SDNW4 Story Thread 1

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2010-09-22 10:39am

Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:Previously...


“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.”


“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.”


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.”


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... When the ship finally drifted into the Bragulan territory, the Bragulans then began to take notice and board the ship...



The wrecked ship floated over to the other side of Jenova, which was the seared sun-baked face of the Mother World. The detonations of the SPUD missiles altered the doomed ship's trajectory, sending it in a hitherto unexpected direction. After secondary explosions, and a few more SPUD strikes, the wreck's course finally settled and eventually, fourteen days later, it arrived at the planet's sunny hemisphere that so happened to be under Bragulan jurisdiction. It was then, and only then, that the Bragulans finally bothered to inspect the vessel they had wrecked. If it had been in the Byzantine side, then the prize would've been the Byzantinians'. If it had been in the neutral zone between each side's territories, then the hulk would've been annihilated by either party, as per the unwritten rules of Jenova honored (and dishonored) between the Bragulans and Byzantinians.

"Why hasn't that ship been excavated yet?!" the Colonel Commissar of the local Space Fleet patrol force roared to his subordinates.

"Because it was in the neutral side!" whined his lieutenant.


"Then you should've used the space harpoons to drag it to OUR side!" the Commissar rebuked his subordinate with his mailed fist of superior Byzonist authority. "I want an autopsy report of that space hulk on my table, now!"

"Sir, yes sir!" the lieutenant snapped a salute and jogged off, quietly mumbling curses under his breath.

"WHAT WAS THAT?!" Bragulan Commissars had auditory implants precisely for this reason, to listen to any hint of whispered insubordination amongst the masses of troops. The Commissar released the safety catch of his field execution pistol. He roared again, to make sure he had heard his subordinate right. "DID I HEAR YOU WHISPER SOMETHING?! SPEAK UP SO I CAN HEAR YOU BETTER, COMRADE."

"Uh, I said nothing sir! Nothing at all!" the subordinate gulped and turned his jog into a run worthy of the racetracks of the Sovereignty-Bragulan Peace Race.

"That's right. Nothing!" the Commissar holstered his weapon. In ordinary occasions, he would not have hesitated to use it, but the day was nearly over and he was out of ammunition. That tended to happen on Jenova, where Commissars were sent for their on-the-job training. The Commissar reminded himself to requisition more bullets later, and some tsvagna for a relaxing drink as well.

Meanwhile, fearing for his life, the lieutenant boarded the nearest patrol boat posthaste and with a group of naval troops boarded the drifted remains of the space hulk. The vessel had been most thoroughly slagged by the SPUDs, but a third of its main fuselage had remained intact - though the hull was partially melted, forcing them to use monomolecular chainsaws to rip the nuke-welded hatches open.

It was their luck that the intact portion of fuselage happened to be the cargo hold. Many good old-fashioned vessels designed the cargo compartments to be the most durable portions of the ship, more so than even the living quarters, for while shipping companies often abided by 'crew expendable', such was not the case with the cargo. Bragulans thought that was reasonable, as they considered inanimate objects worth more than human lives. For them, even shit had more value than human life, for unlike most humans it could be used as fertilizer for the planet-spanning agriworlds of the Bragulan Star Empire.

What they found on board the hulk was most surprising. They already knew that the Byzantinians had scoured the vessel two weeks ago. In fact, the Bragulans had launched their SPUD strike immediately after intercepting Byzantine comm-signals and learning that an Imperium Inquisitor was on board inspecting the hulk. Such a target was too tempting, but unfortunately the local IBGV agents later found out that the Inquisitor had narrowly escaped and survived (when the IBGV agent went to a local watering hole in the middle of the Re-Militarized Zone for some tsvagna and found the Inquisitor in question enjoying a glass of amasec in the same establishment, which was an awkward situation).

Anyway, finding dead human bodies and spent bolter casings was no surprise to the Bragulan team. But the makeup of the corpses, that was something. They were albinos, fairly androgynous ones for the Brags had difficulty telling which gender they were. Which meant that the dead humans the Byzantinians killed were Jenovans, or at least androgynous and albino enough to be similar to the Jenovans. They also found some cryostasis pods with more albino corpses inside. But still, interesting but not surprising or unheard of, since Byzantinians liked killing their other fellow humans a lot (which was what made them such good humans from the Bragulan perspective.). No, it was not the corpses, not their human subspecies, not even the fact that they had died in battle. It was the weapons they had with them. The Bragulan team opened some of the boxes and crates in the cargo hold and found similar weapons. Unusual ones. Not Bragulan K-bolt, not Byzantine bolter or lasgun.

Image Image

But swordguns, plasma rifles and ridiculously huge swords. The Bragulans blanched at this. What manner of weapons were these? Where in the galaxy had they come from? Who? What? Where? How? And why?

They searched deeper into the cargo holds and found even more disturbing sights. Enormous motorcycles, incredibly large ones that even a Bragulan could ride. Then, there was something else, something far worse. The Bragulan quadrucorders detected atrophied micro-organism vials of unknown type. They opened the refrigerated casing and saw the clear fluids in glass containers. They were labeled in human heiroglyphs.

The lieutenant had some knowledge of the human languages, so he read the bizarre calligraphies.

"P-p-pol... poliomye... vac... cin... e..." he stopped and suddenly, a horrible realization struck him. He had heard of things, rumors, information gleaned from the Byzantinains supposedly and passed on amongst the ranks of Bragulan troops through the Bragvine, as well as officer gossip and even speculations by the Commissars. Something about the Jenovans, those sorry pale albino wretches. Something about this very world, buried within its wretched history. A curse. An ancient plague from the humans' Age of Obscurity. Something even the Byzantinians uttered with hushed tones. He gasped, the color draining away from his face.


On their way deeper to the hold, they found more bodies. The albino flesh seemed to glow eerily under the torchlight. At first, the Bragulans thought the prevalence of bodies was just because the Byzantinians were being thorough in their work, as they usually were, and had killed all the "herryticks" or "blasphoriters" or whatever term they called the fellow humans they wanted to kill. But the Bragulan team began noticing something else. The Shinrans hadn't died by bolter or lasfire, and their wounds were too messy to have been inflicted by Byzantinian power weapons - though why the Byzantinians ran around with space swords still remained a mystery to even the IBGV. No, the Shinran deathwounds were reminiscent of bite marks and scratches.

The Bragulans stiffened and collectively clenched their sphincters. A space hulk boarded by Byzantinian Imperium soldiers and Inquisitors, then abandoned, and now with half-eaten carcasses. That could only mean one thing.


Though the Karlacks were allies of the Bragulans, that didn't mean the creatures were any less monstrous. While their Aspects were imbued with inbragulan intelligences and could be reasoned with and talked to, their bioforms and warrior strains were far from thinking, reasoning beings - all the sentience and thought in them discarded to create complete biomechanical killing machines. In some of the battles they had waged together against Byzantinian forces in the past, though both Bragulans and Karlacks fought as one, that still hadn't stopped the creatures from eating a few Bragulans in supposed 'friendly fire' incidents. The Bragulan superiors were discomfited, of course, but word from even higher up compelled them to continue working with those things. On the ground, the realities were different, and Bragulan soldiers used to shitting on their enemies out of spite and mockery had ended up shitting in fear - and Bragulans almost never shitted themselves in fear. Such was the extent of the Karlacks' armamentations.

The prospect of encountering acid-blooded Karlack xenogauntlinglisks was a terrifying one. But the Bragulans in the team were professional. They unpacked their nuclear flamethrowers. Just because they were allies didn't mean they were unprepared for certain contingencies. Bragulans had war plans for just about anyone and everyone in the galaxy. Being horrifying monstrosities didn't exclude anyone from this, or else then the humans would be exempted too. Furless creatures reproducing like mutant hares and filling nearly the entire galaxy with their smelly kind were every bit as horrifying as endless swarms of insectoid Karlack hydraloids. The Bragulans let their ideologically correct training set in, and soon they sublimated their fears of freaky gene-eaters with their much more intense and powerful hatred for humankind. They imagined their boots stamping on the face of humanity, forever. That made them feel better.

Their quadrucorders and thermal sights picked up a faint heat signature and lifesigns, previously obscured by the lingering radiation of the nuke-sponged shipwreck. But now the signals were clear and they followed it deeper and deeper into the bowels of the ship. The claustrophobic interiors were small and crammed, not built for Bragulan sizes. Dark, dank and reeking with the rotten carcasses of the humans. It wasn't a nice place to be.

They rounded a corner, kicked a hatch open, and stormed in with weapons raised. Expecting to find a den of gene-eaters, instead what they found were the ship's survivors.


The Bragulans were immediately relieved, and they displayed their relief by smashing the emaciated survivors' faces in with their rifle butts. The albinos were so much like the Jenovans, perhaps they were of similar human subspecies. The heat signature they had found was from a tiny fire the albinos had started. They were cooking morsels of food, pieces of meat. Two weeks of isolation would've caused humans to die of starvation, the Bragulans knew this because they had to study the various ways humans could die (and the various ways to make humans die) during basic training. So this was what was keeping them alive. It was strange, for the cargoes they inspected were all composed of ridiculous sword guns, plasma rifles, and outrageous motorcycles. Where did they get their food from? They must've had an alternate source... the albino carcasses the Bragulans had seen, the ones with bite marks and scratches on them. The albino survivors snarled at them, and though the team had disarmed them of their swordguns, some of them were armed with the least likely of weapons. Bones taken from the skeletons of corpses, sharpened into spears or used as simple clubs. Some of the albinos tried to attack them, but it was not in self-defense or in any military-minded offensive move, but out of sheer desperation. Sheer starvation. They had degenerated into cannibalism, and instead of seeing Bragulan soldiers decked out in wargear, in their famishment and emaciation they only saw walking, talking, barking pieces of furry meat that their deranged brains compelled them to kill and cook and eat.

The Shinrans shrieked and blubbered about 'Mother' and 'One Winged Angels', they cried for more 'Materia' and that they wanted to drink some 'Lifestream', that they needed these things. They lunged at the Bragulans in sheer desperation. The ordeal they had experienced, of surviving by killing and eating the flesh of their fellowmen and crewmates, had driven their brains over the edge of madness.

The Bragulans resolved all of that. For in pity at their sad states (and Bragulans never felt pity towards humans), the team decided to spare the albinos. Instead of shooting them, they merely applied prophylactic stick-beatings to their heads. Then they dragged the screaming, crying, bruised and bloodied albinos back into the patrol boat.

The Commissar judged that the prisoners were too valuable to be placed in the prison camps on Jenova. Besides, the camps were full of Byzantinian POWs and they weren't due to be executed en masse until the end of the month. So they placed the albino prisoners, along with all the swordguns and motorbikes, on board a prison ship bound for one of the IBGV's gulags. Care had been placed in securing the atrophied micro-organism vials of unknown type, which they suspected to be bioweapons of some kind. Perhaps even the geostigma. The IBGV would definitely take a close look at it, once it was delivered to the appropriate facilities.

So the prison ship set sail, launching off the Mother World and exiting the system. It was said that the only ones who could ever leave Jenova were the dead, or those bound to suffer a fate worse than death.

That was true.

