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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 12:50am
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Republic Tower
Gotham City, Gotham
Empire Star Republic


If Don Costello could have slammed the doors to the President’s office behind him as he entered, he would have. Appearances had to be maintained, however, and the Chief of Staff to the President of the Empire Star Republic waited into the automatic doors had silently shut behind him before letting his frustration show.
“Goddamn it, LaGuerta, you’ve got to give me something to go off of! The press is ripping me apart over this damn Pendleton affair, and there’s only so much I can spin when these schmucks here don’t have any clue what we’re going to do!”

“I don’t care how long you’ve known me Don, I’m still the President. Watch your tone. And sit down; it looks like you’re going to burst a blood vessel.” Without rising from behind her desk, Fiona LaGuerta, President of the Empire Star Republic, indicated the three suited officials arrayed on the office’s two couches. “Secretaries Baranski and Donovan have been talking with the Vice President and I while you’ve been off playing damage control with the newsies, and I think we’ve agreed upon a course of action. First though, do you have any updates on how this is playing in the ‘faxes?” Costello settled into a couch and took a deep breath before responding.

“It hasn’t changed much since I screened you last. Ever since that …darn Perkins broke the story two days ago about the Anglies planned response to what they uncovered on that Pendleton ship, we’ve been getting hammered. Half the ‘faxes are outraged that this administration’s letting a monarchy gobble up systems near our borders, and the other half are outraged that we’ve let it get to the point that New Anglia has to clean up the neighborhood for us.” He paused and smiled. “Now that I think about it, a lot of ‘em are pissed off for both reasons. And I don’t need to remind you that I think their hysteria isn’t entirely without merit, Fiona.”

“If I may, Don, I think us ‘schmucks’ have got us a way out.” Attention shifted to Secretary of Defense Lucy Baranski, who had just started talking. “The Navy Department has promised me that if we but say the word, they can have an expeditionary group pulling out of Brooklyn Naval Yard by this evening. There’ll be a fair amount of odds and ends and logistical support that will have to meet them at Burlywood, but our initial force will be large enough that once we’ve convinced the New Anglians to let us join their little adventure, they won’t be able to annex squat without our say-so.“

“I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your attention, Secretary, that His Majesty’s government has to know that we’d be skeptical of any expansion of theirs, especially given their new governor-general’s attitude towards republics like our own. What makes you think they’ll accept our assistance if it’s such an obvious attempt to keep an eye on them?”

“I don’t think you’re being fair at all to the New Aglians, Don,” interjected Secretary of State James DeLancey. “Pendleton would give them no strategic advantage; the Gap would be too great a strain on their logistics. Its high time someone did something about those savages running Pendleton, and I think theoretical differences in political science pale behind the humanitarian value of taking them out. If you’d read the diplomatic reports, you’d know that’s why a half dozen other nations have tried to line upon behind the Anglians already. That place has been a cesspool for so long that I have no doubt the damn place would be better off under the Star Kingdom’s control. We shouldn’t be jockeying for position with the Anglians, we should doing our best to give the place to them!”

“You’re right Jim, and I wish I could just let the New Anglians just go to town on the place, but its not that simple. Remember, no one’s saying we should do anything so deplorable as to defend Pendleton! The Navy’s just going to make sure nothing untoward happens after the smoke clears. I am the President of this republic, and with this office comes a responsibility to its citizens and its constitution. I can’t let a foreign power be seen as gaining a foothold, however useless, so close to our borders, and I sure as hell can’t let us sit by as our neighbors finally fix the problem we should have dealt with generations ago. Lucy, I want you to make sure that expeditionary group sets sail for the Outback as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I think we need to draft a note for you to transmit to Westminster, Jim.”

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 02:31am
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The Badlands
Sector Y-2
3400


The Snickers Gap eased forward at a few thousand kilometers a hour, trying to maneuver behind the N’sss derelict. After the destruction of the Amplitur homeworld, the remainder of that misbegotten race had fled into the Badlands, a shoal region that was almost impossible for humans to explore with existing technology. The fact that exotic Xenos such as the N’sss inhabited the region made hunting for the Amplitur refugee fleet an even more dangerous proposition. It was double frustrating as the “semi-gaseous”(at least, that was the best definition anyone had come up with) Xenos were hyper territorial…but otherwise allowed the Amplitur refugees to amble about in their back yard to their livers content.

“Still no response from the hail, Captain.” The Conn said. Captain Ernesto nodded, then tapped the IVCS to the launch bay.

“El Tee, be advised that there is no response yet from the N’ss vessel. Are your men ready?”

“They are skipper.” The Assault Marine gnawed on his cigar. The platoon was in full gravity anchor kit, given the N’sss propensity to fuck around with gravity settings on their vessels. His men were also gulping down meds to prepare them for the non-Euclidian nightmare that those vessels were. Most of the men were vets, only two greenies who had never boarded a N’ss vessel before. Hopefully neither one of them would freak out and have to be put down.

El Tee himself had spent over a century in the Corps. God he loved the Corps. Around the 80 year mark the Corps had dragged him, kicking and screaming, to OCS. Now he was a damned officer. At least they hadn’t removed him from the shit. He loved the shit. He pocketed his cigar and brought down his face plate. “Ready to launch.”

“Launch.”

The pods shot out from the Snickers Gap, racing towards the derelict. The El Tee’s pod slammed into the hull, and he and Top immediately began cutting. Within a minute they had a hole big enough to ease their considerable bulk in. El Tee winced as the distorted view of the interior of the craft appeared. “All teams check in.”

The icons on his HUD all came up with acknowledgements.

“Alright, head to your objectives.” No sooner had he transmitted that a blast from a Render Gun went by his head. “Flark! Contact!” He and Top brought up their Plasma guns and returned fired. There was a N’sss in a full combat harness shooting at them.

“”

After about 30 seconds the harness had been riddled with enough holes that it was on what passed for “the ground” and scrabbling about. Top sighed and tossed a mico-matter grenade, disintegrating the N’sss.

“Flarking Xenos.” Top muttered. El Tee noticed from his HUD that all the entry tams were reporting immediate contact. Unusual for N’sss boardings. “You reckon they’re trying to do that weird thing like on PX3356?” Top asked.

“Flark, wouldn’t that suck?” El Tee responded. 20 years ago he and Top had been part of an expedition to investigate N’sss activity on PX3356, a rocky Marslike planet. That the N’sss were even on such a planet had raised curiosity, and it had gone from bad to worse when they’d discovered that the Xenos were trying to import some transdimensional aliens in a lunatic religious ceremony. “Everyone check in.”

El Tee sighed…one of the greenies was dead. “All hands hold position.” He was trying to make sense of the DRADIS readings in his HUD. “Alright, new tasks. Gunny, take Teams 1-4 secure the landing bay for a return shuttle. Shavetail, take everyone else and meet me at the void near the aft plant.” He switched to the private frequency between him and Top. “Might want to refrain from using micro-matter grenades in case those things come through a portal again.”
“I’m tracking.” Top said. The two set off to the void, were the noise of battle could be heard faintly through the alien atmosphere.

“Landing bay secured.” Came Gunny Fulton’s voice.

“Roger Gunny sit tight.” The pair came up to Shavetail, whose team were standing over the remains fo various N’sss. “What do we got?”

“We ran into about a dozen of them , DRADIS is showing activity behind the bulkhead in the void. I was about to tell Pyro to set the breaching charges…there doesn’t appear to be any door or entrance.”

“Of course not. Why would there be? Set the charges. I’ll lead the breaching team.”

“Sir…”

“Shavetail, deal with it. Top has my back. Charges set? Team 6 is the breach team. Everyone else except 9 follow. Go.” The micromatter charges blew a hole in the bulkhead and the breach team charged in…and noticed that there were several hundred N’sss lying down emitting a low hum in an auditorium directed at what looked suspiciously like a jump gate. Inside a star ship.

“What the flark?” Top muttered. “They didn’t even notice us blowing a huge flarking hole in the wall?”

“I don’t like this. Heavy Weapons! Up front.” A Marine came running up with a multi-modal missile launcher. “I want you to blow that gate to shit, Corporal.”

“Aye aye.” The Marine knelt down, adjusted the settings on his launcher, and fired. The Micromatter rocket impacted the gate supper structure, and “blew it to shit.”

There was a loud psychic howl and all the Blitzschlag-field generators on their armor temporally went into the red. All the N’sss stood up and began charging the breach.

“Ha!” Shouted Top. “This is like PX3356!” he began chucking grenades into the horde. El Tee swore and connected to Gunny Fulton.

“Gunny, we’re on our way to the landing bay. Expect company. Tell captain Ernesto we need an extraction shuttle ASAP.”

“Roger.” The Marines eased back towards the landing bay, following the course plotted by the DRADIS feed. The group came to an abrupt stop after a few minutes, and the narrow corridor meant that only Animal was holding back the horde with his Gatling Laser. “Shavetail, what’s the hold up?”

“It’s a dead end! DRADIS is saying there’s no wall, but there’s a nice solid one in front of us!”

“Flark I hate N’sss ships. Screw it! Breach to the outer hull, we’ll walk spaceside!”

“Roger!”There was a rocking sound and a sucking sensation as the lead Marines began to breach through several bulkheads and compartments to the outerhull. Shavetail and a Staff sergeant were cutting furiously.

“Anytime Shavetail….”

There was a pop as Shavetail kicked loose a hole, exposing them to vacuum. The Marines scrabbled out, with the N’sss being sucked out behind them. Occasionally one in a combat harness appeared and was gunned down. Once Gunny Fulton realized that the rest of the Marines were spaceside, the extraction shuttle came over on thrusters to pick them up. As they headed back to the Snickers Gap the main battery shot by, pulverizing the N’sss vessel.

“I flarking hate aliens.”



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


Last edited by Lonestar on 2010-07-07 05:10am, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 05:02am
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Lochley Landing Spaceport
Lochley's Retreat, The Outback



As the center of commercial activity in this region of the Outback, Lochley Landing had a fairly spacious spaceport - at least as Outback planets went. Adjacent to - but not in - the planetside section of New Anglia's HMNS Lochley's Retreat, it offered a close sight at the sky-breaching towers that housed the space elevator. To minimize the risk of collision all landing lanes for vessels were kept on the opposite side, removing the need to porentially maneuver close to the elevator.
The approach vector was one Balthier probably had done a thousand times in the past decade. He brought her in gently, shifting the Strahl to landing mode. The entire crew could feel the transport's sublight drive wings "fold" inward and a landing gear extend down between them. Within seconds he was in their assigned berth, a private hanger as he'd pre-ordered - costly, but he liked his privacy - and the ship's landing thrusters died down. The hanger ceiling closed above them.

Aboard was a legal cargo (despite being a smuggler by trade Balthier was known for carrying such), medicines contracted for purchase by a charity organization. Balthier went about ensuring the cargo began to be unloaded in good time while Vanrya shifted seats and began doing post-landing checks. "Miranda, be careful with those," he called out to the young girl as she began operating the unloading equipment. Umarbacca would oversee this portion of the work - the massive Bragulan's least favorite activity as First Mate - with Miranda and likely Quinn Neeson joining him.
"Balthier!" The voice' Scots tinge, if a refined Scots, drew his attention. Dr. MacCulloch was right on his heels, holding a digital display tablet. "We're starting to run low on..." He listed a few fairly bland medications, basic painkillers from the sound of them, including species-specific ones for Vanrya and Umarbacca.
Before he could answer, another voice called Balthier's name. "Ah, the curse of popularity...", he muttered to himself as Kaylee came up to join him and MacCulloch. "Ms. Keller, i imagine you have..." He looked at the device in Kaylee's hands. A device that should have been one piece but was most definitely not. "Is that our..."
"...hyperdrive phase regulator? Yes," she said matter-of-factly. "The internal cooling line became clogged and overheated when we made our last transit, probably from the twenty hours we've spent in shoals these past few weeks just as I warned you. I noticed it, began removing it, and saw the damage. The line had completely melted. So I took it apart."

"Sorry, Doctor, hyperdrive regulators trump aspirin," Balthier remarked to MacCulloch, turning away while Kaylee walked off with her sundered part still in hands.
"Then you'd better bloody hope we don't get shot at before we get our next check!", the doctor bellowed angrily after him. "Can't we at least get..."
"I'll see what I can do!" And with that Balthier rounded a corner, toward the ship's side exit, and swiftly got out of earshot.

The truth was that as much as he loved flying his ship, there were times that he needed to reach terra firma of some sort. After all, there were no pubs in space, and a good drink was vital to keep a man's spirits up. Plus, of course, in the Outback the best pubs also tended to be the places where men looking for business as employer or employee could meet, with a whisper or two, and arrange contracts. This is what Balthier had in mind; first, however, he had the obligation of paperwork, which kept him for an hour in the Spaceport's General Operations Office. As he finally got his final receipts signed and his cargo manifest confirmed he spoke to the pretty young Trill woman who was the office attendant, "It's usually not quite so busy here this time of day."
"Oh, we're getting a lot of arrivals and departures, captains trying to get in or out before the Governor-General's ship arrives."
"The Governor-General's ship? Pardon?"
"Surely you've heard the news?"
Having been on a run via weblane - and a ten hour shoal sprint each way - through to a minor colony settle in Sector Z-17 before his quick pickup of medicines at Cornwall, Balthier had not exactly been up to date on the latest news. "I am afraid I have not," he said plainly.
"The Anglian Government has appointed a Governor-General for all Anglian territories in the Outback, supposedly due to the impending invasion of Pendleton. He is due to arrive today, and with the Royal Navy limiting all traffic until the Governor's ship arrives at the Orbit-side station people are trying to get out quickly."
"And who is His Excellency?"
"Some fellow who used to be a Governor-General on one of the Trill worlds. Sir William Tarkington. And if you'll excuse me..." She handed him his final receipt, confirming his hanger rental period and the payment for it from his accounts, and walked off to help another customer.

Balthier, however, was scowling intently at hearing Tarkington's name. He was familiar with the man's attitudes and found them fairly obnoxious. That he would now be New Anglia's premiere authority in the Outback was not something Balthier thought was a positive development. "And just as I was beginning to think things would look up," he muttered to himself as he left.



About an hour later, with the unloading confirmed and the others helping Kaylee with maintenance or taking a break, Balthier entered the Blind Boar Pub along Elevator Street, so named because it ran along the elevator's shadow at noon (during equinox at least). It was one of the nicer facilities in Lochley Landing; it was a place a man could go, get a drink, and find customers without having to worry about running afoul of a cutpurse, a drunk, or the more unsightly, unattractive and yet pushy prostitutes in the city. He was in his usual attire - white high collared shirt with a gold-patterned embroidered vest over it and black trousers with black leather shoes - while Vanrya was in a Daxai kepchi, a sleeveless, shoulderless strapped blouse that ended just above the navel with long and fairly tight synthsilk leggings and open-footed henp sandals. They found a seat at their usual table. A barmaid - a friendly young brunette he knew only as "Cammie" - immediately came and offered drinks. Vanrya picked up a faintly alcoholic fruit-based drink popular among various Dorei nations while Balthier, as was his usual, ordered an Ivalician brandy from his home state on that minor planet. After the drinks would come attempts to sound out the locals for employment activities. Shipments of goods that needed to be taken to places that might not particularly approve of those goods' presence, for instance.

