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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-04 02:58pm
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Location: Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
CNS Datton
Unnamed system, C-6
Unreal Time


The Datton came out of hyperspace, and immediately cloaked. In front of it was a gas giant surrounded by moons, and the Datton flew over to the dark side of the largest one.

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Landing on the moon's surface, the Datton's crew shut down all except the most vital systems, while keeping the cloak on.

Inside, Forg was walking back and forth in the bridge, thinking about the mission. He long suspected that someone in the Navy wanted him and his crew dead and the ship destroyed, but why send him on a suicide mission? It was too uncertain. Perhaps whoever had a grudge wasn't that high-ranking to have him shot, but still had enough authority to order him to take a leap of faith. He (or she) certainly gave him a time limit: a month. Just enough time for the Datton to run out of luck. He could disregard orders and bolt for home, but then whoever wanted him and his crew dead would happily execute them for insubordination and desertion. He couldn't give his enemies the satisfaction.

His Lieutenant's voice snapped him out of his train of thought.

"You alright sir?"

"Yes. I was just thinking that someone in the brass wants us disposed of. They're certainly taking their time."

"Well Captain, they didn't execute us after the Pendleton fiasco. No reason they'll do it now."

"At least execution would have made them honest. Why they bother to give us the bad jobs is beyond me."

"Maybe they're just fucking with us?"

"Maybe. Either way we still have a week before we can go home, and less time before we have to resupply. We just have to wait out that unknown vessel. If it finds us, well, at least we go out with a bang."

Forg turned his head around for a moment and saw that the bridge crew was looking at them.

"What are you buffons staring at? Keep doing your tasks!"

They all replied, rather sullenly, "Yes sir."



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-04 05:56pm
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Carvin' Marvin
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Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400


Shroom ran as fast as her daemonic feet would carry her, putting distance between herself and the King. She had heard enough about the Bragulans to know what happened when they put a lot of firepower together, and they had a LOT of firepower together this time. She ran, stumbled, fell, tearing up whatever was left of her clothing, got up again and kept running. There was a flash and a giant boom behind her and she ducked and covered, expecting to be vaporized by nuclear hellfire at any moment, for although her body had the strength of a spherical mass of iron of the same size; it provided scant safety as spherical masses of iron were the preferred prey of nuclear weapons galaxy-wide.

Seconds passed and, much to her surprise, she was still alive. That was most unusual, so she risked a glance behind her.

Image

Where the giant ape had once stood proudly and defiantly, there was only a giant crater, and the ominous rhythmic humming of the Solarian forcefield. Her ordeal was well and truly over, yet somehow she felt a strange sense of loss, as if something far greater was about to be born, only to step back from the brink at the last moment. She could not explain how or why she knew it, but she knew, and it hurt, almost as strongly as the late King’s deathgrip.

“My beefs! My beautiful beefs!” she lamented. “MY GRAND ENTRANCE!”

Then, she saw figures running towards her, and her thoughts focused on the present. She could see a group of Bragulan conscripts running towards her, followed by a few of her own troops.

“Ma’am” the bear was panting from the effort of trying to keep up with the daemonoid robots. Normally, it would have been a hard task even for a Fenrisian postbear, much less for a mere Bragulan, but the tsvagna-sipping commissar’s beating stick could turn even the most inept conscript into a superbear. Perhaps, it was an actual magical wand that warped reality by the sheer power of Bragulanity and inspired those touched by it to perform impossible feats in the name of the Imperator and Byzonism. For commissars were the true priests of Byzon, and through them he stomped on the face of reality itself and fucking laughed. Forever. Shroom decided that it definitely warranted further investigation.

“Ma’am,” the trooper caught his breath and tried again. “We…we’re here to collect you…” he trailed off as he caught sight of her torn clothing. “We…uh. ”

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“Yes, trooper?” she frowned, even as the combat robots formed a square around her, blocking her from the lascivious gazes of the lecherous bears (for these were not mere legionary conscripts, but rather special diplomatic legionary conscripts, and prolonged exposure to Chamarran-chans had given them a taste for pointy ears, tails, and large secondary sex characteristics, all of which were also present on the Lost ambassador). The bears did not seem to mind, and in fact, continued looking. Perhaps, the commissar’s beating stick had also given them X-Ray vision. That, too warranted more investigation. Then, she noticed a short figure in a brown hoodie peeking out from behind the daemonic robot’s back.

Fortunately for Shroom, while everybody else were chasing after the King or trying to round up the escaping beefs, the imp had the presence of mind to head for the bragbunker and raid the nearest stall for clothes. Unfortunately for her, the nearest stall had been a cosplay store, specializing in clothing from all corners of the galaxy, from lab coats of Umerian mad scientists to the grim uniforms of the Byzantine Commissariat. It was the latter that caught the imp’s eye.

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“Hmmm….I think I like it,” Shroom said, as the Bragulans suddenly lost all interest, for a Byzantine Commissar was a sworn enemy of the Empire, and the poor conscripts’ powers of doublethink were greatly inadequate to justify having lascivious thoughts about an enemy of the Empire. Instead, the images in their heads of the alien dignitary in a most undignified state were automatically replaced by the ideologically correct images of the frozen Bragulags of the Severnaya Sector, so very close to Vlyadibragstok, a mental cold shower of sorts. It had done wonders to focus their attentions back to their Byzonic duty, and this did not escape Shroom’s attention.

“You have done well,” she turned to the imp. “What is your name?”

“Wordsworth, great mistress,” the imp prostrated itself before her. She remembered that name, for a Wordsworth had made for fascinating reading.

“I did not know you were assigned to this mission,” she said. “Why did I not see you earlier?”

“I was assigned to care for the beefs, great mistress,” Wordsworth said. The imp was surprised, for the daemon seemed to know it, yet it was certain they had never met. In turn, Shroom remembered the little brown figure shooting the mad beef charging at her.

“So, it was you who saved me!” she smiled and gave the imp a good lick. She could not give a proper belly-lick, for she no longer had a mouth or a tongue there, so she had to resort to using the much inferior head-tongue. Still, the imp seemed to like it, and recognition began to dawn in its bright beady eyes.

“You…great mistress!” finally recognizing her, the imp prostrated itself in joy again, even as a Bragulan Chornyb Urban Pacifier arrived to take them all to the BEEEF.

It was the beginning of a most beautiful friendship.

------------------------
Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin



My Fundie Guide The World Has Ended.....Life Goes On
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-04 08:46pm
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Location: IA > GA
The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400

Refuge diplomatic yacht, medical bay


Dash shook off a tiny bit of the grogginess from his pain medications, as he had felt a large foreign lump by his side. It was...a medal of some kind? “Whazzis?” he slurred.

Nearby, Fulcrum, who had been working on something, looked up. “Dash, you're awake again!,” he said with obvious delight. He hopped over to his deputy's side. “How do you feel?”

“Ehhhh...suh whazzis?” He nudged the lump.

“Why, don't you remember?” Fulcrum asked.

Previously on SDNW4, or was it? wrote:
"It wasn't the Bragplanes..." Jack Turdner said quietly to himself. "It was beauty killed the beast."

A Bragulan approached him and tore the plutonium badge of the Bragulan Star Empire, last class, presented to friends of Bragule and granting them authority over conscripts, penal troopers and cub soldiers, off his chest.

"This is all your fault! This medal is not fit to grace you! It deserves to be given to an actual hero!" the Bragulan roared. Then he turned and pinned it on the feathers of an enormous eagle.

Fulcrum opened his wings and shrieked.


“I am most gloriously honored,” Fulcrum declared, “but I cannot accept it, for far greater courage than mine was shown that day.”

The Bragulan replied, “But you alone drew the beast's attention to yourself, risking your life to save those of the fleeing crowd!”

“Indeed,” he said, “but that was only after seeing a greater act of bravery performed,” and he pointed with his mighty wing at a small powered carriage nearby, holding the recovering Dash.


“Iwuz? Dun 'member...”

“Maybe you had a stronger dose of sedatives at that moment. You truly don't remember? How I removed the plutonium badge of the Bragulan Star Empire and placed it on your feathers?”

“Nuh.”

“That is too bad, for it was a grand moment.”

“Buh, whhhy?”


“As the gorilloid swung from the chandelier, Dash charged him, and took down the chandelier upon its head!” The bystanders gasped. “No doubt he was trying to stop the rampage right there, and he nearly died in the attempt. After seeing that, how could I not follow in his wingbeats?”

“But how?” asked the Bragulan.

“I could not see it well from my vantagepoint,” Fulcrum said, “but he is an amazing and talented fellow, and it is my honor and pleasure to have him by my side.”


“Huh? Di...didI?”

“You don't remember that either? Oh, my poor friend!”

Dash tried to think through his haze of drugs. He sort of recalled...there was something about flying towards the gorilloid...perhaps...but nothing much really. But charging it, that was something he would do. Maybe Fulcrum was right, but just that small effort of thinking tired him out.

“And then there was a Karlack...oh, but this has been too much already. I shall tell you about that later, and show you the news reports as well! Sleep well, Dash.”

“Ya, 'hanks,” Dash said as he drifted back off to sleep, still thinking, maybe that did happen.


Result: Fulcrum lies, so now we'll neeeeeeeeeever know what really happened!



DPDarkPrimus is my boyfriend!

SDNW4 Nation: The Refuge And, on Nova Terra, Al-Stan the Totally and Completely Honest and Legitimate Weapons Dealer and Used Starship Salesman slept on a bed made of money, with a blaster under his pillow and his sombrero pulled over his face. This is to say, he slept very well indeed.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-05 06:59am
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Carvin' Marvin
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Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists

“Well, if they're in a good mood it might be better than death by gas giant...If.” Niu says uncertainly as they both considered their change in fortunes, for better or worse they'd been saved from death by those they'd wronged.


Unnamed System, Sector C-6
Unreal Time


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Resolution In The Face Of Danger was preparing accommodations for its “guests” even as it was speeding towards the hyperlimit. Time was of the essence, not only because it needed the information fast, before the Enemy ship arrived, but for its own safety. Assuming the pilots were organic, which was likely given the presence of a cockpit on the captured strike craft, they would have to be secured before it was truly combat capable. The “crew” of the daemonic ship consisted of maintenance drones and swarms of nanites, and with the exception of a small section fit for organic habitation, the ship lacked not only atmosphere but even all but the most basic gravitics to counteract the worst of the ship’s immense acceleration. Any serious offensive or defensive maneuver would turn the ship’s organic captives outside the special section into thin red paste, which would make the whole exercise moot. Thus, as the Resolution zoomed towards the hyperlimit at a steady 53c, it was busy pressurizing its compartments, as well as securing the captured strike craft within a secondary hangar, used specifically for this purpose and thus cofferdammed and even equipped with an internal trapdoor system in case of an explosion.

Image

Once inside, the terrified catgirls were dragged out of the Ripper’s cockpit, searched thoroughly and immediately led away elsewhere. Glancing backwards, Biu could see dozens of maintenance drones emerge out of hidden compartments inside the walls and swarm their captured craft, examining it in detail. Then, they entered a tall and wide hallway, evidently used to move cargo deeper inside the ship, and their craft disappeared from sight. Soon, however, they entered a much smaller side corridor, barely big enough for the 1.7 meter tall robots that were their escort. It was pitch dark, and the two kitties had to be practically carried by their captors.

“Who are you?! Where are you taking us?! Nyah!” the two Chamarrans cried out, but the robots ignored their shouts. The captives resisted, trying to break free, but the robots carrying them did not even notice their struggles. Finally, they found themselves in another corridor, this one slightly better lit than the one that brought them there. Armored bulkheads and massive emergency doors were installed every five or six meters. A rows of what looked to be cryotubes lined the walls. Biu could count at least three dozen in the visible section of the corridor, and probably more beyond the bend. The lids of two of the tubes nearest her were open. Her tail flicked nervously as light reflecting off a cruel-looking set of needles inside the tube caught her eye.

Quickly, the two captives were stripped of their clothing and pushed inside the tubes. The rear of the wall was soft, and Biu could feel it flow over her, embracing her limbs and neck. The sensation was somewhat pleasant, and it took her a moment to realize what was going on. Before she could say anything she found herself completely immobilized, not even able to tail-flick in frustration. She wiggled her ears instead.

“Nyah!” she cried out. “Let me go!”

“Sis, you okay?” she heard Niu’s concerned voice to her right. She wanted to turn her head, but the restraints prevented her from doing that.

“Yeah,” Biu said. And then. “Looks like we’re screwed after all.”

Suddenly, there was a sharp pain in the back of her head, as if a needle had plunged directly into her spinal cord.

“NYAAAAAH!” she cried out, her voice echoed by her sister. There was another sharp pain as the catheters of tube’s waste disposal system connected with their intended targets. “NYAAAAAAAAH!”

Then came the needles, dozens of them plunging through the restraining liquid into her arms and legs, and even her tail. Two entered her neck. “NYAAAAAAH!”

“Tailyanking bastards,” Niu cursed. “YOU HEAR THAT?! YOU’RE A BUNCH OF TAILYANKING OATHBREAKING BASTARDS!” her voice echoed across the empty corridor. The robots made no sign they heard her, continuing to sort through and examine their flight suits. Niu whimpered.

“Think there’s any chance of getting out of this one?” she asked, her voice trembling slightly.

Biu considered it. The Audacity was out there somewhere, possibly bearing on the enemy ship right now. Would they attack? Even if they fail to get them out, at least they would end it quick.

“Might be,” she lied, even as she realized that likelihood of that was remote, at best. “Don’t lose hope.”

Niu began to say something, but her voice cut off suddenly.

“Niu? NIU?!” she screamed. “IF YOU BASTARDS HURT HER…” suddenly, she saw the lid of the cryotube closing in, plunging her into darkness and silence, and realized that she was merely soundproofed.

“Bastards,” she muttered. She felt tears streaming down her face. “Bastards,” she repeated, her voice hoarse. She whimpered. There was some pressure at the back of her head, which grew stronger and stronger, until she could tolerate it no more and screamed in sheer agony. Then, suddenly, it was gone, as abruptly as it began

The pain in her limbs died away, too, and, soon there was nothing. She had been waiting for her captors to do something, anything, to ask her questions, to torture her, even. Instead, there was only blackness and silence. She struggled against her restraints. She screamed, again and again. She cursed her captors and their whole misbegotten race. Only silence and stillness were her only response.

That is when she felt the first stirrings of terror. The Lost’s message spoke of energy beings in organic bodies, but what she encountered was far, far worse. The robotic bodies, the sheer ruthless efficiency with which they operated, the way they treated their captives as if they were nothing, it all resembled something far more terrible. Could it be? she felt a stab of panic. She remembered the countless Chamarrans taken by the implacable Collectors, the tales of horrible experiments. “No,” she sobbed. “PLEASE! NO!”

Of course, there was no reply. She waited and waited, and with every moment her terror grew and multiplied, until it consumed her very being and there was nothing else left. It was not the terror of pain that was to come, but rather, the far greater terror of the unknown. Were these beings like the Collectors? What did they want with them? Would they experiment on her and her sister? Would they, an impossible hope dawned in her, perhaps merely interrogate them and then release them home? She did not know, and not knowing was causing her a pain that was almost physical. Perversely, she longed for the doors to open, for the robots to come and take her away and dissect her, or to let her go, for surely anything was better than this endless waiting.

Yet, the doors did not open, and slowly, her panicked thoughts took an even darker turn. She had assumed that this was a cryotank, but was it, truly? What if it was not, and she would be locked in here, conscious, wondering and waiting, for the entire journey? The thought made her sick to her stomach. How long would a journey to Lost space take? Where was Lost space? Were they even going to Lost space? What if…the thought was almost too horrible to contemplate….what if they remained on station? How long would she remained locked in here then? Weeks? Months? Years?

What if….her train of thought continued….what if matters were even worse? Earlier, she thought and prayed and threatened that the Audacity would attack and destroy the bastards utterly. What if they did? What if the soundproof tank protected her as the enemy ship around her crumbled to a fiery hulk. What if it was drifting dead in space? What if the doors would never open? What if she remained here, forever, until the air ran out and she died, alone, in the cold blackness of space? She thought she felt it, distant bangs and thumps, a subtle change in gravity, a faint smell of smoke in the air supply. She WAS alone, drifting and dying in a wrecked ship. The Audacity attacked and destroyed the Lost cruiser, but was either too heavily damaged itself or simply did not find them in the wreck, and now she was doomed. “NO! NO!” she screamed. “I don’t want to die! Please….”

She began to hold her breaths, making them shallow, making every second count. She knew that it was pointless, that she was merely prolonging her suffering, that she should surrender to the inevitable, but still she found herself clinging desperately to life. “I don’t want to die,” the thought repeated itself in her mind, over and over again. “I don’t want to die.” Yet time passed, and she did not die, but rather lived and breathed and waited and feared until time itself seemed to lose all meaning.

And so the cycle went on, each successive terror-filled thought progressively worse than the one before, until, after what seemed to be years, the door of the tube opened at last.

The dim light of the corridor blinded her, and she closed her teary eyes. She could hear noises, too, the subtle hum of shipboard machinery and….sobs?…yes, sobs, coming from the adjacent tank.

“Niu?” she whispered. It pained her to admit it, but for a time, when she thought she was about to die alone, she had actually forgotten about her sister’s existence. She felt a stab of guilt. Niu was the younger one, always the one who needed to be cared for and protected, and now, she failed her utterly. What was it like for her, in the tank? What did she get her into? “Niu, I’m so, so sorry,” she said.

There was a noise, a metallic clang in front of her, and slowly, Biu opened her eyes. She saw a tall robot in a purple cape of sorts. The being was holding an object, some kind of datapad. Biu could see glowing symbols she could not understand.

Image

“Greetings,” the robot said, its voice a surprisingly pleasant baritone. “I am Sabaoth, the diplomatic unit attached to this ship. You are Biu and Niu from the Chamarran Hierarchy, pilots from the ship Audacity.”

“How…” Biu wondered.

“How did I know this? You and your sister have talked quite a bit while in the examination tank. I learned that you are from a minor clan from the Chamarran Hierarchy, that your leader is someone called Rayarr, that you Chamarrans do not know who created your species, but do not think too highly of them. I learned that your mission was to spy on us, to determine whether we were real. I also learned,” the robot chuckled, although its face” remained completely impassive, “a very long list of Chamarran expletives.”

“You mean….you were listening in? You did all of this on purpose?” Biu screamed. “FUCKING SCUM! YOU OATHBREAKING FUCKING BASTARD! SADISTIC DOGSHIT”

“I am sorry,” Sabaoth raised its hand in a conciliatory gesture. The other hand remained where it was, holding the glowing tablet. “Causing you pain was not our primary intention. We had been performing a variety of tests and scans, while our technical units were examining your ship. We have caused you needless suffering, that is true. There was, however, no way around it. You see, we had assumed that you were the ancient enemy of our people, come to destroy us once and for all. The fact that you have destroyed our craft only strengthened that impression…”

“I’m sorry,” Biu could hear her sister’s voice from the other tube. “I’m sorry we destroyed your ships…”

“As you should be, for we have come in peace and would have given you the information you wanted, had you only asked…”

“What enemy?” Biu interrupted him. If she could somehow let the Hierarchy know, they could perhaps ally…

“The one with the massive ship, that is coming for us even now,” the robot said.