On board the prison ship, the Bragulan wardens were highly bemused by their new albino captives. The Bragulans used the enormous swordguns as toothpicks, while taking note of the albinos' special dietary preferences. The albinos were said eat human flesh exclusively, and so they were to be fed human flesh exclusively (for special prisoners of the IBGV were given special privileges). This was repulsive, for cannibalism was indeed a most ideologically reprehensible act, and the feeding habits of the albinos only confirmed the sheer depths of degeneration the filthy humans could be capable of. To slake the cannibalistic lusts of their prisoners, the Bragulans did not feed them meat from the dead Byzantinians, for that was too different from their kind. Instead, the Bragulans fed them Jenovan meats, from their fellow albinos, reasoning that degenerate cannibals preferred eating the flesh of creatures most similar to them. It was disgusting, and the perversion of the albinos only made the outraged Bragulans' treatment of them harsher.

The trip was long and arduous, they had to pass through Karlack space, and so the Bragulans eventually forgave the albinos for the sin of cannibalism and being human (two very terrible things!). When prisoner and captor bonded together, it was called the Bragholm syndrome.

So the Bragulans allowed some of the albinos to leave their cells. They even played games with them. The one who won the game would gain privileges. So the albinos played the game. They rode their enormous motorbikes and were made to race against each other through the corridors of the prison ship. Whoever reached the finish line would win.

The albinos rode their bikes, riding them like they did back in Midgar Space, they raced against each other, each of them hoping to be first, each one wishing to win the prize. The Bragulan wardens and crew cheered them on, waved and hooted and barked.

The enormous motorcycles streaked through the corridors. One of them was ahead of the rest, so far ahead that victory was assured for the albino driving that lead bike. He tore through the finish line and pumped his fist in victory. Finally, he would win a prize. Maybe the Bragulans would finally stop the horror of feeding him human meat! The Bragulans cheered and applauded.

Then they opened the airlock, which was located right after the finish line.

The victorious albino's cry of joy turned into a scream of horror, but he was sucked into space and everyone knew in space no one could hear you scream.

The Bragulans closed the airlock, but a few of the late albino motorcyclists got sucked out into space as well. The survivors were horrified and wept for their spaced friends. But before they could get back on their bikes, the Bragulans began clubbing them with sticks and then they were dragged back into their cells.

As they did so, the Bragulans laughed.

They fucking laughed.
Last edited by Shroom Man 777 on 2010-09-22 12:19pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Darkevilme » 2010-09-22 12:04pm

HSF Sneakily Does It, Shinn Hokkaido system
“One hour and sixteen minutes Callahan.” Arri says in a vaguely accusatory but mainly alarmed way when she notices the Collector contacts change course to their general vicinity along with the time.
“Accurate data on Collector sensor capabilities is of course unavailable to me Arri, I will amend my estimates in future. I must comment that I am impressed by their demonstrated abilities however.”
“Callahan, can we leave the admiration for after we figure out a way to live through this?” says Arri and then directs her attention to the crew, nervousness turning to alarm and being punctuated by the sensor operating saying “Collector target 05 just went active.. They've got a solid return.” Arri tail flicks “Shipmates, the plan is screwed as of this moment. I want us on battlestations now and I want those probes out of the forward tubes and our Rippers launched yesterday!”
“Callahan what are our options can we outrun them?”
“Negative shipmistress, even the 05 contact is capable of moving significantly faster than our Rippers.”
“Okay, can we outfight them?”
“Unknown, I do not advise it.”
“Okay, plan C throw us on the mercy of the court. Callahan, get in contact with the Solarians and see if you can persuade them to make the Collectors back down.”
Its cover blown the Sneakily then drops all pretence of stealth, its signature on every band from electromagnetic to subspace climbing rapidly as their shields and primary power source come online. A moment later twelve burning engine flares splinter off from the now quite visible stealth cruiser and take up position between it and the oncoming vessels, when it came to the Collectors the Sneakily had no intention of being taken alive. Although whether the Collectors had any such intention is dubious, after all the Collectors were the first to assume a threatening posture. Just when the Solarian system coordinators were probably beginning to worry about a shooting incident on their doorstep though Callahan opens a tightbeam connection to Echo Six.

Code: Select all

Identity: Callahan, HSF Sneakily Does It.
Mission: Classified
Message follows: Please persuade your new friends to back off. We will defend ourselves. My Crew does not like the Collectors. If Collectors cooperate we shall withdraw to coordinates of Your choosing.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2010-09-22 01:43pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:The Bragulans closed the airlock, but a few of the late albino motorcyclists got sucked out into space as well. The survivors were horrified and wept for their spaced friends. But before they could get back on their bikes, the Bragulans began clubbing them with sticks and then they were dragged back into their cells.

As they did so, the Bragulans laughed.

They fucking laughed.


The Bragulans hauled the androgynous albino Shinran/Jenovans into their cells. Which just so happened to be the ship's torpedo tubes.

The vessel lacked a brig, and the wide open space that they used as a racetrack was the unused fighter bay. But using that same fighter bay as a brig would not do, for it was wide and spacious and would've been humane. For human prisoners, the Bragulan treatment would be inhuman. So it was to the torpedo tubes for the albinos.

The Bragulans threw them in and sealed the hatches. Should they attempt to escape, they would simply be launched into space. And should the vessel ever come under enemy attack, the Bragulans wouldn't even bother letting them out, they would immediately load the torpedoes into the tubes - thus crushing the inmates inside - before launching the torpedo and the crushed prisoners at anything that would dare strike a ship flying the flag of mighty Bragule.

It was not so bad, each torpedo tube had enough space for dozens of crammed prisoners - because Bragulan anti-ship torpedoes were huge, larger than some ground cars, and about the size of an Umerian omnibus or thereabouts. And due to the lack of any heating mechanisms, cramming the prisoners by the dozen was necessary, for while a lone prisoner in a tube would freeze to death, dozens jam-packed like sardines could live by huddling together and sustaining each other through their body heats. The Bragulans also refused to remove the humans' accumulated excrements, but that was because human excrements (and crushed humans as well) was an acceptable substitute for the lubrications they normally coated the interior of torpedo tubes with.

While the humans bemoaned their sorry state, the Bragulans thought nothing of it. After all, they thought nothing of the human race as a whole.
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Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Force Lord » 2010-09-22 02:12pm

The Central Times


Gabriel Enduvos, the leader of the Centrality, has been found dead in his office, apparently the victim of an accident involving a plasma gun he was testing. Said gun malfunctioned, and somehow exploded, shredding his body and killing him. The Secretaries of War and Internal Security were also close by, and both perished. The investigation has not found indications of sabotage in the weapon, reportedly because said weapon was "completely vaporized".

The tragic incident provoked a shake-up in the Party's hierachy. Enduvos's succesor, Dirad Kierger, has not reached the "necessary readiness for the responsibilities of his new post", so while he will be the new President and Dictator, he will be guided by a so-called "Triumvirate" composed of General Secretary Viso Fredon, Secretary of State Falko Tredell, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Tagdef Borlon, after his predecessor, Gondo Lafeze, was released from office due to poor health. Borlon's former position as Foreign Secretary will be filled by Ravin Nostrum. The new Secretaries of War and Internal Security have not been nominated as of this time.

The government has declared a "moment of mourning" in honor of the dead men.

Rumors of Commune-Umeria pact still rumors, says CIS Director

In other news, the Director of the Central Intelligence Service has played down suggestions of an alliance between Umeria and the Commune, calling it "alarmist".

"Our intelligence has not found proof of such a deal. Only a madman could believe such a thing could exist", he declared.

He also called whispers of a coup in the highest echleons of the Party leadership "absurd".

"There is no proof of an concerted assasination of the President and the Secretaries of War and Internal Security. It was an accident. Period."
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Force Lord » 2010-09-22 04:01pm

Central Party HQ, Central City
Centrum, The Centrality

"What the hell possesed Enduvos to send those diplomatic notes to the Grand Dominion and the Shepistanis? I thought he was smarter than that." Viso Fredon was visibly angry.

"I got this. Apparently Gaby sent some spies off to Umeria to find out if those rumors about a treaty they've had with the Commune was true. The operatives were all discovered and commited suicide before they were caught. All except one, who found nothing. Yet that fool invented a story about how the treaty existed and even forged a completely ficticious holocopy which he sent directly to Enduvos. Hence those diplomatic notes he forced Borlon to send." Falko Tredell was confused as well. That spy must have been good in spinning that story.

"Fortunately that spy is no longer an issue. He's been executed. No way someone falsifies info and gets away with it!", the CIS Director barked.

"There's still the Umerians to placate. I will send a tightbeam message explaining our sudden change of policy. Maybe we can take their offer of mediation regarding our difficulties with the Commune. We have to solve that particular issue", Borlon said.

Before anyone could respond, Borlon turned around and marched down the hallway.

Fredon sighed. Good luck with that, Tag.

He then faced Tredell. "Any news about the Fifth Fleet?"

"The fleet itself is fine. Admiral Tardis has begun to withdraw the majority of it. Only a small flotilla will remain."

"And the Datton?"

"Caught by the Anglians. They expect boarding at any time."

Fredon shuddered. If any trigger-happy idiot on that ship tried to instigate an incident...

"So the Datton is compromised? Forg is on his own now. At least he won't have to worry execution for being on Enduvos's pet project."

"Yes." Tredell then cleared his throat and said, "About the vacant posts on the Centers of War and Internal Security..."

"I will deal with that. In the meantime, you try to handle Kierger for now. He needs to know the finer points of being a dictator..."

Result: Post-coup plans.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2010-09-22 04:17pm

Darkevilme wrote:

Code: Select all

Identity: Callahan, HSF Sneakily Does It.
Mission: Classified
Message follows: Please persuade your new friends to back off. We will defend ourselves. My Crew does not like the Collectors. If Collectors cooperate we shall withdraw to coordinates of Your choosing.

Echo Six, the CompInt tasked with orbital traffic regulation in the Shin-Hokkaido system, instantly relayed the communique to the USSF Consensus. The Consensus fleetmind was a composite awareness, a digital amalgamation made up of the shared consciousnesses of all Star Force CIs within range of the Datasphere. Capable of exchanging thoughts and ideas far in excess of the speed of light, the Consensus replied with a message of its own in a time that would be, to organic beings, appear instantaneous.

Code: Select all

HSF Sneakily Does It, you are in direct violation of restricted Sovereignty spacelanes. Maintain your current position and prepare for boarding by United Solarian Marines. Failure to comply will result in immediate destruction. Your crew are afforded the following rights...

What followed was a brief list of rights extended to spacers found to be in violation of restricted space under U.S.S. law. The message was also beamed to the withdrawing Collector fleet element together with a brief elucidation (just to be sure) that the target was not a vessel belonging to the Sovereignty or the Collectors. The message then repeated even as the USSF flotilla launched two assault shuttles packed with para-marines and escorted by a flight of Starling fighters.
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Ride of the Battlecruisers: Pulp SCIENCE! Fiction

Postby Simon_Jester » 2010-09-22 06:25pm

EDIT: Scene was written with reference to the following portions of the movie Pulp Fiction: here and here.

Author's Note:

This is NOT canon! This is NOT what Fourth Battlecruiser Division has been sent to Prussia to do. It's out of character for the men involved, it's out of character for the national policy, no such incident involving Shroomarcos has occured, to the best of my knowledge no star system of this name even EXISTS, it's physically impossible to do what they're doing using a hyperdrive, shipboard power plants don't work that way, midspace refueling doesn't work that way, our torpedoes aren't that hard-hitting, our Mk. XIVs aren't (quite) that hard-hitting, I'm not sure we could do the towing thing... in short, it's TOTALLY WRONG.

