Facing Eastward (Warframe)

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Facing Eastward (Warframe)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-04-21 04:38am

For rhoenix, who is fucking awesome.

Oogan raised the viewer to his eyes and looked down onto the plain. From his perch, lying along one of the lower limbs of a bayandi tree, he could see clearly down the side of the mountain and into the torn earth of the plain below the hills. The viewer, built by Azzuna, didn't have the sleek chrome looks of Corpus tech, but performed just as well.

The viewer pierced the kilometers of distance and the darkness of the night to reveal the sprawling Grineer encampment in muted colours. The massive earth moving and tree cutting machines stood out from their ordered ranks of prefab shelters and tents. Endless stacks of crates and supplies were spread out over kilometer after kilometer, dotted here and there with communications masts and command centers. Watch towers and automated gun emplacements secured the perimeter. It was impregnable, at least to Oogan's semi-trained eyes.

The mercenaries who had trained him were not so sure. They had a low opinion of Grineer security and Corpus tech to help them with stealth. Oogan agreed with the proposition that it was better to kill the Grineer and destroy their machines when you could take them by surprise instead of fighting them head on, but this looked too hard. Not that Oogan had much authority to agree with anything about, even if his father was an elder.

Watching the camp was his job, so he would do it. If the mercenaries needed support, he might be one of the first to see it. The mercenaries could call for help themselves, if they weren't jammed. Oogan was too far back to be jammed. So he waited and watched.

He waited. Time passed. Nothing seemed to happen. He shifted slightly on his branch, scratched himself. Called down to Awnnie, on the branch below. She responded with a bird call and he went back to watching long while she watched short. Whatever the mercenaries did, he did not see it.

"Someone is coming," Awnnie hissed. He turned the viewer close. Electromag halo of active shields overlapped body heat sources, coming out of the bush that the viewer rendered translucent. Grineer didn't much used shields, their tech base was too primitive for any but their elite to have them.

"Mercs," he hissed, relaxing slightly. He had a Vulkar sniper rifle with him, a Grineer weapon consisting of poured moldings and stamped together machine parts produced at one of hundreds of factories. The weapon was robust and reliable, a product of simple but competently executed mass production methods. It was, on reflection, better made than the Grineer themselves and it was the volumes vomited out from their factories and clone vats that allowed the Grineer to genocide nearly a third of the system.

"I see them, no one else," said Awnnie.

"And I see you," came a voice from the bush. Aldan Avanti stepped into the shadow of the bayanti's branches. The merc's battle plate nearly bulked him up to the size of a Grineer heavy and the demon face mask on his helmet didn't make him less intimidating. Behind him were another dozen mercs, mostly wearing Corpus style survival suits reinforced with armour plates and demon faced helmets. Two of them wore bulky suits of Grineer battle armour, altered to have grinning demon head helmets and some of the bulbous armour plates replaced with flatter pieces of alloy composite. "Did you see anyone on our tail?"

"No, said Awnnie. "I didn't even see you until you got up close."

"Good," said Aldan.

"I didn't see anything happen out there," said Oogan.

"The perimeter was too tight," Aldan replied. "Their security was better than it looked from a distance." Oogan could feel his face fall. "We still have a lot of ways to hurt them," said the mercenary. "Our plans never depended on infiltration working. It's a pity, everything would be easier if we could could infiltrate the camp and blow things up, but we can still wreck them."

"The camp!" said Awnnie, almost shouting.

Everyone turned to look, the merc's with the vision amplifiers built into their helmets and Oogan with his viewer. Columns of fire and smoke were rising from the Grineer camp. Some of the heavy machinery was burning and at least one command center was gone. A comm mast was slowly toppling to the ground. "Great gods of Old Earth," swore Oogan. "You didn't do this?"

"We wish," said Avanti.

"Then who did?"
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Re: Facing Eastward (Warframe)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-05-07 05:23am

Two Months Earlier

Aldan Avanti ducked his head slightly as he entered the lander's cockpit. Data danced over the cockpit canopy, clusters of light and flight tracks that marked the activity taking place in orbit.