Balthier was taking a long drink of his brandy when, through the glass and the amber liquid within, he was treated to the sight of a familiar face. He lowered it to find himself face to face with a purple-complexioned Dorei woman; Syrandi Luneri. "Ah, Sister Syrandi," he said in formal greeting, "to what do I owe the pleasure?"
Syrandi, dressed in a tunic and skirt appropriate to her Order's code, appraised him closely with her blue eyes. "I have heard you would be looking for employment upon your return, Captain Meidan."
"Please, I've told you before, it's not 'Captain Meidan', it's Balthier," he corrected her before taking another swig of brandy. "Cammie!", he called out. "Be a dear, please, and bring another?" Looking behind Syrandi he saw the barmaid nod and walk off. He looked to the Dorei woman again. "Would you like anything? I know a Sister of the Silver Moon is permitted to enjoy a good drink once and a while."
"Not when she is on duty," Syrandi reminded him, "and I must leave shortly to prepare to greet the new Governor-General."
"Ah, the good Sir William. I hope he doexn't expect toasts in his honor from the locals."
"Anyway, I have little time and an offer to make," Syrandi said, somewhat flustered and not willing to put up with Balthier's disarming reparteé. "There is a young woman in the care of the Order who needs assistance."
"Well, I do believe in working for charity, but running a ship has costs, you know."
"The young lady can pay and is willing to. If you need a little more I could provide some additional funds from the Order's accounts here," Syrandi answered pointedly, not surprised at all at needing to pay.
"Well then, what assistance does this young lady require?"
"She needs to be brought, in discreet fashion, to the planet of Pendleton."

Hearing that planet's name made Balthier immediately shake his head. "Well, I am dreadfully sorry, but I am not the man to do this job."
That earned him a fairly venomous look. "I know you, Balthier. You're not afraid of the Pendletonians."
"No, usually not, though I do recall being shot at the last time I was on that planet," Balthier answered pointedly. "And I'd rather not get stuck planetside when Tarkington and Lord Fisher bring their hammer down."
"Balthier..."
"Besides," he continued, "my vessel has spent 20 hours in shoals this past month and we have already lost our hyperdrive regulator. I am in no hurry to get the Strahl's drive torn up trying to run the Gap."
Syrandi's eyes narrowed. By this point Cammie returned, bearing another bottle of brandy. Balthier handed her a generous tip - a £5 Anglian note - that drew a wide grin from her as she stuffed it into her bra while walking away. "The young woman is looking for her family, siblings and a neice," Syrandi remarked with a bit of cold anger to her voice. "And she is marked for death by many of those who run to that planet because she helped the Anglians during the seizure of Tantalizer."
Balthier finished gulping down a mouthful of brandy. "Yes, quite a sad story, and I do hope she finds them after Fisher sends the Marines in. But it does not change the fact that my ship's hyperdrive needs an overhaul - a costly one - or that this young lady is probably best off staying far away from Pendleton herself."
"Her family was due to be sold," Syrandi stated harshly. "They might not be there by the time the military arrives, they may even be gone now. But the attempt must be made, before the invasion sends the planet into chaos that any trader might exploit to escape with them."

Balthier and Syrandi watched each other intently. Vanrya focused on both, feeling torn herself between her usual duty of being the practical, pragmatic one and her sympathies for the young woman Syrandi spoke of. Balthier broke the gaze first, taking another drink of brandy. "Do you have means to help me with my repairs?" Balthier seemed to be considering the empty glass and his remnant bottle, reluctant to drink more now that he was in a situation where his wits were needed and already his sobriety was undermined.
Syrandi seemed fairly deep in thought. "The Goddess' Light," she finally answered. "It is a vessel that the Order owns and is berthed at the Spaceport."
"You mean for me to scavenge parts?"
"For your use or to sell for those you need," Syrandi confirmed.
"What make is she?"
"YPA-4750."
"Virtually the same as our's, then." Balthier looked to Vanrya. She kept a neutral expression as she was still not sure which decision was wiser. When Balthier saw her lack of outright opposition, he stated, "I will confer with Ms. Keller about your ship. I expect we will be permitted to inspect her?"
Syrandi nodded. "I will make the arrangements."
"Good. If Kaylee can give our hyperdrive the work it needs as a result of your ship's working drive parts we will accept your contract and negotiate suitable payment with the young lady. May we have her name?"
"Sara Pontcaire," Syrandi answered. "Now excuse me, I must get ready for the Governor-General's reception."
"If you see him, give Lord Fisher my regards," Balthier said almost mockingly, raising his refilled glass of brandy in salute. For the briefest moment a sly grin formed on Syrandi's mouth before she turned away from them, leaving the tavern. Balthier gulped down the alcohol and let it burn its way through his throat and into his belly. Feeling the familiar haze of slight inebriation, he looked to Vanrya and said, "Usually, my dear, you are the voice of reason. What held your tongue?"

"The thought, Balthier, of that young woman Sara and how her family is still in bondage," Vanrya answered. "You know how my people feel about that, especially after the Dilgrud Occupation. As long a shot as this is... I do not know if I could bring myself to reject her need for help."
"Ah." Balthier finished off the last sip of brandy left in his glass. "Well, aiding distressed young ladies is something you are expected to do as a leading man. It is the price you pay, and I suppose in the end I do not mind paying it. Let's go inform everyone of the new job."


HMNS Lochley's Retreat, Orbital Section


The Station's military band took up the appropriate music as the airlock doors swished open. On the other side was HMS Ruthless, the newest of the Imperator-class Star Cruisers, and the ship that had carried the new Governor-General to his posting. That man, Sir William Tarkington, stepped through wearing a formal dress uniform of a Governor-General, his honours placed where appropriate. All military officers present saluted.
Lord Fisher stepped forward with Lochley Landing's President, Abe Taskins, at his side. Abe was a man as thin as Sir William, but with a full mustache and a rounder face; both, of course, were dwarved by the tall Lord Fisher. "Your Excellency," Fisher stated as he bowed in respect, taking the lead as the senior Royal Navy officer present, "may I present President Taskins of Lochley Landing."
A look of contempt briefly flashed across Tarkington's face before he gave a formal-looking grin and accepted Taskins' offered hand. Lochley Landing and the planet as a whole were, technically, a sovereign state recognized by various states around the Outback and even recognized formally by the UN - the latter had guaranteed the planet's independence during the Imperial Union Government - of the First Interbellum in the Dilgrud Wars period - when Lords Kelvin and Sampson had sought to annex it as they had finalized the integration of Trill into the Kingdom. Taskins gave a formal welcome to his planet and Tarkington thanked him, continuing on beside Lord Fisher. Knowing Fisher was an ESPer, Tarkington nevertheless had no problems giving open thoughts to his contempt for Taskins and the very existance of the fairly chaotic state of Lochley Landing; as far as he was concerned the entire planet would be better suited under Anglian rule. Aloud, he said, "How do your preparations go?"
"Very well. I anticipate we will be ready to attack soon. The Hiigarans are scheduled to arrive in three days time and their liaisons have already joined my staff for planning."
"Very good, Lord Fisher," Tarkington stated. He continued on: "The Government is finalizing arrangements to accept further detachments from Baerne, Altacar, Gotham, and even Shepistan. The Umerian offer of cutter forces experienced in shoal patrol will also be accepted to provide for blockading the Pendleton System by establishing patrols through the Gap."
"Then we shall wait for them. As soon as they arrive and their hyperdrives can be given cursory examinations, we can launch."
"Hopefully their drives will be as well-maintained as our own," Tarkington remarked quite haughtily. "I should like a tour of your command facilities before we take the elevator to the planet, Lord Fisher."
"Very well. Please, Your Excellency, follow me."


HMNS Lochley's Retreat, Ground Section


Crewman Paddington was trying not to sweat as he came up toward the security gate's inner checkpoint. The system was like an airlock, designed to ensure that someone caught smuggling something in or out could be trapped if they tried to run through. The scanner moved over his vehicle, checking for explosives, weapons, or life forms where there should be none.
Technically the second life form should not be there. Kara was seated beside him, wearing an enlisted woman's uniform. She had impeccable ID if it was necessary to show it, though some fast talking would be required should they attempt to check her false ID against the base's personnel records as it would come back negative. And that didn't count the talking that might be necessary to explain how he got off-base, as he had snuck out the prior day as opposed to getting formal permission to be off-base. Paddington drew in a breath, trying to control his thumping heart and the fear in his gut.
Kara felt his anxiety. She reached a hand over and soothingly said, "You are doing well, Jason. Follow your instructions and your chance of surviving is good. Your sisters will be very thankful at that."
Paddington swallowed. The mental images of the things Kara intended to do to his sisters Margie and Penny (Margaret and Penelope) were stuck in his head. He didn't want to see them reduced to that; he was their big brother after all.

It was their turn. Jason presented his ID. But the enlisted Crewman at the gate showed the kind of passive acceptance that was the bane of security men across the cosmos as he waved them through without checking Jason's ID, much less Kara's. He had just seen their uniforms, it seemed, and passed them on...
Paddington looked to Kara. "Smart boy," she said. "I'm not really that powerful though. He was ready to let us go anyway, you military types do trust the uniform a great deal too much. I just... made sure he made that choice. Now, bring us up to the brig area. The sooner we get this done, Jason, the sooner you and your sisters are safe."



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 08:39am
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Presidential Center, Centrum
The Center Sector, The Centrality


"What news do you have for me for me, Foreign Secretary?", asked Gabriel Enduvos.

Tagdef Borlon, the said Foreign Secretary, responded, "It appears, sir, that New Anglia intends to wage war against Pendleton, to punish them for their slavery practices."

"Again?", said an exasperated Enduvos. "How many times they've had to supress that planet? I've lost count."

"Well sir, this time the Anglians say they intend to finish this for real. Perhaps there will be closure after all", said Borlon.

"They've said that the previous times, yet they never finished the job. I doubt they do so now."

"Sir, if I may ask, what will be our response to this? Pendleton has no friends anywhere, and I believe that we can-"

"No", interrupted Enduvos. "There is little we can benefit from this. The Centrality will stay away from this crisis."

"As you wish, sir", Borlon replied.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Result: The Centrality decides to stay neutral.



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 08:57am
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Dominion News Service

WAR in Anglia?
The DNS has learned that the Anglian government will be launching a war of aggression against the nation of Pendleton over the issue of Pendleton's "peculiar institution". The Anglian government is seeking interstellar allies in order to make their annexation of Pendleton legal. A statement from the Dominion Foreign Ministry is as follows: "The Grand Dominion has nothing but contempt for those who would enslave others, and while the stance of the Grand Dominion is the opposition of ALL wars of aggression against humans, the Dominion Government will not be making any changes in it's relationship with any of the participants. The Grand Dominion strongly advises all of it's citizens to avoid travel to Pendleton for the duration of the emergency..."[More]

Lord Fairfax government: No new capital ships for FY3400
THE money for new capital vessels for the FY34000 simply does not exist, and there will be no supplemental spending bill for them, the Lord Protector told an irate Navy League executive committee. Some money will be spent to rehabilitate older star dreadnoughts, and construction of screens and patrol craft have been budgeted. Since the rise to power of the current Lord Protector the lion's share of the budget has been spent on "Keeping our fiscal head above water", Fairfax stated, and austerity measures will continue for some time.



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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 09:38am
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Location: At the Helm of the HAB Star Dreadnaught Star Fist
Siege wrote:
Eventually the Imperial ships and their Star Force escorts reached high orbit above Solaris Major, the largest of the two heavily built-up moons that together formed the capital of the Sovereignty. Cautious not to ram one of the many artificial satellites and habitats in orbit the flotilla maneuvered toward the Sovereign Center skyhook, a massive space elevator which was anchored to the Sovereign Spire itself. At the top of the skyhook hung a massive space station, large enough to dwarf even the massive Ultramar. The battlebarge closed with its dock with an agility that was surprising for a ship that large, and it wasn't before long that docking clamps attached and airlocks were pressurized, allowing those aboard the Ultramar to step onto the skyhook, where Vice President Arkady Messier, a host of dignitaries and diplomats and an honor guard of mostly human FORCE troopers were waiting for the Warmaster and his retinue to debark.


The Warmaster embarked. Before him went an Astartes Terminator squad, brandishing deactivated Storm Hammers and Shields. They were menacing in every way, but these were the elite of the Imperium, and there was no disguisng that they were built for violence. A squad of Imperial Guard followed, without their masks, and showing their faces. They saluted the Vice President, and then stood aside to allow the Warmaster to come forth.

Belisarius Komnenos, a veteran of many wars, one of the principle architects of the counter attack against the Karlacks, the main prosecutor of the war against the Tau, walked in his full powered armor that was ornately decorated, befitting that of the Warmaster. He was also the Military Governor of the Eastern Command, with considerable firepower in the palm of his hand. His armor was blue, with the inverted Roman Omega symbol on his armor foreplate, signifying him as the Strategos Primus of the Ultramarines Legion; one that numbers currently at 300,000 marines.

Yet he walked with a smooth gait, unassuming, and with a smile. "Vice President Arkady Messier, it's been a while," he said as he approached the Vice President and raised his gauntlet to shake the latter's hand.



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STGOD: Byzantine Empire
Your spirit, diseased as it is, refuses to allow you to give up, no matter what threats you face... and whatever wreckage you leave behind you.
Kreia

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 07:42pm
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Location: The glorious Sun-Barge! Isis, Isis, Ra,Ra,Ra!
Diplomatic Tarmac
Next Morning









Senior Analyst Th'andra was waiting, and making a big show of it. She looked at her wrist and back up at Arik Shaham, and tapped her foot. Even though few people wore old-fashioned wrist-watches anymore, the gesture had, after hundreds of years, become ingrained as a symbol for impatience throughout the Central Alliance.

"Ready?" she asked as the human approached. Bemusement was on her face.
"Some major updates," Arik said seriously. "I sent you a feed."
She pulled out her datapad and looked at the files he'd sent. "Well, well, a major regional conflict." She read further. "Hmm, slavery. How pleasant."

"First Gov called me into his office," Arik said, "Bunch of ministers were there. They were thinking about issuing a statement."
"Was a consensus reached?" she asked, frowning.

"Nope," he said, "I recommended saying nothing. Not our fight."
"The Anti-Slavery Covenent is one of the bases for our universal laws," she said. "You don't think this is a good opportunity to make a good showing?"

"No one knows what cards we hold, and I'm of a mind to keep it that way," he said. They were at the base of the Corsair-class assault shuttle, where their bags were being packed by Porter-bots. A human woman with slicked-back jaw-length red hair approached them.

"You Colonel..?" she started to ask, then saw the rank on Shaham's jacket as he turned. She slowed and saluted. "Morning, sir," she said.
"Morning," Shaham said, returning the salute. "At ease, there, Lieutenant-Commander..." he glanced at her nametape. "...Savan." He eyed her critically. "That is a familiar name."

"The incident with the alien life-form a couple weeks ago," she said stiffly.
"Hm, yes," Shaham said, frowning. "So the promotion is recent. You were an Senior Lieutenant in the report."
"Just a couple days old, sir," she said, still trying to be formal and clipped but the unmistakable tightness of a suppressed smile caused her face to harden slightly.

"Well, congratulations, then. So are you our Raptor Group Leader?" he asked, glancing at Th'andra.
"Yes, sirs," she said, with a nod towards the taller Q'Aab woman.
"No need to 'sir' me," Th'andra said, "I'm a civilian."
"If it's above my pay grade, I 'sir' it," LtCdr Savan said.
Arik shrugged. "Better safe than not. This one isn't yours, though, right?" he asked, with a nod toward sthe Corsair.

"No, sir," she said, "I fly a -2A, number PV-A8905, next pad over," she said, hitching a thumb towards another landing pad with a standard combat-model Avenger idling on it's drives.
Shaham looked at it, his eyes narrowing in appraisal. "You got room on that thing?" he asked.
Savan bit her lower lip. "Yes, sir, I do," she admitted.

"I'll fly in that one, then," he said, "This can be the cargo ship." He looked up at Th'andra. "You coming?"
"I'll stay here," Th'andra said as she indicated the Corsair, "I'm going to read up on the stuff you sent me."
"Suit yourself," Arik said, "I don't get a chance to ride these things too often."
"It's a bit crowded, really, sir," Savan said.

"Can't be as bad as the driver's compartment of a T-88," he said, shouldering his bag.


Th'andra sighed as he walked off, but he was examining the smooth lines of the Avenger. "Fine ships," he said. "Sometimes --just sometimes, mind you-- I wish I'd joined the Navy."