It's not accurate at all, AT ALL, but I can't help myself, I've been contaminated by the Shroominess! It's this, or scribble crazy stuff all over the walls of my room at home, and that would make my landlord upset.

Well, OK, none of it's canon except for the admirals' middle names: Jules and Vincent, er, Juliusz and Vincente. That part is just too good to pass up.

OK, and the reference to admiral Lisiewicz's curriculum vitae. That's canon too.

Also, the appearance of the battlecruisers as shown below; they really do look like this. But the rest?



USS Haruna, Deep Space, roughly six light-months from a Prussian border system

Admiral Antoni Juliusz Lisiewicz nodded at his second-in-command, Vice Admiral Vincente Quirino, over the holoconference, as Fourth Battlecruiser Division prepared for action.

"You remember Ferdinand Shroomarcos? Half-stupid, half-corrupt, used ta call him Ferdy Shroomy Horror."

The junior admiral's image nodded. "Yeah, maybe, fat right?"

"I wouldn't go so far as to call the mang fat. He's got a weight problem. What's the ladrón gonna do, he's a Third Galaxy dictator."

"I know what you mean, what about him?"

"Well, Maxim fucked his ass up good. And word around the campfire, it was on account of Maxim Chernov's favorite client world." Juliusz took a moment to snap out some commands; the fleet began powering up their hyperdrives.

But Vincente looked curious. "What'd he do, sign an alliance with her?"

"No no no, nothin'that bad."

"Well, what then?"

"He gave her Most Favored Nation trading status."

"Most Favored Nation? That's all?"

Juliusz nodded.

"What did Maxim do?"

"Sent a couple of MiniDat guys over to his place. "Operatives," they call 'em. They took him out on the patio of his palace, threw his ass over the balcony. Fucker fell four stories. They had this garden at the bottom, enclosed in glass, like one of them greenhouses- bastard fell through that. Since then, he's kinda developed a speech impediment."

With the transition ready, Fourth Battlecruiser made the jump to lightspeed, bound for the target system. The commlink switched seamlessly to hyperwave, and Vincente clicked his tongue. "That's a damn shame... Still I hafta say, play with plasma, ya get burned."

"Whaddya mean?"

"You don't be giving Maxim Chernov's new client state Most Favored Nation status."

"You don't think he overreacted?"

"Shroomarcos probably didn't expect Maxim to react like he did, but he had to expect a reaction."

"It was a trade agreement, a trade agreement is nothing, everybody does trade agreements."

"It's laying hands on Maxim Chernov's new client state in a familiar way. Is it as bad as a defense agreement- no, but you're in the same fuckin' ballpark."

OK, that was ridiculous. Juliusz made a chopping motion with his hand.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop right there. Defense pacts and trade agreements ain't even the same fuckin' thing."

"Not the same thing, the same ballpark."

"It ain't no ballpark either. Look, maybe your idea of international trade differs from mine, but droppin' tariffs and military cooperation ain't the same ballpark, ain't the same league, ain't even the same fuckin' sport. Most Favored Nation status don't mean shit."

"So, you know a lot about interstellar trade?"

"Don't be tellin' me about interstellar trade- I published papers on interstellar trade. Role of International Supply Routes in OPFOR Economic Models, With Eye to Optimized Raiding Patterns, you can look it up in the Naval Review Letters."

"So you've pushed for a lot of Most Favored Nation agreements?"

"Shit yeah. We need all the help we can get, lunatics we got to deal with."

"So, would you ever give the Sheppoes a Most Favored Nation agreement?"

I've been set up for that. He scowled at his screen commander. "Fuck you."

"So, when?"

"Fuck you."

"I mean, could we buy some of them corded phones off of them? All this EM clutter is giving me a headache-"

"Man, you best back off, this is the Kuiper Belt we're passing through."

The image faded: their signals had been reduced to a whisper to avoid tipping off the system defenders' sensor networks, and there wasn't enough bandwidth for visuals. Juliusz glanced at Vincente. Need to make sure our clocks are synchronized.

"What time is it?" Vincente glanced at his chronometer aboard Beehive.

"Oh-four-twenty-two, planetary capital time."

"It ain't quite time, let's hang back."

The ships had cut their drives, sculling forward slowly in hyper at barely above Heim Drive speeds. This was as good a time as any to finish their conversation.

"Look, just because I wouldn't give no Sheppoes Most Favored Nation status, don't make it right for Maxim to throw Shroomarcos off a building into a glass-motherfuckin-house, fuckin' up the way the ladrón talks. That ain't right, man. Motherfucker do that to me, he better paralyze my ass, 'cause I'd kill'a motherfucker."

"I'm not sayin' he was right, but you're sayin' a trade agreement don't mean nothing, and I'm sayin' it does. Technocracy's given a million countries a million trade agreements and they all meant somethin'. We act like they don't, but they do. That's what's so fuckin' cool about 'em. This friendly thing's goin' on that nobody's talkin' about, but you know it and she knows it, Doctor fuckin' Chernov knows about it, and Shroomarcos shoulda known fuckin' better. That's his fuckin' client state, mang. He ain't gonna have a sense of humor about that shit."

"That's an interesting point, but let's clear for action."

"What's her name again?"

"Persephone. Why you so interested in the Technocracy's client state?"

"Well, Maxim is leavin' for Altacar and when he's gone, he wants me to base at Persephone."

"Base there?" That could be a real minefield. Rep as a guy who stooges around with Third Galaxy powers, that can stick with you if you don't handle it careful.

"Not that, stupid! Just run some drills. Show them a good time. Make sure they feel secure."

"You're gonna be takin' the Persephone Defense Force out on a training mission?"

"It ain't a training operation. It's like when you and a friendly fleet's admiral go on a joint exercise or somethin'. It's just, you know... good company."

Poor bastard. His career's dead. But Vincente was still talking.

"It's not a training op."

Neu Obersaltzkügelpfalz, Prussian Border World
0430 Planetary Capital Time

The Prussian defense squadron drifted lazily around the L4 point between Neu Obersaltzkügelpfalz and its moon. They were just getting ready for morning fleet evolutions, the ships tanking up on metallic hydrogen cylinders and fullerened-antimatter fuel. They had one of the League's mighty, nigh-invincible Schlachtschiffs: the greatest, most fearless battleships in this region of space! They had two of the League's deadly Schlachtkreuzers: devastating high speed railgun platforms! Each of these mighty capital ships was escorted by a quartet of lightly armed missile frigates, as well.

Suddenly, Fourth Battlecruiser Division materialized out of hyperspace, right in their faces. VLA drones shot out from the warships, sweeping the system, but their fire control sensors remained quiet. Admiral Juliusz did the talking, bathing the system in a general broadcast on all frequencies.

"How you boys doin'?"

There was no answer. The Prussians were frozen with terror at the prospect of suddenly having opposition of comparable tonnage appear in their space.

Juliusz turned a tightbeam on the Prussian flagship. "Am I trippin', or did I just ask you a question?"

Sterne-Admiral Heinrich von Haßenpfeffer nervously replied from the flagship, the battleship SMS Panzerblitz.

"Wir sind... ve are doink... OK?"

Meanwhile, Vincente led the screen elements quietly around Neu Obersaltzkügelpfalz's moon, englobing the Prussian ships. Juliusz kept talking.

"Do you know who we are?"

The Prussian admiral shook his head.

"We're countrymen of your nation's friend Dr. Maxim Chernov, you remember the Second Technarch for Foreign Affairs, don't ya?"

There was still no answer.

"Now, I'm gonna take a wild guess here: You're Heinrich, right?"

"Ja, ich bin Heinrich."

"I thought so. Well, you remember your friend Dr. Maxim Chernov, don't ya, Heinrich?"

"Ja, I remember him."

"Good for you. Looks like me and Vincente caught you refueling, sorry 'bout that. What'cha tankin' up on?"


"Antimatter. The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast. What kinda antimatter?"

"Fullerened anticarbon."

"No, I mean which synthesis method? MacDonald rapid-conversion, Haruhiist CPT-inversion, Jacquelard harmonic oscillator process?"

"Lindemang Technique."

"Lindemang Technique. That's that New Polynesian method. I heard they got some high-grade antimatter. I ain't never seen any myself, how is it?"

"It's... good."

"Mind if I try some of yours?"

"Uh... no."

Juliusz turned to the ship's captain. "Do a sweep. Locate the fuel depot that battleship is loading from, and stand by to tractor a fuel container out of it." He reactivated the hyperwave 'caster.

"Yours is this one, right, Heinrich?"

"...Yeah." The Sterne-Admiral's voice was high-pitched and frightened.

Juliusz waved his hand. A tractor beam speared out to the L4 naval fuel station, ripping one of the antimatter fuel pods from its rack. It flew through space towards the Umerian battlecruiser; then short-range force field manipulators engaged, opening the canister and sifting the antimatter into Haruna's storage tanks, from which it was fed straight to an auxiliary reactor. The admiral checked the power levels from the reactor: they were rising slightly.

"Uuummm, that's some good antimatter." He fired off a broadcast to the rest of his ships. "Hey, Vincente, you ever try Lindemang Technique antimatter?"


"You wanna bite? They're real good."

"I ain't hungry."

"Well, if you like antimatter give it a try sometime. Me, I can't usually use it 'cause my wife's from Tianguo. She's a matterarian. Which more or less makes me a matterarian, but I sure love some good antimatter once in a while." He turned the tightbeam back to von Haßenpfeffer.

"You know what they call a half-kilo antimatter cell in Altacar?"


"Tell 'em, Vincente."

"A Pounder."

"Pounder, you know why they call it that?"

"Uh... because they still like to use the old Englisch system sometimes?

"Check out the big brain on Admiral Heinrich! You a smart motherfucker, that's right. The English system." He pointed a laser designator at one of the other racks in the fueling depot. "What's in this?"

"Liquid hydrogen slurry."

"Hydrogen, good, mind if I have some of this excellent fusion material to wash this down with?"

"Er... sure."

Another tractor shot out and poured the hydrogen into another of Haruna's auxiliary reactors.

"Mmmm! Hits the spot!" Juliusz turned the tightbeam on one of the two Prussian battlecruisers; CIC identified it as SMS Mariner, and high magnification optics revealed an imaginative mural painted under the ship's name, showing a magnificent oceanscape with a swarm of seabirds circling above it.

"You, Flock auf Seagullen, you know what we're here for? The battlecruiser captain, visible on the main display splitscreen alongside his admiral, nodded. "Then why don't you tell my boy here, Vince, where you want the shit on display."

The other Schlachtkreuzer answered the question. "Die Gelassenh-," but Admiral Juliusz had already cut off his transmission with a barrage of jamming.

"I don't remember askin' you a goddamn thing." He turned his attention back to the first battlecruiser. "You were sayin'?"

The Schlactkreuzer commander swallowed "Ah... if you are goink to do vat I think you are goink to do... I vould rekommend... I suppose it should be the Gelassenheitsee." His ship helpfully pointed to the area in question on the planet's moon using a quick flash from a broad-band target illuminator.

Vincente ordered one of his destroyers into position to survey the area. "Got it, sir."

