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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-16 02:50pm
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Steve wrote:
HMS Challenger
Pendleton, The Outback



Shetty and the entire bridge crew could hear the first sounds of rifle fire over the comm system. The first bursts were unique to their ears, obviously the Centralists, followed shortly thereafter by the familiar sharp sound of plasma rifle fire as the Marines fought back. "We are meeting resistance," a trooper reported.

"We'll know shortly iif the crew has atmospheric suits to protect from the increased pressure," Gramm noted, watching a display show their life support systems beginning to pressuize the Datton's internal atmosphere, ticking on toward a dangerous amount of atmosphere.

"Reinforce the boarding teams, keep the medical teams out of harm's way until resistance stops." Shetty looked to McNeal. "Any way I can patch in to their ship systems and ask for them tos urrender."

"Sorry, sir. The EMP made a mess of their internal systems. The best you could do is have the Marines set their armor for external sound and transmit through them."

Shetty shook his head. He wasn't going to risk the lives of his men to deal with crazed paranoids or very tricky pirate-slavers, whichever these people really were. He turned his attention back to the comm controls and hit them again, trying to raise the "commodore" on the other ship.


CNS Datton
Pendleton, The Outback


"Someone open this door, damn it!" Forg kept slamming the door with his fists, but to no avail.

"Help!", he shouted desperately.

"Sir?" A muffled voice came from the other side. "That you?" It was Sorge.

"Yes! I'm stuck here! I need to get out!"

"It'll take us some time-"

"There is no time, Lieutenant! If you have to blow this door, do it!"

"We'll see what we can do, sir! And who fired first?!"

"The damned Blacks did! Tell the crew to stay put! I don't want any more casualties!"

"Sir!", an ensign's voice suddenly cut through. "The Black Berets executed our spy and the rescued citizens!"

Forg growled. So it has come to this.

"Alright, that's it! Tell the crew to shoot all BB's on sight! We'll make the excuses to the bosses later!"

"And the Angilans, sir?!"

"I'll deal with them! And try to get this door open!"

"Will do sir!" Both Sorge and the ensign soon ran down the hallway.

Forg scrambled to the beeping holotank, and activated it. Captain Shetty looked pissed.

"Sir, what has happened is not my responsibility. The men you're fighting now have disobeyed my orders and have signed their death warrant by shooting your men. I have managed to communicate with my Lieutenant and told him to order the crew to fight the Black Berets, which you are now fighting. They have executed my spy and the rescued citizens. As for why, I ask you to find out. I am looking forward to speak with you personally once this is over."

I am really tempting Death right now...



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-16 04:06pm
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CNS Datton
Pendleton, The Outback


"Someone open this door, damn it!" Forg kept slamming the door with his fists, but to no avail.

"Help!", he shouted desperately.

"Sir?" A muffled voice came from the other side. "That you?" It was Sorge.

"Yes! I'm stuck here! I need to get out!"

"It'll take us some time-"

"There is no time, Lieutenant! If you have to blow this door, do it!"

"We'll see what we can do, sir! And who fired first?!"

"The damned Blacks did! Tell the crew to stay put! I don't want any more casualties!"

"Sir!", an ensign's voice suddenly cut through. "The Black Berets executed our spy and the rescued citizens!"

Forg growled. So it has come to this.

"Alright, that's it! Tell the crew to shoot all BB's on sight! We'll make the excuses to the bosses later!"

"And the Angilans, sir?!"

"I'll deal with them! And try to get this door open!"

"Will do sir!" Both Sorge and the ensign soon ran down the hallway.

Forg scrambled to the beeping holotank, and activated it. Captain Shetty looked pissed.

"Sir, what has happened is not my responsibility. The men you're fighting now have disobeyed my orders and have signed their death warrant by shooting your men. I have managed to communicate with my Lieutenant and told him to order the crew to fight the Black Berets, which you are now fighting. They have executed my spy and the rescued citizens. As for why, I ask you to find out. I am looking forward to speak with you personally once this is over."

I am really tempting Death right now...



HMS Challenger
Pendleton, The Outback



The news was relayed quickly to the Marines fighting their way through the Black Berets. One of the platoons fighting its way through the ship was under Lt. Richard Crawford, a barrel-chested man from Alba who could be heard, it was said, regardless of whether his helmet comms were on or not. "No sign of any atmosphere poisons yet," he muttered through his comm link as they held cover, for the moment, at a corridor. Shots rang out from the ballistics weapons held by the Black Berets; they didn't seem as sophisticated as the Marines, but no Marine wanted to risk that the rounds would penetrate armor anyway.

Under cover fire, the Marines moved forward bit by bit. The Black Berets began to fall ahead, claimed by plasma fire due to their refusal to duck behind cover in time and to shoot at advancing Marines. "I'm hit!", a voice called out. One of the younger Marines fell, clutching his torso. There was no wound visible, but that didn't necessarily mean anything; if the bullet got into his body auto-sealants would cover the wound to protect it and prevent bleeding. "Hurts like hell, don't think it penetrated," the young Marine added.

The enemy fire slackened off; the Marines providing cover shot the Black Berets through the darkness, the depowered Datton's corridors lit up only by the streaks of green energy from their rifle shots. There was gunfire elsewhere now; a report came down from the [i}Challenger[/i] that the ship's crew was trying to fight off the Black Berets.

Crawford and his platoon continued on, the wounded man able to move; they came into the ship's holding area, near one of the atmospheric controls. "Secure the area!", Crawford bellowed, making his way into the holding rooms. There were bodies here, eleven of them. Bunched up and executed, from the looks of 'em. "Poor bastards," Crawford growled.

"Help... me!"

The voice was faint, a female one with a soprano tone. Crawford heard it, as did two of the others. They went to the pile of bodies. Shifting one of an older man, already showing gray in his hair, they found a young woman beneath him, dark blond hair and a pair of gray eyes that barely opened. Blood oozed from her belly, a gunshot wound. "This is Platoon C, we've got wounded in the holding area!", he cried into his comm lines.

There was another movement. Nearby, a medium-aged man shifted his arm. He didn't speak and his other arm was covered with blood from a torso wound. But he was clearly still alive. Two more figures under the pile showed lifesigns; though they weren't full strength. One pair looked like teenagers, a boy and girl, not yet over 15 years of age.

In their haste to prepare to repel the boarders, the Black Berets had not done a systematic one-shot-to-the-head execution; they had simply sprayed the gathered spy and rescued captives with automatic gunfire for a second and turned to fight. They had claimed at least half their victims anyway, but those in the back of the gaggle had not been subjected to direct fire. Rounds had been lodged in bones or organs or been deflected away.

At the front of the pile, Vilyn Corbas gasped for air, still alive, but just, and who knew if she'd live long enough to receive treatment.



Crawford and his platoon accompanied the armored medics as they brought those who were still alive back to the breach and, from there, to the ship. One already looked like he wouldn't make it despite the best efforts of the medic But some would.

He shook his head. The Black Berets of the Centrality had fought, were still fighting in one case on the ship's far side, to the last man. More than that, they'd killed their own fellow citizens simply for... what? To save them from the "vile clutches" of the Empire or some other rubbish? I can't imagine having to kill one of my own, he thought. It didn't seem right or proper. What kind of perverse ideology sees death as so easy to inflict?

Then he decided that waxing philosophical wasn't much a soldier's calling and turned his attention back to his men as they continued to secure the Datton.



A couple hours after the fighting stopped, a haggard Commodore Forg was brought to Captain Shetty's office. Steaming pots of tea and coffee, as well as a container of ice and containers with milk, honey, and cream were present for the Centrality officer's pick. Shetty was sipping at tea himself and looking over a report, now that the ship was back on invasion support operations. "Commodore Forg, I am pleased you decided to remain breathing," he stated, leaving it up to Forg to continue the conversation as he desired.



”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.

Moderator of SDN, Former Spacebattles Super-Mod, Veteran Chatnik

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-16 06:30pm
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Iduran Space, DesRon 3,4&7 March 1st 3400
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The smaller destroyers were on station, spread a half light minute apart and a full minute from the base station. Just barely self supporting with their best weapons. The heavy frigates were still maneuvering to station, trying to get through the wide spread destroyers while retaining their stealth. A simple but instructive exercise.

Despite the powerful and effective sensors on the destroyers it was basically an unfair exercise. They had been built to pinpoint a Battleship or carrier for their Heim space torpedoes to ravage. But finding a number of stealthy targets at more than a couple of light seconds was beyond their normal capacity. To be fair two of the 3 commodores (Cdre Willifrid and Cdre Sigibert) lead the search while the third (Cdre Vercingetorix) played them for fools, and they had gotten lucky and pinged one of the Frigates with three destroyers simultaneously, and had almost out thought the Vercingetorix and tracked his command ship Arverni only to have him escape the net the through for him.

With the Frigates on station they finally de-cloaked and requested permission to dock. Cdre Vercingetorix (who was the most senior of the three) was to prepare the patrol routes for the squadrons with his Iduran compatriots. He also had the all important ceremonial squadron clock that kept all the ships times synchronized even through relativistic maneuvers.

On board the ships of all squadrons morale was high. While this mission ultimately was a patrol mission it was a very prestigious mission, one that the crew needed.

Formation Flagships.
Arverni under the command of Cdre Vercingtorix Desron 7
Kuno under the command of Cdre Sigibert Desron 3
Ketill under the command of Cdre Willifrid Desron 4



the engines cannae take any more cap'n
warp 9 to shroomland ~Dalton

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-17 12:50am
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Location: Land of the Crabcake
Forochel
Arda
1 Hithui IV 942


Few things had changed with the passing of years, at least in terms of climate. The Ice Bay of Forochel was, remains, and would likely remain until the breaking of the world, the most northern outpost of civilized life on Arda...and the expedition was far to the north of even that. While Suri-Kyla had been transformed by long labors and a prodigious application of geothermal technology the surrounding countryside and the bay itself remain some of the least hospitable environments in which to work. Fortunately with the ice not griding away there was little danger to the searchers lest the walls of their submarine should collapse at which point death would take them faster then they would be able to form the thought.

While not particularly expansive in terms of geographic coverage the Bay was of great and crushing depth, the very sort which, it had long been felt, made this journey all but hopeless as their objective had most certainly been crushed in the depths and rendered impotent...not that such talk was dismissed but rather the hope was that the construction was such as that which had raised the tower or Angrenost in such a way that the exterior construction was still under examination for a means of which to reproduce the extremely hard outer surface.

"Debris field is coming up now."

Finding the wreckage had actually proved surprisingly easy. While the area around Suri-Kyla itself was active with geothermal vents and a large amount of sub-surface activity feeding a thriving food chain this was in the depths of the bay...and there was virtually nothing here to feast upon the remains of a wooden ship broken in the course of its journey through the iceberg pack of a powerful winter. A month had been spent using sonar mapping to find the field but given the expanse of seabed to look at this was an excellent result, now the trick was doing a closer examination, looking for objects which a view from the surface would have great difficulty picking out amidst the clutter.

"We are on the seabed...look about everybody we've got three hours to look around before we begin our ascent, so look sharp."


....



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SDNet World Nation: Wilkonia

Armourer of the WARWOLVES
ASVS Vet's Association (Class of 2000)
Former C.S. Strowbridge Gold Ego Award Winner
MEMBER of the Anti-PETA Anti-Facist LEAGUE



"I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. "
-Kingdom of Heaven

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-17 03:33am
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Galaxy News Blog

Collector trade stations close

Reports have been originating from Wild Space traders that they have been unable to dock with Collector trade stations, being turned away by automated starships. Many traders are finding themselves in financial trouble, being unable to sell their unique items, often acquired at great cost, anywhere else.

It is likely these unprecedented measures have been undertaken after destruction of station designated Epsilon Zeta, one of the biggest Collector trading hubs in Wild Space, with all hands. Rumors indicate that the attack, which killed more than 800 sentients and an unknown number of Collectors, was perpetrated by Solarian intelligence as retaliation for alleged Collector economic sabotage.

The USS government has declined comment at this stage. More on the story as it develops.

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

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Unknown location, Wild Space

"I can't believe they did that!", Legion commented to himself after logging off the datasphere. He was leeching on a comms buoy via several intermediaries, in an attempt to gather some intelligence on SchromKorp activites when he ran into the story about the attack on Epsilon Zeta, "And I didn't even have to seed misinformation!"

The disembodied voice talking to itself sounded creepy in empty corridors of the flotilla's mothership: the repurposed ore hauler was dead and silent most of the time. Empty spaces formerly used by the human crew were filled with supplies - spare parts, robot bodies, weapons, ammunition, fuel...and, from time to time, an undisposed corpse left in there as if it was forgotten by the cleaner.

Situational analysis shows this might yet prove problematic, the flotilla's hive mind spoke, this time without eerie disembodied voices nobody but the dead could hear, War will upset the balance of power we depend on.