Massive ship? Coming here now? the thought exploded in Biu’s head. “How massive?”

The diplomat turned to her and examined her with its glowing blue eyes. “You think you know this ship.” It was not a question. “It is a ship with a power output that is at least seven thousand points on your Stefan-Wylkyns scale.”

Somehow, despite everything she felt before, Biu found it in herself to be afraid again. Only one power in known space built ships like that. She gasped. “Collectors…”

“Ah yes, we have heard of this entity. Robotic beings, are they not? For a time, you have even assumed that we were part of that civilization, and that frightened you, and especially your sister.”

“The Collectors…experiment,” Niu said. “On our people.”

“I see,” Sabaoth made a note of this. “It appears that you still have information that is of value to us. You must tell us everything you know of these Collectors.”

“And then you will let us go?” Biu asked, hoping and fearing to hear his answer. “You will repatriate us to the Hierarchy?”

“That is unlikely,” Sabaoth said. “but, alas, we have no time to discuss this now. There is less than eight hours before the ship arrives.”

“You mean you are staying?!” Niu screamed. “NYAH! You must go! To stay is death! Worse than death!”

“Yes,” Biu agreed. “You cannot stay and wait for them.” She did some mental calculations. “You might still escape if you redline your drives….”

“You are most likely correct,” Sabaoth said, its face as impassive as ever. “However, our orders are clear. We are to wait for the Enemy ship and observe its reaction to our presence. If this course of action results in our deaths, then that is what our Duty requires.”

“Nyah! No! Please!” Biu pleaded.

“I am sorry, but time is of the essence. I must conclude this conversation now. “ Sabaoth said and took a step back.

“Wait? Didn’t you say that you wanted us to tell you of the Collectors?” Biu asked.

“That is correct,” the robot agreed. “However, time and accuracy are of the utmost importance. We must know everything you know, and we must know it quickly. We cannot rely merely on your recollections, only to discover you have omitted something. In addition, we are not entirely certain of your willingness to cooperate with us in good faith. Normally, such a thing would be fairly easy to establish given enough time, but time is a luxury we do not have. Thus, we have no guarantee that you would cooperate fully and tell us the truth.”

“We will!” Niu pleaded. “I promise! I swear on my clan’s honor! I will tell you everything. Please don’t put us back into the tank!”

Sabaoth turned and examined her. “Perhaps, but this is a risk we cannot afford to take. Our survival as a species, and the very fate of this universe may depend on it. We have to be certain you are not holding anything back.”

The fate of the universe What does he mean? Biu wondered despite herself.

“Normally, there are certain chemical compounds we can use, as well as simply reading the information from your mind. However, we have very little data on your physiology, and thus cannot judge the efficacy of the chemicals, and your species is remarkably resistant to psychic intrusion. Thus, only one option remains open to us, and for that, I am truly sorry.”

Biu felt a chill in the pit of her stomach. Her ears began to tremble slightly. If he was apologizing….

“There is an interrogation specialist present on this ship,” the robot continued. “It will make contact with your and your sister’s minds via the direct neural link we have established. While it could, with time, break even your formidable mental defenses, that option will take too long. However, it is more than capable of taking control of the sensory input your brain receives. It is also capable of affecting your perception of time.”

“You’re going to torture us?!” Niu gasped. “Oh no no no no no”

“I apologize, but there is no other way. If we survive the encounter with the Collector ship, I will ensure that the memories of your experience shall be excised, which should limit the psychological trauma…..”

“Basssssstard!” Biu hissed “I hope the Collectors slag you and your whole pathetic kind! BASTARDS!” she screamed as the lid slid closed and she was plunged into darkness once more. Like before, the back of her head where the needle of the neural link penetrated her spinal cord exploded in agony. But this time, it did not go away. It grew until it fully occupied her head. Then it became bigger still. At last, she saw.

“You are mine now,” came a voice inside her head, and suddenly the darkness was replaced by brilliant light. “NYAAAAAH!” she screamed she felt her eyes burning, she tried to cover them and discovered that she could not. She felt a presence, which grew bigger and bigger and bigger until it filled the whole universe. “You are mine now,” the voice repeated, and suddenly the light was gone and Biu could see again.

She saw a massive being sitting on a throne of brass, an enormous double- bladed glaive in its hand. Its head alone had been the size of a Juggernaut, its body greater than a planet. She and her sister were nothing, less than nothing, compared to its gargantuan presence.

Image

“YOU ARE MINE NOW” the voice boomed in her head with the force of a thousand nuclear bombs. Suddenly, the whole world was fire. Biu burned. It felt as if star exploded in every cell of her being, over and over and over. “AAAAAAAAARGGGH!” she screamed, louder than ever before or after, a scream that came not from her throat, but from every cell of her being wracked in unimaginable agony. Biu burned. Her body blackened, then turned to cinders, and then to ash. Still the fires burnt on, consuming her very essence, the very core of her soul.

“YOU ARE MINE NOW!” she could still hear the voice. “AND WE SHALL HAVE SUCH FUN TOGETHER”

Then there was nothing but an eternity of pain.


Eight hours later

Image

Resolution In The Face Of Danger was in position. Since arriving into the system, it had assumed an orbit in the core of the system, less than two light minutes from the corona of the star. It had towed the relay with it. The information received from its captives had been encouraging, but should the encounter go wrong, it would take it scant seconds to order the relay to self-destruct, then dive into the star at full speed. It had sent a detailed update and confirmed this course of action with its superiors. It also sent off all its data on the Chamarran captives via submesonic link including mind-scans and biological information.

It had demanded to listen in on the interrogation in person, and its subordinates had no choice but to obey. At first, it had felt pleasure at their suffering, for they had, after all, destroyed one of its craft, and drove its ancient companion to suicide. However, as time went on, the interrogator breaking down their resistance, dominating their minds and souls until they considered the chance of telling it the truth the sole meaning of their lives and the pinnacle of their existence, Resolution’s attitudes began to change. There was something wrong, unnatural in the way the daemon had dominated its screaming captives. Originally, the ship intended to let the interrogator have its way with them all the way through the encounter, even after they had told it all that they knew, but as the time went by it reconsidered that decision. The concept of pity was alien to it, and so it could not explain why it chose to break the link as soon as the session was done, and to place its captives into a deep merciful sleep inside the stasis tubes, as the diplomatic unit asked it to, rather than leaving them to suffer in the darkness all the way through its journey as had been its natural inclination. It had spent whatever scraps of time and processing power it could spare to analyze this unusual phenomenon, but it had yet to reach a conclusion when it ran out of time.

Even deep inside the system’s hyperlimit, it felt the distant rumblings of the hyperspace as the giant mass of the Collector Monolith approached the system at last.


----------------------
OOC: I apologize if this is too dark. I intended it to be a lot lighter (and shorter), but I found the exploration of terror and sensory deprivation too interesting to resist. This was the first time I wrote something like this, and I promise to keep the grimdark to a minimum from now on, as much as possible, at least, given the nature of my power :D

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin



My Fundie Guide The World Has Ended.....Life Goes On
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Last edited by fgalkin on 2011-02-10 03:01am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-05 07:57am
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Epilogue, sector C-6 incident

“Shipmistress. Your orders were to verify the transmissions from the nation known as the Lost while avoiding detection. No where did it state that we required more or especially samples of alien technology. While charitably I can say that your scans of the cruiser may yet prove valuable the 'initiative' you chose to display during your solo assignment led to the loss of one Ripper, the potential capture of its crew by The Lost and the reckless endangerment of your ship. I have requested of your clan matriarch that you be replaced as shipmistress of the Audacity and considering your handling of their investment I strongly suspect she will agree to my request.”

- - -

“Shiran you have had a chance to review the sensor reports from sector C-6. I would like a preliminary report before you get distracted once more with your other projects.”
“As you wish Mela. The technology on display when the cruiser eliminated the incoming probes has some quite interesting implications.”
“Yes it implies that they've somehow created a defence that renders them immune to missiles, considering they may be inclined to belligerence to us due to recent events in that sector this is considered an issue of grave concern. What can you offer us to counter this defence and level the playing field?”
“Currently? The possibility of a theoretical framework for how it achieves such an effect inside five years and the suggestion you do not to agitate them further.”
“Shiran, remind me never to go to you for comforting words in future.”
“I am a scientist shadowmistress, I deal only in how things are not how you wish them to be.”



STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-05 11:44am
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Imperial Chronicles

Before BEEEF

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The Master of Mankind sat upon the Golden Throne in his bastion on Terra. Before him kneeled his 3 sons, Decius the Sigillite, and others from the Inquisition. "Rise," he said, as his voice boomed through the minds of all that kneeled before him. They rose, and the Sigillite walked forward.

"Sire, have you read my report?"

"Yes I have. The MEH poses are certain threat to humanity. How they have allowed themselves to be ruled by a xeno is unfathomable. I am however, deeply interested in this xeno and how it has managed to rise to the leadership of a race of humans. The xeno must be brought before me to be examined and his reason for existence to be determined. I want to know where he comes from, and why it exists in this plane of existence."

"Might he be of that realm you speak of?" asked Belisarius Komnenos.

"Perhaps. I am trying to divine the nature of the MEH through my proddings of the etherium. But even so, I want it brought before me so that I can determine for a certainty what it really is. It is disturbing enough for a group of humans claiming to be from a different plane of reality to suddenly appear in our plane, and worse still for them to be led by a xeno."

"There will be war?" asked Rus Komnenos, rather eagerly.

"There will be war. I have foreseen it. Many nations are watching the MEH rather wearily. Even the Bragulans are, for the bears, in fear of their puny fragile existence, would seek to crush this usurper human nation claiming to be the birth place of humanity, for the sake of safeguarding their own existence over the inevitable tide of humans that will overwhelm them in eventuality. Two birth places is bad enough. A third one would shatter their minds."

"And the Imperium's role?" asked Aurelian Komnenos.

"The Imperium will seek the destruction of the MEH. You all will take their capital and bring this damn xeno before me. I want him before me so that I may feel its own destruction. I will have nothing less. The Imperium however, has too many concerns to mind and we cannot destroy them alone."

"We are to seek allies as I suggest?" asked Decius the Sigillite.

"As much as I loathe to deal with the weak willed humans, yes we must. The Bragulans may well prove useful if we can direct their energies rather adequately."

"Oh? A temporary alliance of the same vein as Pact of the Greater Good of Bragulanity?"

"Perhaps. I will trust you to do the necessary arrangements."

"It will be done as you have willed, my Lord."

"As for the rest of you, make ready for war."

And they left the throne room.



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STGOD: Byzantine Empire
Your spirit, diseased as it is, refuses to allow you to give up, no matter what threats you face... and whatever wreckage you leave behind you.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-05 12:28pm
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Girder soon put on another pair of sunglasses, to add on the sunglasses he had already on.

"As an aside, I'm quite impressed with the diversity of sunglasses displayed here. Makes me want to buy them all off."

"Good for you sir." Stakoff didn't understand his boss's fetish for sunglasses, but wasn't really interested to know. He had a feeling that he wouldn't like the answer.

"So, when the IBGV's comin'?", he asked.

"That's the thing. No time or place was specified. They didn't even say how many of our people were going to be...interviewed. It's gonna be random."

"I don't like surprises, boss."

"Me neither. I suggest you and the others stay alert at all times. Who knows, those bears may be playing Bragulan Roulette right now, so they can pick out their targets..."


The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400


Confidential Location

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CSB Senior Agent Girder stared at the IBGV bear with wraparounds. They looked at each other, face to face, and regarded one another. It was a staring contest, except none of them could see the other blink because they were both wearing black shades. Girder placed another pair of glasses on his pair of glasses he already had on. The Bragulan's face reflected off Girder's glasses, which reflected off the Brag's own glasses reflecting off Girder's Gay-Bans, and so on.

There was a sucking sound as the mimetic polyalloy Gay-Bans morphed into each other. Two glasses becoming one.

"So... you've interviewed all my men." Girder said flatly.

"Da. We have," the black and white Bragulan replied. "We like them. We will borrow some."

"Oh? That's unexpected." Girder replied in a deadpan. He took another pair of shades and placed them on, polyalloy fusing them into the shades he already had on. Then he said a witty pun. "I'm going to have to see your borrower's slip."

"Let me try mine," interrupted another's voice, and a blue-glove hand cut in between them and presented a piece of paper. Girder turned to look at who the hand belonged too, and the blue-handed man's crazy-eyed gaze reflected off Girder's Gay-Bans.

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"You." Girder simply said. He looked at the paper, and so did the curious Bragulan. It reflected off Girder's Gay-Bans, showing a blank sheet.

"There's nothing in it," the Bragulan shrugged.

"Nothing indeed..." Girder nodded. To a psionically-poor Bragulan, the paper was empty. But for psionically-permeable people, such as CSB Senior Agent Girder, the psychic paper spoke volumes.

The CIS man withdrew the piece of paper. One second, it was in his hand, the next it was gone.

"I guess that settles it," Girder said, committing to memory the names written in the piece of paper - including his own. "This interview is over."

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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
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Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-05 03:42pm
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Station 13, undisclosed location, Hierarchy space

Shiran had a few days since his last talk with Mela Kithandra to think things over, at times involving himself in the Stalker project if only to keep his underlings on their toes and remind them who's the boss around here, 'specially to remind Azmi with that cute tail of hers. The rest of his time was spent going over the sensor logs from sector C-6, the Lost's cruiser vexxing his mind as with each play back it defied physics as he knew it. Each time that mysterious vessel shoved missiles aside without using tractor beams, destroyed them without firing a shot and absorbed their impacts without suffering a scratch to its armour or a flare of shield activity.

“Oh what I'd do to have you in my hands friend, and take you apart piece by piece till all your secrets would be mine.” he murrs and kicks the projector to the next part of the report leisurely, monstrous amounts of graphs and numbers flowing across three quarters of the screen now.
“Computer, slow playback. Marker anomaly minus one second to marker anomaly plus one second.”
“As you wish my master.” the computer responded with a purr and Shiran smiled, mulling over the damningly incomplete spectrum of readings that the probes picked up as one of their number succeeded in nearly hitting the cruiser before winking out. Shiran was silent for long minutes but for the occasional utterance of “half speed again computer.” as steadily he reduced the flow of information to an incredibly slow crawl and then.

“Stop! Computer, back one microsecond and set playback to one microsecond long....retrieve data file on null sink...excellent, now compare playback to identical wavelengths in null sink operation recordings under laboratory conditions...”

“Sixty four percent match found my master.” the computer replied after a fraction of a second and Shiran smiled seeing the information show up on the screen, he knew that wave reminded him of something. Somehow where the Hierarchy null sink was only able to radiate heat from inside itself out into null space the Lost vessel was able to move entire objects to null space or somewhere like it. Although, it hardly helped matters. Shiran couldn't even conceive of how they were doing it in open space without the tightly controlled confines of a null sink, nor how they were getting the opening to the size of a missile. Shiran ear flicked and tapped his foot irritably on the console as he came so close yet found himself at a dead end.

“Computer, put a call to Mela Kithandra please.” he says and then leans back as he waits for the connection to be made. He couldn't find a way around that defence, it wasn't like the Hierarchy's knowledge of what stopped null space access(ie, nearly everything) applied here, but he could perhaps convince Mela that he could if he ommitted a few things. What happened if a hyperspace tap entered an aperture into null space was an area of theory that was as of yet unexplored but he could probably suggest that it might be disasterous for anyone nearby. At the sight of Mela though he perked up and assumed about as much of an alert and attentive stance as could be expected of a lounging chamarran.
“Mela, I am sorry for disturbing your affairs. But I have had some time to explore possible avenues regarding the defence possessed by the Lost's cruiser and I am willing to update my position.”
“Go on Shiran, this better be good though. If you're still saying it'll be years till we even understand what that defence is then I'm not interested.” Mela said, her hologram conveying enough of her body language to indicate that she had only so much patience at the moment.
“Of course shadowmistress, I would hardly have bothered you if that were still the case. I have determined that it is a form of dimensional shifting technology. As such I believe that it may have trouble operating against other dimensional shifts.”
“Fair enough, but a weapon we can only use beyond a hyperlimit is somewhat impractical Shiran.”
“A hyperdrive is not the only form of dimensional shifting technology available to us my beautiful shadowmistress, it is merely the one we have as fully matured technology.” Shiran replied with a smile, oh how he wished that Mela had been born to a clan lower than he. But such thoughts should wait until after this.
“Proceed Shiran, and save your flattery for your next visit to the homeworld.”
“As you wish shadowmistress, you recall the Tap missile project I proposed some months ago when the possibility of a steady supply of Rubiconium derivatives from the Bragulan star empire was brought up? The project you said there was no pressing need for with nuclear ordinance proving adequate and the research budget being too important to indulge my personal whims?” Shiran asked, smirking.
“Yes I do Shiran, and if you continue to smirk like that there will be trouble.” Mela said, mildly peeved at Shiran's indulgent point scoring done on her time.
“My deepest and humblest apologies Shadowmistress” Shiran said, with very little feigned sincerity, before continueing ”at any rate I believe that if the Cruiser's unusual defence system were to try shifting a tap missile the dimensional ramifications would be spectacular.” he said, well spectacularly interesting for the theoretical implications at least as actual damage to the target is somewhat of an unknown although there's no reason to bother the pretty shadow mistress with that detail.
“Okay, assuming I now see the need for the Tap missile project what resources would you require?” Mela asked, giving in at least seemingly.

“one hundred and fifty billion Mou for preliminary studies, forty thousand tons of rubiconium derivatives and a team of at least five hundred. I would like them picked for looks of course..It was a joke.” Shiran finishes noticing Mela's glare and tail flick, still the 'joke' might distract her somewhat from the figure.

“...Fine, you will get what you require. But I want a prototype for live fire testing for that kind of money.” Mela finally said after tail swishing in deep thought.

“Shadowmistress surely you realize that is an unreasonable goal.”

“It was an unreasonable sum of Mou Shiran, do not disappoint me or I'll come and neuter you personally.” Mela replied with a taunting snip snip motion of her hands and a chuckle as it made Shiran flinch a little “It was a joke.” she adds and then laughs as she cuts the channel.

Shiran was left in silence for a few moments as he tries to decide if Mela was really joking, he'd asked for so much that he should be able to easily finish the project on that budget but still he did not particularly want to chance his genitals. Shiran grasped himself self consciously and then turned to the computer's keypad, there was work to do as at the very least he should decide who would form the core of the team for this new project.
....Hmm, him, him, her..oh and Azmi of course, there's no reason I should give up on my few luxuries during this project after all...



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-05 04:07pm
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Written with Master_Baerne.