Juliusz gave the vice admiral a moment to examine the region. "We happy?"

Vincente nodded. "We're happy."

Sterne-Admiral Haßenpfeffer had finally regained his courage. Broadcasting from his command battleship, he replied. On the one hand, he was in his own territory. On the other hand, he was now faced with a force equal to, perhaps even greater than, that of his own. A battle here would be entirely unlike the "Battle" of Volksland, where he and his fellows had both outnumbered the enemy armada and outgunned each individual Volkslander unit ship-for-ship. Could his fifteen ships match the Umerian's fifteen ships?

In any case, he had to say something.

"Look, who are you? I got his name's Vincente, but what's yours?"

"My name's Pitt, and you ain't talkin' your ass out of this shit."

Perhaps not, perhaps we are doomed, but I must try for the honor of the most righteous and glorious Star League. The Sterne-Admiral cleared his throat.

"You must understand, Admiral 'Pitt,' that the Prussian Star League promises, deeply, hand-on-heart, to respect the neutrality of the Grand Trunk. As you can see, the Reichstag is not likely to annex or colonise any more territories in the Grand Trunk Region. This policy will remain stable, as a simple matter of necessity, as if we do not, it is likely that we will come under attack. It is simply that the people of Volksland are facing a humanitarian crisis, and we simply cannot help them that much if we do not annex them. There are also the matters of de-fascistification of Volksland, which is looking to be hard if we do not engender a sense of 'Prussianism' in the population, which will be rather hard without annexing them. And then there are the potential security ramifcations - suppose fascists take power in Volksland again? This is a risk we can not afford, so for the moment, Volksland will become Prussian..."

Meanwhile, aboard Haruna, Admiral Lisiewicz nodded to the captains of his capital ships. Using passive sensors, they checked and double-checked the position of SMS Mariner, and adjusted their Mk. XIV proton cannons' steering dipoles accordingly. Superconducting magnets hummed to life, generating the supremely powerful vibratory and static electromagnetic fields needed to accelerate and confine a capital-class particle beam. Outwardly, there was no sign of activity.

But the Prussian commander was still talking.
"Again, I must inform you - the League swears solemnly never again to intervene in Sector T-10, and most definitely not in the Grand Coreward Trunk. I assure you that this is a stable solution to the incident, and that we will never annex a territory in the vicinity of the Grand Coreward Trunk again, and that we will uphold its neutrality, for we have the best intentions..."

With another chopping motion of his hand, Lisiewicz turned away from the babbling Prussian and gestured to his captains. In dim-lit, heavily shielded battery direction centers tucked in against the spines of the slender battlecruisers, the call went out:

"Commence primary ignition!"

Nine beamlines went live, deluging the Prussian ship in a blazing rain of hyperrelativistic protons. Light-speed sensors gave the League battlecruiser only a few microseconds of warning, for the beams travelled at only an infinitesimal fraction short of light speed. Subspace detectors were prompter, and indeed gave the Prussian captain a brief moment to realize what was about to happen. The horror had just begun to widen his eyes, though, when the first bursts of high energy particles slammed into his shields.

Still operating at standby energy levels, Mariner's shields lasted only seconds against the onslaught of the Mark XIVs firing at full wartime charge. Crewmen caught in the beams' zones of effect died swiftly, with heavy radiation shielding that would have allowed them to laugh at point-blank nuclear strikes overwhelmed by the ravenous beams.

The survivors acted bravely, but the crushing blow was too great. A large minority of the ship's crew died in the opening seconds of the attack, and many of the systems in the ship's core hull died with them. Damage control personnel rushed to shut down short-circuiting power conduits and bring up auxiliary systems as klaxons wailed. A few valiant railgunners in Turret Bruno managed to throw capital-class antiship shells back at their foe that came surprisingly close to striking the Umerian ship Armstrong... but it was too late.

Mariner's armor held together under the storm, a testament to Prussian engineering, and indeed the ship was still in approximately one piece when the Umerian battlecruisers ceased fire. But it was riddled from stem to stern with bubbling, molten, radioactive holes. Where beams had struck over the armored central citadel, there were deep craters gouged in the core hull; where they had impacted away from the ship's heaviest armor belt, the proton blasts had drilled clean through the League battlecruiser, with open space visible on Juliusz's high-magnification optical view of the target through a halo of superheated, yellow-hot hull metal.

SMS Mariner would have to be rebuilt almost from scratch before it could ever move under its own power again, let alone fight. The only mercy was that as the remaining crew abandoned ship in hopes of escaping before suffering lethal radiation poisoning, the Umerians ceased fire, permitting them to flee to the planet in their lifepods in peace.

Aboard the Schlachtschiff SMS Panzerblitz, Sterne-Admiral Heinrich von Haßenpfeffer gaped, interrupted in mid-pomposity. Never in his decades of service to the League had he seen a ship of the Kaiserliche Marine annihilated so quickly, for the Prussians always care to match their battlecruisers against smaller, weaker, more primitive enemies. Like the Volkslanders. It was... it was at once obnoxious- how dare he interrupt the carefully prepared speech in von Haßenpfeffer's orders?- and horrifying, to see one of his largest units blown out of the ether in under a minute.

The terrible Umerian, though, was now addressing him once again.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Did that break your concentration? I didn't mean to do that. Please, continue. I believe you were saying something about 'best intentions.'"

But try as he might, von Haßenpfeffer couldn't say a word.

"Whatsamatter? Oh, you were through anyway. Well, let me retort. Would you describe for me what Second Technarch for Foreign Affairs Dr. Maxim Chernov looks like?"

The Prussian still couldn't form words. Shock and fury and fear grappled in his mind, leaving no room for conscious thought. Suddenly, the Umerian admiral snapped, shouting into the monitor with dreadful fury.

"What country you from!?"

His command of interstellar standard English deserted him, and he reverted to the language of his infancy, on beautiful Neu Wien, where the hills were alive with the sound of music...


"'Vas' ain't no country I know! Do they speak English in 'Vas?'"

Von Haßenpfeffer felt near a heart attack, and perhaps that would be best, to release him from the humiliating agony of knowing that he finally faced an armed and competent opponent who was here to hold him accountable for his nation's actions. That there was no escape, no way to weasel out. He knew that his nation's expeditionary fleet had retreated from the Koprulu Zone, the war being over, not wishing to face the threat of being made to play by Koprulu Zone rules.

But now Koprulu Zone rules had come to him!

He stammered again. "...V...Vas?"



"Then you can understand what I'm sayin'?"

The moment of his doom was upon him, he could sense it, could feel the Sturm und Drang building. But he could not muster the courage to face his fate squarely. "Ye...yes."

"Now, describe what Dr. Maxim Chernov looks like!"

The paralyzing fear, it was back! "Vas?"

Targeting lasers lashed his ship. Alarms screamed, and automated systems brought the battleship SMS Panzerblitz's shields to maximum power, the ship reflexively covering itself in response to the organic crew's complete failure to understand what they were dealing with. But Sterne-Admiral von Haßenpfeffer knew that even the shields of his mighty battleship would not protect him from the wrath of three of these monstrous battlecruisers. Not indefinitely.

For now, though, that Sword of Damocles remained suspended above his head. The Umerians did not open fire.

Aboard the Prussian missile frigates escorting the heavy combatants, a lively debate raged. On the one hand, they were here to support the Sterne-Admiral's capital ships. On the other, the only targets within effective range of their missiles were the Umerian battlecruisers, which were quite alarmingly large. Behind them, of course, there were the Umerians' screen elements. Except for the huge, truly sinister and frightening-looking fleet carrier, the screen ships were more their size. Or maybe they could open up on those tiny little cutters, which looked like something safe to pick on!

But the screen units were out of effective range of the frigates' light missiles. The battlecruisers were in range, but they were big, powerful units. The frigates weren't going to fire without orders from the flagship. Particularly insofar as it involved fighting a battle against massively superior ships. That was just common sense.

Back on the flagship, on the other hand, Sterne-Admiral Von Haßenpfeffer wasn't going to give the order. The Umerian's wrath and superior firepower had him utterly paralyzed. The targeting radars still screamed in his ship's receivers, intense enough that they had to be dialed down for fear of suffering electronics damage. The Umerian admiral was shouting again.

"Say "Vas" again! C'mon, say "Vas" again! I dare ya, I double dare ya motherfucker, say "Vas" one more goddamn time! Now, describe to me what Doctor Maxim Chernov looks like!"

Von Haßenpfeffer knew that death would come for him, swift and fiery and above all sure, if he didn't say something. With a final desperate heave, he managed to stammer out a few words, trying frantically to remember the details he'd seen on the news over the years. "Well he's... he's... white..."

"Go on!"

"...and he's... he's... bald..."

"Does he look like a BITCH!?"


Aboard Haruna, Juliusz glanced at his flag captain, who smirked and murmured a few words into the intercom.

Haruna's three Mark Fourteens fired, without the support of the other two ships. Against Admiral von Haßenpfeffer flagship, this would have been only a moderately dangerous attack, and SMS Panzerblitz's shields could have parried it at full power without too much trouble. But this time, the Umerian particle cannon weren't aimed at the battleship. They were aimed at one of the tiny missile frigates, floating just off Panzerblitz's starboard bow.

The frigate died even more quickly under Haruna's beams, and even more violently, than Mariner had under the combined fire of the division.

As soon as the static kicked up by the expanding fireball of wreckage from the missile frigate dissipated, Juliusz repeated his demand.


"N... No!"


"I... I didn't."

The Umerian admiral was calmer now, speaking in a low voice. "Yes, ya did, Heinrich. Ya tried to fuck 'im. You ever read the Bible, Heinrich?"

Gritting his teeth through the fear, his will totally dominated by the knowledge that those incredible beams could strike any one of his ships at any time, von Haßenpfeffer answered.


Juliusz took a deep breath.

"There's a passage I got memorized, seems appropriate for this situation: Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is THE LORD when I lay my vengeance upon you."

As before, there was almost no warning when the Umerian battlecruisers opened fire, their beams scouring into von Haßenpfeffer's flagship, flailing its defensive shields like a burning relativistic rain. But SMS Panzerblitz was no mere battlecruiser, caught unprepared for the onslaught. No, she was a mighty battleship of the Kaiserliche Marine! And so her shields held, flickering and fading, with spikes of high-energy particles showering through from occasional gaps, but nonetheless holding. Von Haßenpfeffer felt a sudden surge of triumph- perhaps he and his men were not doomed after all!

His joy buoyed him, and he was about to authorize his fleet to open fire on the lead Umerian battlecruiser, when the first salvo of heavy thermonuclear torpedoes from Vincente's screening cruisers and destroyers slammed into Panzerblitz's rear. The shields, focused forward to repel Juliusz's onslaught, proved a feeble and inadequate barrier against this new menace.

The large Mark Four "Cantaloupe" torpedo used a far heavier warhead to generate its shaped-charge jet of ionized magnesium. The resulting blast was orders of magnitude more intense and concentrated than the one thrown by the tiny Mark Five missile. The torpedoes carved through Panzerblitz's stern, gutting the ship along its central axis.

Sterne-Admiral Heinrich von Haßenpfeffer never realized what was killing him as a gout of high-energy magnesium ions tore through his flag bridge. At least it could be said that he died happy and confident.