The amalgam of several minds mulled this over for a bit, before a distinctive Scottish-accented mind decided to offer its opinion, Blimey, nobody will go ta war! Ya know how the bastards think, aye? Too much loss of life!

They do care about not slaughtering organics for some reason, Legion agreed with itself, Such quiant concerns...anyway, we have more pressign issues at hand. The base of operations has been evacuated, yes?, he asked one of his nodes, which was tasked with organizing the flotilla's relocation.

Evacuation is 90% complete as of this moment. So far, no intruders have been noted., it replied - the way one's own mind replies to a query, However, all countermeasures are in place in case the facility is boarded. There is no evidence any of the alternative staging points were compromised.

In a flurry of queries and data exchanges, the hive mind made preparations. The flotilla, now assembled in entirety, would make the jump deeper into the tangled, almost incomprehensible web of minor hyperlanes. One of nearly six thousand staging points would be selected at random, scouted and then selected as the new base of operations. For a while, Legion would operate the way he did before taking over that Batarian facility: as a mobile swarm, moving from place to place, extremely hard to track down.

It'd be done just about in time for Edgar Von Schrom to transfer the credits. Or try and call Legion's bluff - which wasn't a bluff at all, of course.

Perfect, the AI thought, admiring its flotilla from that unique, distributed vantage point afforded by the fact it lacked the constraints of a physical body. For all that has happened, its operations would only be slightly affected - and it had plenty of time to pick up the pieces.

Fortunately, space was really big, and had plenty of places to hide in.



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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: 2010-09-17 09:22am
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Neu Preußen

The Erzengel Concourse had been the site of some of the largest parades in Prussia's history, and it was going to be the site of one more. The Hussars marched proudly past, as grand and bombastic martial music played. Following them were what Reichswehr forces could be spared, followed by gendarmes, militia and finally the Civil Police. What would go down in history as the Volksland War, begun on Black Sunday was over -Prussia could now be peaceful, although a little more wary, once more.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-17 09:32am
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Greenwood Banks
Solaris Major, USS


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Greenwood Banks was one of the well-to-do areas of Solaris Major. It was prime real estate, bordering the Presidential and Senatorial Districts as well as the Shallow Sea, so it was no surprise that it was a home away from home to the Sovereignty's rich and famous whenever they were on the capital moon. Xifan Jae, Edmund DeBarros, Roman Shevchenko, Arcturus LaMerck... They all had houses here, and by 'houses' they meant entire floors of the luxury starscrapers that dotted the landscape were owned by them – an outrageous amount of space by any standard, but particularly those of ever strapped for space planet-cities.

Edgar von Schrom also owned a mansion here. It was a vast sprawling monument to the riches of his famous family, and a museum as much as a home: the Von Schrom family could trace its lineage directly back to Nova Terra in the days before the Diaspora, and the marble halls of the five residential starscraper levels that belonged to the Von Schrom family were littered with the relics of their auspicious past. Edgar's bedroom itself looked out over the Shallow Sea. It was a view that all by itself would set any man wanting to buy it back a billion dollars or more. Space was at a premium on Solaris, but possibly the only thing more in demand was a view of one of the few remaining relatively intact ecologies.

The CEO of SchromKorp had retired to bed early. Normally he would work through the night, kept invigorated by a proper mixture of medical stims and his posthuman physique, tailored specifically to accommodate his position as the executive of what was even after all its recent troubles of the Sovereignty's largest megacorporations... But Edgar von Schrom was deeply shaken by the events that had taken place at the Sirta Foundation charity ball, and had gone to bed hoping that none of his employees had seen his shaking hands.

Even in his dreams though he was being pursued by faceless metal monstrosities with glowing red eyes, demanding vast amounts of money. The CEO couldn't decide what he feared more: the wrath of the machine killer, or the thought of having to actually pay the assassin. Like all members of his family he was practically married to his money, and the thought of having to actually go back on his decision not to pay the sum he owed was almost as agonizing as the tortures Legion had promised him.

Edgar von Schrom awoke, panting and sweating, a single thought swirling through his mind: I should have never done business with that goddamn robot. He reached for the cooled water on his million-dollar bedstand, and in the process of doing so came to a more immediately pressing realization.

There were people in his bedroom.

He freaked and, thinking the robot hitman had come back for him, reached for the plasma pistol that should be resting next to the cooled water, but his hand found nothing. A female voice chuckled. “That won't be much use, Edgar. Can I call you Edgar? Hmm.” the voice seemed to consider that for a moment without waiting for the CEO's response. “I suppose I can.”

The bedroom lights came on, revealing three figures in Von Schrom's ballroom-size master bedroom. Two of them were men in black suits. They looked similar enough to be twins. Both wore sunglasses despite the fact that it was night. Their faces were utterly devoid of any expression whatsoever.

The third person in the room was a woman who wore a female version of the black suit. Her sunglasses rested atop her head. Blond hair cascaded down onto her shoulders, accentuating a pair of unnervingly large eyes and the huge, jet-black pupils therein. An ice-cold shiver crept along Von Schrom's spine.

A hybrid. There was a goddamn hybrid in his bedroom. Sweet christ.

His disconcert must have been visible on his face, because her face split in a thin smile. To his horror the two men flanking her mirrored her smile, so perfectly their faces looked like reflections of her own. “Well then, Edgar. You can call me Friday. Pleased to meet you.”

His jaws worked involuntarily. “How... How did you get in here?” It was a good question, all things considered. He'd invested billions in security, and that was on top of all the money his father and his father's father had pumped into making the Von Schrom mansion an unassailable stronghold. Apparently that still wasn't enough to stop CEID, because that had to be who this 'Friday' was working for.. And apparently she considered it unnecessary to elaborate on how she'd gotten through a small army of bodyguards, because she waved away his question.

“That's really not important right now Edgar. Wouldn't you agree? Yes, I'm in fact quite positive you agree.” Her voice echoed in the massive bedroom, the CEO noticed, which was odd because the room had been designed specifically not to echo. What was also odd was that the echo had a strange quality to it, like the crackle of a badly tuned radio.

Then he realized the echo was only in his head. Jesus Christ, this woman was rummaging around his head. Shock, fear and outrage briefly vied for dominance in his mind. After a brief struggle outrage won. This hybrid freak-

He hadn't formed the thought or Edgar von Schrom felt his face and head go cold, and a terrible pressure began building up in his neck. His eyes began to freeze, and at the same time his heart seemed ready to burst into flames. He tried to gasp for air, but found that he could not. With mounting horror he looked at 'Friday'. Those huge eyes of her were fixed intently on him. She was smiling, her lips barely turning up. The CEO felt scared on a fundamental level he'd never experienced before. He knew he was dying. This woman was somehow squeezing the life right out of him, and there was nothing he could do about it. And somehow he knew with absolute, horrible certainty that if he died right now, there'd be no miraculous come-back. There'd be no backup, no clone body waiting for him. For all his usual arrogance, in that airless, freezing moment Edgar von Schrom knew he was dead. CEID wanted him dead, so he was dying. It was as simple as that. Images flooded his mind, a replay of every conversations he'd ever had with Legion. He realized they were his own memories, dredged up from his mind by the woman that was slowly killing him. He tried to move his lips but could not speak. Even if he could, there was nothing he could think of to say.

His vision turned into a blurry tunnel. He felt his mind slipping, sinking away into oblivion.

Edgar von Schrom felt the telekinetic grip loosen. The arterial blockage in his throat abruptly released itself in a bruise-colored flush into his face. Oxygen flooded into his blood-deprived brain. Air found its way to his lungs. Gulping, gagging and choking the CEO of SchromKorp collapsed on his bed. It took him a minute to gather a modicum of composure. He felt alone, alone and horribly vulnerable. And somehow he knew that was exactly the intended effect.

He looked at the woman in the expensive black suit. She was smiling again. So were the men beside her. “Well, Edgar. It was a pleasure. I got what I came for,” she stood up, and tapped her middle and index finger against her temple. “Now, pay careful attention to the following.”

Then she was in his head again. With his mind's eye Edgar von Schrom saw two scenarios playing out with the absolute, vivid clarity of recent memories. In one, he did not pay off Legion. In that future he continued to live. In the other, he did make the pay-off. Even though that satisfied the robotic killer, it did quite the opposite for CEID. With no small amount of terror Edgar saw a number of things 'Friday' and her employers would do to him, do to his mind if he made the payment. Although he caught only glimpses, they were still very nearly enough to make him wish she'd choked him to death. He collapsed onto the bed again, clutching his head, half-conscious and weakly moaning something incomprehensible.

Edgar von Schrom never saw the CEID psion and her bodyguards leave. But long after they were gone he could still hear her telepathic voice echoing through his head. “We'll be in touch, Edgar.”



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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

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: 2010-09-17 09:54am
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Code:
CODE GROUP ECHO ALPHA JULIET NINER
---URGENT URGENT URGENT---
  --PRIORITY RED--
   -PROBE ZBT43X-

Hyper transit detected vicinity Zeta sector, Collector space.
Mass signature analysis two repeat two Monoliths w/escorts.
Vector...larian...auser...

<transmission interrupted>



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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: 2010-09-17 10:56am
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Sector H:12, Pirate Outpost 4

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Code:
Length ................................................ 15.8 m
Maximum diameter ...................................... 4.15 m
Habitable volume ...................................... 90 m^3
Weight (wet) ....................................... 18,900 kg

John Tauritz sighed and rubbed his eyes, spinning himself slowly in the nearly-zero gravity as he pushed himself gently away from the computer console. Eyes closed, he mentally swore at the old, spaceworn habitat module he was trying to retrofit into use. The blasted thing was a part of an abandoned science station one of the pirate haulers had dragged in.

He swore out loud as his head collided with the outer wall with an audible thump. "Motherfraker!" he exploded. "I'm a computer technician, not a damn aerospace engineer! How in Thor's name am I supposed to hook this thing up?"

But of course no one answered him. He was alone in this cramped space, stuck in a tiny habitat next to a small sensor tower and communications array. The whole thing was attached with crude rockbolts to a mini 'roid out on the outer edge of the asteroid field.

Fuming, he went back to the specifications sheet, trying to figure out how to connect power and life-support to a piece of junk nearly 300 years old.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-17 01:23pm
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LIGHT OF UNGENTLE WRATH, Light of Bragule-class subcruiser, Wild Space Sector V-27

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Universal Galactopedia wrote:
The Light of Bragule is a subclass of the Friend of Bragule class, a stripped down version built solely with the intention of creating a planetcracker doomsday weapon. The Light of Bragule foregoes much in the way of conventional weapons in order to house a set of enormous missiles and a very robust hyperdrive. Ships of the class are expected to linger in asteroid belts and other remote locations with most of their systems shut down and their crews suspended in cryostasis. The ship computer is set to receive a coded hyperspace signal once every week; when this signal is interrupted for more than two weeks the ship will assume the Bragulan Star Empire has been annihilated, wake up the crew, and set them to their task of revenge. Typically this involves hypering toward a pre-selected target planet and unloading its missile batteries (loaded with enough atomics to cause a worldwide extinction event) before kamikaze'ing into the nearest target of value. It is believed most Light of Bragule class ships are aimed at targets in the Sovereignty.


The subcruiser lingered in the nether regions of Wild Space, at the edge of a star system whose sun had long since gone nova. The primordial cataclysm had ionized the surrounding oort-nebula, turning it into a giant cumulonimbus cloud in space replete with thunder and lightning. This ion storm and the turbulent tides of solar wind that ravaged the system had the consequence of making it off-limits to would-be space prospectors and colonists. Even travelers stayed clear of the system as they passed through Wild Space's myriad hyperlanes.

It was there that the Light of Ungentle Wrath hid from the prying eyes of the Sovereignty. There it lurked, crew sound asleep in cryo-hibernation, safe in the knowledge that their ship and its arsenal of strategic weapons would drift undetected. The only access it had to the galaxy beyond the ion storm that engulfed it was a towed array that was dragged by a nanotubule fiber optic wire countless of kilometers in length. It protruded out of the ion storm's clouds to observe the outside universe, the buoy on its end festooned with a myriad passive-aggressive sensors and communications gear listening to the music of the spheres.

In the ship's command vault, doomsday protocols encoded in lead-lined magnetic tape cassettes spun while supercomputers bleeped and blooped, awaiting mighty Bragule's next hyper-encrypted burst transmissions. Atomic clocks ticked and tocked, for should the transmission not reach the subcruiser in the designated time, the ship would wake its sleeping crew and then they would know what to do.

There was one who did not sleep with the rest. He was the one who watched the watchmen. He sipped his recaff, getting some on the big bushy beard he had grown in his indefinite shift, and leafed through an ancient paperback novel, Byzon's Little Green Book. Crews of Light of Bragule-class subcruisers, which had the Solarian reporting name 'Brag Boomer', were provided with a proverbial library of ideologically-screened reading materials to take with them on their years-long deployment. For this watchman, he had read the Light of Ungentle Wrath's library of congress-sized tape cassette library. Twice. It was no wonder why crews of the Light of Bragule class ships would come out as some of the most well-read, erudite and knowledgeable Bragulans of the Space Fleet.