September 5th 3400
Ascendant / Hiigaran Joint Exercise Grounds
Sector EE-14


The 4th Expeditionary Group dropped from hyperspace with they networked precision that the Hiigaran Navy was known for. As soon as the ships appeared they started launching their fighter screens and commenced scanning the system hunting for any sign of the Ascendant ships. This was a friendly fleet exercise but no one wanted to get caught with their pants down, that would embarrass the HCN.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the system, the ships of the 12th Independent Operations Group flashed into reality. The cruisers came first, twenty silvered arrowheads that started salvoing gunboats and bombers from their launch bays as soon as the hyper generators spun down - they were treating this as a combat emergence, in accordance with Admiral Seagrace’s orders. They were shortly followed by the ten larger battlecruisers, whose fighter complements joined those already streaming into a screening position. Finally, the eight titanic superdreadnoughts re-entered reality, graser batteries training on an imaginary target. The officers and spacers at the sensor station noticed the Hiigaran ships doing largely the same things, and determined that this round was a draw - the fleets’ near-simultaneous arrivals had prevented or or the other from being able to start things off with a (simulated) bang. Not that that would stop everyone trying later on, of course. Indeed, plans for inflicting imaginary destruction were occupying the attention of nearly the entire population of ANS Triomphe’s flag bridge - the exceptions were the Naval Infantry sentries there for no particular reason except tradition. They were busy wondering if they’d be doing anything interesting in the foreseeable future.

Aboard the Maakan Rear Admiral Torkan i Soban disconnected from the ships computer after making sure that the fleet had formed up properly. With a nod to his communications officer Torkan contacted his counterpart in the Ascendant Navy. “Admiral Seagrace, Rear Admiral Soban. I look forward to working with you, during the next few days.”

“Likewise, Admiral. It’s a pleasure to have a chance to improve international relations in the finest military tradition - by shooting at each other, I mean.” There was an obvious good-humoredness about the other Rear Admiral, seeming oddly out of place in a flag officer.

With the touch of a button RAdm. Soban sent the data packet that carried the parameters for the 4th EG’s simulator equipment. A series of lasers and battle computers that were networked together, the computers using the lasers to send weapon weight, flight time and course to the target ship. In the HCN similar battle computers would receive the data and translate it into appropriate sensor reading which would be fed to the crew. Railgun fire would show up as a spike of energy from the batteries firing and then nothing as the cold slugs hurtled through the equally cold space. Depending on the reaction of the crew the computer would calculate the trajectories sent to it via the laser pulses from the opposing ships and determine if its ship had taken damage. If the ship had been “hit” the computer would futz with maneuvering thrusters and inertial dampeners to add a realistic element to the battle. If enough hits were scored sections hit by the phantom weapons would start loosing capabilities or be shut down. If crew members were in an area that sustained “damage” those crew would be designated casualties and the DC and medical teams would have to respond. It made for a fairly realistic simulation without anyone actually getting hurt. The only problem was that sometimes enterprising young officers would try and hack the battle computers to send out grossly increased damage, speed and accuracy stats allowing them to rapidly destroy impossible numbers of enemies.

Rear Admiral Soban was hoping that the 12th IOG had a similar system in place as an adaptation of like systems would be much easier and allow for a much better operation than if they had to work out some new system. Unsure of what the Ascendancy used for war gaming the eggheads in Fleet Command had worked out a series of possibilities, but Torkan wasn’t looking forward to trying to set up and troubleshoot some ad hoc system.

As it was, the Ascendants actually had things a bit easier than the Hiigarans. Since Ascendant Starfleet weaponry was composed almost entire of energy weapons and missiles, exercises could be carried out with a minimum of fuss by simply stepping graser yields down to the minimum needed to register on ships’ computer system and loading the missile tubes with training rounds - modified missiles that were armed with an electronic device that broadcast a ‘hit’ signal if the missile survived to its detonation range instead of the usual antimatter or graser warheads. The only problem had been figuring out how to integrate the two systems, but the Hiigaran and Ascendant naval attaches had fixed everything up beforehand - now, it was as simple as flipping the switch marked ‘Clans of Hiigara Naval Exercise Protocols’ on the simulation computer.

“I was informed by the High Admirals that the Ascendant Navy is interested in the Gar Naabal escort carriers. Before we begin I would like to invite you to send some observers to the escorts in my screening line.”

“A very kind offer, and one I’ll happily take you up on, Admiral. Perhaps you’d care to send over a few observers of your own? I believe our dreadnought doctrines are rather different.”

“My thanks Admiral, I will have some of my staff transfer over immediately. Once our observers are in place we can get this exercise started.”

An hour later with all the logistics sorted out and the observers in place the two fleets transitioned to the start locations for the first of the planned exercises. The 4th SG was to launch an attack on the 12th IOG who were “defending” the system. This exercise was of particular interest to both the Ascendancy and the Hiigaran’s as recent developments pointed to the possibility of both navies having to launch a similar attack against a nation that featured significantly heavier warships than those used by the HCN or the Federated Ascendancy Starfleet employed. The 4th SG drew up in their battle wall the Maakan in the center with the Brute off her starboard flank the Brawler-class dreadnoughts formed up on either side of them while the Belligerent-class battleships arranged themselves along the dorsal and ventral edges of the formation. Heavy cruisers were stacked on either flank, while the flak cruisers formed their own wall, in front of the heavy ships, spaced far enough apart to allow the battle wall to fire past them yet close enough that they could put up a thick wall of hyperionized plutonium. The escort carriers stayed back sheltering in the cover provided by the front line combatants. Fighters and bombers began launching from their motherships, forming up by squadron and wing. Pushed out in front of the fleet and off the main axis of advance they formed the leading edge of what had become a fairly standard HCN claw formation.

Meanwhile, Admiral Seagrace was in something of an unfamiliar position. Starfleet doctrine was not weighted towards defense; Ascendant ships were vastly overgunned for their size and much faster than their equivalents in most other navies, but suffered slightly in terms of shield strength and a great deal in terms of armoring schemes. They were designed to close quickly to energy range and mix themselves into the enemy formation, effectively turning a set-piece fleet battle into a capital-scale dogfight. Ascendant dreadnoughts were frequently flown like slower cruisers, cruisers like overgrown gunboats, and the gunboats themselves like reusable missiles - not the ideal fleet composition for a defensive battle, but the old saying about Invention and its mother was as relevant to this problem as any other.

Seagrace had a large preponderance of firepower in her favor, something like a three-to-two ISV advantage, but most of it was in her Victoires. As such, the Ascendant formation was designed to help the superdreadnoughts of 1st Battle Squadron deliver their namesake. Four lines, close enough to provide overlapping point-defence. At the ‘top,’ four Victoires flanked by five heavy cruisers, half of 77th Cruiser Squadron. Just below, five of the ten battlecruisers alternated with the other half of 77th Cruiser, then an identical third line, and the bottom of the formation was anchored by the other four superdreadnoughts and the last five cruisers. It was a variation on the standard wall-of-battle that Seagrace had chosen for its flexibility: The entire formation could change direction remarkable quickly simply by having one flank of reverse acceleration while the other increased it, pivoting the whole collection of ships around an imaginary central line. The same thing could be done vertically as well. Against any enemy, it was a flexible and useful formation. The entirety of an Ascendant ship’s weapons could be fired straight ahead by simply dropping the bow a few degrees to unmask the flank grasers. Adding to the formidable collection of weapons were the fighters, bombers, and gunboats streaming from the cruisers and battlecruisers: Present in case the smaller ships needed to chase something faster than themselves, there were 30 fighters, 20 bombers, and five gunboats for each battlecruiser and ten fighters, ten bombers, and five gunboats per heavy cruiser, for a total of 500, 400, and 150, respectively, with an ISV of approximately 600. Their job would be to blunt the fighter offensive the Hiigarans were sure to try and use to break up the fleet’s cohesion, and in the meantime to serve as additional point-defense - they spread out across the frontal area of the formation.

As the fleets began to close the starboard flank of the 4th SG could be seen to be shifting forward slightly faster than that of the port flank, distorting the battle wall into an echelon formation. Ion cannons and grazer batteries lashed out crossing the distance in seconds, missiles followed behind at a more sedate speed. As the lightspeed weapon duel continued it quickly became apparent that the 4th SG wasn’t going to be able to survive such an engagement. Not against an enemy force with such an overwhelming superiority in lightspeed weapons. Soban needed to get his ships within practical railgun engagement ranges and he needed to remove a portion of the 12th IOG from the equation, at least temporarily. By now the echelon and fully formed and this far out in the system the answer was obvious to the Hiigaran admiral. *Stand by to make tactical jump.* The unmistakable voice of Fleet Command intoned while across the BattleNet ship navigators and captains received the jump coordinates.

*Salvo main rail gun armaments, set to dispersal pattern...FIRE!* A perfectly synchronized hail of rail gun rounds erupted from the 4th SG’s warships while the missile equipped warships continued to fire volleys of missiles at the rapid rate. *Jump in 3..2..1.. MARK!* Once again the advantage of linking your crew directly to your ships systems (and by extension to the fleet) was displayed as every capital class vessel in the 4th SG jumped into hyperspace and back out off the 12th IOG’s port flank. Rail gun and ion cannon turrets rapidly slewed around and started unleashing their fury at what was practically knife fighting ranges. With the Ascendant fleet caught by surprise and half of it masked by the other half the 4th SG odds went up considerably. The Hiigaran starboard flank powered through a short turn, which changed the echelon back into a wall formation, only this time with all it’s power focused on one flank of the 12th IOG. Torkan smiled grimly under his flight helmet, this was the Hiigaran’s take on the old crossing the T maneuver.

Admiral Seagrace frowned as the Hiigaran fleet disappeared with a burst of jump energy. What could they possibly be doing? Trying to pin her against the planet, maybe, to prevent the Ascendants from keeping the range open? No, that couldn't be it, she'd be able to move out from between the enemy and the planet fast enough for it to be a non-issue. Tactical hyperjumps were notoriously inaccurate - the smallest miscalculation would send a ship light-seconds out from its destination; there was no way the Hiigaran Admiral could bring enough of his fleet close enough to force a short-ranged engagement.

"Find me their exit point," she said to her sensor officer. The man was already doing so, bent over his console. He blinked twice in seeming puzzlement, then spoke.

"Bow shocks detected, Admiral. Off the port flank, but it can't possibly be where I think it is - I'm reading the predicted exit at under 9,000 kilometers." Seagrace knew that wasn't possible, and tried to say so, but what came out was:

"It's Under Nine Thousand????" A moment's panic as she realized that the predicted emergence point would mask the guns of everything but four of her cruisers, then rapid-fire orders as training told her embarrassment at being caught like this to shut up and sit down. "Echelon turn starting from the port flank, maximum military power, all ships turn to bear as soon as their alpha arc is clear, all fighters are to engage enemy parasites as they emerge -"

And then the emergence of the Hiigaran fleet took her breath away. Perfectly ordered, not a ship out of place, battleships and dreadnoughts already throwing railgun rounds and missiles by their thousands into her poor cruisers.

As the 12th IOG reacted to the surprise maneuver the 4th SG had executed, the volley of railgun rounds and missiles fired right before the tactical jump hurtled inexorably towards their targets. Close on their heels came the bombers and fighters of the 4th SG. Incapable of hyperspace jumps except for a handful of Avenger’s it was their job to try and sow more confusion and damage amongst the Ascendant fleet. Perfectly timed shots from every single fighter and bomber would be enough to savage even a Victoire super dreadnought, but that level of perfection was beyond even the impressive standards of the HCN. The bombers would instead visit their destructive energies on smaller targets like the Pike-class heavy cruisers that were acting as escorts for the 12th IOG. While the fighters worked to clear their way of the Starfleet CAP.

Most of the railgun rounds missed, the Ascendant ships had shifted position significantly since they were fired. However the fact that they’d been fired with a dispersed pattern and were guided meant that a portion hit. The railgun rounds unfortunately for the fighter squadrons, reminded the 12th IOG of the threats racing in from the Hiigarans start point. Neither did the railgun rounds inflict significant damage upon their targets except in one case where a lucky round managed to strike a Pike microseconds after a salvo of railgun and ion fire from a Belligerent. The weakened shields collapsed as the overtaxed shield generators, already nearly torn loose, came out of their mountings leaving the Pikes bare armor to face the next round of savagery. The missiles fared better and all of them reached the point defense envelop of the Ascendant warships where their success was abruptly terminated by concentrated defensive fire.

Faced with the sheer weight of fire from the 4th SG several Pike and Glorieux cruisers flared out and died under the battleship and dreadnought fire. However the engagement wasn’t entirely one sided as the Ascendant cruisers valiantly targeted lighter vessels in the Hiigaran fleet. The engagement slowly began to shift as the rest of the 12th IOG cleared their firing lines and the eight Victoire super dreadnoughts started pummeling the Hiigaran vessels. Even the strike crafts spoiling attack couldn’t disrupt the 12th IOG long enough to let the capital ships destroy enough Ascendant warships to tip the scales in Hiigara’s favor. Realizing this and seeing the mounting losses amongst the fighters and bombers Rear Admiral gave the order to disengage. The strike craft went evasive and burned as hard and fast as they could towards the rally point. While Maanan and her escorts stayed a little longer to keep the Ascendant fleet from focusing on the fleeing fighters.

Just as the fighters got out of the engagement envelope the Victoire’s opened up with their full complement of grazers. Several flak cruisers flared up and died, while the battleships and dreadnoughts saw their protective screens rapidly flayed away. Just before Soban could give the order to jump a pair of Gaalsien heavy cruisers flared on his plot and died. The Maanan’s shields gave way and the grazers started carve deep gashes out of her flanks. An instant later the surviving Hiigaran warships jumped to RP Alpha, and a few moments later as the Ascendant’s long range grazers stabbed out at them the fighters arrived. Piling into any hanger they could and costing several more strike craft to combat landings the Hiigaran’s 4th Strike Group jumped out of the system signalling the end of the engagement.



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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-05 07:23pm
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The Kolponomos Wormhole, CC+4 Terminus

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Birds tweeted, a soft breeze made the trees rustle, somewhere a brook was babbling. The simulation was of a quality that matched shipboard training facilities on Dominion troop transports...or perhaps long distance luxury liners. Bessières and Morgan both would have enjoyed it more were it not for the biggest Bragulan either had seen roaring in their faces.

The Kolponomos Wormhole was a connection that had termini in CC+4 and EE+10. It was also under the control of no nation, but rather a syndicate of "legitimate businessmen", that owned an impressive collection of battlestations and large security vessels at both termini. Such a situation was possible only in The Verge, where large interstellar nations were few and far between. Nonetheless the administrators of the Kolponomos Wormhole ran the joint more or less like any other port, with commercial customs facilities several standard units out from the terminus itself. When a harbor pilot approached the Brother Bear Bessières had felt another pysker give his ship a sweep, after which they had been immediately redirected to one of the battlestations. After disembarking from the ship military grade BFGs activated and some burly individuals(a few of whom were clearly twitching on plasmid drugs) informed the pair that "The Boss" wanted a private word.

Bessières had had his Terrazine feed yanked, was zip-tied to a chair with a neural jack hooked into the back of his head. Morgan, who was in his "casual" body had been bound with silksteel.


"Greetings!" Bellowed the Bragulan. "I am, well, you may call me Yogi! Is very funny human joke, yes? I am Chief Security Officer for the Western Terminus. Why are you trying to transit my wormhole?"

"Comrade Yogi," Bessières was wincing under the BFG, which felt as if it were a Type-19C Shepistani Security Field. Yogi didn't skimp. "I don't be knowing why you..."

"Oh ho ho Hew-mon, it is Mister Yogi. We are legitimate businessmen, yes? This is no bullshit workers paradise."

Both Bessières and Morgan were silent as they digested this. This was...not what they expected a Bragulan to act like. Morgan spoke.


Image
"Listen, Mister Yogi, I feel that I should mention that we have friends in the Bragulan Commissariat..."

"So?"

"...That was it, really. I was hoping that would do the trick." Morgan looked at Bessières, who was sweating bullets and not looking too well. "My associate and I are private investigators, we've been hired to track down a daughter of a Dominionite nobleman, who we believe is on Norrland."

"Ha!" Yogi barked. "You lie like Byzon! A Dominionoid P12 Pysker and Mechanoman? That is yelling FIS! And that is okay, is normally none of my concern. But you have another team pass through not one standard month ago. No mechanoman, but also with a P12. Obviously a big operation is on the ups. Tell me!"

Morgan looked at Bessières who, weakly, nodded.

"Alright Mr. Yogi, we're backtracking the point of origin of an Amplitur Choir ship."

"Ah, that is more like it. This is the one that destroy Dominionoid cruiser?"

"How did you know?" Morgan was surprised.

"Norsk Indies Company security officer tell me." The Norsk Indies Company was a corporation that owned the planet of Norrland, lock stock and barrel. "They are often dealing with the craboids. Some even worship them! Ha!" Yogi shook his head and leaned forward in a conspiratorial manner "Would you like to know more? I give you all the information that our organization has on Amplitur and Norsk activities."

"That...that would be great!"

"Good, good...20 million Dominionoid Credits."

"It, uh, that may take a while for the check to clear..."

"I am gracious host. I provide lodging while check clears." With that he made a gesture and the two were released from their chairs and escorted away.



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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-06 01:13am
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Storytime!
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Location: IA > GA
Thanks to Fgalkin, who wrote the bits for Shroom!

The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400



Image


Dash fluttered over to Fulcrum's side. The eagle cocked his head in response. “Should you really be flying this soon, my friend? You haven't recovered fully.”

Dash shrugged. “Good enough. Can't do any fast dives, mad flights, or carry the medal around (too heavy) but Doc said, 'So long as it is not too strenuous, you are allowed some physical activity.'” He did a decent impression of the autodoc program's voice as he said it.

“Then it is good that I chose a light schedule for today.” The eagle glanced back at their robotic bodyguard. “And if you get tired, you could always get Slate to carry you.”

Dash sniffed. “I have my dignity.”

“Good bird,” Fulcrum said approvingly.

Fulcrum eschewed personal and private transportation whenever he could. Slate did not approve, and neither did the yacht, nor did the workers in the yacht and the demo hab. There were plenty of lurid tales going around about the murders, kidnappings, and worse going on in BEEEF's massive underside, but Fulcrum insisted. He wanted to get as much exposure to the public as possible, and an aircar would not provide.

It also made it more difficult for Dash to speak privately to him, not wanting to be overheard. No doubt a great many were recording them and trying their hardest to translate the absurdly complex Avian language. They had agreed to speak with terrible grammar if it was necessary, hoping that would slow others down, but it was better not to risk it at all. That saved Fulcrum from many repetitions of a conversation like:

“Are you sure this is a good idea? Because I think this is a bad idea.”
“It is perfectly fine.”
“We have our orders not to.”
“And we're not breaking them. I am using my judgment and discretion as a private representative of the Refuge, not as the ambassador to Bragule.”
“You're just playing word games! You know fully well that we are violating our orders. I must protest against this plan!”

Or something like that. Instead, they'd only had one:

“Where's us to gone soon?” asked Dash.

“Gonna chatter up peeps what knows not where is,” Fulcrum replied.

“Mean what said? ...But the what...we gots orders!”

“Talkee like stupid when drinks yummy sweet antifreeze!”

“We got orders! Bad! No!”

“Official not. Private! Fulcrum of Skuuu-[warble]-twitwri clan!”

“You/they ship make?”

“Why yes,” Fulcrum said in Galstandard English, “I come from a long line of ship builders. The clan goes back...a long time. No doubt they wanted me to follow in their footsteps, but some of us receive different callings in life. What about your clan?”