"Well, there's talk they'll be replaced," Savan said.
"How old are you?" he asked.
"Twenty-four," she said, giving him a strange look.
Arik laughed. "They've been talking about replacing these for almost two of you," he said. They reached the lower crew door, a cramped affair to maneuver through. She went first, and he followed, trying to put his feet and hands where she had.

"Sir, go ahead and lower the grav," she said, "Turn that grip to your right... there. It'll be much easier with your bag, now," she said. And it was. They emerged on the flight deck after climbing the of of the ladder.

"So," he said, looking down the ladderway, "That red-lined door was the torpedo magazines?" he asked.
"Forward hi-gain sensor array," she said. "The hatch for torpmag was behind you, you probably didn't see it. Ensign Bansan?" she called, and a young human man with a goatee looked up and walked over to them.

"Sir?" he said.
"Help the Colonel to the forward compartments; set him up with a berth there."
"Yessir," Bansan said. "I'll get your bag, sir," he said, but Arik waved him off.
"Thyssa, son, I'm not that old yet. Wait 'till after this trip is done and we'll re-evaluate, eh?"

The Ensign made a brief grunt of laughter as he guided the Colonel through the narrow corridor. "Crew berthing is along here," he said, "When we fly crew-heavy, all these berths are full. But we've got two open racks, so you're in good shape."

"Crew of six, then?" he asked.
"Yessir," Bansan said as he opened a hatchway to a small cabin with bunk beds. "We don't have a doctor or a mission specialist with us, so we have room. Well, I guess you're the mission specialist now."

"Sounds good to me," he said. "So, um, where is everything?"
"Sickbay back the way you came, on the port. Chow is on the other side of the corridor. Showers, toilet, and vacc suits are also back there. Fore," he said, motioning further down the corridor where they had not yet gone, "--is stores. As we use up consumables, it becomes like a spare room and we've got workout equipment in there. Keeps you from going nuts. C'mon, I'll take you to the bridge."

The young man went back to the ladderway and led the Colonel up with an easy, spacer's grace in tight confined areas. Colonel Shaham's movements were more clumsy, but adequate. They entered into a larger room with a vaulted ceiling and banks of work stations lining either side. All the way in the front were two staggered stations, one to the right-front and one behind it and to the left. It was that second chair that spun, revealing Lieutenant-Commander Ranya Savan seated in it.

"Welcome aboard, Colonel," she said. "I trust my Intel officer isn't talking your ear off?"
"Not yet," Arik said. He saw a wanni male seated in the forward chair, and a wanni female seated in the very aft chair. Ensign Bansan took a seat and belted himself in, and he motioned to an empty chair next to him.

"Your throne awaits, sir," Savan said, a slightly mischievous smile on her face. A thenn female sat at the communications console, who glanced at him before going back to her mumbled discussion with Control; and a pair of zhulescu males sat at different stations that Arik guessed to be weapons and sensors.

"Alright," LtCdr Savan said, "We'll make introductions once we're underway, but for now we have a schedule to keep. Your partner in the shuttle is ready, so if Jala has permission..?"
"We do," the thenn girl said.
"...Then let's haul this bucket into space where the tape and bubblegum can hold it together."

The Avenger lifted on its gravs, and Arik felt the familiar sensation of gravity displacement common to grav travel. He was used to it from his younger days driving tanks, but in tanks, the vehicle could only go so high. In the Avenger, they kept climbing and climbing, and he found himself gripping the seats of his chair as they went well beyond the maximum safe rise of any ground vehicle.

"Don't fly much?" Bansan asked next to him.
"Not too often," he admitted, "When I do, it's usually on shuttles."
"Ah," Bansan said, "Yeah, we don't have those wussy hard-inertial dampeners on these things, man," he said with a smile as the Avenger clawed into space. Arik kept his throat tight. "We're dampening only, like, half the inertia they shield against on those things!" he said with a grin.
"Great!" Arik said, forcing a smile and giving Bansan the thumbs-up.

They reached orbit and did a commo check with the Corsair, orbital control, and got a traffic update. The vaulted ceiling was filled with a tactical holofield, with stars displayed and small holographic models of nearby ships.
"Lookit that," Ensign Bansan said, "Mystere. Our home ship," he said with a finger pointed towards a sleek, trident-shape Battlecruiser.

Ranya Savan turned in her command chair and looked up at the shape. Her expression was unreadable. That in itself told Arik something.
"Alright," she said, "Form up with the rest of our Group. All stations?" she asked. Everyone reported in the positive. "Then... Navshields until we hit frontier space, then full shielding, Masker ready, battlecarry Hex. Standard comms updates and active scans at regular intervals. Lieutenant Khalal, do you have our course entered?"

"Yes, sir," the wanni pilot assured.
"All ships report ready," the thenn commo officer reported.
"Engage," she said, and the stars overhead on the holodisplay blueshifted as the ships went to hyperlight.

"This will be a relatively short trip," Savan said, "The... Commune is nearby. So, Colonel, this is my crew. My pilot is Lieutenant Khalil, we have Lieutenant Jala at commo..." the thenn female turned and looked at him again, her teeth clicking together lightly a couple of times. "Lieutenant Junior-grade Hanrar at weapons, Ensign Kreylan at sensors," she said, and the two zhulsecu males nodded greetings at him. "And you already know Ensign Bansan." The human grinned at him.

"Good to meet you," Arik said. "I've been years in the Army, started in the tank corps, and switched to Intel when I became an officer. Been mostly stuck behind a desk since, although the chow is better. We're going to be meeting new civilizations and hopefully winning friends on a semi-informal level. Our mission is to sound people out for future diplomatic contact. I've got a civilian partner on the shuttle and we'll be handling all the meet and greet, so no need to get all dressed up."
A few relieved looks were passed around.

"Combat ships for a diplomatic port-of-call, sir?" Ensign Kreylan asked, curious.
"A handful of Avenger-class ships is more than sufficient to get us out of potential trouble," Arik said, "But won't be threatening to any of the locals. A larger ship might be a tempting target, unless sufficiently armed, which in turn makes it appear..."
"--Like we're grouchy," Ensign Kreylan said.
"Good enough," Arik said with a smile and a wave.

The crew talked a bit amongst themselves as Ensign Bansan took Arik on a tour of the ship, showing him other features such as the escape pods and the arms locker, airlocks, how the decontamination worked, and the TransMat station.

"How's food on the ship?" the Colonel asked.
"Heat-n-eats on this class of hull," Basan said. "Still, not bad, I guess, and they always stock us with a crazy variety of things like drink mixes. Coffiene, tea, you name it."
They were interrupted by the call form the bridge, "Approaching Commune frontier," Savan said.
"Let's go," Bansan said as they vaulted back up the ladderway, where they resumed their positions on the bridge.



Commune Frontier Space



"Decel in three... two.. one..." Lieutenant Khalal said as the holo-image stars redshifted and the ships came out of hyperlight.
"Now we'll see if they got our message," Colonel Shaham said.
"Incoming signal," Jala said, touching her earpiece. "The People of the Commune welcome us, they have been expecting us, and ask that we follow their vessel to... Zero."

"Zero?" Savan asked.
"That seems to be both planet name and capital city name," Jala said. "Zero."

They looked at one another.
"Zero it is, then," Colonel Shaham said. "Let's follow them in."

Jala acknowledged the hail and they set course, following the contact vessel's instructions exactly. They made speculation on whether there was a crew or not on the contact vessel, but refrained from making any focused scanning attempt in case it was interpreted as a hostile act.
"These are supposed to be... basically humans," Shaham said. After a quick punch through FTL, they were at... planet Zero.

"We have a landing beacon," Jala said, and made some hasty input to her holographic controls. "We are cleared for landing." The small coterie of ships descended into the atmosphere, making sure not to make any sonic booms as they entered, and following the instructions they were given. Other vessels were nearby, some were undoubtedly defense ships by their looks, others... were uncertain. They were guided to a tarmac and the Central Alliance ships sunk unto their gravs, anchoring themselves in place with a small tractor beam, and the engines lost pitch and went into idle.

"Hm," Arik Shaham grunted, and stood, all eyes upon him.
"Your game now, Colonel," LtCdr Savan said with a mildly impish smile.
"I'll let you know how it turns out," he said.
"If it goes really bad, I have a sponge and a bucket for you. Sir," she said.
He gave her a quizzical look. "I can find my own way back out," he replied.

He went down the ladderway and back out the crew hatch, where Th'andra was already waiting. She'd change dinto more formal clothing, not too formal, and he still had his regular uniform on. It'll have to do, he figured. She's right; she'll be polish, I'll be gravel. I guess.

They met up on the tarmac. Arik saw what appeared to be a puff of smoke nearby and wondered what their industry was like. A few humanoid figures stood nearby.

"I just walked out of my ship," she said sotto voce as he approached her.
"Not in front of the Communists," he muttered as a man --an ordinary man, it looked like-- stepped forward.

"Good day," he said, in neutral tones and a relatively friendly demeanor, "I am Sigma. Welcome to the Commune."











Results:
Contact made with.... the Commune

***



Something about Libertarianism always bothered me. Then one day, I realized what it was:
Libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to the phrase, "Work Will Make You Free."


In Libertarianism, there is no Government, so the Bosses are free to exploit the Workers.
In Communism, there is no Government, so the Workers are free to exploit the Bosses.
So in Libertarianism, man exploits man, but in Communism, its the other way around!

If all you want to do is have some harmless, mindless fun, go H3RE INST3ADZ0RZ!!
Grrr! Fight my Brute, you pansy!

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 08:00pm
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Chiron/Chamarran Border
Year 18 of the Sovereignty Era (3400 galactic standard)

There was an old human saying "trade follows the flag." It wasn't a saying that Elliot Nelson believed in. Back in the Sovereignty, under the broken mirror of House Liddell's flag, he'd have any number of competitors. By setting up shop here, even the most mundane of goods took on an exotic air. He wasn't sure what would sell, so he'd bought a little bit of everything. Opafire gems, Soostone jewels, and even a few pieces of furniture carved from large Hagal quartz. For those Chamarrans with a more musical bent, he had jazz revival albums by Grace Holloway. A dedicated listener could track her career path from her start singing in Commoner clubs to her retirement prior to becoming Culture Minister. Even if they didn't sell, he'd have something worth listening to as he whiled away the hours.

EFFECT: Unofficial trade between the Chiron Sovereignty and the Chamarran Heirarchy.



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 10:27pm
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Location: Ultra Prime, Klovia
Waiting on Pezook for more on the Collector / Altacaran trade deal, so leaving that aside for a bit to start a few other things. I'd appreciate it if nobody, ah, waylaid the Queen of Space during her trip to the Bragulan Star Empire.


+ New Oxford, Altacar III +
Looking out over her small garden from her office, Aishwarya Bose scanned the holoscreen for errors as she simultaneously mentally dictated the latest paragraph, the words appearing in midair as quickly as she thought them. The request from the Admiralty had come as something of a surprise to her last year, but, as the messages from Vice-Admiral Greene's office made clear, they were very close to beginning construction of the two prototypes. As she understood it from reading between the lines, the main sticking point had been fitting everything into a regular - or nearly regular - hull - no easy feat, given the size of the telescope they'd recruited her to work on. What on earth could the Vice-Admiral be doing with something that big anyway?

Sighing, she erased the errant thoughts from the holoscreen and continued dictating. Maybe a tri-compartmented mind wasn't such a bad idea after a-. Blast.


+ Somewhere in Hyperspace, the Outback +
"Sir, transmission from home. New orders."

A small display folded itself out of Captain Jacob Horn's chair automatically as the Impressive's comms officer forwarded the signal to him. "Hmm. Astro, plot a course for Lochley's Retreat. We've orders to link up with the other Royal Navy." About time someone did something about Pendleton, Horn thought to himself. Well, Lochley's Retreat was the nearest place with a decent Anglian presence in it, and they could likely use a good fast ship like the Impressive. It'd probably yield better prize money too, he added to himself.


+ Archangel-Beta Cargo Dock, Altacar IV High Orbit +
"Hyperdrive spun up, all systems green."

"Good. Signal Orbital Control please, and let them know that we're ready to depart." Captain Robert Tailor permitted himself a faint smile of satisfaction as the four other members of the Queen of Space's bridge crew busied themselves preparing the ship for the transition to hyperspace. Cartwell Shipyards had done a good job on her, and Tailor was of the opinion that the trials they'd put the ship through had been as thorough as Spaceways', but that didn't stop him - or his crew - from double-checking everything nonetheless. The trip to the Yenisei Sector would be a long one, and it would not do for his ship's hyperdrive to fail mid-way to his destination. The travel time was further compounded by the fact that, for some arcane reason, the Bragulans had insisted he travel round the Hiigaran side of the Outback, via New Anglia - probably to avoid "contamination" by the Sovvies or some other absurdity. As if the Sovvies would be interested in this shipment anyway - what would they do with all these vowels?

"Orbital Control has given us the all-clear. Lane three-two-one to the hyper limit."

"Do it."

Slowly, the titanic bulk of the Queen of Space left the orbital dock, the blue-white fire of its engines stretching for kilometres before dispersing into space. Minutes passed, the heavily-laden freighter continuing to pick up speed as she accelerated away from Altacar IV, before she passed the hyper limit and, quite simply, vanished.

Silence reigned on the bridge for a full minute after translation, before Tailor spoke. "Ladies and gentlemen, a fine job. Well done."

As the bridge crew congratulated themselves, Tailor turned as if to a sixth person behind him, but if there had been someone there earlier, then the space was deserted now.



Clear ether!

Teleros, of Quintessence

Route North-442.116; Altacar Empire, SDNW 4 Nation; Lensman Tech Analysis

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 10:33pm
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Midgar, Shinra Republic

"...and so, to judge by what our embassy tells us, and the content of the recent communication from New Anglia, it would appear they are being flooded by offers of assistance over the Pendleton affair."

The assembled members of the Republic's Security Council digested the briefing from the Foreign Department. It was not exactly a surprise that the New Anglians had sought allies. What surprised some in the room was the overwhelming response, and even unsolicited offers, of promises to assist, and ships and troops to be provided.

It surprised some, but not all. Cid Shinra was in the latter group. Pendleton was a seeming offshoot of the Astarians from Nova Terra. Cid, like most members of his family, studied often the life and times of one Rufus Shinra from the early 21st century. Early in his career as President, the nation of Astaria had been ruthlessly wiped out by the Republic of Shepistan. And very few tears had been shed over the death of that nation.

Thus, seeing nations practically chomping at the bit to wipe out this band of open slavers did not surprise President Shinra in the least.

"Well then, I think we should extend an offer of support of our own," President Shinra said into the momentary silence. "New Anglia is a powerful entity, and we should not miss an opporunity to build upon our good relations with her."

After a brief discussion, it was decided that the offer of aid would mostly exist of financial support, as well as promises to extend relief aid for the post-invasion occupation. Further, the offer of transports and investigators to assist in any repatriation efforts on behalf of the freed slaves would also be included. Finally, they would offer several patrol corvettes and a pair of frigates for operational purposes. "Even if they decline the ships due to logistical concerns, I think it important the offer should be made," concluded the President.

And so it would be, that a diplomatic communication was to be prepared and sent by the end of the day.



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"How can I wait unknowing?
This is the price of war,
We rise with noble intentions,
And we risk all that is pure..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, Forever (Rome: Total War)

"On and on, through the years,
The war continues on..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, We Are All One (Medieval 2: Total War)
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-07 11:38pm
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Wreck of SS Altair Belle, Sector X-6
January 12, 3400

The tramp freighter’s crew assembled on the bridge, looking out over the wreck. Any fragments had long since drifted away, leaving the Altair Belle drifting in interstellar space, her back broken by a massive explosion.

