisitor did not take well to having her ship described in such a way, but objecting was hardly worth wasting time on. These people clearly had a different design aesthetic, and perhaps a cool- headed Malleus, if one existed, could think of some way to exploit that, but not now.

The other point that was painfully clear was that she had no route of retreat, with her ship in these people's hands. A hostage, particularly a technically skilled one, could come in very handy. Not that Yanbel thought so.

'Ach, I don't understand it, this is the rightful place for a control chapel and it looks more like a janitorium closet. Admit it, you, you push a mop for a living.' he challenged Beliksjaden, who was still reeling.

'You literally worship machines? Treat them as objects of faith, set up temples to them, worship them? You can't have any real, thinking engineers, only priests of the mechanism...that explains a lot.' he said, as if it actually resolved something, then added

'How the kriff do you people remain an interstellar civilisation with this brain- damaged drivel to work with?'


Yanbel and Mott both reacted angrily- drawing and pointing guns at him- and Beliksjaden was seriously grateful for the time he had spent listening to Chief Mirannon talk about interesting things to do with containment fields.

Amberley was disturbed too, but it wasn't her personal sacred cow he was taking a chainsaw to; she had actually heard something similar from the Lions of Caledon- about the proper relationship between machine and man.

The professional, inquisitorial part of her was interested, trying to figure out what a society without the worship of the machine would look like- which tied in to the larger question of a society without the pressure of the Warp on it. It would be a complex and fascinating project- the tactical usefulness of which, right now, though...

More to the point, 'If you deny all claims to sanctity, making you merely among the profane, tell me why your own side doesn't consider you expendable?'

'Ah.' Beliksjaden said. 'Good point.' of course, he hadn't exactly been making himself popular- had still been trying to wrap his head around enough membrane physics to think sensibly about it, but the project team hadn't taken to him, and vice versa.


Yanbel was about to shoot him, but Mott wanted to know more. 'You do not worship the Omnissiah?'

'God the Mechanism?' Beliksjaden guessed, not accurately. 'Bit of a trick question, isn't it? There is a knowledge and diligence and due care, but that stops well short of spiritual surrender.' Plan gone to bits, buy time.

'We, I mean the Imperial Starfleet, have found iso-worlds off the galactic mainstream, hundreds of separate cases, where there was something like the worship of the mechanical; in almost every situation, from Gree splinter colonies to the mudphibians of Advani IX, it killed them.

Sometimes it destroyed the economy, often the ecology, but usually the inhabitants discovered the power of simulation, built machine- run dreamworlds for themselves, and disappeared beyond the entertainment horizon up their own collective arse into extinction.'


Not something that the Imperium was ever likely to be in danger of, Amberley thought. 'Gree?'

'Old species, very technologically advanced, but basically their day's over, there are so few of them left they hardly matter.'

'Ah. Eldar.' Not a precise analogue of course, but close enough to improvise with, and a possible source of aid and refuge- not that it would be easy, but at least a potential bolthole potentially existed.

'So if you do have this duty of care,' she asked Beliksjaden, 'why is it irrelevant if all this is blown to bits?'

'It would definitely be expensive, but apart from that- you'll never figure it out unless I tell you. The only fully adequate way to describe this complex is with equations I'm certain you wouldn't understand,' which was sheer cheek, especially considering that he wasn't sure he did, 'but fundamentally it is a making thing.

It is a creating device; we can build space with it, spacetime in which the laws of matter and energy are as we say they ought to be. We didn't open a portal or go on a jump or anything like that to your universe, we built a bridge. Even destroying the bridging machinery isn't going to do a damn thing to that bridge.'

Actually, blowing up this chamber wouldn't achieve even that- it was the operations control room, the place from which the use of the thing was plotted and executed. Maintenance control, that held it stable and safe, was a separate facility entirely.


Amberley pondered that, urgently. There was absolutely no reason to assume he was telling the truth, but worse than that there was also no way to be sure either. And so much hung on this, or could. Gut said he certainly wasn't telling the whole truth- why would he?

Closing the bridge would probably be essential- what there was to gain and what there was to lose for the Imperium? This was an Ordo Xenos problem if ever there was one.

Never mind how much Amberley happened to enjoy the disguise, misdirection and sneaking about, among her colleagues Inquisitor Vail had always tried to project an image as cautious, sensible, thorough and reliable. A wild man on the order of the semi-sainted Lord Inquisitor Baruch Jehan Kryptmann she was not, and for far more reasons than just what was between her legs.

This was not the time to be cautious, and there was not time enough to be thorough; it probably wasn't even the time to be sensible.


Militarily- who knew? Too many unknowns, but the xenos were certainly very powerful, and very, very different. That in itself was danger, the Imperium could lose a culture war quite easily, in the short term. If they could muster the forces for a Grand Crusade- but she knew right now, it couldn't.

That left blowing up the bridge- closing the wormhole. With her, and the survivors of the battle group, on the wrong side of it. Accepting the principle of self- sacrifice for the good of the Imperium.

Up to date, she had been rather good at getting other people to do that sort of thing for her, frequently without their even realising it. Always aware that in the bloody games of the Inquisition, the ultimate forfeit was a real threat- but always until now managing to avoid being in a position to pay it.

Well, frak. 'Right, who remembered to bring the demolition charges?' she said, apparently cheerfully.

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