“Umm, Hydrocarbon Rain, you wouldn't have heard of that,” Dash said back, also in Galstandard English, without having even thought of it. “Glorious Remembrance of Victory, part of it, the superclan.”

“I met a lovely lady friend from there!” Fulcrum declared. “Quidibububli-leAIEooh. Do you know her?

“The name sounds familiar,” Dash said.

But Fulcrum had continued without waiting for Dash. “She was amazing. My naïve young self, I believed I knew everything there was about the art of love, but she taught me-”

And the deputy remembered his guard duties, which did not end at mere physical protection, as well as Fulcrum's other reputation. “I wouldn't have guessed you were the chick of ship builders!” he said, too loudly. “I suspected you were from an old military clan!”

Really?” Fulcrum asked, and they talked about their family connections until they were in the tramway. That was when Dash realized that he had been tricked, but it was too late.


After a roundabout course, the three approached the rather unnerving pavilion of the Lost, still boarded up and in the process of being put up by creepy daemonoid robots. Fulcrum could see (and smell) the giant cages full of oinking beefs.

Image

Shroom awaited them outside, offering them a bowl of steaming radioactive beefs, flash-cooked by nuclear bragmines and re-heated inside giant Bragulan telescreens (for Bragulan telescreens also doubled as radios, microwave ovens, macrowave ovens, and X-ray machines powerful enough to make a Replicant’s head explode).

“Welcome!” she beamed. “Our pavilion is still under construction, but have some delicious beefs. The gamma rays tingle the taste buds so…”

Image

Fulcrum made an elegant bow with one wing. “I am Fulcrum of the Skuuu-[warble]-twitwri clan, and this is Dash of the superclan Glorious Remembrance-”

“Howdoyoudo,” said Dash.

“-and our bodyguard, Slate. We are here from the Refuge, and have come in order...”

Slate stopped hearing the words as he looked at Shroom, and Shroom looked back at him.

Quote:
Slate had once been an Aggregate.

There had been a slow replacement of the organic bits of Slate's bodies to mechanical parts. The careful transition from squishiness to cyborg to being outwardly indistinguishable from a constructed Mechanical had taken decades. He had changed, yes, but all people change as they live and grow. Becoming older does not remove that which some might call the spirit, or perhaps the soul, and neither does adding silicon or titanium.

The Aggregates, though, had been shaped by Those Which Are Beyond. They had molded and cut and reassembled the cores of their very beings. The Aggregates had escaped, or so they hoped, but something of that memory remained within them. Call it an instinct, perhaps. Slate knew, at a level beyond conscious thought, that there was something very, very wrong about Shroom.

He reacted about as well as one would expect, as a member of the nation that spawned Panic Node.


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

And Slate ran off, still screaming, leaving one small bird with beak agape and one large bird with a lot of anger. The latter started to scream, “You!”

...work so hard to make a good impression, and then one moment of idiocy by someone else ruins EVERYTHING. Fulcrum's temper demanded a response, preferably one with the incredibly colorful and profane idiom that his background had given him, but his prudence and responsibilities to the Refuge knew that he should remain calm, not make a scene, not possibly embarrass them even more than they already had by talking like a dock worker. Something had to give.

“You!...you are WORST BODYGUARD! Worst! Bodyguard!” Fulcrum's temper was not satisfied at all, and his involuntary shriek at the end made him feel worse. Still, he made himself turn back around to Shroom. “I apologize most humbly for my bodyguard's rudeness, and I-” Then he heard more screams down the direction Slate had taken, and not his own screams either. “I must ask your forgiveness,” he said hurriedly, “but we must cut this meeting short before it has begun. Pardon me.” Then with a mighty wingbeat Fulcrum took to the air, rushing towards the mess that Slate had made, with Dash lagging behind and gasping a plaintive “Wait for me!” as he followed.



Shroom looked at them go. The birds seemed nice and friendly enough. The robot, however….She considered its reaction. The poor thing was screaming in sheer existential terror, and while it was a nice change of pace and reminded her of the good old days when she was a dragon and got that reaction a lot, she was more used to a different response, in this body, at least. Certainly, people and Bragulans gave weird looks to a daemonette in an Commissar uniform, but no one had ran away screaming.

Pensively, she rubbed the orichalcum ward. She had a sneaking suspicion it was important and she had to check it out. But, if the robot was scared of her before, it would probably run away again, and then the strange bird people would know she, or one of her daemons was stalking their robot bodyguard. And if they would know that she knew. And she couldn’t let them know that, before she knew whatever it was she knew. She sighed. The whole thing was giving her a headache. Could it be the effect of the robot? She made the robot run away screaming, and the robot gave her a headache?

There was only one way to find out, and she knew just the right person for the job.



DPDarkPrimus is my boyfriend!

SDNW4 Nation: The Refuge And, on Nova Terra, Al-Stan the Totally and Completely Honest and Legitimate Weapons Dealer and Used Starship Salesman slept on a bed made of money, with a blaster under his pillow and his sombrero pulled over his face. This is to say, he slept very well indeed.

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 Post subject: Re:H6 Pirates, Climax PostPosted: 2011-02-06 01:38am
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Aboard the Roubvogel

All attention was focused on the long-range plots. Their hiding spot was giving them some respite in which to effect damage control and repairs, but it wouldn't last for too long. They had already been forced to move several times now. Many other types of Eoghan vessels would have gotten away under the protection of stealth screens and diffusion fields, but they had none. Instead they had relied on smarts and raw engine power to hide. They hadn't truly gotten free from the shadowy smear on the long-range passive scans but they had gathered precious time.

A notification arose in the foggy eternity of the holographic plot, an automatic alert that the shadow had broken from it's search pattern and was accelerating in hyperspace. Time was short, but still enough for them to take a breath before the chase continued, just as it had over the last week.

“Captain do we have a plan?” the 'or are we just delaying the inevitable' was left unsaid, but with the chase spiraling away from help and following more and more whimsical navigation it didn't need to be. The crew knew this, and while they weren't using up the last of their coolant (thanks to using less power, such that the radiators were sufficient) they were running out of tricks.

“I have a half plan. Eventually they will have to refuel at which point we should be able to flee freely. Unfortunately this pirate is very good at what he does, and I am not certain we can keep ahead of him long enough for him to run out.”

“Then it isn't that good of a plan, right? Our pursers are only catching up thanks to our rests. Wouldn't it be better to keep running?

“I don't entirely trust the engine and power grid after the battering we received form them, though the repair teams' checks have turned up only good news there. However it doesn't change the fact that we don't have a lot of coolant left and the radiators work better when out of hyperspace. Sides the more we wear their fuel down chasing us the more equal it will be when we clash.”

“Sounds more like a plan than before, Captain. But wouldn't it be better if we choose the battlefield instead of the pirate getting to choose?”

“Indeed, and it might even be time soon to do so. Navigator, damage control says you are free for hyperspace running. Engage on route . Now it you all will excuse me I have a meeting with damage control command to see if we will be ready for them.”



Aboard the Underhanded

Archivist Kázmér didn't know what was more torturous; the torture or the voices. On one paw the torture had attempted to break him with hot brands, drowning and a cocktail of drugs; on the other the voices had stopped their inane and tedious torments, like calling out deaths throughout the universe, and were focused on him shouting over whatever anti-psi field the pirates were using.

Though the low oxygen environment gave them both a run for their money.

Yesterday he might have said they were both more insistent and constant and they spoke of far more horrific fates than he ha imagined the pirates could have contemplated. But then he was introduced to their cruel imagination, and he realized that it was one in the same torment, the eldritch voices had only put forth the truth of the horrors or the pirates’ methods.

He could feel the slivers of pain as the nanites he had been injected with slowly turned his flesh to stone. He had seen the garden of statues in the shifting room of shadows where they had tortured him, each one made more terrifying by the voices describing the people encased.

Now he was to join them.

"Or you could accept my boon," this voice and it's false hope had been the quietest but most clear. It's false hope made all the others more horrifying in their depravity, for it was now clearly that they (the voices) didn't have to be that way if they were anything like this one. But it was all for nothing, he could do nothing and he had no reason to try, he was so deep in the pirates grasp. "But you are wrong little one, you do have a reason to try. Even now battle is coming, and the Roubvogel's only hope is for you to accept my diminutive boon."



Command Center, Pirate communication Station H-6

"Oi Boss where's ya at?" ‘Twas a mess in da kommand centa, wit ruble and bodiez all ofer da place.

"Geg get your bloudy lil head ova 'ere and 'elp. Da rest of ya gretchin get da gunz an' bring me my choppa."

"Boss wut cha need me fer?"

Boss Ogzell lifted Geg up by one meety green hand, so da gretchin could see what Ogzell saw. "Get back eehind dis 'ere omputer, grab dat cable and pull it in half. Shove one end dere and do otter dere. Den pull out dat mess o wirez and give ta me and puch dat circuit board inta da hole. An' don't ferget ta bring me ta moonshine dats ben hidden back dere."

It would be a gud time fer a drink. Stull doz shipz wernt given him tame ta think. Da, he just needed to think fasta, an kome ta dat he probably needed to heel fasta too. He plucked a piece of shrapnel from 'is back and started dabbing 'im self down wit red paint. Ol' Boss Conehead and is hell dog might not 'ave thought much of Ogzel, but he was their man 'ere. Sure 'is old scarez on 'is back hurt from their daggerz, but he had come back each time ta their suhpriz. Dis might be a lonely place far away from da otter Orkz but twas a fun little place.

"Dun Boss, ere's da moonshine, don't hurt me."

"I's not gunna hurt cha, leest not 'et." He took the bunch of wirez and jammed them onto the back of a broken control panel and into the largest button, which he quickly dubbed red with paint. "When I sez ta ya hit dis 'ere button 'ard and keep hitting eet."

He stepped back to admire his handiwork, it was sparking and arcing with spots beginning to glow a dull red as it over heated. Twas just so beautiful.

Now o' course it was time to smash and run. Maybe if he was feeling merciful he would save some o da... Assets as Boss Conehead liked calling dem.



IN SPACE, around the station

""Contact, multi-type along the RB106y pathway. Half a minute until closest possible transition, Unknown count."

All five heavy frigates began retracting their extended radiators. They had adopted a close defensive formation, where each vessel's kinetic screens would cover all of them. The smaller Assault ships were cowering near the station covering it with their jammers and point defenses. They could try to provide long-range fire support, but unlike their close relatives (the Kabutops class Destroyers) long range fire wasn't really integral to the design.

"Transition shock detected, counting ... 10... 12... 13... 15... 17... 20. Twenty shocks, various types. Type A is the known plasma destroyer type. Type B identified by drive commonality, hulls are varied, count of seven. Type C 3 EUC Dreamer old-type escorts. Last, 2 Solarian Corporate defense drones with variation."

"Hold fighter launch. Ping those type 2's with active targeting but hold kinetic strikes on all but Vil’tril’th and Firmament. Keep defensive screens on full."

"Sir plasma torpedo tubes 3-6 are loaded, and Gaens is already preparing a second loading cycle on all tubes."

"Tell them to launch everything with sensor suppression routines." This was one of the minute flaws in the Frigate design; despite having a large number of tubes they were restricted on both firing arc and rate of fire. Indeed the number of tubes was in part to compensate for their slow rate of fire.

Eight ultraviolet flares flashed our of the bow armor of Gaens and blue-shifted out of the Eoghan's sight. The bows of both Vil’tril’th and Firmament were glowing as the kinetic projectors buried within threw energy into space. The vessel's called type B by the gunners who fired, were a collection of small light pirate ships common enough to the galaxy at large, and they were already firing at the Eoghan line, with no success despite their great number. The older model Dreamer Escorts started covering their smaller compatriots with their powerful defensive jammers, but the slower reaction and slow old equipment left the small pirates vulnerable for moments too long. 6 kinetic strikes landed on 6 little ships, and 4 survived. The others died mostly thanks to the ambitions of their owners who had mounted very large and dangerous weapons in largely dangerous ways. Finally the plasma torpedoes arrived, seeking out the powerful jammers on the Dreamer class escorts, and eating up the truly immense amounts of point defense fire that was directed at them. The point defenses won, if only just, letting a single damaged torpedo impact on the screens of the Dreamer Dawn of Greed.

The plasma destroyers started firing, two per heavy frigate. This time all the Eoghan frigates fired torpedoes, 27 of them lashed out into the void. The small and fast pirate sloops began spreading out and englobing the defenders, playing the odds of being close to the jammers or far enough to maneuver against the firepower. The former Solarian ships moved forward, one covering the other, while the jammers on the Dreamers were slowly pushed aside by the newer active sensors aboard the ships of the line. The building pressure from the plasma destroyers had caused all the Eoghan ships prows to start glowing from their shield exertions. Gaens started flinging knife-fighting missiles to hold back the sloops, with the others joining in as fast as their launchers could cycle. Now spread out the smaller sloops couldn't cover the Torpedo spam with enough point defense to save the old Dreamers, the first shot on one was absorbed by the kinetic field which lost enough particle density that it couldn't stop the next; while another dreamer's field let the first round past but shorted the next two.

Aboard the assault ship Air Wing Commander Etzel, shifted in the small Encore class fighter’s Cockpit. Launch orders had come and they were going to go forth soon and hunt the light pirate ships to free the Frigates to persecute the other pirate ships. Command had saved them from venturing forth when the pirates were grouped and their point defense was most effective. Now though it was time for them to charge. And he would lead his men into the breach, or what were left of his pilot corps after the last sortie.

The G forces pressed him into the seat as he launched.



The Roubvogel Reawakens

Two pulses from the Roubvogel’s kinetic Javelins reached out and threw the Underhanded off course as it completed the decelerating transition from hyperspace. Shields held, once again that having excess volume wasn’t always a bad thing in warship design, the shield generators had plenty of room for shock absorption. The Underhanded stopped decelerating and coasted out of the Roubvogel's range, but into the furthest reaches of the rings around the rouge gas giant they were fighting over.

Both ships started volleying missiles, the Roubvogel's in an effort to attrition the strike. The only weapon that Roubvogel lashed out with were her two spinal under-wing mounted railguns, firing wide but agitating the debris field and causing a visible flare when they hit the planet.

"Captain we can't keep missing with those shots, the guns require too much for cooling and is cutting deeply into our coolant reserve."

"Set power at a quarter on each shot and load semi guided plasma warheads instead of kinetic impactors. That should help conserve coolant and increase our hit percent. We will hit."

Even as he spoke the Roubvogel's defensive railguns and autoblaster mounts filled space as their defensive missile launch cells neared empty. They had additional missiles, but they were buried deep within the hull's internal storage bays, which were impractical to reload from during combat.

They had closed range enough to use kinetic Javelins. Despite the fact that the other impacts hadn't passed through they kept firing, hoping to land blows close enough together to overwhelm one shield generator at a time rather than waiting for the Underhanded's shields to lose a battle of endurance. And yet even their best shots were proving pointless as the Underhanded remembered it's origins as ore prospector and shifted debris into the incoming shots.

The plasma warheads gave one good opening that they could exploit. One of the shield generators flickered off after triggering the blast rather than taking the brunt of the fireball. Into the breach an errant defensive railgun round pierced the thin hull and shredded part of the Underhanded's fore missile launchers while some of the excited debris made a mess of the under-defended section.

It was obvious that neither ship really had the upper hand as the Roubvogel was forced back to give it's point defenses more time to intercept the stream of missiles. Parts of their hull were glowing from the hits that had been landed already from the Underhanded's missiles. Not to mention that the Roubvogel was still suffering from the prior battle, with the hasty repairs and almost empty tanks of coolant, while the Underhanded was low on fuel and missiles (since it's bays had originally been filled with mines). Now the remaining load of mines was jettisoned to form a crude minefield in an effort to keep the Roubvogel from risking a close battle using it's broadside lightning cannons with their potentially decisive firepower.

Something had to give, but neither captain had a way to tell when it did, when Archivist Kázmér gave in to the voice and it's saccharine promises.



Boss' go for it! Aboard the pirate communication station

Valentine slide another round into his rifle. The press of attack and counter attack had grown far more vicious. the pirates had suddenly gotten a lot more together and organized, but it was odd that there were no real leaders amongst the mob. Interesting.

He was still with the same assault team, though their spotter drone had been ripped apart and two of their number withdrawn for injuries. Not that they all weren't sporting marks form the number of close calls they had experienced, except for Kail'sh their heavy weapon support. the exoskeleton she wore to support her kinetic generator had protected her almost as well as the defensive fields she would have the generator put out had.

She was in such good cheer for a war zone, that despite the fighting the questions she asked just wouldn't stop. "So what made you joint the Intelligence service?" or "where did you grow up?", "Do you also like Animal House?" and even "What's your blood type? Mines..." This sort of questioning is why he preferred to stay away from the home offices. Irrelevant and for the sake of curiosity, he had only glares for those shorts of questions. And it was far worse at the Offices, Eoghans whom worked in the Intelligence profession had a far greater sense of curiosity tuned into their every thought it seemed.

The questions he would have heard at home base were less "Who was your first love?" and more "Can you tell me what love is?" Okay so their curiosity wasn't as well developed as that one Collector drone all those years back, and not every Eoghan was like that, but it was obnoxious still.

He heard another mob that was hiding around the corner in a cross-corridor, another fight that would delay them. It wasn't like they were even finding any real information or people he could question. Still they were almost to the server farm so his day shouldn't be a complete waste.

Kail'sh reached one armored paw around the corner in mid whispered question (that he completely ignored) and sent a wave of force from the wrist mounted projector into the crowded corridor. This undirected and low level blow couldn't kill any of them, but it was going to hit all of them, throwing them off of their balance. One of the little Eoghan soldiers in the team (he couldn't tell most of them apart from behind) had climbed onto a rock outcropping and was firing poison rounds from above with his Shard Carbine.

Valentine took a couple of steps back as the others added their harassing fire from around the blind corner. A grenade come clattering back in reply, only for Kail'sh to send it further down the corridor with a full tank killing blast of force that shattered the ground around it. The pirates were certainly regaining their composure.

Judging the moment carefully, Valentine leaped forward into a back flipping had spring past the cross-corridor full of pirates. He shot once in mid flight, but took two shots in doing so. One buried itself into his left shoulder while the other bounced off of his armored gauntlet. He landed in a roll, grunting with pain as his injured shoulder hit the ground. An explosion a couple of seconds later told him that he had indeed hit his mark and that the grenadier was down alongside the rest of the mob.

'Stupid pirates, too poor to use laser weapons. Bullets are a pain to clean up after.' He pushed himself up, knowing full well that he to used a regular old riffle that wouldn't look out of place on almost any world. He had left it on the ground so he could push with his better arm.

"You ok?" The team leader cut right to the heart of it. Practical little leader.

"I'll be fine."

"That was a stupid stunt, we would've had them. Why did you risk it?" Another question form Kail'sh, this time not so annoying.

"We're real close, and we should hurry. They're stalling a little too much for their own good. and are a little too organized for that to be a coincidence. We don't really have time to scrap them all out of our way neatly... or are you forgetting the battle in space?" He carefully picked up his fallen riffle and slung it across his back before drawing his flechette pistol from his hip.

"Right, team double time it. You heard him."