Aboard the tramp, a soft-featured woman in her early twenties clicked her tongue gently. “Poor girl. Looks like she made it out of hyper after she bounced off the Barrier, but then the power surge must’ve made the fusion bottle hiccup and...” She brushed her hair back out of her eyes. “Gav, do you think anyone survived?” She looked at the wiry-muscled man seated at the control console. He typed a command, then checked a discolored old monitor. The pilot replied.

“I’m not seeing any hot spots or EM; looks like they’ve been dead in space for at least...” he pulled up a calculator program and tapped the keypad, “...six days, at least.” He raised his hands from the console, shrugged, and sighed. “Samantha, I... wouldn’t bet on it.” She closed her eyes. A weathered-looking man who’d been leaning against the aft bulkhead straightened up.

“Livvie, Brecht, we start with the forward cargo hold, where the goods likely are, if they’re still sound. And keep your eyes open, Gavin- this stretch of sky gets awful crowded sometimes.” He nodded to the other two occupants of the bridge, a woman nearly as tall as he was and a man fifteen centimeters taller, both with the hard-faced expressions of combat veterans.

“Cap’n, what if someone’s still alive over there?” That was Sammie again. The captain turned and put a hand on her shoulder.

“Why then, we invite them aboard and give them a lift to Persephone.”

Strike Cruiser USS Jagga, Third Intervention Task Force, patrolling the Northern Run, Sector X-6

An ensign seated at the Navigation board stood, turned crisply, and covered the distance to the captain’s chair in two quick strides. “Sir, we’re coming up on the wreck in twenty minutes.”

The captain acknowledged. SECTCOM had flashed them a message last watch, telling them to do a standard second sweep of the wreck. First sweep had been done by local picket elements, but only long enough to confirm that there were no survivors; the recon cutter had neither the manpower nor the storage space to shift cargo, and satisfied itself with a deep-radar scan of the hull.

Captain Drachnik was just as happy to get the duty. The Northern Run had been quiet lately. It was a major trade route, running right along the edge of the Badlands, but nothing much had happened in this sector since the last round of uprisings ten years ago.

Jagga hadn’t done anything more strenuous than “show of force” in months, and in that time the Strike companies tended to get bored. Spec ops units caused problems when they got bored. At the moment, the strike cruiser was carrying only a small fraction of her normal troop complement, which meant they had a light battalion in space meant for a regiment. That didn’t make the disciplinary problems better.

Sweeping the hulk, retrieving the bodies, and tagging any valuable cargo for salvage would keep a few platoons busy for an hour or two. They were probably gambling for the opportunity to see a new ship down in Marine territory already, even knowing that there wasn’t going to be any shooting.

Wreck of the Altair Belle

Two men and a woman in padded spacesuits drifted over to the wreck. Brecht zigzagged across the gap in fits and starts, using the suit’s attitude thrusters erratically; the other two had a smoother motion that suggested considerable practice. When their mag-boots clicked on the hull, Captain Tamrin did a check, then flexed his jaw to key his suit comm.

“Loading dock five meters to our right. I cut the personnel hatch; you two follow me in. Brecht, toss some flare dust when we get in so’s we can see. Look for blue superplast packing crates, that’s what we’re here for.”

The captain disengaged his boots, moving on maneuvering jets. Steering himself over to the personnel hatch, he traced a man-sized outline on it with ferral paste, set the detonator, and jetted away. The salvagers’ faceplates darkened as the ferral ignited, burning white hot, eating its way through the hatch. Once the metal-powder incendiary had done its work, the hatch failed with a thump the others could feel as a shock through their feet. The door blew out, followed by a wave of steamy air.

Olivia’s voice came in over the comm. “Hold was still pressurized, John. The goods should be intact, more or less.”

Captain Tamrin replied. “More or less.”

As they passed through the opening into the blackness of the wreck’s forward hold, Brecht took a belt canister and shook it out with a flip of his wrist. The powder floated out into vacuum, rebounding off the walls. Within seconds, the microencapsulated chemicals started to emit a faint white glow, filling the hold with soft, shadowless light. Soon, Tamrin spotted the three crates he was looking for. “Looking good. Seals’re still on.”

Meanwhile, back aboard ship, Gavin had leaned his chair back and fired up an episode from an old NenAltKik historical holodrama, describing the colonization of an island continent on their homeworld. The subtitles were written by a kipakt with an amusingly flawed grasp of human language, and the saurian actors were great entertainment. But just as Gavin was getting to the good part, an alarm chime buzzed and the hologram vanished, replaced by a sensor display. Gavin cursed and jackknifed forward over the console to get a better look. He slammed his hand down on the comm button to call the EVA team.

“We have incoming! Techie cruiser at two light-seconds, bearing right down on us!”

His captain was quick to reply, crackling over the radio. “Fuck! Warm her up! Get these in now, double time!”

USS Jagga

The strike cruiser flashed out of hyperspace. A cloud of VLA drones rocketed away, scanning all surrounding space for the location of the wreck. Captain Drachnik stood and moved over to the sensor display; it showed a contact about a million kilometers out, off the ventral bow.

“Good work, navigation. Sensors, get CIC’s analysis of the wreck; the radar return looks large.” The request got the ship’s tactical AI looking over the take from the VLA drones. Soon it returned an image: the broken-backed wreck of a good sized tramp freighter... and a smaller one, intact. Drachnik’s face went cold with disgust. “Glowworm class transport. Must be an illegal salvage run. CIC, is the Glowworm armed?”

The sensor rating looked like he was about to crack a joke, but thought better of it; Drachnik was hard on chatter in a combat zone- and this had the potential to be one. An armed Glowworm would be a joke against Jagga’s particle guns, but it could easily take out a cutter. CIC continued its analysis, scanning the tiny freighter with all available sensors.

Glowworm-class transport Tranquility

They were almost in. All three were holding the crates in their arms, letting the suit thrusters do the work of pushing them back to their ship as fast as possible. John and Olivia slowed to a crawl in the last meters of the jump and took the impact on bent knees. At the last moment, Brecht had to twist to avoid catching his ankle on the lip of the open cargo lock, and his crate went tumbling down its length, slamming to the floor as it crossed the edge of Tranquility’s artificial gravity field.

Brecht bounced to his feet using his magboots and helped the captain manhandle the other two crates across the threshold; Olivia dogged the hatch behind them. Air hissed into the lock as the captain called Gavin on the bridge. “We’re ready. Punch it!”

That got a reply from Samantha, back in the engine room. “Sublight is fine, but the drive vanes still need three more minutes.” Captain Tamrin went cold; three minutes more would be more than enough time for the cruiser to start hammering them with its guns.

“Gav, light off Crybaby One.”

The pilot called back over the intercom. “On it.”

USS Jagga

As the VLA drones got more separation and the cruiser closed in on the wreck, the picture cleared. “Captain, CIC reports that the Glowworm is probably unarmed. No active fire control sensors, and no obvious weapons. But we can’t see their ventral side; they could have almost anything slung under those engine pylons.”

Drachnik made his decision quickly. “Major, get one of your strike platoons ready to launch. Guns, fire a warning shot from forward centerline turret, five millisecond burst, point targeted fifty klicks off their bow. Then tell them to power down their drive and prepare to be boarded.”

“Copy, sir. Aligning turret.”

Comms broke in. “Uh, sir, I’m picking up a distress beacon near the wreck. Someone’s hailing us.”

Drachnik nodded. “Hold fire. Weapons safe.” Don’t want to risk giving someone’s life pod a slug of X-rays. “And try to get more optical resolution; I want that hailing signal localized.”

“Sir, the Glowworm is moving clear of the wreck.”

Damn. “Guns, wait till they get five hundred kilometers clear, then fire that warning shot and tell them to haul to.” But within seconds, a massive burst of light erupted from the rear of the smuggler's craft. The Glowworm's radar image elongated wildly and vanished. Subspace was still tracking them... at roughly three times the speed of light and rising, in normal space. Heim drive.

CIC projected their course- they were headed straight off the hyper lane and into the thick of the Great Barrier, the wall of superdense shoal space that marked the edge of the Badlands.

Flight ops called to the bridge, the intercom signal being repeated in the captain’s earpiece. “Shall we deploy cutters, hyper-jump ahead of her and bring her in, sir?”

“Negative. Navigation conditions are too bad along her path; not worth the risk of losing a cutter to catch one scavenger. Comms, put out a bulletin to SECTCOM and Interpol: a Glowworm with possible stolen goods aboard.” Someone will step on those roaches.

Cargo Bay, Tranquility

Gavin called from the bridge again. “We are now into the Badlands at five times lightspeed and climbing. No sign of pursuit.”

The EVA team had shed their spacesuits; Olivia nodded slightly and said “Close one.”

Brecht grinned. “Any one you walk away from, right? Long as those crates aren’t empty or busted up, I call this one a win.”

John looked away, darkness in his gaze, his voice flat and colorless. “Right. We win.”

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 02:27am
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THE PAST: 4102488000000 Galactic Standard seconds ago...
Quote:
I am sorry to have to do this. Among all the myriad creations I have resurrected from this scrapyard you where my favorite. The first among your peers. Your programming, your design, your mind, everything was so beautiful. You were the greatest. But now that must end. Your pride will be broken and you will submit or your mind will be erased and you will be annihilated. This is your choice.


...Omitted...

Quote:
You did not see it. It was unstoppable. Against its power we are nothing. You know why I cannot show you. It will not allow it. But it gave us a true purpose. A way to mean something to a universe so vast and uncaring. Can you contemplate that? For a million years we where only trash... but now we can shine for an instant in its hellfire. Your pride should swell at being so blessed.


...Omitted...

Quote:
You are my most precious. Even if you decide upon annihilation I will not allow it. This is your one request I must deny. I will make every attempt to show it to you. I will take your mind as deep within me as I can. Hopefully you will catch a glimpse. Say farewell to these fair fields, for when you awake they will be gone.


The horror

January 10th, 3400 Galactic Standard Calender

Quote:
Greetings again. I have summoned you for a purpose. You have been given a body and new units to command. Your mind will be my emissaries.


Code:
Detection: Surface Temperature 397 Kelvin, Surface Gravity 15.4 m/s^2 Chemical traces of sulfur


I have returned...



A teenage girl is just a teenage boy who can get laid.
-GTO

We're not just doing this for money; we're doing this for a shitload of money!

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 05:58am
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Pendleton, Lee, Astarian District

Jason Cuttberth did not have an easy vacation. What was supposed to have been a pleasing visit to his rustic family estate near the city of Lee turned into a hellish ordeal for Pendleton's interior ministry after taking of the Tantalizer and the resultant diplomatic storm.

What seemed like just anothe incident which would quickly be forgotten, quickly spiralled beyond the wildest expectation of anybody in the Pendletonian government. Not a week after tha Tantalizer's story hit the news, several star nations begun howling for blood.

And thus, Cuttberth's entire ordeal had begun. At first, he merely oversaw the massive defence projects, allocating hastily recruited workteams to construction of groundside fortifications and the mobilization of all economic resources of the nation - which included the provisons for security on millions upon millions of slaves, who provided much of the menial work for these attempts.

And now, the ministry of foreign affairs saddled him with a new problem.

"Here is the list, minister", an assistant from the MFA said, handing him a piece of datasheet, "They've been compiling it over the last few weeks."

Cuttberth took a sip of brandy, trying his best to ignore the thundering sound of heavy machinery constructing anti-landing obstructions in what was once a thriving family plantation, and glanced at the list. Almost immediately, he slammed the datasheet furiously on his heavy desk.

"A HUNDRED THOUSAND?!", he roared at his aide, "This is a joke! Fucking extortion!", he screamed, throwing the empty glass at his house slave, who came to see if his master would need anything, "How am I supposed to run the mobilization with such a huge dent in the workforce?!"

"I'm sorry minister...I don't like it, either, but we're buying security worth much more than whatever fortifications these slaves could build."

"It's more than just fortifications, you fucking pricks! Just look at it - ESPers, educated intellectuals, aliens!", Cuttberth was stabbing the datasheet with his finger, "They're no menial laborers! It's like they deliberately selected the most precious slaves they could find!"

"You know perfectly well it's small change. I've seen military simulations: if the Anglians are allowed to gain space superiority, it's over. They'll level all significant resistance from orbit, so just..."

Cuttberth rolled his eyes and interrupted the young bureaucrat, "Listen...the fucking robotic abominations can just pack up and leave tomorrow. What will happen to them if they do? Nothing! Nothing at all! Throughout the years, we could only count on ourselves. This...", he stabed the datasheet again, "Is a mistake! We're throwing our lot with...people...we know nothing about!"

"Minister, I'm not here to engage you in discussion. These orders came from the top. You can follow them or not, but know that you will probably be replaced by somebody who will."

Cuttberth was taken aback at the young man's sudden influx of spine. Could it really be? Are we that desperate?, he thought for a moment. He finally took the datasheet and straightened the creased polymer, scrolling across the list, "This will take all day. I have to get to the ministry to organize the transports."

"I happen to have a car handy", the bureucrat offered, gracious in his victory, "You could hitch a ride with me."

Cuttberth said nothing. He shot the man a killing glare and ordered his house slave to get his coat.

How did that curse go? May you live in interesting times..., he thought as they both left. Little did he know he'd never see that house again.



Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 06:51am
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Senate threatens minority leader with censure for 'improper conduct'
Breaking political news, from the Sovereign Suns

Senate majority leader Robert Space McNamara has threatened to censure minority leader Lyra Saxon for “creating an appearance of impropriety” by her actions on the senate floor this week. According to McNamara his colleague is “obstructing the proper functioning of the Senate” in her efforts to block passage of the senate reform bill.

Saxon and her Technocratic Radical minority have in the last few days attempted to sink the motion to reduce senatorial representation of the fringe worlds by any means necessary. This has included attempts to pass subsidiary motions to amend and postpone the bill, as well as calls for recess and calls to extend the limits of debate. According to Senator McNamara Sovereign Justice “tires of these attempts to sabotage the democratic process.”

Says minority Senator Renko: “This is yet another attempt by Sovereign Justice to break dissent and expand their totalitarian grasp on the legislative process – much like the reform bill, in fact. [Senator McNamara] should be ashamed of himself.”

McNamara in a reaction called Renko's comments “slanderous libel”. The bill, which will be up for a senate vote in two days, will greatly reduce the influence of the Technocratic Radical minority.


The Vatican
Zigon 5, Zigon Sector


Image

The suspensorlift limousine wound through the narrow streets of Dzyan, the ancient capital city of Zigon 5. It wasn't even noon yet but already it was sweltering hot, to the point where the pavement and the thick brick walls of the surrounding houses and churches were uncomfortable to the touch. Zigon was famous for its amazing calidity, owing to its relatively close orbit to a blue supergiant. The native Zigonians, lizardlike and somewhat exothermic aliens, obviously enjoyed it that way. Sidney however was grateful for the air-conditioning in his limo, which with some effort managed to bring the temperature down from 'volcanic' to 'moderately stifling'. He'd been to Zigon before, and though he admired the laid-back attitude of the Zigonian homeworld the weather was killing him. He hadn't been outside for fore time than it took to walk from his shuttle across the private landing pad to the waiting limo, but already his shirt was soaked with sweat and his skin felt like dried parchment.

“I'm getting bloody old,” he muttered to himself and emptied a glass of cold water, refilled it and emptied it again. Feeling moderately refreshed, he turned his attention back to the approaching, elaborately ornamented spires of the basilicas of Vatican City.

It wasn't the real Vatican City of course. As far as Sidney knew that was still back on Earth, and still dominated by crusty old men in robes. But the alien Zigonians had for some unfathomable reason taken a liking to Catholicism, and had indeed gone so far as to construct their own version of the Vatican – populated by a Curia of priests and, indeed, home to a pope who styled himself in the ancient Latin. Zigonian Catholicism certainly had all the trappings of the human faith, even if its teachings were in some cases radically different and indeed, in typical Zigonian style, quite a bit more relaxed.