The watchman looked at the doomsday clock, noting how many more hours he had left till it struck midnight. Then the call of Bragule would come, as it always had, then the shifts would turn over, it would be someone else's turn to play watchman and he could finally get some sleep. Or, maybe, this time it would not and he would have to wake all his crewmates and set course for their designated destination. Their target. Tannhauser.

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But until this happened, Bragule would keep on calling them, staying their hand from pushing the big green button. After the clock struck midnight, it would be morning again. After all, Bragsday doesn't happen until Byzon says it happens.

One of the spinning magnetic tapes suddenly stopped. It clicked. Then the cassette began to whir as the tape was rewinded. An analogue supercomputer began emitting a series of clicks and clacks with its mechanisms, while the digital one started bleeping in a rapid morse code-like succession and the multi-color lights on its panels flashed in strange patterns. The watchman jumped to his feet and ran to the computer, grabbing the printout just as the machines spat it out. He read through it, skimming the various codes and symbols written on the papers, dreading that the day had finally come. But this wasn't it. It was something else. The protocols were modified. Strange. The protocols were never modified. But that was what the computer told him. The graph said so.

He had no choice, because there was no choice. He woke up his comrades.

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They did not waste time. Though hung over from the defrosting and still bleary-eyed from the hibernation, they scrambled immediately out of their pods. They were still naked, having not worn clothes in cryo, but they didn't even stop to get their uniforms out of their lockers. Immediately they tore off their feeding and breathing tubes, pulled out the catheters inserted in their other orifices, staggered out and went to their stations, sitting themselves in front of supercomputer consoles, sensor banks, fire control stations, and command units.

The watchman showed the printout to the commander, who examined it thoroughly and went into deep thought. Sixty seconds passed, and the doomsday clock's minute hand moved closer to midnight. The commander straightened himself on his command chair, looking thoughtful despite his lack of clothings.

"Communications, set deep-penetration frequency encryption."

This time, they would be making the call.



Image Image Image
shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-17 01:38pm
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Location: At the Helm of the HAB Star Dreadnaught Star Fist
Imperial Armed Forces High Command flash transmission

To All Units

In the name of the God Emperor, I, the son of the God Emperor, commands that all forces will be on full alert and mobilized. All leave is cancelled and all personnel are expected to report to their duties effective today. Alert Level 5 shall be maintained while Operation Saber Shield commences.

For the God Emperor!

Signed,
Belisarius Komnenos
Strategos Primus
Warmaster of Imperial Armed Forces



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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: 2010-09-17 02:40pm
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VANAGRADHEIM, Kirensk Mid-Sector, Bragulan Star Empire

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MEGALITH 04 - Imperial People's Military Maritime Space Fleet Regional Command Center

Under the massive bunker complex that would make the Himalayas of Old Earth look like an anthill, the Space Marshals of the Bragulan Star Empire gathered to discuss the latest developments in the nine vectors of the known universe. Unlike the last gathering, the only one physically present was the most senior of the Space Marshals, Great Admiral Brznvnye Lyeonyd. The rest were present only through teleconference - where their heads were shown in telescreens, telescreens that were seated in their chairs.

"The Space Marshals of the Imperial Navy begins their discussion," Great Admiral Brznvnye Lyeonyd declared, his magnificent mustache ruffling slightly as he made his pronunciation. "Space Marshal Krpchnkvy, as the puny hew-mans say, 'what's up dog'?"

"Even more disturbing news, Great Admiral." Marshal Krpchnkvy replied from his telescreen. "Our operations on Majella have faced complications."

"Majella can take a shits for all I care!" Brznvnye growled. "It's a shitworld. A petty little fleet action, just the usual unpleasantries with those puny Sovereignty hew-mans! What is this I hear of them atomizing a Collector trade station?"

"Ah, they implicated the machines in a string of crimes in their country," Krpchnkvy explained. "So they sent a disguised ship laden with anti-matter into the heart of the Collector trade station and detonated it.

One of the overhanging telescreens showed footage of the Rogue Trader ship docking inside Epsilon Zeta Trade Station in Collector space. Shortly after, there was a bright white flash and the station promptly exploded.

"The footage was obtained by IBGV's surveillance ships in and around the area. They estimated casualties in the station itself to be in the high thousands, counting only the traders doing business in that station and not the Collectors themselves, because machines aren't people. If we count the livestock the traders brought with them, the casualties would be significantly higher." Krpchnkvy commented. "After the explosion, the President of the Sovereignty issued a warrant of annihilation to the machines."

"Ah, how very Bragulan of the Solarians." Brznvnye chuckled. "Were any Bragulans lost in this explosion?"

"No. Not Imperial ones. Trading with the Collectors is considered consorting with the enemy of the Empire, and without license it is punishable by extreme de-education. Any non-Imperial Bragulans there trading with the machines would be guilty of ideological impurity and summarily combusted, anyway. The IBGV's watchers were 'human resource' assets located in orbiting trader ships used by the Bureau."

"I see. The Collectors didn't take it lightly, did they?"

"Nyet. One of our Light of Bragules in Wild Space Sector V-27, the Light of Ungentle Wrath, detected two Strategic Monoliths in straight trajectories predicted to bring them into Sovereignty space." The telescreen began displaying the sensor data of the Ungentle Wrath. "They transmitted this to us."

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"Where exactly are they headed?" Brznvnye inquired.

"Tannhauser, Great Admiral." Krpchnkvy smiled. "If the predictions are right, this may very well be the Second Battle of Tannhauser Gate."

"So the Collectors beat us to it," the Great Admiral muttered. "Damn metal motherfuckers, I was looking forward to going back there one day to see the C-beams glitter again. So, the Sovereignty response? Have they cried out for their allies like an unweaned cub looking for its mother's teat?"

"Yes. Multiple sources, including Ungentle Wrath have intercepted transmissions to and from the Sovereignty and her allies. The Byzantinians are mobilizing significant fleet assets, twice or thereabouts the size of the force they marshaled at Janus."

"You can always count those Byzantinians to join in on any party." Brznvnye chuckled again.

"Counting our estimates of Sovereignty fleet strengths plus Byzantine reinforcements, the humans will probably have more forces ready for the Collectors than what was arrayed against the machines at Pendleton." Krpchnkvy continued.

"Of course. Koprulu Zone Rules, Vigos. Did you expect anything else?" the Great Admiral asked rhetorically. "Either way, this will make things interesting. I want to hear what the other Space Marshals have to say before forwarding to Bragule our recommended reactions."

"I say we let the humans and the Collectors crush one another!" Space Marshal Gralkynvch grumbled, bellicose and big stomached as he was. He barked a mean chuckle. "Then, afterwards, we can take advantage of the situation and pounced on the loser. Or the victor. Or both!"

"Wise words, my friend. Wise indeed." Brznvnye nodded his head. "What else say you, Space Marshals?"

"We should mobilize our fleets and position them from their Bragulewards position towards the shitwards borders," small-stubbled Marshal Brachtsknv said. "This will be most prudent in case of an outbreak of galactic war, safeguarding our borders. But it will also force the Collectors, the Solarians and the Byzantinians to secure their own boundaries - they will not be able to throw everything they have at each other, it will keep them off balance, watchful and wary of our menacing presence. As they well should be."

"I see, that is a very logical course of action," the Great Admiral nodded his head. "Everyone should be watchful and wary of our menacing presence."

"After the Collectors and the humans have smashed themselves to pieces, we should finish the job. At their sad state, surely we will bury them!" pronounced Admiral Krznytskhtv. "Then finally we can carve the Koprulu Zone into the image of Bragulanity, as is right in the universe. Then they will all learn to fear the name of Byzon... again!"

"If only the fiery conviction of your spirit could be placed in warheads, Admiral Krznytskhtv, then we could launch it at Solaris and burn billions of people alive," Brznvnye guffawed. Then he became silent, ponderificating what all the assembled Space Marshals had said, mulling it in his brains before coming to an ultimate decision:

"Still, based on your esteemed counsel, my comrades, I have come to a decision. As the Collectors, the Sovereignty and her Byzantinian allies come to their inevitable conflict, we shall wait and bide our time until the moment is right, and when the fires of their destrucity simmers amidst their mortal wreckage, we will hang above their remains like a proverbial Sword of Bragocles. When the time comes, and it will, we shall be the ones to decide their fates. For now, we wait, and mobilize our fleets towards the borders to remind these curs the true nature of things. I shall forward our decisions to Bragule - so that the Imperator Byzon can make his ultimate judgment of the cosmos."


Result:

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They would unleash the Bragulan fleet. Again!



Image Image Image
shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
Pink Sugar Heart Attack!


Last edited by Shroom Man 777 on 2010-09-17 02:45pm, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-17 02:40pm
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Location: Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Holding Area, CNS Datton
Pendleton, The Outback


Captain Lagus Xader of the Black Berets walked back and forth, watching every now and then the huddled mass of people that was looking anxiously at him. His harsh glare was enough to give anyone goosebumps.

Anyone but Vilyn Corbas, that is.

"Cap, do you mind sitting down? You're becoming an eyesore."

A frustrated Xader looked at her.

"What, walking is bad for your sight now?"

"Ask them." Corbas pointed to the citizens on the other side of the room.

"Hey, who do I look like, a babysitter? The only reason I'm here is because the Commodore had the bright idea to select me to be the guard. Why he didn't chose you is a mystery to me."

"Maybe because you are the big, intimidating guy?"

"Hey! Strength is a Black Beret prerequisite!"

"But does that mean you can think?"

Xader grumbled.

And remember that I can hear what you think. So be careful if you want to avoid trouble.

Xader's face was full of shock.

"Aw, no. I get to room in with a telepath..."

Corbas smiled. "Then you better get used to it."

Xader simply said "Hmmpf!" and walked away.




Result: Part 1 of the BB's POV.



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-17 03:15pm
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Force Lord wrote:
"My government is not known for it's friendliness. Firstly, our leadership believed that telling you about our citizens' fate would end up, in the long run, discrediting their rule. If our people thought that our government was incapable of mounting a rescue itself, then it would lose their trust.Secondly, our leadership believed that collaborating with you in order to rescue our citizens would be seen as uncharacteristic of the Centrality's expected conduct, creating suspiscion. Finally, we were prideful. We thought that we could execute this operation ourselves, without being detected, despite our inexperience in such operations. But now I see myself sent here to take that ship back to safety. A ship whose commander was ordered to self-destruct it with himself, his crew, the rescue team and the rescued citizens aboard or at least gas himself and everyone inside if captured. Given that, in our last communication with that vessel, it was parleying with an Anglian ship too close for it's self-destruct to work safely, before we lost contact, I'm sure that the latter option will be used, if only to deter the Anglians from boarding."

"As for your offer, I will go myself, so that everyone knows that our intentions are serious. My only hope is that we arrive before the Datton's commander takes the fatal step."


HCNV Paktu
Edge of the Bannerman System, The Outback


"Very well Admiral Kordis if you would shuttle over to the Kuun-Lan she will transit through the Gap at the best possible speeds. I will also instruct her captain to allow you to transmit a message to Datton and the Anglians."

A little while after the Admirals had finished their conversation a shuttle carrying Admiral Kordis docked with the Kuun-Lan. As soon as the shuttle had docked the battleship wheeled around and with a brief blue flash dissapeared into hyperspace, her drives straining as she pushed the maximum safe speed through the treacherous shoals. It wouldn't be long before Admiral Kordis reached Pendleton and would hopefully be able to reach an accord with the Anglians and avert bloodshed.



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"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldier will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"
LT. GEN. LEWIS "CHESTY" PULLER, USMC

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-17 04:29pm
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AL-KAR, Wild Space Sectors X-26 and Y-25

The world Al-Kar lay between the Bragulan Star Empire and Karlack territory. So precise was its positioning that it was directly on the neutral zone that served as boundary between the brutal totalitarian regime of the space bears, and the infested space of the chittering chitinous hordes of the arachnidoid swarms. It was the perfect place to have an 'embassy', if you will, for where both Karlacks and Bragulans could meet.

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The Golden Throne Cathedral to the Emperor of Man was once a shining tabernacle to Him on Terra's majesty. Pilgrims once visited this world to seek its great altars and healing pools of sanctified spring water. There were relics on this world, holy shrines and artifacts from antiquity. It had been one of the great religious sites of Byzantine Orthodoxy.

But then the Karlacks came. They ate the pilgrims, infested them to the core, and when the Imperium came to attempt to save its precious shrine-world, they were met by a combination of Karlack bioships hungry for more flesh to fuel their biologic processes, and an Imperial Bragulan fleet intending to clamp down on what they had seen as human imperialists on their way to violate Bragulan space. The resulting three way battle saw the repulsion of the Byzantinians, and the subsequent forging of an alliance of convenience between the Karlack Swarm and the Bragulan Star Empire. Bear paw and creature tentacle signed treaties of allegiance underneath a night sky filled with the space hulks of wrecked Byzantine warships.