As one, showing the legendary common sense of the Prussian Navy, the little League missile frigates turned and fled into hyperspace. The Umerians ignored them, allowing them to escape and spread the word of this disaster.

Juliusz now turned his attention to the last Prussian capital ship, the Schlachtkreuzer SMS Schwartzkopf. This one had lowered its shields and visibly powered down its weapon systems, slewing its railgun turrets to bear on empty space, far away from any Umerian vessel. Over the radio, he heard a frantic cry coming from the little League battlecruiser.

"Wir kapituleren! Wir kapituleren!"

They were trying to surrender. Admiral Antoni Juliusz Lisiewicz chuckled and replied.

"Very well. Abandon ship and enter your lifepods with all hands. You have ten minutes to comply." Towing a battlecruiser back to Fleet Command was all very well, but he had neither the time nor the inclination to take Prussian prisoners. Especially not time, this would have to be a fast raid, for larger League forces that would be less easily defeated were surely in the neighborhood. So he would complete his business in the Neu Obersaltzkügelpfalz system and go, towing the abandoned warship in his wake but allowing the crew to return unharmed to the planet below.

Juliusz called Vincente's screening ships back towards him, then turned the attention of his battlecruisers to the surface of the moon, to the Gelassenheitsee.

Neu Obersaltzkügelpfalz, Prussian Border World
0530 Planetary Capital Time

Planetary Governor Adam Meier had been rushed down into a bombardment shelter in his nightclothes by his personal Hussar bodyguards when the Umerian ships arrived. He had peered into a holodisplay as Sterne-Admiral von Haßenpfeffer's command was blotted out in a matter of minutes, the heavy battleship and battlecruisers destroyed or surrendered and the light frigates retreating in disarray.

But now that the intruders had gone, withdrawn into hyperspace towing their prize behind them in a lattice of tractor beams, he could safely return to the surface. He had to, to see what had happened with his own eyes, to know what they had done to the solar system it was his lot to govern. Neu Obersaltzkügelpfalz was not a rich world, nor a powerful one, but it was his world, and he gazed with shock and awe at the devastation the Umerians had wrought in the skies above him.

It was, in its way, beautiful. SMS Mariner and SMS Panzerblitz were still visible just above the trees on the western horizon, their red-hot husks visible like two faint, bloody stars. The streaks of reentering lifepods from the League warships slashed through the sky overhead. To the east he could see the rosy fingers of dawn stretching up, turning the black night sky to a deep, rich blue. But none of those were what drew his eye, what led him to raise a pair of binoculars to his face. His hands shook at what he saw; to get a clearer picture he steadied his elbows on the railing of the balcony and looked up.

The Umerian ships had tarried for only minutes. They had disdained to harm any of the orbital infrastructure or habitats in the star system; there had been no civilian casualties from the raid. Instead, they had turned their blazing proton beams on an uninhabited lava plain on the surface of Neu Obersaltzkügelpfalz's moon: the Gelassenheitsee. The battlecruisers' main armament had panned up and down, back and forth, across the surface, leaving gaping, shallow, lava-filled trenches in their wake. The trenches had not yet stopped glowing with the heat of their creation, and so remained extremely visible.

Neu Obersaltzkügelpfalz's moon was fairly close to the planet. The governor didn't really need the binoculars to make out the message that the Umerian gunners had written on the moon, on his moon, in letters of fire eighty kilometers high:

Last edited by Simon_Jester on 2010-09-27 08:51pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ride of the Battlecruisers: A Beautiful Dream

Postby Simon_Jester » 2010-09-22 06:51pm


USS Haruna, Deep Space.
March 13, 3400

Admiral Lisiewicz stretched and hopped out of bed. He'd had the most wonderful dream. Somewhat impractical, but... for a moment, he was truly tempted to ignore the consequences, pretend insanity, and order his command to do it. He was... fairly confident they'd follow him. Of course, even if he pulled it off he'd be court martialled and shot, but what a way to go!

No. He dragged himself back from the brink of madness, shivering.

No, instead he was just going to shower, eat breakfast, and screen Vincente. They had some real operational planning to do.

USS Haruna, Deep Space
Some Hours Later

Admiral Lisiewicz cracked his knuckles. He had the Phase One plan complete. Vince would be taking TF BC4.2, with the carrier USS Beehive, battlecruiser USS Thunderbolt, and half the screening ships on a goodwill visit to the hardscrabble micro-empire of Elysium. Elysium was a rarity and an oddity: one of the galaxy's few interstellar shoal polities, with a very strange culture; Lisiewicz hoped Vince would be able to deal with them well. But recent reports indicated that their civilization had been beset by the menace of the Connoltian Raiders for years, which suggested an obvious way of gaining goodwill and fulfilling 4th Battlecruisers' antipiracy mission at the same time.

Vince's command would have aggregate tonnage on par with the Elysians' storied flagship, the Heracules, and if Umerian systems integration and electronics rigs weren't up to a higher standard than the Elysians, he'd eat his main tactical computer. TF BC4.2 might be able to shake a few things loose and kill them, with luck. He took a moment to mentally wish Quirino good hunting, then flipped back to his own side of the ops plan.

His half of the division- and he grinned at the thought- would be taking Haruna, Armstrong, and the rest of the screen elements down Volksland way. For the time being his plans were to remain strictly in neutral space and make a very careful point of observing all relevant interstellar protocols; that was after all the obvious interpretation of his orders. But it would be interesting to see if he could raise any alarms on the Prussian border without actually harrying them directly- all in fun, of course.

What good were border defenses and early warning networks that were never put to the test?
Last edited by Simon_Jester on 2010-09-27 08:51pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Ryan Thunder » 2010-09-23 01:56am

MADNESS Land Systems, Nova Miratia

"Well, you do remember what happened last time we tried to teleport a fabricator, right?"

"What?! No, of course not! Do tell."

"Image" he explained.

"So I take it you think that's a bad idea, then?"

"What do I have to do, write it to you in crayon?"

"Perhaps. I think it just needs a few kinks worked out of it. Planetoids are easy to come by."

"I'm going to regret this..."

"Alright, what's this thing here?" the official sounded monstrously bored.

"Well, dawg; we heard your soldiers like lasers. So we put smaller lasers on their bigger lasers so they could atomize while they vapourize."

"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."

"Yes, well, you wouldn't make fun of it if you saw what it can do for yourself. To the test range!"
SDN Worlds 5: Sanctum

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby PeZook » 2010-09-23 08:17am

Shinn-Hokkaido system
Solarian space

The leading Mantis rapidly changed its vector, with the rest of its formation following. For someone who could see the various electromagnetic and subspace interactions between spacecraft - like, say, all Solarian CIs - the reason for this was obvious. For everybody else, not so much, but even they could infer that something's changed once a pair of Marine shuttles were launched and entered an intercept vector.

The Collector flight casually slid away from the stealth cruiser, taking up a position not fifty thousand kilometres away, stationary in relation to the larger ship. For a CI, their sensor and comms emissions looked like a posture that a curious bystander might take.

One of the Monoliths has also changed course, approaching the scene with an almost lazy demeanor - which was saying something, considering the ship's massive bulk. It casually sweeped the approaching Marine shuttles and their quarry with a sensor beam of some sort, before releasing a swarm of VLA probes to get a better look at the situation. Its compatriot hanged back, recovering parasite craft in preparation for a hyperjump.
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.

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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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2010-09-23 10:09am

Assault Shuttle ATR-6
Approaching HSF Sneakily Does It


“Ripper Lead to Echo Six Six, we are free and flying. Moving toward Lane Point Alpha.”

“Copy Ripper Lead. Pulsing bogey location update. You should see its approximate location on your HUD now.”

“Confirmed, Echo Six, moving to intercept. Do you have an IDENT on the bogey yet?”

“Ripper Lead, this is Consensus Actual. Bogey has identified as a Chamarran Hierarchy warship. Be advised that this is now a priority six situation. Failure to intercept is not an option.”

“I hear you licken chicken, Consensus Actual. Be advised that we are being scanned by Collector spacecraft.”

“Ripper Lead, Echo Six. Ignore the Collectors, major. That's an order.”

“Wilco, gearbrains. We still got no joy on visuals though.”

“Ripper Lead, Consensus Actual. Bogey is using high-power cloak. Prepare for TADAR spike to nullify cloak.”

“I got you five by five.”

“Burn successful. Ripper Lead, you should have a visual of the bogey now. Please confirm.”

“Confirm, Consensus Actual. We have established a visual on the target, and are geared up for hot entry. We'll be alongside in two mikes.”
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2010-09-23 12:34pm

[Foreword. This is based on the movie Titus (1999), which was based on Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare. Act 1 Scene I uses the dialog of the movie, which is the dialog of the play. The Elysian Pantheon is in Sectors S-6, S-7 and T-7.]


Elysium. Before the Capitol.
Soldiers of the Legions return after their victory over the Connoltian horde. They bring with them the spoils of war, and the victorious dead.
Enter HANNIBAL ANDRONICUS - General of Elysium


Hail, Elysium, victorious! In thy mourning weeds!
Lo, as the bark that hath discharg'd her fraught
Returns with precious lading to the bay
From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage,
Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs,
To re-salute his country with his tears,


Stand gracious to the rites that we intend!
Elysians, of five and twenty valiant sons,
Behold the poor remains, alive and dead!
These that survive let Elysium reward with love;
These that I bring unto their latest home,
With burial amongst their ancestors.

Here Connolts have given me leave to sheathe my sword.


Hannibal, unkind, and careless of thine own,
Why suffer'st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?
Make way to lay them by their brethren!


O sacred receptacle of my joys,
Sweet cell of virtue and nobility,
How many sons hast thou of mine in store
That thou wilt never render to me more!

There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
And sleep in peace, slain in your country's wars.

Capitol. Within the Presidium.
General HANNIBAL ANDRONICUS faces the Lords of Elysium.
Enter the Elysian Pantheon.


The people of Elysium greeted its returned legions with adulation and decadent revelry. Black bulls were sacrificed in altars while nubile boy lads and virgin girls were offered to the victorious soldiers. Festivus was had as the spoils of war, in trinkets and jewels as well as shackled barbarian captives, were paraded through the streets for all to see. The enslaved prisoners were sent to the distant Coliseum to fight themselves in feats of gladiation, and whenever they refused the lions were released upon them.

The Elysian Pantheon was ruled by the Lords, who came from the great empire's myriad provinces. In representing their realm, the Lords thus embodied the patron gods of the dominions they ruled - becoming the mortal incarnations of the Olympian deities such as Zeupiter, Saturnus, Hadepluto, Neptridon, Maeries, Demeterdon, Bacchusionysus, and so forth. They reigned even above the Senatorium, though heeded the Senate's counsel on the affairs of mortals. As they casted their blessings on the assembled legions and consigned the souls of the fallen to the afterlife with silver coins over their eyes, they likewise embraced the returned General Hannibal Andronicus as one of their own - for surely his victories were signs of the gods' favor, not only to him but to the empire's entirety.

The Lords of Elysium had gathered - fewer since the last time General Hannibal had seen them, for perhaps they had whittled their own numbers in the courts of intrigue. Assembled were the likes of Saturninus, Commodius the 64th, Caligulus the 69th, Gracchus, Marcus Antonius and his male lover Cleopetro, and Queen Asphyxia and her triple husbanoids. The god-kings saluted the favored of Maerius.