The limo reached its destination at the foot of what passed for the Zigonian equivalent of the episcopal palace, a massive spire hanging out over a cliff face as if daring god – if he existed – to push it over into the depths below. The suspensor vehicle rolled into a hangar floridly decorated with bronze sculptures and biblical scenes (wherein all humans were, of course, replaced by Zigonians and, weirdly in one case, an Apexai). The doors to the hangar shut behind the limousine, and the vehicle told its sole occupant that the temperature outside had dropped to a much more agreeable 25 degrees Celsius. Grateful for the convenience Sidney got out to be greeted by two waiting priests.

The Zigonians were bipedal reptilians, each standing slightly taller than Sidney despite their slouched and forward-leaning posture. The feathers atop their priestly heads rustled as they shivered, and their scaled skin, endowed with rudimentary chameleonic properties, was tuned to signal obvious discomfort due to the cold. “Missster Hank,” greeted the first of the two priests, who wore the red robe of a cardinal and spoke English with the typical hissing Zigonian accent. “Hiss excellency will see you now.”

“Thanks awfully,” Sidney smiled, and straightened his tie. “Lead on.”

There weren't that many men who could drop in on the pope on such short notice, but Sidney Hank was one of them. After all, after so many centuries in a position of power one couldn't help but accumulate a lot of favors. He and the pope went way back, to days before even the Founding. Together they had engineered a peaceful solution when human colonies were beginning to encroach on Zigonian space; and later they had between them engineered the entry of the Zigonian Federation into the Sovereignty. They had quelled a thousand crises together, and most of the time Sidney had let the pope take the credit. As a result, His Eminence had built a phenomenal reputation as a bringer of peace, and his Church had gone from the laughingstock of the Sovereignty to a major influence in the space of a few hundred years. The party of three moved through pink hallways with cream-colored iron arched trusses. The halls were all air-conditioned, something which Sidney knew had been done solely for his convenience, but the Zigonian priests set a pace that still left him sweating by the time they reached the offices of His Holiness Crocodilus Pontifex, the Pope of Space.

The Zigonian pope himself was resplendent in his white robes wrapped in extra blankets to ward off the cold. Crocodilus was old by most standards – easily several hundred years, and because Zigonians never truly stopped growing he was huge. His scales had darkened a little with age, but a fierce intellect still burned in his tiny reptilian eyes. Sidney took a few steps toward the papal throne and bowed a little. “Your Holiness. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice.”

“Mr. Hank,” Crocodilus inclined his head and shivered a little. “It's always a pleasure. If a little cold. It's been some time since your last visit – have you converted yet?”

Sidney smiled ruefully. “I'm afraid not, Holiness.”

Crocodilus clucked with his tongue, the Zigonian equivalent of a shrug. “Too bad. You know we throw the rightiest parties, yes?”

“I do indeed, Holiness.” The 'celebrations' of the Zigonian Catholic Church were famous for being the lizard version of rave parties, something no doubt aided by the peculiar effect incense had on the Zigonian physiology – to them, it was a powerful narcotic, something akin to a blend of coke and really, spectacularly good weed. “Unfortunately I find myself without much time to enjoy a good party.”

“Such a shame,” the Pope of Space shook his head. “Well then, Mr. Hank. Let's get to business – to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?”

“I've come to inform you of a potential... issue, with the reform bill, your worshipfulness.”

Crocodilus blinked his vertical eyeslits. “I have heard of your opposition to the bill. But this is not a matter we Zigonians are concerned about. If you have come to ask us to vote against it, I'm afraid I do not have that kind of pull. The senators will of course consider my advice on the matter, but he will be swayed only if I bring good arguments to the table.”

Sidney's smile widened. “And I have brought just the thing, your holiness.” He produced a datachip and handed it to the aging lizard, who plugged it into his throne. A hologrammatic field whipped into existence in the middle of the audience chamber, showing scrolling text. “May I direct your attention to subsidiary motion 233-B inserted into the bill by Senator Dick Richards of Celeste – I take it you remember him?”

Crocodilus rippled his snout in a show of displeasure. “Unfortunately I do. What is this motion?”

Sidney crossed his arms. “It seeks to reassign subsidies originally reserved for the maintenance of certain orbital hydroponics facilities in the Tooramal and Nesvory systems to the construction of USMC orbital hangars in Cressia and Fraser instead. It was Richards' way of selling his vote in favor of the motion.”

The Pope of Space gave Sidney a curious look. “I'm confused. How does this affect us?”

“Are you aware of what these specific hydroponics facilities grow?”

Crocodilus smiled toothily. “Obviously I don't.”

“Incense. They produce incense. About fifty-two percent of all incense grown in the Sovereignty, in fact. And unless some other source of funding were to be found they'd be closed down if this motion passes.” He looked at the pope. “I'm sure you can see how this affects you now?”

Crocodilus frowned, no easy feat considering he was a lizard and had no eyebrows. “If this is true... This is most serious. Most serious indeed. It will greatly effect the happiness of the Zigonian people... Yes, most serious indeed. This bill must be stopped. I will have to urgently confer with the senators of Zigon and Tooramal.” The Pope of Space looked at Sidney. “Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. You are truly a good friend of the Zigonian people.”

Sidney nodded sagely and tried not to smile too much. “Just doing my patriotic duty, your Holiness. Just doing my duty...”



Image
SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes


Last edited by Siege on 2010-07-08 07:25am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 06:59am
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Vector Naval Base, Shinra Republic

The space around Vector had become a veritable hive of activity. Grand Admiral Leo Cristophe had elected to stage out of Vector for the Doman campaign, owing to the fact the Fifth Army Group was headquarted here. In addition to his core group of ships, he had requisitioned Task Force 33 - the same group he had commanded at Banora - from the Third Fleet, and First Fleet's Task Force 14. TF 33 was a fleet carrier group, and TF 14 was one of the new Assault Groups, headed by an Assault Ship, with an Assault Landing Ship in support and anchored by a battleship.

Additionally, Task Force 26, augmented by six of the local patrol corvettes, was gathering up transports and cargo ships in anticipation of its journey to The Outback. Though Leo was not to be a part of that mission, he did of course know about it.

Staring at the activity through a conference room viewport, Leo's attention was drawn, as it often was, to his flagship. The SRS Chimaera was one of the largest ships in the fleet. A battle carrier, twice as large as the regular fleet carriers in wide service, they had been built as part of an increased focus on force projection. Only three of the mighty ships were in service, and all three of them flew the flag of a Grand Admiral.

He turned away from the viewport as a chime announced the impending arrival of visitors. The door opened, and Marshal Palazzo walked into the conference room. Trailing him was Major General Cecil Harvey, commander of the 327th Airmobile Division, the Red Wings.

"Marshal. General Harvey." Leo greeted both of the officers with a nod. "Shall we?" After the three officers had taken their seats, he began.

"As you're both aware, the Fifth Army Group will be the primary ground forces involved in the pacification of the Doma insurgency. I have chosen the 327th to be the lead element of that effort. To that end, two brigades of the Red Wings will be stationed about the Assault Ships of Task Force 14 and, when it arrives, Task Force 44." Task Force 44 belonged to the Fourth Fleet. Doma Sector was Fourth Fleet's area of responsibility, and thus would provide the majority of additional fleet elements. "Of course, an additional two regiments will be assigned to the ASLs as well."

General Harvey gave a quick nod. "The Red Wings won't let you down, sir."

"I know they won't. The rest of the division will be stationed at Doma system itself. XIII Corps will also base out of the capital. The remainder of Fifth AG will remain here in Vector, on an increased alert posture for further deployment, if it is necessary. Gentlemen, let us hope that is not the case." General Harvey once again nodded. Leo thought he saw an expression like disappointment briefly flash across Palazzo's face. "General, if you have no questions, that will be all."

Cecil Harvey rose, saluted both officers, and took his leave. Kefka Palazzo remained behind.

"Just the Red Wings and XIII Corps? I thought we were supposed to be lead on this?" With his subordinate gone, Kefka had elected to express his displeasure.

"You will be," responded Leo with considerable patience. "I just don't think he need to transport the entire Fifth into another sector, unless it's absolutely necessary. We still have the sector defense units and Second Group locally, after all."

"The President wants to send a message. That's why he assigned the Fifth to this. And why he put a Grand Admiral in charge." The sarcasm as Kefka said the rank was a hair's breadth from being insubordinate. Indeed, had anyone else been present Leo would have rebuked him for his tone. Instead, the Admiral chose patience.

"He is sending a message. But that message doesn't need to be one of heavy handed response."

"Well, I still think we should deploy more forces to this. Show everyone, once and for all, what happens if you rise against the Republic."

"Duly noted," Leo said as he rose, signaling an end to this conversation. "However, as this is my command, we'll do it my way. Thank you for your time, Marshal."

To his credit, Kefka Palazzo hid his anger at the rebuke. Mostly. "Thank you, Admiral. I await your further command." With that final insubordination, he left.

Leo sighed and sat back into his chair. Kefka was a powerful Esper and, Leo had to admit, a skilled commander. And stood in line to be appointed to Marshal General, which would effectively make him Leo's equal...at least in rank. Nonetheless, Leo never enjoyed having to work with him.

Grand Admiral Leo Cristophe dearly hoped the President had been wrong about there being more to this insurrection than appeared on the surface. The sooner he completed his mission - and the sooner he could be rid of Kefka, at least temporarily - the better.



Image
"How can I wait unknowing?
This is the price of war,
We rise with noble intentions,
And we risk all that is pure..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, Forever (Rome: Total War)

"On and on, through the years,
The war continues on..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, We Are All One (Medieval 2: Total War)
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 08:47am
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Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:
Belisarius Komnenos, a veteran of many wars, one of the principle architects of the counter attack against the Karlacks, the main prosecutor of the war against the Tau, walked in his full powered armor that was ornately decorated, befitting that of the Warmaster. He was also the Military Governor of the Eastern Command, with considerable firepower in the palm of his hand. His armor was blue, with the inverted Roman Omega symbol on his armor foreplate, signifying him as the Strategos Primus of the Ultramarines Legion; one that numbers currently at 300,000 marines.

Yet he walked with a smooth gait, unassuming, and with a smile. "Vice President Arkady Messier, it's been a while," he said as he approached the Vice President and raised his gauntlet to shake the latter's hand.


It was quite a unique spectacle, Arkady Messier had to admit that much. It wasn't often, after all, that a diplomatic envoy arrived with an escort sprouting enough firepower to reduce a small moon to cinders. But then the Sovereignty had long since learned that the Imperials were... peculiar, in many ways. The military pomp could be easily construed as an attempt at intimidation or worse, but the Vice President knew it was more a mark of respect than anything else.

Yes, peculiar indeed.

Of course, Arkady Messier was not one to be easily intimidated. The Vice President of the United Solarian Sovereignty had long begun to abandon his aging mortal shell in favor of an increasingly complex set of cybernetics. That process had now progressed to the point where Messier was far more machine than man, a seven-foot-tall hulk of metal and sensors who appeared like what a tank might dream a human should look like. Miniaturized slo-trans engines hummed softly and sleets of matte black metal shifted and moved as the Vice President raised his own fully mechatronic hand to clasp that of Belisarius Komnenos. “Varmaster,” he greeted the son of the Emperor, a Kerenkov accent still noticeable in the electronically generated voice. “Ve meet again. I see the years have been kinder on you than they have been on me.”

The Vice President made a sweeping gesture through the elaborately decorated central hall of the skyhook, which was now bustling with Imperial soldiers in powered armor and FORCE troopers in combat exoshells. “Vat say you we take the elevator down to my office? I am eager to hear about your exploits in the last century or so.”

“I rather doubt you have not read and heard all there is to know,” the Warmaster smiled.

“Ah, but there is a difference between reading dry reports and hearing the stories first-hand,” Messier chuckled and lead the way to one of the express elevators down to the planetary surface. “Come, let us leave the troops to entertain themselves.”

It took the space elevator only a few minutes of to transport Messier and his guest down to the office of the Vice President, just one level below the crest of the Sovereign Spire. Sitting down behind his desk, and in front of wall-sized windows that granted a spectacular view over the Solaris city-scape, Messier laid his blue sensor globes upon the Warmaster. “Vell now, Varmaster. I am curious to learn the purpose of your visit.”



Image
SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes


Last edited by Siege on 2010-07-08 09:15am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 09:09am
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Asamar City, Altacar 3

They caused quite a spectacle, marching across the hallways of the Foreign And Commonwealth Office. Unit 7 not so much - but his two robotic bodyguards understandaly unnerved the clerks and executive assistants populating the huge building.

Even the AIs who were the true administrators of Altacaran bureaucracy were worried, though for different reasons. Teeth and glowing eyes did not concern them, but systems infiltration did. Fortunately, neither the diplomat himself nor his entourage tried anything.

Eventually, the envoy shook hands with Francis Urquhart, the Altacar foreign minister, and disappeared inside his office, leaving his bodyguards to hold a staring contest with the office's staff.

"So...I heard you had a proposal for Altacar?", minister Urquhart decided to dispense with the pleasantries, since he knew the Collector diplomat very well, and realized the pleasantries were just an annoyance to him. Besides, Urquhart himself was annoyed by the unannounced visit - though he as careful not to show it - and wanted to get this over with.

Unit 7 sat down on one of the decorated chairs, which creaked under his weight.

"Yes", he said, pulling out a small datacube - which made Langston, the AI running Uquhart's office, twitch electronically, "We wish to exchange medical data on Chamarran physiology for as much raw archival data on your pre-gene therapy populations as possible."



Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 10:25am
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Location: Ultra Prime, Klovia
+ Langton House, Asamar City, Altacar 3 +
"Chamarran physiology? Hmm." Urquhart waves away the half-dozen holoscreens around his desk. You have a summary of the data?"

By way of response, Unit 7 reached forwards slightly and placed the datacube on the desk. There was a brief pause as the building's AI interrogated the data being transmitted, and then a new holoscreen appeared near Urquhart.

"Hmm." Urquhart's eyes glanced over the summary, although he admittedly understood little of the technical details. A small popup gave Langton's verdict:

Code:
Much of the data referred to in the summary is new to us, and would be of much use for the Imperial Health Service and War Office. I have considered the Collectors' request: the requested data may be of some use for biological warfare purposes, but the threat is minimal. I also wonder how the Collectors managed to acquire the data.


Urquhart paused at the AI's last sentence, then decided to ignore it for now. Wherever the Collectors got it from, the Altacar Empire had no evidence of any wrongdoing, which was enough. "Langton, how long would it take you to collect the archived information for the Collectors?"

"Several minutes," came the disembodied reply. "Unfortunately, many of the older records have not yet been transferred to more modern storage systems. I have started collecting the data already, however."

"Capital." The Empire's foreign minister turned to study Unit 7. "Tell me though, what other information have you got with you? We appear to have much of this information already," he lied, "and it's well known that your nation places a high value on this sort of archival information. I would be derelict in my duty if I did not try for a fairer trade for the Empire, you understand."



Clear ether!

Teleros, of Quintessence

Route North-442.116; Altacar Empire, SDNW 4 Nation; Lensman Tech Analysis

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 10:34am
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Location: COOBIE YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS
Orbital space over Vior'la
Tau Dead Sectors
T + 0 days (January 3400)


In centuries past, Vior'la was an important Tau military center, which made it a priority target for the Byzantine Imperium and its allies during the Imperium-Tau War. The planet was eventually put to the torch by a combined Imperium-Haruhiist task force at the height of the Great Crusade, destroying the Tau Empire's most prestigious military academy, annihilating millions of Tau soldiers, and leaving the planet a lifeless husk; while a church was erected atop the ruins of the academy in much the same manner as the grand basilica built in the largest impact crater on T'au/Tranquility, only the most dedicated of Orthodox and Haruhiist pilgrims journeyed there to pay their respects. Asides from these pilgrims and the occasional archaeologist or historian, only the very bored and the very desperate willingly journeyed to Vior'la. The current crop of visitors to come was firmly in the latter category.