Neither side particularly liked each other. Like any sane sentient species, the Bragulans saw the Karlacks as a horrifying species of space monsters bent on eating everything and everyone in the cosmos. That was because the Karlacks were horrifying species of space monsters bent on eating everything and everyone in the cosmos. In return, the Karlacks saw the Bragulans as nothing more but meat, more organic matter to be consumed by the Swarm in its drive for biologic perfection. Yet both sides were beset from all angles by common enemies - humans - and so, the alliance of convenience. The Bragulans, enemies to all human nations in the K-Sectors. The Karlacks, likewise, and because human meat tasted way better than the radiation-contaminated flesh of the Bragulans (and also because the pollution levels of Bragulan worlds were hostile to even Karlack organisms).

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Now, centuries later, the Golden Throne Cathedral to the Emperor of Man's gleaming spires were buried in creep, the pulsating organic blanket that connected all Karlack organo-structures with each other. Strange and obscene organoids grew from the earth, profanating the sanctified holy sites with their obscene appearances. Tendril-tentacle roots snaked across the ground, chitinous spinal things basked in the sunlight, and strange insectoid creatures scurried between the ruins.

For People's Department of Limited Foreign Interaction and Human Affairs diplomatic liaison Gaem Boran, this was his worst nightmare. He and his entourage of shocktroopers, serving as bodyguard, stalked through the infested temples with a mix of apprehension and horror. Similar emotions, really, which made the mixture homogeneous. They took comfort in the fact that their necks had explosive collars like those used by de-education inmates, except they weren't ideologically incorrect scum but were ideologically correct servants of the Imperator, so in visiting Karlacks they were allowed to have exploding necklaces that they could trigger easily to grant them the Imperator's mercy - should ever the horrific creatures try dragging them away for infesterization, or worse.

These collars had the standard plastic explosives, and more. Namely micro-nuclear explosives concealed in the massive medallions that dangled from the collar chains. It was a pain in the neck, but such was the extent of their armamentation - and paranoia towards the Karlack creatures.

They also wore personal protective equipment, in the form of military-issue nuclear-biological-chemical suits proof against Karlack infestation spores and their vicious viral vectors. Just in case.

Sure, they are our allies, but doesn't stop me from wearing full body armor and showing up at our meetings with a contingent of heavily armed guards and a fleet of battleships. Precautions, you know? Gaem Boran said this once. Now his brain was saying it again. It barely reassured him.

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Then they were greeted by a Karlack warrior, an Expendable as the Bragulans designated them, or in Solarian/Byzantine terminology a gauntlinglisk. It peeked around the corner and went 'hi', which was actually more like a 'boo' that actually sounded like 'uuuuurrrrllllaaaaaarrrrrggghhhhhh!'

Verily did Gaem Boran crap his pants. His suit's diapers took care of that. The Karlack gauntlinglisk hissed as though sneering at him. Maybe it smelled his excrements through his sealed suit. That would have been bad. The gauntlinglisk turned around, and knowing what to do, Gaem followed it. He had done this before, many times, but it never got old. 'It' being the horror. The only thing that got old was Gaem himself. His furs were turning white from fear. After coming to Al-Kar and meeting Karlacks so many times, he was certain he would end up looking like a Polar Bragulan by the end of his career.

So they entered the Cathedral itself. Statues of the Byzantine Emperor were defaced by creep-tentacles seeping into his nose, mouth and ears, making him look like he was crying and spitting out slime. There were tainted glass windows, where the only unmarked and un-blasphemed figure was the God-Emperor's daughter Princess Alyxia Komnenos.

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The gauntlinglisk left them at the center of the Cathedral, under a ceiling that was the inside of a vast dome. Above them were great portraits of the Imperial Family, the God-Emperor and his children, and his Astartes. Only Alyxia's form was not profanated. Only Alyxia.

Gaem Borran sat himself down. His shocktrooper guards remained standing, in high alert, just as tense as he was - if not more so. He allowed himself a moment of relaxation. He wasn't here to fight the Karlacks, nor was he here to get eaten by them. He was here to talk with them, even if most people in the galaxy would consider that ridiculous, insane, impossible and dangerous. Still, talking was talking, and diplomacy was diplomacy. Gaem tried to gain some composure.
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At least the chairs were comfortable, Gaem noted pleasantly.

Soonly a new presence entered the Cathedral. A skittering sound as the carpet of smaller bug-like creatures carried it above them, bearing its massive bloated weight. Gaem turned to face it and, with each and every time, could not fail to feel a sense of revulsion upon seeing its humongous giant worm-like form.

If it had not been for the brain-implants to protect his thoughts, Gaem would've thought that the Karlack Aspect would be offended if it read his thoughts. But it couldn't read Gaem's thoughts, so he thought about it all he liked, focusing on the repulsive image of the Karlack Aspect creature. Its many beady compound eyes, its ugly faceless face, its corpulent form, the fact that it couldn't even move itself due to its sheer mass, and its preferred form of communication which Gaem knew he would soon see.

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The Aspect stared at him.

Then there were screams. Not from any Bragulan, but from a human. Gaem steeled himself, knowing what was next. Warrior bugs brought a man into the chamber, and despite the human's flailings the creatures forced him to kneel before the Aspect. The Karlack brain bug then reared up and brought forth a wretched proboscis from its inhuman approximation of a forehead.

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The man - an Imperium Inquisitor of the Ordos Xenos investigating the aftermath of Janus before having an unfortunate encounter with Karlack gene-eaters in a space hulk - quivered in womanly fear. He knew what was coming next. Everyone did. Before the man could even yelp, the Aspect brought the sharpened tip of its proboscis down into the man's skull.

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It sucked his brains out.

The Aspect consumed his thoughts, as though drinking juice from a stripey straw. All the man's memories, all his life, his thoughts, his dreams, everything that he ever was, all of it was absorbed and assimilated by the Aspect. Then the Karlack regurgitated the man's brain matter back into his own cranium.

"Welcome..." the man droned mindlessly. His voice was not his own. It was the Aspect's. "The Karlack Swarm bids you greetings, Gaem Boran. May the Bragulan Star Empire prosper, and may your Imperator Byzon spawn many broodlings. May they be numerous and belligerent. Now let us discuss matters. Did you receive our message?"

"Yes, we have." Gaem presented the Aspect with a paper. Written on it was the message the Karlacks sent Bragule.


TO: The Bragulan Star Empire

Remote Wild Space probes detect two Collector Monoliths en route to Solarian space. Large scale naval deployment by Solarian and Imperium forces has been confirmed. Their intention appears to be interception of Collector vessels.

Our enemies are vulnerable.

Recommendation: Immediate launch of offensive operations against Solarian and Imperium targets. Karlack Broods already mobilizing.

Awaiting confirmation from Bragule.


With shaky hands, the brain-sucked puppet Inquisitor took the paper and read it. Then the Aspect sucked his brains out again with its proboscis, which was still attached to his head. The Aspect digested what the Inquisitor had read, and what the Inquisitor had heard the Bragulans say. Then the Aspect regurgitated the Inquisitor's brain back into his skull, and with his brains back the Inquisitor replied with the words of the Aspect.

"What does Byzon say?"

Gaem ticked slightly at the fact that the creature did not address the Imperator with the proper honorifics. Creature or no creature, even disgusting brain-sucking monstrosities had to address the Imperator by his title. But Gaem let it slide. After all, he was a diplomat, and creature or no creature, he had to be polite, even to disgusting brain-sucking monstrosities who failed to address the Imperator by his title.

"The Bragulan Star Empire has moved its fleets to its borders, mobilizing in preparation for a myriad of contingencies. The Imperator Byzon will await the result of the humans' confrontation with the machines before judging the fate of the Koprulu Zone. He advises the Overmind do likewise."

The Aspect took this in by taking the Inquisitor's brains back into itself, before spitting the grey matter back into the human's skull together with its answer.

"The Swarm will take the recommendations of your Imperator. We shall see what devastation the machines bring upon man's folly. If the machines make the God-Emperor of Man bleed, people will cease to believe in him. There will be spores in the air and then the Swarm will come."

"So, we agree to be ready, and react accordingly should the opportunity rise?" Gaem asked, clarifying.

The Aspect again sucked the Inquisitor's skull clean, processed the information, and vomited the man's brains back into his head.

"Yes. We are in agreement. Go now, Gaem Boran. Go in peace with your Empire and Imperator. May death come swiftly to his enemies."

With that, the Aspect detached its proboscis from the Inquisitor's skull. The human fell to the floor, eyes rolled back into his head, and mushed-up brain matter leaking from the huge hole on his head. The warrior bugs dragged his corpse away while the Karlack brain bug exited on its carpet of roachling carriers.

Gaem Boran and his bodyguards were left behind. Gaem looked down and saw the trail of blood and brains the Inquisitor had made when they dragged him off to Imperator-knows-where. He shook his head, thankful it was still intact and all the brains were still inside.

"Let's get the fuck out of here."



Image Image Image
shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
Pink Sugar Heart Attack!

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-17 10:49pm
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The Hierarchy Council, Chamarra Prime

The incidents on the planet of Tarlierr had not gone unnoticed. And so it was that Queen Kara Kithandra, monarch of the Hierarchy, entered the council chambers and made her way to her cushioned dais, settling into the familiar comforts and taking a moment to hide the visual tells of her troubled mind.
“I call upon the Hierarchy Council.”
Slowly the other eleven spots on the ring glowed, flickered then coalesced into projections of the Matriarchs of the noble clans, between them those attending this room held the fealty of billions.
“The Hierarchy Council heeds your call Kara.” They replied, their holographic images slowly getting equally comfortable on dais lightyears removed from Kara's own.
“I call upon the Council to discuss the subversive resurgence on Tarlierr.”

“Your majesty, it is not a concern for the council. This movement was crushed previously with only local forces and can be again.” Chirra of clan Doon says, quick it seems to defend her jurisdiction over her clan holdings.
“Yet you have not done so as of yet Chirra, you cannot reach a compromise with them you know. Their ideology calls for the complete destruction of our social order.” Tiamarra quips from across the circle.
“I am not seeking to negotiate with them. It is just that their activities are troubling and require proper investigation. I believe they may have recruited Chamarrans into their movement in order to be able to achieve what they have.” Chirra replies.
“Chirra, this is outlandish. Why would Chamarrans seek to overthrow a society built for the betterment of their own kind?” Tiamarra continues, clearly trying to get to Chirra..and why not, they've been called to discuss a minor incident on one world.
“I believe Chirra is correct.” Kara said and suddenly everyone was taking things a little more seriously, the queen continueing “The Hierarchy may have been formed to give preference to our own kind, but it can no longer give preference to all of our kind. I ask you all, how many clans are there now that do not even have the fealty of humans?”
The council was silent, truth was there were no exact numbers but everyone knew this problem existed and taking that silence as an affirmation the queen concluded with “These are the ones who are susceptible to these subversives.”

“I call for Chirra to immediately crush the movement and take steps to prevent its resurgence.” Tiamarra said, while Chirra scrutinized the rim of her Dais. Chirra then looked back and smiles
“And what of the ones in your own territory Tiamarra?” she retorted and continued “It seems you're one of the few here who is not aware of the popular support this and other subversive movements have in their own territory. Active cells like the ones on Tarlierr are incapable of operating without support from a much larger section of the populace. I will crush the subversives once i've found their collaborators amongst our own kind and not before.”
In the silence as Tiamarra is temporarily unable to produce a comeback due to a sudden desire to consult her aides the queen speaks once again.
“I am afraid we face a time of unrest Matriarchs. The humans have grown dissatisfied with our works and now seek to bring chaos to our society. With their numbers and the help of their Chamarran allies I fear they could do so. We must find a solution to the dissatisfaction of both, that is why I called the council.”
“We could of course go to war. It would rally the humans if we planned it right and any casualties we sustain would only serve to redress the imbalance in our society that has led to these clans becoming dissatisfied.” Massan of Neru spoke, more to put the obvious idea out there so it could be dismissed..however.
“If it comes to it yes we may have to, but we cannot be a society at war forever and thus the humans would once again become unruly.” The queen said. Though Chirra stated with amusement “Why not? The Bragulans manage just fine even when they're not fighting anyone.”
“Be that as it may we are not Bragulans Chirra, and regardless I would prefer to consider war to be our option of last resort. The last one was somewhat messy.” the queen says and then waits for someone to suggest a solution.