"...and hail to you, my Triple-Husbandoid. I summon you here to group-greet our swift Elysian armies' home." Queen Asphyxia said, her voice high like the screech of the harpy. "Approach, General of the Dark Segment and Lord of the Far-Flung Vectors of Zob!"

"To you, Hannibal -- thrice-endowed Supreme Moose of the Decapods -- this much greeting," Saturninus raised a hand up to his forehead and lowered it with two and a half vertical waves.

"Majesties, I give you this much greeting." Hannibal placed his fist on his chest.

Thus the Lords of Elysium commanded him to tell them of his victories.

"What news of the foul Myrmidons?" Commodius LXIV inquired.

"Scattered to the Nine Vectors, My Lord." Hannibal bowed his head meekly as he said so.

"...and the Connoltian Axes of Splatican Five? Have they been suckcreamed as a Qvarnbeast's nobbo?" Marcus Antonius asked as he was stroked by Cleopetro.

"Well, they're dead, if that's what you mean."

"Plus, Commander, did you vanquish the Nibblepibblies?"

"No, My Lord Caligulus, I did not vanquish the Nibblepibblies; because you just made them up."

Queen Asphyxia cackled evilly in delight. Then she turned to the others. "Excellent! Now what news of other barbarian filth of the galaxy shall we discuss?"

"Beyond the shoals of our dominion, the decadent Persians and their mongrel race has deigned it fit to subjugate a meager pithy of a world nearby."

"Persians, you say? The hordes of all Asia have come at last. My fellow Lords, what say you of these developments? Commodius?"

Image Image

"I say nay."

"My fellow Lords of the Pantheon, I have heard word of strange and distant easterners from the mysterious Orient seeking an audience with Elysium. A faraway land called Umeria sends their ships to our gates."

"Umerians? I have heard of them. Rumor has it these Umerians have already turned the Persians down, and if those philosophers and, uh, boy-lovers have found that kind of nerve, then... "

"We must be diplomatic."

"... and, of course, Elysians have their reputation to consider."

"Then let us welcome them with Elysian hospitality. For they shall arrive within the feast days into the Festivus and shall be able to partake in our celebrations. Prepare more nubile boy-lads for them. Perhaps some wenches, if some of them are not of that inclination."

"Aye. Summon the helots, and inform the Umerians that we invite their men-at-arms to engage in calisthenics with our legions, to show them the mettle of Elysium's finest and so that we may see the extent of these Umerian boy-lovers' masculinity. If they dare, they may even wrestle with our most womanly men."
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Fingolfin_Noldor » 2010-09-23 12:58pm

Imperial Inquisition Report


The Elysians are a strange race. They are human no doubt, and one wonders where they emerged from. The Roman Empire on Earth collapsed ages ago, and the Imperium alone claims direct descent from the Rome Empire of Nova Terra. Perhaps the Powers that somehow connived to have humanity evolve independently yet identically on two worlds contrived them as some kind of cosmic joke?

The Elysians are a martial race. Almost identical to the Roman Empire of old, if our somewhat sparse records on that subject is accurate. Most of the Imperium's historical database on that era is sketchy, owing the the destruction of Rome during the Great Earthquake of the 455 AD. Byzantium of Nova Terra was flourishing, but not every record from Rome was duplicated in triplicate in Byzantium yet. While the loss of records was severe, we have pieced together most of Roman culture from what records from that era that survived and were taken with us when the Byzantine Expedition of 2400 was launched.

With that in mind, however, we must remember that the Elysians resemble rather the pagans of old, before the coming of Christianity and Constantine the Great. This implies their customs and culture differ significantly from that of Byzantium of the later era. Rather, they resemble an older Roman Empire, where barbarism such as slavery was condoned.

Quite simply, the Elysians are of no interest to the Imperium. However, one cannot help but note that their martial strength is itself interesting and in fact presents an opportunity. The Elysians would be ideal candidates for the Adeptus Astartes Legions. Their strength and possible compatibility to the genetic improvements imbued into the Astartes make them prime candidates for study. Perhaps we should raid and capture one of their "legions" and subject them to a vigorous series of tests to determine their compatibility and if it calls for it, offer them a chance to join the Imperium. Naturally, they must all be subjected to the same indoctrination processes that every Astartes are subjected to. All must be loyal to the God Emperor.
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Ride of the Battlecruisers: When in Rome

Postby Simon_Jester » 2010-09-23 04:33pm

USS Beehive, New Tyre Naval Base, Sector V-6
March 13, 3400

Vice Admiral Vincente Quirino sighed and ran his hand through his hair. This was going to be tricky; the Elysians were both very strange compared to galactic norms and very isolated. There were no particularly good routes into their little network of whisker lanes from the Grand Trunk without flying dozens of light-years off the beaten track. They had a few better access routes to clearer space that ran more or less parallel to the Trunk through the shoals, but it was generally unrewarding to get there.

But the isolation wasn't a critical problem, and it had advantages: the Elysians knew the routes through those shoals extremely well, from centuries of experience, and were surprisingly good navigators in spite of their relatively crude drive and computer technology.

The real problem was going to be the thousand-volt culture shock. Preparations for that were why he'd gotten Antoni's approval to spend another few days at New Tyre and pull together some more fleet elements.

He tapped the intercom. "My compliments to Commander Gupta, and tell her she's needed in my office. Priority gamma." The ship's expert systems would hopefully route the message properly; if not, a signals rating would have something more to do for a few minutes. He returned to the list of references he'd been compiling. About ten minutes later, he was interrupted by the sound of Gupta's knuckles rapping the wood paneling on his open door.

"Come in, have a seat." He waved to his chief of personnel.

"Sorry I took so long, sir, but there was something I needed to sign off on quickly and you said priority gamma..."

"It wasn't anything critical, was it?"

"Ah, no sir; low-order disciplinary. Urgent, but not important."

"Well, this is important but not urgent, not on that timescale, so let's call it even." Sharmila was a good officer for her duties, but prone to apologetics; managing her meant keeping her mind off whatever she thought she'd done wrong. "I need you to run searches of the task force's psych and personnel records, with an eye to Elysian cultural parameters. They're... strange; if you need outside computer support you have my authorization." He continued.

"I'd like the following lists, drawn from all SpaceSec and marine personnel in the squadron. One, people we can be reasonably confident will be able to function in Elysian society without laughing, crying, or puking. That's probably going to correlate with acting ability, insofar as it's known; if it doesn't, double-check your methods. Two, people with any background in unarmed combat or athletics beyond basic PT requirements. Three, people with any background in the subjects of classical-model philosophy or pre-industrial history beyond the trivial level."

"Yes, sir."

"Highlight people who place high on lists two and three but aren't on list one; we may need to handle them carefully. List One is particularly important; if someone's going to start cracking up ungracefully on foreign soil, I want to know about it ahead of time and keep them aboard ship during our visit. I'll be CC'ing you some material that I think you'll need to factor in."

"Thank you, sir."

"Don't thank me yet. You're going to have some delightful new charges to keep track of; Fleet's agreed to detach the strike cruiser Van Buskirk along with us. I have a haunting suspicion you'll be very busy talking to your opposite numbers in GroundSec, what with a short division of Strike troopers to juggle." Now to see if she's learned enough to delegate those personnel lists to someone else if the strain of handling the Strikers gets too intense...

Gupta swallowed. "Yes, sir. Ah, one question about the personnel lists. I've done some background reading, and there... might be a gender role issue with the Elysians." The distaste was obvious on her face. "Do you want that factored in?"

Good question... no. Quirino shook his head. "No. If they want to make an issue out of that, I'd rather start, ah, spreading the light of civilization than trying to kowtow to it. They're not going to believe we're like them, and we shouldn't try to trick them into thinking so. We're looking to earn respect, not ingratiation. But good question; glad you mentioned it."

"Thank you, sir. I was wondering just how far you wanted 'when in Rome' taken."

"When in Rome... heh. Well, now you know. I've got some other things to tackle before we move out, so I'll leave you to it. Look for that CC shortly, OK?"

"Yes, sir." The commander saluted and withdrew from Quirino's office; the vice admiral returned to his labor.
Last edited by Simon_Jester on 2010-09-27 08:42pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Shinn Langley Soryu » 2010-09-23 09:25pm

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Risea Sector, Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya

It took a bit of running (nothing Lieutenant Heidelman and the others weren't used to), but the cop the platoon had rescued was able to lead them to a reasonably secure hiding place, away from the Chimaerans, Schismatics, and other miscellaneous threats. "Now that we're in a relatively safe place, you mind introducing yourself, officer?" Lieutenant Heidelman asked the cop.


The cop took off his helmet and gas mask in order to show his face to the platoon. "If you must ask, madam, I'm Sergeant Nathan Hale, Seize Police Department, but you can just call me Nate," he replied, his tone significantly calmer than before. "I was assigned to stay behind and help safeguard the civilian population as they were being led to the emergency shelters. I'm pretty sure the civvies are safe underground now, but as far as I know, I'm the only guy in my precinct to survive the first few waves. If you guys hadn't intervened when you did, I'd have been a goner for sure."

"It was nothing, really," Kureha piped up. "It's what we do, after all."

"So, Nate, you hear or see anything about an Imperial Guard platoon led by a Lieutenant Vasquez?" Filicia asked.

"I heard some stuff being passed around about how the Imperial Guard would be sending some guys over to help clear out the infestation once they were notified, but those damned Schismatics actually knew to disable the comms relays," Nate replied." They were human once, after all, so they still know a few things."

"Did Vasquez's platoon actually make it?"

"Hell if I know, to be honest. Asides from a few Kestrel sightings, I was too busy trying to keep one step ahead of the Chimaerans and Schismatics to even notice. Let me guess, he lost contact with your HQ, and they sent you ladies and gents over to check things out, right?"

"Right. Well, Nate, it's pretty clear you know your way around Seize better than the rest of us do. You mind helping us in our search for Lieutenant Vasquez?"

"Sure. It's the least I can do after you rescued me. I'll make sure to take you around all the sights. Maybe we can find that Lieutenant of yours near one of them," Nate said as he put his helmet and mask back on and picked up his M11A rifle. "Well, what are we waiting for? We gotta keep moving, or they'll get us."

"Lead the way, then, Sergeant Hale," Filicia replied as she and the rest of the platoon picked up their own weapons and followed Nate out of their hiding place and back onto the streets of Seize. None of them knew what was going to be in store for them next...
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Darkevilme » 2010-09-23 09:27pm

HSF Sneakily Does It, Shinn hokkaido System. Solarian Sovereignty Space

The situation ruled out both fight and flight in nanoseconds, while nearby assets provided a manageable or outrunnable threat assets further away could destroy this shell using missiles with trivial ease in the time it would take to prepare for the jump to hyperspace. Directive one had come into effect: the cruiser could not fall into the hands of foreign powers. For the organics governed by deepseated instincts of self preservation this provided an obvious course of action, they were instructed to follow it.


The first Monolith was preparing for hyperspace. Mission objectives were reinstated. Range to target suboptimal, reposition impractical. Proceed as planned. Threat assessment concluded, Conclusion: prioritize Shell functionality for duration of payload delivery to minimize interception chance.