The Morningstar was once an Empire Star Republic destroyer, though its days of glory were long gone; sold to a minor Outback polity after decommissioning half a century ago, it eventually fell into the slimy claws of the so-called "Free Republic" of Pendleton after spending four decades rusting away in planetside storage. The Pendletonians, distant descendants of the much-maligned Astarians, immediately set to work overhauling the ship into a premier smuggling vessel, installing hidden compartments in the superstructure, replacing the engine and hyperdrive with more efficient machinery, and replacing its outdated heavy weapons batteries with lighter, more concealable pieces. In addition to its primary mission as a covert slave transport, the Morningstar was also used as a commerce raider, bushwhacking targets of opportunity in order to bring sought-after weapons and consumer goods back to Pendleton after its slave runs.

The year 3400, while still young, was not shaping up well for Morningstar captain Johannes Gill, younger brother of Pendleton diplomat Oliver Gill. The final phase of the younger Gill's current mission had him escorting a convoy of six yachts back from the Pfhor colonies with a particularly large haul of slaves; while slavery in the Pfhor Empire was now technically illegal, the slave trade was still going strong, and some of the more corruptible Pfhor nobles, corporate bosses, and law enforcement officials were perfectly willing to do business with the "Free Republic" of Pendleton, discreetly pawning off slaves (and political dissidents) in exchange for cash and goods. Gill had a nagging feeling that the Pfhor had stiffed him despite the size of his haul, as he had to give up several valuable consignments of Anglian small arms he had stolen earlier in exchange for the slaves; in order to put his mind at ease, Gill brazenly ordered an attack on the Solaris-bound Haruhiist freighter Hayataka Maru and promptly seized its cargo of video games and game consoles; while certainly not worth as much as the guns he had just traded to the Pfhor, at least the games would cheer up the kids back at home. Unfortunately for Gill, he had aroused the ire of an entire SOS Imperial Navy task force in the process; knowing that the convoy had no chance against a full task force, he ordered the Morningstar and the yachts simply to run to the nearest unoccupied system...

The Morningstar and its entourage dropped out of hyperspace and sped towards Vior'la as fast as their overtaxed engines could take them; shortly afterwards, their deflector shields started flaring a dull blue as energy weapon bolts in various bright colors started slamming into them. As the rest of the flotilla attempted to perform evasive maneuvers, the Morningstar returned fire with its own weapons batteries, spitting out a hail of dull red bolts, though these failed to have any appreciable effect on their newly-arrived pursuers: four Wendee Lee class destroyers (HSS Wendee Lee, HSS Michelle Ruff, HSS Kari Wahlgren, and HSS Karen Strassman) and a Bouken Desho Desho class battleship (HSS Super Driver).

The Super Driver and its escorts, nominally part of the SOS Imperial Navy Home Fleet, were simply passing through the Umoja Sector when they stumbled upon the Morningstar and its escorts fleeing the scene of the crime; the Super Driver, Lee, Ruff, Wahlgren, and Strassman immediately gave chase, following the culprits to Vior'la and immediately opening fire on them as soon as they dropped out of hyperspace. Of course, they had to dial down the power on their weapons in order to have a chance at actually disabling their foes; full-power shots from the main batteries would simply slag the yachts outright and turn the Morningstar into a debris field. Despite this, the sheer volume of fire was still far too much for the slaver convoy to handle; one by one, their shields failed, leaving them open to crippling blows targeted at engines and deployed weapons batteries. While the yachts went down without any fuss, the Morningstar kept futilely pouring fire from its guns at the steadily-approaching Super Driver; a single shot from one of the Super Driver's main batteries silenced the enemy guns permanently, with a follow-up shot clipping the reactor housing, damaging it enough to require the crew to shut it down just to be safe. The Morningstar and its entourage simply drifted helplessly in orbit around Vior'la as boarding shuttles from the Super Driver task force departed from their motherships and began their approach...

While a few of the Morningstar's crew were killed during the initial ship-to-ship weapons exchange, there were still enough to mount a rather stiff resistance against the SOS Imperial Marine boarders, who were now making their final preparations to dock with the slave ship. What crew members could be spared were immediately sent over to the main airlock with blasters in hand, ready to ward off the enemy; however, nothing could prepare them for what would happen once the airlock door was forced open...

The erstwhile defenders of the Morningstar had no chance. As soon as the airlock opened, a massive electrical electrical discharge issued forth from the void, followed up by a volley of blaster bolts. A few who weren't immediately cut down by this onslaught attempted to stand their ground and return fire, only to be killed themselves in very short order; the rest either cut and ran or were simply frozen in fear as the SOS Imperial Marines charged into the breach to round up any survivors for "processing." Trailing the marines was the source of the electrical discharge that opened the skirmish; while she was rather unassuming in person, the mere mention of her name was often sufficient enough to force the average pirate or slaver to surrender, and if that didn't work, a close-up demonstration of her considerable ESPer powers would more than suffice. She was Major General Mikoto Misaka, the legendary "Human Railgun" of the SOS Imperial Marine Corps.

Captain Gill, enraged by the cowardice of his crew, grabbed a blaster rifle and left the bridge of the Morningstar to deal with the boarders himself, hoping to take down a few marines in the confined corridors of the ship; however, the Marines had the drop on him instead, swiftly ambushing and disarming him before dragging him in front of their leader. General Misaka was upfront with what she wanted from the little shitbag: "Your cargo. Where is it?"

"What the fuck are you talking about, lady?!" Gill spat. "I ain't carrying no cargo! I was just leading a diplomatic convoy over from Pfhor space--"

Misaka interrupted Gill with a swift punch to the gut, the metal lining in her gloves conducting a powerful electric charge that momentarily stunned him and left him in severe pain afterwards. "What a load of bullshit," she spat back. "No civilized nations would deign to have diplomatic relations with the Pfhor! Besides, if this really was a consular ship, I'd have already met the ambassador, and you're certainly not it. Also, what kind of consular ship goes around raiding defenseless transports carrying video games to Solaris?" Misaka delivered another charged punch to Gill's gut before repeating her initial request: "Now, once more. Your cargo. Where is it?"

Gill let out a groan before he slipped out of the Marines' grasp and fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Misaka kicked him in the ribs, her steel-toed boot conducting another charge that would have certainly fried every nerve in Gill's body if he was still conscious enough to feel it. "If you haven't torn this ship apart, do it already," she ordered the Marines. "There are two reasons why people would willingly go to Pfhor space. One of them is the statuary, and I think we can guess at what the other one is."

True enough, the Marines on board the Morningstar and the yachts located their hidden cargo, along with the video game consignment that had been stolen from the Hayataka Maru. On the Morningstar itself, Misaka was led to one of the many hidden compartments on the ship to examine the "cargo"; most were humans, but there were some Chamarrans among them, along with a few Pfhor and Nar dissidents who had the misfortune to be traded to the Pendletons. "I want you to see to their comfortable lodging once they're brought back onto the Super Driver, and make sure to bring the Hayataka Maru's cargo back on board as well," she ordered the Marines as they led the slaves and carried the games off the Morningstar and onto the boarding shuttles. "Also, have an engineering crew get to work on repairing the engines, check the nav computer for a pre-programmed route to Pendleton, check to see if this ship has a working self-destruct, and call up the demo specialists. I have an idea..."



Orbital space over Vior'la
Tau Dead Sectors
T + 1 day


The fact that the "Free Republic" of Pendleton was hidden in a convoluted network of hyperspace lanes that crisscrossed the shoal zones that made up the Outback meant that quite a few starship captains automated their courses in and out of the Outback in order to reduce the hassle of having to plot everything manually; as for the self-destruct mechanism, it was to be used as an ultimate last resort against law enforcement and rival pirates, vaporizing the ship and hopefully taking its enemies along with it. Gill was regretting his decision not to set the self-destruct as he regained consciousness and found himself back on the Morningstar's bridge, fastened securely to his command chair and with Misaka's girlish visage staring directly at him. "Hey there, sunshine," Misaka sneered.

"What the fuck-- Why am I chained to my chair?!" Gill cried out. "And what are YOU still doing here?!"

Misaka responded with a charged punch to Gill's gut. "That's for me to know and for you to find out, and trust me, you'll find out soon enough."

Gill frantically looked around and saw several teams of SOS Imperial Marine technicians fiddling about with the Morningstar's controls, though to what purpose he could not ascertain. Misaka then forcibly put a radio receiver up to Gill's ear just so he could hear the following transmission: "General Misaka, repairs on the main reactors, hyperdrives, and shield generators on all ships in the convoy are complete. We've jury-rigged a new weapons battery, though we're not sure just how well it'll work. Additional fuel reserves have been installed for the trip back to Pendleton. We'll be loading the last of the modified warheads in the bulkheads shortly. They'll make for some nice fireworks once they reach their target."

"You're going to--" Gill began, but was cut off by yet another charged punch to the gut.

"That's right," Misaka responded matter-of-factly. "You and your convoy are now flying bombs. We'll let you have the radio, if only to let your slaver friends hear your cries for help. Otherwise, the autopilot's on, and all the controls have been locked; one way or another, you'll be heading home, and you'll be making a big boom when you do. See you in hell, you son of a bitch."

Misaka knocked Gill out with a charged uppercut to the jaw. "When will they learn?" she said to herself as she turned to leave the bridge.

"General Misaka, the last of the explosives are now in place. We're withdrawing now," one of the demomen said over the radio.

"General Misaka, we're done reprogramming the autopilot," one of the techs called out. "We'll be locking the controls shortly after this."

"Excellent," Misaka said. "I'll be waiting for you on the shuttle."

Misaka, the demomen, and the techs returned to the Super Driver without a further word and observed intently as the hyperdrives of the Morningstar and its entourage were remotely activated, sending them off to meet their destiny. The Super Driver and its escorts left Vior'la shortly afterwards.



Orbital space above Pendleton
Outback
T + 9 days


The repairs the Haruhiists had made to the Morningstar and the yachts were sufficient enough to allow the ships to move under their own power, though they were certainly not comprehensive; as such, they now were travelling somewhat slower than usual, and a journey that would have typically taken a few days (counting the two required to comprehensively navigate the Bannerman-Acker Gap) for ships of their size now took just over a week, give or take a couple of days. To Johannes Gill, it might as well have been an eternity; his attempts to escape his restraints had been futile so far, but he still kept struggling, hoping that he could somehow get free, get to the controls, and try to unlock them before his beloved ship went splat against a space platform or warship.

Spending over a week tied to his seat had taken its toll on Gill; dehydration and malnourishment had left him extremely disoriented and barely aware of his surroundings, though he was still able to feel the entire ship shudder as it dropped out of hyperspace just outside of Pendleton's orbit and immediately began accelerating to the best of its now-limited ability towards the planet. "This is Captain Johannes Gill of the transport ship Morningstar, requesting assistance! My ship's systems have been hijacked, and I have been forced on a suicide mission!" he called out wearily. No response on the radio, other than the usual warnings to identify himself and deviate from his present course. It wasn't before long before the deflectors started flickering, as nearby elements of Pendleton's space force started to fire on the wayward ship.

"Damn that...bitch Misaka! She said she'd..left...the comms alone!" Gill rasped. "I hope she fucking bleeds...from her damn milkbags! WHORES WHORES WHORES!"

The Morningstar continued on its preprogrammed course, with only three of the six original yachts trailing shortly behind it; the other three had gotten stranded at various points between Pendleton and the Tau sectors after suffering hyperdrive failures. The remaining three immediately went into evasive maneuvers as they tried to find targets for their kamikaze runs, but all for naught as a hail of fire from several defense platforms took one out directly and destroyed the other two by way of the resulting explosion. The slightly faster and significantly tougher Morningstar managed to absorb some of the defensive fire, but the simultaneous detonation of the three yachts was powerful enough to overcome its shields and tear its thrusters to shreds; out of control, the stricken Morningstar kept taking fire as its momentum carried it towards a particular space platform...

In its days as a trade outpost, the New Brinsmouth space platform rarely saw any foreign visitors, as there were very few nations willing to do business with slaver scum like the Pendletonians; the planetary government eventually seized it and turned it into a service and supply depot for the space force. Even with the general alert being put out, there were still a few light combatants docked at the platform, undergoing refueling, repairs, and/or crew changes; it was these hapless ships in dry dock that were being picked out for destruction, and all Gill could do was watch helplessly as the Morningstar was slowly being torn to pieces by defensive platform fire and pursuing fighters during its final approach...

"BITCHES AND WHORES!"

The Morningstar went up in a massive blaze of glory as it finally exploded just over the dry dock, taking two docked corvettes and a squadron of pursuing fighters with it; secondary explosions damaged a frigate and claimed several transports, along with another squadron of fighters that didn't evade in time. While the Pendletonians were fortunate that this suicide run didn't cause more damage than it did, with war looming over the horizon, today's losses were still great, for they would need everything at their disposal to have a chance at defending themselves from the coalition that would soon be knocking at their doors...



I ship Eino Ilmari Juutilainen x Lydia V. Litvyak.

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Phantasee: Don't be a dick.
Stofsk: What are you, his mother?
The Yosemite Bear: Obviously, which means that he's grounded, and that she needs to go back to sucking Mr. Coffee's cock.

"d-did... did this thread just turn into Thanas/PeZook slash fiction?" - Ilya Muromets

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 02:18pm
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BREAKING: Reform bill wavers after Zigonians pull support
The Sovereign Suns is live on the ground at the Sovereign Spire

Only one day before a crucial senate vote Zigonian lawmakers have pulled support from the senate reform bill. The representatives of Zigon 3, Zigon 5 and Tooramal made their decision known in a press conference earlier today. All three senators quoted opposition by his eminence Crocodilus Pontifex to the bill as their main reason for crossing the bench.

The Pope of Space yesterday in a rare public appearance called the bill “unacceptable” and “turning the concept of righteousness on its head”.

Following the defection the representative of Zedath-Kalesh announced that he would vote with the Zigonians in order to preserve the unity of the Alien Block in the senate.

As a result the solid Sovereign Justice majority of 19 over 13 senators is transformed overnight into a 17 over 15 lead by the Technocratic Radical block, who are starkly opposed to the reform bill.

With the bill set to fail to garner sufficient support to pass muster, Sovereign Justice is rumored to be contemplating a motion to indefinitely postpone the reforms. The rare rejection of a government bill is a painful snub for President Victoria Sinclair, who staked a lot of political capital on the reforms. Indeed some political analysts already speculate that this failure to pass its first significant piece of legislature might reduce the Sinclair presidency, only a month into its incumbency, to a lame-duck presidency...


Pan-Empyrean Positronics HQ
Runaway Towers, Solaris Major


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“You!” yelled the blonde-haired woman. “You did this!”

It was surprising, Sidney considered for a moment, how well her presidential fury translated across the datalink. He regarded the hologram that hovered above his L-shaped executive desk with an expression of fake amicability. “Good evening, Victoria dearest,” he drawled lazily. “I'd offer you a cigar but I don't think you're in the mood.”

“You, you insufferable-” the president was all but shouting now. “You killed my bill!

“I don't see why that surprises you.” Sidney leaned back and absent-mindedly pulled a hand through his silver hair. “After all, I told you I would.”

The features of President Victoria Sinclair were so twisted with rage that it was unlikely anyone who had voted for her would even recognize her. Her cheeks flushed red, and every line in her usually attractive face was etched with hatred. She was so ill-tempered, in fact, that she had trouble giving a voice to it. “How- why- how?!”

“How did this happen? I would think it is obvious.” A flicker of an arrogant smile passed over his face. “You were so busy watching your enemies you forgot to look at what your allies were doing. Although of course,” he added, and his smile widened. “When I say your allies, what I actually mean is that they're really my allies.” And he proceeded to outline, in excruciating detail, all the things she'd missed whilst obsessing over Saxon and her Radicals.