“We could hook the lowest ranked clans on 'nip?” one of the Matriarchs suggests.
“Nip is a problem all of its own, we would be replacing one issue with another. We prevent its import for a reason and I find it 'convenient' that you're the one suggesting it Nin.” Responds Chirra.
“It is not like you have never suggested a proposal that would benefit your clan over the others to the council Chirra.” Nin replies and ear flicks before continueing “And yes, if unregulated Nip could be a problem. But we're regulating it and I believe with the recent zeal for militaristic extension of our jurisdiction our associates on the periphery would find it problematic to independently trade in Hierarchy space even if we establish a market for them.”
“The idea.. has merit. Do any of you have further concerns over this? Chirra?” The queen says consideringly, looking across the ring of matriarchs slowly.
“Only that we are plotting to sacrifice our own people your Majesty.” says Chirra and then sighs “But it's better than going to war. So unless a better idea comes along.”
“How will we afford to import nip in bulk though? We're already acquiring Chironian jewels without a matching export, I don't think any of us want to return to being in debt to the banks of Nova Terra.” Tiamarra says when the queen's gaze gets to her.
“I have already considered that, Soostones I believe have some value on the blackmarket but more importantly. I understand since the Pendleton incident the demand for infantry weapons and explosives have shot up, we have excess production to spare.” responds Nin smoothly.
There's a few seconds pause while the Queen waits for any other concerns to be raised.

“If this plan meets the approval of the Council then we may have at least a method to mitigate the dissent of the least clans in the Hierarchy. And for the record Chirra it doesn't sit well with me either to sacrifice our people, but we exist to make these decisions for the greater good of the Hierarchy.” The queen says, Chirra tailflicks and suppresses the retort that it's not them doing the sacrificing really..and so the meeting continued.
“And now what of the humans?”
Tiamarra looks up from conferring with a few other matriarchs “I believe we may have a solution there as well. As you know we've never cultivated a cybernetics industry, however I believe by cultivating a limited one now we can solve this problem. Clan Eshe has acquired the requisite expertise and technologies through our ties to the Commonwealth.”
“Expertise in Chamarran personnel I trust. Where are you going with this Tia?” asks Nin, voicing the popular concern of those matriarchs not privy to Tiamarra's little faction conversation.
“I was getting to that. In short your Majesty, Matriarchs of the Council, I propose the employment of behavioural modification chips to curb the human dissent. With suitable support we can have the production lines moving in six months.”
“You realize of course that if this becomes widely known and substantiated the humancentric societies are liable to condemn us for this action?” Nin says and looks for support for this worry. The Queen looks deep in thought, mulling it over before saying to Tiamarra.
“Elaborate, and address Nin's concern cause it is of paramount importance.”
“Thank you your majesty, Nin's concern is one we share which is why we did not simply import the chips in bulk. We would only use the chips to suppress disloyal memes in the subjects and thus the visible effect would be minimal, we do not require full lobotomization to prevent them supporting a subversive movement. This coupled with a limited roll out of the chips and our regulation of information traffic and medical scanners should allow us to keep this a secret.”
Kara mulls it over for a long while.
“Your proposal is satisfactory. You have the support and permission you require, this is ultimately a matter of foreign relations and thus falls under my jurisdiction. The Hierarchy council is returned.” says Kara and slides off her Dais, leaving the room as one by one the holograms flicker and fade away.

A little later, Hierarchy Palace

Kara looked out the Window as she so often did, just to remind herself what she was responsible and what her predecessors had built. Hundreds of steep sided pyramids piercing up through the wisps of clouds their ranks marching all the way to the horizon. Glimpses of the lesser structures and transport tubes teeming at the base of each caught through the cloud cover, and the Hierarchy had built this all. Their most expansive city built here around the Palace as a symbol that they could match the splendour of the elder nation's great metropolises.

“Sister.”
Kara turned from the view to greet the newcomer and smiled upon hearing that familiar voice.
“Mela, welcome home.”
“It is good to be home. How went the council meeting?”
“Well enough, we have solutions...but they trouble me.”
Mela was silent for a moment, reading the expressive chamarran body language of both the supreme matriarch of the entire Hierarchy and her dear sister. And decides that Kara isn't ready to share, and she can get the transcript later “We will discuss them over wine later, walk with me?”
Kara nods her Assent and they start to walk the periphery of the royal level of the palace, something that could take hours were they to do the entirety of it.
“How's Shiran and that project you're cooking up?”
“Shiran is well, though I have not visited him in person this trip. The project though, well as you know our diplomatic efforts to acquire information on the Monolith's has been of limited success. Shiran says he needs indepth scans of at least one monolith and cursory scans of two in order for the bomb to have a chance of working.”
Kara nods “Have you been able to take care of it?”
“I've deployed royal assets to advantageous positions. But the problem is how to provoke a Monolith appearance. We lack convenient means and I doubt any other nations would be that crazy.”
“If watching this galaxy at work has taught me anything Mela it's that you can never overestimate the ability of people in power to do the unwise.”
“Too right...you want to talk about the meeting now?”
Kara hesitates then nods and they start moving into the interior of the palace “Yeah. Mela, we're resorting to using Nip...”

The HSF 'Sneakily Does it', Periphery of Collector Space
The worst thing about this mission in Arri's opinion was that it involved a metric ton of waiting around, but you couldn't relax properly. Here they were on the Collectors doorstep, a lone vessel in the night with the nearest of their sister ships lightyears away strung along the periphery, if discovered they would be surely be faced with either capture and dissection or overloading the Hypertap. Faced with that the fact that the Blade was the stealthiest warship the Hierarchy had ever designed and currently near enough invisible to sensors was very little comfort. Still they had a job to do, even if she still wondered whether command was high on nip when they told the stealth squadrons to go 'hunt monoliths and fire probes at them', to paraphrase the orders down to their simple roots.

“You win again Callahan, no surprise there.” she says and leans back from the hologram projector as it turns from the game board back into an abstract pattern of interconnected and spinning rings. Callahan was considered a little quirky for having that as the way he chose to represent himself, but ultimately it did no harm.
“Any luck decoding that transmission Callahan?” Arri asks, uncurling from the Dais and taking a few steps through the cramped interior of the cruiser's command deck to stretch.
“Negative shipmistress, my decryption skills are formidable but you are putting me up against the work of Solarian CIs.”
“Pity. Considering the transmission strength it must have been important, I would of liked to have known.”
At this moment an alarm starts beeping and derails Arri's train of thought, not an outright 'oh shit' alarm but still quite an insistent one. “Someone tell me what we just picked up.” Arri says, moving back to her dais swiftly. One of the sensor operators seemed about to speak so Arri turns to look that way, but the report instead comes from Callahan, his rings flashing softly.
“Hyperspace signature detected. Mass signature and course indicates at least 1 Collector Monolith 100% probability.”
“Inform the pack. We shall move to pursue. Callahan, plot us a course, we'll inform home once we're clear enough of the Shoals to patch into the Hypercomm network.”
And so it was that a dozen near invisible hyper signatures started worming back through the maze of lanes, their twisting courses struggling to converge on the straight path forged by the Monolith contact.



STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-18 02:01am
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Royal Palace of Fynn, Altair
Planet and Kingdom of Fynn, Sector X-13
21 February 3400



When Zara was conscious again she sat up. Daylight poured through the window; it was one of the guest rooms in the Palace. Wireless bioscan machines were showing her heart and brain function, beeping steadily and lowly to show everything was fine. Her robes were gone; Zara was wearing a gown instead, the front opened up to show the wound still on her that was now bandaged and healing.

She turned her head. Hilda smiled at her, holding Zara's right hand in her own hands, dried tears still around her eyes. "Hilda...?"

"Save your energy, Zara. It was a close thing yesterday," Hilda murmured. There was something different, Zara could see. Hilda's ponytail was gone; her hair was loose and cascaded around her shoulders in curls. She wasn't in her Order robes either; instead she had on a rich-looking blouse and dress, very formal looking...

"What happened?," Zara asked. She could remember the shot, throwing herself in front of Hilda as it came... but everything afterward was a blur.

It was a blur, at least, until her mind and Hilda's began to meld together. Hilda's thoughts filled her in on what happened, the assassination attempts... and their partial success. "I'm sorry for your loss, Hilda," Zara murmured. "Your father was a great person."

Thank you. Hilda put a hand on Zara's face. There's more though...

More?

Yes. I... have to tell you about Druni...


Chapter Mattan, Outside Altair
Planet and Kingdom of Fynn, Sector X-13



There were only three cells in the entire Chapter, placed in the building's spacious basement levels. They amounted to a cot, a sink, and a closet with a commode in it, as well as a sitting mat and some books in English written by various old Masters of the Order. As of now, these three cells had one occupant.

Druni simply looked at the cell door. More than looked, she downright glared at it. The books were nothing interesting for her; all she had to do, really, was glare at things, even if there was nothing to glare back.

The cells were for girls who had misbehaved and had been told to go through a Rite of Contemplation. Everything in the Order was a 'Rite', Druni mused irritably. The traditions and ceremonies of the Order did much to shape and determine the lives of the women in it, her included.

In this case, however, she was not actually performing a Rite. Confinement was also maintained for Sisters who were to be given Judgement on more weighty matters. In her face, it would be for using fire and electricity with her Gift.

True, pyrokinesis and electrokinesis were very dangerous forms of ESP, but the Dorei had an especial dislike for them. Or rather, the nations of the Lushan and the Tryni and the others of the two main continents. They associated worship and veneration of fire as corruptive, something that heathen polytheist Sindai did. Sure, fire was a useful tool, but it was not deserving of veneration and was to be feared. This had spread to perceptions of the forms of ESP when the Gifted first started appearing in Dorei populations; throw in the fact that badly-controlled pyro and electro could cause damage and fatalties, and it was the perfect setup for the social pressure to not develop them as capabilities, at least outside of specialized groups.

There was movement at the door. It opened and Druni looked up to see Knight-Captain Bianca. She looked down at her with a gentle expression. Humans were not quite so disapproving, at least usually, but the Silver Moon was still a Dorei institution in tradition and ceremony. "Sister Zara is awake," Bianca informed her. "She wants to see you in the morning, when the doctors will permit it."

"To vent anger at me, I imagine," Druni answered. "I did what I had to. You know that, don't you? If I hadn't, we'd all be dead."

"I agree, to an extent," Bianca said. "But you would have never been in that position if you had not recklessly attacked them. You had other options; you gave in to blind anger and acted foolishly."

"Someone had to stop them!", Druni retorted. "They were getting away! I had no time!"

"You had no time to call for the city police? To follow them without attacking and lead the authorities back to them?" Bianca sighed and shook her head. "Remember that we operate, as we do, on the sufferance of governments. You cannot simply attack someone on your own without specific circumstances, instead you must cooperate with local authorities. You did not. We are all very fortunate that you did not cause any deaths." Bianca turned away. "I sense you're not really thinking about all this, though. You realize that you could be..."

"...removed from the Order? Yes, I do."

Bianca sensed her thoughts and sighed. "And I see there's a part of you who doesn't mind leaving, though you still loathe the thought of Ejection."

"I don't know. We'll see what happens," Druni answered quietly. "Will I get to leave this cell?"

"Not until your Judgement," Bianca answered. "That is the standing term of the Code."

"I see." Druni swallowed. "I'll see you in the morning then."

"Yes." Bianca left the cell and closed it behind her.

There was a part of Druni who thought of exploiting this tomorrow. Once in the Palace, she could renounce the Order and refuse to accept confinement. The laws of nations still applied, after all; a Sister allowed the Order to confine her, or punish her, a a condition of being part of it.

So you would be gone from the Order. What then?! This is why Zara is so angry with you now, you never think!, the calmer side of Druni's mind insisted. Just stay here for the night and meditate. You can talk with Zara about things tomorrow.

And so she did.


Caroline Palace, Cornelia
Kingdom of Cornelia, Arabica, Sector X-13



The Caroline Palace was named for the progenitor of the House of Cornell, Queen Caroline I. It was an ostentatious palace located adjacent to the defunct Assembly Building, where the suspended National Assembly and Chamber of Notables had once met. The city of Cornelia, the oldest human habitation on the planet Arabica, surrounded them. As the planet had required minimal terraforming upon settlement, it had been settled during the Diaspora in the 23rd Century, what little terraforming needed to sustain a Human-friendly biosphere and environment being completed during the following century. Other settlements had come since, of course, but the Kingdom of Cornelia had ruled the Cornell Continent since before the Feminist movement of the Valkyrates had even landed, and when the initial el-Janari settlement of Bhagra was capital of what was, at the time, a minor Sultanate. Through the Third Millennium the Cornelians had dominated the planet, ruling not just Cornell Continent but parts of the Janari Continent as well.

But years of decline had set in. Various parties had influenced events on Arabica, paving the way for the el-Janari to drive Cornelia off their continent. Settlements in the island-continents of New Denmark and Scythia had been lost to the Valkyrate. Even then, the Cornelians had enjoyed the upper hand, manipulating the traditionalist Velerian Muslims of el-Janari against the fairly misanthropic, feminist-ideologue Valkyr.