"Nervous tax man?" asked the pilot. The cyborg turned the metal box that was her head slightly toward him. Much of her body, including her entire head, had been replaced with mechanical parts. Parts that enabled her to survive and work in environments antithetical to human life. Work and earn, earn to pay for her augmentations, for the organs held in Corpus vaults as collateral, and for the debts of the generations before her. Debts that few could ever get ahead of, even Solar Rail Agents. "They're coverage isn't near good enough, even if they spot us. Ships are wrong too, the ones close enough to matter."

"I'm not worried about interdiction," said Avanti. "I just wanted to see her."

"Her?"

"Earth. The mother world, Zel."

"Heh," said Zel. "Not much to look at, ask me. Water and dirt, factory and jungle. Fucking Grineer factories."

"Ugly as all our sins," said the mercenary as he looked out at the face of the Earth. The planet has been wrecked at the end of the Orokin era, depopulated and strip mined of resources. The collapse that followed had allowed nature to overrun much of planet and the ecology to stabilize. The surviving islands of habitation grew and thrived. Then the Grineer came. They took most of the planet and murdered everyone they could. The new grown forests of earth were now the objects of their destruction. Land was cleared for new factories, biomass to feed new clone banks.

There were limits, not to Grineer callousness but to Grineer capability. Armies deployed to Earth could not contest holdings in the outer systems, fleets in orbit here could not seize travel lanes out there. The Grineer, in their drive to expand, did not have the numbers to fulfill all their ambitions and so Earth was dominated but not controlled.

That state of affairs had some benefits to the Grineer as well. The few colonies that survived on Earth weren't much of a threat, but Earth itself being open for business meant the Corpus were much more willing to come and trade. Taking profit here on Earth by selling the Grineer what they needed to more effectively challenge Corpus holdings in the outer system. Madness by another name, but faith to the Corpus. Profit was a sure sign of the Void's favor.

"Even if the Grineer see us, which ain't likely," said Zel, "I've plotted a course skirting Cetus. Even Grineer aren't dumb enough to risk the Tower of the Unum."

Avanti tapped the back of the seat. "Sounds goods. What are the odds of them seeing us?"

"Given this baby's stealth tech, what the Grineer use for scanners, and what the Grineer use for sensor operators? Not likely. And even if they do, they won't care. Much."

-----

The came down over a mountain valley, ID codes transmitted and verified. Three covered the slopes of the mountain, with homes carved into the sides and terraced crops descending part way down from there. Some of the houses were huge, flowing lines carved in gold on ivory faces. Others were more mundane, possessing simple facades over shaped caves. There was a public space at the top crop terrace that included a landing pad near a fountain contained in golden rings that twisted in the air.

The lander touched down and Avanti lead half a dozen of his soldiers out. Several hundred people waited for him, many wearing white robes marked with splotches of vibrant colour. He paused for a moment to remove his helmet, revealing a close cropped black hair, dark eyes over a long nose, and unmarred olive skin. He had, somewhat unkindly, been described in the past as 'that hatchet faced fuck.' "I am Captain Aldan Avanti," he announced. "Commander of the Lost Sons."

A woman with mahogany skin and a plume of white hair shaped by a band set with colourful feathers stepped forward. Her robe was white and red. "I am Agoru, Speaker for our council. You and your soldiers are welcome here."

"Thank you," said Avanti. "Is there somewhere we can go to settle the contract?"

"Right where you are standing," she replied. "Every adult of the Upppali has a voice in these matters."

"Very well then," the mercenary replied. "You are in possession of a settlement that was once an Orokin country palace. It is inaccessible, deep in the mountains and screened by the jungle. The Grineer have once tried to take it from you, but you retain enough of the Orokin air defences to repel that air attack. Now they have ripped up enough jungle to make a land attack. Is that a fair enough summery?"

"It is," said a man in a white and gold robe. "The Orokin technology that remains in this place protects us from air attack, but it will not repel a Grineer army on its own. We need help."

"I can give you that help," said Avanti. "Let me be clear about this: you will have to fight. We can train you. Advise you. Lead you in the field. Equip you and arm you. Fight by your side. Run strike teams on our own. And we will, if we agree on terms. But your people will have to fight."