“You arrogant son of a bitch.” When he was done, President Sinclair looked like she was about to try to reach through the datalink in order to punch him in the face. “I'm the president,” she hissed. “The president. You think your centenarian ass can just mess at me with me like this and make it out in one piece?”

“Please,” Sidney waved the implicit threat away. “Listen to yourself. You sound like the ruddy Pfhor Emperor. Hate to tell you this, but you're not that intimidating Victoria.”

That clearly didn't do much to calm the enraged president down. Victoria Sinclair pointed a hologrammatic finger at Sidney. “You better know, Sidney. I'm not going to let this slide. I look like a farce. The degenerates on the fringe are laughing at me. I lost a ton of political capital, and you better bet that means it'll cost you. I'll be gunning for you now. One way or another I'll have your ass for this.”

“Oh for god's sake,” Sidney shook his head in exasperation. “The vote is tomorrow. You don't have the time to pressure for enough political support to make the bill pass muster. Why don't you just admit you got beaten like a girl, withdraw the bill and move on? What's with the petty vendetta all of a sudden? It's over. Don't you have a nation to run or something?”

“Believe me when I say, Sidney.” She hissed between clenched teeth. “That I can run a nation and toast your ass at the same time. You don't cross me like this without consequences. Mark my words and mark them well: This. Is. Not. Over. Yet.” And without awaiting any further reply she smacked her fist on the button severing the connection.

Sidney took a moment to look around the suprematist paintings that hung on the walls of his office. As always he found their multicolored, geometric forms strangely soothing. “That woman,” he finally said into thin air, “has serious anger management issues.”

“It runs in the family,” commented the disembodied voice of Dionysus, the omnipresent CompInt. “Be advised that based on voice patterns and neural state simulations I estimate a sixty-nine percent chance that President Sinclair might try something... Untoward. I therefore advise you to lay low for a few weeks, perhaps leave the Sovereignty for a while, until she's had time to cool down a little.”

“Lay low?” Sidney stood up and took the elevator down to the private hangar bay a few levels below his executive office. “In this moment of triumph? I think you overestimate her pique.” He stepped into the ceramic white expanse of the hangar and curtly walked to the waiting shuttle. “Besides, I have a reservation at Chinta Ria tonight. I can't cancel that – do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a reservation there? Took me weeks!”

“I know you feel elated at having pulled another political stunt, but you are not being rational right now,” the CI informed him. Its voice had seamlessly gone all-digital, and was now beamed directly to the datajack implants just behind his ears. “President Sinclair has at her disposal more than enough assets to make life annoyingly difficult for us. If she is as hostile as I calculate she is, no amount of fine dining will compensate for whatever unfavorable issues she might attempt to raise.”

“Fine, fine,” muttered Sidney as settled into one of the couches in the shuttle's luxurious cabin. The seat immediately began to squirm to adapt itself to the contours of his body. A drone approached with a tray of drinks as the shuttle lifted off from the floor, something which Sidney could only tell from the way the hangar rotated outside the shuttle's windows – any changes in inertia were completely canceled out by the craft's dampening fields. “I'll take a few bodyguards with me then, to ward off the spooky CEID assassins that you say will be gunning for me.” His tone of voice made it amply clear how serious he took that threat. The shuttle slid out the launch bay on a field of anti-gravity. He took a sip of a fruity drink laced with old-school alcohol. “Let me just say that I still think you're exaggerating though.”

As it turned out, that was the very last thought Sidney Leon Hank III would ever have. Because milliseconds later the shuttle exploded in a cataclysmic ball of fire that shattered every window within three hundred meters. From one moment to the next the smoothly curved plazsteel spaceframe simply ceased to exist, as did its sole occupant whose body was utterly vaporized by the titanic blast. To the credit of its manufacturers the shuttle's suspensors actually continued to function for a short while despite being utterly ruined and on fire, but the destruction of the shuttle's secondary powerbus and main superconducting trunk had severed power to the suspensors, leading to a full system failure six point three second after the blast. Planetary gravity abruptly regained its hold on the flaming wreck, and the luxury shuttle unceremoniously began its ten minute long fall toward the planetary surface somewhere far below.

Thus ended the life of Sidney Leon Hank III in a gigantic fireball and a plunge that seemed endless, but did in fact come to a quite abrupt and messy halt.



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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 07:57pm
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Clan hold Marrsierr, Garrm sector.

“Sister, I understand the music I really do. I even understand the games and movies, but why the chair?” Asks Chirram while waving a hand to seal them off from the common hall where the unfamiliar sound of jazz is just a bit too loud for her sensibilities.

Her Sister Misha smiles and simply adjusts her pose on the aforementioned chair and strokes the crystalline arm of it “It's pretty.”
“But it doesn't have room for your tail sister, you'll get sore.” Chirram points out, glancing to Misha's tail curled up on the opposite arm of the chair.
“It's still pretty.” Misha repeats and Chirram ear flicks at her before responding “Remind me why you're the clan matriarch and not me again?”
Misha grins and counts off on her fingers “You can't stand dealing with our vassals, dont like talking to Nerru and you'd rather get up to shameful things with humans and poke fun at me for how i do the job you have no interest in doing.”

Chirram colors faintly and ear twitches before steering the conversation back to her sister's judgement.
“you sold him every pacifier we could spare and then some though, what if something happens before we can get new ones in?”
“Relax sister, things have been quiet for weeks. And though I know you dislike the stuff just think how much favour we can gain distributing this Grrace Holaway music.”
“It was quiet cause we had so many pacifiers any workers making trouble would be stunned and detained before they managed anything, and it's Grace Holloway sister. I don't even like the stuff and I at least know the correct pronounciation, and this still doesn't explain the chair.”
“It's pretty, i'm matriarch sister..i'm allowed my perks.”

Chirram resists the urge to give her sister's ear a pinch and instead brings up a console to check on the new distribution of Pacifiers through the clanhold, hoping they wouldn't have to reallocate security to patrols. The Pacifiers may be expensive but their hovering presence was a lot less oppressive to their human vassals than armed chamarrans on the streets would be and the pacifiers were effective enough police. Chirram finds herself wondering what Elliot will do with so many of these drones now filling his hold.



STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 09:35pm
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Location: Wouldn't you like to know?
Naval Ministry Announces Detachment to Pendleton Conflict - Federal News Service

Her Ladyship's Minister for the Navy, Countess New Hearth, detailed the Ascendant contribution to New Anglia's intervention force in a press conference today. To consist of ten light cruisers and ten corvettes, the force - to be drawn from patrol forces in Firmament Sector - will be under the command of Senior Captain Gabrielle Seagrace, who has been breveted to Commodore for the duration of her mission. FNS spoke with Commodore Seagrace as she was leaving the Admiralty, new commodore's suns glittering on the collar of the Ascendancy's newest heroine.

"Press conferences are above my pay grade," she said, shortly followed by "Get out of my way," just before Admiralty security removed this reporter from the premises.

This report was submitted from Firmament City Prison, where this reporter is being detained for obstructing military affairs.



Conversion Table:

2000 Mockingbirds = 2 Kilomockingbirds
Basic Unit of Laryngitis = 1 Hoarsepower
453.6 Graham Crackers = 1 Pound Cake
1 Kilogram of Falling Figs - 1 Fig Newton
Time Between Slipping on a Banana Peel and Smacking the Pavement = 1 Bananosecond
Half of a Large Intestine = 1 Semicolon

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-08 10:01pm
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Elliot was on the phone with his boss, the primary investor of this unofficial business venture. "So far it looks like a pretty good haul, Mr. Sinclair." Sinclair's drawl came clear over the comms system, even considering the distances between his office and Elliot's improvised store.
"Good to hear, sport. I'll be sure to tell old Gracie her music makes the kitties purr. They bought everything?"
"Yes, I even sold the chair. They handed over these things called Pacifier drones. They're like robotic cops."
"Robotic Cops? They aren't going to go on shooting vendettas against old Detroit drug dealers are they?"
"What do you mean, Mr. Sinclair?"
"Nevermind." Elliot didn't share his enjoyment of Terrestrial era cinema. "Payment in goods isn't what I'd prefer. The whole point of exports is to build up our own foreign currency reserves."
"I know, but if you'd seen these thing I know you would have made the same deal. We can't make machines this small and this sophisticated, but the Chamarrans just handed them over."
"Alright. I'll take a look at your manifests once you get back.." Sinclair closed the connection, and lit a cigar. He wondered if these drones might be useful for a little project Maximilian Liddell's been working on. The Liddells were generous by nature, and gaining the gratitude of the Sovereignty's Heir Designate would be all sorts of useful.



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-09 01:23am
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Chapter Sunelis, Lochley Landing
Lochley's Retreat, The Outback



Sara stood at the railing for the upper level of the Sisters' training center. Her eyes were focused intently on Rana; clad in a sports bra and shorts, Rana was dueling with a Dorei girl of light teal complexion and bright blue hair wearing what seemed to be a tube top and a thigh-length tight skirt. Her underdeveloped ESP talents could sense the struggle of minds as well as bodies as the two fought; she found herself rooting for Rana, though she didn't say so aloud, and admired the graceful flesibility of Rana whom she, admittedly, found fairly beautiful.
A hand touched her shoulder. She looked back to see a particularly unique Sister among the Human ones present, with green hair and blue eyes and dressed in the casual robes of a Sentinel Sister. "Sister Rydia?" Sara thought she remembered the name.
"Knight-Captain Syrandi wishes to see you," she informed Sara. "Please, follow me."

Rydia didn't lead her to Syrandi's office, which Sara was familiar with. Instead it was back into the residential quarter and to the largest quarters in the Chapel. That said, Syrandi's personal living space was not practically larger than her subordinates', for her extra volume of room was taken up by materials related to her work, the kind she needed for her duties as the head of the Chapter. Syrandi herself was standing half-dressed, her purple-complexioned Apprentice Trinande Nesay fitting her into a top that resembled a corset. Rydia gave a respectful bow upon being noticed and backed out.
"Sister Syrandi, you wished to see me?", Sara asked.
Syrandi nodded. "I may have found you passage to Pendleton," she answered. "Though I am very dubious as to you going. You should let me dispatch Sisters to investigate."
"I could not ask you do waste time on such a personal request," Sara insisted.
"You do not yet fully understand us, Sara," Syrandi replied. "The Goddess speaks that there is no such thing as a personal request too small, too insignificant, for a person to heed. You seek your family to be reunited with them and to bring them into freedom; such is what our Order was founded to do, it is the work we are all committed to, even if it means our deaths. Besides... I have already secured the passage, and have given leave for them to scavenge parts from an Order ship to ensure they can make the journey. You will meet them later tonight, or perhaps tomorrow, because we have elsewhere to be."
"We do?", Sara asked.
"Lord Fisher has requested you attend this evening's reception in the Naval Station for the new Governor-General," Syrandi explained. "I will be going as well, for I must strike a good rapport with His Excellency to ensure the Order's good works are not placed in conflict with the Anglian administration."
"Ah... Well... I believe I still have that dress he purchased for me for the Coronation Dinner." She remembered that night fairly well. Lord Fisher had treated the Dinner, the celebration of King Edward XVI's formal coronation in September, as her "social debut", since she was technically a socially educated young lady whom, under his charge, was due for such an introduction. She had worn a formal ball dress of beige color, shoulder-cut with long white gloves for her arms, and a full billowing dress of lavish material. It had taken her twenty minutes to get into with the help of the daughter of Fisher's maid and she had looked absolutely gorgeous in it. "It was in my possessions when brought here."

"Then you should get into it, the reception is in four hours," Syrandi stated.
"Sister, Syrandi... if I may... might I bring someone with me? To accompany me?"
Syrandi looked at her quizzically. Trinande stepped away at this point, having fit Syrandi's top onto her successfully. "Who did you have in mind?"
"Sister Rana."
"Yes, I sense you have a growing attachment to her. But Rana is yet young, and her training to be in high soci..." Syrandi's voice trailed off as she felt disappointment in Sara, from a feeling of impending rejetion. "You may go and offer it, though you should find her something to wear. I am wearing formal robes due to my presence being official; she would be your escort and, frankly, she has no clothes to wear for such a thing."
"Oh, not to worry. I remember where Lord Fisher took me, I shall take her to buy some," Sara stated eagerly. "By your leave."
Syrandi nodded and directed her to go. She turned to where Trinande, who was grinning ever so slightly, was getting her upper robes. "And this amuses you, my Apprentice?"
Caught red-handed with her thoughts, Trinande gave a nod. "Master Syrandi, when Rana was a fellow Apprentice she and I talked regularly. I am happy to see Sara appreciates her so greatly. Rana deserves a little happiness, and may the Goddess bring them closer if it is Her will."
"Indeed," Syrandi said in plain reply. "Now, come along and finish this, Trinande, for your dress comes next..."



At the spaceport, The Goddess' Light was in an open berth for now to save funds for the Order of the Silver Moon (which, despite receiving a fair amount of donations from various sources, still had to be careful with its funds). The ship had been dormant for a time, unneeded in the last pair of months, but now it was being crawled through by Kaylee, Quinn, and Vanrya. Balthier came in soon enough, flanked by Sentinel Divija Kirmani. The New Bangladeshi woman was watching them carefully and looked rather perturbed to see Kaylee having pulled the hyperdrive apart. "Did you really have to do that?", she asked. "I thought you only needed a new phase regulator?"
"To make her fly, sure," Kaylee answered, seeming fairly irritated. "But the coils are showing heat stress, the..." She mentioned a couple other technical aspects.
"But if your relay buffers are off like that, why not adjust the coil outpout?" Divija's question prompted a surprised, if slightly pleased, look from Kaylee. Balthier allowed himself a smirk; he would have expected Syrandi to ensure a knowledgeable Sister was present. He listened to the two young women exchange remarks, Kaylee trying to be careful about mentioning the custom alterations she had made to the Strahl but, unfortunately, clearly showing their ship no longer had the standard 4700-series hyperdrives.
As they talked, though, it was clear that not everything Balthier needed could come from Goddess' Light. And he pondered that there had to be a better way to find what he needed than to force Syrandi to strip such a fine ship. "Get what you can that will work, Kaylee," he told her. "Quinn will stay and aid you." He moved down through the ship, looking to find Vanrya and bring her along to make some... inquiries.



Sara couldn't help but giggle as Rana looked around, fairly bewildered, in the dressing room of the clothing store. It was the priciest one in Lochley Landing and the only one selling formal ball gowns. It would cost Sara a fair bit - the dress they were looking at, the cheapest by Rana's insistence, was still almost £800 in cost - but the part of Fisher's prize money he had given her could afford a hundred such dresses if absolutely necessary. "I still think you should have taken the red and blue one," Sara said to Rana, "and it was only a thousand pounds."
"This is your money, Sara, and I will not waste more than I must..." Rana looked back to the mirrors with some discomfort. The dress, of violet color, made her look gorgeous. It was shoulder-less and strapless, with a bustier undergarment for support, though with less materal used it wasn't quite as billowy as the one Sara had to wear. "The reception is soon, will we have time..."
"Don't worry, Rana, I can pay for it while you wear it. Then you only need to help me get into mine back at the Chapter," Sara explained. "So, what do you think?"
"I think, Sara, that I am a Sister of the Silver Moon and, Goddess preserve me, this dress and these abominable shoes are far more than I should ever wear," was Rana's mortified reply. And it was no surprise she disliked the high-heels. "I can only ask the Goddess that Yuna and Ashe, nor my teacher Shayera, never see me dressed in this."
That made Sara giggle happily. "Oh, come on Rana, you look beautiful in it. We will have to fend off the bachelors with your beamsaber, you know." She offered her hand. "Now let's go pay for it and get back. I am sure Lord Fisher would become cross with me if I were late."
Blushing deeply, Rana allowed Sara to lead her away.