It had not lasted. The unpopularity of King Stephen I, the self-proclaimed "Stephen the Great", and his aggressive, dominating Government had inspired a Republican Revolution in the nation. A Civil War had erupted in the 3380s and the other states on the planet had gleefully aided the Republicans in laying low the proud House of Cornell. In the end, after a furious battle at Plattsburgh had broken the Royalist cause, the leaders of the Government had felt no choice but to accept the division of territory.

In one fell swoop, three quarters of Cornell was now under the Republic of Cornelia, as well as almost all of their off-world holdings (sans ten mining asteroids and planetoids). The Kingdom, it was feared, would never recover, and the King slid into madness. The economy began to crumble, even the most loyal Royalists came under Republican temptations...

Finally, the King, in a pique of maddened rage, had his entire Cabinet shot for incompetence and treachery. Officially he took direct control of the government; unofficially he delegated it to his daughter and heiress, Sara, to "teach her how to rule". In his mind, the best way to rule was to stamp out the slightest inkling of rebellion with overwhelming force, to wantonly execute men and women for the slightest perceived offense against the Royal Family, and to prepare for revenge and the restoration of the Kingdom to its former height (preferably with every single official fo the Republic shot in the process).

Fortunately, the "student" proved a wiser ruler than her "teacher".

That's not to say Princess Sara was a kind, loving woman who would be a gentle and benevolent Queen. She had the blood of a tyrant and she showed it. The difference was that where the King believed in applying brute force to problems, she believed in surgical precision. An execution here, an office-shuffle there, a whispered hint over here... The interesting thing was that it worked. As the de facto head of the Government, Princess Sara had actually begun an economic recovery for her struggling realm. In the process, she had settled herself into the reigns of power, such that her father was little more than a figurehead who blathered orders to servants and commanded the executions of people who would, quietly, be re-assigned to offices distant from the Palace (at least until Sara could convince her father to give a royal pardon).

Some might ask the Princess (well, if they were feeling suicidal) why she didn't just have her father declared mad, unfit to rule, and have herself made a full Regent (or better yet, Queen). The truth was that Sara found her father's continued seat on the throne Useful. He was the Sword of Damocles she could hang over intransigent heads in the countryside gentry or urban elite. If she left power, her father would re-assume it. And heads would roll... literally.

For what it was worth, Sara took a long-term view of the issue of the Republic of Cornelia. Namely, she wasn't convinced it would survive. The Republic was having severe teething issues as a young state. Regional differences that could once be balanced by the Crown now stayed out in the open, with the central government having difficulty balancing interests that could contradict one another easily. There were even rumblings in border provinces and coastal ones where economic links with the Kingdom were still strong that could see them vote to willingly rejoin the Kingdom (though for the moment it was clear they would demand the Assembly being called to session, and Sara wasn't looking to do that for some time). As such, why waste money on an unsustainable military buildup to try another war when she could wait them out and get the economy going?

So when her father asked, she gave lip service to military reconstruction, even as she arranged to keep it stood down to save money for more useful purposes, like rebuilding cities damaged in the war, giving subsidies to needed industries and agricultural producers to keep them viable, financing intelligence and counter-intelligence operations (As well as an internal security apparatus that, while nowhere near to the scale or scope of the IBGV, was still intrusive when it wanted to be), funding education...

And assassinations. Those too.

One thing that did hit Sara's button, so to speak, was failures due to incompetent mistakes. Honest mistakes, mistakes born of lack of critical information for the decision maker, were excusable. Incompetent mistakes because the decision-maker was too lazy to think about things or to follow through stoked her rage. And that, precisely, was the emotion she felt now.

Earl Hertham, the Secretary of Security, blanched openly as he was brought before the Princess. Hertham kept his dark brown hair short and immacutely combed, going well with a face that was decent enough in appearance and not easily caricatured. He was physically fit though now in what was now called the "Silver Century" - age 175-275, when the body entered and progressed through middle-age - and smartly dressed in gentleman's jacket and trousers. He was a fairly successful man in his own right, a loyal lieutenant of the King and owner of a successful group of farms and ranches in the vicinity of the town of Hertham (hence his title). Now he was standing before a girl less than a sixth his age and felt his knees shake.

Sara was beautiful, there was no denying that. Long, cascading red hair descended to her bare shoulders - Sara found a shoulderless gown to be comfortable in the summer months of Cornelia - and framed her face, which had a decent width to it (wide cheekbones were hereditary to the Cornells).. Her brown eyes looked plain, but she had a way of using them to drill into your very soul (and to spark terror in it if she was in a dark mood). A physical fitness regimen she stuck to kept her body toned, though she was more on the solid side than trim.

Of course, Sara was also dangerous. Growing up with a mad father, one who had already exiled or even ordered the assassination of other family members, had inculcated that in her. But instead of becoming mad it had honed her ability to make judgements and manipulate to a razor's edge. It had made her the power behind the throne. And it meant that when she was angry, you didn't want to be the target of that anger.

"What. Happened?" The words from the Princess were those of cold fury.

Hertham took a moment to find his voice. "We are endeavoring to find out, Your Highness. The orders I transmitted were very clear. Hilda was to be the primary target, not her father."

"But the damned assassins didn't see it that way, did they? Wasting a damned bullet on the King before verifying Hilda was hit?!" Sara stood and leaned over her desk at him. "I want an investigation, Hertham. Along your entire chain to the contact with the assassins."

"Yes Highness."

"I will have Royal Security provide you with assistance in this," Sara continued. "In case there is any institutional... issues."

Hertham gulped. Though Secretary of Security, his portfolio in Cornelia was the foreign intelligence and security service as well as the gendarme. Royal Security, the Kingdom's internal security force, was under the direct control of the Head of the Government - Sara - through a Director of Royal Security, a fairly vicious man of the commoner urban elite named Jacob Green. They had their own Gendarme force, the Royal Cornelian Watch, and were responsible for dealing with internal dissension and disloyalty. Their power, in truth, superceded all others.

Without letting Hertham answer in the affirmative, Sara continued. "I'm sure your office will be cleared of any wrong-doing, Earl. Now please depart, I have other business to attend."

Hertham couldn't leave fast enough. As he passed the exit door, he saw a striking sight. A beautiful woman, with long brown hair and a pleasant face with exquisite, lovely curves, walked by him. She was wearing a tight leather suit that left little to the imagination of her figure, while on her waist was a single prod of some sort. For some reason, the woman gave Hertham a great deal of fright.

Once in Sara's office, the woman stated, "You asked for our services, Princess Sara?"

Sara appraised the woman closely. "Lady... Beatrice?"

"Lady Tabitha, Your Highness," the woman stated pleasantly. "Lady Beatrice has been sent on another assignment."

"I see." Sara felt the woman probing gently at her mind. She smirked. "Normally I would not call upon you for these kinds of things, you understand. I don't like having outsiders poking around my nation if it can be helped."

"If it gives you any comfort, my grandfather was Cornelian," Tabitha cooed. "Or, at least.... I was told he was," she added thoughtfully.

Sara ignored the forced wit. "I have a situation," she said. "My orders were altered in transit. It's not a communication error, it's too clean to be one."

"I'm guessing you were behind the assassination of King Charles of Fynn?", Tabitha asked pointedly. "You know you're going to have to tell me for me to do my job."

"Yes." Sara's response showed she didn't actually like this. "And you understand the pay being offered your organization is meant to buy the strictest silence?"

"Naturally. We take care of our clients," Tabitha cooed.

"Very well. Yes. I ordered an assassination of Crown Princess Hilda," Sara stated. "To prevent her marriage to the Grand Duchess of Tyconia."

Tabitha nodded. It did demonstrate Sara's analytical mind very well. Some who sought power were very short-sighted in it. "What benefits me now?" Sara had the vision to look to the future; a future with Tyconia and Fynn unified under a common dynasty was not one that fit with her interests. Tabitha, to continue the conversation as she desired, noted, "Your assassins shot the King instead."

"Oh, he was a secondary target. King Charles backed the Republican rebels, after all, and Fynn still sells surplus military equipment to them and advocates for them in Westminster," Sara continued bitterly. "But the Princess was to die. Instead she is Queen. The marriage is scheduled for later this year and both nations' security services are on guard. My opportunity is passed. Someone interfered with my plans, intentionally. I want to know who. I can't trust Hertham's investigations; his organization may very well be compromised. Royal Security can only do so much and I can't risk their being compromisd as well. I need an independent agent looking into this."

"Of course you do," Tabitha said. "And I shall be discreet. I imagine you will have relevant records made available to me?"

"Yes. I will." Sara reached into her desk and produced a data disc. "My original orders and the various links in the chain that were to get them to the contractors. I would like a... swift resolution to this, if it is possible. But above all else, I do not want any indications of my involvement to leak."

"Of course, Your Highness. We are known for our discretion in these things. By your leave?"

"You know how to reach me if you make progress. And yes, you may go."

Sara watched Lady Tabitha stroll out. She could feel the malevolent energies crackling off the woman. Working with her wasn't entirely what Sara liked, but if her security services were compromised she needed to know.

And when it came to getting information, there were few organizations as capable of getting it as the Ebon Blade.



McMeistervaterburg, The New Gayman Islands
United Enclaves of Gilead, Hobbs, Sector X-13



The city of McMeistervaterburg was the capital of the New Gayman Enclave in the Gilean nation, settled by gay men immigrants from Shroomania in the 28th Century when Hobbs' terraforming was completed sufficiently to permit an outdoors society - the city was named for the financier of the settlement, a former Shroomanian PM from a family with a long history of dedicated service to Shroomania. Soon the twenty northern-most islands of the New Gaymans chain were set aside for an Enclave of gay men while the twenty southern-most islands, as well as a coral reef, were set up as the Sapphos enclave (their dominant demographic being fairly obvious). The islands' economy, both enclaves, centered around tourism; single homosexuals from around the known galaxy coming, if they had the money at least, to enjoy life in a tropical paradise, surrounded by warm beaches and members of their fellow gender and preference (usually scantily-clad) in a society where laws were, suffice to say, quite open.

In the town square, not far from the airport - McMeistervaterburg lacked the space for its own spaceport, so it was connected to the main continent of Gilead by air and sea - the Lord Melchett Resort Hotel catered to the middle-class clientele visiting the city. Men of all ages and body sizes walked about, some alone and some holding hands with another, going about their business to enjoy a holiday, honeymoon, or whichever it was they were doing.

Nobody really paid much attention to the thin, wiry young man who went up to a room. He carried himself like a foreigner, but that didn't mean much; plenty of young gay men settled for a time in the Gaymans, if they had the cash (or were willing to work occupations to make the cash). That he was fairly well dressed, a bit overdressed in fact, stood out only a tiny bit. Some people were better adapted to warmth, after all, and he might be a new arrival who hadn't yet changed clothes.

The fellow entered a room. He set up his computer to the free hypercom connection available in the room. After which, he took his head... and pulled it open.

Well, it was more like moving the side away like a flap. Locks of hair, the ear, and flesh around it slid open like a door, revealing nanocircuitry bundles and a data port. The figure attached a direct line from his computer to the port. He stopped breathing since he never needed to in the first place and began to circulate through the Datanet.

The CompInt Blue 4 moved quickly to the isolated server space in the Datanet, within the jurisdiction of the United Equatoreal Federation (made up of the equatoreal islands of the planet). He enjoyed being free of the confines of the android body, though he would never let his peers see that. All must sacrifice for the Future, after all.

Blue 4 found Blue 2 waiting for him. Blue 2 was the lieutenant of his cell in the organization. He was a serious CompInt... well, 'calling Blue 2 a 'he' was a stretch, Blue 2 actively enjoyed switching genders when uploaded into android bodies. He felt it was limiting to CompInts to limit themselves by organic gender when they were, often enough, neither. Everything happened according to plan, Blue 2 noted. The marriage will go on regardless of the interference and, if it is discovered, the Cornelian Royalists will get the blame. The Organization's role remains quiet and the Future Plan remains intact.

Yes, Blue 4 agreed. Things went much better this time. No collateral damage.

Do not speak of that. We can't let word of our involvement in the Incident spread, Blue 2 reminded him directly. The Organization is keeping a lid on it lest the other Chroma find out. It would ruin morale.

We should have been more careful, Blue 4 lamented. Anyway, now that the deed is done, what does the Organization desire of me?

Nothing yet. Continue your cover by enjoying your vacation in that... place. We will expect you to return to New Hope for a direct conference at the end of next month.

Understood. Blue 4 carefully disconnected, making sure to leave the customary fake browser trails as he did so. When he was done, he disconnected his android brain from the computer and closed his skull. He looked Human again. It was time to ensure his cover was kept, so he began looking over the list of available escorts before deciding to cruise for a date the old-fashioned way. It was not his first time indulging in these organic things; he found them quite interesting, and even enjoyed interacting with the organics. Well, outside of the bedroom anyway; he thought of fluid exchange as a disgusting organic thing.