The corridor didn't run on very long in a strait line, right where the sever room door was it jerked off towards the left. They huddled just shy of the new stretch of corridor's view. "This is just like that repeater nest we hit forty minutes ago, slight turn right next to an objective, and an easy turkey shoot for defenders. You remember what happened then yes?"

"Yes, sir/leader," was the whispered chorus. They had lost both their drone and taken the worst beating against it.

"Right, so to prove that we can learn a lesson I am going to call the tankette now rather than after we have taken injuries." It would take a couple minutes, as an assault team they were ranging a little further ahead and covering more ground than the regular teams and especially the tankettes. The tankettes had been deployed sparingly and were going slow so that they wouldn't over extend their much-needed support.

"Sir, I would like it if we didn't have too wait. Shouldn't we confirm contact before assuming the worst?"

"Do you really want to stick your head out there to see? Be my guest if you do."

"I'll do it." Damn Kail'sh and her curiosity, a dead head can be curious no more. She quickly darted her head out into the corridor, having enough sense to throw up a defensive field at least. "Clear."

The team leader waited a couple of seconds more for any ambushers to give themselves away, but it was pointless. He finally motioned for the team to take the door. When opened it proved to be off of its hinges. The scene that greeted them was pretty bad, the various computers were dented and sheared though. The few personnel that had been in here were dead to either the same tool that had damaged the servers or were shot by some sort of explosive projectile that made quite a mess of the walls. And there was the loud sound of something breaking through a wall further into the room.

"Come on they are further in!" Though by the sidelong glance that Valentine it couldn't be anyone important since the officers were dead in the room.

A blast door cut off one of the further paths, so they started going around till they found an access hatch to the maintenance area. They found a small out look and saw a crowd of gretchin and other assorted pirates milling and apparently shutting down the equipment in the bay. The team opened up on the crowd before they could be spotted. Valentine tried to balance his one hand for the long shots down into the crowd, but found the rail he was bracing it with was shaking.

All of a sudden a red painted Ork burst through the wall onto the outlook the team was on, shouting, "Oh yeah! Fightin' time." One of the team took a round from down below and fell silent while the large ork started swinging his choppa around in big circles. Valentine put two flechette rounds into the Ork, though it failed to stop him before he backhanded Valentine with his un-powered claw hand sending him flying into the wall.

Kail'sh leaped towards the Ork, her powered exoskeleton and assisted field generators evening up the score. They traded blows for a couple seconds until the Ork grabbed a hold of the exoskeleton and started squeezing. The exoskeleton shorted out leaving her paralyzed, and the team leader put a round from his lightning rifle into the Ork. The round spasm-ed his arm and knocked Kail'sh over. The Ork responded by throwing his choppa at him and knocking him over the rail. As the Ork charged towards the rest of the team he yelled into his helmet, "Waaagh!! Geg hit da button!"

The rest of the team jumped over the rail and relied on the low gravity (for Eoghans at least it was low gravity) to survive the jump. Valentine got back up. The Ork was just about ready to jump, so Valentine fired off another round into his back before the pistol jammed. The Ork turned as the grots charged in to engage the team. Valentine met the Orks charge with one of his own. He backhanded the Orks clawed hand with his own gauntlet, which ripped the Orks tendons and left the arm useless.

Still the Orks shear weight threw him back again. This time he landed on his feet. The Ork dropped his head and showed the big horn his helmet was decorated with. It was quite an effective little weapon. So once again Valentine met the charge with a kick to the neck, but in turn was met by the Orks other arm that flipped him back on to his back. The blow knocked his breath away, but he struggled to stand anyway. The Ork dragged him up by his cape sneering at him.

"Little hummie tried hard but no luck."

"There is no try," with that Valentine punched into the Ork's guts with his gauntlet. The Ork doubled over with the hit, but Valentine winced from the shock on his injured shoulder. With the Orks head bent into reach Valentine pistol-whipped him, finally dropping him on the third blow.

He cradled the Orks head, this creature was undoubtedly important by the shrieks of the now fleeing gretchin. He had to know, so he brought his head down and pierce the Orks neck drinking the blood readily memories flowed just as fast as the Orks unsteady heart could beat. It was glorious, yet confusing as the memories were processed. Finally he turned from the cooling corpse. He remembered the voice of Helmut as it spoke for the Orks master. He even could feel the numerous knife strokes that his service had incurred.

He stood, reinvigorated, and met Kail'sh's questioning gaze. "What are you?"

"I am the child of the eternal race. But we must hurry to save the day little one."



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


Last edited by Agent Sorchus on 2011-02-06 11:38pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-06 08:40am
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Location: Florida USA
Larfield Convention and Resort Center, Halsing Beach
United Enclaves of Gilead, Hobbs, Sector X-13
18 August 3400



"Helena! Helena!" Sarina scrambled over to her injured lover. The hit was only along her hip, but she had still gone unconscious. Her mind filling with fear and panic Sarina grabbed her phone and hit the emergency line icon. The internal systems immediately identified the line used by local emergency and patched her through. A woman on the other side asked her to state the emergency and where it was. "My girlfriend's been shot!", Sarina screeched into the phone. "I'm at the Larfield along the beachline path and these men with guns started shooting at everything..."

"Help is on the way. I need you to tell me the nature of the wound. Was she shot with a bullet or an energy weapon?"

"Energy! Her hip's almost gone, it's all black, like... like... something overcooked in an oven!"

"Do you have anything to dress the wound with? To cover it?"

Sarina looked around desperately. The only things she had were, admittedly, her clothes, so she pulled off her sleeveless tank top and wadded it up to press to the wound. "I've got something."

"Good, good. Now, stay on the line, we're directing EMTs now. I'm going to...."

Suddenly the entire line filled with static. "Hello? Hello?! Hello?!" When Sarina's repeated demands weren't heard she put the phone down. "Helena! Helena get up!", she insisted, shaking Helena by the shoulder. But she didn't get up.

A harsh voice barked at her. Sarina turned and faced two men holding energy weapons. "Come with us, now! Or we shoot you!", one demanded.

"But my girlfriend..."

"NOW!"

At that moment, Sarina did something really stupid. She fought back.

Against two armed men.

It is said that luck favors the bold. In a way, it did. Sarina's wild punch caught one of the Jieshi militants by surprise, sending him down. She turned toward the other one and grabbed his gun as he brought it up to shoot her. He wasn't much taller or stronger than her, but it was a fight she should be all rights lose, and she was on the verge of it as he twisted her under his free left arm and got her into what would be a choke hold.

But as she twisted against him trying to wrench the gun away, it went off, straight toward the man she'd just punched. It struck his weapon. And in a case of very low odds coming true, the blast hit the gun's power cell, creating a powerful explosion that outright killed the man holding the gun.

Sarina's luck was this: because of their postioning, her head and vitals were mostly protected by the hip and thigh of her attacker. Her arms and hands were painfully burnt, of course, but he was the one who took so much of the blast that it killed him. Sarina was merely knocked to the ground, nearly unconscious. The pain kept her clear, however, enough for her to get to her intact phone - also shielded from the explosion by herself and her assailant, and she hit the quick-call button for Amber. When her sister answered, to her surprise, Sarina began to explain in a strained voice what happened.



Amber and Dani were shedding their outer layer of clothers and preparing to switch from underwear to swimsuits when Amber's phone went off. She stopped unhooking her bra latches and went over to snatch it up, seeing it was coming from Sarina. "Now what do you want little sister?", she muttered to herself - drawing a giggle from Dani who was tying on her bikini top - as she turned it on. "Sarina?"

"Am... Amber..." The voice on the other end sounded weak. "You've... get out... get out... men with guns...

"Men with guns, what are you talking about?!", Amber demanded. "You're not making sense!" She saw, out of the corner of her eye, Dani give her an incredulous look.

"They shot... Helena... tried to take me... I fought... Amber, get out! Please get... out..."

"Sarina? Sarina?!" Amber kept shouting into the phone, but there was no response.

Dani, meanwhile, was looking out the one-way tint window (it had a privacy screen). The beach was empty even now, but she saw a handful of figures at regular distances. It didn't take much to guess they were patrols and sentries for whomever was performing this attack. "The beach... oh my God, Amber, it's true."

"Sarina's been shot," Amber cried. "What's happening, why...?"

"I don't know, but I'm not going to die over whatever bullshit politics is motivating this," Dani insisted. "We'd better..."

They heard their door opening and, quietly, hid by the entrance to the suite's bedroom. It was hard doing this; having to stand still, trying not to even breathe very hard, while their hearts pounded and their adrenaline surged.

The door opened. Amber was behind it now, while Dani would be the one the intruder would first face. Amber steeled herself to slam the door closed.

Before she could, Dani struck first.

The Jieshi man entering had been given a registry of this area, as had his partner, now securing the kitchen, and the other teams in this area. He knew the occupants were Anglian peeresses, which only stoked his contempt and lack of caution, imagining he'd be facing soft decadent women he could terrify into submission. He found it most surprising, then, to get a chop to the throat.

Dani's strike had been precise and careful, and she followed it up. With his air gone the intruder lost his strength for the moment, allowing her to easily wrench the rifle out of his hands. In doing so she pulled him in, allowing Amber to jump on him and take him in a choke hold using her legs, even as Dani brought the rifle up into her arms and peered back through. She saw his friend coming through the other door and didn't give him a moment of warning, pulling the trigger. Only a very slight recoil pressed against her shoulder; the bolt of energy flashed across the suite and struck the other man center of mass, wounding him critically.

Dani turned back and watched the other intruder falling unconscious in Amber's hiplock. "Aren't you glad I got you to take courses?", she said.

"Very glad," Amber admitted as she strained to hold the man's neck in the lock, while his arms thrashed and his fingernails dug into her bare legs. She grimaced at the scraping of nail against skin, but did not let up. When her assailant was clearly unconscious she let him go. "So, what are we going to do with him? I doubt the toys you kept here are enough..."

Dani laughed at that, thinking of the pair of fuzzy handcuffs and the set of leather wrist-binding straps she'd brought just in case the mood struck her and Amber on the nights they'd be staying in the center itself. "No, we need something stronger. Thankfully...." She spied the pouch on the man's hip and pulled out the tie-straps within. With Amber holding his arms Dani strapped his wrists together behind his back. With a devilish grin she used a tampon as the main piece in a full gag while Amber put a second pair of straps around his ankles. Seeing what Dani had used, Amber shook his head. "They're going to call that a crime against humanity, you know." When Dani didn't answer, Amber added, "So, we've got two rifles and some ammo against God knows how many bad guys. Just what do you want to do now?"

"Use your phone. Call the police," Dani answered. "Call the consulate. Call anyone."

Amber nodded and got her phone back. She watched Dani pulling on a sports top and reaching for her tennis shorts. "What are you doing?"

"If you think I'm going to go out there and pull off the action heroine crap wearing just a bikini, you're out of your mind, lover," Dani answered. "The last thing I want is to have holos of me wearing that getup when this is over."

"Like the tabloids haven't gotten holos of you wearing less," Amber laughed. "But go ahead and give me mine too, we might as well have a matching uniform!" She looked at the phone, which stated "Connection could not be made" no matter which button she pressed. "I think they're jamming."

"Of course." Dani smiled. Some might call it wicked, or mischievous, though Amber couldn't help but find it enormously sexy. "But I don't think these dickheads counted on having to deal with an engineer on the loose. Now, do you remember our tour..."



Yong was watching the Schweizer sisters being brought into the ballroom he'd picked especially for their confinement when he got a call from one of his teams, securing one of the ground floor's wings. "We've lost contact with Jie and Guo. I've sent a couple of men to the corridor they were checking."

"They haven't called in any hostages yet, who were they securing?"

"Two Anglian women, the registry called them the Duchess of Galicia and Countess of San Luis."

Yong let out a sigh. "Get men there. Make sure they're not shaming our cause in their conduct with these women." Before he could turn to join his men in getting the anti-ESP collars on the Schweizers, he got another call.

"We've lost Juo and Gui, Yong. The girls they were sent after fought back or something, it looks like a power cell explosion."

Damn! "And the girls?"

"Photo ID confirms them as Sarina Kelly-Martinez and Helena Carver, they're listed as being in the Duchess of Galicia's party. They're both unconscious and wounded. It looks like the Kelly girl was trying to use her comm."

That distressed Yong. Communications were down, but he knew that comm-to-comm lines were possible; frequency jumpers inherent to the technology would easily find the frequencies his people kept unjammed for their own use and slip in before the rotation of jamming blocked them. And his missing men were sent to take in the Duchess.... "Bring them in, make sure they don't die of their wounds." Yong cut the line and called back his other team. "Kui, alert your men going to find Juo and Gui. There may be trouble."

"Understood."



On the top level Nika and Druni were looking at the stairwell leading down. Druni concentrated her mind and felt outward with it, until she brushed against the minds of others coming up. "They're doing a floor by floor sweep, they'll be here soon," she said to Nika. "I need you to hide."

"Hide?" Nika stared at her. "What are you going to do?"

"Whatever I have to." Druni drew in a breath. "It must be the same people that killed King Charles. They're after Reina now, and they have to be stopped." Druni seized Nika by her shoulders. "Get into the closet and stay there, don't make a sound. I've got to get going."

"But they're probably armed, just what..."

"I was an apprenticed Acolyte of the Silver Moon until recently, Nika." Druni flashed a confident smile, though it wasn't as confident as she'd like. "I've done this before."

Nika nodded and allowed herself to be secured into the closet. After Druni felt guaranteed Nika was as safe as she could be, she went to her things and found something she never thought she'd use again; her beamsaber, which she had kept as it was her creation, not Order-issued, and Order tradition permitted such.

With her weapon secured Druni located the emergency stock of rappel lines and looked to the window. It was a risk, and she might be seen, but better that than the guarantee of discovery if she ran down the stairwell. She moved from the main suite to a side one, used by LeCroix, which faced the side of the building and might not be as visible to enemies on the ground.

A slow descent would make her detection inevitable. Druni didn't have to do such, thankfully, though she took a risk in what she did do. Fixing the line on, she held onto it and simply jumped off the balcony. Anyone else doing this would plummet to their deaths, but with her telekinesis Druni was able to slow her rate of descent as she neared the roof of the resort's lower structure, roughly the fourth floor. Holding onto the line helped, letting her rappel off the side as she slowed herself to her final jump down.

She sensed someone was near, and it was true. One of the militants came around an air conditioning unit on the roof with gun raised. She had her beamsaber out and brought it to life, just in time to deflect a shot from the gunman. A push of TK knocked him to the ground long enough for Druni to close the distance. "Now, who are you and what are you doing here?", she asked. When there was no answer she felt into his mind. He tried to stop her, and she didn't get everything, but she got enough. "Jieshi militants, and you're going to kill Reina and Sarisa over your nationalist paranoia? Bastard!" She took him in a sleeper hold and knocked him unconscious.

So, that was what it was. She had to hurry...



On the top floor, Nika emerged from her hiding place as soon as she was sure Druni was gone. She looked to her comm unit in the clothes basket and took it out. Seeing the last call, she called back. The internal systems of her comm were special; the line it established with the other side was not a standard one and wouldn't be jammed like the other civilian lines would. "This is Green 20," she said when she got an answer.

"I tried to warn you earlier," Blue 4 answered. "you should not remain out of communication like that."

"I had a horny teenage girl with ESP to deal with at the time. I apologize." Nika frowned. "So, it's an attack on the Duchess?"

"Yes. An interference in the Plan by what appears to be Jieshi militants."

"Druni left me up here for my own protection." Nika smirked. "She doesn't know what I can do."

"The Plan is more important than your cover, Green 20. Arm yourself and engage. I am endeavoring to cleanse the resort security systems of the viruses implanted by the terrorists to ensure faster response from help."

Nika, by this time, had taken out her suitcase and opened the secret panel that she knew even Druni hadn't seen. She pulled out the blaster pistol and charge cells within. "I'm on it." Hanging up, Nika went to the dead guards' armory and found what she needed.

If she had her way, Nika would be laying a trap for the men coming up. But there was no time for that; she would be going on the offensive.



Druni had entered the building through the roof entrance and was working her way downward, using her extra senses to evade patrols. She had not completed her infiltration training entirely, but the basics were among the first things any Knight taught to her new Apprentice in the Order; reduce visibility, sense patrols around you, and only attack when you can remove the foe in one blow and avoid immediate detection.

The militants had training, but it was the kind that paramilitary groups gave and not so great that she couldn't deal with it. Their minds were easily-sensed and... okay, that wasn't good. Druni could sense another mind reaching out, just a floor below. She retracted her mind telepathically, hoping to avoid detection, while she continued on.

The secondary courtyard outside the outer ballrooms loomed before her, a four story high open space for kiosks and all the other things a convention might have. There were armed men at one of the doors and a couple more per level. She sensed other minds in the room beyond; hostages. But she wouldn't be able to deal with that many enemies at once.

She had to find victories where she could, so Druni worked her way down to the second level by way of a fall-and-levitate maneuver she'd been taught by Zara. It was a very precise one; she had to use TK at just the right time to buffet her fall and prevent noise. She rolled with the absorbed impact; she had timed it slightly off and caused a little noise, enough that a nearby guard was coming to investigate. Quickly Druni slid behind a palm tree grouping.

Her heart quickened as she felt him draw nearer and nearer. Curiosity from his mind shifted to doubt, doubt he'd heard anything, and after several tense seconds he returned to his post. Sighing very faintly, Druni wiped the sweat from her brow, at least as well as she could with an equally sweaty forearm.

Now that she was in a better position Druni resolved a strategy of hit-and-run. Attack isolated pockets of foes, rescue hostages still being transported, and do whatever she could to make the inevitable retaking of the resort less bloody. She found a display of the hotel's interior nearby that she could view without being seen; going down one corridor and then another would bring her to an escalator leading to one of the suite wings and beach doors. She went that way. The enemy patrols here were on a complex pattern, well-designed, such that a non-ESPer would likely get caught. She, however, was able to sense the pattern and slip into the holes in it.

She found the escalator and went down. Her attention turned toward four of the men coming down the way, not part of a regular patrol. They were bearing makeshift stretchers with two figures on them; young women from the look of it. Four of them, mostly distracted... this was an ambush she could pull off. She hid at a corner and waited for them to come.

They came beside her and right into the ambush. Druni had no compunctions about killing to preserve innocents; her beamsaber cleaved effortlessly through the necks of the first two men. The stretchers bearing the young women dropped and the men behind, taking a fatal moment to register their decapitated comrades' fates, reached for their weapons. Electricity crackled in the air between Druni and her targets as she focused that power, as taught by Maroh, and enveloped them in electrical currents generated by her mind. They were still alive; she put them in their own tie-strap bindings and disarmed them to be on the safe side.

The two young women, barely older than Druni, were not in good shape. One had a direct hit on her right hip, the other has multiple injuries and burns. Druni pulled them into a side room and began to employ the first aid she was trained to use as an Initiate.



Amber took the lead as she and Dani went up the stairs to the fourth level. They were in the employee section of the resort, abandoned now by those who fled successfully and those caught and made hostages. "So, what's your big plan?", Amber asked her lover as they slipped around a corner, each feeling silly about looking like, in Dani's words, "cover girls for hunting magazines".

"For now? Avoid getting shot or caught, and find a way to connect the building's electrical system into its wireless," Dani answered. "You can always beat jamming with pure power."