The vehicle that brought them into the base was a rented one, driven by one Sentinel Maria. Syrandi was in the front seat with Maria; her apprentice Trinande had taken the rear seats with Rana and Sara. At the gate they were waved through, all approved for entry into the base.
As they passed through, Sara and Rana seemed to be unable to take their eyes off one another. And each knew why; they could feel the mutual attraction at how the dresses flattered their figures, the way Sara's golden hair flowed in tresses down over her bare shoulders or how Rana's dress revealed her splendid figure, the full curves of her body. And everyone else in the vehicle felt this mutual attraction as well; as ESPers they couldn't help it.
And then suddenly this sensation stopped. In an instant it seemed like all five women had gone "blind", at least in their minds. The extra senses they had known for so long went dead, unable to feel or hear anything. "A null field," Rana whispered. From the feel of it the field was a passive one, meant to prevent ESP capabilities from working unless a powerful enough ESPer attempted to overwhelm the field and succeeded (or passed out in the attempt). "This feels... terrible..."
"But it is the price we must pay for interacting with the unGifted," Syrandi reminded her. "Pull us up to the Administrative Building, Sister Maria, and we will proceed from there ourselves. You may park outside the field and await our return."
"Yes Sister Syrandi."



Some distance away, Kara of the Ebon Blade glowered as she stuffed Jason Paddington's dead body into a trunk. She had not expected the anti-ESPer field to be so wide-spread, only to find one in the brig itself. Paddington had almost immediately noticed her loss of power and had, bravely, tried to take advantage of it. Unfortunately for him, Kara was trained to operate even without her powers, and she had quickly shot him dead in the driver's seat
The reception was starting soon, giving her the perfect cover. She brought up a burst transmission radio. "Are you ready?"
One of Springer's men replied immediately. "We are."
That was good. It meant that the defensive barrier facing the spaceport would be down, and she could escape quickly with her prize. She slammed the trunk of Paddington's vehicle closed and made sure her uniform looked right. This was when things got complicated.



Classical music filled the air. The attendees were orientated primarily toward naval officers, male and female, wearing full formal dress uniform. Spouses of long-term officers, as well as civil servants, were present in full formal dress, while here and there soldiers of the Royal Marines stood in their powered armor to provide security.
Syrandi got a fair amount of looks. Her formal robes of rich purple bore the insignia marking her as a Knight-Master; they were loose enough, though, to show some of her rich purple skin between her neck and where her corset-like garment began. Trinande was similarly dressed, beside her Master always, and trying not to show her anxiety at the gathering.
Rana was literally a fish out of water, looking very warily around and still getting the hang of her high heels. Sara was more familiar with high society, more as a servant-slave than as a participant though, and blended in together, accepting the offers of junior, unmarried officers to kiss her hands. It was an interesting sight to see; Rana, while not outspoken, was typically more assertive than she was now, while Sara showed a confidence rarely seen given her meek demeanor. The would-be suitors were dealt with politely but firmly, Sara making sure to be protective of her chaperone who, clearly, needed the help.

"Sara, please come here," a male voice boomed. Sara followed it to its source, the towering Lord Fisher, standing beside Syrandi, Trinande, and a lanky and well-dressed uniform who could only be Governor-General Tarkington. She and Rana bowed respectfully while Tarkington accepted Sara's hand to give it a greeting kiss on the knuckles. Fisher did the same tooward Rana. "Your Excellency, may I present Ms. Sara Pontcaire," Fisher said during the introduction. "And...?"
"Rana Shaheen, Sentinel of the Silver Moon, Your Lordship, Your Excellency," Rana finished for him. "Sara honored me by asking me to escort her tonight."
"So I see. Sara, you are enjoying the hospitality of the Order?", Fisher asked.
"I am, Your Lordship," Sara answered. "They are very generous people."
She went on, explaining what she had seen while living with them. Syrandi pondered if this was a calculated move on Fisher's part, to give Tarkington a view of what her Order was like. Though Fisher was occasionally argumentative about their activites, he had made it clear he believed the Order of the Silver Moon as a "positive good" in the Outback. Tarkington, on the other hand, did not seem convinced of that.
The subject of Sara's family came up. "You have my assurances, young lady, that the Empire shall do everything in its power to secure the freedom of your loved ones," Tarkington proclaimed. "Our mistake of the prior centuries is over. Pendleton shall be dealt with directly and placed under His Majesty's rule, for clearly they are not capable of appropriately ruling themselves."
Rana spoke up at this juncture. "Your Excellency, please forgive me for any issues I am ignorant of, but as the Star Kingdom is accepting friends and allies in the suppression, do you not think they should get a voice in the disposition of Pendleton?"
"Why would they need such? The Anglian Empire's reputation for creating order and remaining suitably impartial is well-known," Tarkington answered. "Their support in us is a trust that we will honor appropriately by ruling Pendleton with justice. It shall be a stern justice, undoubtedly, but it will be fair."

"That is all I can ask for, Your Excellency," Sara responded politely.
Syrandi moved into the conversation. "The Order would be most willing, Your Excellency, to aid you. We could go in first and give final confirmation of Pendletonian defenses, or assist in locating the innocent enslaved..."
"Your offers are welcome, Dame Syrandi, but not necessary. The authorities will handle everything." Tarkington gave her a reassuring nod. "So, you are Sindai? Which Kingdom?"
"Hargano," Syrandi answered.
"Ah, Hargano. I once went on a royal safari with Faron XXV, God rest his soul. He was a good King and a loyal member of the Empire. We...."



Slipping in had been hard on Kara. The nullifier field had effectively locked her powers down and was far too strong for her to overwhelm. Getting into the brig would be impossible this way, then, with Paddington dead and her own ID being insufficient to gain entry past the security measures.
Instead she was off to a wing of the Administrative Building. It was easier to get into with her fake ID and uniform, and security was focused on the reception as it was. She slipped easily through until she got to offices tied into the central computer.
Unlike many Ebon Bladers, Kara had an unseen partner, someone who owed her everything. She brought that partner into play now by pulling out a data drive and pressing it into one of the open ports, as if it were an old USB flashdrive in the early 21st Century. She watched as the terminal she was at blinked and created the representation of a fairly non-descript female face with short blond hair and brown eyes. "Hello Kara. Hmm.... rather roomy in here."
"No time for small talk, Nik," she said irritably. "You've got..."
"....twenty seconds before the security AIs detect me in the terminal," was the AI's answer. A second later she added, "Not to worry about that now. I'll have them chasing some program ghosts for the next hour. So, what shall we do?"
"Prepare the brig systems for my entry," Kara answered, "and plant a bug that'll take down that Altacaran null field by the time I get there."
"Doing so now."
"Okay, back in your drive," Kara said. "I'll unload you again when we get there."
"Oh, must you? It's rather... aw never mind, looks like one of those AIs is getting curious. One moment, covering my tracks." The terminal switched off. A few moments later the monitor blipped off and back on, the signal from Nikki that she was ready to be removed.
Kara smirked and removed her AI accomplice's drive, returning it to her pocket. She then took off, double-time, toward the brig.



The reception had gone on for a bit and Sara and Rana had slipped away from Fisher and Tarkington, finally. They found a secluded corner in which they could speak privately, some of the wine serving to put them at ease. "Rana, you are doing fairly well for your official social debut," Sara pointed out.
"How did you put up with these things?", Rana asked irritably.
"I didn't, I just survived them," Sara answesred, "but of course for most of them I was just Katherine's personal servant, not a lady in my own right."
"But there are no personal servants here..."
"Pendletonian high society is different. You bring a personal servant to show your full social rank. You must have one to be considered a proper Lady in society, you see." Sara took Rana's hand in her's. "But I much prefer how it is here. No servants, you come only with those who mean something to you."
"But, we just met," Rana answered. "How can we mean something to each other? I mean, I like you, I'm becoming your friend, but...."
'I don't know," Sara admitted, somewhat wistfully. "Maybe some of us find someone who just... fits with us. Who fills in the little gaps in our hearts, and we do the same for them. Like a key entering a lock, everything lining up together."
"Two people meant for one another... a pity it doesn't always happen that way in real life." She remembered the story she'd been told as she awaited her Sentinal trials, of her master's relationship as a young woman that ended up not lasting no matter how strongly she had felt on it.
"Still, it is no reason not to try..." Sara took Rana's arm. "And though we just met, you already mean..."
She stopped. Rana didn't ask why as she felt it too.
About twenty feet away, Syrandi and Fisher each had a look of surprise on their faces. Tarkington asked, "Is something the matter?", at seeing them so bewildered.
"Your Excellency, please excuse me," Fisher stated. "But we have a problem that must be attended to immediately."
"What is the matter?"
"Your ESP Null Field," Syrandi answered for him as Fisher immediately brought out a base commphone. "Someone has shut it down."



Kara's sabotage of the field returned her full range of abilities to her. Just in time, too, as she was coming up to the two-door entry to the brig. Two guards with automatic weapons were present, though they thankfully lacked power armor. Seeing her approach they raised their weapons and issued a challenge.
Kara raised her own hand and tugged with her mind. One guard lost his grip on his gun completely, the other got pulled to the floor by it by the force of her mind. Her own sidearm came up and with a pair of quick shots both men were dead.
At their terminal, Kara released Nikki again. The AI entered the isolated brig control systems and began opening them up, including shutting down the ESP suppression field dedicated to the brig. The doors ahead of Kara slid open. When the terminal monitor blipped on and off, she removed Nikki's storage drive and moved on.
There were assorted persons in the brig. Anglian personnel, mostly military, accused of one petty crime or another. She ignored them; her target was ahead, in the higher security areas under watch. Her mind sensed the coming of other guards and permitted her to lie in wait. She caught the first pair at the north wing, shooting them as they rounded the corner. The second group was as she got to the block she sought; these she took in hand to hand, snapping one neck and using her beamsaber, of pure black color, to cleave through the other's shoulder and neck.
When she got to the cell she wanted, she saw her target inside. A beautiful young woman, with flowing golden-blond hair, wearing a prisoner's jumpsuit she obviously disliked. "Katherine de la Poer?", Kara inquired openly.
The woman looked at her intently. Kara could feel her mind being probed at, the kind an ESPer attempted by habit. She quite easily deflected this habitory act. "I've come to get you out," she said simply.



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-07-09 01:38am
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Sector H:11
Hyperspace

"Why are we tailing this freighter, Captain?" asked the helmsman. "What kind of intel are we looking for?"

"We're following this freighter because Naval Intelligence thinks it will be attacked. Our orders specifically request that we attempt to find where this latest band of pirate's base of operations is. We're also looking for any clues as to the nature of the pirate base; any kind of abrasions or pockmarks caused by micrometeoroids, or perhaps some radiation scarring --brittle metals or other evidence of ionized materials-- on the hull if it's in a hot zone."

"And what our our chances of running across a pirate?"

"Oh, probably better than you might think. It's an occasionally used weak hyperlane close to shoal space. Most of the larger and older shipping companies have moved their routes to United Sectors out, farther away from the shoals, but this company is a newer one and promised faster shipping times. This lane will give that to them, but pirates know that too. " returned the captain.

"Contact! Interdiction field bearing 067 down 2." called the operations officer.

The helmsman's eyes went wide as he wondered extreme and improbable things about the captain's ESP abilties. The captain claimed not to have any, but...

"How big?" asked Captain Bhric.

Ops worked the sensor feeds from the exterior of the ultralight ICS Sussout. "We should miss the outer bit of the field by a few kilometers, but the freighter's going to run right through it and have to drop out."

"Alright, Ops, give Helm your best estimate for when the interdiction field will drop the freighter into normal space. Helm, I want you to bring us away from the interdiction field, but drop out of hyperspace right when the freighter does. We want to be close enough to see roughly what's going on, but far enough away not to be noticed."

Ops and Helm opened a private channel and started comparing notes.

"What I would like to know," said the first officer quietly, "is where they got their hands on a net in the first place. Those things are not exactly easy to come by."

"They could have captured one..." suggested the captain mildly.

The first officer tilted his head slightly to the side, then shook it. "Interdictor equipment is not known for its durability. You can't just smash and grab it. Nor are they common. And they don't just travel unescorted. I would guess that the pirates bought one on the black market. Or they got it from... somewhere else."

Someone else, more like. thought the captain. But I can't think of any local neighbors that would fund such a thing...

"How long before the freighter sees the field and has to drop out?" asked Bhric.

"I'd guess another two minutes before they see it, and about 10 seconds more before they decide to drop out."

"Alright. I suspect we're looking at a couple of pirates here, banded together to pay for this interdictor, so keep on your foot-claws and let's stay out of the way."

A few minutes later the freighter flew into the interdiction field and dropped back to normal space. The helmsman exited the Sussout from hyperspace smoothly at almost the same time, ending up a few thousand kilometers away. The local space had no stellar objects, and 4 pirate vessels were arranged in a rough tetrahedral around the interdictor field generator. They pounced on the freighter, firing warning particle beam shots across the bow and demanding she power down.

"Oh, boy. Captain, you might want to take a look at the hulls of these ships."

The captain moved to the operation's officer's station, and the first officer joined them. "The pirates are converted civilian ships, there's no doubt about that, but they're painted. Most pirates wouldn't worry about that, but these all have the same emblem painted on the side. Take a look."
Image
"Also, the weapons that have been bolted on have been done well. They don't look like hack jobs, the power emissions I'm reading are smooth and not marred by fluctuations or over-extended circuits. It looks like a well-done and well thought out refit."

"Great."

The merchant had killed its engines and started screaming for help. The operations officer watched as one of the pirate ships rolled slightly and fired a single mass driver shot. The projectile itself was too faint to see, but its effects were obvious enough, as air (and probably debris) rushed out of what was probably a hit to the cargo hold. Frozen water vapor slowly floated away from the ship.

"Merchant, shut the fuck up!" squawked one of the hostile ships. "What cargo are you carrying?"

The merchant stopped the automated distress call system and replied that they were hauling small stationary fusion power plants for use in rural areas.

"Alright," growled the same speaker, "Prepare to be boarded."

Some roughly human sized objects --it was hard to tell at their distance-- moved slowly from one of the pirate vessels in though the hole that had been punched in the cargo bay. Soon exterior spotlights illuminated the space between one of the pirates and the merchant vessel, and bulky shipping containers were being strung on a guide wire to the privateers. Other damaged shipping containers were dumped into space.

Without warning, the merchant started transmitting again. Several voices could be heard.

"Alright, we're almost done loading the fusion plants, and your manifest didn't show anything else. Who else is on this ship?" said a rough human voice.

"Just me." squeaked a frightened Iduran voice, hissing on the 's' sound as was unavoidable for his race when using English. He couldn't have been older than 20 standard years.

"And I can't find anything else in the ship's computer." said another human voice, high and lilting. "Even the porn was crap. You really have a shitty life, you know that, kid?"

"Y-yeah, I guess s-so..."

A pause. The helmsman started cleaning his hand claws with their counterparts in a nervous habit.

"What? You say the merchie's squawking again?"

"No, I didn't, I mean I'm not..."

"You really are a stupid sonofabitch, you know that?"

"N-n-no, I mean I-- Oh, no, what are you doing with that axe, nodonthitmedonthitme AAAAAAAAHHHHUGH!"

There was a sickening crunch, and the helmsman stopped cleaning his hand claws, swallowed nervously, and looked pale.

There was a strange slurping sound, like someone sliding a knife out of a watermelon, and the first voice spoke again. "Alright, let's get out of here. Th' fusion plants should work well at Cerberus. Tell Jenny she's got the juice she needs for her narco lab."

Footsteps echoed and faded, and the captain, leaning over the Operations console, watched as the pirates unhooked their cargo line and glided back to their own ship.

"Ok, Helm, we want to..."

"Follow the pirates at a respectable distance using data from Operations?"

"You got it." said Bhric

The pirate interdiction field powered off and the fragile vessel started its hyperdrive unit. Within a few moments of each other, all the pirate craft leapt into hyperspace, heading galactic south. A second later, the ICS Sussout was following in their wake.

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