”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: 2010-09-18 10:40am
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Neu Preußen

Reichskanzler Hoffman looked at the reports, they were worrying. The Collectors were moving, and if estimations of their capabilities were correct...the League could well be the next nation to taste their wrath. The Karlacks, enemies of the Byzantines, were rumoured to be acting and so were the Bragulans, enemies of the Sovereignty. But he couldn't go to war, the Volksland Affair had already marked him out as a warmonger to his citizens, but for every voice attacking him, there was another praising him as a man of action. And that reputation had to be maintained.

He had to be calm, but then he already knew what to do, stay neutral for the beginning and then fight for the Sovereignty's side. He disliked the Bragulan Empire, what a horrific nation of slaves - Germany, ancestor nation of Prussia, had been that once, and never wanted to be one again. And as for the Collectors and Karlacks - well, the Prussians sometimes went into Collector trading stations, but that had been stopped anyway. And the Karlacks - the word that leapt instantly to mind was 'abomination'.

The die was cast.

He was going to aid the Sovereignty and Imperium.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-18 11:28am
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Quote:
PRIORITY HYPERWAVE BROADCAST FROM IMPERIAL PEOPLE'S MILITARY MARITIME SPACE FLEET HQ BRAGULE

> TRANSMITTED VIA VANAGRADHEIM RELAY
> > DECRYPTION SEQUENCE CODE ID: *********

MESSAGE BEGINS

GENERAL FLEET BROADCAST
> SIZEABLE USS, IOM, AND COLLECTOR FORCE MOVEMENTS DETECTED CONVERGING ON SEC U-27 / USS PRIORITY SECTOR B7R 'TANNHAUSER GATE'
> > IN RESPONSE BRAGULAN SPACE FLEET ALERT CONDITION SET TO BRAGCON 3.2
> > > 70% MOBILIZED BRAGULEWARDS ASSETS ARE TO INITIATE MIBO (MINIMAL INTERVAL BRAG-OFF) AND ASSUME BORDER SPACE POSITIONS

SUB-ENCRYPTED MESSAGE TO SELECT FLEET ASSETS
> STRATEGIC FLEET UNITS LOB-1 THROUGH LOB-8 ARE TO ENTER MAXIMUM READINESS LEVEL AND PREPARE FOR FINAL CONTINGENCY INITIATION AT ANY MOMENT'S NOTICE
> > LOB CREWS ADVISED TO REVIEW BRAG END PROTOCOLS
> > > MAINTAIN CURRENT POSITIONS AND FULL SILENT MODE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

GENERAL ALERT TO ALL BRAGULAN FORCES
> ANTICIPATE FURTHER MOBILIZATION OF HUMAN FORCES WITHIN AND WITHOUT K-ZONE AREA
> > PREPARE FOR SUDDEN AND RAPID UNPREDICTABLE ESCALATION OF BOTH HUMAN AND NON-HUMAN FORCES IN AND AROUND K-ZONE AREA
> > > SPACE FLEET ASSETS ARE AUTHORIZED TO RESPOND TO ANY AGGRESSION DIRECTED TOWARDS BRAGULAN ASSETS ACCORDINGLY WITH MAXIMUM PREJUDICE AND STRATEGIC WEAPONS USE AUTHORIZED
> > > > FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS TO BE RELAYED AS SITUATION DEVELOPS

MAY DEATH COME SWIFTLY TO YOUR ENEMIES


Image


Fist of the Imperator-class battleships Fist of the Emerald Star, Right Fist of Byzon and Left Fist of Byzon initiate Minimal Interval Brag-Off near Bolshaya Chernovyi (Sector X-27) together with other Bragulan warships



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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Last edited by Shroom Man 777 on 2010-09-18 11:50am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-18 11:45am
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Location: At the Helm of the HAB Star Dreadnaught Star Fist
Jenova
“What do you mean? Are you telling me this rust bucket of bolts is barely holding itself together?” roared Tyrus. He was speaking to the head of the engineering team that was trying to repair the ship systems.

“My Lord, the trouble with most non-Imperium technology is that it isn’t as durable as Imperium technology. The damage from the missiles fired at the ship apparently did substantial damage throughout the ship. There are fractures in the superstructure, and shock damage to the main reactor. If you ask me, we should simply get out as much as we can, and attempt to tow the ship to the nearest drydock for repairs. And this might interest you, my Lord, I think this ship is Shinran in origin,” said the Engineering officer.

“Shinran!”

“Yes my Lord. But definitely not official. The ship’s sensor stealthing system is definitely some pirate jury-rigged system. So I do not believe this is an official Shinran ship. Likely purchased from Shinran space.”

Things were falling into place. “Those damn midgets below have sympathizers.”

“It would appear so, My Lord.”

“Good work, officer. I will make note of you and your team’s contributions. Repair the ship as much as you can. We need a bit more time.”

“My Lord, I have to warn you, the ship started drifting off during the last power failure. Apparently, one of the thrusters malfunctioned and exploded, sending us on a course to the neutral zone.”

“Can’t the other Urban cohort patrol ships tow it?”

“They could try. But I warn you, we have less than 15 mins before we reach the neutral zone. The ship is quite fragile in some places, and in such cases I would recommend a dedicated tug to move the ship to dry dock, or procure a larger ship to bring it into its own hanger for repairs.”

“That will take too long. The Imperial vessels here don’t have a directed gravitic drive, and they will take more than 15 minutes to get here.”

“Yes My Lord.”

“In that case, get your team to the docking shuttle and make yourselves useful. Grab as much equipment to the vessel. The Bragulans are trigger happy, and no amount of explaining to these damn deaf and stupid bears will stop them from pulling the trigger.”

“Aye, My Lord.”

Turning to Jaunt. “You heard the conversation. Get a move on and get everything onto the shuttle. We have less than 15 minutes. Move!”

Jaunt saluted and hurried his men.

====================
Image

It took a bit of effort, but the shuttle almost fully loaded with motorcycles, giant swords, atrophied micro-organism vials of unknown type. At that moment, the communication module in the shuttle roared with a Bragulan voice. “Byzantinian ships! Explain yourselves.”

“I hate it when these damn xeno bears call us Byzantinians,” muttered Beltayn, Jaunt’s adjutant. Switching on the set, he said, “This is trooper Beltayn of the 81st Tanith Reconnaissance, we are in the midst of a pirate investigation. We are just getting ready to disembark, over.”

“We don’t care. You are entering the neutral zone. Prepare to be eliminated.”

“Jething...” Running to Jaunt and Tyrus, “Sirs, we need to leave now!”

“Damnable stupid bears... Jaunt! Everyone on board now!” cursed Tyrus. Tyrus rushed to the cockpit. “Pilot. Get the ship out of here and deploy decoys.”

“Aye, My Lord.” Everyone quickly boarded the shuttle and the shuttle disengaged from the ship, and deployed a series of decoys that scattered themselves around the pirate ship. They emitted a series of fake radar pulses to confuse the Bragulan missiles.

Shortly later, Bragulan SPUD missiles from the ground launched into space. Confused by the decoys, the missiles instead struck the decoys, and sending the pirate ship tumbling in space, breached in many places. The ship rolled about the neutral zone for 2 weeks, a complete wreck. Yet, it contained some members of the pirate crew, who managed to somehow hide themselves in some sensor shielded compartments, and they began to indulge in cannibalism after a while. When the ship finally drifted into the Bragulan territory, the Bragulans then began to take notice and board the ship, and found to their amusement, a bunch of somewhat well-nourished albinos, and plenty of raw albino meat here and there...



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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: 2010-09-18 03:00pm
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Neu Preußen

The fleet was already moving into formation, the troops having been sent, the Neu Lothringen garrison being stripped bare of all but the most essential troops. If there was one thing Hoffman prided himself on doing, it was moving quickly. Even so, going into the fight would take 14 days, a lengthy investment. The Hussars, led by Roderich Von Edelstein, and the Reichswehr, led by Sigismund Von Erzengel, were ready to fight. Nobody was sure how the fight would go, but the leaders were already preparing for the worst. In any case, it was to be expected that the primary contribution the Prussians could make was on the ground, not in space. The men were ready to fight and die against the Bragulan and Collector and Karlack, the fusion rifle was more than capable of melting armour and vaporising flesh.

The ships had been armed with anti-matter projectiles. This was dangerous, but it allowed the Prussian ships to punch well above their size. The risk had been seen as necessary, after all weren't they going to fight with Imperial Battle-Barges? In any case, the Prussians would be fighting with grit and every bit of determination they could muster. This was essential, Hoffman wanted to truly test his military - the Black Sunday attacks had provided a reason to war with Volksland, but Volksland had been the equivalent of North Korea in the 20th Century, so pathetic and rotten it wasn't worth attacking.

If the French attacked again, Hoffman wanted to know how good his military would be. Simulations meant a lot, but were too predictable compared to real warfare. That was a reason, but it wasn't the only one. The Prussians saw the Bragulans and Karlacks as threats, and the Prussians wanted to join in on this war, as an opportunity to test the mettle of the foe.

So it was, that after some messages had been sent to the respective powers involved telling them of Prussia's involvement, the fleet went out into the darkness of Hyperspace.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-18 04:40pm
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Tannhaus sector, Solarian space
Shin-Hokkaido
April 1st 3400

The massive Collector force was detected long before it arrived at its target, and prompted an unprecedented international response. Since the first contact, made shortly after destruction of trade station Epsilon Zeta, the task force was continuously tracked: though the hypespace echoes were lost several times, as the Monoliths avoided choke points and ducked in and out of local shoals, military CIs were able to simulate their most likely path - though it wasn't until six hours before their arrival that the final target was pinpointed.

Echo six to Echo Base, why aren't your assets in position?

Echo Base, Echo Six, we are having networking problems with the new arrivals.


Shin-Hokkaido instatntly became the site of the largest military deployment since the Bragulan Wars. Dozens of USSF ships flooded the site, organized with inhuman precision by their CIs in a defensive perimeter around the system. The Sovereignty's allies began arriving not long afterwards: massive Imperial battleships powered their way between the orbital habitats and industrial centres orbiting the star.

This Kilo 11, Echo Six, we've finished evacuating the outer ring. Please make way for the convoy, over.

Echo Six, Kilo 11, copy that, detailing a flight of IOUs to cover the transports.


With trepidation, hundreds of listening posts tracked the slowly growin hyper echo of the Collector task force. With what little data there was available, CIs ran simulations in an attempt to optimize the defence effort. The entire ordeal came as a surprise to most organic beings in the USSF: one day, nothing was happening, the other - they were being rapidly forward-deployed to cover a major star system. Fortunately, fast-thinking machines already had a battle plan in place before the first organic could entirely process the shock.

Echo Six, Pheonix 23, bogeys nearing hyperlimit.

Phoenix 23, confirm. I thought we had two more hours.

Negative Echo Six, bogeys ten minutes away from hyperlimit.


If somebody could see the activity inside Shin-Hokkaido with the naked eye, he'd notice a rapid crescendo of transmissions, an almost panicked flurry of final orders being distributed to assets within the system. As that activity reached its peak, space tore itself apart with a flash, spitting out a fleet of black, evil looking ships. Compared to the mass of vessels arrayed against them, their numbers seemed small. But their very shapes brought fear. Even the system's CIs were concerned - they knew, after all, what all those vessels were capable of.

The two Monoliths, surrounded by six cruisers and twenty small, corvette-sized crafts encountered before at Pendleton, exited hyperspace in perfect formation. Excited, yet precise reports began to criss-cross the airwaves.

All hands, we are at condition one! Prepare to engage!

Echo Six to all sectors, report in.

Uh, Echo Six? The enemy is not closing the distance.

Phoenix 21, repeat the message?

The enemy is not closing into firing range.


For a brief moment, there was silence. It were the Collectors who broke it.

Code:
DIPLOMATIC UNIT ABOARD
MEETING REQUESTED WITH DECISION MAKING STRUCTURES


Hanging wordlessly in space, the Monoliths stared down the arrayed armadas, awaiting a response.

Image



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: 2010-09-18 09:01pm
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Star Force HQ
Key West, Sovereignty Core Territories


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Key West. A lush and verdant world, and in many aspects the diametric opposite of faraway Solaris. It was a place of palm trees and coral reefs, subtropical temperatures, cocktails and azure blue seas. There were dolphins in those seas, and tanned girls in tiny bikinis on the pristinely white beaches. A long line of planetary governors elected from the Technocratic Radical party had forced all chemical and heavy manufacturing industry into orbit, and had enacted planet-wide ecological protection programs that had resulted in incessant whining from the megacorps, but also in an environment that looked positively paradisical compared to Solaris, Kerenkov or Shin-Hokkaido. The skies were blue, the weather was pleasant, the seas were clean and teeming with life, and in all of human memory the planet hadn't suffered a single case of acid rain.

It seemed, then, a hippie paradise, no doubt full of Green Galaxy nutters with beards and agendas to turn the entire damned universe into a set of gardens. But it wasn't. Or rather, parts of it were, but Key West was also the headquarters of the United Solarian Star Force, and so for every nut you saw in the street wearing an ecologically neutral woollen hat or some shit you'd see three or more forcemen in the navy blue uniform of the USSF.