There was another spurt of language from the radios they'd taken from their attackers. Neither knew Jieshi, however, so the use was limited to them.

Had they known Jieshi, they would have known they were being hunted. Their initial assailants had been found by their buddies and Yong's men, as many as he could spare, were moving to pen them in. Instead their first indication of this was when they stumbled into a two-man team securing an east-west trunk corridor. This time the Jieshi men fired first and the two women barely had time to reach cover. Energy fire blazed past Dani as she half-pulled, half-dragged Amber to some cover in a doorway. "Do you think that was bad luck?", Amber asked.

"That, or they're tracking their own radios. Stupid stupid..." Dani handed her the one she'd been holding. "Listen, I need to find a comm room or something. The hotel's supposed to have it's own transmitters as part of the planetary datanet, I can mess with the electricals and get enough power to override any jamming they have."

Amber looked around the doorway and squeezed off a shot just before one answered back. "Right now, love, we need to fight these guys off."

"Surrender, women!", one of the men shouted. "We do not fear pompous Anglo aristocrats, if you do not submit we will shoot you!"

"Not if we shoot you first," was the (admittedly lame) riposte Dani threw back. She looked toward the door and shot the handle off, blasting it open. Inside was just an office, a cramped-looking one for a mid-level manager of the resort. She and Amber slipped in to get out of the immediate firing line, taking up positions to cover the door.

When no attack came immediately, Dani whispered "Cover me" and slipped over to the desk, where she activated the computer used by the usual occupant. The internal company system had the usual cloying, annoying admonitions and remarks about improving and maintaining productivity, but what she really wanted took several clicks to bring up; a map of the main structure. "We've got to get down that corridor, the server room is just to the north."

"I think they've got reinforcements coming in," Amber whispered hoarsely.



"We have boxed the women in on the fourth level," Yong's man informed him. He looked over to see the sullen looks on Reina and Sarisa, the latter seeming ready to explode the moment anyone removed her collar. "They are in one of the offices here, I am waiting for an extra team before I attack."

"They will be there shortly," Yong assured him. He looked to his timer; in 95 minutes he would be putting a gun to Reina's head and pulling the trigger, as he did not expect his demands to be met by then. Not until they knew he meant business.

Another of his subordinates began to shout into the radio. "We need men in the staircase! We're under att..." There was a weapon sound, and the man's voice cut off.

Recognizing Dai's voice, and knowing he was in the upper floors sweeping them for occupants, Yong took up his radio. He had enough hostages; he ordered the teams up there to scatter whomever they were holding and move to deal with this unexpected threat.



Nika kicked the body of a fallen militant. "Not so helpless, am I?" she said to the one fighter who survived her ambush, nursing his savaged arm at the corner of the stairwell. She walked over to him and brought up her gun. "Now, I need to know, what are you doing with the hostages?"

"I am a patriot of Jieshi, I will not yield," the man insisted.

Nika reached out and gripped his torn up arm so tightly he screamed. "Oh please, I can see it in your eyes. You're in over your head and you know it, that's why you jumped for cover the moment my mine went off." She knelt down over him. "Do you know what fate would await you on my homeworld? The secret police on Korugar are very skilled in the arts of inflicting pain. I know that firsthand... they taught me quite a few lessons, you see. The hard way." She smirked at him. "Would you like me to show you?"

The young man swallowed. The Nojhs regime's abuses were notorious. "They will be shot if the union of Fynn and Tyconia is not called off," he murmured, rationalizing that this data could not possibly violate the oathes he made. "I know nothing more..."

"Oh, I'm sure of that."

"How did you survive the secret police of Korugar? Even in Jieshi their cruelty is notorious."

"Oh, I didn't survive. I didn't need to, I've never even been to Korugar," Nika confessed. "Sorry, I'm something of a liar by trade." Having confessed this, she unceremoniously shot the man in the head.



"This won't work," Sarisa insisted as Yong paced by them. "Even if you kill us, we have cousins who will wed Queen Hilda. The Union has too much support to pass."

"If the Union passes, Duchess, the Jieshi nation will fight to the bitter end to prevent falling once again," Yong insisted.

"But we don't want to harm your nation," Reina insisted. "Tyconia and Jieshi have co-existed without war for two hundred years..."

"Lies!", Yong thundered, belting Reina across the mouth. "You talk peace while you flood other races into our rightful districts. You claim peace while your colonies in space expand at our expense and cut us off from sources of wealth! We Patriots know what you are doing, you are pursuing the same course that Cascadia and Tian Xia once did to subjugate and partition. And we will see this sector scoured by war before surrendering like that again!"

"All you will do is turn the other states of the sector against Jieshi," Sarisa retorted. "And your people will be conquered."

"No. No! We will turn your defiance against you and persuade the imperialist powers around us that you are to blame for the slaying of their people!", Yong insisted, even as her words haunted him. The movement had decided this was necessary, after being given the means to do so.... but what if they were right?

No, he needed to focus on what was going on now. He needed to get the situation under control. He picked up the radio and barked, "Po, where are you with those girls?!" When he got no response, he ordered a team to check up on them and decided to bluff. Switching to an open transmission, he switched to English to deliver an ultimatum.



Druni had stabilized the girl with the shot hip when the voice spoke over the radio in English. "Duchess Galicia, I am Yong, a Jieshi patriot. I have Sarina Kelly-Martinez and Helena Carver as my prisoners. If you do not surrender to my men, they will be shot immediately."

Druni's mood perked up. She wasn't the only one fighting back. Quickly determining no patrols had come by yet, she concentrated with her mind and felt upward. The lack of people around allowed her to do this effectively, following the hints of thoughts until she thought she felt what she was looking for...



Having heard the ultimatum, Dani and Amber looked to each other. "If we surrender we'll probably be executed," Dani pointed out.

"And if we don't, my sister dies," Amber retorted.

"You don't know he has her, maybe he's bluffing?" But Dani knew she wasn't being convincing. How could she? Sarina had been injured, likely unconscious... her capture was almost a foregone conclusion. "If you want to give up..."

Duchess Galicia?

The voice was weak in their minds. But they felt it. Two mental images came to them; Helena and Sarina beside each other, asleep, but entirely alone and safe. Then I was right, the voice said. We have to meet, it may be our only hope to save hostages from these men.

But we're penned in, Amber thought back, realizing they were dealing with an Esper.

Wait. Dani looked back to the building plans on the screen before her. I might have us a way out.



Outside, Liu Qoling looked to his three friends and motioned for them to begin to move in. They had the numbers and firepower; the women inside would fall to numbers if nothing else.

They moved, as one, to the door, firing as they went to cover each other.



Druni was getting up to go meet with Duchess Danielle and Countess Amber. She double-checked the two injured girls briefly and picked up her beamsaber.

As she moved toward the door, it flew open. A female figure stood before her, a dark beamsaber in her hand.

Lady Tabitha smirked. "A Silver Moon member?", she said with some incredulity. "I was expecting more."



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

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

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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-06 01:42pm
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Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
Written with Simon_Jester

Previously on SDNW4 wrote:
She jumped up and gestured with her wing. “Ooh! What’s that?”

The Second for Welfare blinked. “You mean... oh! The young gentleman in question is playing the Umerian national instrument, a Phosako innovation called the monoventral heebiephone. Not commonly seen outside Umeria, I must say; few genuine heebiephone artists can be found beyond our borders, so far as I know.”

“How does that work? May I see that? Wow! That’s shiny!”


Unity Park, Prime City

Phoebe-o had gotten so excited that she was bouncing. She had so many questions, and the Technarchs were glad to oblige; her questioning brought out their not-so-inner lecturers. The avian was like an extremely precocious, charming, hyperactive, and curious child who wanted to know everything and was actually interested in what they had to say. Even better, she seemed to understand most of what they were talking about. At the very least, Phoebe-o was a good listener and knew how to ask insightful questions.

“How does the music education affect their proficiencies in other studies? Yes, human and Phosako... how do those psychological issues affect socialization between the children? Are there conflicts? … How do you resolve that? … What age does that occur? … When was...”


When not talking about the campaign against the pirates, the Umerian news had been abuzz about this mysterious new Refuge that had been beaming messages. It was long on speculation and short on facts, so the audiences began to tune out. That was problematic for the agencies. Then they found out that representatives would be coming, and they were given a set of possible times for a press conference, assuming everything went well. The earliest time, though, was over a day away, and footage of alien lifeforms made for high ratings. Anyone who could find out something substantial before the rest would beat out their rivals. It’d be a major coup, if only they could spot these Capital R Refugees first.

They were running constant searches on the interwebs, looking for specific combinations, phrases, sudden changes of plans, anything that could possibly be a match. They watched for hits on Peeper. They watched each other’s news programs. They even had agents out, on foot, riding public transit and walking towards every crowd, looking for something, anything.

Questionable search hits suddenly started trickling in and an agent, actually an intern named Sally who was working on her journalism degree, called in with a blurry video stream.

Image


Image


“Looks like a shiny cart, chrome, driving around fast, and a large bird, black and white, hopping up and down... hey, I think the tall guy’s the Second for Welfare.” The image quality wasn’t helped by the marching bands passing between them but their picture-analysis programs were compensating the best they could.

“Hang on, the little guy’s turning around. Can we zoom and interpolate, or... hey, that’s Dr. O’Connell!”

“So two of the Technarchs in the same civic park in the middle of the day? No, three; that’s got to be Warren-Marshall... something funny’s going on here.”

“Could be trouble. You think it’s safe to cover?”

“Probably. If it wasn’t, would the meeting be out in the open like this?”

“Point.”

“Hmm. So, these could be the Refugees. Aren’t they supposed to have a lot of AI? Maybe they sent an AI on the cart, and the bird’s a... pet?”

“AIs with pets, Izzy?”

“I’ve seen weirder things.”

“Yeah, but not this year.”

“You keep your nose out of my domestic arrangements! Hmph!”

“Maybe the giant bird’s the ambassador, and the cart’s a... you know what? I’m not even going to guess. This makes my brain hurt; let’s try to get someone lined up for an interview. If those aren’t the Refugees they’re still something.”

Past the bands, the chrome cart, giant gesticulating bird, and Technarchs began to walk away, towards the end of the parade route.

“What are you waiting for, kiddo? Follow them!”

Sally took a deep breath. This could be her big break, if she got there first. Only problem was, there was a crowd in the way. A large crowd. Plenty of people had shown up anyway for the parade, and now the curious were being drawn in, so it was getting larger and tighter. But there was nothing to be done about that, so as she exhaled she shoved her way between two people and kept moving, hoping for momentum.

Unfortunately the crowd was also starting to slide that same way. Hope that no other hapless journalist interns were around and she could still get there before anyone else? But that might take too long, and the possible Refugees might leave by then. Toss the helicamera drone up and at least get some pictures in? That wouldn’t be ideal, not like being there and asking questions, and it was usually discouraged unless the person was with it, but better than nothing. But if other journalists were about, they’d be alerted by the drone too.

If they saw it. That was questionable with the crowd. They wouldn’t hear it over the bands. Not to mention, the Technarchs would be at the end of the parade route. The giant bird and robo-trolley would probably draw a lot of attention. How much more could a drone do? She decided to risk it. One hand put on the shades so she could watch the live footage. The other reached for her belt and pulled off a small grey spheroid. The moment her arm had space (when she was by a couple of particularly short Phosako), she flung it above her head. It wasn’t a straight shot, and was a lousy throw really, but it got over people’s heads so it was good enough. The rotors popped out and began spinning, it took a moment to stabilize itself, and then with a few eye movements from Sally it was off.

Then it was just a lot of pushing and shoving and pardon mes and excuse mes while she watched the feed in the corner of one eye. Lots of people, more people - there had been a lot of schools marching in the parade so the poor little drone was flying around frantically, searching for a match - and then there was another drone! It must have spotted hers, but then it flew off in a different direction. Maybe its operator saw her frantic, not very coordinated search, and assumed she didn’t have a lead? Or maybe the other operator had a lead! But there was no way to check or to know if the Technarchs and Refugees had left the park entirely, so she had to keep going.

Izzy checked in. “Sally, any news?”

“They walked away. I have the drone out looking but I can’t spot them.”

“Keep trying. The peeps are still saying that they’re in the area.”

“Will do. Sally out.”

On a hunch, she had the drone search the largest crowds, then followed the ones that seemed to be forming the fastest. Then she had the drone double back and - a match!

“Audio, and transmit,” she whispered.

“...just a marching heebiephone. It’s modified to be portable enough for one person to carry and play, but it’s still pretty heavy and I don’t get the full range.” The band member looked nervous, or maybe just a little confused, as he leaned on his heebiephone.

A cute, squeaky and excited voice, the giant bird’s (?), asked, “So there are bigger ones? And those can be played by multiple people and get more tones?”

“The usual ones are.” The helicamera did a closeup. Yes, the student was talking to the giant bird, and from the matching uniforms around, his bandmates were all there watching too. “A standard heebiephone needs at least three people, but it can get as large as eleven, as in the grant heebiephone at Terpsichore Hall. I’m in a heebie quartet too...” the musician trailed off as one of his neighbors patted his shoulder and pointed at the drone.

“Oh! What’s that?” the bird asked. “Security surveillance?”

“I think that’s a journo cam,” said another band member.

“Why does it have rotors? I thought you had contra-gravity. Or, no, yours runs on the principles of nth dimension hyperspace transposition, yes? I guess that would be hard to miniaturize without...”

Izzy cut back in. “This feed is incredible, Sally! But where’s the cart and the Technarchs?”

“Oh, right, sorry.”

Fortunately and not unexpectedly, they were nearby. Kahnemann and Warren-Marshall were both apparently trying to explain something about the parks to the cart, with much glaring and interruptions between them (and the drone did a close-up, showing...a lot of yellow blobs with giant warm brown googly eyes pointed in all directions). Dr. O’Connell was standing nearby, facing towards the cart, but speaking to some of the curious students.

“I’m almost here. Wish me luck.” She lunged through the crowd as her drone spun around, and then she was in the shot with the cart. “Sally Lightfoot here, of All News Reisenburg!” she cried out, as the drone pulled around to bring her into the shot. It suddenly occurred to her that in all her excitement and searching, she’d forgotten to have a question ready, but then it didn’t matter. Because the cart was already pulling away with a shriek of fear and shout of “Assassin!” That set up a chain reaction of shouting (mostly along the lines of “What? Assassin? Where?”) and got her a glare from at least two Technarchs. Sally feared that she had ruined it, ruined everything, and possibly by extension, any hopes of a career in journalism.

And then the big fluffy bird was flapping in front of her. “Oh hey! Is that your cam? You must be its journalist!”

Behind came responses of “journalist?” and “young lady, you can wait for the press conference with everyone else” and “this is what I meant about the security!” None of that slowed down Phoebe-o.

“So you came here to see us? But why now? Oh, curiosity, the best reason! But this is for other people? … How is journalism taught in schools? … We were just talking about that! Do you think I could get a tour? ... Offices and school? That sounds like fun! I can see both? ... How do you divide your time between labor and education? ... Is that typical for most students?”


A couple days later, in Izzy Brahn’s office at All News Reisenberg, a tired Sally Lightfoot was going through her official review.

“So to sum it up, that was the strangest interview I’ve ever done,” she said. “They never went over that in lecture at all, not that they could’ve. Did I even ask her anything aside from her name?”

Izzy smiled at the memory of the clip now labeled ‘Ambassador Phoebe-o Interviews Sally Lightfoot.’ “Just that, and it was good work getting that at the end.” It had been a hit, but even better, when people were looking for information on the Refuge, they were going to All News far more than the rivals. Their ratings for the press conference had been twice that for the next highest. It would burn out soon enough, and they would have to find the next new thing, but for the moment, life was good. Plus, he had a new name to cultivate. A few more years and Sally could be a star reporter.

He gave her a few more pointers and they exchanged some thoughts, and then he let Sally get some sleep. Once she was gone, he switched on the latest Refuge-watch feed.


Phoebe-o was talking to...someone. She said, “I like the stream, too. We don’t get much running water in recreation space back home.”

She walked over to the edge of the water, her head bobbing back and forth to counterbalance her movements and keep her vision steady. Although many of the observers in the park successfully suppressed the impulse, enough did not; a faint but audible sound could be heard over the flowing stream.

“Awwww...”

She stood on the edge. “May I...step in it?”

“Of course.”

“Whee!”

Image


He saw the image, and then he saw the stats for viewings below it. Izzy pumped his fists in triumph. “Yes! Eat that, Shroomberg!”


Izzy and hundreds of millions of Umerian viewers were not the only ones watching. Bookworm viewed the feed at the diplomatic yacht, taking notes.

Counterintuitive as it may seem, it appears that being curious to the point of insanity is a better strategy for appealing to Umerians than Ambassadorial Dignity. Our first impression was merely adequate; now they appear to be convinced that the ambassador is adorable. We did not anticipate this reaction. This demonstrates the value of visiting other nations directly, rather than operating on pure deduction and long range communications alone.

And now, for more important studies...



DPDarkPrimus is my boyfriend!

SDNW4 Nation: The Refuge And, on Nova Terra, Al-Stan the Totally and Completely Honest and Legitimate Weapons Dealer and Used Starship Salesman slept on a bed made of money, with a blaster under his pillow and his sombrero pulled over his face. This is to say, he slept very well indeed.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 12:53am
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Location: COOBIE YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS
Penetrate THIS!
The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400


Under most circumstances, diplomatic relations and trade between the Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya and the Bragulan Star Empire were completely and utterly nonexistent. However, with the Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship providing a highly convenient way to market Haruhiist goods to the greater galaxy, the Holy Empire chose to temporarily relax its de facto embargo and allow some of its corporations to take part in the BEEEF...

Kyoto Aerospace (KyoAero) was one of several Haruhiist corporations that chose to participate in the BEEEF. Among the products it was offering for sale to interested customers was the KA-154 Kestrel, a slightly-modified export version of the SOS Imperial Armed Forces' V-144 Kestrel observation/utility VTOL. Despite the fact that the V-144/KA-154 was a combat-proven design, it still had numerous detractors, mainly among the Shepistanis and their supporters; bizarrely enough, though, almost all of their criticism revolved not around its actual combat performance but around the fact that it was a prop-driven VTOL with a "glass" canopy, similar to models used by the Shepistanis during the Amplitur Wars and their campaign against the so-called "Blue People." While the Sheppoes preferred to blame their near-defeat at the hands of the Amplitur and their failure to exterminate the Blue People on supposed intrinsic weaknesses of the VTOL design, just about everyone else knew that the Sheppoes' failures owed far more to catastrophic doctrinal failures, brought upon either by Amplitur psionic disruption (in the case of the Amplitur Wars) or sheer arrogance (in the case of the Blue People). In order to highlight just how utterly ridiculous the Shepistani claims were, a small demonstration of the KA-154's durability was arranged...

"Quite frankly, I am just sick and tired of these Shepistani prats and their irrational hatred of VTOLs," the KyoAero company rep in charge of the demonstration, Junko Sato, said to the crowd. "Instead of simply admitting that they were caught with their pants down by the craboids and that the commander they had appointed to prosecute the campaign against the Blue People was an utter incompetent, they would have you believe that their failures on the battlefield were due to the VTOLs themselves. I mean, they sincerely believe that the Blue People's spears can actually penetrate transparisteel! Just plain ludicrous. Anyway, what I'm here to prove to you is that any potential operators of the KA-154 need not fear getting speared through their canopies."