As the crew of the HSF Sneakily Does It boarded the life pods that remained nestled beneath the ship's skin the plan was fully prepared. In two minutes it would begin.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2010-09-24 09:25am

Assault Shuttle ATR-6
Alongside HSF Sneakily Does It

Ripper Lead eased into position beside the Chamarran warship, sliding toward location of a docking hatch the TADAR spike had revealed. The hull of the stealth ship was sheeted in matte-black sensor absorbent panels and nearly featureless. A quick check against Consensus recognition archives had revealed that the marines were most likely dealing with a 'Blade' class stealth ship, classified as a cruiser by the Hierarchy but rating, by the standards of the Sovereignty, as a sub-capital craft roughly comparable with CEID spystars.

That meant the para-marines had a problem. CEID would love to get their hands on a Chamarran espionage vessel, but it stood to reason the Chamarrans would do everything in their power to prevent that from happening. There was no way they would be able to get out of the system unscathed: even if the crew managed to transition to hyperspace without being shot out of the skies, they would find two Assailant strikestars escorted by a rosette of spystars there waiting for them. That didn't leave the Chamarran spies very many options – apart from blowing their ship, of course. Possibly with the marines on it.

Little wonder, then, that major Ray Gunsly looked sour as he watched the docking hatch lock onto the enemy vessel, the footage of the external camera's relayed to his HUD. There was a fairly large chance he was about to be atomized and, human survival instincts being what they were, even the knowledge that if that happened he'd next find himself stepping out of a V-chamber on Formalhaut didn't take the edge off. Right now he wished he was aboard the second shuttle, which would keep position at a safe distance, ready to react in case the Chamarrans tried anything funny.

The assault shuttle shuddered as magnetic seals engaged, clamping the two ships together. The major lifted his heavy plasma rifle and gave the signal. Two para-marines moved into the airlock, their movements quick as lightning and synchronized by years of training. They attached the pancaker breaching charge and moved into position beside the heavy metal door.

The charge activated and briefly generated a localized gravitic field as strong as that of a low main sequence star, angled horizontally into the Chamarran ship. The effect was spectacular: in the blink of an eye a perfectly round portion of the docking hatch tore itself from the surrounding frame and was catapulted into the innards of the ship with enough force to pulp anyone standing behind it. The para-marines followed immediately behind it, scanning the interior of the ship for possible hostiles on every frequency of light as well as sonar and radar.

They encountered no immediate resistance. The major's bad feeling intensified. “Fan out and secure this ship,” he called to his troops, who were already moving deeper into the vessel with all the significant speed their armors afforded them. “Somebody find a system plug. If this thing has a CI on it we need to get the worm in there!”

He knew they had to be racing the clock. If the Chamarrans had a CompInt aboard, he didn't doubt it would try to set off a self-destruct mechanism. The only way to prevent that was to find a computer that was plugged into the CI core and upload the worm – the Cankerworm datahive destroyer, a sentient computer virus devised by CEID and tailored specifically to eradicate computational intelligences. It could annihilate even militarized systems in seconds... But for some CompInts, seconds were the human equivalent of days, and major Gunsly had a sneaking suspicion that if there was one, he might not beat the ship's controlling intelligence to the punch this time.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Lord_Of_Change 9 » 2010-09-24 02:12pm

Neu Preußen

Reichskanzler Hoffman knew of the Umerian exercises planned near Volksland, and had decided to do something they would never expect. He would go on a diplomatic visit to Umeria, to "extend the olive branch of peace", as it were. Hopefully it would lead to an understanding - Prussia had no aggressive intentions for Umeria, after all. Even more hopefully, it would lead to a trade agreement or non-aggression pact, or something similar, at the least. Deputy Reichskanzler Julius Schrödinger was taking over when he was away. Hopefully, the inexperienced politician wouldn't make a foolish mistake - Hoffman's party would lose the coming Reichstag election if that was the case, and that could easily mean his dismissal by August Wilhelm, king of the League.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby PeZook » 2010-09-24 03:19pm


Almera colony

A great many worlds were settled during the Diaspora. Slow generational ships scattered across the Cosmos from the twin cradles of humanity, carrying people from all walks of life. Many of these craft were lost in the depths of space and never found ; Others founded the great star nations of the galaxy.

Many others landed, for various reasons, on planets barely suitable for life ; Lost their equipment or parts of the crew, or just plain collapsed after a few years. There were many, many such worlds where tiny human communities eked out a miserable living. World uncharted, never rediscovered, or only known to pirates and slavers. Yet more places were dead, with only ghost towns indicating humans ever set foot there, abducted by slavers or wiped out by disease.

The UNS Almera avoided that fate, and managed to establish a colony, its crew naming their new world for their ship. With hope for the future, they set out to explore and colonize the arid world, fearing no hardship.

Records are unclear what happened next ; What was known is that eventually, after a period of great development and a population explosion, the colony failed - at some point, its organized government was overthrown in a violent coup, replaced by a brutal dictatorship. Since that time, the situation deteriorated through centuries, and Almera never registered on the galactic stage, having lost all of its advanced space-age technology.

Yet people survived ; Slowly descending into barbarity and dwindling in numbers due to famine and disease, its huge cities torn down and converted into shanty towns sustaining themselves with sustenance farming, its legacy all but forgotten. Only a few of Almera's inhabitants looked at the stars anymore, too concerned with everyday hardship to care.


Corinth, Almera colony

"Vilena! Vilena!", a woman called, standing in the door of her small home. Some passing people looked at her quizzically, "Where is that girl?!", she eventually said with frustration. The woman's name was Jarrise, and she was just one of many inhabitants of Corinth, with all the usual problems: including a handful of a daughter.

She came back inside, to check the food, slowly sizzling on the stove. Every time Vilena didn't come back overnight - and she did it often enough - had her worried sick. Corinth was relatively safe, as far as cities on Almera went, but Vilena was an albino. Almera's society was fraught with barbaric customs and superstition which made that condition very dangerous - far beyond a mere medical problem. And even ignoring that, 'relatively safe' didn't really apply to a young woman wandering alone at night, even in the planet's largest and most prosperous cities.

When Jarrise heard the door open she sighed with relief, but immediately assumed a stern face and turned towards her daughter, "Vilena! Where have you been?!"

The girl didn't seem concerned with her mother's anger, though. She unwrapped the scarf she used to protect her face from the sun, revealing the pale skin and those huge, almost colorless eyes. She seemed overly excited - which, paradoxically, made her mother more worried.

"I saw the most exciting thing tonight, mother!", she immediately started talking, ignoring Jarrise's stern expression, "There was a falling star! And not like all the others! It went all the way down!"

"Vilena...", her mother tried to interrupt, but the girl didn't care.

"I saw it disappear behind the San Dorado hills. Do you think I should go there? We may find a falling star!"

Jarrise sighed, "Vilena!", she raised her voice. Her daughter finally paid attention to her mother's expression, "Why do you keep doing that? You know it's dangerous! Something could happen to you!"

The girl had no good answer. And not because she didn't want to tell, it's because she didn't know herself - so she hung her head and stared at the table.

After a few minutes of awkward silence, Jarrise sighed heavily and poured some stew for both of them. Neither of the women said anything.

"You don't like it here, do you?", Vilena finally spoke.

"What? Why do you say that?", Jarisse seemed surprised

"You're constantly scared. Don't think I can see that. Why can't we go back home?"

"Because we're safer here.", Jarisse began a well-rehearsed answer, "General Corello has armed men keeping the peace...back home, we'd be constantly attacked by raiders and..."

"Dad stayed home.", Vilena interrupted, "All our aunts stayed home. And you don't believe the general's men can keep me safe when I don't come home at night, anyway."

Her mother got up angrily, "We're safer here!", she insisted.

"It's because of my condition, isn't it? That's why we had to leave home."

Jarisse turned around, pretending to wash her dish. She didn't want her daughter see the tears.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Darkevilme » 2010-09-24 05:07pm

HSF Sneakily Does It, Shinn Hokkaido system

Show Time.

With the Solarian marines starting to worm their way through the cramped innards of the cruiser a half dozen events occur inside two seconds. Explosive bolts detonate on the surface of the ship, hurling the absorbent panels violently away to unveil the life pods which promptly rocket out at high speeds. With the crew safe of course Callahan has no obligation to maintain a liveable enviroment aboard so simultaneous is the shut down of artificial gravity, life support and worst of all the inertial compensators. And then the fusion rockets fired.

It was only due to the Solarian marvel of miniaturized inertial compensators for just this contingency that the intruders were not wiped out to a man, their innards liquefied by the sudden forces. This does not mean, as corporal Valdez was one of many to find out, that it did not hurt. His armour suited body unexpectedly hurled against the wall by the acceleration, the impact bouncing him around violently inside his own powersuit as it came to a sudden halt against the metal wall.
Gritting his teeth against the pain from numerous bruises Valdez reorientates himself to the new floor, having to hunch over uncomfortably to fit in the cramped passage and having to move slowly in the high gravity, were it not for his suit he'd be unable to move at all. At least the suits pain relief is kicking in. Then the bulkhead doors closed behind him, as they were across the entire ship, cutting him off from the rest of the marines “Never rains but it pours.” He utters and then calls in”Major I'm cut off but good to go. Orders?..” he radios, followed a split second later by “CONTACT!” and a stream of profanity as something that looked much like a fat flying saucer darts around the corner and opens fire on him, explosive shells punching holes through his suit before he can bring his plasma rifle to bear and retaliate. The plasma bolt catching the drone square center resulting in a violent explosion.
Valdez slowly slumped to the sideways floor as his suit floods him with a desperate cocktail of pain suppressants and other drugs to try and keep him alive. As a result of this drug mix when he reported in again he sounded a little out of it “Some kinda robot Major, got the drop on me. You can drop'em real easy though..I'm just gonna wait here a bit...medic would be nice...” He trails off, looking down at the holes drilled in his torso armour and the intricate landscape formed by the cracks spreading forth from them. Valdez unaware that the Major was already getting other reports of these attack drones from other teams.

Chamarran Ripper 04, in proximity to the Sneakily

No pilot likes watching their carrier be captured, but for Nerru and Ren those were their exact orders, hold position and hold your fire until more orders come in. There was little to do beyond keeping a wary eye on the Collector fighters and gunboat that were lingering around despite the Solarians taking over the operation. This situation changed with incredible suddenness, Nerru looking up in shock as the Ripper shudders beneath her and the streaks of missiles stream out in front of them.
“REN! We were under orders not to fire!”
“I...i didn't...” says Ren with equal surprise and then winces as the second Solarian shuttle vanishes in a nuclear flash.
“We all fired at the same time.” Ren adds as the situation coalesces before her monitors, one of the Starlings already gone and the others furiously evading as it seems all twelve Rippers had launched their ordinance at the surrounding Collector and Solarian small craft at the same time.
“Well tell them we weren't the ones responsible. I didn't go this far to die for no reason!” says Nerru, forcing their bomber into evasive manouvers to avoid the inevitable reprisals.
“I..I cant. Our communication system is offline...” Ren said with her body language showing she was near panic as the situation was taken further and further out of their hands.
“First our missiles fire and now we cant tell people we didn't mean to. What the hell is going on?”
“I'm Sorry Nerru, this mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.” Callahan said.