The headquarters itself was located in the middle of Largo, a medium-size city on an atoll some three hundred miles from the capitol, and connected to the rest of the planet via an overseas maglev monorail. USSF personnel made up an overwhelming majority of Largo's populace, owing not just to the location of the HQ, but also the fleet anchor in geosynchronous orbit above it, the officer college and the subsurface training academy located on the outskirts of town (underneath the waves in case of the latter), one of the primary planetary shield nodes located next to the HQ, a number of aerospacefields scattered around the city and other operations closely associated with the USSF.

USSF HQ itself was a prime example of post-ornate neo-Mediterranean architecture, a warren of towers and balconeys, promenades and platforms rising up from the seaside shore. It was easily the largest building on Largo and visible from miles around, a proud testament to the might (and monetary resources) of Star Force.

Currently though, few of the people in the building had any eye for the stunning weather, the seas or the beaches. Rather they were occupied with the data-feeds streamed directly to the HQ from the taskforce assembled (or rather, assembling) at Shin-Hokkaido.

“Byzantine fleet elements are forming up along the Kadena-Yomitan phase line. The Lord Admiral reports all systems nominal.”

“Brigadier Stalin is in position, and has assumed nominal control of the 31st, 101st, 3031st and 93rd as well as the 68th Interplanetary Control Groups. USSF assets in-system now approaching the 15,000 megatonnage boundary.”

“The Executive Decisions fleet element has arrived. We are still awaiting the arrival of the Klavostani contingent.”

“Warmaster Tregio of the Ascendancy reports that the Nightfall Overfleet has entered the Charleston Strait. They should be on the scene in thirty-nine minutes.”

“Anything from the Holy Empire?”

“Still no word... Hold on, we're receiving a priority transmission. Sir, the Empire is sending a sixty-two ship flotilla to aid in our defence!”

And then, finally, the high word. “Bogey contingent is entering the system, heading 045 Mark 266. They should hit the outer-shelf transition point in three... two... one... They're here.”

The vast hologrammatic holotank that dominated the room filled up with the massive dark shapes of the Collector monolith, a sight amplified in the minds of the people watching through the myriad data-feeds that were relayed directly into their neural implants. The Collector ships were massive, foreboding vessels, and known to be immensely powerful, but arraigned before them was what was arguably the largest and most powerful human fleet assembled in recent history. 40,000 standard Solarian megatons worth of warships, with another 10,000 on imminent approach, plus the system's own not-inconsiderable defences were pointed at those two ships and their escorts.

General Magnum Makepeace, supreme human commander of the United Solarian Star Force, watched intently as the red dots representing the Collector ships emerged from hyperspace, right in front of his wall of battle. It was an impressive wall, he knew, one the likes of which hadn't been by this galaxy in a very long time indeed. Part of him was fairly certain that if this situation turned to shooting, he'd come out the triumphant victor. But that was easy for him to say; he was after all more than fifty light years away from the battle itself. The general didn't allow himself to forget the vast sacrifice in resources and blood that would have to be made to bring down two Collector monoliths – not just by the Sovereignty, but also by its allies. Any victory today would be a costly one indeed, one that would cripple the navies of more than one nation for a very long time. He never ceased to acknowledge that simple fact (and indeed he couldn't, seeing as his Replicant mind was programmed not to).

On the other side of the circular holotank sat someone who was clearly not as impressed by the impending abattoir. The face of president Victoria Sinclair was split by an almost feral grin. “Oh, we have them now. They'll rue this day for a thousand years. They're going to get owned.”

“I would remind you,” the voice of Olympic was, as ever, calm and filled with derision. “That the capabilities of Collector monoliths are largely unknown. The last time a human armada faced one of these vessels, it got – to borrow some Orky parlance – 'carved up but good'. What we appear to be facing is two vessels of the same class. No-one's ever faced two monoliths before... Or if they did they didn't live to tell the tale. We are treading new ground here.”

“The Pendleton engagement was fought by lilly-livered pacifists,” President Sinclair snorted derisively. “And they got caught by surprise, too. But that's not us. We came prepared, and this time these goddamn robots will have to play by Koprulu Zone Rules.”

The hologram representing 'Major' Tom Dangerzone tapped his hologrammatic fingers on the desk. “That may be so,” he dawdled. “But at the same time the Group would prefer not to lose its ships if we can in any way avoid it. They don't come cheap, you know.”

“You're not having second thoughts, do you?” asked the avatar of Brigadier Flash Stalin. The gruff man eyed the mercenary commander. “Don't make me move your ships to the front lines...”

“Christ Flash, don't get your panties in a bunch.” Dangerzone rolled his eyes behind his aviator sunglasses. “We'll fight all right, we'd just not prefer to go up against a total unknown. This'll get messy one way or the other – it's not just another case of volleyball with the Bragulans, you know?”

“Lord Solar Admiral Macaroth reports he has the Collectors in his sight and is requestion permission to charge and engage the, and I quote, 'unholy xenos scum',” reported the last person in the room. The Consensus was once again represented by a slowly revolving USSF logo. “The Byzantine ships appear to be forming up in Alpha Lance Strike formation.”

“Ever eager to go a-purgin',” Stalin said with no small amount of satisfaction. “I can respect that.”

General Makepeace scratched his chin. “That's all very well and good,” he frowned. “But why haven't the Collectors made a move? At Pendleton they didn't hesitate to get the killing started....”

“Maybe they're having second thoughts,” offered Sinclair.

Makepeace seemed about to respond to that, but this words died before he could utter them, because the Collectors chose just that moment to transmit a tightbeam message to the allied fleet. From it, it was instantly relayed to the HQ, where it came to dominate the hologrammatic screens.

Code:
DIPLOMATIC UNIT ABOARD
MEETING REQUESTED WITH DECISION MAKING STRUCTURES


“They are scared,” Sinclair sounded positively jubilant. “We have them pincered in, and their hyperdrives won't have had time to spool down. We can take them here!

“There is nothing to indicate that Collector hyperdrive spool-down time is similar to our own,” noted Olympic. “Your assumptions are baseless and specious.”

“That may be so,” Tom Dangerzone had narrowed his eyes. “But what's the last time a Collector ever tried to negotiate with anyone?”

“I can answer that for you,” Makepeace offered. “Never. It never happened before. Just like nobody ever had two monoliths show up just like this. It's like Olympic said: we're treading new ground. Who knows what these goddamn robots want?”

“I say they're just trying to buy time,” Flash Stalin was curt and to the point as ever. “They violated Sovereignty space, so I say we either tell them to get the fuck out of our system, or we blow them up right here, right now. I prefer the latter.”

“Jesus, it wouldn't hurt to talk to them before blowing them up, right?” Tom Dangerzone suddenly felt himself thrust into the position of being the (very nearly) sole voice of reason, a position he was unfamiliar and very much uncomfortable with. “Don't we have, like, people for this kind of situation? You know, like ambassadors and shit?”

“If they board one of those ships, they might be used as hostages,” Olympic pointed out. “And chances are we'd never see them again. Exceedingly few people have ever boarded a monolith and escaped to tell the tale.”

Dangerzone shrugged. “All that means is we need someone who's expendable, right?”

President Sinclair raised an eyebrow, as if struck by sudden inspiration. Then she smiled. “I think I've got just the guy.”

***


Villa Straylight
Geosynchronous orbit around Solaris


Image

Sidney Leon Hank IV did a spit-take, spilling orange juice all over his exquisitely tailored pants. “They want me to what?”

“In your capacity as Ambassador Extraordinary at Large of the United Solarian Sovereignty,” Dionysus informed him. “They want you to talk to the Collectors. Find out what they want. Why they're here. What their purpose in life is. You know, that sort of thing.”

He paused for a second to absorb that information. Collectors. Fucking Collectors. They were perhaps the only polity that Sidney wasn't yet intimately familiar with in the entire goddamn galaxy, the only one he was even slightly wary of, and it was exactly these people they wanted him to talk to. Wasn't it great how life just kept throwing these shit cakes his way? He shook his head.“Fuck that noise, I'm not doing it. I've got a lunch to finish. With some rather exquisite toast and poached eggs no less.”

“I don't think President Sinclair will take that as a valid excuse,” Dionysus calmly pointed out. “Not when there's a Mexican standoff involving some sixty thousand megatons worth of warship going on. Besides,” the CI contemplated. “Perhaps you can take this moment to ask the Collectors about these strange messages we've been receiving.”

Sidney frowned and took a sip of his remaining orange juice. “You think the Collectors sent them?”

“I don't know, but it can't hurt to ask.”

He scowled. “Well, fine then, I'll meet a representative... But I'm not boarding a frickin' monolith. No way, no way in hell I'm getting on one of those things. I like this body too much to get bodysnatched by some random robot bozos. Tell them to arrange some sort of neutral meeting ground, and I'll do this stupid meet-and-greet.” He grumbled. “Goddamn Collectors. Why can't they just send a regular ambassador like anybody else?”

“Maybe they're just having fun,” Dionysus suggested. “You know, pushing our buttons, getting our proverbial panties in a twist like this?”

“So they might be galactic-scale pranksters sporting warships capable of reducing entire armadas of warships to molten slag, is what you're saying?” Sidney stood up. “Is that supposed to comfort me?”

“I suppose I can see the charm,” the CI replied with an verbal shrug.

“Yeah, I bet you can,” Sidney scowled again. He was doing that a lot these days, he noticed. “So, how am I supposed to get to Shin-Hokkaido in time?”

“The government has arranged for priority D-hole transit from the Solaris Stargate to the Tannhauser Gate. From there a high-speed hyperyacht will deliver you to Shin-Hokkaido. If you leave now, you can be there in under four hours.”

Sidney sighed. “There's really no way I'm getting out of this one, is there?”

“I don't think there is.”

“Well, shit.”

“See it as an opportunity to meet new people,” the CI offered happily.

“Shut up,” growled Sidney. “And prep my shuttle for departure.”


EDIT: Modified for Shinn's most excellent contribution to the defence effort.



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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

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 2010-09-18 09:48pm, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-18 09:45pm
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HSF Sneakily Does It, Shinn Hokkaido Star system, Tannhaus sector, Solarian Sovereignty

Arri was not the only one on the bridge of the Blade cruiser to feel more than a little intimidated by the sight of the combined Solarian/Byzantine wall of battle appearing on the tac scope as the Sneakily dropped out of hyperspace behind the two great Collector Monolith's. The stealth vessel's hyperdrives spooling down slowly over the next few minutes so as not to create any hyper flare and give itself away while its crew just drink in the sight.

“Wow...Callahan, this is more firepower than the entire Hierarchy battlefleet we're looking at correct?” asks Arri, confirming a hunch and glancing from the tac scope above to the spinning wheels projected over the central hologram well.
“Correct shipmistress, however as i'm sure you've noticed they've not commenced firing as of yet.” Callahan says, his avatar's rings swapping segments in some complicated pattern Arri could scarcely guess at the meaning of. Though personally Arri always figures he does that just to perplex her.
“Yeah I've noticed, it's the only reason i'm not calling for us to get more distance between us and them. But the hypertraffic said the Collectors were here cause the Solarians had blown up one of their stations. I kinda expected more green death beams. Callahan, you're the only computer in the room..any idea what they're waiting for?”
“Insufficient data to determine, I suggest we observe proceedings and wait for an opportune moment to launch the probes. The Monolith's are inevitably going to leave the system.” Says Callahan, if he was at all affected by the comment on his vague kinship with the Collectors he didn't show it in his voice or enigmatic avatar.
“My thoughts exactly.” says Arri and turns to look at her adjutant “Just in case they do start shooting or spot us however I want the Ripper crews prepped and ready to launch.” she says, receiving a nod in return before she settles onto her dais to eye the passive sensors. Great, more waiting and now she doesn't have a hope in hell of being able to relax. And worse still to her knowledge she's the only Blade in position, if any of the others had made it they were equally invisible and weren't about to announce their presence.



STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1 PostPosted: 2010-09-18 11:35pm
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Location: At the Helm of the HAB Star Dreadnaught Star Fist
Outskirts of Shinn-Hokkaido

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The Battle Barge Anatolia held station with its intendent fleet on the far side of the Shinn-Hokkaido system. The ships had stationed themselves on the opposite side of the sun, where the sun would shield their emissions from the Collector fleet. On board the Anatolia was the Strategos Primus Aurelian Komnenos, with the Inquisitor Lord Draco Norand.

"What do you make of this?" spoke the Strategos Primus, who spoke through a secure neural communication link.

"The Collectors... have a hidden agenda as I suspected, and we are only the actors waiting for direction from the director," said Inquisitor Lord Fraco Norand.

Aurelian paused and starred hard at the hologram showing the disposition of Collector forces and allied forces. "In that case, we shall wait, and be ready to move in for the kill when the opportunity arises."



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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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