Junko brought up a wooden spear nearly as long as she was tall, similar to those used by the Blue People against the Shepistanis. She spent about a minute showboating with the weapon, putting some long-neglected drum majorette and SOS Imperial Guard training to good use as she deftly twirled the spear around in a series of intricate patterns before finally throwing it into the air and catching the shaft in both hands. Her spear dance resembled an abbreviated version of the rifle drill that Humungus al-Turbani had used to impress a Bragulan general earlier on in the BEEEF, and her audience was just as impressed, though they all knew that this wasn't the point of her presentation. "I brought along plenty of spears with me, but I need volunteers," she said. "Any Bragulans, Dilgrud, Vinarans, or Zigonians in the audience?"

After a few seconds, several volunteers came forth from the crowd; most were Bragulans, though there were a few Zigonians, a couple of Vinarans, and one Dilgrud among them. Junko sized up each of the volunteers and picked out those she perceived to be the most physically strong out of all of them: Four Brags, two Zigonians, one of the two Vinarans, and the lone Dilgrud. She then gestured towards the weapons rack holding the spears to be used for the demonstration. "Pick up a spear and start wailing away at the canopy," she said.

The volunteers looked quizzically at each other for a few seconds before going to pick up their spears; once they were armed, they immediately proceeded to attack the KA-154's canopy. The results were a foregone conclusion. Even with the volunteers all thrusting their spears with all their considerable might, they all failed to deal any real damage to the Kestrel's canopy; all ended up breaking their spears with three or four successive thrusts. With their weapons broken, the volunteers returned to the audience; Junko picked up the broken spears and piled them up in front of the weapons rack. "Common sense, isn't it?" she said as she turned to face her audience once more. "If these strapping young lads couldn't break the canopy with their spears, what makes you think the Blue People could? The fun's only getting started, though. If you want a real demonstration of the Kestrel's durability, I need a few people to shoot it up. Any takers?"

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The response was far more enthusiastic, as numerous volunteers scrambled over each other at the chance for some additional target practice. Among them was Shepistani governor Saras Palindrome, who particularly relished the chance to destroy one of those infernal machines. To her, looking through the clear transparisteel canopy was like looking into a window to hell itself; even though the KA-154's engines weren't currently running, she imagined the sound they made to be somewhat akin to the wails of the damned. Other volunteers included a group of Dilgrud revolutionaries (including the Bragnum-wielding bloke who had been humiliated by Saras at the shooting range earlier), a couple of Klavostani Cananaanite jihadists, some East and West Gallian soldiers, an Imperial Belkan Ground Force detachment, an Angmarid representing the Reef Star Republic, and some miscellaneous Wild Space mercenary scum (including a few of General Francis Wespe's men), all armed with a dizzying array of weapons and all itching for some action; they would all have to wait their turn, though, for Governor Palindrome quickly forced herself to the front of the line.

"Okay, it looks like we've got a whole lot of trigger-happy individuals here," Junko remarked. "So, without further ado...open fire."

Governor Palindrome brought up her customized Armalyte and proceeded to empty the entire 30-round magazine directly into the canopy...to no avail, as the 5.56mm rounds simply bounced off the transparisteel. She sulked as she went back into the audience and started watching intently to see who could successfully shatter the damned VTOL's canopy. Much to her chagrin, though, not a single volunteer came close to even cracking the canopy; while their own small arms were far more powerful than Saras' Armalyte, they were just as ineffective. When the smoke finally cleared, the KA-154's entire front end was pitted and scorched, but still largely intact. Junko walked up to the Kestrel and loudly tapped on the canopy.

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FILE PHOTO: The front section of a V-144 Kestrel prototype subjected to live-fire testing to determine the effectiveness of its armor scheme, date unknown

"And there you have it, folks," Junko proclaimed. "Completely immune to the vast majority of small arms fire. At the very least, you'll need specialized anti-materiel weapons to have a chance at cracking this baby open." She smiled as the audience applauded. "That concludes this particular demonstration. I'll be available all throughout the event to answer questions and help arrange purchases. So, any takers?"

As the rest of the crowd dispersed to check out the rest of the BEEEF, Junko and the rest of the KyoAero delegation were approached by several West Gallian and Klavostani Cananaanite representatives, all of whom were interested in buying KA-154s and other fine KyoAero products to help their own respective war efforts...



I ship Eino Ilmari Juutilainen x Lydia V. Litvyak.

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

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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 01:34am
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Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400


It had been a long journey, and wrought with danger, peril, and giant apes, but at last all had been prepared. The Lost pavilion had been opened at last and ready to serve the denizens of the galaxy in all their desires.

First, there were the beefs. The massive animals were slaughtered, cooked in Bragulan telescreens (which doubled as microwaves) and presented to all passers-by. The delicious scents of brag-cooked meats had attracted a most diverse clientele, from Karlack gene-eaters (who were now beef-eaters!) to the entirety of the Klavostani delegation. All stood in line, patiently waiting their turn.

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Materials sold by the Lost were presented—vegemite and vegemite derivatives as well as other exotic minerals were handed out like candy, given freely to all who would ask (and who looked like a potential customer).

There were demonstrations, too. Power amplifiers were connected to reactors, boosting their outputs dramatically. Schematics of giant orbital habitats, and methodologies of worldship construction were presented. Yet, all instrumentations in range were checked and tightly controlled, schematics redrawn and all information was tweaked ever so slightly modified so that it was just inaccurate enough to keep the Lost’s secrets. They were, after all, selling the technologies themselves, and did would not do if someone took them without paying.

Of course, such methods caused much suspicion and mistrust among the people. There was, after all, no way of verifying that they were, in fact, accurate and that the strange daemonoids were not simply a group of conmen, extradimensional tentacled Feelipeenis with their duck fetus eggs. Perhaps their amazing technologies were nothing more than advanced R. Julia dollars, a giant cosmic scam perpetrated by an obscure shoal power. A real, true and accurate demonstration was called for, and Shroom had just the right idea. She would do something that would convince even the greatest skeptic.

High above the planet, all the dignitaries were waiting in their ships, looking at their radar, LIDAR, hyperwave and other sensors. Their target was a strange-looking warship that escorted the Lost fleet.

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No, this is NOT Resolution In The Face Of Danger, but another ship of the same class

Some of the dignitaries openly scoffed at the puny ship, for it was small,and not particularly impressive. They were readying themselves to dismiss it, and to return to the ground, where much more interesting things awaited their attentions.

Soon, everything was ready and the demonstration began. The Bragulans, as the hosts of the event were the ones to set it off, by launching a SPUD missile.

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The enormous missile, longer than the ship it targeted, sped towards its victim like the glorious boot of the Imperator himself, ready to trample it underfoot, forever. Unlike the launch at the puny humanoid Federated Ascendancy humanoids, this SPUD was not loaded with mere fireworks but actual vegemite-encrusted bragnukes with enough firepower to level a large city.

The missile approached the daemonoid ship, and then something unexpected happened, for what was supposed to be one missile with one warhead had suddenly released a dozen of them!

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One the surface of the planet below, the Bragulans laughed. They fucking laughed, for they had played a cunning trick on the puny daemonoids and their puny ships. When these Lost aliens had approached them for a demonstration and asked them to fire a SPUD at their ship, they knew that it was to be a demonstration of their alienoid defenses. Since it was unlikely they would destroy their own ship, it stood to reason that they would destroy the SPUD instead. Thus, they would make a mockery of the glorious Bragulan missile, the cornerstone of their offensive technologies, blessed by the Imperator himself right after his epic feat of paleodinosaur wrestling. They would show the whole galaxy that their alienoid defenses are superior to the might of Bragulan offenses. Such an affront to Byzonism and Bragulanity could not stand, of course. The last group of puny alienoids who had tried that had a moon dropped on them to teach them their proper place in the universe, which was beneath Byzon’s mighty boot.

At first, the Bragulans had refused the offer, but then a particularly cunning commissar had a brilliant idea. They would go through with the test, da, but instead of the single city-busting warhead, they would load the missile with the most advanced of anti-ship MIRVs, the terror of Solarianoid warship CompInts and even the occasional weak-spiritied Imperial shipmind. Then, as the alienoid ship is surprised and destroyed, the show of puny daemonoid defenses would become something far greater—the ideologically-correct demonstration of Byzonist superiority over all foreign technologies.

And so the Bragulan missile operators sipped their tsvagna and smoked their bragkhorka while their superiors fucking laughed in anticipation of the glorious Byzonist demonstration, fit to be re-broadcast throughout the Empire and beyond. They held their breath as the missile separated, releasing its many warheads. The puny alien ship did not try to evade! It did not shoot them down! It had just sat there, paralyzed with terror, awestruck at the Bragulans’ sudden but inevitable betrayal, the sheer bottomless depths of Byzonist dickery they were capable of.

The dozens of warheads sped closer and closer to their target. The alienoid dignitaries aboard the ships shook their heads sadly, or, perhaps cackled in glee as the vegemite-enhanced bragnukes touched the ship….and flew right through it, continuing on as if nothing had happened. On they flew into deep space as the amazed dignitaries stared at their instruments in shock, refusing to believe their eyes, for the alien ship remained unscathed. So focused they were on what they had seen that they failed to realize that the show was still far from over. No one was sure how it happened, but somehow, the missiles that were one moment heading away from the planet suddenly were headed towards it with the same velocity.

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“Shits!” the Bragulans bellowed as they realized that the missiles’ course would take them straight to their own launch site! “Fucks!” they cursed and detonated the missiles in space while they still had the time. The blast wave was too far away from anything important and did no damage, save for vaporizing a single Ork ship that had ignored the warnings and strayed too close. “Oh shits!” they cursed again, as their minds finally recognized what they had seen, and their bragkhorka cigarettes fell out of their mouths and burnt their furry crotches.

Surprise and amazement reigned aboard the other ships as well, The Umerianoids ran wildly for their slide rules, calculating and re-calculating the variables of transdimensional harmonics, while their Shepistani counterparts began drawing graphs like mad. The Refugees goggled at the screens of their theological sensors as miniature Panic Nodes on board their ships screamed in utter terror, for while their eyes insisted that the very fabric reality had just been violated in a dozen different horrible ways, their sensors told them that all was well. The Chamarrans hissed and nyahed as they re-read the Lost’s message and realized that they had gone to great lengths to get information they could have simply asked for.

Aboard the Altacaran ship, the official Anglian observer, Sir Reginald Wyndham-Smythe, adjusted his monocle and let out a cloud of cigar smoke. “Did you see that, my good chap?” he asked his Altacaran counterpart standing next to him, his mouth open in shock. “I’d say that was a bit odd, wouldn’t you?”

But the wonders of that day were not over, oh no, for Shroom had planned for another demonstration! She had set up a stage deep inside the bragbunker, where she extolled the virtues of the Lost’s other major export to the assembled crowd of BEEEF-goers, a crowd, she noticed, that was significantly larger than the ones her earlier presentations had drawn, for, evidently, the Sphere of Exclusion presentation had caught people’s attention.

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Shroom walked out on stage, holding a small piece of jewelry.

“The object in my hand is made of orichalcum, an alloy of chozium, trinium, rubiconium derivatives and other exotic elements. While these are big and scary names orichalcum is perfectly safe to handle for organic and technological species, and will not make you turn green and glowy or even give you cancer.” She beamed at the crowd. There were a few chuckles. Emboldened, she continued.

“What does orichalcum do, you will ask? Orichalcum warps the fabric of the spacetime continuum, making it less permeable for certain exotic energies. If you ever find yourself accosted by an eldritch horror from beyond the veil,” she gave assembled crowd a wink, “even a small amount of orichalcum will send the evildoer from back whence it came, or at the very least give it a severe case of indigestion!”

There were mutters from the crowd.

“But, before you go, ‘but I’ve never been accosted by eldritch horrors before and I don’t intend to start in the future!’, orichalcum has another use. When given the proper shape, it also makes the fabric of reality much less permeable by psychic powers.”

She paused as a group of creepy robots rolled out a cart with a ward around half a foot in diameter.

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“If any of you present in the crowd are in possession of psychic powers, please attempt to use them now.” She paused, smiling. There were some shouts of surprise as some ESPers reacted badly to the absence of their powers. “As you can see, the ward makes the universe less permeable to your abilities. It is still possible to use them, but none of you currently have the amount of power necessary to do so. The effect completely is unnoticeable until one actually attempts to use the powers.”

“Get this thing out of here!” someone from the crowd shouted.

“In a moment,” Shroom said. “Another important point to remember is that orichalcum has this effect wherever it’s located, be it at the target or the source. In other words, if you wear a ward,” she touched one hanging from her neck, “You are protected from all forms of psychic phenomena, including metacognition. Even farseers and precognitives will have trouble predicting your actions, by virtue of you being completely invisible to them.”

That got the crowd’s attention. There was a silence as the people processed that information.

“But, of course, orichalcum is not merely an anti-ESPer measure, oh no!” she smiled as creepy robot assistants rolled out a massive Blitzschlag Field Generator. The thing warked and hummed, and was full of blinkenlights , leaving no doubt that it was operating at full power. Some of the psykers flinched instinctively, before realizing that they would have already felt something by now. “Orichalcum wards also affect anti-ESP devices, including null-fields, white noise generators, and, of course, the infamous BFG!” Shroom beamed again. “It also protects one from psychic detectors, and PKE meters, as there are no psychic effects in the area affected by the ward. Any questions?”

A hand shot up. “How much does this ward thing cost?” a merchant asked/

“Well…let’s just say you probably won’t be buying your girlfriend some orichalcum jewelry unless you’re on the board of a Solarian megacorp. If you are on the board of a megacorp, please come to our pavilion and we’ll decide which shape will work best for you.” There were a few laughs. “Right now, we’re looking mostly at governments and large corporations as our primary customers, although we are able to accommodate private individuals. Remember, our civilization places a high value on certain information, and we are more than happy to reward those who provide it. “

The questions continued for some time, and at the end of the day, the first alien representatives began to arrive at the Lost pavilion.


---------------------
Result: The Lost pavilion is open for business!

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin



My Fundie Guide The World Has Ended.....Life Goes On
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 03:23am
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Joined: 2007-04-03 05:42pm
Posts: 1001
Location: En Route
Introductions: Part 2 “See You On the Other Side”
E Street, San Juan Habitat, A9

San Juan was first built as the living quarters and out-of-mine extentensions of a mining company that was willing to expand into the great open space and build. Slowly, every generation or so, a new group would join the habitat and expand the habitat to fit their needs. Thus San Juan went from a small and cramped mining office, to a sprawling cityscape.

In one corner of the cityscape, a handful of buildings resembled the architecture of sub-urban America. This area was quiet, save for a handful of ruffians who would occasionally wander the streets, and for the simple office building set on the corner of E and F Streets.

This building had an alcove that was created when the open-air entryway and the locked interior doorway overlapped to form a section of space easily used to hide within by many citizens of San Juan. That particular spot was held by an uplifted gorilla.

The gorilla had been watching as the man approached. The man being a medium-sized fairly non-descript human wearing a large and tattered black overcoat and walking with purpose to the door. The gorilla stayed silent as the human approached the stairs leading from the street to the gorilla’s alcove.

“I’m afraid you can’t get in, unless you have an appointment?”

“I do not have an appointment, but I will be getting in.”

“No, I’m afraid you won’t. Detective Doyt’s orders are very clear on what is allowed and not allowed to get in, and a human wandering in off the streets is not one of those things the Detective likes.”

“None the less, I will be getting in.”

“You and what army punk?”

“Mr. Harris, I am in need of your assistance.”

A rotund man walked up from behind, the human.

“This still does not sway my opinion, if you believe that this man can fight me off than you can you are sadly mistaken.”

“Now, now. Mr. Harris,” the human said, gesturing towards the larger human, who drew a weapon of some sort, “Ready. Aim.”

The gorilla braced for impact of some sort as he heard the human say “Fire.”

The shot did not come, at least not to the gorilla. He looked up and around before finding a hole straight through the security lock above the interior door.

“Now, what did you say your name was?” the first human said.

“Joe,” the gorilla, Joe, replied, “I work for Detective Doyt, keeping riff-raff and other undesirables from interrupting his work.”

“I didn’t ask what you did for a living Joe, I asked you name. And now I have your name, so I do believe our transaction is finished, don’t you Joe?

“No, I know nothing about you or your associate, Mr. Harris was it?”

“You know his name. A name for a name seems like an equivalent exchange, no? And we even got a taste of what Mr. Harris does for a living, so even your act of charity was just more accounting. Now I do believe we are done here, so why don’t you go over to that keypad and let Professor Haban, I’m sorry, did I call him Professor Haban, I meant Detective Doyt, know that there is someone to see him.”

Joe looked between the two humans and the one weapon, and decided that today was a good day to comply with the riff-raff that liked to bother the Detective.

“Two,” Joe said, looking back at the human shaking his head while holding back Mr. Harris, “That is, one to see you, Detective.”

“Send him in,” said a mechanical voice on the other end of the line.

Joe stood aside to allow the man to walk by. “Mr. Harris, watch to make sure Joe here does nothing untoward while I am in my meeting with the Professor, and be sure to not misunderstand any gestures, postures, or plans.”

The human sauntered through the passageway, putting on as many airs as humanly possible to prepare himself for the sight of Professor Haban. It was not to say that the Professor was grotesquely disfigured by his decades of research in the field of artificial/mechanical intelligence, but rather than the modifications he needed to make to vastly expand his life for those decades that was the sticking point.

As the human agent rounded the corner into the door marked “Office of Doyt Haban, Private Investigator,” he dropped a small object upon the sight of the Professor. The Professor was a Koalazoid from one of the central planets of the Domain. Even this knowledge, secure in the agent’s head, was not enough to convince him he knew what he was seeing. The Koalazoid’s body was almost entirely encased in a metal frame. Eight or more manipulator arms extended from the central apparatus that housed the Professor’s body. A central core extended from the bottom of the central housing to a single universal tread.

The Professor’s head stuck out of the top of contraption, just over the set of manipulator arms, it was scarred with age and manipulation as the professor worked to offset the effects of his advanced, by his species standards, age. Only his features of his face moved under their own power, as the central apparatus moved to bring his eyes on the human agent.

“How much?” Haban said.

“I’m sorry?”

“How much did you pay Joe to let you through, you look well off enough and I doubt you would take Joe up on his other means of getting past.”

“Oh, not a cent Professor.”

“Then why are you here?”

“I’m here to collect you Professor Haban.”

“Now that is interesting, Professor Haban you say. Who are you with?”

“Section 3 – Paragraph 5 of your contract with the Most Sacred Order of the Paladins. As per this paragraph, you are beholden to the Most Sacred Order of the Paladins for your entire lifetime as thanks for the support and skills the Order has provided you over your career.”

“Who exactly are you?”

“I am Brandon Michaels, I, represent, the Most Sacred Order of the Paladins in this matter. Now, Professor Haban, I implore you to come along quietly and not to make a scene. The Paladins have business for you and I have been sent to find you. Any questions can be asked as you approach the target zone. You will be operating in deep space, on what I do not know.”