"That we understand," said Agoru. "Some of our people are fighters, more are hunters. The rest, the rest we will learn what the times dictate we must. As for your price, most of the Orokin technology we possess is more decorative than practical but the market places a high value on all of it. We will ransom some of our art treasures to buy more of a future."

"Then we have an agreement in principle," said Avanti.

"What of the Tenno?" asked a young man in a blue-green striped tunic. "Will they not come?"

"There are no more Tenno," said Avanti. "There are stories, that is true, but everyone that has had its truth tested has been revealed to be a lie."

The man in the white and gold spoke. "That has been true, but there have been more stories of late."

"There was a story I heard two months ago," said Avanti. "Of a Tenno warrior with matchless skill and a warframe that granted him invincible armour. I recognized the story and could speak to the truth of it. The Tenno was I, the incident not completely untruthful, the body count merely multiplied by three. I cannot speak to what lies at the heart of each story, but we cannot trust in being saved by the angel warriors of a dead era."

There were nods of agreement. "Let us discuss the details, Captain Avanti," said Agoru.

----

The stars were clearly visible in the night sky. "Where are you now?" Aldan asked of Lua, Earth's missing moon that once had been the Orokin's capital. "What did you look like? Where did you go? Did the Sentients reduce you to dust?"

The negotiations had gone well. The Lost Sons were not the only mercenaries the Uppali had contacted, but they were the ones that had been most willing to contract with them. Others might come, but while it was potentially a rich contract it was for a short term and promised a hard fight. A hard fight and a very high chance of death. The odds were too nasty for a mercenary to like the prospect.

A bell tone marked an incoming communication. He activated it. A shimmering violet holo appeared in the form of woman wearing an elaborate headdress/helmet that covered the top half of her face. The shape of the headdress was somewhat reminiscent of a flower, from which the woman drew her name. If she really was a woman. Everything about her appearance could have been easily faked. No one credible had every claimed to meet her face to face. "Lotus."

"Have you committed your forces to defending the Uppali?"

"You don't already know?"

"I'm not omniscient," she replied.

"Close to it though."

"Yes, but you haven't answered my question."

"We have. You had better come through with the help or we're all going to suffer for it."

"Trust me captain. In this you will not be alone. Remember, I have never failed to deliver."

"The stakes are high here."

"They are high everywhere," the Lotus replied. "I will not let you down. You have my word. When you need it, help will be there."

"It had better be."

"Secrets are kept by not sharing them Captain. When the time is right, you will know."

The communication ended. Avanti looked up, at the black sky stubbed by a thousand thousand stars but devoid of a moon. His eyes came to rest on star that was not a star, the planet Mars. Grineer held Mars, site of one of the systems worst genocides. "Fuck you. Fuck all of you."
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Re: Facing Eastward (Warframe)

Post by LadyTevar » 2019-05-07 09:36pm

Is Luna gone?
Image
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Re: Facing Eastward (Warframe)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-05-08 07:53am

LadyTevar wrote:
2019-05-07 09:36pm
Is Luna gone?
yes
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Re: Facing Eastward (Warframe)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-05-20 07:06am

The ramp trembled under the weight of Ugal Dawl's steps. His armour was custom made and massive, forged from dense plates of hardened alloy composite in the curved Grineer style and virtually immune to man portable weapons. The huge suit was too heavy for even his cybernetic limbs to operate which was why a massive power pack was incorporated into the rear of the suit. The quartet of Orokin era portable reactors inside took up very little of the backpack's space, which was mostly devoted to the heat exchanger that prevented the waste heat from cooking him alive in his armour. The expense, in terms of rare resources, was extravagant but it was well worth it. He had one of the most precious gifts it was possible for a Grineer to possess: intelligence.

Bellow him hundreds of Grineer soldiers snapped to attention. He ignored most of them and focused on a cluster of Grineer in heavy armour with tall helmets. They were officers, clones tested to be upper percentiles of ability or veterans who had proven themselves repeatedly in combat and been promoted to lead their brothers and sisters. "Tell our brothers and sisters I am assuming command." He pointed at one of them, choosing blindly. "Take me to General Groth's body."

The dispersed and obeyed. The one he singled out saluted and pointed. "Very good," Dawl replied. Complexity was wasted on most Grineer. "March."