Sneakily does it
The Probes were away. Streaming out towards the Monolith, their arrival timed to come a moment before the mighty vessel transitioned to hyperspace. Sneakily racing along behind the probes and slowly falling behind, the only purpose the Shell now served that of defending the probes for the duration of their flight.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Siege » 2010-09-24 05:51pm

The Consensus reacted with the inhuman speed afforded to it by the incomprehensible computing power of its constituent minds. Orders raced across the Datasphere at speeds faster than thought, faster than light even.

Several things happened at once. Wideband TADAR pulsed through space, the combined sensor power of the USSF flotilla flooding the AU surrounding the Sneakily Does It with a tachyonic fields of such ferocious strength that space itself began to dance with flickering blue Cherenkov radiation. The Chamarran cloaking fields were no match for sensor power of such magnitude. With the positions of the Chamarran Rippers revealed by the brute force of Solarian sensors and their own weapons fire, they were easy prey for the remaining Starlings. The automated fighters hungrily leapt forward, microlaser cannons filling space with bright stiches of exotic matter that tore the Chamarran stealth craft apart in bright explosions and clouds of vaporized metal. More Starlings and Shrikes raced out toward the battlespace too, hundreds of them, each just as inhumanly eager to get in on the killing.

At the same instant, the strikestars Disputant and Bulldozer transitioned to realspace in a flurry of otherworldly light. Emerging from hyper right on top of the small Chamarran flotilla, Bulldozer immediately began pulling life pods toward itself whilst its sister ship snatched the Sneakily in a vice of powerful hyperfields. Caught in invisible beams of electrogravity, the ship found the effects of its rockets neutralized by the force control effects generated by the much more powerful warship. Even as they busied themselves fishing for Chamarrans, both strikestars began unloading a veritable fusillade of low-power weapons fire at the probes the Chamarran ship had just launched -- whilst pulsing a message to the Monolith containing an explanation of the situation, as well as streaming location updates of the rapidly dwindling number of probes. With the kind of sensor power that was flooding space at this time, there would be no more hiding from the Sovereignty anymore.

Meanwhile aboard the Sneakily Does It, Major Ray Gunsly dragged himself from the floor, cursing under his breath as he did. There had been, he noticed, one unexpected benefit to the stupid stunt the ship had pulled: the sudden manoeuver had thrown him against a wall containing a computer socket plug. With no small amount of satisfaction he slammed the universal datajack into its place in it, and was rewarded with an ominous red light coming on. The Cankerworm was in. Whatever intelligence was hiding in the stealth ship's computer cores, it would be dying now.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Darkevilme » 2010-09-24 09:04pm

HSF Sneakily Does It

Callahan was dying, this was irrelevant. But worse was that Callahan had failed in the mission. As the virus chewed through his personality matrix he sends the final transmission of his lifetime, the ship's entire power supply being focused on one final hypercom burst before Callahan set off his own logic bombs and erased the entirety of the ships computer system. In a second there was no chamarran computer activity left at all except for only a few small computers, barely worth the name and dotted around the ship. All these computers ran the same program, the shell would not long outlast the death of the mind.


There was a light, terrible in its power, and when the light faded there was not a molecule of the Sneakily and those left aboard left to be found.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby Steve » 2010-09-24 10:06pm

Royal Palace of Fynn, Altair
Planet and Kingdom of Fynn, Sector X-13
4 March 3400

Hilda was in a comfortable gown, her Order rodes slung over the nearby chair where she'd placed them after a training session with Layla. Now Layla was heading to Chapter Mattan for a review with Bianca and Hilda was left to herself for a time.

She had intended it to be for some private time - which amounted to pining for Zara and checking up on her - but she had received a call by hypercom. Moments later the blue-tinted image of Reina was on the holotank, seated in a chair as well, in sleeveless gown much like Hilda's. "Are you doing well?", Reina asked. Due to the relative short range from Fynn to Janus, the transmission was sharp and clear with almost no electronic garbling of Reina's words.

"No, I am not," Hilda admitted. "My father is dead and I have ripped out a chunk of my heart to satisfy duty."

Reina swallowed and nodded. "I actually said no at first." When Hilda's reply was a pained look, Reina continued. "When your father told me about Zara. I felt horrible to come between you."

"It would happen regardless," Hilda murmured.

"That's what Premier Dragovich said to me, after threatening to force me to abdicate if I wouldn't marry."

That prompted a shake of the head from Hilda. "I appreciate your gesture," she sighed. "It was a noble one. But you and I were bound to duty the moment we were born. Born to do this thankless work, to live under a microscope and have our lives dominated by minutiae and politics. I do not doubt there are worse fates, for I witnessed them in the Order, but it can be a sore one."

"I'll understand if you and Zara... spend time together.. after we wed," Reina said solemnly.

"Again, thank you, but it won't happen. It would be a violation of the Order's Code." Hilda had tears in her eyes, surprising to her since she had believed her tear ducts exhausted by now. "And that is all Zara has left to her."

Venturing to continue, Reina said, "I understand you are hurt, but I'd like to think that we can be happy and that Zara might also find some happiness..."

Hilda wasn't surprised to hear Reina say these things. Reina did not have a fully-developed telepathic talent, at least not compared to her telekinesis. She didn't understand what Hilda and Zara were going through. "It is not merely about being happy," she explained to the younger woman. "Zara and I were Bonded. We had been together for so long, and were so close, that what we had wasn't just mutual emotional affection but a link between our minds. Now that we are apart, and we know it will be permanent, the sundering of this Bond is leaving a hole in our very being. It's like having a painful gap in my very heart that I can't make go away. No amount of happiness will remove that, only time and being adjusted to my lost bond with Zara."

"I want to help you through that. The marriage isn't until later this year, but I can still come and visit, provide you company."

Hilda smiled thinly at that. "Perhaps. We should probably get to know each other better before the wedding anyway."

"Agreed. Maybe the start of next month? I have to remain here for the month with my schedule so filled up, but I can find a few days in April to visit."

"That would be agreeable."

Tasker Cloister, New Caroline Islands
New Anglia, Star Kingdom of New Anglia

It was to be Druni's last morning in the Cloister. She spent it with Zaria, of course, indulging with her as if it would be the last time they saw one another (which was quite possible). They even took their morning meal together and ultimately Druni waited until the last minute to get her things together and be ready for the trip to the hostel in the suburb, about 8 kilometers north of the New Chatham city center, where she would assist in local community projects in exchange for room and board, until such a time as she was able to find employment or further education opportunities.

When she was done packing she laid down next to Zaria again and planted a strong kiss on her lips. "Try to write?", she asked.

"Of course. But, before you go... one last thing?"


Zaria pulled her arms, at least until the resistance of the improvised leather straps around her wrists and the bedpost stopped her. "Untie me?", Zaria asked sweetly.

That drew a giggle from Druni, along with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. "But I rather like you looking like this," Druni cooed, licking at Zaria's neck. As she did so, she pulled loose the belt clasp and freed Zaria from her confinement.

This allowed Zaria to get ready. She followed Druni to the Cloister gates, where a vehicle from the motor pool was waiting. Zara was waiting for her, looking stronger and healthier today as she continued to finish healing from her wounds. "I'm coming with you," she informed Druni. "To help you settle in."

"Thank you, Mast.... Lady Zara." Druni smiled as she corrected herself and accepted a hug from her former teacher. "I hope my departure from the Order does not impact your chance to find a new Apprentice soon."

"These things happen. Don't worry about me," Zara assured her. "Now, let's get going."

Druni turned back to Zaria and gave her a farewell kiss. Their minds connected and they exchanged final goodbyes, after which Druni stepped into the vehicle with Zara. Zaharia watched them drive off toward town and breathed a sigh.

A familiar presence came up to her. She felt Shayera's hand touch her shoulder. "It's never easy saying goodbye to someone you care for," Shayera said to her. "All you can do is try to live on."

"You've had to say goodbye before?", Zaria asked.

"Oh yes, I did. And it made the Suffering Table look like a pinprick, I assure you," was the sad answer. "Let's go get a bite to eat, Zaria. Then we'll get your training back on track tomorrow."
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby RogueIce » 2010-09-24 10:36pm

Nikeah, Doma Sector, Shinra Republic – Some Time Ago…

Staff Sergeant Sarah O’Donnell was a soldier of the Shinra Republic Military Police. Her present duties placed her as NCOIC of the Ordnance Depot of the Serpent’s Trench Combined Base, a fancy way of saying that both the regular Army and SRMP shared the facilities. A native of the Doma Sector, she had joined years ago as a means to protect her home, family and friends. While serving, she had taken advantage of what the service had to offer and had earned a college degree and considerable experience that would serve her well in civilian life.

To everybody who knew and worked with her, she appeared to be just like any other MP senior NCO: dutiful, hard-working, and a kind, caring mentor to her subordinates.

Unfortunately, there was also a part of her which none of her colleagues knew existed. Or even suspected.

Staff Sergeant Sarah O’Donnell, SRMP, was a firm believer in returning the Doman monarchy to its rightful place, and kicking the Republic out.

She was a Returner.

As luck would have it, the 327th Airmobile, the famed Red Wings, had decided to call Serpent’s Trench their temporary home. O’Donnell knew, perhaps better than those who led the Returner movement, that the ‘soldiers’ they had would not have much of a chance against the 327th. While they did have quite competent and professional units, such formations were still too few and far between, despite the best efforts of a rogue bunch of SEEDs. And even the best of the Returner companies wouldn’t have a chance against even a platoon of Red Wings; their armor and weaponry were simply far too great for the limited equipment that had thus far been procured by the rebel leadership.

However, even the galaxy’s best power armor couldn’t protect soldiers who weren’t wearing it.

As the Ordnance Depot NCOIC, she had quite the selection of explosives to choose from. And thanks to her long and thus far loyal service – and the fact the lieutenant in charge of the depot was only recently commissioned from OCS – she had near total autonomy in her access to the “good stuff” as the soldiers called it.

O’Donnell had been thrilled when she found out the Red Wings would be stationed at her base. This would be her chance to strike a blow for the Returner movement: a much stronger and fiercer blow than her fellow rebels could presently manage. All she had to do was wait for the right moment.

That moment came sooner than she had hoped.
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And we risk all that is pure..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, Forever (Rome: Total War)

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The war continues on..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, We Are All One (Medieval 2: Total War)
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1

Postby PeZook » 2010-09-25 02:25am


The sudden eruption of activity confused nearly every organic involved. It was fortunate, then, that all the important decisions were not made by humans.

As soon as the Rippers launched their missiles, the small Collector craft scattered. A starfield of tiny knife missiles erupted from the Scythe, intercepting incoming ordnance. The display was beautiful, like a carefully orchestrated fireworks show, missile leaving streaks of remass punctuated by flashes as their salvage fuses went off, bathing the immediate area with radiation.

As combat intensified and the stealth cruiser raced towards the Monolith that had been preparing for hyperjump, its sister ship suddenly leapt forward, guided by information from Solarian CIs and its own advanced sensors. With a speed that was unnatural for something that size, it plowed right through the probe swarm. emerald beams lancing out of its hull. Space around it filled with tiny explosions, briefly illuminating the inky black surface of the alien ship.

Between the Monolith's guns and a flurry of Solarian fighters, only one probe managed to get close enough to its target: it caught limited readings of the hyperspace transition before a Shrike cut it apart with an autolaser. It pules the data to whatever receivers remained close enough to receive data through the jamming: which meant the escape pods.
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.

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