“Do you have any speculation.”

“Speculation, speculation? Yes, yes I do. From my understanding of the situation, w-, the Paladins have found some derelict out in the wastes in space. This derelict is only interesting because it must have something the Paladins want to get at no?” he did not wait for a response, “Of course not. Now, the idea behind me having to collect you Professor leads me to believe that this all has to do with shipboard AI. But that is all just an educated guess, the Paladins might just be calling you up just because they can. I wouldn’t put it past the Sentinels to yank the chain of someone so distinguished just to show that they’ve still got it.”

“Indeed. Well, if you are so adamant about not knowing anything concrete, only idle speculation, then I will just have to come with you. I assume the Paladins want my life’s work as well.”

Michaels surveyed the room before answering, it was packed with many different objects. Walls of electronics lined the real walls, and piles of parts perched on top of the walls, both real and unstably crafted by an old Koalazoid in the middle of building. “If you believe it to be necessary, I can arrange something.”

“I do, and I would need all of this immediately should you speculation prove correct.”

“Well then, tell your ape by the door to tell Mr. Harris, ‘Under Section 0801 of the San Juan penal code you are required as part of a legal seizure of property to acquire a vehicle capable of processing the specified amount of contraband/seized material.’”

“All right,” Professor Haban said, relaying the message to Joe and thus to Mr. Harris perfectly, “Now, would you require anything else, or should we get a move on to this derelict of yours.”

“Time is of the essence I am to understand.”

“Then we shall make haste, I trust your man works fast.”

“He works as fast as he is able, I know not what that speed is at the moment.”

“Well we’ll just have to see about that. Now, you dropped this, please do keep in mind what you have on hand next time you are entering my shop,” Haban said as he handed the object Michaels dropped earlier, a small silver-ish bullet, back to him.

“Of course.”

Later, same location

Mr. Harris had worked quickly securing the vehicle and labor to move the many objects. As he finished he approached Brandon Michaels with a perturbed look on his face.

“Yes, Mr. Harris, what is it?”

“I don’t like the way things are looking, sir. Some locals have started taking an interest in what we are doing since I ‘secured’ the flatbed.”

“Of course they are interested, we’ve upset the balance of power, the security strip you shot out on our way in probably kept more people out than our gorilla bouncer Joe could in a lifetime. We also waltz into San Juan, and now Waltz out with a habitat-wide enigma. We have made many people in this area confused and frightened. I wouldn’t be surprised if you ran into some resistance getting Professor Haban to the target zone.”

“That implies you won’t be here sir?”

“It does indeed. I won’t be travelling with the group, so to speak. I have other business to attend to before my trip to San Juan is over. Don’t worry though, you won’t beat me to target zone, not by a long shot.”

“So I shall be taking publicly available transport to the rendezvous point?”

“You shall indeed, by the time any works back and finds where you went, location will no longer be a problem.”

“Good day, sir.”

“Good Day Mr. Harris.”

As Mr. Harris walked toward the small convoy being built by Joe and Professor Haban, Michaels decided to take the momentary quiet to get as far from his fellows as possible. It was not that he needed the space for any real reason, he just did not want to contaminate Professor Haban and the other perfectly acceptable samples of this ‘random Paladin representative.’ As Micheals got further from the corner of E and F streets, he reached into his pocket and retrieved the bullet handed to him by Professor Haban.

“Veronica,” Michaels began under his breath, “How was the trip to San Juan for you?”

“Terrible,” responded the external node for his private advisory AI, “The only good thing to come out of this trip is that I can tell you with utter certainty that that Koalazoid you abducted is the real deal.”

“Security around here that good?”

“Better than you could have hoped, hell, military grade doesn’t being to describe the way this guy has San Juan defended from electronic attack. If we wanted at the data here we would have to basically shut down half of the city to stop all of the random defensive AIs. If he had access to the public records building, I mean real, give him a couple of days to work his magic access, this place would be virtually impregnable.”

“So Professor Haban impressed you, have you been in contact with Petey and Persephone?”

“Petey? Yes. Persephone? No. Should I have been?”

“No, no. What did Petey have to say?”

“Just the usual, megalomaniacal stuff, and that he has reached the target zone, Captain Howe is still at the derelict vessel, guarding it with her life.”

“Captain Howe?”

“The ship captain that found the vessel and reported to Paladin Intellligence rather than the Sentinels, or worse De Beaumanoir?”

“Oh, that Howe. Excellent, what assests does Petey have with him at the auspicious location.”

“The Spymasters.”

“How many?”

“All of them, that is kind of implied when I don’t give a number.”

“Ah, fine. So is this going to work?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea, from what I have seen of Petey’s scans, the entire thing looks like it might just be a web of crazy, but I’m not a Domain-renowned Professor of Artificial/Mechanical Intelligence Studies from Several Prestigious University, so I’m not sure.”

“All right, here is how we are going to play it. Petey and the Spymasters, mark that as a possible Paladin Intelligence band name, are to circle and protect the derelict until we arrive, we meaning the Professor, Mr. Harris and Joe, obviously. Now, if Petey can get the derelict into storgage, we should be good, but otherwise he is to keep the area secure.”

“And Captain Howe?”

“Keep her around until I get there and can discuss here decision making process with her myself.”

“Processing Commands, et cetera.”

“Good Day, Veronica.”

“Good Day, boss.”



Grease Pens and Razor Blades make the world go round.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 08:10am
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Location: Poland
Sector C-6
Unreal Time, some 24 hours after the Audacity incident


If stealth ships sent to investigate sector C-6 came out from hyperspace with barely a whisper, like a ninja gently sneaking into a room, the Monolith crashed through like an 18-wheeler. The sheer disdain for stealth seemed almost like showing off, or perhaps disinformation designed to fool potential opponents as to the true nature and capabilities of these terrifying vessels.

Active sensors blared across all spectra, quickly cataloguing points of interest. Passive ones did not idle, either, and the giant ship sucked in emissions from neighboring systems. Its vastly powerful machine intelligence analyzed these returns and typified the most interesting systems to investigate, at which point the vessel tore a hole in the fabric of reality itself and jumped away.

Two tiny, feeble contacts, specks almost invisible in the Monolith's massive hyperwake, followed suit.



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

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

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 03:18pm
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Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
Unnamed System, Sector C-6
Unreal Time



Resolution In The Face Of Danger was stunned, blinded and utterly overwhelmed by the sheer might of the giant ship’s emissions. Its active sensors, powerful enough to be used as weapons, scoured the daemonship’s hull, forcing it to activate its trapdoor system to shield itself from the painful and merciless onslaught.

Still, it did not retreat for it had a Duty. It diverted all power to its transmitters, hoping to be heard over the cacophony produced by the Monolith. Then, it sent out a message on all channels.

“Who are you? We need to talk.”

-----------------------------
Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin



My Fundie Guide The World Has Ended.....Life Goes On
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 03:39pm
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Location: Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
CNN BREAKING NEWS REPORT!

This is CNN!

The Government has announced that it has signed a non-aggression treaty with the Humanist Union. Details are not yet known. Officials were not available for comment.



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 03:42pm
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Location: Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Unnamed System, Sector C-6
Unreal Time


"Sir, sensors are going crazy!"

Forg frowned. The giant had arrived.

"Let's stay put. For now."



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 04:05pm
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Joined: 2007-04-03 05:42pm
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Location: En Route
Introductions: Part 3 “Hellfire and Brimstone”

Central Office, Novalith Class Command ship Ecclesiastes, B10

“A pleasure for you to grace us with your elusive presence, Mr. Michaels,” said Knight-Commander Maurice De Bracy, nominal head of the Naval Arms of the Knights of Order.

“Calm down De Bracy, Sentinel Michaels must have a good reason to attempt to dodge his third meeting in a row, correct?” said the reason Maurice De Bracy was only nominally in command, Grandmaster Lucas De Beaumanoir. The Grandmaster usually only took notice of the political affairs of running the Legion, but De Beaumanoir kept a large staff to allow him to mess in the affairs of his various underlings. The quarterly meeting was just one of the measures Lucas De Beaumanoir took to interfere in the work of his subordinates.

“Yes, well, my absences for the past two quarters have been well established, understood and elaborated on. Documented even. Now I would like to point out that I am on time for this meeting, not only that, but I am not the last person here, that honor happens to go to…”

“Sentinel Lyons, of course. You do know how poorly this reflects upon the Paladins, do you not Sentinel Michaels?” said Knight-Commander Charles St. Justin of the Ground Arms.

“Oh, I was unaware that these meetings reflected upon anything. Other than a lack of work to be done by the participants.”

“Or perhaps it is just better delegation skills and better planning.”

“Now, we could go through this all day and get nothing done, Charles, you’re obvious insinuating that the Paladin leadership is unfit, and you, Sentinel Michaels, are insinuating that those of us here on time for these meetings aren’t doing our jobs. This who process will go a lot quicker without both of your clashing leadership styles throwing fits every few minutes as the other person doesn’t agree. Now, could we please wait for Sentinel Lyons to get here so we can open this meeting,” said Knight-Commander Ralph Braddick, leader of the Marine Arms.

“Well said Braddick, though I am surprised you strung so many words together at this meeting, you usually just stop talking when Grandmaster De Beaumanoir enters the room,” said Sentinel Jacques Le Fanu.

The way the Knights of Order were broken up created natural tensions. On one side was the Knight-Commanders, which led the regular armed forces into battle against enemies both great and small. On the opposite side was the Order of the Paladins, which maintained the more shady aspects of the Kingdom’s operation. There was natural tensions as each side had its own method of dealing with problems, and the Grandmaster usually played both groups against the middle when he bothered to actually work with his subordinates instead of against.

“Well, obviously you would agree with Ralph’s assessment Le Fanu, it is your man that I am so flawlessly disassembling,” said St. Justin.

“I would take offence Knight-Commander St. Justin, but that would imply that you could do anything flawlessly. Before you speak again Knight-Commander Braddick I am merely continuing this to pass the time until…”

“I apologize for being late!” said Sentinel Stephanie Lyons, “I was caught up in some missing patrol that has not checked in for 24 hours. I know policy states that patrols that have not checked in within 48 hours are to be considered lost, but I have a feeling something big is coming down on that patrol.”

“Sentinel Lyons, if I may ask, what patrol has gone missing?” said Grandmaster De Beaumanoir.

Weeeeeellll, fuck, Michaels thought, there goes that project.

“I’m afraid that that information is not available outside the Sentinels for operational security concerns. I’m sorry Grandmaster, but I have to invoke the Paladin security oath.”

Now that is interesting, Michaels thought. If Sentinel Lyons wanted to keep the ‘missing patrol’ in-house as it were. It meant that Sentinel Lyons was aware that one of her fellow Sentinels intercepted/detained the patrol. This made the game much easier, for depending on the size of the derelict, Michaels could have the entire ‘crime scene’ clean before Lyons or Le Fanu got wind of what was going on. Unless one of Knight-Commanders…

“Now wait one minute, you are telling me that the Paladins can keep secrets from the Grandmaster? What kind of bullshit is this?”

“Pure, One hundred percent Old Earth bullshit Knight-Commander St. Justin. Of course, this bullshit has withstood the test of time because the Knights of Order need us. We do what you can’t, won’t, aren’t able to do. We are your thugs Knight-Commander, we are your terrorists, we are your thieves, your liars, all your evil tied into one organization. We are all that you cannot be, Knight-Commander, we are your Dark Side.”

“Eloquent, Sentinel Michaels, but what you forgot is that our relationship is reciprocal, the Knights need us as much as we need Them. We are all in this together, please try and act like it,” said Sentinel Le Fanu.

“Now, now, we are the most powerful people in the Domain, short of his Majesty King Sheamus. Now let us get down to the actual business of performance of our sectors,” said Grandmaster de Beaumanoir.

The meeting went like all the other meetings Michaels had been to, the Sentinels calmly stonewalled any attempts at determining the make-up of the Paladins. The big discussion broke down before the Grandmaster dismissed the meeting, allowing the Sentinels to go back to their shadowy business, and the Knight-Commanders to the business of the Knights of Order.



Grease Pens and Razor Blades make the world go round.

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 Post subject: Stealth Cutters! 2! PostPosted: 2011-02-07 04:10pm
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Corsair-Alpha SR-Variant Cutter CG-X2973 "Wallfly"
Deployed off AGP-X720 Series Stealth Tender USS Kitezh
Goddamn Surreal Time


The Monolith's arrival was not entirely unexpected, given that the giant warship's approach to the system was as subtle as an avalanche even before it transited back into sidereal space and started blaring away with active sensors.

Still, Ensign Pulak Ramirez cursed when the first blasts of wide-angle search pulses from the Collector juggernaut washed across (and invisibly through) the stealth boat. The return signal, such as it was, wouldn't be over any plausible detection threshhold, not when they were anchored to a hunk of random chondrites that would serve as both signal mask and heat sink, not at such tremendous distance. So it wasn't that they were detected; if the Collectors could pick out Wallfly from whatever impossibly faint echo of backscatter they might get from the cutter under these conditions, they were gods.

But even if the signal wasn't strong enough to spot them, it was strong enough to burn out Wallfly's main Q-band subspace detector. The Q-band antenna was tuned for maximum sensitivity on a frequency more normally used for long range communications, one important to the ELINT-heavy sensor suite on the cutter. With specialized high-sensitivity components switched into the circuit for the purpose, the preamplifier box reacted most ungracefully to the massive increase in signal strength. Delicate systems designed to amplify a tiny signal into an ordinary one instead amplified an ordinary signal into something well beyond spec.

Automation switched in a backup preamp as Pulak growled at the error message on his display and the little yellow light on his console.

Dammit, why does all the crazy shit have to happen on my watch? He punched the intercom down to the engine room.

"Sally? When things settle down, you're going to have to go EVA to patch up the receiver. Backups are working though, so not urgent."

Then to the bunkroom. "Sir? Need you up on the bridge." Gao had just hit the sack, and he'd be doing the pilot no favors by rousting him, but this was probably going to be important.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 04:11pm
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Joined: 2007-04-03 05:42pm
Posts: 1001
Location: En Route
Introductions: Part 4 "Penny for your Thoughts”

Throne Room, Palace of the Champions, Nitro Zone, Capital Planet, B10

From the throne room one could see the majority of the victory gardens, but, ironically, not the section of the gardens that had suffered a break-in on the night of the Great Success, as it was called in Nexus circles.

Within the Throne Room was the throne itself. It was not as grand as one would expect of a multi-sector king. King Sheamus as he sat upon said throne projected, as well as he could, an air of judgment on his new Prime Minister. “And where exactly, Minister Barrett, were you during this whole affair?” said the King.

“I was attending to business you provided me with, you majesty,” said Barrett, his voice wavering slightly as he had yet to accustom himself to idiosyncrasies of his new position.

“And where, pray tell, is the man who initiated this event.”

“Gone, your majesty, abducted during the act. Security footage has been inconclusive from what I understand.”

“The Paladins.”

“Who, your majesty?”

“The ‘Most Sacred Order of the Paladins,’” said the King, “A nasty group of people running around in the Knights of Order’s shadows, fielding battle groups, and ESPers, and ‘outside context problems’ aplenty. Everything bad about the business of running my Domain the group has some hand in. And yet they can get away with highway robbery because of their leadership. ‘The Sentinels’ are just a trio of con artists scamming my people as I sit here and deal with their messes.”

“I take it they go against the ideas of legitimate government and popular sovereignty?”

“Of course they do. The entire scam is built around three people keeping a nation moving, my nation. And they have the gall to pretend to protect the interests of my Domain, my Kingdom. They have nothing but themselves in mind when they make decisions. Barrett, the sooner you realize the Paladins are no good, the sooner you will find that governing becomes a headache of how the Paladins are undermining your efforts. The Sentinels, that is the Paladins ruling body, make a big show of the Paladins ability to shift in and outside of Palace security nets. We’re lucky to know as much about the Paladins as we do.”

“So they don’t answer to you?”

“No, the Sentinels are supposed to answer to the Grandmaster, but it is just as likely that the group answers only to each other. They have an oath of secrecy that they swear to each other in the name of security. The entire thing is hearsay from the Grandmaster’s quarterly meetings. Those are good, were it not for them, and Royal Security’s cracking of the Novalith’s AI we would not even know the Sentinels existed.”

“Interesting, your majesty. What is the plan to deal with them?”

“Plan? Ha, I’ve learned you don’t try and plan a way to trap them, you just react to them, they are too deep.”

Prime Minsiter Barrett paused, thinking, before he continued.

“Your Majesty, is Jushin Gabriel a member of the Paladins?”

“Gabriel? No, he has been around longer than I have, he knows all about the Paladins. Were it not for his loyalty to his job, I would think he might be a Paladin.”

“So he would not know if a Paladin kidnapped the shooter?”

“No, he most likely would have.”

Barrett sighed. “Your Majesty, I now believe that a Paladin did not capture the shooter. Mr. Gabriel said he did not know from what I have seen of the footage.”

“Interesting, Minister Barrett, I would like you to personally look into Mr. Bautista’s investigation into this crime, if Gabriel said what you believe he said, than we are at square one.”



Grease Pens and Razor Blades make the world go round.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-07 11:26pm
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Storytime!
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Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
Recommended soundtrack: “Money (That's What I Want)” by Barrett Strong

Somewhere in Klavostan
Goddamn Unreal Time


Al-Stan the Totally and Completely Honest and Legitimate Weapons Dealer and Used Starship Salesman was now a very, very rich man. It had been so easy, too. The moment he'd heard news of something strange appearing over thataway, he donned his giant sombrero and blue-and-red checked jacket and took off from his used shipyard with a load of stuff what fell out the back of a freighter (mostly scraps of orktech; with a WAAAAUGH every coupla decades and raids all in between, that junk was lying around everywhere). And it had been so easy.

“Say there friend, you look like you're in need of some fancy new equipment!”

Image


And the more Al-Stan waved his arms, the more the MEHites believed him! They didn't even haggle! He made his first ridiculous price and they paid it. Even tipped him after he gave them some 'advice' on installing it on their ships! Then they bought the extended warranties! After that, he gave them his contact information (specifically, the coordinates of his two biggest rivals and the layouts of their shipyards, in such a way that the most efficient method of bombing them would be clear) and then left.

He was so suspicious of how well it went that he thought there had to be a trap, so he'd spent two days in transit looking for a bomb or bugs or anything. Nothing. Were they really that dumb? He'd met wet-behind-the-ears wannabe pirate kids who were less naïve than them. The only bad thing that happened was straining his shoulders from the arm flapping.

Just to make sure, once he'd gotten back to Klavostan, he sold his old ship, bought a brand new one, and sold off everything he'd gotten in MEH at even more exorbitant prices, then set off in the exact opposite direction of MEH. The UN seemed like a nice place, and if it wasn't, there was a lot more galaxy past there, and the universe was his burrito.



DPDarkPrimus is my boyfriend!

SDNW4 Nation: The Refuge And, on Nova Terra, Al-Stan the Totally and Completely Honest and Legitimate Weapons Dealer and Used Starship Salesman slept on a bed made of money, with a blaster under his pillow and his sombrero pulled over his face. This is to say, he slept very well indeed.

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