He obeyed and lead the way. Dawl was one of the Grineer who was intelligent enough to understand the problem that afflicted their race. The Grineer had been engineered as a disposable labour class that lacked the intelligence to threaten the rule of their Orokin masters. When the Orokin civilization came crashing down, the Grineer who been armed in the dying days of that civilization had found new leadership in the form of the Twin Queens. They were, however, designed to be unintelligent and found themselves to be the victims of a degenerating cloning process. The sample templates were old and degraded, the cloning technology poorly understood and failing, and new templates were damaged copies of the old.

Some were decanted mad, crippled, deviant, or some combination of the three. Even the ones born normal experienced health issues. Organ failure, brittle bones, early mental decay, flesh decay. The list was long and gruesome. Mass production of cybernetic replacement parts was one of the cornerstones of Grineer industry.

What was the solution? Science, of course. The precious, priceless intelligence that a few Grineer clones manifested and was needed everywhere. Engineers, scientists, managers, and leaders and all too few capable Grineer for too many roles. So they made do with what they had, the ruling council and the Queens they served.
Vor was an officer and leading Orokin researcher. Vay Hek was a Councilor, general, administrator of Earth and project leader. Tyl Regor was a general and head of cloning research. And he Ugal Dawl was a general, trouble shooter, and weapons designer.

The officer lead him to the wreck of a field command station, a prefabricated metal dome and antenna slapped together in the field. Bodies were scattered around. "Did you move anyone?"

"Just to check for survivors," the officer replied. Dawl walked around, checking the bodies. Some had been shot with armour penetrating slug throwers, others sliced open by what had to be extraordinary bladed weapons. Two had been pinned against the wall by metallic arrows, probably fired from a weapon that did not rely on mere muscles to power its projectiles. Others had been burned to charcoal or frozen solid.

Machines had not fared any better than flesh. Blackened wrecks lay along the trail of bodies that marked the killers' exit route. Cockpits were shattered abattoirs, control surfaces wrecked, and engines were ruined. The shots had been well placed, the weapons were high powered, and the ammunition was presumably exotic and potent.

Nothing killed liked this, not anymore. Nothing could engage multiple Grineer in close quarters combat armed with a sword and expect to kill them all. Nothing could sneak past their security perimeter; engage in violent combat with a Grineer general, his command staff and his guards; and then slaughter their way out like this and not leave a single body of one of their own behind. Nothing that still lived.

He had been expecting this. He had feared this. "Tenno," he cursed.

Admiral Vor had been the leading Grineer expert in Orokin technology, breaching their hidden Void strongholds and plundering their technology so it could be extracted for Grineer use. Somewhere along the way he had failed badly enough to be broken in rank down to captain, his expertise making him too valuable to execute. He had also, at some point, found and failed to secure at least one Tenno cryopod. That was all that Dawl was sure of, because he was sure the reports he read were mostly lies. The one grain of truth was the one that could not be denied: the Tenno were back. The warriors who had won the Old War for their Orokin masters before turning on them had not perished with them. Some of them, at least, had survived and whatever Vor had done in the Void had triggered or accelerated their return.

This was the result. This and a score of other massacre sites and those were the ones that he knew about. A new threat to Grineer superiority, to Grineer dominance of the system. "Tenno skuum."
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Re: Facing Eastward (Warframe)

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-05-30 07:02am

Eight Weeks Ago

Several hundred men and women assembled on the terrace. They were young and old, but all physically fit. The terrace was freshly planted, the soil turned over and the whatever the hell they grew here yet to sprout. Avanti took a breath and stepped to the edge of the terrace just above. He saw wariness and hope in the faces below. He took a breath and began.

"The Grineer are at war everywhere. They are fighting to take full control of Earth, to secure the space around Mars, fighting to control the Belt, fighting to take the Corpus facilities on Jupiter, fighting to hold on to the trade lanes around Saturn, fighting to hold on to their outposts in the Outer System, fighting to take more of the Outer System. Everywhere fighting.

"Their soldiers are mostly mentally defectives. Their technology is crude. Their strength is their sheer volume of production and the basic competency of their forces. Quantity over quality. They can and will spend lives to seize what you have, the Orokin relics they suspect you might have.

"To do so they must fight through jungle covered mountains until they reach your homes. They have to do this with limited air support because of your defence grid and without orbital support, which would smash what they want to steal. Many of their war machines will have limited utility in such difficult terrain so they will have to rely on infantry to do the job. They have plenty of it. If there is one thing the Grineer do better than anyone, it is put boots on the ground.

"So we will have to kill them. Kill them and keep on killing them. Kill them until the loses mount up and their commander calls for reinforcements, reinforcements that are needed everywhere, by every other Grineer commander, because the Grineer are at war practically everywhere. Reinforcements that will be needed and used up and called for again with no results for all that loss.

"The Grineer can be beaten. They have been repelled. It can be done and it has been done. We will help you, but what you must understand is that they must die. You must kill them. Smash their machines. Burn their supplies. Whatever it takes to inflict loss without suffering loss. No force in the System can trade bodies with the Grineer. No one can match their numbers.

"We don't have to. We can substitute quality for quantity." He held up a series of straps connected to a metal rectangle roughly thirty centimeters long by twenty centimeters wide and several centimeters thick. "Shield harness, courtesy of the Corpus and the money you're paying us. When active it will stop multiple hits before overload failure and will regenerate capacity when no longer under stress. This will save your life. Don't try to trade shots with the Grineer, take cover and retreat to strike again. We will train you in that."

"We have comm gear for you as well. Weapons kill, but working together wins battles. The Grineer use rudimentary tactics and basic teamwork. They are loyal to each other, but are derived from mentally stunted templates and a degraded cloning process. Their are weak points, vulnerable to attack. We will train you on how to do that.

"We will equip you with vision enhancements. You will be able to see in the dark and sense heat emanations. You'll see the current strength of your shields and it will identify your friends and your enemies. It will show you the weak points of the enemy armour and enemy vehicles. We will teach you how to use it to fight smarter and more effectively than the Grineer.

"We will give you weapons. We'll get to them later, but we will give you weapons that will kill them and train you to use them. We will teach you how to plant mines and make booby traps. We will teach you how to use the land itself against them, although I suspect that some of you already have ideas in that regard. You will teach us the lay of the land and the ways of the jungle and together we will kill the Grineer until they stop coming."

He made a gesture. A half dozen of his soldiers went into the crowd. "We're going to divide you up into groups for the initial training. I don't know how much time we'll have, but we'll use every hour. When the Grineer come, we'll be ready."

He turned away from the terrace. "Nice pep talk, chief," said Alanka. She was tall, almost exactly his height, with both of her legs below the knees replaced by cybernetics. Heavy alloy armour pieces encased most of her body. "I really liked the 'mentally defective' part."

"I didn't think you were sensitive," said Aldan.

"I'm not," she replied. "Not much. I spent my early life around them, I know that it's true. Poor stupid bastards. Too dumb to realize they're just more bullets to be loaded into a gun. Not that they have much chance to learn anything. They only get baseline occupational instruction and a constant torrent of propaganda. 'Supremacy is duty. If our enemies deserved peace, they would have defeated us. Attack. Conquer. Rule.'"

"There are advantages to being a defective mutant," said Aldan. "Corpus propaganda is a little more subtle, but the owners don't want workers or tax men to burden themselves with independent thought either. 'All praise the Void and the word of the Void is Profit.' And so on. Corpus executives, Grineer Councilors, they're always hungry for more and don't care about who is expended to acquire more."

"Truth enough boss. You know I don't have a problem emptying a Gorgon's magazine into Grineer bodies. These people are paying well enough and I certainly like them better than Corpus execs. My problem is you're floating beating the Grineer by wearing them down. Attrition against the people who mass produce soldiers in vats? Boss, that doesn't sound smart."

"If that's all there was to it, yes. Attrition to wear them down while we hold the line is the defensive part of the plan," said Aldin. "We trade space and time for lives. And you know what I say about defense."

"Yeah," she said. "No one ever won a war by sitting on their ass."

"We bleed them and we bait them and then we burn them. We take out their veterans and decapitate their leadership. We render the enemy headless and then we kill them."

"Boss, numbers."

"Already working on it."
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